Genesis Mantle 30 first ride review$7,226.00

Reimagined cross-country race bike for fast, far and fun riding

A sweet-riding frame with premium kit where it matters makes the Mantle a blisteringly quick distance-shrinker that’s a lot of fun to ride.

Genesis Mantle 30 frame

With no rear suspension and not much front travel (100mm) or tyre volume (2.2in) to hide how the chassis itself rides, frame quality is crucial in a cross-country race hardtail. The Genesis is stiff enough to please carbon-shoe wearers but not so punishing that every rough section will rattle the muscles off your bones.

It’s equally well rounded in upgrade/compatibility terms too, with the latest Boost 148mm rear hub spacing for generous tyre clearance, semi-internal routing for a dropper post (although none is included) and Shimano Di2 fixtures in case you fancy trying out electronic shifting.

The rear mech is direct-mounted for stiffness and the frame will take a front mech or direct-mount chain guide if you’re going retro or rowdy. While the press-fit bottom-bracket shell provides stiffness gains, this usually comes at the expense of shorter bearing life.

Genesis Mantle 30 kit

Fox’s Step-Cast 32 is the king of lightweight race forks and the Mantle uses the top Factory-spec version with neat shifter-style remote lockout. You’d struggle to find a better feeling and performing wheel pack for UK speed use than DT Swiss XM 1501s wrapped in triple-compound Maxxis Forekaster tyres.

Quiet shifting, highly durable Shimano XT has always been a distance-riders’ favourite, and while the lurch up to the 46t crawler tooth is a drag, speed merchants will appreciate the upsized 34t front ring. Race Face wraps up the rest of the impressively light package — a dropper post is the only potential omission for more spirited riding.

It comes with 2.2in cross-country tyres but there’s plenty of clearance out back for bigger rubber
It comes with 2.2in cross-country tyres but there’s plenty of clearance out back for bigger rubber

Genesis Mantle 30 ride

Immediately thinking that the Mantle needs a dropper post is a very trail/enduro-influenced perspective though, and there are plenty of riders who can throw a bike around with the saddle at full height.

That very capable Fox fork and the bike’s 69-degree head angle mean more confidence in rougher situations than on most race-bred machines. The 70mm stem and 720mm bar are well synced with the relatively long reach (450mm on our large sample) too, so the Genesis naturally takes an aggressive rather than apologetic approach to corners or messy line confusion.

Compared to some race rubber, the Maxxis Forekaster tyres offer bonus grip without significant rolling-speed compromise, and the DT Swiss wheels are light, lively and precise gear-givers that always flatter a frame.

Despite its race-bike looks, the Mantle is tons of fun on the trail
Despite its race-bike looks, the Mantle is tons of fun on the trail

The result is a bike that’s light and agile enough to snap out of singletrack corners or off start lines as fast as all but the purest, most punishing slick-tyred racers, but with more play when things get interesting.

It’s smooth enough to mean cross-country marathons can be genuinely enjoyed rather than just endured and that the bumps of many race circuits won’t break your back or racing resolve.

The price is reasonable too, considering the weight, spec and the fact that it’s a shop-bought bike.

Genesis Mantle 30 specifications

  • Frame: Carbon fibre
  • Fork: Fox 32 Float Step-Cast Factory, 100mm (4in) travel
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore XT M8000 (1x11)
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss XM 1501 SPLINE wheels
  • Tyres: Maxxis Forekaster 3C Maxx Speed EXO TR 29x2.2in
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore XT M8000, 160mm rotors
  • Bar: Race Face Next carbon flat, 720mm
  • Stem: Race Face Turbine, 70mm
  • Seatpost: Race Face Turbine rigid
  • Saddle: fi’zi:k Monte
  • Weight: 10.33kg (22.77lb), large size without pedals

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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