Genesis Volare Team 2014 Road Bike. Here we have it; top of the tree, cream of the crop, utilising Birmingham's finest tubeset. Over 12 months in development and the impressive culmination of a joint engineering effort between ourselves, Reynolds Technology, team riders and Genesis's Taiwanese manufacturing partner. Developing a bona fide, modern day race frame from steel, presented Genesis with a real engineering challenge. Could they make it competitive in a race context (stiff enough, light enough)? Would it satisfy a group of riders who have spent the majority of their racing lives on carbon? What They've tried to do is push the boundaries of what's possible with a steel road race frame - some elements experimental (in the context of steel), others pre-proven. So, what makes 953 so special? Its big trump card is its strength. It's off-the-scale strength that results in a superior strength-to-weight ratio, enabling Reynolds, in combination with oversize tube profiles, to draw very thin walled tubes (Reynolds will butt down to 0.3mm in places) and give an overall frame weight comparable to that of Titanium but nearly twice as stiff. Yes, it's expensive. Yes, it's an absolute b**ch to work with (in its off-the-chart tensile strength lies both its' biggest strength and biggest weakness), but, in 953 Reynolds now had a steel tubeset to trump Titanium, clawing back some much needed, long-lost ground to the favoured modern materials - stainless, stiff, competitively light yet still retaining that unmistakable compliant and road-connected ride feel for which steel is famous.
Reynolds 953: 953's unparalleled UTS (Ultimate Tensile Strength) of 1750-2050 MPa results in a far superior strength to weight ratio of any other steel currently offered within the cycle industry, enabling Reynolds, in combination with oversize tube profiles, to draw very thin walled tubes (down to 0.3mm in places) and give an overall frame weight comparable to that of Titanium (circa 1600-1700g for 54cm), but much, much stiffer. Shimano BB86 Press-Fit: 86.5mm BB shell plays 68mm standard road diameter. What does this mean for us? A larger surface area with which to weld and adjoin other tubes to (we now have room to use stiffer, fully round, 24mm chainstays without compromising clearance) and wider spacing of the bearings. 44mm Headtube: By far the most versatile of headtube standards available, the 44mm headtube ensures full compatibility with the 1-1/2'' - 1-1/8'' tapered carbon fork. It also provides a larger weld surface area at both the downtube and toptube junctions to allow for larger diameter tubing and a tube shaping, not to mention increasing front end stiffness, improving tracking and handling. Dura-Ace 11sp: What better componentry to grace Birmingham's finest steel tubeset? Shimano's flagship 11sp Dura-Ace 9000 groupset is widely regarded as the best amongst the mechanical options currently on the market.