With a slogan like “Excellence Begins Here”, there was no way we could pass up the chance to review the Genesis V2100 mountain bike. This $149 full suspension, 26″ bike has it all – aluminum frame, at least one disc brake, Shimano drivetrain, and even a padded seat. As an added bonus, it includes a full set of front, rear, pedal, and wheel reflectors, so you can be in compliance with local vehicle codes. That’s not something we usually find on the typical full squishy mountain bike, but we don’t usually shop for bicycles where most people buy diapers and groceries.
Before anyone gets concerned about the shipping weight of over forty pounds, don’t panic. Actual weight of the Genesis V2100 is in the 36-37 pound range, depending on the accuracy of your scale. It wouldn’t be too much work to bring that down a bit by swapping the heavy steel riser bar for an aluminum one. Of course, any weight savings from the bar swap would be offset when it comes time to replace the pedals (after about two rides or less), as they seem to have earned a reputation as the cheapest pedals ever. We did note that in online reviews, the average owner spent an additional $80 or more to get their bike in working order. Incorrectly installed tubes lasted only until they were inflated. Luckily, this happened at home for most owners. Trailside, it would be a bit cumbersome to fix a flat on the Genesis V2100, since it isn’t equipped with quick release axles at either end. So bring a box wrench with you wherever you go. Don’t count on an open end or adjustable wrench, as these nutted axles don’t have the best hardware either.
Some riders incorrectly assume that a lightweight wheel with a low spoke count is difficult to keep in true. Yet a poorly assembled wheel with uneven spoke tension is far more likely to have issues. That’s why the majority of new owners reported that their Genesis V2100 was delivered with bent wheels, right out of the box. This may have been done on purpose, to match the out of true Promax disc brake rotor. The brake can be adjusted, and may offer a fair amount of braking power, but it’s difficult to locate replacement parts, as most brake shops don’t carry pads for the very bottom of the barrel components like this. Speaking of which, be prepared to spend time messing with the drivetrain. Although it’s from Shimano, the 3×7 shifters and derailleurs have more than enough slop that your LBS may simply refuse to work on it, knowing they will never be able to get it to shift smoothly and consistently.
When it comes time to hit the trail, the effectiveness of the coil spring suspension on the Genesis V2100 caught a lot of owners by surprise. Advertised as 80mm (3.14″) of travel, most couldn’t get more than one inch of movement. Having a non-progressive spring rate means that it’s unlikely they’ll ever get the full travel out of either end. Compression isn’t adjustable, and rebound is exactly what one might expect from a spring. Out back, the four bar linkage looks the part, but the actual path of travel is an arc that wants to move the wheel forward as it goes upward. This results in poor handling, as the wheel cannot track over rough surfaces properly.
After paying a bike shop to replace the broken parts, plus a tune-up, wheel true, and a new set of tubes, as well as the parts that wore out prematurely, most buyers of the Genesis V2100 were probably close to what they would have spent on an entry level hardtail for unpaved surfaces. Given the lack of functionality of the Genesis V2100’s rear suspension, this actually makes a lot more sense. Plus, buying a bike at your LBS allows you to get fitted for the proper frame size. More than one review indicated a longer post or stem was needed, neither of which addresses the fact that the frame is a “one size fits most”.
If you want a quality bike that fits you, with components that work as intended, do not expect to find it at WalMart. There’s a reason bikes with fully functional brakes and shifters cost more than typical department store and X-Mart bikes. You don’t need an expensive bike to enjoy cycling, but don’t be fooled into thinking a cheap one is worth the money either.