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The 2015 Genesis Longitude was a bit of a hit, in fact, it was so much of a surprise hit that demand outstripped supply and in just a few short months all the stocks of both complete bikes and framesets had been sold. Why did it prove to be so popular? I think there’s probably a few answers to that question which you can assemble in order of importance depending on your point of view.

Less ‘obvious’ than 29+ but still retaining the benefits?

Firstly, the complete bike cost less than a grand, so it was eligible for the Cycle to Work scheme. Secondly, it arrived just as interest in 29+ was reaching respectable levels and the Longitude had everything in place for ‘proper’ plus sized rubber and thirdly … aside from Salsa and Surly, it was the first time any manufacturer had nailed their colours firmly to the mast and proclaimed “see this bike, it’s a bikepacking bike, it’s dead versatile, there’s more braze-ons than you can count, run whatever gears you fancy, sure you can do other stuff on it but really it’s designed for bikepacking” – Granted, Genesis may not of actually used those very words but even a brief glimpse at the spec sheet left little doubt that it was indeed a bike designed for those riders who weren’t planning to go home for their tea any time soon.

I even found some matching pedals in the workshop!

I know what you’re thinking, you’re wondering, why would you take something popular, something that people want to buy, a model which has only been available a relatively short while and change it? It’s a fair question and the honest answer is … because the designers at Genesis genuinely believe the new incarnation of the Longitude is better.

Plenty of clearance for even more rubber if you wish.

The new Longitude shares many of the features of its predecessor, the steel frame with slotted drop-outs is still present. A rigid fork resides at the pointy end although it’s now made from aluminium rather than steel. There’s a few less bottle mounts than before but there’s still far more than you’d find on your average bike and it’s still capable of accommodating BIG tyres … only this time they’re 650b rather than 29″ and that is the major change.

Passed the wooden bridge test without a hitch.

Whether you like it or not, 650b is steadily taking over the world, it might not be taking over your world but it is for the majority. Perhaps inevitably, riding on the back of 650b is 650b+ … it promises all the benefits of its big brother but with none of the potential drawbacks some riders claim to feel. The Longitude comes equipped with wide rims (38mm external) and the seemingly universal 650b+ tyre, the WTB 2.8″ Trail Blazer (BTW, have we decided yet what actually constitutes a plus size tyre?). There’s no denying that the combination produces something strikingly ‘oversize’ with the outside to outside edge of the tyre carcass measuring 64mm … an initial pootle down the lane resulted in two comments, “Ooh hasn’t that got big tyres on” and “I think it’s about time you polished that”.

Ignore this – 30 – 45psi not a chance ;o)

Now that I’ve made a few minor tweaks to the contact points to satisfy my personal quirks, I shall load it up, venture forth into the countryside and report back very shortly … judging by the amount of interest 650b+ is generating, I’m hoping for a pleasant experience.


  1. Really enjoyed the test I had on the 29er, but I do prefer the 650 platform. I've got two Genesis bikes already, this could be my third!

    As long as the keep the seatstay brace as it is now. Last years production version was horrid!

  2. Curious how that fork fork feels?

  3. Fork feels okay so far Graham. I was sceptical at first, thinking it would be very harsh but I've not found that yet. Quite how much of the extra tyre squish (technical term) is being used to smooth out the fork is difficult to say.

  4. Unknown says:

    Great review – thanks Stu. Can we have a follow at some point as you thoughts after extended use would be helpful before this hits the "shelves" and I have to put my cycle scheme voucher to use?

  5. This is very much a 'first look' piece James. A 'proper' review will be forthcoming reasonably soon … certainly before the bikes are available.

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