Louis Garneau has been Team Sixcycle-RK&O’s official kit partner for the past three seasons. We have previously written about our love for their 2014 Custom Kit Selection and the aero but not ugly Course Helmet, as well as reviewing their new ultra high-end road skinsuit. This past winter, we were thrilled to be presented with the opportunity to further our relationship Louis Garneau and design custom Gennix R1 framesets as our primary race bikes for the 2014 road season. The frames were hand painted in Louis Garneau's new Dream Factory. We have previously captured the beauty of the frame sets with a full studio photoshoot but now that we have racing them throughout the season, with thousands of collective miles on them, here are our thoughts on these impressive race machines. The summary is that we highly recommend picking one up, but for our full thoughts continue reading below. And stay tuned for a full short film on our use of the bikes during the 2014 race season.
Want to build your own Dream Factory machine? Check out the LG website here: http://dreamfactory.louisgarneau.com/
Louis Garneau Gennix R1 Review: A Short Film
Louis Garneau Gennix R1 Review by Tom Mikolinski
As a member of the team, I have proudly been rocking the full Louis Garneau clothing line from helmets to bibs for the past three years. When LG announced they would be working us on an incredible set of custom painted frames from their Dream Factory, I could not wait to build them up and get them on the road!
For the frames we went with LG’s top of the line Gennix R1 frameset. This is the highest performance bike LG has ever designed. The frame is constructed of Nano Carbon making for a super light and incredibly stiff frame. They have also gone with a tapered head tube which provides a high degree of stiffness and control in the front end at all times. These frames are designed for both electronic and cable shifting with full internal routing to keep the whole package nice and stealth. I have 2 built up, one with Sram Red and one with Shimano Di2 and they both look clean and neat.
One of the first things I noticed was the short wheelbase which translated into a superior handling and quick acceleration. This was immediately apparent as soon as I hoped on the bike. The shorter wheelbase provided a noticeable increase in stiffness and power transfer. The increased power transfer was especially appreciated when climbing.
The first block of riding done on the bike was out west in southern California. Handling on the Gennix R1 is quick and responsive. The bike was like riding on rails and very predictable. LG certainly did their homework to create a light, stiff, responsive bike that not only looks great but is a lot of fun to ride.
The stiffness of the frame provided a noticeable improvement in my otherwise lackluster climbing ability. The superb handling really shined through on the descents. Tracking and cornering at speed was smooth and predictable, turning up the fun meter to 11. It is rare that I jump on a new bike and instantly feel comfortable with the setup. The LG proved to be one such rarity.
While having a great handling bike is extremely important, it is almost equally as important that it look even better. LG blasted it out of the park with their Dream Factory paint job. LG provided us with 3 color schemes that matched various aspects of our kits. They did an absolutely incredible job! I don’t remember the last time I’ve been out on a ride, or in a race for that matter, where someone hasn’t commented on how amazing the bikes look. The drool factor is certainly high with these frames.
Having spent the past 6 months on these bikes, what are my thoughts on a frame produced by a company known for cycling apparel? What took them so long? That’s my honest assessment of how fantastic they are. You owe it to yourself to take one out and see what they are capable of. The only downside now is deciding which one to ride.
Louis Garneau Gennix R1 Geometry and Fit by Ben Fackler
Many high-end road carbon frames are described bestas sheep in wolf’s clothing. They combine the sleek lines and high-modulus carbon that one expects from a top racing frame with the relaxed geometry and plush road feel that appeals to a more casual rider. They are fine for what they are, but leave something to be desired in a racing frame.
By contrast, Louis Garneau’s Gennix R1 frame is a thoroughbred wolf. It is made for riding and racing hard. And with the Gennix’s unique frame design and Garneau’s Dream Factory custom paint program, the bike looks the part, too. After spending a season racing on the Gennix frame, I can say it is the top racing frame I have ridden.
With its stretched rectangular geometry and moderate head tube height, the Gennix readily accommodates aggressive riding postures. It is one of the few road bike frames that I have been able to set up properly without resorting to slammed 17 degree drop stems, which usually results in jittery steering in my experience. (Don’t be fooled by the head tube measurements online. Unlike most measurement tables, the head tube measurements that Garneau posts include the cap.)
Additionally, due to the frame’s elongated rectangular geometry, I avoided having to size up the frame or resort to an extra-long stem to get adequate reach. All of this makes for a lighter and more responsive rig.
As for feel, the Gennix is stiff and extremely responsive to accelerations and maneuvers. Garneau designed it for racing in the Americas, with its preponderance of criteriums and short circuit races. It reacts immediately to out-of-the-saddle efforts, with little perceived wasted energy through flex. The cornering is superb as a result. The bike handling benefits of the stiff frame are confidence-building.
There are trade-offs to this approach. I would not describe the road feel as plush, but that is not to say the frame is jarring on rough roads. In the rather challenging urban road environment of New York City in which I usually race and ride, I have found wheel and tire choice can make a large difference in smoothing out the ride without sacrificing the confidence building responsiveness of the Gennix. For me the combination of the Gennix frame with a wide-rimmed wheel and tubular or tubeless tire has been a sublime racing setup.