Genesis’ new Smithfield is a UK-designed electric bike that resembles a classic urban roadster, with an impressive spec list, a smooth ride and a claimed maximum range of up to 150km.
It has classic design details such as a twin-spar top tube, ‘nurse’s’ lock, metal mudguards and fine metal detailing on the dropouts, bosses and cable ports.
Beyond that, it mixes things up with a powerful motor, high-capacity battery, disc brakes and 29in wheels for a modern-retro mix that cuts a stylish path through the occasionally drab world of commuter bikes. It’s an attractive combination that will enable you to enjoy the benefits of riding an electric bike.
The Smithfield’s frame is made predominantly from double-butted Genesis-branded Mjolnir chromoly steel and, at just shy of 23kg, that’s a lot of weight to carry up steps.
However, the quality of the frame imbues the Smithfield with a glorious compliance and a lively feel that you don’t normally associate with a commuter bike. These are some of the Smithfield’s properties that contend with the best electric hybrid bikes.
The Smithfield isn’t the snappiest when it comes to acceleration, and it can’t match some of the best electric bikes for zip.
However, I found that by dropping into a lower gear and upping the power to max at traffic lights, I could get away ahead of vans and buses.
But the Smithfield is most at home on long commutes, and not just on tarmac. Its impressive range and comfort opens up byways, towpaths and bike paths for more relaxed rides to work.
The 2in-wide Maxxis tyres not only provide comfort, they also offer great traction on wet roads and over broken surfaces.
The ‘Urban’ saddle is more generous than that of a full-on sports saddle, but is still quite sporty.
This meant that, combined with the bike’s simple suspension seatpost, I could ride around for hours without needing to wear padded cycling shorts.
The all-Shimano drivetrain and ebike power work harmoniously. The nine-speed cassette is paired with a mid-level Acera derailleur operated by an Acera trigger shifter.
Shifting is easy, accurate and positive, but a little clunkier than on some rival bikes and with more chain noise. For this price, I’d have expected something further up the Shimano hierarchy.
However, Shimano’s STEPS motor system is a fine rival to Bosch’s mid-mounted motor alternative.
At just 2.88kg, it’s one of the lightest Shimano has made, and it’s quite a narrow system too. So, unlike on some budget ebikes, you’re not riding with your legs splayed out.
It’s much quieter than earlier Shimano systems, and with 60Nm of torque on tap and wide-ranging gears from the 38t chainring and 11-36 cassette, I had all the gears and assistance I needed to tackle some of the very steepest local climbs with relative ease.
The SC-E5000 controller is simple, with up and down buttons to cycle through three assistance modes, and a button to switch between the range, distance and odometer.
Another button switches on the lights, and the battery level is permanently on the screen. The Smithfield’s walk mode is helpful for pushing the weighty bike up slopes.
Shimano claims a range of up to 93.2miles / 150km in the Eco mode, but where’s the fun in that?
By switching between modes – Eco on the flat, off on descents and the top two modes on the hills – I could still manage 50.66 miles / 81.5km, with 3,816ft / 1163m of climbing: impressive figures.
The Shimano system also charges quickly, reaching 80 per cent in two hours and charging fully in four.
As with all batteries, the Shimano one will degrade over time, but Shimano is one of the few brands to acknowledge that, and claims that over 1,000 charges (around 81,500km of riding) it’ll still retain 60 per cent of its capacity.
The braking from Shimano’s hydraulic MT200 brakes offer impressive stopping power and progressive feel.
Genesis Smithfield bottom line
The Smithfield really is a high-quality commuting package, offering everything you need for riding to work, doing the shopping, or embarking on trekking weekends away.
The ride is smooth and comfortable, and the handling is steady and easy, while not being dull. I admit that I’m sold on its classic looks and super finish.
The only thing I’d want to add to this bike is a chaincase to protect the cuffs of my trousers from a potentially oily chain.