Genesis Day 01 Alfine – Braking issue

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been having issues with the brakes on my Genesis Day01 Alfine bike. I’m not the only one, I was first made aware of a potential issue by another owner. Fortunately for him, his bike was fixed by his local bike shop but unfortunately for the rest of us he was unaware of how the issue was fixed.

The issue seems to be caused by the non-standard disc rotor. The brakes are Tektro Lyra’s but the rotors are Shimano CL rotors. This means the brake pads don’t sit perfectly over the disc when you put them on. Unfortunately this is hard to see and is noticeable after some use and the dirt on the disc brake shows where the pad runs.

The front brake is an interesting one. As with any steel fork and a disc brake, there is some flex when you apply the brake. But what i experienced was far from some flex. The brake pad overlapped the edge of the disc by quite a bit. At least 1cm of the pad was running on the rotor arms. This meant that there was a constant shudder when you used the brake, due to the pad gripping on the rotor arm and the brake experiencing more friction at that point. This judder traveled through the forks and into the handle bars, it was disconcerting but did not affect performance in a manner which was bad.

The rear brake was the one with a problem. For some unknown reason, I would pull on the brake and feel it bite, I would start to decelerate. Apply a little bit more pressure and all of a sudden the brake would just let go and you would stop decelerating. I couldn’t get my head around it, I looked into how mechanical brakes worked, did lots of reading in books and online but could not figure out why the brake would suddenly let go.

Back when I first found out these issues, I contacted Genesis to try to get some help with this issue. Unfortunately they where not much help and said that it was natural for steel forks to behave in this way.

It came to the point where I could take it no more, and I took my bike back to Evans and got them to look at it for me. They saw the issue straight away and added some spacers and longer bolts onto the brake attachment thingy majig (can you tell that i don’t know what it is called?). This meant that the pads no longer rubbed on the rotor arms and braking was smooth and powerful.

The problem with this is finding the issue in the first place. It’s hard to see this issue when you are putting the bike together in a work shop. And testing it is impossible without taking the bike out on the road. This is because pulling the brake whilst the wheel spinning in a stand will nearly always stop it but what we want to test is how it acts when there is more weight behind the bike.

I did notice the issue with the front fork when I test rode the bike but as with all disc braked bikes, beading in is always the excuse.

Fortunately for me, the braking issues are resolved and the brakes are sharper than ever. Hopefully this is read by other users of the day01 and they can easily get it resolved.

23 thoughts on “Genesis Day 01 Alfine – Braking issue

  1. Gaz,

    Have been very much eyeing up a Day01 Alfine for a little while – especially with your funky white mudguards – but this is making me think twice, to be honest … after all I think most people would expect a bike to be pretty tip-top for a £1k ‘investment’ … would you still recommend it?

    1. It is a great bike. The only problem is that genesis didn’t give any bike shops information on setting up the brakes properly. As I said it’s hard for the shop to test without putting miles in the bike. So it’s down to the individual to raise the issue with their bike shop and for the mechanic to notice the issue and fix it properly.
      I will be passing this information to Genesis so they can circulate it to people they supply.

      One thing to note about the bike, is the hub gear. Unless you have used one then i would strongly suggest a long test ride. The difference between some of the gears can be up to 10 inches. It’s very different to riding a bike with a cassette based gearing system.

  2. I personally would prefer a hydraulic brake discs over a mechanical one, especially if you have a hard time maintaining them yourself.

    Due to the brake pads constantly loosing size you will have to adjust the pressure point once in a while, hydraulic ones do that themselves.

    You also shouldn’t forget to “brake in” new disc brakes or if you change the pads. Usually 20mph to o for 15-30 times do the trick.

    1. You can’t use hydraulic discs with a drop bar brake leaver.
      On any kind of mechanical pull brake you have to adjust them over time due to cable stretch and pad wear. Doing it on a disc brake is not hard, the important part is making sure the fixed pad is not too far away.

      1. I agree with you gaz, adjusting the stationary pad on a mechanical disc brake is not really an issue, but something that must be done. Usually I just screw the pad in tight, and then back it out three clicks (about 60degree counter clockwise). Before the winter I mainly excersiced on forrest trails (in Norway) and adjusting was needed atleast once a week, and pad needed replacement once a month (due to abrassive dirt). In this winter I have only adjusted the (stationary) pad only once. So I guess if you ride alot on the roads ( I dont) I would think that mechanical disc brakes are excellent.

        Oh btw I think maybe you had the wrong disc brake adapter (the word you where looking for ?) 🙂

        Cheers, I love your blog.
        Rider from Norway.

  3. Gaz. I’m just in the process of changing bikes from a Gary Fisher Disc Hardtail to a Cyclocross type bike. I want drops and speed but chunkier tyres in winter. I do want to retain discs as I dont like the look of many cc canti breaks. I’m watching the Genesis Day 01 as it looks ideal. (the hub gear wont be a prob)However I’m aware about the issue of the steel fork affecting the front brake. Another issue raised is the weight of the Day 01. As you also ride a carbon bike how much does this affect the ride? (I’m also considering the very similar On-One Pompetamine Versa) I also like the PlanX Uncle John and the Surley Cross Check but I’ll have to give up the discs.
    As you can see I’m in the £900-£1000 area. Any thoughts… I commute 2 mile a day 95% road. 5% canal track. 13stone. 5’11” er-hum 40yo!

    Great blog. Favourited.


    1. The issue with the front brake is easily solved by adding some spacers in when you add the braking unit. As Genesis decided to use a shimano rotor instead of the tektro one, the lining up is not quite right and without spacers most of the brake pad misses the disc. An easy fix!

      On the weight side of things, my day 01 has mudguards with flaps, lots of lights and a big carradice saddle bag. It is heavy!! but it makes running a carbon bike on the weekend even better and help keeps you fit.
      The main problem with the weight is the hub gear. Lots of weight in one position but at least it is low down!

      The On-One is also a good bike, not sure what the differences are in weight, but from memory they have put the rear brake calliper in a better position which makes adding a rack and mudguard a lot easier!

      At least test ride the day 01. As it is a nice bike to ride!

  4. Just a quick reply. the supplying dealer should always check brake alignment visually at PDI!
    I have 3 bikes with hub gears. 7spd and 8spd nexus. and the best one…a rohloff 14spd! They all have their quirks. Its interesting to note most cyclists have near misses on every ride,I just thought it was me!
    VIdeo’s are great. am thinking of purchasing one. so info is useful,thanks.

  5. I’ve just had the problem with the rear brake. It seems like the Shim discs are too thin which makes the pad over reach. This lets the bearings pop into the one next to it’s runner which returns the brake to a non-pulled position. I’ve bodged mine for the moment by putting tiny spacers to move the whole brake mech towards the hub. This means the static pad can be adjusted in enough to make up for the over-run of the mech’d arm. I think either replacing the discs with the correct lyra on or changing the brake mech are the only long term solutions…

    1. I know longer have the bike. I put it in for a service several times at the shop i got it from to fix the issue, and they failed. So i returned it to them and got my money back.
      I’m sorry to hear you have had the issue. I hope it doesn’t cause you any major problems.
      If you would be kind enough to keep me up to date with how you get on and if you find a resolution, it would be appreciated.

  6. I too have had the same issue with the pads contacting with the rotor arms, simple fix with a few shims to move the calipers away from the rotor centre meaning pad contact is now where it should be. I have emailed Genesis explaining it to them but so far all they have to say is contact your dealer! Not really good enough and needs fixing at source. Also on mudguards, I run Schwalbe Marathon plus 35mm tyres on mine and despite what anyone says there is insufficient clearance for full mudguards! I have had to revert to a seatpost mounted one instead because I don’t want to put narrower tyres on. Still love the bike though! Trevor.

    1. You won’t get far with genesis. They are awful for customer support unlike other companies like carradice.
      If you run 35mm tyres then there is no way you would fit mudguards in. Why don’t you want to use a narrower tyre?

      1. I rund 35 guard plus tyres with full mudguards on my day one alfine. So it’s very much possible.

  7. Thank goodness I found your article! I am experiencing exactly the same braking issue with my relatively new Day One Alfine. The only way to get any braking power is to over-tighten the cable but then the back brake has a tendency to ‘pop’ and all tension is suddenly completely lost. I’m a bit gutted because I love the bike but the constant niggle of “will I be able to stop in less than 100m” does somewhat suck the joy out of riding at speed. So is the “spacer fix” mentioned above really going to eliminate my doubts or should I look at replacing the entire braking system? And if it’s the latter, any advice on what to go for? (Obviously a bit loathe to lash out too much cash after the initial splurge on the bike)… Cheers, Andy

    1. The spacers do not help. It seems to be down to the fact that the rotor and braking system are not a match, so the width of the disc being used is not what the calliper is designed for.

      Best bet is to swap out the braking system for Avid BB7’s. Those are pretty much the best disc brake you will get to work with this bike. And they are good!

  8. I’ve had the problem of the brake “letting go” when pulled too hard – on the front. Bike shop replaced the front brake free-of-charge, but it’s now doing it again. BB7 is on order.

  9. I have the same problem. Now had 4 visits to Evan’s. They agree the brakes are not fit for purpose but will not take the bike back. I have had to raise it with Genesis again. I wonder if it is worth checking the law on consumer protection etc. I am not happy having to spend money and the waste of time in taking it back for constant tweaks. The last time I visited evan’s they said that “Bikes need regular maintenance” – I don’t think weekly break adjustments due to the rear brake totally failing is a fair maintenance task, especially when my last hybrid would go for two years and 2000+miles with very little adjustment to brakes.

    1. How long have you had the bike?
      Under the sales of goods act a product must be fit for purpose. I argued that mine was not as the brakes where not functional to an expected standard. I gave them plenty of time to fix them. I returned mine under the 6 month period required, if returned in this time period then the shop must prove that it is fit for purpose. If over this time period then you must prove that it isn’t fit for purpose.

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