Not long after Kinesis launched the original GF_Ti just over a year ago, I was lucky enough to borrow a press bike for a couple of weeks. It was winter time and for one reason or another I didn’t manage to ride it as much as I wanted to – but it was one of those rare beasts that put a smile on my face from the first few pedal strokes and it only took about 50km to be completely smitten.
Now here we are, a year or so later and there’s a new improved one. I’ve taken the plunge and bought one. It’s been built up for about a month now and as I’ve been really busy recently, I’ve only managed a few rides so far but enough to post a first look piece.
The GF_Ti v2 is an evolution of the previous design. It’s still a stunning frame to behold, perhaps even lovelier, if that’s not too gushy. The head tube is now machined from a solid billet of titanium in a lovely hourglass shape and it’s a thing of real beauty. I keep admiring it and it’s generally the first feature of the bike I show to anyone taking a look at it. It’s beautifully made too and and even in the relatively modest spec I’ve built up in – it makes for a fine looking bike.
The new head tube is to take the tapered fork from the TK3 and bring the related extra front end stiffness and performance gains to the GF_Ti v2. Not being the most powerful of riders nor the most extreme descender, I have to be honest and say I never noticed the original GF_Ti was lacking anything.
However the continuing march for technical development and the search for greater performance has brought the tapered steering and Tracer fork to the GF_Ti v2. It’s also seen a more ovalised top tube where it joins the headtube and also on the downtube at top and bottom to blend the new forks’ performance across the entire frame. I understand that the chainstays have also been beefed up a touch for greater power transfer too. A nice benefit of the Tracer fork is that the GF_Ti v2 is now long drop brakes compatible, whereas the original wasn’t but the ability to run full guards and a rack remains. You can now run full guards with 28mm tyres rather than 23mm on the old model. The bottom bracket drop has been lowered a touch for stability too.
Dom Mason, the designer told me that he likes to design performance frames and the v2 is a performance upgrade. Even on paper the “tweaks” to the new versions suggest a more focussed and performance oriented frameset than the original design.
Certainly my first few rides have confirmed that the design spec has been well and truly met – there is a tangible performance lift over the old model to me. This is a faster bike and feels quite different to ride both to the old model and to the TK3 too – although the geometry is very similar and it has the same fork (as the TK3).
On an early ride, I attacked a good local climb on the GF_Ti v2 and set a noticeably better personal best time even with the full guards I’m running the bike with. Already I have no doubts on the performance credentials of the bike.
As always, if you stiffen up a bike, generally something’s got to give and to my early impressions the ride quality isn’t as good as the old one. However, an important caveat is that I’m a light rider – about 68kgs and for someone heavier e.g. say around 80kgs, they’d probably have a different experience. One of the downsides (for me anyway) of being light is that a lot of performance focussed bikes feel too stiff for my tastes as these bikes often work better for a heavier rider who can smooth them out. So please bear that in mind alongside my comments on ride quality.
The titanium frame ensures the ride’s not harsh – it’s just less compliant than the old one – but as Dom said – he designs performance frames and in fairness this is just a first impression.
The new GF_Ti v2 already feels and rides like a faster more single minded bike and that alone is going to make it appeal to a lot of people who like the idea of a classy full guards bike – but one that you can attack on, ride hard and be rewarded with speed regardless of the weather or time of year.
To use a car analogy – for me on the basis of a couple of initial rides – the original GF_Ti felt like a Range Rover, whereas the GF_Ti v2 feels more like a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Hopefully that helps give you the gist of difference between the generations of GF_Ti at this early stage.
For me personally, it hasn’t been the instant love of the old model but it’s a respect and appreciation for what’s undoubtedly a very good frameset, designed for the four seasons racer who has the budget to choose the durability, versatility and beauty of titanium for their full guards, all weather steed.
More from me on the bike once I’ve spent more time on it.
For more information on the GF_Ti v2 please checkout:
Thanks for reading!