If you’ve been paying attention (and attended the recent Cycle Show), you might well have spotted that Kinesis UK have significantly increased their wheel range. My first look at these new wheels has been very positive – once I figured out how to get tyres on the rims!
The guys at Kinesis have built up a lot of knowledge on wheels over the last few years and their Crosslight CX Disc wheelset has been a strong seller as I understand it. Encouraged by that success and also having a very popular range of road bikes to create wheels for (in addition to the Crosslight Cyclocross bikes), they’ve been hard at work developing some road wheels (and some more ‘cross wheels too – including affordable alloy tubular wheelsets ).
The new Racelight road wheel range is quite simple – there’s a caliper braked Racelight wheelset that retails for £299.99 a pair and the Racelight Disc wheelset that retails for £399.99 a pair.
The first stock has only just arrived in the country and I’ve been lucky enough to have been sent a pair of the Racelight Disc wheels to try. It’s perfect timing as I have the Genesis Datum here to review and I’ve arranged another road disc bike to follow it as well, so I hope to be able to run them on a couple of different bikes during the review.
The Racelight Disc wheels feature a disc specific rim that’s both wide (19mm internal) and tubeless compatible and they’re laced 3x with 28 spokes front and rear. What’s very welcome is that they’re compatible with normal quick releases but also with 12 and 15mm through axles, including 12x142mm rear spacing. The Racelight disc wheels ship with a bag of adapters for all of those standards and they’re very easy to swap between each type of setup.
The hubs are centrelock, which are much easier to live with compared to 6 bolt rotors in my opinion. The hubs also feature sealed bearings and an 11 speed compatible free hub. Rim tape (non-tubeless) is supplied, as is a 10 speed cassette spacer.
I’m running TRP rotors and these were very easy to fit with the Lezyne CNC Rod and cassette lock ring adaptor I have in my toolkit.
Kinesis claim a weight of 1655 gms a pair but when I weighed the set I received on my ebay scales of semi-truth, they came in at a much lighter 1540gms a pair which was a very welcome bonus and quite a large difference. This weight is also about 330gms lighter than the Fulcrum wheels on the Genesis Datum I have here.
I had planned to run the 28mm version of Continentals GP 4000s but I have to admit, I couldn’t get them on the rims. I switched to a set of Clement Strada LGG road 28mm I also have and after a struggle and quite a few expletives, I managed to get them onto the wheels. So they’re a bit of a challenge! In fairness to Kinesis, my technique for working with tubeless rims was poor and to begin with I didn’t realise that you need to ensure that you keep the tyre in the central channel of the rim when you’re putting them on, so I made the process significantly more difficult for myself. I’m going to summon up my courage and try to swap back to the Continentals soon. Partly to see if using the correct fitting technique helps me get them fitted and because I like riding the Continentals a lot better.
So with the Clement tyres on the Kinesis wheels, the weight of the Genesis Datum dropped around 500gms which is nice. With a minor adjustment of the calipers the wheels went onto the bike easily and they look good. Kinesis have helpfully chosen neutral aesthetics for the wheels. The rims, spokes and hubs are all black and the graphics are tastefully done to match, so they’ll look good on almost any bike.
Last weekend I rode them for the first time in a sportive around the South Downs which was a typically rolling terrain with one hard climb (Butsers Hill). The Kinesis wheels behaved faultlessly on this first ride – there were no issues whatsoever, they rode well, accelerated briskly and handled well with a firm but comfortable ride. Obviously more miles will be needed to get a fuller view but after a first ride, I can’t see a reason not to take the plunge if you’re interested.
There are growing numbers of disc bikes out there and stock wheels are typically cheap and heavy (if tough).
Wheels like the Kinesis Racelight Disc look like they’re a good step up in terms of performance, will be much lighter than most stock wheels and offer a good ride without breaking the bank. Kinesis bike frames have always had a reputation for offering value and a great ride – my first impressions are that the company’s Racelight Disc wheels follow in those excellent traditions.
I’ll keep riding and share further thoughts in a couple of months and a lot more miles.
Thanks for reading.