Readers of this blog will appreciate already that I’m a big fan of winter bikes. You know the ones with clearance for full “proper” mudguards and larger, say up to 28mm tyres. I’m very fortunate in that I have a couple of great summer bikes but when the weather turns and the roads are covered in water, mud, and general detritus I’m looking for full mudguards.
However choosing a winter bike is not as easy as you think. There are quite a few options and the general principle in the UK is buy some old nail and once you’re through the winter you’ll be so pleased to be back on your summer bike that it’ll be a revelation.
This is not my personal approach. I like riding in the winter on cold clear days a great deal but when it’s cold, wet, greasy etc, etc – I need to have a bike I want to ride as it will help me get out the door.
The first Kinesis Racelights go back to last century and this is the latest in a long line of evolution. Right from the beginning the core logic behind them has been, why ride something nasty just because it’s winter, why not have a bike that’s fun to ride in the worst weather. The Racelight series has been well embraced by British roadies and owning one will always be seen as a solid choice on any social ride.
I’ve been interested in the Kinesis TK3 since it was announced. The Kinesis Racelights have a fine reputation as frames that are well made and much better to ride than a winter trainer normally is. When I heard that the new TK3 was going to have a tapered steerer to stiffen up the front end and bring a modern race bike feel to the winter frame, I was very keen to try one.
Luckily that opportunity has arrived for me. The TK3 has been such a success already that they’re very hard to get hold of (until the new year when new stock starts to arrive, but putting an order in advance will be the best way to make sure you get one). I also know from speaking to Kinesis before that people often buy their frames and then put a collection of parts they already have on them. I’ve done some of that and also have some new parts too.
When the frame was ready on Tuesday, I rushed out to collect it and dropped it straight into my local bike shop – Wildside Cycles. Olly who built up for me let me come in and take photos during the process on Thursday morning. My goal was to have it ready for some first rides during the girodilento family festive 250 in conjunction with my Stoemper and I’m delighted that we’re now good to go.
The bike is built, I’ve had a shakedown ride on it and am ready to get out onto the wet, muddy local roads tomorrow morning.
The full build I’ve gone for is as follows:
Frameset: Kinesis TK3
Headset: FSA (supplied with the frame)
Brakes: Tektro R539
Seatpost: Selcof (Kinesis) Carbon 27.2mm
Saddle: Specialized Romin Pro
Bars: Deda Newton 42cm Dark Metal
Stem: Deda Zero 100 Service Course 110mm Dark Metal
Bar tape: FSA
Shifters: Dura Ace 7900 (taken off my NeilPryde Alize for the winter)
Cranks: Shimano Ultegra 6750
Chainrings: Praxis Works 52/36 Semi compact (more to follow about these)
Derailleurs/Cassette/Chain: Shimano Ultegra 6700
Wheels: Easton EA90 SLX (2008 model)
Tyres: Continental GP 4 Seasons 28mm
Mudguards: SKS Chromoplastics
Bottle cages: Planet X Carbon
The full build minus pedals and bottle cages was 18.5lbs or 8.4kgs
I’ll update the post with some early ride impressions once I’ve done a few more miles. Early impressions are definitely positive and that it certainly lives up to its name: Race, Light.
In the meantime, I hope you like the pictures.
You can find more info on the TK3 here:
And a first review here:
My thanks to Upgrade Bikes for helping me get hold of the frameset while stock is still tight.