The Kinesis RTD is a Scandium aluminium frameset, with a Columbus Futura fork, designed for long fast rides & this is a review written after riding just over 100km on one.
The RTD is the newest addition to Kinesis’s range of road framesets and is an interesting development from the Sussex based company. It’s the first time since the Granfondo model of some years back that Kinesis have chosen Scandium for a road product. Their current cyclo-cross race frame (the CXRACE Evo) is made from Scandium.
One of the key benefits of Scandium for a frame like the RTD is that it’s supposed offer a fine ride quality, but it’s also supposed to be stronger and lighter than typical aluminium used for bike frames. By specifying a high-end Columbus Futura fork as well, a product often specified by custom frame manufacturers, the RTD is making a strong claim as something a little special. Something for riders who want a great bike that stands out a little from the crowd.
Kinesis describe the RTD as being designed as “the ultimate transcontinental endurance road bike frameset” and go on to say that “the RTD geometry has been carefully refined to allow responsive, yet stable handling in all guises even when fully loaded for your next adventure”.
The RTD has some other tricks up it’s sleeve too. It’s the first bike I’ve seen to have the cables routed directly into the head tube to help clean up the front end of the bike, which it definitely did & features “GW Switch” through axles, with removable levers, which on Richard’s bike had been removed for a very clean look (they undid with a 6mm Allen Key).
As a Kinesis, you’d expect good versatility and it delivers this in spades. With clearance for up to 34mm tyres & up to 30mm with full guards, along with cable ports and routing for mechanical or Di2 groupsets in either 1x or 2x configurations and three bottle cage mounts, so you can carry spares/tools under the down tube, freeing up under saddle space for a bigger bag for traveling. The RTD also comes specified with a BSA threaded bottom bracket, a big plus for reliability and easy maintenance.
There’s now also a colour choice for the RTD, you can get it in the monochromatic White and Black seen here or there’s also a stunning new Black and Metallic Silver version that looks absolutely terrific in the “flesh” to my eyes.
As luck would have it, one of Kinesis’s Brand Ambassadors, Richard Curtis, lives less than a mile from my house. I asked Richard recently if I could borrow his RTD for a few days while he was away for a long weekend. Richard happily obliged but asked that I not change his position as he’d been through a bike fit. That was fine, so I suggested he remove the seat post as I had a basic old Bontrager alloy 27.2mm and old saddle I could swap in.
Over a long weekend I rode the RTD twice for a total distance of 121km. So this 100km review is more of an extended first ride review than an in depth review over a longer term. I’d certainly like to have tried the bike with different tyres and wheels but that wasn’t possible in the time frame.
On the subject of the build, while it’s not strictly relevant to this post as the RTD is only sold as a frameset, Richard’s bike has a Shimano Ultregra R8020 mechanical hydraulic groupset and ran 140mm rotors front and rear. The build was finished off with Ritchey bars, stem and bar tape & the wheels are Kinesis’s excellent Racelight Disc V2 (I was won over by these wheels on their first generation & remain sold on them to this day) shod with Pirelli P-Zero Velo 4S, the “winter” tyre of the new Pirelli range, which I’d not tried before.
The first of the two rides I took on the RTD was a club ride with my son’s club mates & was around 50km across a range of local roads.
I was immediately struck with how comfortable the RTD is. It’s amazingly comfortable even with a cheap alloy seatpost and a very old saddle. The Columbus Futura fork rides beautifully too as you’d expect an up market custom fork to – it’s terrific.
The RTD is not only terrifically comfortable, it was also incredibly smooth too. The combination of the fork and scandium frame delivers a hugely impressive level of smoothness. This was with 28mm tyres and given that the RTD has clearance for plenty wider options, which with correspondingly lower pressures, it could be even smoother with a bit of trial and error should you wish it to be.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the high-end Columbus fork handled road imperfections very well indeed, there was no crashing through potholes or jarring jolts through your arms. Of course you still felt the bumps but the fork handled them without bashing you about.
One aspect of the geometry to note is the steering. The RTD has a relatively slack head angle of 71 degrees on the 55cm size frame I was riding, matched to a 73.3 degree seat angle. 71 degrees is quite slack compared to say a race bike which is normally around 73 degrees & it’s a lot slacker than some of the other leading endurance bikes like the Cannondale Synapse or Canyon Endurace for example.
This means is that the steering is slower than your typical race bike and this for Kinesis is deliberate and explained on their website “The RTD geometry has been carefully refined to allow responsive, yet stable handling in all guises even when fully loaded for your next adventure”. This is absolutely correct in that the RTD is very stable to ride and yes, if you’re going to do lots of bike packing, this might be a really useful aspect of the design.
Another reason this might be a plus for you is if you’re riding big distances. When you’re getting tired after long days in the saddle, this stable handling might be really welcome too. The slacker head angle also makes for fantastic descending as the stable predictable handling makes negotiating fast descents a genuine pleasure.
However, if you want a bike that handles like a race bike and still has room for guards and wider tyres, Kinesis have their 4S disc which features their traditional race bike geometry. The 4S disc probably won’t be as comfortable or smooth as the RTD though.
On the club ride I did on the RTD, the bike felt quick enough and it never held me back. I did have a puncture (in fact 2 in total) with the Pirelli’s which wasn’t a great endorsement for them. In fairness the first one was so sharp it sliced open my finger while I was looking for the source, so that would have beaten any other tyre too. I would have liked to have swapped to a tyre I know better for a clearer assessment of the RTD but it wasn’t to be. My second ride was a longer exploration of some local roads I hadn’t ridden for years. In fact, I took a couple of turns down lanes I’d never explored before and the RTD felt like a good bike to do this on.
Even during a very short review, there are a lot of very positive aspects to the Kinesis RTD.
The choice of scandium combined with the high-end custom Columbus fork is a great decision by the brand and brings a terrific ride quality to the bike. The versatility and detailing including the head tube routing, the tyre clearances & flexibility in groupset choice are part of what makes Kinesis frames so popular with so many riders.
It’s also very good to see Kinesis evolving their geometry for endurance riding. Whilst I would have personally liked to have seen quicker handling to make it a bit more lively to ride, it’s stable comfortable and smooth. Even after a couple of rides, it’s clear that if you want a long distance companion to bike pack or ride across continents, the Kinesis RTD is absolutely up for the challenge. I reckon it will be a popular choice for Audaxers too.
Riding this bike was also a reminder of how good the Kinesis Racelight Disc wheels are too!
Find out more at https://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/
Thanks for reading