Kinesis T2 complete bike – first look review

For many years, the way to buy a Kinesis bike was to buy the frame and forks and build this up to your own specific requirements. Of course for a lot of people that’s still the case but according to Kinesis there are also more and more dealers and customers asking for complete bikes.

The T2 I have to test is the latest fruits of the work by Kinesis to put a compelling product under the crucial £1,000 price point. It’s a key price point as it the threshold for the Bike to Work scheme, which is an extremely popular way for people in the UK to buy a new bike. In simple terms it allows someone to buy a new bike through their employer and get a discount thanks to how the tax effect works. It’s sold a lot of bikes for a lot of companies and dealers and helped get many new people riding, commuting or extending their fleets.DSC01014

The challenge for a smaller brand like Kinesis UK is hitting this price point with a spec that does the bike justice, yet is still in the ball park for value compared with the big global players who have much larger volumes and hence economies of scale.

Kinesis would argue that something they can bring to the party at any price point is ride quality and that’s something I’m aiming to find out with this bike.DSC01018

I’m a big fan of both winter bikes and entry level bikes and the T2 is the entry level in the range for Kinesis. Another plus for customers with Kinesis is that if you do have components already or want a different build, then you can buy the frame and fork separately (£240 and £140 respectively) and build up the bike yourself. Not something you can do if you wanted to from many other and bigger brands.

It’s probably fair to say that the T2 still represents the spirit of early Kinesis road frames: It’s affordable, aluminium, has clearance for 28mm tyres and guards and still features a non-tapered fork, so is less “racey” than the 4S (or TK3).DSC01016

It should be a fine companion for long winter rides or commuting or club runs but be a little more relaxed than your race bike …. and smoother/more comfortable.

The complete build features a Tiagra 10 speed core, with Shift levers, mechs and the cassette from the groupset. The bike also features entry level Shimano wheels, WTB 25mm tyres, FSA finishing kit including cranks and full mudguards from Future Forms. You can read the full spec list at your leisure here but suffice to say, the only things you need to add to go riding are pedals and water bottle cages.DSC01022

The complete bike I have (size 57cm) with some winter mountain bike pedals (don’t hate me) and a bottle cage, weighs in at just over 10kgs. Not light but bikes at this price point with mudguards aren’t going to be. The only other variation from the off shelf spec, is the Bontrager saddle I’ve fitted as the Press Bike arrived without a saddle. I suspect the Bontrager saddle is a little lighter than the standard model.DSC01011

So with my pedals and bottle cage attached, I’ve been out for a first couple of rides to start to get the feel of the T2.

First impressions are that it’s a smoother and more comfortable ride than the 4S but it’s also less lively and racey (even with the same geometry). I’ve felt the extra weight over my 8kg bikes on the climbs  but the T2 rides really nicely, from the first few miles, it has a really pleasant character. I suspect it’s going to be an easy bike to spend time with. But after 15 years of evolution of the design, that shouldn’t be a surprise.DSC01024

I’ll report back in due course.

Thanks for reading.