Visiting Kinesis/Upgrade bikes and a picture of a new prototype


Yesterday I had the pleasure of a visit to Kinesis and Upgrade Bikes. I’ve written about Kinesis bikes a number of times over the last year including during my recent winter bike puzzling. Dom Mason at Kinesis generously invited me to try a shiny GF_Ti Titanium winter bike for review here on Girodilento (http://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/products/racelight/gf_ti). In fact the one I’ve borrowed is the actual bike that Cycling Plus have just reviewed in their January 2012 issue and I’m excited about trying it out. 

Dom also kindly gave a full tour of the Upgrade Bikes site. In case you don’t know already Upgrade are responsible for bringing some very tasty kit to the UK market including Reynolds Wheels, Lezyne, TRP, Tekto and DMR Bikes to name but a few. The warehouse looked pretty full and for cycling enthusiasts like me – that’s a very good thing.

Whilst Kinesis produces a wide range of bikes including mountain bikes and cyclo-cross bikes, it was road bikes that we talked mostly about today, although I did think the rigid forked 29er looked very cool (you’ll notice that in the pictures).


One of the things I’ve always found most appealing about Kinesis is that the frames are all designed by Dom here in Sussex for British riders, roads and weather. It’s this fact that has made the T2 and TK2 series almost classic winter trainers and certainly a benchmark, which is why they’ve always featured in my writing on winter bikes.


Dom told me today that when he first started working with his factory, they simply didn’t get why you’d want to put fender/mudguard mounts on a bike. He also told me that feedback he got from the market at the time (a decade ago) was that riders didn’t want a bike that rode well for the winter, they wanted to suffer on a clanker so that when they got back on their favourite bike it would be a revelation. Fortunately Dom decided to try and make the bike ride as well as possible and this is now reflected in their popularity. As my own knowledge of cycling moved past the beginner phase I soon saw that a Kinesis Racelight was one of those bikes that would probably get an approving nod if you were to show up on one for a mid-winter cycling club run.


During the decade that Kinesis have been making the winter bikes the geometry has gradually evolved and it’s now extremely well proven. In fact the T2, Tk2, Granfondo and GF_Ti all share exactly the same geometry – it’s just the materials in the frames that change (and clearances) as you move up the range in pricing.

Another interesting thing that I learnt was that it was seeing customer starting to put higher and higher spec builds on the frames that encouraged the development and release of the higher end framesets like the Granfondo and GF_Ti, which are now all selling well. It was nice to hear though that the T2 is still the biggest selling winter frame, so basically they’re all good. It just depends on your budget and whether for example you want the clearance for up to 28mm tyres which plenty of people do.


Kinesis also make a number of race frames that are well priced and well respected and today I got to see and share with you a glimpse of a new prototype Dom is working on at present. It’s a classic looking race frame made from alloy and should be light, stiff but ride well.


A decade of working with alloys gives Dom a strong bank of knowledge to draw upon and I’ll look forward to hearing more as it develops. To me Kinesis are a brand that’s best known for its knowledge of metals and alloys, so I’m sure it will be an interesting option once it’s finished.


You’ll notice in the photos, the ‘cross bike which also features the same build option for 2012 as the Racelight bikes (a 10 speed Tiagra package). It was another smart looking bike – a Crosslight Evo4 to be precise. Again, these bikes tend to get excellent reviews. I have a friend with one who really enjoys the way it rides on the road (in fact I’m not sure if he’s ever ridden it off road). He does struggle with the cantilever brakes – but there are now disc brake options too (see:  http://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/ive-had-my-mind-completely-changed-by-this-bike/)


As you’ve gathered, I had a great time talking bikes with like-minded people. I’m also quite jealous of the office space too and I loved the art that I’m sure adds to the creative output. It’s always nice to meet the people behind brands and see that they’re as passionate about the products as we the enthusiasts who buy and covet the product.

I then the additional pleasure of popping the GF_Ti into my car and taking it home. More on that as soon as the weather clears enough for photos.  


Oh and I learnt how to pronounce Kinesis properly today too – it’s Kih-knee-sis but said all as one word not three. 

If you’d like to check out Upgrade full range of products, you can here: http://www.upgradebikes.co.uk/ and the Kinesis website is here: http://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/

If you’d like to follow Dom on Twitter (and I recommend that you do) you can find him as @Kinesis_UK

Thanks for reading