Kinesis Gran Fondo
As its name suggests, the new Kinesis Gran Fondo is designed for knocking back the miles in sportives and is built around a light Scandium tubeset.
The frame has been three years in development, and instead of opting for a material like carbon (it's already got the impressive KR-810) the company decided they could build the perfect sportive bike from Scandium tubing. For the tubing Kinesis paid a visit to Easton - purveyors of top quality tubesets - and came away with a bundle of the company’s GX2 Scandium tubes. With these a classy and understated frame has been designed and smoothly welded together.
A closer look reveals many interesting features with which the Gran Fondo is laden. The downtube and headtube, for example, flare dramatically to meet the long headtube and provides a large contact area, but remain generally round everywhere else. The headtube is hourglass shaped to reduce weight. In the rear triangle Kinesis have added 'carbon strutt' seatstays to filter out much of the road buzz, while the fat chainstays ensure the frame remains taut and positive.
In keeping with the frames intentions, the geometry has been designed to provide a stable and forgiving ride. As Kinesis says: “We all know that Sportives are not a ‘race’, but there is certainly a competition element in there! The GranFondo has plenty of ‘race bike feel’, it’s no slack angled tourer, but the geometry is designed to be forgiving over the distance, with longer [but not too long] headtube and chainstays."
For its choice of material, Kinesis says: "Scandium has the spring of steel but with the light weight of advanced alloy," a fact RCUK will report on once some long rides have been logged.
So on first impressions, the Gran Fondo Ltd looks set to happily tick the sportive box. Perhaps the frames trump card is the inclusion of rack and mudguard mounts - it could be used as a sportive bike in the summer and then relied upon for the winter training or commuting duties.
Upgrade Bikes, the brains being Kinesis UK, have sent RCUK a bike thoughtfully equipped, starring a Campagnolo Centaur groupset. Hills will be dispatched with ease thanks to the 50/34 chainset and the low overall weight. The test bike also sports a host of components distributed by Upgrade, such as the Tektro TRP R920 (£99.95/pair) brakes that are reportedly lighter than Dura-Ace and Record alternatives. Oval components make an appearance for the contact points, with a carbon handlebar and alloy stem in place. Selcof provides the carbon seatpost and Selle Italia the saddle.
Wheels are from the Reynolds stable, the £350 Solitudes representing the first step onto the Reynolds range. 31mm aluminum rims hold 20/24 spokes in place and the all-up weight is 1550g. Tyres are Vittoria Open Corsa Evo-CX 23mm which boast a new Kevlar SiO2 3D Compound with added silica, for reduced rolling resistance and better grip, and a PRB puncture resistant belt placed under the tread.
Sizes available include 51, 54, 57, 60, 63cm (c/t), with colours Deep Blue Metallic or Black Cherry Metallic, with contrasting white/titanium decals.
Frame (including fork, Selcof carbon seatpost, seat clamp and headset) £695.
Full ride report soon...