Kinesis is a Sussex-based brand with its fingers on the pulse as far as designing bikes for UK riders is concerned and the T2 is the firm’s winter bike.
The T2 (it stands for Training 2, as it followed the original Kinesis Training bike) sits at the base of a Racelight collection which also includes the venerable 4S (or Four Seasons), a long-time RoadCyclingUK favourite thanks to its all-weather dependability and lively ride quality, the titanium GF_Ti V2, which formed the basis of our 2013-14 winter bike build project, and the super-light alloy Aithein (reviewed here).
The T2 is available as a frame only for £239.99 (plus the DC07 fork for £139.99), but it’s also available in this £999.99 winter bike build complete with mudguards, marking it out as a candidate to see us through the cold, wet months ahead.
A 6061-series, double-butted aluminium frame is at the heart of the T2. Winter bikes are generally made from steel or aluminium (and, if your budget stretches a little further, titanium), with both frame materials offering strength, dependability and affordability. Aluminium is typically lighter than steel and the T2 has a claimed frame weight of 1.64kg for a 54cm frame (the size of our test bike), which is none too shabby for a bike of this ilk. It helps keeps the overall weight relatively low too. Of course, the T2 isn’t going to trouble the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum weigh limit but it’s entirely acceptable.
The T2’s ‘classic’ round tube profiles ensure it’s easy on the eye, particularly in this black and red paintjob, but plenty of thought has gone in to the frame, with the flared seatstays designed, Kinesis say, to add enough give to rack up the winter miles in comfort. We’ll find out if that’s the case.
Dependability and versatility are key to any bike like this and the T2 has mudguard mounts – the complete bike featured here has Future Forms SP-33S ‘guards fitted as standard – and rack mounts, too, so it can double up for touring duty, or if you commute with a pannier. There’s also plenty of tyre clearance and the T2 is specced with 25c Freedom by WTB rubber, though Kinesis say there’s room for 28c rubber. Wider tyres are an increasingly popular – and sensible – option through winter, offering improved comfort and the potential for additional grip, with little sacrifice in terms of speed. We’ve got some 28c winter boots lined up once we’ve given those specced on the T2 a run for their money.
The frame is paired with a full carbon fork with a straight-through steerer (the upscale 4S, said to offer a more spirited ride than the T2, has a tapered steerer and headtube). There’s also an alloy fork option for £60 less (£934.99) but our previous experience with alloy forks suggests the carbon upgrade is well worth the extra money.
The T2 is available in six sizes: 48cm, 51cm, 54cm, 57cm, 60cm and 63cm, measured according to the seattube (centre-to-top). Our 54cm frame has a 55.6cm virtual toptube, 54.7cm actual toptube, 15cm headtube and 99.8cm wheelbase.
Some riders like to piece together their own winter build and you can do that with the T2 as it’s also available as a frame, but this complete bike is dressed in affordable components specced with winter riding in mind.
The bike is dressed in Shimano Tiagra shifting components, save for the Tektro R539 long-drop brakes and FSA Omega chainset, which provide the necessary clearance for the full-length mudguards and wide tyres we mentioned earlier. A compact 50-34t chainset and 12-28t cassette should provide a good spread of gears to tackle climbs without going too far into the red on winter base rides.
The Shimano WH-R501 wheels have 24 spokes at the front and rear, and they’re wrapped in 25c Freedom by WTB tyres. The Kinesis-branded saddle also comes from Freedom by WTB, while FSA provide the all-aluminium finishing kit.
So that’s the Kinesis T2. It’s a machine which has built up a solid reputation and, on the face of it, it looks well suited to the demands of winter riding, with some commuting thrown in, too. Time to find out if that’s the case.