Kinesis GTD Bike Review

Kinesis GTD Bike

Kinesis reckon the new GTD-the evolution of their GF Ti-to be, ‘comfortable, fast and adaptable… designed to take on everything from a local sportive to an epic like the Transcontinental Race.’ Specced with full Ultegra, and weighing more than a kilo less than the Ribble, it starts to justify the extra price…

First impression

Ten minutes after leaving the house, we wished wed fitted a rack, or at least brought a rucksack and sleeping bag along for the ride. Cliche though it is, the magic carpet ride of the GTD puts you in mind to never look back. In fact, all kinds of long-distance fantasies were rattling around our head. The real test would be if this comfort was diminished after a 40-mile loop of challenging local roads.

On the road Despite being a size up from the Ribble CGR, the Kinesis has a far shorter wheelbase – 998 mm compared to the Ribble’s 1,026 mm. What this translates to is, with a 14 mm longer reach, the sensation of a bike that is not only the CGR’s equal when it comes to stability on the road, but one which trumps it for biddable handling.

Although once lauded as the future of chainsets, the bike wears a 52/36 chainring set-up matched to an 11-28 cassette, a rarity on standard bike builds in this day and age. This gives a very usable lowest ratio of 36-28 to get us up the various undulations of our test route (something made easier by the fact this bike weighs less than 9 kg), but with the added bonus of not being in danger of spinning out in the big chainring. 52-11 is going to be enough for the best of us, even before we reach terminal velocity on a long alpine descent.

In good old Blighty, it’d certainly give you the edge if outpacing your mates down the back of Buttertubs Pass is your idea of fun. Adding to the fun are hand-made Challenge Strada Bianca tires, running at 90 psi in their 30c diameter, they take the sting out of most road surfaces before vibrations have even had a chance to travel up the frame.

Handling

Aided by a steeper, 73° head angle than the CGR, the GTD naturally enjoys a quicker rate of turn, especially when you consider the vastly reduced wheelbase (the chainstays on the Kinesis are a full 15 mm shorter alone). Where this bike’s trump handling card is played, however, is in the rubber gracing its Racelight rims.

The Strada Bianca rubber is race-quality in its grip and rolling resistance, and despite the appearance of being shy of grip, the chevron sipes lovingly hand-glued to the tire’s carcass offer stacks of confidence, and contrary to our expectations puncture resistance was total. The comfortable riding position can be made slightly more extreme by moving the three 5 mm spacers above the stem, but we were happy to stick with the set-up as supplied. Fast steering without back or neck pain? That’s a no-brainer.

With sensible spreading of any touring load, we’ve no reason to expect the GTD to offer anything but confidence, control and comfort on much longer rides. Kinesis themselves even pitch it at Audax riders, the masters of masochistic mega-mile forays. We’d say buy one now if money is little object, if you’re planning some longer rides in any season, and if you’re prepared to accept a small trade-off in gearing ratios over most other bikes. The GTD, like all of Kinesis’s bikes, can be built up from a frameset and specced to your satisfaction, or budget.

Frameset

Like the Ribble CGR, the Kinesis frame is built from 3 Al/2.5 V titanium, and features flared carbon-fiber forks which are attached to the front wheel by way of a 12 mm thru-axle with removable lever. This arrangement is mirrored at the rear of the bike, where quick-release skewers are shunned in favor of a set-up less likely to suffer flex. Frame clearance is easily wide enough to take the fitted 30c tires.

Kinesis says you can safely go to 34mm rubber, while 30c is the limit if you’re using mudguards, for which mounts are included in the frame. Lugs for a rack at the rear further embellish the bike’s long-distance credentials. The internal cable routing is neatly managed through the downtube, while the front brake cable travels inside the left-hand fork leg. Straightening the chainstays compared to those which graced the firm’s GF Ti has resulted in noticeably more instant power transfer, while gracefully curved seatstays take the sting out of intrusive road vibes.

Groupset

The GTD takes itupa notch, using Shimano Ultegra equipment for its groupset. A 52/36‘ mid-compact’ chainset works in unison with an 11-28 cassette, while Ultegra-spec-flat-mount hydraulic disc calipers are found at either end. The same updated hydraulic shifters, levers and hoods as the Ribble are found at the cockpit, although excessive rear brake lever travel dogged the early part of our ride, order was preserved with persistent and continued use.

Finishing kit

Moving away from the usual practice of spattering your bike with own-brand alloy, Kinesis has pushed the boat out in this build with Ritchey’s World Championship Series aluminum used throughout. We’re big fans of the way in which the face plate of the 110mm stem is tightened at all four corners at an angle to the stem, and the subsequent way in which the 400 mm diameter classic-bend bars can be incrementally adjusted. Kinesis had topped the alloy seatpost with their own Elite saddle, a cro-mo-railed thing of great comfort.

Wheels

Racelight RL700 alloy rims are laced with Sapim CX aero spokes, and are tubeless-ready. Their 19 mm internal rim diameter will accept any width tire within a range of 23-62c; now that’s a whole world of choice opened up to the prospective owner. We found the racy, 260 TPI Challenge Strada Bianca tires suffered no punctures, gave us no reason to doubt their longevity, offered supreme comfort and imbued us with confidence for the duration of testing. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new favorite all-rounder tire.

Specs

Frame: 3Al/2.5V titanium frame, carbon forks

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra

Brakes: Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes

Chainset: Shimano Ultegra, 52/36

Cassette: Shimano Ultegra, 11-28

Bars: Ritchey WCS, alloy

Stem: Ritchey WCS, alloy

Saddle: Kinesis Elite

Seatpost: Ritchey WCS, alloy

Wheels: Racelight RL700 Disc

Tires: Challenge Strada Bianca, 700×30

Geometry

Size tested: 54Chainstays (C): 420mm
Weight: 8.78kgHead angle (HA): 73°
Top tube (TT): 555mmSeat angle (SA): 73.4°
Seat tube (ST): 540mmWheelbase (WB): 998mm
Stacks (S): 561mmBB drop (BB): 70mm
Reach (R): 389mm

Rating 8.8/10


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