Kinesis R1

I've had this bike just a week and a half now, and it's already become obvious I'm never going to get around to taking the OCP pic, so I might as well crack on with what I have taken ;)

The bike is, as per the title, a Kinesis R1, in XL as I'm 6'4". An ally frame with full carbon fork, and a bottom-of-the-range (but still ok) SRAM 1x groupset, including hydraulic discs. Standard gearing is 44t on the front and 10-42 on the back, 11 speed.

I swapped the tyres out for 32mm GP5000s before I even put the front wheel on :)

That's the starting pic above, I immediately added some of the basic necessities - computer (Bolt (now "V1"!), bell (Knog Oi! as fashion victim), bottle holders (Cube, on offer), pump, lights (Knog Blinder grids and a Merak bar end), seat pack (Ortlieb - I have a small and large one of these that use the same clip - tools etc in the small one, room to add a waterproof and grub in the larger):

My first spin around my local 10k loop told me that my bum and the saddle were not going to get on, so I tried the Selle San Marco Aspide I have on my old bike (bought for £35 to see if I got on with a cut-out and suddenly 2 hour Zwift sessions were possible) , and that was fine, so I ordered up "supercomfort" version at double the price ;)

Wales goes up and down a lot, so I tracked down a small front ring before I got the bike. There are supposed to be several sizes available from SRAM, but only the 44t it came with seems to actually
exist. Wolftooth make a 42 tooth though, which gives a 1:1 for the nasty hills :)

On the subject of gearing, I'm coming from an old audax bike with a triple on the front, so quite a change. However, the range is very similar (especially as I couldn't really use top gear after changing that from 7 to 8 speed, it didn't like it) and I miss the front triple... not at all!
The SRAM shifting does take a bit of getting used to - not least because my hands keep moving towards my old bar-end shifters - I do tend to under-shift a little finding myself going up one instead of down... and then sometimes I just grin and push the harder gear ;)

I'd like a lot less free movement in the brake levers before they bite, which googling suggests is possible with slightly pressurised bleeding, but it's not important enough to worry about yet.

The bars I find a little thin for my big hands and will double wrap them or maybe bulk out the volume underneath the wrap with some old bartape on the tops and the drops. I want to move the hoods to angle up a little, so I will be re-wrapping soon anyway. In the last pic below, you may see I've rotated the bars a little for now to test the hood angle.

I think that's enough for the 12 days I've had it - I've done comfortably over 100 miles on it now and already had some pretty pictures...


  • Defblade
    Defblade Posts: 137
    Some more miles have brought some more changes, to the front end this time:

    120mm stem, which had slightly bigger clamp and so the original spacers didn't give enough choice... got some Wolftooth bits to match the chainring:

    (along with a little torque wrench to carry about given I'm fiddling with the cockpit a lot, new bar tape, and a waterproof pouch to stop my phone getting sweaty in my pocket!)

    Although the reach was much better, I realised the bars were far too wide for me - I'm lanky but narrow - they are 46cm before the flare, whereas my old bike was 42cm and my shoulders say 40cm. I decided to try going right down to 40cm, also to get something with a bit more girth to hold onto as my hands are long, too.
    The Zipp Service Course 80 seemed to fit the bill well and have a similar drop shape to my old bike.

    Angled the hoods in and up a little and ridden without wrap a few times to get it all adjusted fairly happily.

    I got on with wrapping them this evening. First time I've done this in years, and didn't make it easier for myself as I wanted even more bulk to the top of the bars, and so added a couple of small strips of spare tape to the front each side. This made finishing the wrap tricky as I pretty much needed to stop the wrap where the extra tape ended, so there's a big step down... the compromise is a fair width of insulating tape holding it all down which is not the prettiest, but I'd rather have comfy than pretty (don't tell my wife I said that ;) ). Happy with it overall though, feels lovely.

    Halfway through and then finished below:

  • holiver
    holiver Posts: 729
    Nice bike. I looked at possibly getting a 1x bike but worked out that the gaps between gears wouldn't allow me the same number of cadence choices as I currently have.
  • davep1
    davep1 Posts: 836
    What's it like to ride? I keep looking at Kinesis bikes, can't decide which would be most suitable for me.
  • Defblade
    Defblade Posts: 137
    Well, I put over a thousand miles on it through the year, didn't really add anything more than lights and mudguards to the story above.

    Once I had the correct size of bars on for me, I really jelled with it.

    I know the mileage isn't interstellar, but I do have to fit my riding around work, family, and a couple of other regular commitments, so I don't get out on so many longer rides - 66 miles was my longest (it was fine!) - but I usually ride at least 3 times a week, even if just for half an hour or so.
    All the paintwork, decals, components etc are holding up just fine; it cleans up like new still.

    It climbs at least as well as I do - that is to say, I never feel the bike is holding me back at all, which I did on my old steel audax; and it descends very confidently - I regularly see over 40mph. As you'd expect from an alu frame, it's noticeably harsher through your backside than that old (531c, IIRC) steel bike but not terribly so and is certainly much stiffer around the rear triangle. I find the feel (of vibration/harshness) through the bars is fine and now prefer riding without gloves (although I carry a pair on longer rides due to an old wrist injury - it appreciates a slight change of angle/pressure after an hour or so), presumably due the carbon fork. Overall, it's not day after day of 100 miles comfortable like my old audax, and it's not speed-at-all-costs focused. So I guess that leaves it somewhere in "endurance" these days. The way I have it set up, I'd say it leans to the sporty end of that, but a plusher saddle, shorter stem and bars set higher could easily move it to the relaxed end.

    I really like the 1x, although I completely understand it's not going to be everyone's ideal solution, or even their cup of tea. It makes choosing the gearing so very straightforward, for a start. A little push for harder, short/quick click-click-click for much harder, big push for easier, bigger again for much easier.
    The next thing is that I live in rural south Wales. The roads here are very rarely anything approaching flat... most of them have very definite ideas about being uphill or downhill. This means that I send a lot of time on one end of the cassette or the other and the gear jumps between are almost meaningless. I used to live in Oxfordshire, which was very much the opposite, and this system would be much less useful there... you want lots of close ratios for finding that perfect cadence instead.
    And speaking of cadence, I am happy across a reasonable range. I'd change down below about 80 rpm, I aim for 90rpm, but will often find myself spinning along at 105rpm without really noticing. This helps hide any jumps in the ratios and reflects the way I used my old triple - I tended to stay on one chainring until I needed to go a lot up or down, and the gaps on the 7 or8 speed I was running on the back there are very similar to the 1x's.

    If you don't fancy 1x, the R2 just had a decent write-up on the front of this place ;)

    I was going to close by saying it also seems like cracking value in the current market, as the last time I noticed it was still £1500, but I just checked and it's risen to £1680; I think this is still pretty good compared to what's going on around it. Obviously, it's never going to be the "best" anything at that price, except possibly bang-per-buck... if it suits what you're looking for. Given the frequent comment that decent alu beats cheap CF, I think you could spend a lot more money before you'd see a noticeable improvement across a whole bike.

    Any other questions, feel free :)
    And if you're Swansea/Carmarthen way (and an XL), you're welcome to have a go!
  • singleton
    singleton Posts: 2,470
    Nice bike.
    I had a 1x road bike - with a 42 front and 11-32 11 speed rear - and it was ideal for me and the gaps were the same of course as it had the same cassette.
    I did lose a gear at the top and bottom of the range, but for winter use it was never an issue for me.
  • Defblade
    Defblade Posts: 137
    Recently gone down to a 40 tooth on the front. Not really noticed any change downhill; up uphills have got... nicer... I don't seem to be going significantly faster or slower, but I'm finding it much easier to keep my cadence up somewhere comfortable so they sort of feel like their easier. Strava doesn't lie so I know there's no overall change, but I won't be going back to 42t!