£1,500 can buy you an impressively specced bike, as this is one of the most competitive price points on the market. We review four
The Kinesis KR510 is a frame and fork package that we had built to our budget, limited to what the distributor supplies. The SPF alloy frame with carbon seatstays plus the RC05 carbon fork goes for £649.99, so we picked the trusty mid-range Shimano 105 groupset except for a Truvativ Elita compact chainset and TRP brake calipers. Wheels are the Reynolds Solitude with Kenda Kontender Lite Kevlar 23C tyres. It built to a weight of 18.7lb.
As one of the two heavier bikes with longer wheelbases (the other one being the Kuota Kharma Ultra), the Kinesis KR510 had a more stable ride feel but is also very capable. When the frame does not transmit so much of the road vibration it puts the rider at ease, and that was a characteristic of the KR-510. Be aware of the Kinesis sizing, particularly the top tube length, which seemed long relative to size, a 57cm TT on a 56cm frame. Having to fit a shorter stem to suit some of our testers did sharpen the handling up a bit more than we’d have preferred. A 120mm stem resulted in a more balanced feel.
Climbing the Kinesis feels similar to the Kuota, and, to be fair, it is a similar weight. It seems to cope well with short, sharp stuff — the back end of the frame is laterally stiff, and out of the saddle efforts were taken in its stride — but it seemed to make hard work of longer, seated climbs of 10 minutes or more. Both the Kinesis and Kuota gave a feeling a bit like driving a laden vehicle up a long climb; you’re fine at the start, but when the speed starts to drop off you are left searching for lower gears and it all gets a bit sluggish.
Sprinting, the Kinesis’s shaped alloy tubing may not have demonstrated quite as much lateral stiffness
in the rear as its three carbon competitors, but it was firm up front, giving it a solid, quick feel – maybe not straight off the mark but certainly as you picked up speed.
In the comfort stakes, the Kinesis KR510, with its mix of SPF shaped alloy tubes and carbon seatstays, takes top honours. There is some difference between front and rear, with more noticeable vibration coming up through the bars than the back end, but nothing that some good bar tape and gloves couldn’t fix. The rear is what you appreciate most, and it coped with a range of road shocks well — everything from the vibration, high frequency buzz, right up to taking the sting out of larger ‘pothole’ hits. It was a pleasure to put away the miles on the KR-510, the flattened carbon seatstays clearly doing a good job. The slight side effect of the comfy back end is that it can leave the bike feeling just a little dead at times — not laterally, as the Kinesis is still stiff in that plane, but just a bit like having a few psi missing from your tyres.
Putting the Kinesis KR510 in fourth place is not really doing it justice. The distributor’s choice of spec was limited to the products it supplies, not necessarily how we would have kitted it out, and it’s up against some aggressive pricing here. The ride quality of the frame showed a lot of promise, particularly with stability, handling and certainly for comfort, and with a change of tack with component choices it might have been a different story.