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Kinesis Racelight GF_Ti review

18 Feb 2016
Verdict:

Low weight, fat tyres, big performance - the Kinesis Racelight GF_Ti has a lot to offer

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£3,025
For 
Durable, versatile and fast and comfortable beyond belief
Against 
Wheels are not the lightest on the market

Now in its third iteration, if any proof was needed to underline this bike’s enduring popularity, the Kinesis GF_Ti is said to provide the holy grail not just of titanium bikes, but road bikes the world over – giving speed, comfort and agility in a lightweight package. Aimed at the sportive rider, or even weekend tourer, its versatility and do-it-all nature is borne out by mudguard and rack mounts, as well as 28c tyres. But will the latest GF_Ti be the best one yet or is this a case of a bridge too far? Best we jump in the saddle to see what it has to offer… 

Frameset

Kinesis Racelight GF_Ti headtube

We’re going to approach this new version of the GF_Ti frame in the opposite way to the Enigma, with reference to the details. The quality of the welds outshines those on the Enigma; the tapered head tube looks like a metal hourglass; even the subtly chamfered holes beneath the down tube which serve as exits for the front and rear mech cables are a delight. Bowed seatstays, designed as such to act as shock absorbers, arc towards the rear dropouts, at which point more sharply profiled chainstays trace their way to the bottom bracket. The shape of the top tube, flattening as it reaches the head tube, is a treat for the eyes, while porting for Di2 cabling is in evidence, too. 

This newest version of the GF_Ti frame also has revised geometry, with the head angle being dropped by half a degree, which the firm says was to ‘make it a slightly more forgiving ride in any situation’. At a measured 72.8° this certainly gives the GF_Ti the kind of precise turn-in you’d demand of a high-class sportive bike. A lengthy wheelbase of 1,012mm aids stability too. Although our bike cost £3,025, the frameset will set you back a very reasonable £1,450.

Groupset

Kinesis Racelight GF_Ti review

The GF_Ti gets even more impressive when you consider that for the price of this build, the bike was specified with a Shimano Dura-Ace groupset – shifters, 53/39 chainset, front and rear mechs, even the 11-28 cassette are all from the Japanese giant’s top-line range. The only parts that aren’t Dura-Ace are the front and rear brakes, and there’s a good reason. As the bike is fitted with 28c tyres and has clearance for mudguards, Kinesis has fitted TRP RG-957 long-drop callipers.

Finishing kit

The GF_Ti has FSA’s carbon SL-K handlebars and stem. The 42cm-wide bars were spot-on for our tastes. Elsewhere, an own-brand Kinesis carbon seatpost is topped with Fizik’s comfy, fuss-free Arione saddle. The GF_Ti is fitted with Kinesis’s own tubeless-ready Racelight alloy clinchers. Designed for all-season use, their 18mm internal rim is wide enough for 23-32mm tyres. Their sealed bearings and 28-spoke design suggest high durability. The way the Schwalbe One 28c tyres roll over the road with as little as 85psi in them is hugely impressive. 

The ride

In the first five miles of our test loop, this bike does enough to convince us that it’s the most comfortable bike on test. Beyond the way in which the wide-diameter, high-volume tyres damp out the imperfections, the frame is perfectly designed for a long ride on a bad road. Imagine what it’d be like on fresh, summer road surfaces.

Kinesis Racelight GF_Ti frame

Very rarely does a bike build gel so well as this one. First, the level of comfort from the rear end is almost other-worldly, with any harshness taken out of the ride by the design of the seatstays and lowering the pressure of the 28c tyres. The front end is almost equally flawless, with precise, assured handling and a quality set of bars. The low overall weight of the build shows itself on rolling roads, with the GF_Ti destroying short rises out of the saddle. Although our bike features a 53/39 set-up, the 11-28 cassette offers sufficient options to haul you up some big hills, with the added bonus of bigger ratios for hammering down the other side, or on flat stretches of country lanes. This bike is deceptively quick, not least due to its lightweight frame and tyres. The wheels? For in-house hoops, they’re impressive, and not only spin up with some eagerness, but also have real long-term durability. Just imagine what you could get up to with some truly featherlight wheels.

The fairly long wheelbase and relaxed steering geometry of the GF_Ti mean nothing’s ever going to get out of hand. Even on some of the more rapid descents of our loop, the front end remained composed under quick direction changes, bumps in the road, and when adjusting our line mid-corner. Which isn’t to say that it’s not a fairly agile machine. Don’t expect race bike levels of front-end feel, or razor-sharpness of steering, but do expect a bike that still has the capacity to excite along the route of your next 100-mile ride. Its tapered steerer lends some much-needed stiffness to the proceedings, as well as confidence in the bike’s stability. We can’t avoid the tyres, either. They’re a perfect fit for the bike, offering stacks of comfort and confidence. Even in the slimiest of conditions, the slick surface of the Schwalbe One remained planted. They’re fast tyres with excellent puncture resistance and we can’t recommend them highly enough. 

Geometry

geometry chart

Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 562mm 560mm
Seat Tube (ST) 520mm 523mm
Down Tube (DT) N/A 683mm
Fork Length (FL) N/A 385mm
Head Tube (HT) 163mm 161mm
Head Angle (HA) 73 72.8
Seat Angle (SA) 73.5 73.5
Wheelbase (WB) N/A 1,012mm
BB drop (BB) 70mm 72mm

Spec

Kinesis Racelight GF_Ti
Frame Aerograde 3AL 2.5V titanium frame, Tracer 1.5 carbon fork
Groupset Shimano Dura-Ace
Brakes TRP RG-957 
Chainset Shimano Dura-Ace, 53/39
Cassette Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-28
Bars FSA SL-K, carbon
Stem FSA SL-K, carbon
Seatpost Kinesis, carbon, 31.6mm
Wheels Kinesis Racelight alloy clinchers
Saddle Fizik Ariona
Weight 7.94kg
Contact kinesisbikes.co.uk

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