The Kinesis Racelight T2 is an aluminium all-rounder that specialises as a winter trainer has been resprayed and up-specced for 2015, but is still priced at a penny under £1,000.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 7

Kinesis Racelight T2

Pros:

  • Tough, durable alloy frame
  • Light for a winter bike
  • Pleasing traditional look
  • Smooth shifting
  • Ride-to-work scheme friendly price

Cons:

  • Tyres slippery in the wet
  • Saddle too padded and with a sticky surface
  • Mudguards lack key features

Product:

Kinesis Racelight T2

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£999.99

The frame of the Kinesis Racelight T2 is made from 7005-series double-butted aluminium tubing, a standard type for bikes at this level. Perhaps not so standard is that the tube profiles are round, giving the T2 a pleasingly traditional look. The frame’s two concessions to relative modernity are the sloping top tube and the hourglass-shaped seatstays, which are intended to flex a little, adding comfort to what might otherwise be a very stiff frame. Kinesis claims 1.64kg for the size 54, which is not bad.

>>>Winter bikes: do you really need one?

The T2 has the fixtures and fittings of the dedicated winter bike — mudguard eyes front and rear, seatstay rack mounts and clearance for larger tyres. The rear mech hanger is replaceable — always useful for a bike designed to be used in the season where an ‘off’ is more likely.

Kinesis Racelight T2 2

We liked the traditional look of the rounded tubes on the Kinesis Racelight T2

Geometry is fairly standard, but the sizing could be confusing as it takes the old-fashioned seat tube centre-top measurement that is redundant with sloping geometry. When you’re choosing, look for the effective top tube length in Kinesis’s geometry chart and ignore seat tube length.

>>>Bike test: aluminum, steel, carbon, or titanium

Two types are fork are available for the Kinesis Racelight T2: for £934.99 it comes with an aluminium one. We chose the one with carbon blades and an aluminium 1 1/8in steerer.

The black paint with white and deep red graphics looks smart and is nicely finished. In addition there is the choice of white and blue for the frame-only option (£239.99 without fork).

Kinesis Racelight T2 3

Some may turn their noses up, but the Tektro brakes do the business

The excellent Shimano Tiagra 4600 (10-speed) groupset covers shifters, derailleurs and cassette. FSA supplies the chainset, seatpost, bar and stem. The long-drop calipers are Tektro.

Considerable thought has gone into the build, and although some might turn up their noses at FSA and Tektro, these components firstly work well — the Tektro calipers considerably better than expected — and secondly create a satisfyingly coherent look. The Shimano items would have been silver, but black matches the rest of the build and is arguably more sensible on a winter bike. Another nice touch is the sleeves fitted to the Jagwire cables to stop them creating little silver channels on the side of the head tube.

Kinesis Racelight T2 4

The FSA chainset helps to keep costs down but still delivers on performance

The wheels are Shimano R501s, which have cup and cone bearings that can be tinkered with when necessary. These wheels are relatively heavy but tough and reliable for a training bike.

>>>Are wider tyres really faster?

Kinesis Racelight T2 5

Shimano wheels are a solid pair of hoops, but we were less impressed by the Freedom tyres

The mudguards just fit over 25c tyres, with only occasional rubbing noises. They would work better with 23s. They don’t have breakaway clips either, but in reality how often does something large enough get lodged inside a mudguard so that the breakaway is operated? The Freedom by WTB Racine tyres should be the first upgrade, but more of that later. The T2 is not lacking stiffness. Some of this in the vertical plane is tempered by the 25c tyres and the squidgy Kinesis saddle. It’s light for a winter bike at this price, but not light per se, so it wouldn’t be accurate to say it’s nimble, responsive or exciting. However, it does hoof along very nicely at speed and has exactly the right level of comfort if you like a training bike to feel racy. For putting in winter miles you couldn’t ask for more than that.

Although it has a neutral ride in geometry terms, the steering is very direct, perhaps partly down to a head tube angle that’s slightly steeper than seat tube.

Kinesis Racelight T2 6

The T2 might not be the most nimble bike on the market, but seems perfect for a winter trainer

Fortunately the only criticism of the Kinesis Race T2 is directed at easily replaceable components: the Freedom by WTB Racine tyres, although very resistant to cuts, are very slippery indeed in the wet. They lose traction without warning and did so three times on separate rides, with the third time resulting in a crash.

>>>Buyer’s guide to road bike tyres

For more details visit the Kinesis website.

Kinesis Racelight T2 8

The Kinesis Racelight T2 seems like a solid choice for a solid winter runabout.

Verdict

The Kinesis T2 is already a popular winter training bike. Kinesis has a good reputation with UK riders for creating bikes specifically suited to British riding conditions. With this new, improved spec we would expect it to be even more popular. The T2 in this build offers excellent value for money, and the two most important elements — the frame and the gears — are spot on. Better tyres would improve its grip in the wet — which on the WTBs is non-existent — and better mudguards could be adjusted more easily, would ideally have breakaway clips and the rear one would be a little longer as a courtesy to the rider behind. With those simple upgrades — plus binning the frankly weird saddle — this could almost be the perfect winter bike: tough, reliable, fast and cheap enough to not worry about when road conditions turn really nasty.

Details

Frame:7005 double-butted aluminium
Fork:Carbon-fibre/aluminium steerer
Shifters:Shimano Tiagra
Front Derailleur:Shimano Tiagra
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Tiagra
Chainset:FSA Vero Compact 50/34t
Cassette:Shimano Tiagra 12-28t
Chain:KMC
Brakes:Tektro R317 Long Drop Caliper
Handlebars:FSA Vero Compact 420mm
Stem:FSA OS-190 110mm 31
Seatpost:FSA SL 280
Saddle:Freedom By WTB KinesisUK AON
Wheels:Shimano R501
Tyres:Freedom By WTB Racine
Weight:9.9kg/21.9lb
Sizes Available:48, 51, 54 (as tested), 57, 60, 63cm
Colours Available:Black (as tested), White, Blue
Contact:www.kinesisbikes.co.uk
  • Simon Daw

    “They don’t have breakaway clips either, but in reality how often does something large enough get lodged inside a mudguard so that the breakaway is operated?”

    It would be better to ask what happens when something does. When it comes to assessing risk, it’s not just the probability that needs to be taken into account, but a combination of probability and consequences. The consequences of this sort of problem can be very serious indeed, and the cost / inconvenience of breakaway clips is practically nil. Why would any responsible manufacturer not fit them?

  • Peddler

    Crappy FSA chainset.