- Actually a good all-round bike, not just for sportives
- Chainstay clearance for rider's feet
Price as reviewed:
£2,450 for Test spec: £2799
By Andrew Dilkes
Making racing machines is what Italians are best known for — aside from supping espressos — so we were intrigued to see Kuota’s take on the sportive genre. Enter the non-race Kiral.
Naturally, this bike has inherited technical elements from the range-topping K-Uno and KOM, but the Kiral has been constructed to fill a gap in the range — it is Kuota’s first top-end sportive bike.
A full carbon frame and fork promises sufficient lateral stiffness. But sportive riders need comfort too. In that regard, the geometry is described as ‘easy ride’, but looking at the stats for a medium — which has a 53.5cm top tube, 16cm tapered head tube and a 74deg seat tube angle — well, it’s hardly as laid-back as a Steve Bauer 1993 Paris-Roubaix creation (Google it).
As with any Kuota model, you’ll need to find a local bike shop where you’ll be able to choose the (semi-customisable) set-up, which includes crank length, bar width, wheels, and groupset — SRAM or Shimano. We know, it does seem odd that there’s no full Italian Campag option on offer.
Out on the open road, it’s apparent that it’s not a top-flight, lightweight Italian race thoroughbred — but as I’m in my mid-thirties, I wasn’t complaining at the stacked height of the front-end. The ‘easy ride’ element wasn’t overtly noticeable; think ‘traction’ rather than ‘armchair’.
Out-the-saddle climbing or making on-the-drops digs, the Kiral wasn’t found wanting. This could be down to the oversized bottom bracket area, the rear triangle design or the meaty chainstays — or, most likely, all three. A matter of slight concern was the fact my size 9.5 feet were only just clearing the asymmetric flared left-hand-side chainstay. If you have a tendency to ride heel-in or have big feet you’ll be clipping it, for sure.
All in all, badging the Kiral as a sportive bike is almost doing it a disservice. It’ll suit plenty of riders who are still out there giving it the berries, even if they are no longer fit enough to get a contract. If you’re looking for an all-round performance bike, which offers reasonable comfort then you can’t go far wrong… on the proviso that you have a straight pedalling action and don’t have large feet.
Size range: XS-XXL
Groupset: SRAM Force 22
Cranks: Rotor 3D+
Size tested: M