The Kinesis RTD is a great aluminium frameset that can and will offer you the ability to tackle multiple terrains with grace. It isn't the fastest roadgoing bike available but if your rides or commutes tackle a bit of everything, this could be the overall fast-paced bike you are after.
Capable off-road with good clearance
Decent rolling ability on road with road tyres
By Symon Lewis
The new Kinesis RTD – Race The Distance – is the latest offering from the British brand that tries to encapsulate what has become a hugely popular discipline in the last year or so – ultra-endurance riding.
Events such as the Transcontinental, which Kinesis has been supporting for a long time inspired this frame. Kinesis says it was, "inspired to design a frame that would allow more cyclists to dream big about exploring their personal limits in self-supported bike races and would double as a practical fast-paced road workhorse for training."
There is evidence to support just that but if, like me, you're a road rider who just wants to use the RTD for commutes and training rides, can it still work?
Kinesis RTD Frame
The Kinesis RTD frame is made from a Scandium alloy which has been shaped specifically for the needs of a RTD rider according to Kinesis. That is accompanied by a Columbus Futura carbon monocoque fork offering up plenty of clearance – a massive 34c tyre can be fitted, or 30c with mudguards.
Compare the geometry with the GTD – Go The Distance – and you'll see a shorter reach but higher stack, with the RTD roughly 15mm shorter and 5mm taller on a 51cm frame. The theme seems to be a tighter rear end to help the frame be stiff and responsive when it comes to power output, whilst being a little more stable at the front end with more of a fork rake and a mighty wheelbase sitting at 1,000mm for that size 51cm.
The frame is of course the main focus of my review since a complete bike isn't offered by Kinesis direct, so I'll concentrate on that as much as I can!
Thru-axles front and rear – 142x12mm rear and 100x12mm front – are fairly typical now. The frameset comes with its own axles at point of purchase. Internally routed cables are a good touch here and really clean up the bike.
The RTD has truly been built with long rides and different terrain in mind, and that is why I've said that if you are an out-and-out road racer and have one bike to ride this wouldn't be it, unless you are using it for training or long-distance rides while the road racing bike takes a rest.
Back to back I compared the Kinesis RTD with the Cannondale SuperSix Evo and the contrast in ride is quite staggering. Straight away I noticed that the Evo was quicker off the mark, sharper in its direction and has only one thing on its mind – going fast on the road.
Of course you only could just about stick a set of 28mm tyres in the Cannondale and directly comparing the two is a bit silly, but my point is that although the Cannondale is nimbler, the Kinesis RTD still has decent rolling ability on the road despite its focus being on endurance riding.
For a 51cm Kinesis claim the RTD weighs 1,400g, which isn't bad. You could most definitely get some lightweight and expensive components to have a lightweight light off-roader, but if you were going to splash the cash, would you go for something carbon?
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My build here has a Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset with hydraulic disc brakes. It was supplied with Racelight box-section wheels originally and I also had the chance to test it with slightly more glamorous Reynolds AR41 carbon wheels. You can read the review of those wheels here.
The AR41s improved the looks of the bike a lot and they improved its performance too. These wheels were an ideal option as the AR41 has a massive internal rim width of 21mm and support the wide 30mm Challenge Strada Biancas that had been supplied.
That meant I was rolling on the equivalent of 32mm tyres, which is massive! This certainly helped the Kinesis RTD bulldoze over any road situation I was faced with and if I was riding those long miles in the Transcontinental I would want the extra width for a little added comfort and better rolling resistance over the rubbish roads.
I'd always recommend going with hydraulic disc brakes, so it is worth spending a little extra here if you can. The Shimano Ultegra mechnical groupset worked like a dream, as always!
Roughly this build would cost £2,550. Complete with the AR41s it costs roughly £3,100 and weighs around 8.71kg, which is a bit meaty, and this is without any added bags, lights or pedals and remember it is a 51cm. However, speed isn't everything here and the gearing helped hide the weight a little bit.
For those looking for a racing bike, look elsewhere because this isn't that. However, it also isn't one of those sluggish 'do-it-all' bikes as some might think.
I was impressed with the Kinesis RTD's ability to roll along easily and it isn't a chore to ride on the road, which some multi-terrain bikes can be. As I say, the Kinesis RTD is a little weighty but it hides this well.
Although the ride isn't as nimble or as quick as the aforementioned SuperSix Evo, it isn't a dull ride, in fact, the Kinesis RTD is fun to ride on the road.
The compact chainset will help hide some of that weight on steep hills, but the geo has also been set up to be amazingly stable but still allowing your efforts to be rewarded.
The tyre clearance that the frame offers is massive, you can see that from the photo above. Those tyres are 30mm and measured 32mm. The stated max clearance is 34mm, so should you want to use even bigger tyres you have the option.
My favourite thing about the bike is that I didn't need to question its ability. I didn't need to worry about its handling and it does the job well. What is impressive is that despite its comfort, wide clearance and very stable makeup, the Kinesis RTD still rolls easily on the road and I didn't really feel that it was holding me back or that I wasn't using it properly by not going off-road.
If you think of the Kinesis RTD's capability, £850 for the frameset, for the right rider, is great value. Having the option to spec old donated parts from a previous bike, or to glam it up a little like I have with Shimano Ultegra and Reynolds carbon wheels, means you can make it more or less road orientated, which I like.
You'll be getting a nicely designed, robust frame that truly is capable on multiple surfaces.
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