Am I a roadie? My mates have questioned this over the years to the point of being a statement of fact even though I haven’t actually owned a ‘road bike’ the whole time! Lycra, lightweight kit check check, enjoys long rides on roads, check. I used to ride cycle paths and roads on a santa cruz chameleon with an alfine 8 speed hub many years ago such was my objection to owning something with skinny tyres and steep head angle! More on my history of biking covered in Cycle Stations Podcast here.
After moving down south I had to get something more road like for long commutes for 6 months of Bristol – Swindon mileage. This was a Trek ‘Cross Rip’ with marathon tyres and heavy setup. I then upgraded to a 1x cheapy planet x thing as I started to enjoy the road miles a bit more but wanted to equally enjoy cycle paths. This was labelled a ‘gravel bike’. I think I got down to a 28c minimum tyre and even rode it around the whole south west coast of England.
As I slid dangerously towards, by my own definition of a ‘roadie’, and even sampled a couple of group road rides (being told what speed to ride at in a group wasn’t my thing though). I was invited by a mate to do a big old 1000km road ride round the perimeter of Wales (read about The ‘Welsh 1000’). I felt this was pretty new territory for me doing this sort of mileage on road over three days and in panic fashion wondered how I could speed my journey and aid my comfort! Step in Upgrade bikes and Rory with a loan of a long distance comfort giving machine the RTD (Race The Distance). Here are my thoughts on my first ‘road bike’.
Full disclosure first, Upgrade loaned me the frame and wheels and gave me some other bits to test, I’m not writing this as a review as I don’t imagine people give much heed to that kind of spiel.
From reading up on this bike in advance the Kinesis RTD is designed for long distance road adventures at an affordable price. The scadium frame had influences from the late great Mike Hall with an eye on events such as the Transcontinental. Scandium is a material not as familiar to many but originally made an appearance on xc bikes as a lighter alternative to aluminium amongst other features.
My immediate comparator for this bike was what I expect a lot of people end up buying if they want a bit of a do it all starter do it all road/gravel bike, a Planet X full monty £1k wonder. Solid enough and decent componentary for the money but a bit lacking in the frame quality. Certainly the immediate difference I was surprised to note so quickly was the ride comfort improvement over the Planet X which may have been a factor in having given myself ulnar nerve damage previously! Part of my surprise was that I had gone from 28c all weather tyres on the PX to a much racier 25c continental gp 5000 on the RTD. So on tyres alone this should have been a harsher ride but not what I found.
The RTD frame has clearance almost of gravel noteworthiness taking a 30c tyre with mudguards or depending on brand probably up to a 34. You could easily go bigger on the front with the Columbus carbon fork which has plenty of clearance. So fine for cx I imagine or for all but the gnarliest of gravel duties. But this is a bike built for long road miles and whilst sat aboard for 16 hours at a time round Wales I can safely say it’s a comfy perch for that time. It’s pretty light but not carbon light as you’d expect. I’m not going to pretend I can tell all the differences in terms of ride response etc but all round it was a really solid improvement on the Planet X and didn’t give me ulnar nerve damage!
Some Reynolds AR29 wheels were a nice touch and noticeably stiffer and just faster than the ally ones they replaced. I run perfectly fine Stans Grail but they just aren’t as fast (or nice looking).
I run a 1x sram setup with a 42 oval front ring and 10-42 cassette. I really can’t see why you’d want a higher gear unless in a mass peleton and I never seem to spin out. I’m used to the big jumps in a wide range cassette from riding exactly the same setup on my mountain bikes but you really do just adapt anyway I reckon. Some nice light bits and pieces from Ultimate USE made for a respectable build weight of 8.5kg.
After successfully riding around Wales I’ve been amazed by how much I’ve ridden this bike over winter. Chucking on some Kinesis sturdy metal mud fenders that hold up way better than plastic alternatives has been a big factor in some pretty awful winter conditions. I’m ashamed to say I hardly rode my mountain bike over the winter as I enjoyed exploring the miles on the RTD with so much less faff on mountain biking!
It got to the point of bike return to HQ and I have actually ended up buying it as I couldn’t bare to go back to the planet x. So for someone with my frugalness that’s probably a decent indictment! Unfortunately the carbon wheels were a bit out of budget 😦 . I haven’t yet done another group road ride but I’ve definitely enjoyed exploring my local roads more sat aboard the RTD.
Are you a mountain biker thinking of becoming a roadie?
I think this bike would be a great weapon for mountain bikers that want a road bike but don’t really want a road bike… By that I mean something that isn’t too flash or harsh ride, can do a bit of everything and ultimately isn’t going to break the bank.
If you need support during this difficult transition time, check out Kinesis Bikes
It’s all just riding bikes after all isn’t it?
Roadie over and out.
Thanks again to all my sponsors and supporters and especially Upgrade Bikes for the enlightenment