Even the day after a hard race, with tired legs, the new Kinesis RTD feels fast. It has a character that wills you to grab the bars and go. And then keep on going…
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This might not be so surprising once you realise RTD stands for ‘race the distance’, and is inspired by the ethos of long-distance riding. We’re not talking about touring here, but fast-paced rides that tend to last for days rather than hours and involve carrying bags.
The Kinesis RTD is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2019. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub.
Even if your intentions for this bike only extend as far as daily commutes and weekend café rides, knowing that it’s built to withstand the rigours of a big event is very reassuring.
Kinesis RTD frame and kit
At £850, the frameset isn’t that cheap, but Scandium is a rare beast, a silvery white metal usually only found in small quantities alongside deposits of rare-earth elements or uranium.
When alloyed with aluminium, it’s around twice as strong as the 6061 or 7005 grades of aluminium, more corrosion resistant and around 10-15 percent lighter. A 51cm RTD frame is claimed to weigh 1,400g and my 57cm fully built test model weighed in at a little over 9kg.
Instead of hydroforming, Kinesis uses super plastic forming, which involves blowing high-temperature air at controlled speeds at the metal, to make lighter, more intricately shaped tubes and a stiffer frame. In bike terms, this is all good, but is it really noticeable?
In a word, yes. It took me just long enough to reach cruising speed to realise the RTD is a cut above most aluminium frames. There’s a real zing to its ride feel and great immediacy to its responses.
The classy Ritchey WCS finishing kit, including a carbon bar, sets the tone for a bike with epic ride pretensions, and they’re ably backed up by Shimano’s sublime Ultegra disc groupset. Its excellent hydraulic levers operate reassuringly powerful disc brakes and, with its 52/36 chainset and 11-28 cassette, a road-focused drivetrain.
Continent-crushing demands practicality and so the RTD has a threaded BSA bottom-bracket, GW Switch Lever thru axles, three bottle mounts, mudguard fittings, routing for 1x, 2x or electronic shifting, and clearance for 30mm tyres with mudguards or 34mm without.
Completing the build are Kinesis Racelight 700 Disc wheels with 30mm Challenge Strada Bianca tyres. Their fine herringbone pattern rolls fast and the nicely rounded profile grips progressively.
Such large volume allows pressures to be lower, and I found 70psi gave a great balance of speed and comfort. Satisfying all-weather demands, the sturdy Kinesis Fend Off aluminium mudguards with their generous flaps make wet-weather rides more pleasant.
The 71-degree head angle provides a relaxed and stable front end and along with the 1032.5mm wheelbase of my 57cm frame, makes the RTD ideal for riding with luggage. But unladen, it flies — there’s enough lateral stiffness to give it true race-bike speed and responsive handling, but sufficient compliance to keep you sitting comfortably.
It’s a hard balance to strike, but Kinesis has nailed it, producing a fantastic bike that will get you to your destination swiftly, and in style, however far away it may be.
Kinesis RTD specifications
- Sizes (*tested): 48, 51, 54, 55.5, 57*, 60, 63cm
- Weight: 9.15kg
- Frame: Super Plastic Formed Scandium alloy
- Fork: Columbus Futura carbon monocoque
- Chainset: SRAM S350, 44t chain ring
- Bottom bracket: 68mm BSA
- Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11-28
- Chain: Shimano HG701
- Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra
- Shifters: Shimano Ultegra
- Wheelset: Kinesis Racelight 700 Disc
- Tyres: Challenge Strada Bianca 30mm
- Wheel weight: 1.3kg (f), 1.67kg (r)
- Stem: Ritchey WCS alloy
- Bar: Ritchey WCS carbon bar
- Headset: Kinesis tapered with ACB bearings
- Saddle: Ritchey Comp
- Seatpost: Ritchey WCS carbon
- Brakes: Shimano Ultegra 160mm/140mm rotors
Kinesis RTD geometry
- Seat angle: 73.3 degrees
- Head angle: 71 degrees
- Chainstay: 42cm
- Seat tube: 57cm
- Top tube: 56.5cm
- Head tube: 18.5cm
- Fork offset: 4.7cm
- Bottom bracket drop: 7.1cm
- Wheelbase: 1,032.5mm
- Stack: 58.8cm
- Reach: 39.08cm