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New Road Bike – Kinesis RTD Self Build

New Kinesis RTD

So it all began with a new pair of tyres. Seems a bit extreme to buy a new bike when all you need is tyres! But that of course is not the whole story.

For a while I’ve been considering a new frameset, I bought cheap carbon originally and in general I’ve not been impressed with the quality. The geometry is good and the frame is a really decent weight, especially for the £650 I paid for the bike originally. It was the right choice at the time. But a couple of the cable routing covers no longer stay in place, I’ve taken to taping them in place with black electrical tape, fortunately the frame is black so the colour match is pretty good. I have had suspicions for a while about how straight the rear triangle is, I think I may have developed a crack in my steerer tube and I now have an annoying creak.

The old MEKK Poggio
The old MEKK Poggio

And as my bike preferences have changed so my idea of what my ideal frameset would be has too. Now I want something with disc brakes, something that can cope with wider tyres, a screw thread bottom bracket to ease maintenance and I no longer have a need of a front mech so a braze-on hanger is now considered a negative point. I also have no default need for the frame to be carbon; I can see that aluminium, steel or titanium can also potentially make a good frame, if used well.

Enter the Kinesis RTD.

RTD Frameset waiting in it's box
RTD Frameset waiting in it’s box

It’s a frame that I’ve been considering for quite some time. Kinesis specialise in aluminium frames (some like this one also contain Scandium), although they do also offer titanium frames too. If you check out the range you’ll find frames aimed at being winter bikes, cyclocross, gravel/adventure bikes alongside hardtail mountain bikes and more traditional road geometries. The RTD has been designed as an ultra long distance race frame. Something designed to be ridden in races like the transcontinental, 3 – 4,000 km of non-stop racing. In fact it was inspired by the late Mike Hall, one of the greats of this racing scene.

I have no intention of getting into ultra distance racing but the frame just seemed to tick all the right boxes for me. It has all the features that I mentioned earlier, it also has it’s internal cable routing via the head tube which I think looks neater and which prevents cable rub around that area. It also has the geometry that I was looking for, something similar to what I already had, a relatively short head tube length, a reasonable short wheelbase (considering the larger tyres that can be fitted) and the reach was just a few mm more than my previous frame.

It’s kind of a nod towards the gravel bike scene, having the disc brakes and the wider tyre clearance without going whole hog and getting something that would look out of place on the club run with narrow tyres when on the road. So I feel like, with this frame, I could fit a pair of deep section aero wheels with a close ratio cassette and slick tyres for fast and flat groups rides. And then equally I could switch over to a pair of wider CX rims with knobbly tyres and a wider ranging cassette for the more bikepacking, gravel riding, adventure stuff. Or even just for winter use for a bit more grip and durability.

New Kinesis RTD
New Kinesis RTD

So that’s the frame then, what’s any of that got to do with new tyres?

If you’ve read my last post you’ll have noticed that I recently bought and fitted a new set of Hutchinson Fusion 5 tyres to my Campagnolo Zonda wheels. It was during this fitting that I noticed that my rim wear indicators had disappeared completely and that the rim braking surface was very concave. Basically the 5 or so years that I have been riding in all weathers has taken it’s toll on my wheels and they are now on the edge of being unsafe. A bike shop mechanic would condemn them. Coming out of the winter into spring this year, I had also started to notice other problems with my bike, the bottom bracket is grinding, it sounds like my hub bearings are going in the rear wheel and I needed the usual chain replacement and the cassette would probably need to be replaced alongside that. A freak accident with a badger on a dark February evening had left my bar tape torn in places and my saddle grazed and so with so many things in need of replacement and the wheels being the last straw, I decided that this was a good time for a complete rebuild! Enter the age of the RTD.

7 thoughts on “New Road Bike – Kinesis RTD Self Build

  1. Hi there, I’ve been seriously considering getting an RTD as an upgrade from my Arkose 3. Not a huge amount of reviews out there so I’d be really interested in what you thought of the bike now you’ve had it for a bit? Not so fussed on its off road capabilities as I would be riding it as a road bike around Kent. I’ve been looking at the Fairlgiht Strael / Mason Def / Reilly Spectre but as far as I can see the RTD should be the lightest with the same spec… anyway sorry for long post. Look forward to your thoughts!

  2. Well so far so good. I’ve got nothing bad to say about the RTD yet. In terms of lightness, my build has come to 8.5kg which for a disc bike with no particular focus on lightweight parts is fairly decent. I will probably do another post soon about my specific build and chosen parts.
    I also looked at the Mason bikes and would have probably had one instead except for the large difference in price.

    1. Good to hear! Yes I’d love to hear about your build as 8.5 is what I’m looking to hit, as you said for a disc brake alloy bike that’s a pretty tidy weight. Stands up to the competition in terms of the other bikes I mentioned above.

  3. Hey there! Hope you’re getting on well with your RTD. I’m really keen to fit larger tyres (38mm) if I get one of these frames. The manufacturer spec says 33/34 is the limit for the rear? If you have any insight on what the ‘actual’ maximum one could actually squeeze in there it would be much appreciated!

    1. Hi. I’m loving the RTD it is exactly the frame I thought it would be and in fact I’ve just this week treated it to an upgrade to SRAM etap.

      If you check out my post here – http://spokerevolutions.co.uk/long-term-review-of-my-vittoria-terreno-dry-g2-0-tnt-tubeless-tyres – you’ll see a photo towards the end that shows the tyre clearance of my 31 mm knobbly tyres through the rear triangle.

      Personally for knobbly tyres I think that’s the limit. I am currently running some 32 mm slicks, which work fine but again there’s not much space to go bigger. As such I would be surprised if a 38 would even fit let along be suitable for use; it’s worth allowing a little extra space for road/trail debris etc.

      The clearance through the fork at the front is massive in comparison though, Kinesis get the fork from Columbus as I understand it and presumably it’s a ‘gravel’ fork. It’s spec is 40 mm and I’m fairly certain that would fit fine, although I’ve not tried it. So in theory you could have a big 38 mm front tyre (for grip and compliance) and a narrower one at the back.

  4. Nice build, this also ticked all the boxes for me and I am starting my build before the rain starts.

    Can you comment the headtube cable routing?

    What do the cables rest against?

    It seems that the triangular inserts the cables pass though have no stop, do the cable ferrules press against the steerer tube?

    Thanks and happy riding!

    Chris

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