All year round, fast commuting Alu Frame under £600

by shutuplegs77   October 31, 2013  

My Planet X Team Alu Mk2 frame, was badly hurt in a road crash the other day by way of a rather silly driver turning right when they shouldn't have been.

As such the frame is damaged beyond repair.

I have good components on the bike I plan to swap over (SRAM Red) and some cheapish wheels (Mavic Aksium, which I don't really like - better suggestions).

What's a good aluminium frame the esteemed here can suggest? I was looking at the Kinesis TK2 (have no experience of this, just going on recco's), if I can find a cheap CAAD10 frame even better, failing that CAAD9.

In an ideal world, it needs to be fast, and built to last/withstand the elements.

Cheers!

8 user comments

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I'm running the Kinesis TK3 right now as my winter bike, it's fantastic. Really flexible as well, with full length mud guard and rack mounts. Take the mud guards off and its basically a crit racer.

The only minor drawback with the TK2 and TK3 is you'll have to use long-drop brakes (due to the aforementioned useful full length mud guard mounts). In my experience these are never quite as good as their shorter drop equivalents, especially if you're coming from SRAM Red brakes, as these don't come in a long drop version.

I think the primary difference between the TK2 and 3 is that the TK3 added a tapered steerer, but both bikes are great choices. If I had to keep only one of my bikes it would definitely be the TK3 for its all round versatility.

posted by giobox [284 posts]
31st October 2013 - 15:19

4 Likes

Thanks for this. That's so useful to know it needs long drop brakes. I don't think I can part with my RED brakes - they're excellent and not sure I can afford to spend another £80 or so to purchase a new set..

Unless of course, the TK3 is really REALLY worth it....

(I don't really understand what a tapered steerer is. What's better about it? Is the TK3 better than the Tk2 in terms of racing performance or comfort?)

posted by shutuplegs77 [3 posts]
31st October 2013 - 16:03

5 Likes

Not under £600 and not just a frame, so missing the brief entirely, but it may be of interest:

http://www.cycledivision.co.uk/product-info.php?Cannondale_CAAD8_Tiagra_...

posted by farrell [1451 posts]
31st October 2013 - 16:22

4 Likes

Tapered steerer basically means the bearing at the bottom of the head tube is wider than the top, so the steerer tube "tapers" from a wide bottom to a narrower top. This is opposed to 'normal' where the tube is the same diameter throughout. It's a feature you tend to find on mid to high end racing frames, the CAAD10 has one too.

Basically it's supposed to give the bike a stiffer front end, should improve the handling. Whether or not this is noticeable is another matter entirely, no one really knows given manufacturers aren't in the habit of producing a version of the same frame with a constant diameter steerer.

I would absolutely say the TK3 is worth it, the combination of race geometry, tapered steerer and full length mud guards is as far as I am aware pretty unique to the Kinesis. Its very highly regarded, both by reviewers on this site and others.

posted by giobox [284 posts]
31st October 2013 - 16:35

5 Likes

Thanks so far.

I should point out that I own a CAAD10 (13 Ultegra) - and I absolutely love it. It's my "best" and only bike at the minute.

I'm using it to commute, which is a joy but I really, really don't want to damage it or be involved in another crash like last week!..

I've looked at the CAAD8 too. If I could get this just as a frame, that would be ideal. I don't need the parts...

posted by shutuplegs77 [3 posts]
31st October 2013 - 16:46

4 Likes

I have the original Tk now as my winter bike. At the time I chose it over the T because it had thinner walled and more shaped tubing which meant it was lighter and gave a better ride. No tapered head tube on mine. Still find it an engaging ride.

posted by keef66 [30 posts]
1st November 2013 - 15:20

2 Likes

If you look in the clearance section of the Upgrade Bikes website there's a number of Kinesis road frames heavily discounted

posted by VeloPeo [220 posts]
1st November 2013 - 17:06

2 Likes

Worth considering a Trek Domane 2 series frame, if you can find one - extremely comfortable over crap roads, relaxed geometry, good tyre clearance, mud-guard and rack mounts and lifetime guarantee.

Just me tuppence worth.

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [416 posts]
1st November 2013 - 20:35

4 Likes