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A £1,499 titanium, do-anything, disc specific frameset for your adventures

Next up on the busy testing schedule here at road.cc is the Kinesis Tripster ATR, a disc-specific titanium frameset from the people that brought you the Gran Fondo titanium, the Gran Fondo SC, the Racelite TK3, the Crosslight 5T… cracking bikes one and all. So the bar is set pretty high for this one.

Custom drawn from 3Al/2.5V Titanium, the Tripster ATR is a fine looking thing. “Sumptuous” and “tactile” were the adjectives used by interested onlookers to describe it on the trip to the cycle circuit to take the pics. And it really is a very well considered piece of work. ATR stands for Adventure-Tour-Race and the idea is to provide a lightweight, comfortable, disc-specific frameset for anyone that wants to push the boundaries of what road riding can be. You won’t be racing it at your local crit, but you might consider the Transcontinental. That sort of racing. Actually, that’d tick all three boxes.

There’s lots of good detailing on the frame but the most obvious place to start is the tapered head tube. It’s machined from a solid billet of titanium to get that concave profile, and the 1.5” rear bearing race mates up with the all-carbon fork to give what should be a nice stiff front end. The head badge is machined into the surface of the tube, rather than being stuck on top. It’s very nicely done.

The geometry is fairly relaxed. on a 57cm frame you’re getting am 18.5cm head tube and a 57cm effective top tube; the head angle is 70.5° and the fork is longer to accommodate bigger tyres, so that lifts the front end too. The bottom bracket is nice and low (7.5cm drop from the axles) to aid stability. All this adds up to a reasonably upright position, for a road bike. It’s not a tourer, more like the relaxed end of sportive geometry. Audax, if you like. The top tube is gently sloping and the main triangle is fairly classic-looking, save for the funky head tube: round top tube and seatstays and a bi-ovalised downtube (tall at the head tube and flat at the bottom bracket) to better cope with the stresses at those points.

at the back the chainstays and seatstays both have an hourglass curve. At the chainstays it’s to allow for a big tyre while maintaining heel clearance, and for the seatstays it’s to improve vertical compliance for comfort on longer rides.

The disc brake mount is a skeletal titanium affair and sits on the back of the seatstay, traditional style. We spoke to Dom at Kinesis about why it’s there, rather than inboard like most road discs; he told us that the inboard disc, coupled with the need to accommodate big tyres, made it difficult to site the disc calliper there without getting issues with heel clearance. Outside the triangle that’s not an issue, but fitting mudguards might be; helpfully Kinesis have a mount available that fits to the disc mount on top of the brake, and eliminates those issues.

The ATR isn’t designed as a full-on touring bike and as such doesn’t have double eyelets on the rear dopout, but the extra widget will give you two mounting points if you need them.

Build quality looks to be excellent. The welds are extremely neat, and the finish of the frame is beautiful, with under-down-tube and inside-fork-leg decals that manage to be both bold and unobtrusive at the same time. Good job.

We’ve currently got a Di2 hydraulic disc groupset on test that’s been on a Culprit frameset, so that’s been the basis of this build. The frame doesn’t have internal cable routing but with Shimano’s stick-on conduit down the bottom of the downtube, and an external battery, it’s still possible to make it look pretty neat. For now we’ve got Shimano’s RX31 wheels fitted, although we have some lighter Novatec hoops coming in that will probably find their way onto the bike at some point.

The ATR has room for up to 45mm tyres (or 40mm with mudguards) but we’ve plumped for a very conservative 30mm, the Challenge Strada Bianca. The seatpost is a Spin Titanium unit, and that’s a Selle San Marco Aspide saddle that needs testing sitting on top.

At the front the stem and bars are both Zipp Service Course SL alloy, with Cinelli gel cork tape. The frameset weighs 1,620g for the 60cm which is about the same as a Salsa Colossal (frame a bit lighter, fork a bit heavier). All in the build weighs 9.3kg (20.5lb) without pedals. The frameset retails for £1,499.

www.kinesisbikes.co.uk

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

48 comments

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 2 years ago
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LBS has one V.nice, but I am not to happy to see cable ties on hose fittings. The cut edges are a bit sharp at times especially against the lovely soft flesh of your thighs. The other twist in type would be a far better solution.

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Flying Scot [918 posts] 2 years ago
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This is just the frame I take it?

Kinesis wouldn't condone the jaggy Ty raps!

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geargrinderbeard [95 posts] 2 years ago
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Wait, is someone else on the road cc team doing the transcontinental? I'm doing it and this is the exact bike I've eyed up, spooky!

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jacknorell [966 posts] 2 years ago
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If you're worried about cable ties slicing you up, buy and use a cable tie installation tool. Eliminates the problem as it tightens and cuts in one operation, and the end pulls back into the "fastener" part when installed.

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thereandbackagain [172 posts] 2 years ago
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Surprised by the caliper position, seeing as Boardman can fit the rear one inside the triangle without clearance issues, as do Kona on the Rove Ti.

Does it affect particular sizes worse?

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harman_mogul [226 posts] 2 years ago
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Cable tie tool—an excellent tip, thank you JN!

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STATO [499 posts] 2 years ago
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harman_mogul wrote:

Cable tie tool—an excellent tip, thank you JN!

Or just slice the end flush with a knife? done me for years.

I have to say, not sure who did the build but it just looks a bit.. odd, ive seen a few pics of these and they all look great, apart from this one, maybe it needs guards?

Regarding the caliper position. Your not fitting a rack so why does it matter? mudguard stays can easily be bent to fit (done that on a current bike) and it dosnt look any worse/better. Ive clipped chainstay mounted BB7 before with my heel, so i prefer seatstay position if possible.

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frogflange [37 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't like the look of the "weld undercut" on the head to down tube weld. (image 2/28)

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amazon22 [248 posts] 2 years ago
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Cracking bikes - possibly an unfortunate expression.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 2 years ago
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STATO wrote:

I have to say, not sure who did the build but it just looks a bit.. odd, ive seen a few pics of these and they all look great, apart from this one, maybe it needs guards?

maybe. it'll end up with guards. possibly it's because it's a big size (60cm) and that accentuates the gappiness (is that a word?) around the wheels.

thereandbackagain wrote:

Surprised by the caliper position, seeing as Boardman can fit the rear one inside the triangle without clearance issues, as do Kona on the Rove Ti. Does it affect particular sizes worse?

not sure. a couple of things to note, over and above the fact that the brake bolt widget solves any mudguard issues, are:

1) the rear position is a lot better for keeping water out of the rear cable run; the inboard position creates a loop for water to collect in

2) with hydraulics it's not an issue, as they have a much lower profile. the Shimano ones don't foul the mounts at all.

frogflange wrote:

I don't like the look of the "weld undercut" on the head to down tube weld. (image 2/28)

checked it and there's no undercut. possibly just the way the reflections fall on the photo?

as regards cable clips, you can keep 'em ta. i'd rather have ties, which don't fall off, than clips, which do. if i'm feeling particularly pernickety i might go over the ends of 'em with a knife though  3

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hounslowrob [28 posts] 2 years ago
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Agreed with Dave on the brake position, have taken to putting a blob of grease on the open end of cable on customers bikes that have inboard mechanical discs to help prevent water getting in. Easier to adjust on the outside too.

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STATO [499 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:
STATO wrote:

I have to say, not sure who did the build but it just looks a bit.. odd, ive seen a few pics of these and they all look great, apart from this one, maybe it needs guards?

maybe. it'll end up with guards. possibly it's because it's a big size (60cm) and that accentuates the gappiness (is that a word?) around the wheels.

I think the photo is a bit on the wonk, front wheel lower than rear, the white saddle on white sky, ti post/collar on ti frame. It all just looks a bit off. Better pic and a black saddle/post would see its true beauty shine im sure  3

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 2 years ago
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i've got a nice red hope collar i could swap in  3

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 2 years ago
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And a black suede Concor  3

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 2 years ago
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How much does the frameset weigh?

I quite fancy one of these, but I want to know if it's heavier than the Equilbrium Ti or the Salsa Colossal

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andybwhite [250 posts] 2 years ago
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UGLY!

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 2 years ago
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Tony Farrelly wrote:

How much does the frameset weigh?

I quite fancy one of these, but I want to know if it's heavier than the Equilbrium Ti or the Salsa Colossal

1,620g for the 60cm. frame and fork is about the same as the salsa (frame a bit lighter, fork a bit heavier)

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 2 years ago
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definitely you can fit a rack, and the bike's designed to take one. with hydraulic callipers (and some others, eg TRP Spyre & Hy/Rd) you could probably fit any rack you fancied. With others that stick out more, you might need to go for a disc-specific rack

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vbvb [595 posts] 2 years ago
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STATO wrote:

Regarding the caliper position. Your not fitting a rack so why does it matter?

"ATR stands for Adventure. Tour. Race." say Kinesis. Their website also describes "Welded rack and ‘guard mounts" and the pics above show rack mounts at top of seat stays and at bottoms too (if that widget thingy is for mudguards).

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vbvb [595 posts] 2 years ago
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Apologies, this addictive editing function sure throws the order of the posts!

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice, very nice. In fact that's the nicest looking bike I've seen in a long time.

And re: zip ties - kudos to them for going for zip ties!

They are an excellent lightweight solution, which lets you have full outer cables on the whole bike. Best of all, if you leave them a click or two loose, then as you turn the bars the cable can slide freely and bend gracefully, rather than sharp twists and turns. I wish more bikes did it this way!

(Don't get me started on internal cable routing - as someone who had to recable one recently - hopefully never again).

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Dom [149 posts] 2 years ago
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frogflange wrote:

I don't like the look of the "weld undercut" on the head to down tube weld. (image 2/28)

Check pic 23/28...and it's gone!

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Dom [149 posts] 2 years ago
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STATO wrote:
harman_mogul wrote:

Cable tie tool—an excellent tip, thank you JN!

Or just slice the end flush with a knife? done me for years.

I have to say, not sure who did the build but it just looks a bit.. odd, ive seen a few pics of these and they all look great, apart from this one, maybe it needs guards?

Regarding the caliper position. Your not fitting a rack so why does it matter? mudguard stays can easily be bent to fit (done that on a current bike) and it dosnt look any worse/better. Ive clipped chainstay mounted BB7 before with my heel, so i prefer seatstay position if possible.

Does look better with 'guards funnily enough!
Pro's and cons with both mounting positions, we are still experimenting with stay shapes and mount types in a bold quest to find the perfect solution.

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Dom [149 posts] 2 years ago
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vbvb wrote:
STATO wrote:

Regarding the caliper position. Your not fitting a rack so why does it matter?

"ATR stands for Adventure. Tour. Race." say Kinesis. Their website also describes "Welded rack and ‘guard mounts" and the pics above show rack mounts at top of seat stays and at bottoms too (if that widget thingy is for mudguards).

The rack sits higher and out of the way of the disc caliper, so it's normally not a problem. Many of the more well thought out racks have an extra eyelet > http://www.wiggle.co.uk/tubus-cosmo-rear-rack/ so that you can mount the rack to the frame and the 'guard to the rack strut, this means all stays etc are tidily out of the way.

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CanAmSteve [252 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice frame, but given a Ti frame can be a "lifetime" investment, I'm disappointed in the choice of an integrated headset. Chris King (who should know) describes them as disposable bits that destroy frames.

Considering how stiff a billet-machined headtube must be, why not just go with a smaller traditional headset? I think integrated headsets are fine on disposable bikes, but if you are aiming a bike at "ATR" I would think a more traditional headset would be a better choice.

They stuck with a traditional BB - a surprise given the "fashion" choice for headset.

Tech is here
http://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/technical/decade/tripster-atr

Chris King
http://chrisking.com/files/pdfs/Int20HeadsetsExplained.pdf

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Dom [149 posts] 2 years ago
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CanAmSteve wrote:

Nice frame, but given a Ti frame can be a "lifetime" investment, I'm disappointed in the choice of an integrated headset. Chris King (who should know) describes them as disposable bits that destroy frames.

Considering how stiff a billet-machined headtube must be, why not just go with a smaller traditional headset? I think integrated headsets are fine on disposable bikes, but if you are aiming a bike at "ATR" I would think a more traditional headset would be a better choice.

They stuck with a traditional BB - a surprise given the "fashion" choice for headset.

Tech is here
http://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/technical/decade/tripster-atr

Chris King
http://chrisking.com/files/pdfs/Int20HeadsetsExplained.pdf

In our experience the integrated h.set is not a 'frame destroyer'. I've used them in many frames, CX, winter, MTB and road over nearly 15 years of frame design and can't ever recall a warranty case concerning head tube damage. [Integrated h.sets are also super easy to replace, no press tools required].

The fork choice is far from a 'fashion' choice, we could have used a more traditional fork but the taper steerer, monocoque carbon fork is lighter, stronger and gives a better ride quality than the older style, alloy crown 1-1/8" type. No point in a stiff head tube area coupled to a flexy fork.
The large lower bearing with the steerer tapering to 1.5" really adds strength and response, and the taper HT means we've got a nice large weld area.
So, the fork choice is based purely on performance to match the intended use of the frame.

No Kinesis UK frame design is ever driven by fashion, the brand is driven by responding to and exploring emerging riding styles and rider requirements and using new components and technology in a considered way.

Threaded BB is used because just about every bike shop across the world will have access to the components and tools to replace one.

Hope this helps to explain some of the thinking behind the ATR.

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nuclear coffee [209 posts] 2 years ago
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This is VERY tempting... the bike I'd be most likely to buy right now is just this sort of all-purpose road bike.

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Chuck [546 posts] 2 years ago
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Very, very nice. Kinesis really do seem to do some very well-thought out bikes.

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Dom [149 posts] 2 years ago
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Chuck wrote:

Very, very nice. Kinesis really do seem to do some very well-thought out bikes.

Thanks : ]

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Mr Agreeable [172 posts] 2 years ago
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That Chris King article was written over a decade ago, before they'd got anything that would fit a bike with an integrated headset to market. Surprise surprise, since then they've shut up about it.

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