First look: Kinesis Gran Fondo Ti

Core Bike Show debut for stylish, all round distance machine built to last a lifetime

by Tony Farrelly   February 2, 2011  

One of the stars of the Core Bike Show was undoubtedly the new titanium bike from Kinesis, the Gran Fondo Ti is a super durable, long distance performance tourer, Audax or sportive machine. Made from 3.25 ALV titanium it features a host of neat and well thought out frame details all intended to make this a long distance machine for the long term too.

Geometry is based on the original Kinesis Gran Fondo which marries a scandium aluminium main triangle to a carbon back end for bike that combines comfort and performance. The new Ti bike uses the same geometry as its scandium sibling and indeed it's pretty much the same weight too - so it's respectably light, but as Dom from Kinesis explained to us this isn't about gram shaving. The philosophy here is make the sort of bike that makes the the best use of the frame material's properties – long term durability, ride comfort and relatively low weight of titanium so the Gran Fondo Ti is a bike for life that's versatile, comfortable and has enough of a performance edge to put a smile on your face on a big ride.

While the whole effect is quite classic looking up close the tube profiles are very modern, the downtube biovalises between the bottom bracket and the head tube moving from a horizontal oval profile that puts as much of the tube as possible in contact with the bottom bracket to add stiffness, through a round mid-section before turning in to a vertical oval where it joins the head tube – which has a hint of ovalisation about it too. In keeping with all their road and cross frames the headset is an integrated affair which gives the frame a very clean look at the front – it should be durable too Kinesis have been speccing integrated headsets on their 'cross bikes for years without any problems.

The frame details emphasise durability, versatility and ride quality – so there's a full complement of braze-on's and eyelets on front and rear drop outs (which are Dom's own design and also feature bullet ends at the back), the eyelets for the bottle cage mounts are welded in to eliminate the chance of rattles, Dom has also designed a brake bridge at the rear that will accommodate a full guard and a 25mm tyre, it also adds stiffness to the back end too. Up front the carbon fork also has two pairs of eyelets – again with durability rather than out and out weight saving in mind the steerer is alloy rather than carbon.

While the Gran Fondo Ti is designed in the UK the frame is actually built in Taiwan by a factory with well established reputation for building in titanium, that shows in the quality of the finish the welding is neat and the whole thing looks well put together.

Production frames will have an engraved headbadge and the cable adjusters will be anodised metal rather than plastic. In keeping with the bike for life idea Kinesis are planning to offer a free frame refinishing service – so every few years you can send it back for a buffing up and a fresh set of decals to keep it all looking crisp.

The Gran Fondo Ti will be offered as a frameset which as well as the frame includes the carbon/alloy fork, integrated headset which will probably be an FSA one, a carbon seat post and a seat clamp. Expect to pay £1450 and they will be available from July but Kinesis are taking orders now if you want to be first in the queue. And you can see more of the Gran Fondo Ti in our upcoming Core Bike video.

10 user comments

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drool....

posted by headfirst [81 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 16:29

5 Likes

doesn't work for me - sounds great on paper, but just is missing something - not sure what?

for me - The ride is about adventure, camaraderie and the sense of accomplishment that comes after a long day in the saddle.

Mountain-Nic's picture

posted by Mountain-Nic [119 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 17:28

8 Likes

Mountain-Nic wrote:
doesn't work for me - sounds great on paper, but just is missing something - not sure what?

mechs? brifters? chainrings?

Big Grin

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7433 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 17:39

5 Likes

What are those trick brake calipers? I guess they are long drop, since the block seems to be roughly halfway along the available travel. (Edit: But not at the fork, where the block is at the bottom of the slot.)

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1355 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 17:47

6 Likes

I think they're TRP R970s. They're certainly from TRP.

http://road.cc/content/review/12666-trp-r970sl-brake-callipers

Good brakes, and very light indeed. Not for you if the recession has hit round your way though...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7433 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 17:51

5 Likes

was thinking more it's appearance and design

for me - The ride is about adventure, camaraderie and the sense of accomplishment that comes after a long day in the saddle.

Mountain-Nic's picture

posted by Mountain-Nic [119 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 17:53

6 Likes

Mountain-Nic wrote:
doesn't work for me - sounds great on paper, but just is missing something - not sure what?

Eyelets for a rear rack as well as the mudguard eyes? Confused

posted by BikerBob [115 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 19:56

4 Likes

I currently ride a titanium best bike and T2 winter bike - this is exactly the thing that I'll be more looking to swap the T2 out for so thank you Kinesis! Just disappointed that it looks like a 31.6mm seatpost diameter - the 27.2mm seatpost is a major contributor to the comfort of the T2 in my opinion. Oh and that headtube diameter looks gigantic(!) wonder if it conceals a 1'1/8" to 1'1/4" fork steerer?

posted by bencolem [76 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 20:36

3 Likes

Mountain-Nic wrote:
doesn't work for me - sounds great on paper, but just is missing something - not sure what?

The missing few hundred quid in your bank account if you buy this rather than a Planet-X or Van Nicholas? Even an American-built Lynskey Sportive could probably be had for less.

Plus integrated headsets on titanium bikes are just plain wrong.

posted by handlebarcam [529 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 21:13

4 Likes

Looks great. I love my TK2. Best get saving....

posted by stereojet [118 posts]
3rd February 2011 - 10:26

7 Likes