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.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.