Here it is at last - the brand new Kinesis Racelight TK3. We couldn't wait to get our hands on this new winter trainer/audax/commuter bike after first being teased with a CAD drawing at Eurobike and then seeing it in the flesh at the Cycle Show last month. So we were pretty excited when Dom Mason, the designer responsible for the new frame, swung by the office the other day to drop it off.
We love well designed, fit for purpose bikes here at road.cc. The TK3's predecessor, the TK2, is a tough act to follow though. It's a popular choice for building up into a dedicated winter bike with few compromises.
Bike designers can't help themselves; they're always tweaking the designs and asking more from their bikes, finding improvements no matter how small they may be. So in one way it's a case of detail changes for the new TK3, but on the other hand it represents quite a leap forwards.
It's also good to see that some brands aren't ignoring the development still possible with aluminium. And, in fact, it's the huge pace of development in carbon fibre that has led to the biggest change on this new bike; a tapered head tube. Most of the industry is adopting the tapered head tube design because the benefit – extra stiffness – is really worth it. But until now we've seen few aluminium frames benefit, and certainly very few bikes designed for winter.
Into that new, fatter head tube fits a very unusual fork. It's carbon fibre with a tapered steerer tube, space for long-drop brakes, and mudguard mounts. This new Tracer fork, as it's called, is made from uni-directional carbon fibre and has also been painted to match the frame which, we think, gives the bike a slick look.
Kinesis are among the biggest tubing manufacturers in the world and so Kinesis UK have access to some of the latest tubesets. The TK3 uses Kinesium tubing, a 6000-series variety, with hydroforming in key places. Most notable is the 'PowerBulge' on the top tube which beefs up the area behind the head tube, further contributing to the extra stiffness at the front end.
Comfort is considered with hourglass seat stays which are also butted. You are likely to spend a lot of time on this frame over the winter so it needs to look after you.
It's all very well put together with lovely smooth welds. The paint finish is excellent with a deep shine and the smart understated decals are a nice touch. Kinesis have really focused attention on the finish of their frames in recent years and it shows. They've never looked so good.
We have a 54cm size on test. Kinesis offer six sizes from 48cm to 63cm. The bike here has a 55.6cm effective top tube, 15cm head tube, 42cm chainstays and a 100.6cm wheelbase. The head and seat angles are the same at 73.5°.
This is a bike designed for year-round versatility and that includes riding through the winter so it has the full complement of mudguard mounts. There's also space for fat 28mm tyres and it'll take racks as well if you fancy. The brakes fitted to our test model are of the long reach variety.
Kinesis will be offering a frameset package (including frame, fork, headset and seat clamp) for £549.99 in a choice of power blue or steel grey metallic. Or if you don't fancy building your own bike, you can get a complete bike, like the one pictured, for £1,169. It gets a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed groupset (well, most of it), Tektro R317 brakes, FSA stem and bar, Kinesis branded carbon seatpost and matching saddle and Shimano's excellent R501 wheels. Our test bike has Kenda tyres although the production bike will have Freedom by WTB.
Production bikes will come with an FSA Vero Compact 50/43 chainset with a Power Spline bottom bracket. It wasn't available in time to build up this sample so ours has been fitted with the square tapered version. We'll take this into consideration in our review.
The weight on our scales (without pedals) is a respectable 9.72kg (21.4lb). The frame weight is a claimed 1.42kg (3.1lb).
If you want comparisons, then the Condor Agio Tiagra is similarly priced and weighs 9.88kg (21.7lb) and the Dawes Audax Century SE is 10.6kg (23.3lb), so it compares very favourably to the nearest competition.
We'll be giving the TK3 the full test treatment and we'll let you know soon how we get on. Get more info at the Kinesis UK website.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.