British bike brand Kinesis Bikes has good form when it comes to versatile all-terrain drop bar road bikes with its Tripster AT and ATR, and this new G2 continues that trend but ups the accessibility factor with an aluminium frame, SRAM Apex 1x groupset and £1,500 price tag. It's huge fun off-road, fast and comfortable on the road, and adaptable to different riding requirements.
- Pros: Handling, performance, value, looks
- Cons: Not the lightest, limited size range, I didn't really like the saddle but you might
Ride and handling
I'll say it again, the G2 is huge fun! For mixing up rides with stretches of country lanes and diving into the woods and along bridleways, dirt tracks and through skinny singletrack, before pottering back into town along the cycle path for a flat white and brownie to recover and Instagram your adventure, the G2 is bob on.
I must admit I do enjoy riding bikes like the G2. From the tyre and equipment selection to the geometry, these bikes allow me to spice up otherwise regular road rides through the lanes with forays into any woodland that has public access through it. Once you start exploring it's surprising just how many off-road paths there are to be ridden and added to your mental map.
The G2 shines in this capacity as a bike capable of doing service on the road, where it's adequately comfortable to contend with poorly surfaced lanes, yet be able to roll up its sleeves and get stuck into some meaty dirt tracks. Down rubble-strewn descents with rocks pinging off the tyres, sliding around bermed corners at my local mountain biking spot, and blasting along the edge of fields in a way that reminds me of 90s mountain biking, the G2 does it all.
One area where the previous Tripster AT and ATR frames shone was in having really good geometry. While the G2 is largely based on the same numbers, the chainstays have been nipped in a little and the head tube skimmed which does provide a slightly more agile ride. You especially notice this when shimmying between narrow trees on a thin ribbon of singletrack with slightly faster-turning speed helping to arc the G2 through the bends.
On the road, the lower head tube gives you a slightly more aggressive position that I found nothing but comfortable for long rides. It's a good move; I found the head tube on the Tripster AT tall for my preference, so taking 12mm off (down to 173mm) is a tick in my book.
Kinesis says the G2 is 'more capable than a road bike, more comfortable than a 'cross bike, and more versatile than an out and out gravel bike.' I would certainly agree with the first two parts of that statement; it can do more than a regular road bike can and it's nicer and easier to ride than a cyclo-cross bike outside the limited confines of a 'cross race, but I'm not sure it's more versatile than an out and out gravel bike. Other gravel bikes have more mounts for attaching extra racks and bottles, and many are pushing tyre clearance beyond the 40mm of the G2.
For general road and gravel riding, though, the handling feels good, and so does the equipment which lets you get on with the task of plotting new routes and getting out into the countryside. Kinesis has really joined up the dots with some smart equipment choices and it all comes together very cohesively to create a bike that is capable, fast and entertaining all at once.
One potential issue is that there are just four sizes to choose from, which is a bit more limiting than the often six or seven you get from bigger brands. The large/57 test bike has a 390mm reach and 595mm stack, 71-degree head angle, 70mm bottom bracket drop, 1052.7mm wheelbase and 435mm chainstays.
As with many gravel and adventure bikes, the G2 is endlessly versatile. It's ideally suited to commuting with the option for mudguards and a rear rack, and the Schwalbe G-One tyres allow you to get creative on your ride to or from work. With a change to some fat slicks, it would be right at home on a long distance touring ride, audax or for winter training. Add a frame and seat pack and arm yourself with a map and some adventure spirit, and you can embark on any micro adventure.
Frame and equipment
Normally Kinesis focuses on selling frames but the new G2 is being offered as a complete bike, which certainly makes it a very accessible option at this price point.
A couple of decades of expertise with aluminium shows: this is a very smartly designed and smoothly constructed frame, using double butted 6061 tubing all dressed in a fetching slate blue.
And being a British company, it's in touch with the needs of British cyclists, so there is an external threaded bottom bracket and eyelets for fitting mudguards and a rear rack for doing duty as a commuting/touring/audax bike.
Tyre clearance is good for up to 40mm tyres, shrinking down to 38mm with mudguards, and there's more than enough for most requirements – my personal preference is for a 38-40mm gravel tyre for mixing road and dirt paths. If you want to go wider, you'll have to look elsewhere, but for most people it's sufficient.
All cables and hoses are internally routed for clean lines and a colour-matched carbon fibre fork with a tapered steerer tube completes the frameset details.
Hanging on the frame is some decent equipment. It's not flash but it's no-nonsense and ensures the G2 is able to compete with similarly priced and specced rivals from much bigger firms in the bike industry.
The build revolves around a SRAM Apex 1 groupset, with an 11-42t cassette and 40t single ring. It's SRAM's cheapest 1x11 road bike groupset but you get all the same key technology as Force and Rival, so a clutch-style rear mech and narrow/wide chainring to prevent the chain making a bid for freedom on rough ground, and very powerful hydraulic disc brakes operating on 160mm rotors.
It works just fine, too. Shifting quality is very good with just a single lever to throw the rear mech smoothly up and down the cassette. I had no issues with the chain staying on the single ring, the wide-range cassette provided plenty of scope for tackling steep climbs, and the brakes are reassuringly firm and powerful.
SRAM's tall shifters aren't necessarily hugely admired for their aesthetics, but they have a performance benefit when riding off-road, and combined with the Kinesis-branded shallow and flared drop handlebar give really good control when weaving the G2 through narrow tree-lined trails with tight corners where you need maximum control over the steering and braking.
That flared-drop handlebar won me over. It cants the hoods over in a way that I was ready to be sceptical about, but after my first ride the comfort and handling turned out to be a real benefit of the shape. It's a shallow drop too so when you're bashing out the road miles you can get low and aero easily.
A stubby stem contributes to the positive handling, ensuring the steering speed is sufficient to twist and shake the G2 through the fun trails that it's is so well suited to. It maximises control on technical trails and helps to boost your enjoyment.
An inline seatpost is topped with a Selle Italia X3 saddle, not my preferred shape but an easy change if you're fussy about saddles.
The wheels, Novatec aluminium hubs with sealed bearings on Alex Rims, are nothing flash but perform faultlessly. Novatec hubs are used by lots of wheel brands and have a good reputation for durability, and the Alex rims are tubeless-ready which is really a must-have on a mixed terrain bike like the G2.
Schwalbe's 38mm G-One Allround dimpled tyres are an easy and obvious tyre choice. They're hugely popular for their fast rolling on hard surfaces with reasonable grip in the soft, plus good durability and easy tubeless setup in most cases. Rather than go into detail here, you can read our review of the tyres here.
All together, the large size G2 test bike weighs 10.03kg (22.11lb) on our scales. That is quite a bit more portly than the 9.5kg (20.7lb) Canyon Grail AL 7.0 I tested a while ago, and while not a whole bunch on paper, in hilly terrain you are going to notice it. How much you notice it and whether it's a huge negative is down to your personal feelings about how critical weight is to ride performance.
What competition does the G2 face in this price category? Well, for £1,350 there's that very capable Canyon Grail AL 7.0 I mentioned above, which also offers an aluminium frame with Schwalbe G-One tyres and a Shimano 105 groupset.
Direct-sales brands are tough to compete with, with no dealers to look after, but perhaps better showing just how good value the G2 is for a bike you can walk into your local shop and touch and sniff, the Giant Toughroad SLR GX 0, from the biggest bike company in the world, costs £1,599 with the same SRAM Apex 1 groupset hanging off an aluminium frame.
Also costing £1,500 and built around a versatile aluminium frame is the Cannondale Topstone 105, with a Shimano 105 groupset and WTB Nanon 40mm tyres.
Or, for just over an extra £500, which is a big ask, you could get a carbon frame and Shimano 105 groupset with the Rose Backroad 105 (£2,042).
The new G2 offers brilliant performance that is fun on off-road trails and fast and pleasantly comfortable on the road. It's well equipped for the money with no changes required, just slap on your favourite pedals and hit the road/dirt. As the rivals above show, it's competitive on price too.
Great fun, smartly specced and well-priced versatile adventure road bike
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kinesis G2
Size tested: 57
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Colour Slate Blue
Frame Kinesis G2 Double Butted Alloy 6061
Fork 700C Carbon Fork, Carbon Tapered Steerer, Oval Blades, Flat Disc Mount, 12 mm X 100 mm Thru Axle
Headset FSA No. 42 Integrated Road, 1 1/2" Lower and 1 1/8" Upper Sealed Cartridge Bearings
Shift Levers SRAM Apex 1
Rear Mech SRAM Apex 1 Long Cage
Chain SRAM PC1110 with POWERLOCK
Bottom Bracket SRAM BB GXP
Brakes SRAM Apex 1 HYD 160 mm Rotors
Cassette SRAM PG-1130 POWERGLIDE 11-42
Crankset SRAM Apex 1 XSYNC 40t S(51):170 mm M(54):172.5 mm L(57):172.5 mm XL(60):175 mm
Front Hub Alloy, Sealed Cartridge Bearing Hub, Centre-lock, 12 mm x 100 mm Through Axle
Rear Hub Alloy, Sealed Cartridge Bearing Hub, Centre-lock, 12 mm x 142 mm Through Axle
Rims Alex Rims GD26 Tubeless Compatible
Tyre Schwalbe G-ONE Allround 40-622 (700x38C)
Seatpost Black Alloy 6061 27.2 mm, 350 mm, 5 mm offset OEM
Handlebar Black Alloy 6061 OEM S(51):42 cm M(54):44 cm L(57):44 cm XL(60):46 cm
Stem Black Alloy 6061 OEM 7° S(51):80 mm M(54):90 mm L(57):90 mm XL(60):100 mm
Bar Tape Black Cork Bar Tape OEM
Saddle Selle Italia X3 Black OEM
Bike Weight 10 kg Complete (Size Large 57 cm)
Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Following the huge success of the Tripster AT and ATR we wanted to offer a bike that was even more versatile but no less capable than the Tripster AT or ATR.
The Kinesis G2 is nimble off the line, fast handling and plenty tough enough for rough and tumble of UK gravel riding.
* More capable than a road bike
* More comfortable than a 'cross bike
* More versatile than an out and out gravel bike
Two decades of bike design have taught us to never stand still and to question everything we see and do to make better product for riders.
What worked ten years ago may not be suitable for today's rider, so we are constantly evolving.
This has led us to our new 'Kinesis Rider Fit Design' process.
A semi sloping frame on the smallest bike has not only reduced the stand over height but has also brought the comfort in line with our larger models.
Short chain-stays alongside the revised position gives the Kinesis G2 outstanding road characteristics.
40c Tyre clearance (38c with a full mudguard) and the low bottom bracket makes it extremely capable off road.
Flared handle bar, short stem and full rack mounts means the Kinesis G2 bike is ready for any adventure.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
It's the cheapest adventure road bike in the Kinesis Bikes range.
The Tripster AT is £2,200.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Very nice build quality and finish on the frame and fork.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Double butted 6061 aluminium for the frame and carbon fibre for the fork.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Based on the Tripster AT/ATR but with shorter chainstays and head tube.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
With the stubby stem and inline post I found the fit and reach really good, and the shorter head tube gives a comfortable stack height.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Aluminium bikes don't always offer the smoothest rides, but the G2 was pleasantly composed on rough roads. Running the tyres at low pressures helps.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
It's got a nice snappy feel when you're slinging it around the bends.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
No lag at all.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Responsive.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
It handles really well both on the road and in the woods.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The tyres are a smart choice, as is the flared drop handlebar.
Wheels and tyres
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Maybe, yes.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For a small company, Kinesis has managed to put out a bike that is very competitively priced and will appeal to anyone looking to buy their first adventure bike that is packed with versatility.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's hard to find much to fault with the G2, it rides really well and the value is good compared with its rivals. There's nothing that really needs changing, the only thing I'd like to see is a bigger size range.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
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.