Kinesis Maxlight KM220 L frame - First ride £335

Superb, versatile ride

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

The KM220 L is a well designed frame for female cross-country and trail riders. So, if you like the women's-specific idea, but prefer custom specification to buying a complete bike, it's seriously worth considering.

The British design coupled with female fit considerations results in a versatile and fun riding experience. Whether for a newcomer or a more experienced rider, the KM220 L has something for everyone in a well finished and great value package.

While this frame could easily grace the racetrack, it could equally provide weekend thrills on forest or manmade trails. It would also be a great way to build a second training/winter bike. It's hard to fault save for the usual desire for a second bottle cage mount on smaller models and perhaps a more prepossessing name.

Ride & handling: Stiff and responsive

Our 38cm test bike was specced for general trail use. On the road to the woods it was clear that this bike is stiff and responsive, making for a swift journey to the rough stuff. Once off the blacktop the KM220 L provided a lively ride through sweet singletrack. Responsive through tight trails, the 70.5-degree head angle provides fast handling, the wide riser bar on our  test bike taming any inclination to flick off line.

Enjoyment of the bike led to increasingly hard stamping on the pedals and proved a good investment as the KM220 L converted an impressive amount of energy to trail speed. The harder we rode the more rewarding this bike became, taking log hops and drop-offs in its stride.

We were blessed with dry trails, but mud clearances on this bike are good, and it accommodates 2.25in tyres. The geometry felt spot-on, with potential to move easily between cross-country race and more relaxed trail riding positions with minimal setup tweaks.

Frame: Increased stiffness without extra weight

The successor to the KM210 L, the KM220 L uses Kinesis’s own enhanced 6000 series Kinesium tubing in the front triangle, with an oversized down tube and increased crown clearance in the smaller sizes. Coupled with new machined dropouts this updated design increases stiffness without adding weight. The larger seat tube diameter accommodates a 31.6mm seatpost, making dropper posts viable.

It has the usual shortened top tube of female specific designs and standover height is excellent. Weight’s been kept down by using smaller diameter seat- and chainstays, perfect for anyone but the most gear munching powerhouse. The KM220 L continues to dazzle where the KM210 L left off, with smooth TIG welds and a paint job that's feminine rather than girly. The 220 L loses the V-brake mounts that the 210 L had.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike

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