Women's road bikes can be a bit of a mixed bag. One of the best ways to get exactly the ride you want is to choose the equipment spec yourself. Kinesis offer a great frameset, built with lighter riders in mind, to allow you to do just that.
We've specced this bike at around the £1,000 mark, which has given us a good all-round racing bike, but this frameset wouldn't look out of place with a higher build spec. Lighter wheels and a better groupset would make it even faster and even more fun.
Ride & handling: Beautifully smooth ride with fast racy feel
We were immediately impressed by the silky smooth ride of the Kinesis. The aluminium frame and carbon fork removed the worst of the road buzz and softened the bumps and holes, reminding us of the ride of more expensive carbon ﬁbre frames.
The way the bike is designed to give us this smooth ride (see "Chassis" below) unfortunately also meant we were able to get the bike to ﬂex when we really tried to put the power down. However, we have to admit with a rider weight of sub 60kg we had to work very hard to do this, so we don’t see it as a big issue.
Handling is very responsive – not quite twitchy, but getting there. A good rider will really be able to take advantage of this in a race situation as the bike will instantly react to any changes in direction. But while it's great if you want to make your way up the bunch in drafting races, less experienced riders might prefer something a little tamer.
We had a 110mm stem on this bike (long for a bike with a 51.5cm effective top tube) – a shorter one will make it even more sprightly if that’s the way you like it. If you're tall, the KR-210L may not be the bike for you – the largest size on offer has an effective top tube length of just 53cm.
The Kinesis's short head tube gives away its racing roots and we were able to get a good low aerodynamic proﬁle, which encouraged us to up our heart rates towards maximum and push ourselves to go faster.
Chassis: Thoughtfully built frame and fork for lighter loads
The aluminium frame and carbon fork have been designed for juniors and women who race, taking into account the needs of smaller and lighter riders. They’ve done this by narrowing the tubing of the beautifully curved seat and chainstays, and by using thinner walls for the main triangle.
This is based on the principle that lighter riders will not be able to stress the frame in the same way larger riders can, so a lighter frame can be produced – though having said that, at 1,988g (4.4lb) the KR-210L is no featherweight.
The frame is well built; our sample had perfect alignment of the head tube, rear triangle and fork. Both the top tube and down tube have a striking triangular proﬁle, making it stand out from the pack. The aerodynamics haven’t been forgotten either with the straight bladed fork.
We're big fans of the Kinesis’s bold red and white styling (also available in blue and white); maybe, as it's also targeted at juniors, they've shied away from the more pink and ﬂowery styles you tend to see on many women’s bikes.
We built up the KR-210L with spare parts from our workshop to bring it in at around £1,000. The groupset is based largely around Shimano Tiagra (with a 105 rear derailleur), with Ritchey Pro wheels.
When choosing your own spec it’s important to get the contact points right; you may need a narrower handlebar (38-40cm is typical for women), with a shallower drop and a shorter reach to the hoods. Also don’t forget a female-speciﬁc saddle.