Kinesis Racelight T2 review

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£899.99

The sportier stretch to the bar and the bike’s low weight reward a more athletic riding style

BikeRadar verdict

70.0 out of 5 stars

"Racy, light and rigid – a great winter trainer/commuter"

Monday, July 12, 2010 7.00am By

Winter training used to be the main focus of Kinesis's range of svelte aluminium Racelight bikes, but these days they're pitched as audax and all-round road bikes too.

The T2 is at its best on shorter rides where you want to push the pace – a 15-mile commute, maybe, or an hour's training ride. With its long reach and aluminium fork, it wouldn't be our first choice for distance rides, and although there's a set of rack/mudguard eyelets, you'd lose the benefit of its low weight if you were to fit luggage.

  • Frame: Steep angles and low weight make it feel more like a race bike, yet clearance for mudguards hasn’t been compromised. An aluminium fork is an odd choice (7/10)
  • Handling: Stiff and light, which will keep the inner racer happy when commuting or training, but we’re dubious about audax or sportive rides on that unforgiving fork (7/10)
  • Equipment: Shimano Tiagra performs well. We’d add safety fixings to the front mudguard stays (7/10)
  • Wheels: Rather average training tyres have been fitted to wheels built for low-weight rather than dependability. This bike really deserves some Michelin Krylions (7/10)

The Racelight lives up to its name, weighing in at 9.49kg (20.9lb, without pedals). The frame is 7005-series aluminium tubes, butted at both ends. Bigger tube diameters resist flexing, which is important as aluminium lacks steel’s springiness. If allowed to flex like steel, aluminium would eventually crack. The chainstays, in particular, are very beefy and very stiff – something that a big rider powering along out of the saddle will appreciate.

It’s unusual to see an aluminium rather than carbon fibre or steel fork. As noted, there’s little resilience in aluminium. That doesn’t matter in a triangulated structure like the frame, where there’s negligible vertical compliance anyway, but a fork with a bit of ‘give’ can take the edge off road buzz and bumps. On shorter rides you’re not aware of any extra harshness, though it could well become an issue if you’re buying the Racelight for audax rides rather than training rides or the sprint to work. (A carbon-forked version of this bike is available for an extra £70.)

Even though it’s race bike light, the Racelight has clearance for mudguards and bigger tyres than the 23mm ones fitted, and there’s no toe overlap. There’s only one set of eyelets at the rear dropouts, so if you add a rack it’ll have to share the mudguard’s. The front mudguard is of greater concern: as there’s no breakaway clip, if anything does get jammed under it you’ll very likely be eating tarmac.

The Racelight’s reach is fairly long. This is mostly down to the 110mm stem, so is easily changed if you want to bring the bar up and back for more relaxed riding. As it stands, the sporty stretch to the bar and the bike’s low weight overall reward a more athletic riding style. It’s great for take-no-prisoners training rides or reeling in rivals on your commute. It’s not a straight trade-off of comfort for speed either: the contact points, including an oversized bar, are good, and there’s a carbon seatpost to take the sting out of the more rigid rear end.

Shifters and mechs are Shimano Tiagra, while the chainset is an FSA Gossamer compact. Tiagra shifters share the washing-line cable routing of Sora but shifting to a smaller sprocket or chainring is via paddle shifters behind the brake lever rather than Sora’s thumb button. You get more shifting ‘feel’, and it helps that the short-cage rear mech gives a bit more snap to each shift. The FSA chainset saves some weight compared to a Sora one, but is functionally indistinguishable. A 12-25T cassette is fitted; a 27T sprocket would have been welcome for easier climbing.

The wheels are racy for an all-rounder. This isn’t because of the components – Mavic CXP22 rims are fine but nothing special, and the hubs are unbranded – but because of the spoking: 24 at the front and 28 at the back. Compared to 32-spoke wheels, shedding spokes saves a little bit of weight at the risk of a weaker wheel. That’s a risk worth taking on a Sunday best bike where weight and speed matter; not so much on a daily-grind training bike or a reliability-first audax bike.  Kenda Kontenders, meanwhile, are bread and butter training tyres: we’d upgrade to something faster and tougher fairly soon.

Kinesis racelight t2: kinesis racelight t2

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Specification

Name:
Racelight T2 (10)
Brand:
Kinesis
Price:
£899.99

Available Sizes:
60cm 48cm 51cm 54cm 54cm 51cm 57cm 63cm 48cm 51cm 54cm 48cm 54cm 48cm 51cm 48cm 51cm 54cm 57cm 60cm 51cm 54cm 60cm 54cm 60cm 48cm 48cm 60cm 54cm 57cm 54cm 48cm 51cm 51cm 54cm 54cm 54cm 60cm 54cm 54cm 54cm 60cm 54cm 60cm 57cm 57cm 51cm 48cm 48cm 54cm 60cm 48cm 54cm 60cm 48cm 54cm 60cm 63cm 48cm 57cm 48cm 51cm 48cm 51cm 54cm 48cm 51cm 54cm 57cm 48cm 51cm 54cm 57cm 60cm 48cm 51cm 51cm 57cm 51cm 57cm 63cm 54cm 60cm 54cm 60cm 54cm 54cm 54cm 54cm 60cm 54cm 60cm 54cm 60cm 54cm 60cm 54cm 60cm 63cm 60cm 57cm 57cm 63cm 60cm 60cm 54cm 60cm 54cm 60cm 63cm 54cm 57cm 54cm 60cm 51cm 51cm 51cm 51cm 57cm 51cm 54cm 60cm 60cm 54cm 60cm 57cm 60cm 54cm 54cm 54cm 54cm 60cm 57cm 60cm 60cm 63cm 63cm
Bottom Bracket:
FSA Mega Exo external type, alu cups, sealed cartridge
Brakes:
Unbranded dual-pivot, 57mm drop
Cassette:
Shimano Tiagra CS-HG50 9-speed, 12-25, steel sprockets
Chain:
KMC Z super narrow
Cranks:
FSA Gossamer compact, 172.5mm arms, 110mm bcd spider, 50/34t chainrings
Fork:
7075 aluminium, 1 1/8in steerer
Frame Material:
TIG-welded 7005-series aluminium, double-butted, replaceable gear hanger
Front Derailleur:
Tiagra clamp-on
Front Hub:
unbranded
Front Wheel Weight:
1272
Handlebar:
Unbranded alu anatomic drops, 31.8mm centre, 42cm wide c-c
Head Angle:
72.4
Headset Type:
1 1/8in integrated threadless headset
Rear Derailleur:
Shimano Tiagra short cage
Rear Hub:
unbranded
Rear Wheel Weight:
1814
Rims:
622-15 Mavic CXP22 machined alu
Saddle:
San Marco Ponza Power
Seat Angle:
74.3
Seatpost:
Carbon, micro-adjust, 27.2 x 300mm
Shifters:
Shimano Tiagra
Stem:
11cm forged alu, 4-bolt 31.8mm clamp, 1 1/8in steerer
Weight (kg):
9.49
Weight (lb):
20.9
Bottom Bracket Height (cm):
27
Chainstays (cm):
42
Seat Tube (cm):
49
Standover Height (cm):
77
Top Tube (cm):
55
Wheelbase (cm):
101

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