Gallic bikes tend to differ to those from other nations, whether it’s Look’s obsession with integration or Time’s sweetly balanced performance and comfort machines. Not to be outdone, the decade-old Marseille-based company CKT – which stands for the decidedly un-French ‘Carbon Knowledge Team’ – have also provided a frame to set them apart from the crowd.
- Highs: Masterful handling, brutally quick
- Lows: Brutal on your body
- Buy if: You prefer short races to all-day excursions
The CKT’s curved, box-section top tube flows elegantly into a solid brake bridge and aero-profiled and arced seatstays. It’s topped with an oversized integrated seatmast for a serious, purposeful look.
The huge down tube blends into a substantial bottom bracket area, which itself morphs into a pair of substantial, multi-shaped chainstays. The derailleur cable routing is exceptionally neat, with both cables shot into the head tube and exiting tidily along the underside of the down tube. The rear brake cable is internally routed through the top tube.
The top tube itself is long, and combines with a low front end for a riding position that’s seriously speedy on long flat sections. There’s a sharp, direct feel to the steering, and on descents and out-of-the-saddle sprints the CKT is a joy. Hammer on the pedals or lean into fast, sweeping bends and it stays absolutely on line – which is exactly what you want.
The quality frame combines well with the 105 groupset too, though it could easily stand superior kit to shed a few pounds. That said, 105 is as dependable and smooth-operating as ever.
Shimano also supply the base model R500 wheels, which are decent and durable albeit a little weighty, especially as they’re shod with unbranded nylon-cased rubber, though these actually rode pretty well – better than some of the cheap branded tyres we’ve tried. The wheel package is fine for training or winter use but doesn’t match the frame and we’d look to upgrade sooner rather than later.
The CKT 369 is a masterclass on how to get the handling and acceleration just right, but it does it with a pretty brutal efficiency. On short blasts we loved it. On longer rides the aggressive position and exceptionally solid frameset soon become wearing.
After about three hours the toughness shows through, the constant feedback of rougher surfaces piling on fatigue. While climbing we spent most of our time out of the saddle, in-the-saddle efforts feeling a little stretched. You’ll get used to it but for big distance endurance rides there are better options around.
In case you forget who your bike was made by…