This Canadian-design singletrack flier is a tough but light all-rounder – a great fast cross country option.
Brodie Bicycles was set up by the eponymous Paul way back at the beginning of Canadian mountain bike history. Brodie was probably the first to use sloping top tubes, before Kona and Joe Murray made the idea popular.
The Kinetic is part of Brodie’s fast cross-country biased Lightning series. There are more aggressive bikes on offer in Brodie’s Hardass category but the Kinetic ideally represents the way non-race bred cross-country bikes have evolved to encompass expectations of both comfort and sensibly contained abuse.
Ride & handling: fast, but nervous on steep stuff
The light wheels and low all-in weight make this a noticeably fast bike in terms of climbing and initial acceleration.
The handling is always lively, a little too nervous at times on steep drops. You have to get yourself way off the back of the saddle to compensate for the steepening head angle as the fork compresses.
But the lively feel is superb through singletrack, and that’s the Kinetic’s major strength.
Sticky mud blocks the tyre treads almost instantly but they’re OK in wet mud and the close shallow knob pattern makes them noticeably the fastest rolling of our four recent cross-country hardtails.
While we fully appreciated the Brodie’s speed abilities, we felt that it deserved a slightly better – and slightly longer – fork in order to really get the best out of it on more difficult trails. A travel-adjustable model such as the RockShox Recon would have been perfect here.
There’s nothing actually wrong with the Marzocchi MX, it’s just that it slightly limits the all-round abilities and appeal of a bike that has been designed well enough to take a little more punishment.
Chassis: light but tough
The Brodie’s 7005 butted aluminium frame is relatively light, for speed, but tough enough to be suitable for aggressive cross-country trail work. The geometry is steep enough to make the handling very lively with the Marzocchi MX Pro Lo 100mm (3.9in) travel fork fitted and if you felt the need, you could plug in a plush 120mm (4.7in) travel fork without messing up the handling.
The MX is a pretty good fork for this sort of bike – you’ll find more sophisticated forks that feel plusher from the off on mainstream brand £1,000 bikes, but long-term reliability is generally good on Marzocchis and the lock-out lever is welcome on stand-up climbs. The rebound damping is good too.
The frame’s main features include a unique biaxially ovalised mandril-formed down tube, a very low triangulated ovalised top tube, a quick-release forward facing seat clamp, curvy seatstays and chainstays for maximum foot clearance,. Two sets of bottle cage bosses and rear rack mounts emphasise the Kinetic’s all-round appeal.
It’s worth considering that frames with compact triangles are often stiffer and more comfortable than frames with bigger triangles. The comfort come from the fact that you’ll end up with more seatpost sticking out and flexing a little.
Equipment: all Shimano with good finishing parts
The drivetrain is all Shimano, mixing Deore XT (rear mech), Deore (cranks and front mech) and Deore LX (shifters) to good effect. The disc brakes are Shimano too, and are excellent after a short initial bedding in period.
While the wheels and tyres on the comparable Genesis Core 40 are slightly lighter than those on the Brodie, the Kinetic’s wheels and tyres are light and speedy cross-country-biased offerings, with Shimano Deore hubs laced into Sun DS2-XC rims shod with fast rolling low profile Kenda Small Block Eight treads – a good choice for easily won speed, but they are very blocky in sticky mud.
All the rest of the finishing kit is reasonable quality stuff, with Truvativ supplying the oversized riser bar, stem and seatpost and a comfy WTB saddle.
The generous stack of spacers under the stem allows for plenty adjustment, the grips are from Serfas and Shimano clipless pedals are included.