New brand Kiron has combined scandium aluminium with a dash of carbon and come up with a scintillating ride for under a grand.
Available from online retailer Wiggle, the Kiron Scandium has the forgiving qualities of a classic steel racing frame.
Our benchmarks include an ’87 Eddy Merckx Super Corsa Columbus SLX, a ’76 Ron Cooper in Reynolds 531 with incredibly steep angles (probably 74 degrees parallel), a San Marco 101 from Californian frame builder Dave Tesch and, more recently, the all-aluminium Caad series from Cannondale.
You could easily accuse us of 'old skool' bias leaning heavily towards race-worthy machines, and we’d be guilty as charged. They were all endowed with a special blend of geometry, materials, components and colour schemes that generated sheer excitement when ridden and raced. We’re now adding the Kiron to the list.
Ride & handling: scintillating, with the promise of unlimited potential
A scintillating ride, the Kiron shone right from the moment we got on it – though it could do with a slightly wider bar.
While some of our test rigs aren’t as exciting to ride as they look, the Kiron’s ride and handling characteristics hold the promise of unlimited potential (if you ignore the saddle and overbuilt seatpost). The downhill ‘screaming trees’ section of our test course could be taken with abandon, helped by the surefooted grip of the Pariba tyres.
With just a bit of torsional ﬂex in the upper end of the fork blades, and a smidgeon of wheel twist in the rear stays at high speed, the Kiron doesn’t mind being pushed hard. A stout box section bottom bracket and diamond shaped downtube make this bike ﬂy on the hills, with the light front end wanting to lift with every pedal stroke.
On smooth surfaces, a wonderful hum emanates from the bike at speed, while small ripples and bigger impacts produce a taut ‘ping’ akin to a steel drum. This may not be of any use in a Mardi Gras parade but it’s a constant reminder of how you’re in possession of a small piece of metallurgical magic.
Frame: aluminium alchemy lives up to its promise
At a feathery 1163g, the Kiron’s Scandium aluminium main frame and unusual red and black graphics really stand out from the crowd. An Easton EC90 fork weighing just 334g up front is balanced by a bonded Easton carbon rear end featuring elegantly tapered stays.
Although many have tried and failed before, this one hits the bullseye: more alchemy than magic, more chance than careful rehearsal, it’s one of the few dual material frames to live up to its promise.
We’re genuinely excited about this bike and the way it feels. Part of that is due to a preference for ‘wysiwyg’ materials - with metal, what you see is what you get, with less chance of a nasty surprise lurking in the wings or having to scrap your bike after a crash or careless handling.
But the main appeal is the scintillating ride. The Kiron combines a certain springiness with a higher frequency buzz reaching back through the bars and saddle, their perception coloured by the lovely metallic tone emanating from the bike.
Equipment: no-nonsense Easton kit with dependable Shimano 105 and a dash of Ultegra and Dura-Ace
The whole package is nicely tied together by no-nonsense ﬁnishing kit consisting almost entirely of Easton EA30 components. Although generally highly functional, the slightly narrow bar meant less out of saddle leverage than is required for the nearly neutral geometry.
More successful is the EA50 aero-section wheelset, which draws on traditional round stainless spokes yet is thoroughly modern. At the heart of the groupset is a proven Shimano 105 compact drivetrain embellished with an Ultegra rear mech and a Dura-Ace front derailleur which worked in well-rehearsed unison thanks to correctly placed external cable routing.