The Kinesis Tripster AT is a bike with practicality and comfort at its core. Kinesis thinks this winter build will see you through the dark, damp months and during your greatest adventures for years to come.
For me, it’s a first to see big-volume gravel tyres covered with equally big fenders. The price comprises the Kinesis AT frameset (£750), Upgrade Apex Hydraulic Build Kit (£1,100) and Kinesis Fend-Off wide alloy ’guards (£60).
The AT stands for all-terrain and stems from Kinesis’s original titanium ATR (all-terrain race), the company’s first foray into versatile all-roaders.
Kinesis has forged a reputation for offering great-value and quality alloy bikes using its own Kinesium tubing, so it’s only natural that the titanium superbike has received an alloy reimagining for a wider audience.
Kinesis Tripster AT frame
The frame bears the name of Mike Hall, the ultra-riding legend who was tragically killed while competing in the 2017 Indian Pacific race. Mike had input into the design, including the two-position down-tube bottle mounts, so you can lower the bottle to more easily fit a frame bag; the underside of the top tube, which is flattened to make said bag more secure; and a third cage mount under the down tube for extra water capacity.
The versatile nature of the chassis heavily derives from its generous frame clearances; it will fit up to huge 52mm-wide tyres (in 650b) and 45mm rubber in 700c.
Aside from choosing wheel and tyre size, you can also play with the steering geometry, thanks to the Futura Cross carbon fork that comes with a tool and two 5mm spacers.
With a degree of tool dexterity, you can switch between endurance/gravel-friendly steering or a racier alternative. It’s a nice option if you intend to run slimmer road tyres rather than the 38c gravel ones fitted.
Kinesis Tripster AT geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||74||74||74||73||73||73||72.5|
|Head angle (degrees)||70||70.5||70.5||70.5||70.5||71||71|
|Seat tube (cm)||48||51||54||55.5||57||60||63|
|Top tube (cm)||52.5||54||55||56||57||58.5||60|
|Head tube (cm)||12||13.5||16||17.25||18.5||21||21.5|
|Fork offset (cm)||4.5||4.5||4.5||4.5||4.5||4.5||4.5|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||7||7||7||7||7||7||7|
Kinesis Tripster AT ride impressions
The frameset weighs 1.91kg (57cm). Add a 436g fork and you can see it’s built tough rather than light – not surprising as part of its remit is to carry luggage.
Mind you, at 11kg with 38c tyres and the Apex build kit, it’s not that bad and, more importantly, whatever surface you ride on, it doesn’t feel like an 11kg bike.
That’s because the frame’s stiffness delivers an incredibly responsive feel, while the Alex GD26 rim/Novatec hub tubeless-ready wheelset and excellent Schwalbe G-One (non-tubeless) tyres ensure a comfortable yet lively ride.
The Apex 1 drivetrain is very much aimed at ‘adventure’ riders with a 40t chainring and 11-42 cassette. The 40/42 bottom gear means you can climb most inclines – on or off-road.
At the other end of the scale, you can easily maintain good high speeds, whether you’re eating up gravel or flying along on tarmac.
The Fend-Off Wide mudguards are designed specifically for big tyres. Their full length is complemented by large flaps front and rear that extend to within a couple of centimetres of the road.
I came away astonished by just how clean I remained. More impressed were the riders behind me! These are well worth the £60 top-up, though I’d like to see safety fittings on the front ‘guard like its rivals on other bikes I had on test.
The AT’s build is all solid stuff. The alloy bar has just enough flare, is comfortably oversized on the tops and comes clad with quality tape.
The brakes are power-laden and easy to control. SRAM’s Apex 1 shifts well, with just the occasional hiccup stepping up the block when it’s muddy and the chain’s not quite sitting in the teeth.
My only other niggle is the X3 saddle. Typically Selle Italia, it’s well shaped and comfortable, but the glossy surface isn’t compatible with wet weather and wearing Lycra.
Too many times I ended up sliding around, longing for some texture to grip the seat of my bibs. The Selle Italias on the Condor Fratello Disc and Tifosi CK7 Centaur do a better job.
If the AT sounds like a sensible bike with lots of reliable fittings and components, well it is. But – and this is a major ‘but’ – it’s definitely not boring.
The handling is sorted and confidence-inspiring, while the chassis responds with race-bike vigour to sprints. The big textured tyres mean you can take this machine anywhere and, thanks to the brilliant Fend-Off ’guards, it keeps you as dry as possible.
Frankly, I’m pretty much smitten with its charms and hugely impressed with its performance.
How we tested
Mudguard-equipped bikes have been a staple of road cycling for decades, with winter club rides likely to insist on covered tyres because there’s little worse than sitting in a chaingang with a constant spray of muck being delivered into your face.
Like all chaingangs, we covered the fiscal range by selecting four bikes for every budget to keep you riding outdoors through the dampest days and put them to the test on our local roads in the conditions they were designed for.
Also on test
- Condor Fratello Disc
- Ribble Endurance Ti Disc
- Tifosi CK7 Centaur
|Features||Mudguards: Fend-Off Wide|
|Headset||Kinesis with ACB bearings|
|Tyres||Schwalbe G-One All-road RG 38c clincher|
|Stem||Alloy 6061 90mm|
|Shifter||SRAM Apex 1|
|Seatpost||6061 alloy 27.2mm|
|Saddle||Selle Italia X3|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM Apex 1 long cage|
|Handlebar||Alloy 6061 44cm|
|Available sizes||48, 51, 54, 55.5, 57, 60, 63cm|
|Frame||7046 Kinesium alloy|
|Fork||Columbus Futura Cross carbon|
|Cranks||SRAM Apex 1 Xsync 40t|
|Chain||SRAM PC-1110 with powerlock|
|Cassette||SRAM PG-1130 Powerglide 11-42|
|Brakes||SRAM Apex hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors|
|Bottom bracket||Shimano threaded BSA|
|Wheels||Alex GD26 tubeless rims on Novatec sealed-cartridge hubs|