Kinesis is probably best known for its aluminium bikes, but it has long had a titanium frame in its range. Its new GTD is the evolution of Kinesis’s Gran Fondo GF-Ti and has been designed as an ultra-endurance bike with more tyre clearance than its predecessor. It comes with a full carbon fork and the frame features you’d expect in 2019.
The GTD – Go the Distance is written on its down tube – is Kinesis’s all-year titanium mile-eater; Kinesis calls it ‘the perfect audax bike or fast-paced tourer’. Kinesis ambassador Jo Burt rode one this year on the self-supported 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland.
The GTD is sold as a frameset for £2,200 and Kinesis built up my test model around Shimano’s 105 hydraulic groupset and some swanky £1,100 AR41 carbon tubeless-ready wheels from Reynolds. Ritchey supplies the cockpit components, including the saddle and yet another 31.6mm seatpost.
There are new, neater ports for internal cable routing David Caudery / Immediate Media
The GTD has been created to be adaptable for numerous uses. Kinesis has slimmed down the diameter of its seatstays for extra comfort, the dropouts have been tweaked for larger weld areas and the seatpost clamp bolt has been repositioned so it interferes less with luggage.
There’s more clearance for tyres too, and you can even fit 30mm-wide tyres with full-length mudguards, for which there are neatly concealed fittings on frame and fork. There are also new, neater ports for the internal cable routing, while the neat chain-holding ‘pip’ on the driveside chainstay is retained. Kinesis has stuck with the tried-and-trusted threaded bottom bracket shell it uses on all its bikes.
GW Engineering’s user-friendly Switch Lever is used on the front and rear thru-axles, contributing to both clean lines and – using the removable lever – quick wheel changes. The braking was beautifully well behaved. It’s hard to imagine today’s hydraulic discs improving, but I suspect our Shimano, SRAM and Campag overlords are already trying to prove us wrong…
The comfort aspect of our Kinesis GTD was emphasised by its lovely 33mm Challenge Strada Bianca tyres, designed for the ‘white roads’ of Tuscany. They bombed along canal towpaths and hard-packed gravel impressively, the excellent – and fast – Reynolds AR41 wheels giving the 33mm tyres an extra couple of millimetres thanks to the 21mm internal measurement of the rims. And while they’re slower than a totally slick pair of 25mm racing tyres, I found the difference pretty marginal.
Go The Distance: Kinesis’s badge of pride David Caudery / Immediate Media
The Ritchey bar and stem were chosen for their comfort, control and shape. Their slight flare and shallow drop add control, while the flattening and slight sweep of the tops add to the comfort. The wide-ranging Shimano 105 gears worked as well as the hydraulic brakes and the whole setup is pretty much the equal of Ultegra in feel, too.
Like the Reilly T325, the Kinesis GTD is bags of fun albeit in a slightly different way. I tried it as a long-distance commuter, on some longer, hillier road rides and hit the trails and gravel, and it faced up to them all equally well. And while the GTD is a distance machine, the geometry has a fastish edge to it: sub-metre wheelbase, steep frame angles, longish top tube.
Swap to narrower tyres and while not quite a race machine, you won’t be hanging around when you put the hammer down either. And, as Jo Burt found, you can fit a vast array of bikepacking luggage on Kinesis’s GTD.
About the only downside of the GTD is the price. However, this is a fabulous bike in a great build that I never tired of riding. Carbon fibre may have been the king in 2019, but titanium in some ways has the beating of it.
A versatile bike that suits long distance, hills, trails and gravel. Russell Burton
Kinesis GTD geometry
Seat angle: 73 degrees
Head angle: 72.5 degrees
Seat tube: 47.8cm
Top tube: 54.5cm
Head tube: 15cm
Fork offset: 4.45cm
Bottom bracket height: 27.7cm