The new Kinesis R1 is designed as a versatile road bike that’s optimised for a single-ring drivetrain. Among its useful fixtures and fittings is internal cable routing and an external cable stop for a front derailleur, just in case you feel the need.
If you do, the very low seat tube-mounted bottle cage might need a little spacing away from the frame to allow for the mech’s clamping band.
It’s an elegant frame with a tapered head-tube leading to pleasingly round main tubes and seatstays. The chainstays are subtly ovalised vertically and crimped for chainring clearance.
The seatstays are crimped for tyre clearance below their bridge and for 160mm disc rotor clearance too. All of the tubes are straight with no S-shaped waviness and it gives an attractive, no-nonsense look, as well as keeping metallic mass to a minimum.
The internal cable routing ports sited on the down tube. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The internal cable routing ports are sited at 8 and 4 o’clock below the down tube with a pair on the left and one on the right. They exit ahead of the slim BSA bottom bracket shell to continue externally to their respective components.
There’s a rear rack mount, as well as mounts for full mudguards, flat-mount disc calipers and thru-axles at both ends.
With a bridge adding strength, the R1 chainstays use every scrap of width to attach to the bottom bracket shell and maximise tyre clearance.
The 30mm Schwalbe tyres have mildly aggressive, round tread blocks that grip like an Octopus. They measure 31.5mm and fit well within the Fend Off mudguards (£55), but the frame has room for more.
Lovely ride feel, simplicty and execution make the R1 a winner. Russell Burton
The carbon fork legs have a chunky but sculpted look, blending perfectly with the head tube and the fork includes a neat platform for the disc caliper.
With a complete SRAM Apex 1x groupset and reasonable finishing kit, my 57cm R1X weighs 10.06kg. It will be available from January in this build only for £1,500 and as a frameset in 2020. Its weight clearly benefits from forgoing a chainring, front mech, shift lever and cable, and even though the large 11-42 cassette adds some weight, it could be offset with a carbon seatpost.
Kinesis R1 ride impressions
The bike has a 90mm stem and flared bar that measures 44cm, centre to centre, at the levers and 49.5cm at the ends. It seemed incongruous and a little shorter and wider than I’d expect at the start of my first ride. But the R1 is designed with extra reach to avoid toe overlap, meaning that the stem is intentionally shorter.
It made for a fairly active front end until I became used to how the wide bar damps its movement. Then it felt perfectly accurate and very comfortable.
R1 chainstays help maximise tyre clearance. David Caudery / Immediate Media
You might think that a straight-tubed frame would feel a little dull, but the R1 has an instant zing when pressing the pedals. That sensation didn’t dull throughout and is always welcome, making accelerations and climbing far more engaging.
The drivetrain remained whisper-quiet with crisp shifts from the Apex setup. The gearing range of 44-tooth chainring and 11-42 cassette worked well. For general road use, it’s almost under geared at the low end, although the near 1:1 ratio could be your friend on steep or long climbs.
The high 44×11 gear is equivalent to 52×13 and pedalling at 35mph doesn’t require more than a normal cadence. I didn’t find the gear jumps to be a problem, and there’s no ratio duplication.
Instant zing when pressing on the pedals. Russell Burton
Selle Italia’s X3 saddle is relatively firm with a good shape. It’s fixed to a short aluminium seatpost, which made the surprisingly plush ride feel, with 70psi in the tyres, impressive.
The wheels have slick Novatec hubs and unbranded Alex rims, which spin up quite well and do add a little to the ride. Kinesis’s own metal Fend Off mudguards are superb with rigid stays that don’t flex or vibrate and long mudflaps. They’ll look after you, your bike and your riding buddies.
The Kinesis R1 has all a UK-based rider could want. It’s easily upgradeable, very enjoyable to ride and simple to maintain.
Kinesis R1 geometry
Seat angle: 73 degrees
Head angle: 71.5 degrees
Seat tube: 52.5cm
Top tube: 57cm
Head tube: 17.2cm
Fork offset: 4.1cm
Bottom bracket height: 27.4cm
Bottom bracket drop: 7cm