Kinesis Racelight 4S Disc review£1,700.00

Enjoy some all-season gains

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Maintaining its naming convention, Kinesis brings us the 4S, which stands for four season — an appropriate moniker for a British-designed frame, since we often feel we’ve seen every season in one day in the UK.

The Kinesium down tube goes from teardrop to an ovalised section at the BSA threaded bottom bracket shell, while the top tube sports an oversized bulge, increasing its diameter behind the beefy tapered head tube.

The seatstays are relatively slim, and the chainstays are oversized, but crimped for 28mm maximum tyre clearance, plus the 40mm wide mudguards. There are also fittings for a Shimano flat-mount disc brake and a rack.

The full carbon fork has mudguard eyelets and flat-mount disc fittings too, but is drilled for a conventional long drop rim brake caliper, as is the seatstay bridge, making the 4S frameset unusually inclusive in braking terms.

4S stands for four season
4S stands for four season

Once you’ve bought the frame, you can spec rim or disc brakes, I opted for discs. The advantage of flat mounts is that if unused, they’re less obtrusive than post mounts. There are additional cable and hose routing options through the top- and down-tubes to cover all bases, including Di2.

Traditionalists will swear by double chainrings, but the SRAM Apex 1 system plus Praxis Works Alba crank with single 42-tooth ring is matched to an 11-36 cassette, giving a range that got me up 20 percent climbs and could still be comfortably spun up to 35mph down hill. The key with single rings is to choose gearing to suit your riding. This worked for me, with no uncomfortable gaps, and I never felt I was short of gears.

Helping the drivetrain do its job, the frameset has length for the rider who likes space to ride, and a high pitched zingy resonance at speed due to its wall thicknesses. It really urges you to get on with it, and is pretty quick when you do, so would be well suited to riders looking for a fast winter road trainer.

The handling is precise, and the ride quality is surprisingly compliant considering the apparent lack of tyre volume.

The Kinesis really urges you to get on with it, and is pretty quick when you do
The Kinesis really urges you to get on with it, and is pretty quick when you do

Vee’s 28mm Rain Runner tyres are new to me, and are fitted to Kinesis’ own 24mm wide Racelight Disc wheelset, so it was a surprise to find they measured only 27mm. Running the same 80psi in relatively narrow tyres gave a greater impression of speed on tarmac, although reduced air volume brings compromises if leaving it.

Ritchey’s finishing kit is always of good quality, with smart looks, and I liked the Logic Curve bar’s deep drop. The Skyline saddle creaked constantly between shell and rails, which is unusual, and something I’d consider unlucky. Its shape and support were excellent though. Toe overlap with the aluminium Fend Off mudguards wasn’t an issue, but I would have liked to see flaps supplied.

The Apex drivetrain works faultlessly, and with only one shift paddle to think about, simplifies gear choices. The brakes, once the TRP rotors had bedded in, were strong and well-modulated.

The 4S frameset has a positive ride feel that’s lively but with great solidity, making it a strong contender for anyone in need of a Swiss Army knife of a training bike that doesn’t lack performance.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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