Kinesis Racelight GF Ti Disc frame review£1,800.00

Unassumingly brilliant British titanium all-rounder

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The original GF Ti impressed us: it was a highly competent endurance-biased machine that made the most of titanium’s talent for vibration-reducing shock absorption without becoming flexy or sloppy in its handling.

This latest-gen edition, however, makes the switch to disc brakes, with a new all-carbon fork designed to slot straight into the tapered head tube (which itself is gloriously machined from a single billet of solid titanium). It made the long list for our sister mag Cycling Plus's 2016 Bike of the Year awards.

Room for experimentation

The fork features massive clearances allowing for plenty of rolling-stock experimentation, making the GF far more than your everyday sportive machine. The aerospace-grade titanium frame is beautifully finished in brushed Ti with laser-etched graphics and subtle decals.

The rear hourglass seatstays flow into neatly machined dropouts and the nicely executed bridge means it’ll take proper mudguards, or fenders if your national dialect prefers (the chainstays also have a bridge behind the BB for 'guard fixing). The flat-mount disc mount is forged titanium, flush welded into the chainstay, and continues the beautifully realised design that marks out the GF’s overall looks.

The head tube is machined from a single titanium billet:
The head tube is machined from a single titanium billet:

The head tube is machined from a single titanium billet

Cable routing is all taken internally on this far-reaching frame update, and flippable inserts make it compatible with both standard cables and electronic drivetrains too.

The geometry of parallel 73.5 degrees gives some indication that this bike will be no slouch in the handling stakes, and the 394mm reach and 585mm stack again speak of a machine that’s much more orientated to speed rather than cruising.

The Ultegra drivetrain is as flawless as ever, and matched to the precision-engineered Praxxis rings that adorn bullishly stiff Turn cranks ensures that every push on the pedals is rewarded. The frame's bottom bracket stiffness also comes into play here too.

Responsive yet forgiving

Its impressive just how well the GF copes with crappy road surfaces, yet still feels stiff and responsive when you want to make progress. Up front is where this becomes most prevalent with the head tube and fork remaining rock solid as you load up the super-wide squishy Schwalbe treads, hitting the apex of a corner as fast as you dare.

The GF feeds back absolute certainty in holding the line and that fat rubber offers jaw-dropping levels of grip alongside impressive cushioning. Yes, occasionally you may feel the extra weight over some by comparison skinny 25’s, but you can run these sealant-secured tubeless treads at super low pressures (we tried 40 psi) to really take advantage of the comfort properties when you want to get properly off the beaten track.

The rear hourglass seatstays flow into neatly machined dropouts:
The rear hourglass seatstays flow into neatly machined dropouts:

The rear hourglass seatstays flow into neatly machined dropouts

At 8.5kg, this is weighty in high-end carbon company, but the lightweight wheelset and responsive nature meant you really don’t feel the extra mass on your average climb.

This is simply a brilliant road machine, ideal for the serious sportive/fondo riders, but it can just as easily be a fantastic audax machine, light tourer, occasional gravel grinder and club-run classic. The fact it’s just so good at a multitude of disciplines may make it seem a little less glamorous, almost utilitarian.

If you're after splashing some cash and are dazzled by highly focused (and highly desirable) race-derived machinery, the GF Ti should be the bike you buy with your head instead of your heart, as it really is just so wonderfully adaptable without being boring. We’re just not sure how many bikes at over four grand are bought with your head alone, even if it were the all the bike and the only bike you’d ever need.

• Price for complete bike as tested: £4750

Spec as tested:

  • Weight: 8.5kg (57cm)
  • Frame: Custom drawn 3al/2.5v titanium
  • Fork: Kinesis Tracer full carbon
  • Crankset: Turn cranks with Praxxis 52/36 rings
  • Gears: Shimano Ultegra (52/36, 11-28)
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-RS805 hydraulic disc
  • Wheels: Reynolds Attack carbon disc
  • Tyres: Schwlabe S-One tubeless 30c
  • Handlebar: FiZik R3 Cyrano carbon
  • Stem: Fizik R1
  • Saddle: Fizik Arione Kium
  • Seatpost: Kinesis carbon

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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