“I want a bike that will go through winter, that I can take on a commute through muddy lanes and over potholes, that will get me through an audax in comfort but wouldn’t look too out of place and slow at an event like a sportive.
That was the wish list I gave Tom at Green Park Bike Station. Basically, I wanted a bike that did everything.
Is such a bike possible? Or should we always adhere to the well known formula for the number of bikes you should own of n+1, where n equals the number of bikes you currently have… and of course, all serious cyclists KNOW that you need different bikes for different conditions.
He came back with a few possibilities, one of which was the Kinesis Tripster. I’d seen a very favourable road.cc review of this bike, and I also knew that Kinesis had a good following.
I was even able to get chatting to the UK based frame designer, who sent me a picture of the new grey paint job… that pretty much cemented my choice.
I’m not a components guru, so laid a lot of trust in Tom for the recommendations on how best to spec the bike for my needs. One of the great things about the Kinesis Tripster is how versatile it is – you get a solid frame that you can then add components that suit your riding.
The bike has been used across the winter. The Continental Touring Plus tyres have gone through all manner of muck and gravel. I’ve completed two 100km audaxes in varied weather – from cold and icy conditions in Gloucestershire to lanes where the flood water was coming up to the bottom bracket in Wiltshire.
In amongst all this grime and muck, the Shimano 105 groupset just carries on shifting with no problems whatsoever. I’ve adjusted them once to account for the initial cable stretch you get with new cables, but other than that they’ve stayed perfectly indexed despite having seen some gruesome weather.
The disc brakes on the Tripster means that I’m not worried about road muck and rain on the wheel rims ruining my stopping distance, and I opted for the Kinesis-Crosslight-CXDisc wheels that you can get through Kinesis and are a perfect match for the bike. (road.cc review)
As for the frame – it’s exactly what you want in a bike that you’re planning to do a lot of miles on. “Predictable” might sound boring, but the type of riding I’m doing on this bike means that when I’m descending a hill, I want to feel like I’m on rails. The Tripster gives me that. If I want a bit more of a lively ride, I have a road bike for that.
The only upgrade I’ve gone for since picking up the bike has been putting a Brooks B17 saddle on it. This has completed my long distance comfort. I’ve done several rides of more than 60 miles on the bike since getting the saddle and it allied with the slightly more relaxed geometry of the frame means that I genuinely finish a ride almost as fresh as when I started.
Are you looking for an adaptable all-purpose bike? Maybe one that unifies a couple of the bikes you have in the shed? The Kinesis Tripster is definitely worth a look. It may not be a pure cyclocross bike, but I’ve seen people take them on trials. It may not be a road bike but it’s faster than a tourer.
Put mudguards and a rack on it, and you’re set for a long day in the saddle no matter what the conditions – you won’t look like you’ve turned up with “all the (carbon) gear and no idea”. Strip it down to just the frame, wheels and handlebars and you won’t stick out as someone on a heavy bike in a group full of roadies.
The last thing I’ll say is that since getting a Kinesis I’ve realised just how well regarded they are. I’ve had more than one person comment on the bike, which I’ve never had before with other bike makes. In fact, when I was mulling over choices as soon as people heard that a Kinesis was a possibility I had more than one person tell me to take a long, hard look at one.
To say I’m happy with this bike would be an understatement. Far from being the “boring but solid winter bike” that gets you through the cold dark days before the sun returns later in the year, it’s safe to say on many rides it will be the first one I pull out of the shed”.