Kinesis 4S disc build lessons

OOooo Updates! This build developed an issue - which once resolved resulted in an update of this article - Kinesis 4S Disc Build Lessons 2 - so you may wish to head over there to see where this went and what was learned/changed, and so on : )

I recently took delivery of one of the exceptionally well reviewed Kinesis 4 season disk from their RaceLight range. An aluminium frameset with full carbon forks.

This was to replace a Ribble Audax/Winter frameset that was recently put beyond economic repair by a car back in March. The winter is all but upon us, and I have nothing industrial and "BRING ON THE WET / COLD / DARK" to do battle on - should I feel the need to get out there (bikes are a lot easier to replace and repair than arms, and nerves it would appear).

Currently on special at Chain Reaction - and with two friends on the rim brake version and two friends just purchased the disk version - I thought this was a pretty good bet.

However, unbeknownst to me - there were a number of challenges to be faced:

1. Cable for TRP Spyre callipers.

2. Rotor size of Kenesis 4S Disc;

3. Rotors need wearing in;

4. 28C tyres on a road bike;

5. Kinesis RaceLight 4S Disc aheadset and forks;

6. Kinesis RaceLight 4S Disc has no instructions.

Here are some notes on the following on the off chance they reduce the learning curve for someone else.

// Brake cable type for TRP Spyre

Me being me read up a fair amount on cable operated disks, and the ubiquitous Aavid units push from one side, so modulation is questionable, and adjustment is needed as they are used. A middle ground appeared to be the TRP Spyre which while mechanical actuates from both sides (not to be confused with their equally shiny hybrid which cable pulls a tiny master cylinder to actuate the pots - shiny). It seemed like the most cost-effective / bang per buck solution I could find without going full hydraulic.

However - and a big, however - having gone through the wonder that was cable routing (see lack of Kinesis instructions), I discover the that CRC advised Shimano stock SLR cables is - in a word - arse. Not only is it spongy when pulled - but it also drags in the liner giving poor sensation, and poor return - as I said - arse.

A quick Google and Phone-A-Friend and the answer is clear... and learning from their experience (hence posting here) - ditch the Shimano cables - and move to incompressible outers. Mountain Bike brake cables such as Jagwire Ripcord is the future. Available regretfully in slightly shouty shades of YELLOW and RED they appear to alleviate this issue.

Not only do they fit super snugly in the levers, manage to bend around the bars (not designed to remember) - they can be used with the marginally thicker Shimano SLR cable or their own cable which is coated in a black PTFE by the looks of things.

Given the cable nuts on these callipers appear to destroy the cables once done up - I lost my temper and have an SLR front and a Jagwire rear.

Both are now far FAR less spongey, more responsive, less pull force, better return. Happy days.

// Rotor size for Kinesis Race Light 4 season disc

The documentation on the CRC site suggests 140. Further reading indicates 140 is the maximum rear.

140 is fine with me.

Bike now built, and sporting 160's.

The reason is the mountings.

For an "only use 140 rear" the boxed kit of frame parts it was a surprise to see adapters for 160mm rotors post mount. Fudge.

*This is the case if you are using centrelock and Shimano hydraulic - but for cable pulls on stilts (adapters) then this is fine.

The 140 TRP Spyre callipers simply will not fit the post mount 140 mount points (the in-line type).

In short:

- TRP Spyre on the Kinesis 4s disc WILL NOT POST MOUNT as I had intended;

- 140 adapters for IS mounts are included;

- 160 adapters for Post Mount are also included.

I went with the latter. Go large or go home... I am not the lightest of riders.

// Rotors need wearing in.

Who knew right?!

Just like your motorbike - new rotors *need* scrubbing off and polishing up with the pads you have fitted to work as intended - until that point it is all a bit shiny.

I was aware of this so rode with caution - however, nothing prepared me for how poo they would be.

As a born and bread roadie this was news to me. I went with disks as winter bikes never seem to stop for me, so I use abrasive pads like the SwissStop wet ones (green if I recall). These eat rims. Seriously. "Bye now" *waves*. If I was building a new winter bike I wanted sintered pads on steel and stopping in the wet - reliant on traction, not how much grey goup and smell of acrid aluminium I could generate. Discs are the future for winter - factual.

Once they start to bite properly all is good. Just be advised.

// 700 x 28c tyres on a road bike.

Growing up this was something that would result in laughing and pointing. MA2 or MA40's with 28C tyres on would have looked like comedic balloon tyres given the usual 20C - I believe I even had some awful Hutchison U in 700 x 18C's one... they were *all* kinds of arse.

In more recent days I used to look forward (secretly) to winter when 25c was more socially acceptable. Now with 25C being the norm, and rims being a LOT wider with 25 being the recommended, a 28C ends up looking about the same size as a 25 from above. With twice (that's right kids TWICE the air volume of 23c) the padding this old man is all up for that.

28c Continental GP 4 season on 2016 Mavic Aksium 6 bolt disk seems to be of a better build than the rim brake brethren. The 28C suits kind of well. All good. Why was this not sensible sooner?

// Kinesis RaceLight 4S Disc headset and forks.

"Hit it harder."

There we go - that is that sorted.

Would the damned thing go on? No. Did I prepare the surface by sanding off any masking or paint - sure - *effort* nrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh *effort* - nothing.

As is so often the case with other bits of engineer - hands over to a mate who has less of an invested interest - BANG BANG BANG - seated. Nice one. More force than you are comfortable with (WITHIN REASON!) - and job done.

Be brave, and the race that comes in the box does fit. Who knew?

It transpires that another friend building his 4SD came to the same conclusion. Winning.

// Kinesis RaceLight 4S Disc has no instructions;

You would not think this is much of an issue - it is a frame, right?

Well - with said frame comes a box of parts - most of which you can guess the application of - however beyond that - nada.

There are screws with different colour thread lock on, some 160 post and 140 IS adapters - headset (YES THIS FRAME COMES WITH HEADSET), cable guide, a variety of blanking plates, steerer bung, and a variety of mysterious objects with accompanying tiny screws.

- Tiny metal plates. These appear to re-enforce the rear dropouts. Alas, they will fit on neither side on the non-mech. Hanger side. It transpires one inside, one outside is the way they need to be to get the wheel in and have the calliper on the rotor. Tiny counter sunk screws make that fit nicely - reinforcing the ends there.

- Rubber bung. For the Di2 cables for the front mech - the bung does not fit. Not even close. I have used tape for now.

- Cable guide. Over to the drive side. Allowing some space - almost enough - for the exit of the rear brake cable (full outer).

- Post Mount 160 converters are in the box and IS mount 140 converters. Unless the callipers you have mount flat (TRP Spyre do not) - you will need converters.

- Gear and Brake Cable blanks. More obvious - gear to bottom orifices, brake to top. No cable adjusters may want to fit in-line to retain sanity on front mech setup!

So there we have it - learning passed on. Feel free to add, update, correct - however, these were my experiences/learning followed by a working bike.


BELOW: Bottom bracket cabling.


BELOW: Non-Drive Side Reinforcing Plate - outside.


BELOW: Drive Side Reinforcing Plate - inside.


5 Responses to “Kinesis 4S disc build lessons

  • Robert Armour
    6 years ago

    The “drive reinforcing plates” are actually adapters to reduce the width of the frame from 135mm (disc brake wheel) to 130mm (rim brake wheel).
    No need to use them for a 135mm spacing wheel.

    If you ever decide to fit flat mount disc brake calipers (and I can highly recommend it), you’ll find that the mounting bolts come in several sizes.
    Please note that this size does NOT refer to the length of the bolt, but the thickness of the frame, where the bolt goes through.

    Loving mine – it’s such a joy to ride.

  • anthony
    6 years ago

    Robert – Hello!

    Plates – yes – moved them a week or so later. A mate pointed out what they were for.

    Life moved on – change of wheels to tubeless Hunt 4 Season Disc, and switching from cable to hydraulic.

    Not having the converters and switching to centre lock 160 front and 140 rear made a hell of a difference in terms of confidence and ride.

    I really loved the frame and did indeed use year round – leaving the carbon bikes all tucked up while commuting through the summer. More the shame when the dropout failed on me. Being aware of an absolute carbon copy failure on a mates Kinesis 4sd was one thing, but then CRC confirmed another that is a pattern forming.

    The friend got a great offer on a GF Ti in replacement. I didn’t alas. So I am replacing with like… and hoping if it does fail – it goes when I am clipping in again as opposed to that fast downhill bend, in the dark, rain, with no phone reception while breaking… you know the one ;)

    Alas, the Silver / Orange I like is no more – now just grey and purple and blue left. This is more of an annoyance than you would think – despite the use the paint was in absolutely mint condition – great lustre on it. Loved it. More the shame/annoyance in failure.

    Apparently, their next model in the pipeline has that area beefed up – and is bolt-through only as opposed to QR. Good work. Alas too far off to be useful to us. Not a fault of workmanship or manufacture – just design.

    Fingers crossed it stays together, and fingers crossed it is speedy – I am without a winter bike!!

    • Tim Lenaerts
      3 years ago

      Hi. Just found this page after a bit of googling, really interesting and informative- I’ve just picked up the same frame and am getting together the components for a similar build. I’m using some components I had knocking around so have gone for the TRP Spyre callipers – did you put the improvements in braking down to the change from mechanical to hydraulic or the rotor size, or a bit of both? Be very grateful you had on the build a few years down the line.

      • anthony
        3 years ago

        Tim! Greetings:
        I started out with some TRP Spyre’s.
        I was a little disappointed to start with – especially given their standing with the wider community.
        Changing to non-compressable cables (like gear caples – linear steel as opposed to helical) assisted and made them feel better.
        Switching to the larger front meant that things further improved.
        Eventually, I moved to hydraulic – and the difference is night and day. Less pressure is required, while feedback is lost to a point, this is more than made up for by the ability to stop and stop in the wet.
        Do I suffer from squeal issues – yes – is this likely to be my fault – hell yes.
        I am not sure if that helps – but if you can learn from my journey – huzzah!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *