Kinesis Build Lessons II

"The Kinesis is dead."


This is the story of the rebirth of my Kinesis RaceLight 4SD - or 4 season disc. After initially being somewhat incredulous as to the failure of my right drive side drop out (exactly the same place a friend had). Aluminium is a fabulous material, but it has its issues - as do they all. Here a fracture. However Chain Reaction sorted the Warranty, and after initially saying no stock a word with Kinesis directly and they saw me right*. THANK YOU to the pair of you.

I love this bike - it's rare (for me) to feel excited about the winter steed unless it's really the depth of winter, however, this is an exception. Given the popularity of the previous article, I thought it would be worthwhile putting together a few words on how the rebuild went - what to keep in mind - and the kinds of things you do not see when you are pawing at the screen and considering a new frame/bike build.

Changes and upgrades since my original build - all of which BEFORE the failure and rebuild I would hasten to add:

- Wheels - Aksium Disk to Hunt x Mason 4 Season Disk / Schwalbe Pro One tyres;

- Brakes - Shimano Hydraulic Road - mount - disc sizes;

- Chain - Switching back to my second choice - Shimano - and why.

The following article are a few things of note along the way...



I used to have a Silver / Orange model. No one has any of these anymore. Not even Kinesis. The paint was a fine balance between too thick and hard wearing. The shimmer was really really very fine in the sun. The choices were the duck egg blue or whatever they call it or what they referred to as "Grey & Purple".

It is no longer the 90's so Purple is not a crime - and anodized purple components are one of my favorite things. Oh yes. However grey? Really?

Okay - this is a bad choice of word. The Grey is the same as the Silver. Well, that has cleared that up. I found out - so you don't have to take one for the team.



There is a hole at the back of the drive side chainstay that is exactly the right size to route the cable housing down too. Having to rebuild the bike from the ground up and armed with a suitable cable kit - I thought I would check to see if this was possible (having the exposed cable hanging around in the firing line of the rear wheel does seem a little ... well ... silly if it can be avoided. Equally - sure it will be a few grams heavier... but I am not a racing snake what do I care? Exactly.

So yeah - about that - there is not really enough space through the bottom bracket shell to exit the cable down the chainstay and not have a really nasty cable line. It is, in essence, all but blanked off. Sure I could have drilled a hole....errr... no. Will this be fine for Di2 - yes. For conventional cabling - no. Just no. Use the plastic router and stops provided.


My first build started with the 105 chain that goes with the groupset. On the whole, I am not too fussed by bike aesthetics - no - seriously - some people really are - function over form for me.... mostly.... or maybe I just find those chains ugly : /

When that wore I replaced with a KMC 11 speed chain. Nothing too featherweight - but the finish is generally higher, nicer, stuff, reasons.

Almost instantly I noticed a grinding noise from the drive chain under high to epic load while on the inside chainring. It sounded VERY much like the front mech was rubbing. The frame was either super flexing, or it was not the front mech.

Removing the front mech and it still does it. OKAY. Try an older chainset - no noise - what so ever.

Noise lessens as the chain gets older.

Replace next time with a Shimano Chain - no problem. I am guessing this is either due to their asymmetric design, or something to do with the profile of the inside chainring (not warn). Either way... the noise goes away with Shimano on Shimano. Lesson learned.



People have commented on the clearance through the cable exits. This changes very little with the use of hydraulic hoses - in fact - if anything it may actually improve over the compressionless brake cables that had to be used with the cable pull TRP calipers this was fitted with initially.

It is still worthy of note, and curse words that this is "snug" - especially when fishing around in the void to get things through the right holes.

The concern I have is that the hydraulic hose and the gear cable are in there very very closely.

In my mind, it is currently acting like the worlds slowest wire saw.... to fail as I head into that bend on an epic descent.... right? Maybe, maybe not. Only one of them is under any real kind of tension. One coes into a stop plate, the other goes in with a guide plate.

Here you can see the stopped gear cable butting up against the stop within the insert, and the guided insert of the brake hose below. They exit in the same place. Do the maths. Naaaah - I doubt they cross or touch. But now it's in there it's not going away is it? No? Me neither.



Went with wider bars. Same width as the Super 6 Evo. Feels better. Good choice. Well done me. I am not a dainty climber so this makes sense to me. Bigger levers... even if the big legs have gone these days.



This was an accident. I do like the Fizik tape - it was the closest I could find to the stuff that came on my S6Evo. However, I got the tacky stuff in error. Winter gloves - beautiful. Doesn't bed down in the same way either - so nice phat handfuls of grippy bars. Happy accidents +1.



The TRP callipers I had (now gone to a new home) were fabulous cable pulled affairs, and apparently about as good as things got. They were - without a doubt - better than rim brakes in the dark months and wetness - however, they did not exude confidence, and the pull force was similar to that of rim brakes - just with more leverage obviously.

I got as far as ordering the hybrid ones which a friend had - and then sent them back again.

Some months later I jumped in and went with full hydraulic. The pull force really is fingertip - and the sure, while you do not get the "the shoe has just touched the rim" feedback - you do get a tonne of anchor in quite a short space. Enough for me to be looking to find some time to look at the front callipers on my motorbike despite being back from the mechanics today.

I didn't go with the fancy new ICE Road specific ones - so these are just ICE 160 front and 140 rear. The rear is MORE than enough, and the 160 is enough.

I have switched from hybrid pads to full metal when it came time to replace them. Curiously I actually get less squealing (possibly down to better hygiene), less noise (like something being grated), and a little more stop. Yay.

Sustained braking can - who knew - make them crazy hot. Bwlch Penbarras descent in the wet / gravel saw tentative brake for the last section - and the smell of hot metal by the bottom. A dribble from the bottle bouncing off with an aggressive hiss akin to an unfriendly cat disliking your advances to stroke it told me all I needed to know there. Hotness. Not in a good way. I can see why they have slotted vents.

Mounts - what do you need to know - they mount flat against the frame. The kit I got in nice little Shimano bags worked out of the bag with nothing special. The rear bolts directly onto the frame. The front bolts to a plate. The plate then bolts to the frame. With the plate one way up it first 140 sized rotors. With the plate the other way up it fits 160 rotors. Happy days.

The above shows the front calliper mounted to the rear of the carbon Tracer fork. Mmmmm the paint in the sun. The plate there shows UP FOR 160 and the other side shows UP FOR 140 - which is self-explicit. Important to note here the use of centrelock. There is no space for a centrelock converter and clear the forks - worth noting if that was a route you are going down. I am not too fussed as the centrelock tool appears to be the same as cassette removal. Good Times.

The below shows a view of the rear calliper from below - sorry - yes it needs a clean. But it is rare my bike is upside down ever - this is a documentary exception. Here you can see that this bolts through two slotted points on the inside of the chainstay. This will take a 140 here - and that is it. It did have a 160 in there with the TRP's - however they REQUIRED the mounting bracket to fit the frame... there is a proper word for post mount, flat mount, whatever - these - two pictures here - should say enough. Done.  While we are there though this is nicely parallel to the axle despite being chainstay - and look at the girth. OH YES - this is not going to crack or fail (well - through manufacture maybe but not design).



The Mavic Aksium Disk 2017 that I had on these were a GREAT improvement from the last pair of Aksium that I had which in all fairness would best be described as piss poor. They rolled well, they stayed true, great stuff. They were about as exciting as discovering there is a leak in your walking boots and the resulting wet socks. Oh and the best part of 2kg before cassette or tyres.

Usher in a present to self for continuing to ride this bike through the summer - Hunt - 4 season - disc.

Quite a deep section, asymmetric to maximise spoke offset, brass, traditional spokes, WIDE rim, lighter.

The rubber I chose was the recommended 28C (my first ever 28C tyres) Scwalbe Pro One. An adventure into the world of tubeless - and with what is not strictly a winter tyre.

I am usually a Continental person - however, I have used the Schwalbe ZX before - fast, light, great sound, but wore very quickly indeed.

Tubeless is nice - however, I have to run them lower than expected. 80/70psi as opposed to the recommended 100/90psi - to give flats a chance to fix. I am using Doc Blue (rebranded Stans) - that I have mixed a fair quantity of FINE glitter (also purple - righteous!). The intention being to give the glue something to form on, or to stick on the way out through hole causing the issues.

Note to self - periodically top up the Stans - as a run of flats WILL leave you empty... cold... alone... in the dark... waiting for a pickup. Yes, I was that man. Lesson learned.

Cassette - 28-11 over 11 speeds.

Kept true - feel far more alive - torque under heavy breaking - smooth - make 28's look like 25's.

The wheels come with an an adapted to fit bolted disks onto a centre lock. This was my plan as a nice set of something in a matching shade to highlights from Hope would have done very nicely. Alas this was not to be - the clearance is not enough. As it transpires the centrelocks look neater and work just fine. The front fork clearance on even the centrelock is cosy - see below:



This article is not finished yet - however I have posted as almost there : )





*Sure I am a little sore over the fact that the warranty runs from the initial purchase as opposed to the arrival of the new bit of hardware after the other one being faulty. It's not right. It doesn't exude confidence - but that is the norm. Ho Hum. Thankful for the replacement all the same... even if next years model has these areas beefed up and the dropouts are bolt-through as opposed to quick-release.



7 Responses to “Kinesis Build Lessons II

  • Hey,
    From the most detailed write up of a Kinesis 4s build I can find, I have a few questions about cable routing I was wondering if you’d help me with?
    Have you got an email or something I could contact you please 😁

    • anthony
      4 years ago

      Stefan – hello! Well if I have not covered it, and someone is asking – let’s cover it here. What are you looking to find out / ask about? I can hopefully answer, if not answer and provide images as well. Please don’t hesitate to ask.

      • Hi Anthony,
        Okay, I don’t think the write up covers it exactly and I can’t quite tell from pictures. Which side do you feed in front and rear derailleur cables into the frame? Does your left shifter enter right side of frame, and right shifter enter left side? I was concerned if it was that way, would the cables cross within the frame and interfere with each other?

      • Hey Anthony,
        Okay here it goes… Which shifter cable goes in which port on the down tube? Did you put left shifter in right hand side, and right shifter in left hand side? This seems right but I worry that the cables will cross each other in the frame and interfere?

        I originally ran left to left, right to right, but this seems to have a bad ‘cable line’ and has grinded down the cable ports.


        • anthony
          4 years ago

          Stefan – no problem at all.
          The very same had occurred to me, but there is no perceivable cross torque between the three cables involved.
          The Left-Hand shifter cables head into the left-hand side of the Down Tube, and the Right-Hand shifter cables head into the right-hand side of the Down Tube, and down the left fork leg (the front brake hose is retained, and not internally routed on this version of the fork*).
          Now I had assumed that there would be an issue; however, the height offset appears to remove this.
          The rear brake hose continues as a hose down the Down tube, staying on the same side, and exiting under the bottom bracket shell, and heading back under the left-hand side Chain Stay to the inboard brake calliper. This cable is a lot easier to route with hydraulic cable – as to get any performance out of cable pull brakes, you need non-coiled, non-compressible, cables, which are usually fatter and far less compliant to the necessary bends.
          However, as you are thinking, yes, the gear cables will have to cross somewhere. I believe the offset (the Down tube is quite tall at the front/top transforming to quite wide at the bottom bracket end where the cables emerge. I believe the height offset is enough to offset what we had both envisaged as an issue – especially as the exits are a standard narrow width apart. Picture this as one approaching from above, and one from underneath – with the entry points being further apart than the exit points. Nicely thought through none the less.
          You could mitigate this further of course by having longer runs of cable that would allow for bars turning – but this would generally make it look messier and far more 1980’s ; )
          * The frame has been revised since I had my REPLACEMENT. There was ‘absolutely no issue with the design’ however it had been updated to a bolt through design now with that area beefed up significantly. I believe that the front forks have been refreshed also. I have no issue with this as such, as long as this one holds together – what I do have an issue with is the “nope-never-happened-before-guvnor” when I have friends who it had also happened to… regretfully for them one of them having been an engineer specialising in metal stress.
          Transparency, bravery, trustworthiness, openness these are things worth taking a stand on. I am an arse to deal with – but I do appreciate that engineering is engineering, and things evolve because of issues and problems that had not been foreseen.
          My current build is coming along very nicely, indeed. It is a very comfortable place to be no matter what time of year – mudguards on or off, light or dark, rain or shine…. if a little heavy, but so am I!
          Oh, not sure if I mentioned it in the above, but I needed to get a front mech inline adjuster as the 105 front mech does not have one like the Ultegra one… despite my hatred of the things, it was that or my sanity – so a reasonable trade.
          Does that help?

  • Hello, which version of Shimano brake are you using? I plan on building my Kinesis with flat bars, so will need to find something compatible with that style brake lever.

    • anthony
      4 years ago

      Hello Lowell,

      Those are older Shimano hydraulic ones – the ones that were under Ultegra. But I believe you can now get 105 and probably even ones for further down the range. The number 400 rings a bell. They work, and they work a lot better than cable pull – which was an improvement on rim brake (when using non-compressing cables).

      If you are looking to fit a flat bar – then that’s a whole bunch of stuff that I am not familiar with I am afraid. This said its basically going to terminate in a standard mount (as per the article) for the calliper and pads – and the rest is down to cable or hydraulic back to the lever. I am pretty confident that given the mountain bike market is awash with compatibles if you are using a flat bar… check it out with the vendor for specifics. I have always had a needless ‘need’ for some Hope brakes ;D

      Good luck with your build and let us know what you went with in the end.


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