Kinesis is considered a pretty new start-up with a short but impressive corporate history. First started in 1989, by a group of former Giant Bicycles employees, Kinesis has been improving on their product quality and expanding production capacity exponentially at the same time. Their Taiwan factory utilizes 3D CAD/CAM designing software in the design of their products and it also possesses CNC and Monocoque production capabilities. Their China plant has an impressive production capacity of five thousand frames a day. Currently, their clients include major brands such as Santa Cruz, Jamis, Mountain Cycles, Trek and Felt, just to name a few.
While Kinesis has largely been an OEM manufacturer for the big boys, they have been developing their own house brand in recent years. At present, they have a full range of frames to choose from, covering most ride disciplines, including road, cross-country, slalom, BMX and downhill. The Kinesis KM-2 frame in this review is designed specifically for cross-country applications.
First Round of Introduction
When we received the Kinesis KM-2, we were impressed by the “masculine” curves of the frame. The hydroformed top and down tubes, integrated wishbone seatstay, tapered chainstay blended in nicely to create a sexy and gorgeous frame that makes a strong statement in the aesthetic department. However, we thought that the frame appeared over-built for cross-country purpose. Every tube on the frame seems oversized and built with intent to instill maximum stiffness and strength. This frame seems to be able to take all the abuse you can dish out for years to come. At 1.8kg, the KM-2 is slightly obese as compared to most other aluminium frames whose average weight is in the region of 1.5kg or below.
The KM-2 comes with both IS disc brake mounting and V-brake mounting. This is unlike its big brother, KM-1, which comes with only disc brake mounting in a bid to cut some weight. Having two different mounting means the KM-2 has more versatility when it comes to the choice of brakes. The frame comes in only 3 sizes, 16”/18”/20” and with integrated headset design. Our 16” frame fits guys in the range of 1.62m to 1.73m comfortably. This means ladies and smaller size guys might not be able to find a good fit in this frame. Do not fret though; it is to our understanding that smaller size frames will be made available from 2006 onwards.
Our test bike came pretty well equipped so we could unleash the frame’s fullest potential. Front suspension duty is handled by the competent White Brothers XC4 fork. The drivetrain is spec’ed with full Shimano components, mainly XTR. A pair of Mavic Crossmax hoops, wrapped with Maxxis Larsen tires, keeps the bike rolling smoothly across all terrain. The rest of the controls and contact points consist of goodies from Selle Italia, Thomson, TIME and Oury. Despite the heavy frame, our whole test bike weighs in at about 10.5kg, pretty close to the ideal weight of a cross-country racer.
For the number crunchers, the KM-2 comes with a steep 71° head angle and a 73° seat angle. The seatstay is a short 16.5”. Most manufacturers would have seatstay closer to 16.7”. The wheelbase for an 18” frame will be 41.8” based on manufacturer’s specifications. Another thing to note is the frame wide tire clearance which can accommodate tires up to 2.4” wide.