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Kinesis Decade Tripster ATR Review

We've had a week with one of the most versatile bikes around, the Kinesis Decade Tripster ATR. Full titanium, disc brakes, tyre size 25mm to 40mm, comfort geometry, compliant carbon fork. The appeal is wide: winter road bike, long sportives, cyclocross, playing around in the woods.

We put it through its paces on a very wet December day in Macclesfield Forest, a stone's throw from the shop.

Our overriding impression was one of amazing comfort, quite strange in fact over rougher terrain. It almost had the quality of a carbon road bike over Cheshire lanes. Not to mention speed, nearly road bike speed over mountain bike terrain. It was almost unnerving to be riding so fast on terrain I was more accustomed to be riding much slower on a full sus MTB. Nice comfort geometry too, with a 180mm headtube on the 57cm tested.

Also of note were the TRP HyRd brakes, an upgrade over the standard mechanical disc brakes. The TRPs have the huge advantage of being dual piston hydraulic, with very little loss of power over a full hydraulic system; they run with a cable from a standard shifter, into the hydraulic caliper. And they performed really well, even with a 90 kg rider on steeper offroad gradients, very little fade (helped by it being freezing cold on the day of the test!) and no drag. That said, Kinesis has recently upgraded the standard brakes from the old Lyra's to the awesome new Spyres, which will being mechanical, come with a dual action mechanism.

The CXCross wheels were a revelation, excellent build quality and no flex even for the 90kg rider. A real bargain at only £299 a pair, can run 25mm to 40mm tyres. Kinesis have shaved 245g to take them down to only 1555g a pair.

The Tripster was easily cleaned too, the dirt rinsed off easily, while the disc wheels meant that there was none of the usual brake film of a winter road bike to scrub off.

Also worth a mention was the head tube, what a piece of engineering, must have cost a fortune to make, visually stunning: tapered headtube, integrated headset and some understated etching to complete the effect. A real work of bike art.

One one slight negative to detract from the ride, a 36T x 25T low gear was too much for steeper offroad gradients. Having checked to see that no-one was looking, I got off and pushed up a few hills. A 34T x 32T would have been ideal, the hangar/mech looks like it would have taken it.

Overall, then, a lovely bit of kit, aesthetically spot on, great ride quality and a really well balanced build kit, Shimano 105 makes for a great winter gruppo, great value too. A winner.

     
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