Adventure road bike test: Kinesis Tripster ATR

£2500 adventure road bike - Kinesis Tripster ATR

Adventure road bike test: Kinesis Tripster ATR

This titanium adventure road bike won’t do everything but it’s a versatile lightweight. Review by Cycle magazine editor Dan Joyce.

The initials ATR stand for ‘adventure, tour, race’. The Tripster is intended for bikepacking, conventional touring, and cyclocross, as well sportives, general road riding, even commuting. It’s similar to the Genesis Croix de Fer and Surly Straggler we reviewed last issue, except it’s 2kg lighter, thanks mostly to its titanium frame and carbon fork. A 530g fork with a carbon steerer wouldn’t be my first choice for far-flung adventures, but people have made remarkable journeys on Tripsters.

The frame is cyclocross inspired, but with a slightly slacker head angle, lower bottom bracket and longer chain-stays than a race bike. I just had heel clearance with my biggest (Carradice Carradry) rear panniers. While the rear brake caliper is on the seat-stay, it’s well in-board of the rack mounts.

At the front, my size 42 SPD winter boots clipped the tyre. The overlap would be bigger with a mudguard, which there’s room for over this 37mm tyre, or a fatter tyre. I’d have liked another 2cm in the front centres, with the same amount off the stem. The bottom bracket is a threaded one, which is nice to see in this age of creaky press-fits.

Road bike derailleurs, cassette and chainset restrict gearing choices. I wanted off-road ratios.

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Sporty ride

If I were to buy a Tripster, I’d get it as a frameset (£1500) as there are things I’d change. The TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes are good, offering better modulation than Avid’s BB7, if not as much outright power. But like other adventure road bikes, the Tripster is over-geared. Its Shimano 105 brifters are designed to work with roadie ratios. Off-road or with luggage, I wanted a smaller mountain bike double (e.g. 28-42)and an 11-36 mountain bike cassette. That’s an option using Sram 10-speed.

It’s a very enjoyable bike to ride unladen, because it combines the sporty, lightweight feel of a road bike with the comfort and dirt-road capability of fatter tyres. For travelling, it suits minimalist, brisk-paced bikepacking more than traditional touring, for which I’d want lower gears, wheels with more spokes, and a seatpost with more lay-back. For exploring off the beaten dirt-track, meanwhile, I’d want a burlier bike like my Genesis Longitude. What it does do, however, the Tripster does well. The best adventure road bike right now? Could be.

Tech Spec

Kinesis Tripster ATR

Price

£2500 (£2350 as stock)

Sizes

48, 51, 54, 57, 60

Weight

9.4kg (no pedals)

Frame & fork

3Al/2.5V titanium frame, UD full carbon-fibre fork with tapered steerer. Fittings for 2 bottles, mudguards, rear rack, discs (IS front, post rear)

Wheels

37-622 WTB Ryder tyres*, Kinesis Crosslight CX Disc wheelset (28fi2 spokes, 19mm rim)

Transmission

50-34T Praxis Turn Zayante M30 chainset*, Shimano 6700 10-speed 12-30 cassette, 105 STI shifters and derailleurs. 20-speed, 31-115in.

Braking

TRP Spyre, 160mm.

Steering & seating

420fi31.8mm compact drop, 100mmfi10º stem, FSA Orbit C40 ACB headset. Anatomic saddle, 31.6fi400mm Kinesis UD carbon seatpost*

 

 

Also Available

1) Shand Stoater - £2545

Reynolds 853 frame with clearance for 55mm tyres. Shimano 105 gearing, TRP Spyre brakes, wider handlebar. Lots of build options. www.shandcycles.com

2) Spa Cycles Ti Adventure - £1500

Better for bigger loads, Spa’s top-value Ti roughstuff tourer is heavier but has bigger clearances and lower (27-speed Sora/Deore) gears. www.spacycles.co.uk

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