Full on with the new Titanium Kinesis Tripster V2 ATR.
- Adventure. That’s for certain
- Touring. Isn’t that the same, maybe slower.
- Race. Two events it’s time to strap a number on again.
The Salsa Colossal is great for crossing countries in a hurry, but something with more tyre clearance and the correct geometry for fast travel was needed; MTB frames with drops on just weren’t working. It would be nice if had mudguard and rack mounts, adaptable drop outs and a high front end, There can be only one; remember HIGHLANDER
Full frame info and spec best left to the experts Kinesis, all the details except the weight: Compared to the version1 weights I had seen quoted the 1990 grams measured for the bare frame (57cm) was a bit of a shock. OK your not buying a competitive CycloX frame, it’s a tool to load up and abuse on all surfaces, but that’s on the chunky side.
My initial build is a mixture of parts from other bikes apart from some brand new Avid black BB7 road specific brakes. The idea is to find out what works and refine the position to take me across the USA in the TransAm Race. the rear dropouts were swapped for the QR versions to suit my wheel stock.
The high front end and sizeable head tube means plenty of room for good bottle access when a frame bag is fastened firmly to the specific flat underside profile of the top tube. Solid simple rack mounts make it easy to add and remove as required, same for mudguards. This was put into practice on a trip to the Battle on the Beach race. Rather than struggle to cram stuff into bikepacking bags it was time for a rack and pannier for the 230 mile ride to the start, allowing space for spare race kit and a tent. 40mm Schwalbe G-one tyres handled the loaded ride down superbly, adding to the smooth comfortable ride of the frame; no perceivable reduction in speed, and definitely no mtb tyre squirm.
A lovely Severn bridge sunset came after an easy 130 mile day, Highlander still great fun loaded leaving the remaining 100 in Wales for day 2. Swansea beach and some great coastal tracks in uncharacteristic March warmth it felt like a summer holiday. Down to business, tent up rack removed and tyre pressures dropped to 30PSI it was race time.
What an amazing days racing, the official video gives a great flavour of the fun. Blasting along the firm flat sands for 3.5 miles surfing mtb and fat bike wheels and moving up the field nicely; then up and over dunes in fun sandy singletrack back to start it again. Apart from a rutted doubletrack section which seemed to pummel all riders except the fat bikes, and a few bits of deep sand the Tripster was great. Whipping through the berms on drops just felt so crazy, I’m sure I was riding with a big grin. Again the G-one tyres were spot on and 9th in cat’ and in the top 100 out of 700 entrants was much more than expected.
After a 100 minutes of battering it’s fair to say the combination of the curvy rear Tripster stays and the 40mm G-ones saved my body from too much pain. It was easy to get some power down and getting down on the drops on the beach really did make it fast fun cruising across gaps and passing riders. Touring and racing on the same kit, spot on.
Having hammered the same setup on the local trails, from rough firetrack to rutted fields, added to several 150+ mile road rides at 16mph avg and not yet even put a cut in the tread I can’t fault the G-ones. Highlander too is taking everything in his stride, There can be only one indeed.
The big off road test is next. The Kielder Dirty Reiver 200Km gravel “not race” It will be a good comparison with the old Kielder 100 mile event done many times on mountain bikes. It’s fair to say 124 miles in under 10 hours to gain an Outlaw finisher status is going to leave me in bits and would be more comfortable on a front suspension 29er. True to spirit of the Gravel race tag I want to compete on the drops and see if extra speed will compensate for the lack of comfort, right now I’m not thinking the G-ones will allow the fast downhill cornering required on the loose pack in Kielder, different tyres will be required.