Bike We Like
Popular alloy racer gets stunning makeover and performance upgrades
Kinesis unveils its new alloy speed machine, the Aithein Evo.
WHAT IS IT?
Aimed mainly at crit racers or anyone who just doesn’t want to be last to the coffee stop on the club ride, the Aithein EVO is a bike designed for sheer unadulterated speed. As the name suggests, it’s an evolution of the longstanding and popular Aithein alloy frameset, revamped from the ground up to bring it bang up to date. The frame is still constructed of Kinesis’ own Kinesium alloy, superplastic-formed into shapes that provide optimum stiffness where required while keeping weight low. And the redesigned down tube now allows for fully internal cable routing, while the head tube angle has been slackened by half a degree to tweak the bike’s handling, making it slightly more forgiving in tight, fast corners. Perhaps the most significant change is in increasing the spacing to allow the fitting of wider tyres – up to 28mm, in fact, with all the benefits to increased grip and comfort that brings. Elsewhere the pressfit bottom bracket has been replaced with an external threaded type, increasing stiffness in that key area. The new frame is available in two colour choices, both of which look absolutely stunning in the flesh – the black option you see here which has a smart anodised finish, or a glossy, metallic ‘candy red’ that is sure to appeal to those who like to stand out from the crowd.
WHAT COMPONENTS DOES IT COME WITH?
We opted for the latest generation of Shimano’s Ultegra groupset for our test bike. If racing is your thing, it offers all the performance you could need, with smooth, precise and reliable gear shifting and powerful, easily modulated braking. Finishing kit is high-quality Ritchey WCS carbon parts, and we particularly like the handlebars with a short-reach, shallow drop that makes them comfortable in all hand positions. You could opt for cheaper alloy parts to bring the overall price down but we reckon these are a great match for the frame.
HOW ABOUT THOSE WHEELS?
Our test bike came with a set of Reynolds Assault tubeless-ready carbon clinchers. With their 25mm external width, they’re an ideal choice to fit the wider tyres that the frame has been designed to accommodate, while their 41mm rim depth and what Reynolds calls ‘Enhanced Swirl Lip Generator’ technology, means they’re designed to cut through the air with superior aerodynamic efficiency. They’re also impressively light for aero wheels at a claimed 1,515g for the pair, and incredibly stiff. Since Reynolds wheels are supplied by the same UK distributor as Kinesis Bikes, it’s easy to pick up a set when you order your frame – retail price for the wheelset is £1,300. The Challenge ParisRoubaix tyres in 27mm width, are designed – as the name suggests – to provide a fast, comfortable ride on even the roughest roads. Their 300tpi Superpoly casing – the same as Challenge use in their tubulat tyres – is light and supple, giving them a racy feel, while their tan sidewalls give them a stylish retro look.
HOW MUCH WILL IT SET ME BACK?
The Aithein Evo is available as a frameset only, at £729.99 so how you build it is entirely up to you, depending on your personal requirements. What we have here is an example of what’s possible to achieve if you have a budget of around £3,000, but a large chunk of that has gone on those stunning Reynolds carbon wheels. Swap those out for a set of Mavic Ksyrium Elites – a great lightweight all-rounder – and downgrade the Ultegra groupset for 105 and you’re looking at a total build price closer to £1,500.