Review: Kinesis 4S Disc

Thanks to our friends at QBikes, one of our riders Colin had the opportunity of riding a demo Kinesis 4S Disc yesterday on our Big Ring Reliability run.  His review of the shiny blue dream machine is below:

So I’ve been cycling for about ten years. Compared to other people I ride with, in the grand scheme of things that’s not been a long time.  I was obese when I started, and although I could cycle a fair distance, it would take me a while to get to where I wanted to go and I was also rubbish on hills.  My average speed on rides was around 12/13mph. I was on a mountain bike until 2010 when I got Giant Defy 4.  This was followed up with two Specialized bikes (Allez: 2011 and Allez Elite: 2015). Following two crashes, a broken elbow and a mild traumatic brain injury, plus an intentional significant weight loss (5 stone) I decided to join a local club.  Paisley Velo it was.  I saw my average speed increase to 15/16mph.  My Allez Elite has been running like a dream and only just needed a few things tuned up after around 3000 miles.  In the space of just over a year with the club, I’ve made the jump from Wee/Middle Ring groups to the Big Ring group where the pace is higher and the distance longer.  My average speed is now 16/17mph.  It’s not easy - but it’s rewarding, and my Allez Elite with Tiagra groupset has done me particularly well.  


Today’s club run was much different.  Long term friends of the club QBikes in Paisley asked the club if someone could try out a demo bike.  It was a 54 sized frame Kinesis 4S Disc model, which matches the size of my Allez Elite. After checking the spec I took on the opportunity to test out something different, and having never used disc brakes, my initial thought was that this was going to take me slightly out of my comfort zone.


I needn’t be worried though. I turned up at QBikes in the morning, ready to swap water bottles and my Garmin onto the new bike.  It was a shiny blue frame with ultra-bright orange bar tape. I couldn’t get away with how nice and shiny it looked, so I was a little wary of the wet roads (it had rained overnight) as I didn’t really want to get it dirty.  Silly thought really as it’s February in Scotland – of course it’s going to get fucking dirty.


So, off we set on our reliability run through rural Renfrewshire & skirting it’s surrounding counties.  It literally only took me a few seconds to become accustomed to the Ultegra shifters and the slightly lower headset/drops than what I was used to.  


There were two major differences which I noticed from using my Allez Elite.  Firstly, the Kinesis 4S Disc frameset is much lighter, and secondly the disc brakes are super-responsive (much more than the rim brakes I’d been used to for the last ten years).  The brakes on this model are TRP Spyre and they really mean business! Couple with the Kinesis CX Disc Wheelset, Praxis crankset and Syntace finishing kit, I was well up for giving this a right good test!!


We headed through Bishopton into a westerly wind, and turned up towards Houston at which point we started our first short climb.  Nothing huge, but I noticed a difference in the bikes handling especially when standing up on climbs than the Specialized.  It was the descending where I really got to test out the brakes.  It took me a little while to find my ‘biting point’ if you want to call it that, but once found I was able to effectively brake even at the last minute when coming up to traffic lights in Bridge of Weir.  


We then headed up the back road to Lochwinnoch, where more climbing was involved.  I guess this is where the Ultegra groupset and the light weight of the bike comes into play as climbing was much, much easier than on the Allez Elite.  


Descending down a wet Johnshill is always a little scary, but I felt completely confident about cornering and braking using the disc brakes and the CX wheelset – something I’m definitely not too confident with my current setup of Gatorskins and Axis classic wheelset.


A flat few miles was then in store as we headed through Lochwinnoch’s back road to Beith.  Unfortunately, this is where (unbeknown to us) a tractor had recently been along the road and it wasn’t just muddy, it was really really muddy!!  After Beith, we crossed the A737 and headed through Gateside to Lugton and then turned to Torranyard.  Wind in our faces again, but we soon turned back towards Stewarton, where we were greeted with a rather welcome (if light) tailwind.  I thought I’d try a few sprints with the Kinesis 4S and sure enough, even sprinting uphill was much easier and appeared to be more efficient than what I’m used to, measured thanks to a few PBs on Strava.


After fifty miles we were almost back at base.  My arse was much more comfortable than usual at this point thanks to the fi:zik saddle (from what I remember it was an ‘Aliante Gamma’ model).  Probably the smoothest saddle I’ve ridden on and most definitely worth a mention here.


It’s still early days with my Allez Elite and I reckon I could get another 3000 miles out of it before considering something else, but even after using the Kinesis 4S Disc for one day, it’s already a brand which I’ve got my eye on for my next steed.  


Big thanks to QBikes for letting me ride the demo bike.


Colin Sales.


The 4S Disc and other models from Kinesis are available from QBikes.  Give them a call or pop in and see them!