July 12, 2010
Tim K reviews a racy hardtail that's equally happy riding all day
Kinesis Maxlight XCPro3 (frame only)
- It’s a looker..
Distributor: Upgrade Bikes
Tested: 2 months
The Kinesis Maxlight XC has been around since 2001 and has been revised in various guises, all aimed at the XC end of the market. This new XCPro3 frame has been completely redesigned from the ground up and on first impressions it certainly looks the part of a racy 100mm hardtail frame in its blue and white livery, although white and red is also available.
The frame is built from a combination of SPF (SuperPlastic Formed) and hydroformed aluminium tubes along with a carbon wishbone/seat stay detail. This combination of aluminium and carbon certainly keeps the weight of the frame down to 1520grams (3.35lbs). This design provides some absorption of trail buzz besides helping to reduce weight and looking nice. The frame is designed to have a zero stack headset to keep the front end low and racy but it didn’t feel too low as to make it an uncomfortable position. The 44.5cm (medium) frame was a good fit for someone of my height, 5ft 9in. The 71 degree head angle keeps the steering nice and sharp at the front end and whipping along singletrack is a pleasure – in fact the geometry of the XCPro3 is the same as that of the flagship Kinesis cross country race frame, the full carbon KM-810.
On the ups the XCPro3 climbs well with all the energy being transferred to the back wheel rather than being lost through frame flex, so it would appear that the strange shaped tubing does its job of keeping the frame stiff and light. Although the frame is designed as a XC race frame it is more than capable of taking on more technical trails and having some fun rather than eye balls out racing. The frame was built up with a robust XC build, no super pimp lightweight stuff but still it only weighed in at 25.9lbs.
This frame has definitely got the heart of a XC racer and loves being hammered along but it is also competent at being used for a trail bike for everyday riding whether it be long days in the saddle, trail centre stuff or just general mountain biking.
Overall, it is an excellent frame for the XC racer who doesn’t want to hand over huge amounts of cash for a frame or a MTBer who wants a good all round lightweight 100mm travel hardtail trail bike. I’m looking forward to riding it over the course of the year and will report back with how it gets on.
Review by Tim Kershaw