- Kinesis FF29
I pushed the button on the parts required to build up a Kinesis FF29 yesterday, so I thought I’d start a thread to post my impressions of the bike. So far all I’ve got is the frame and some Hope X2 brakes (ordered from Winstanleys yesterday morning and arrived this lunchtime).
So, while I wait for the rest to arrive, a bit of background on why I chose this bike.
After 15 odd years of pure road riding I got back into riding off-road last year and went from my 20 year old fully rigid steel Rockhopper straight to a Trance full suss. So, apart from a couple of test rides I’ve never spent any real time on a hardtail and I thought I should rectify that.
I’m also down to do the Corrieyairack challenge in a few weeks (a 14 mile off-road ride followed by a 38 mile road ride, all to be done on the same bike). Even with high pressure slick tyres the Trance is a pain on the road and even with big fat knobblies the Rockhopper is still a bit scary on rocky descents. While I couldn’t justify getting a hardtail just for this event (the Rockhopper would be fine really), since I wanted to get one anyway it was a good excuse to get one now 🙂
Finally, I’m 29er curious. I had a four-day demo on an Orange Gyro, which I really liked. But there were still a few things that bothered me about it. It was hard work up long slow draggy climbs. Was that just the heavy wheels/tyres, or are all 29ers just like that. Then there was the issue of moving it round (wheelies, manuals etc). The Gyro felt fine, but I’m still very much a learner off-road and everyone says that 29ers are harder to move around in technical situations. Would that start to annoy me after a while?
So, I figured that a Trail/XC 29er hardtail would be a fun thing to try. Especially if I could get one where all the parts could be moved onto a modern full suss 29er (maybe even a longer travel one) in future.
So, I decided to build it around the Rockshox Rev RCT3 dual air forks that CRC are still knocking out at half-price. They will run at anywhere from 120-140mm travel, so are nice and versatile for any future options. That meant I needed a 29er hardtail frame that would take a 120mm fork, but still be a decent XC machine and the FF29 seemed to fit the bill. Plus, I’ve quite liked Kinesis frames ever since I first saw their T2 winter training frame, many years ago now, but I’d never owned one.
First impressions are quite positive. It’s a fun colour (a big factor in my book), seems to be well put together and the use of a mixture of black and white decals means that it should look OK with black or white forks.
Just a couple of minor concerns. This is the first frame I’ve owned where the headset bearings just push (fairly easily by the look of it) into the frame and it still seems like a dumb idea to me. There are also no dedicated cable guides for a dropper. Both gear cables and the rear brake run under the top tube though, so it should be easy enough to run the cable for my GD Turbo post under there too with some zip ties.Posted 4 years agoBadlyWiredDogSubscriber
This is the first frame I’ve owned where the headset bearings just push (fairly easily by the look of it) into the frame and it still seems like a dumb idea to me.
Integrated headset? My Maverick ML7 uses one of these and, despite the dire warnings on the Chris King web site, it’s still going strong nine years later. I’d agree that in theory it doesn’t make an awful lot of sense, but as long as you keep the headset properly adjusted it seems to work okay and you’re spared the expense of buying blocks of wood and mallets to fit headset cups…Posted 4 years agocreameggMember
I’ve got an Air9 frame sat at home waiting for the postie to bring me some new shiny bits to put on it. Hoping to get started on my first build this weekend.
My frame also hasn’t got dedicated cable guides for a dropper- not an issue though as I’ll clip it to the brake hose. The headset sounds the same as yours too, just drops into place.
I’m quite confident building it up, but the only part that I’m not so confident in is installing the fork. Cutting it down to length is fine but not sure if I need to face the fork? That might be the only job for the LBS.
Will be good to see your progress.Posted 4 years ago
Hi cream egg measure like a hundred times with spacers/stem fitted etc scribe it come down the tube about 2/4 mm from your mark. pipe cutter then just file it inside the tube (round file)and flat file on the out side till it has a rounded edgePosted 4 years ago
Only problem then is fitting the star nut if your using one.
Fear not, there will be lots of rambling and overly analytical stuff written about this bike. Whether it will add anything useful to what’s already out there is highly debatable though. I write stuff down to help me organise my thoughts and post it online so that I can find it again in future. If anybody actually reads it that’s just a bonus.
Should be fun with two of us building up the same bike as well. Hopefully we wont agree on everything 🙂
Most of the bits I need for the build were loaded onto the pacelforce van for delivery this morning. However, I won’t be in, so it all depends whether they stick it round the back (as usual) and aren’t having one of their occasional “by the book” days.
The build will be a bit of a mish-mash. Partly because I want to try a few things, partly because I wanted parts that could be moved to a future (more all mountain, full suss) build if (I decide to go that way in the future) and partly because of what I already had in the shed.
Wheels will be Hope/Arch Ex shod with 2.1″ Racing Ralph run tubeless. The weight of the frame and the nice Race X2 brakes would make Crests a more obvious choice, but there are lots of rocky descents and water bars up here and I don’t have the skills to float over stuff. Also, the weight penalty of Arch over Crest seemed a small price to pay for the extra stiffness. Generally I favour stiffness over weight within reason. I weigh around 15lb less than I did last year and could still drop another 10 lb before I could be classed as underweight. Unless and until that happens I’m not going to worry about a couple of pounds on the bike if it buys me so extra stiffness or longevity.
Given that, the Racing Ralph are perhaps a strange choice. But I’ve not ripped a sidewall on my Nobby Nics (yet), I’m hoping we might actually get a summer this year and I’m thinking they might work for a road commute to work and a bit of playing on the way home.
@creamegg: No need to worry about facing the top of a fork. Just hack it off roughly square and you’ll be fine. Nothing should actually be pressing on the top of the steerer anyway. The top cap pushes down on the stem to pre-load the headset, so the end of the steerer needs to sit a little below the top of the stem. If you cut it totally wonky then you’ve got a little less clamping area, but you have to really cock it up for it to actually matter. Of course, pride will probably make you cut it square and file it smooth, but it isn’t crucial to have it perfect.
@BadlyWiredDog: Good to hear that these integrated headsets can last. I have a nasty habit of leaving my headsets on the loose side (to avoid stressing the bearings), but I guess I’ll just have to err on the tighter side with this build.Posted 4 years ago
A friend has one of these and he loves it, it lives up to FF for sure, I found it a tad harsh when I tried it but that was very brief. It sounds like a good choice for your use-case.
everyone says that 29ers are harder to move around in technical situations
Everyone?Posted 4 years ago
creamegg: will you be using threadlock? if so id be interested to know ich one. Seems to be a huge choice. 242 / 222?
I only tend to use thread lock on things that come with it on already (e.g. rotor bolts and bottom bracket cups), but then I’m probably not a good example to follow.Posted 4 years ago
Aw, too easy. Yes, this is the first time I’ve had a CRC order go wrong. The nice parcelforce man left the parcels in the porch even though I was out, but the wheels weren’t with them. I dare say they’ll turn up soon enough.
The seatpost cable routing is deliberate. Whether it is a mistake only time will tell. And the gears certainly aren’t 🙂 I’ve tried riding fixed and SS (on road) and my knees still haven’t forgiven me.Posted 4 years ago
Well a little weigh in for those who might be interested to start with.Posted 4 years ago
Lrg frame 4.4 lb that’s bare no bolts or seat clamp.
Xfusion slider forks taper’d 120 mm air rebound only 4.4 lb uncut steerer.
Wheels budget set I’m afraid, superstar set with stans flow rims, 4.8lb bare no adaptors
That’s all for now waiting for tyres to arrive next week still so it’s gonna be week end before I get close to a ride on it 🙁
ps if I was being really picky, I’d desticker the rims, then have the valves at the Nobby Nic not the Schwalbe. Then with the wheels rotated for legibility, the valve is at the bottom for maximum getatability.
That bothers you, but the fact they’re 26″ rims in a 29er frame doesn’t! 😕
Can’t wait to see the finished article, really contemplating a move to a 29er hardtail at the moment, have considered a large number of options, but the Kinesis FF29 is right up there at the moment.Posted 4 years ago
So, the wheels finally arrived 🙂 I’d hesitate to say that it’s finished as all my bikes tend to be works in progress. How long will I be able to tolerate that ugly GD seatpost, for example (even if it does work flawlessly)? But it is now ready to ride.
@Speshpaul: I used the recommended FSA No 42 headset (from Halfords of all places).
So far I’ve just ridden it round the garden and a quick spin round the block to make sure that nothing falls off. It feels like a bike 🙂
According to the bathroom scales, total weight (including pedals and dropper post) for this size Large is 27lb on the nose. That compares with 30lb for my 26″ full suss Trance and 32lb for the full suss 29er Gyro that I tested. Mind you the total wheel weight (wheels, tyres, rotors and cassette) is 2.1lb lighter than the ones on the Gyro pro and actually a bit lighter than the Flow/NN setup on the Trance (despite having tubes in at the moment). I’m not overly bothered about weight though and the build was designed to (hopefully) be tough enough for rocky Scottish trails (ridden with no skill). You could easily take a few pounds out of the forks, wheels, chainset, bars, stem and seatpost if you were so inclined.
The build went pretty smoothly by my standards. The Hope X2 brakes are a lot easier to set up than the Avid Elixir 5s on the Trance, but getting the 29er Racing Ralph tyres onto the Arch Ex rims was a lot harder than getting the 26″ Nobby Nic tyres onto the Flow Ex rims of the Trance. Using fat 26″ inner tubes didn’t help though. They can be stretched around the bigger rim, but they don’t like staying put 👿
I should get the first proper ride on it over the weekend and will report back. I wouldn’t get too excited though. First rides (and most test rides in my opinion) are a pretty poor predictor of long term performance. If you want to justify spending (or having just spent) a lot of cash on a bike you aren’t going to want it to feel bad and if you want it to feel good it will feel good. Still, I won’t mind if it feels good 🙂Posted 4 years ago
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