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I know what you're thinking; "Huh? Those are two completely different bikes!" But, hear me out!

I currently have a Triban 500 which is a size too big for me, so in other words I have a pretty low end set of wheels, groupset etc that can be cannibalised is needed, if not, I have a pub bike... I want to buy a new, better bike that actually fits me and will encourage me to go out and ride it rather than making excuses of achey shoulders! I bought the Triban as a cheap way to see if I actually liked road biking, and to that end, it’s served it’s purpose very well indeed, but it’s time for something shiny!

I've narrowed down my choices to either the Kinesis GF_Ti V3 or the Whyte Wessex One. I realise these are quite different options, hence my dilemma! For reference I also considered the 4S disc, the RTD and the Orro Gold disc but this has a press fit bb...

On the Kinesis front, the frame itself can be had for about £1250 online, and I can transfer most of the bits from my Triban while I save up for something more bling (I know I’ll also need a seat post and front mech as the seat posts are different sizes). I’ll enjoy the building process and will ultimately end up with a bike built specifically for me, I’m thinking Hunt carbon wheels with Ultegra…

The Whyte Wessex is £2k for the complete bike and I’d buy it from a local(ish) bike shop so would probably get a sizing/fit thrown in. They don’t have it in stock (although they can order it) so I can’t test ride it, but neither can I test the Kinesis.

Both bikes will take guards, both have a threaded BB, both take wide-ish tyres. So I guess it comes down to, disc vs (long drop) callipers, 1x vs 2x and carbon vs titanium… Despite being carbon the Whyte is a bit porky due to the discs so I think final builds will weigh roughly the same… I haven’t ridden either of these bikes but have ridden other carbon and titanium bikes briefly and think titanium is more comfy whilst carbon is more direct/faster. I’m not sold on discs but do recognise their advantages (also their disadvantages, weight, cost and the dreaded squeal!), that being said I’m comparing to long drop callipers, not direct mount so not the most efficient callipers… I’m also on the fence about 1x vs 2x - depending on the cassette the overall gear range will be roughly the same and I’m not bothered about the jumps as I don’t race or ride in groups - cadence isn’t really important to me, and I could always fit a 1x to the Kinesis…

What do you think? This a bike for normal rides on normal British roads, I like to go far and fast but I’ll never get a KOM. I don’t have any issues riding in the rain but I don’t have to go out if it’s lashing down (this is a Sunday ride, not a commuter). I live in Surrey so there are lots of hills, but it’s not the alps!

I know the correct answer is to buy both, but I currently only have space for 1 bike…

Cheers!

19 comments

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Canyon48 [1136 posts] 1 month ago
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I can only speak for the Wessex, as I own one (albeit the 2x version) - but I'll try and give you as much info about it as possible! I also have 1x on one of my other bikes, so I feel I can make some useful(ish) comments on that.

 

My first ride on my 2x Wessex really surprised me as I've never ridden a bike like it (My other bikes a Canyon Ultimate). It felt quite short in reach, this was really easily solved by sticking a long stem on, which I promptly slammed (Dave Arthur did the exact same when he reviewed this bike).

The other thing that really stood out was how calm, stable and comfortable it felt, yet it's very nearly as fast as my Canyon. I could easily ride it all day and stay comfortable (in fact, I rode just over 100 miles on it and felt absolutely fine after - it just calmly rolls through the miles).

The stock tyres felt a bit slow, but I had a set of mid/deep section wheels with Conti GP4 seasons that were destined to go on it anyway - that made the bike feel quite a bit faster! The only other thing I do notice is it doesn't hold speed uphill so well (unlike my Canyon Ultimate - which isn't a surprise). The Wessex isn't a massively light bike, but I don't think it's trying to be.

The Wessex has provisions for dedicated mudguards (which is very nice as they don't require any hassle to fit, and they fit perfectly) and it still looks excellent and feels fast even with the mudguards attached.

 

There is absolutely no comparison to be had between long drop calliper brakes and disc brakes. I've had a bike with long drop callipers, they were no way near the performance of my disc brakes (rim brakes are excellent for lightweight race bikes to use in good weather though!).

The other excellent thing about disc brakes is you can stick a nice set of carbon wheels on and not need to worry about wearing the rims or losing braking performance in the wet.

 

As for the 1x, I use a 40t chainring with 11-36 on my CX bike (which I also use on road with road wheels), never had any issue climbing, but it does run a bit short at the top end - that said, I rode it up and around the Mendips (up Cheddar Gorge etc) and kept up 18mph with no issues. The Wessex has a 44t with 10-42, this gives you more or less the same gearing as 50/34 11-32. I haven't been bothered by/haven't noticed the increase in jumps between gears.

 

I use my Wessex as my year-round bike as well as my commuter bike and my not-so-good-roads road bike - it really hasn't let me down as it's very fast whilst being very comfortable and capable of tackling naff country roads.

In my mind, the Kinesis is a bit more of a "Sunday best" bike for riding when the weather is good and you want to do a short blast on decent roads (which may be ideal for you?). The Wessex is more of an all-round bike, but is also incredibly fast when you want it to be.

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Freetime101 [52 posts] 1 month ago
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Thanks for the detailed info - much appreciated!
From what I've read about both bikes, and the way I intend to build them, I'm inclined to agree with the do it all/Sunday best comment - unfortunately this fuels my "buy both" feeling  4
Interesting about the whyte being short - how much longer is the stem you fitted, and did this effect the handling?
Cheers!

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Canyon48 [1136 posts] 1 month ago
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Freetime101 wrote:

Thanks for the detailed info - much appreciated!
From what I've read about both bikes, and the way I intend to build them, I'm inclined to agree with the do it all/Sunday best comment - unfortunately this fuels my "buy both" feeling  4
Interesting about the whyte being short - how much longer is the stem you fitted, and did this effect the handling?
Cheers!

It came with a 110mm stem (medium frame) and I just felt cramped compared with my Canyon Ultimate (which is medium frame with 100mm integrated stem). I put a 120mm stem on and slammed it, now I feel right at home on it, it hasn't had a detrimental effect on the handling.

Just for a bit of context/comparison my Wessex has about 10 mm less reach and about 15 mm less saddle-bar drop than my Ultimate, so having a long stem compensates for the more relaxed geometry and suits me well.

If you did go for the Wessex I'd recommend a second set of bling wheels with some racey tyres on. That way you have the versatility of the wider (tubeless) tyres on one wheelset (possibly with a bigger cassette), plus a lightweight aero wheelset for the fast Sunday rides  1

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Fishpastesarnie [31 posts] 1 month ago
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You can test ride a Kinesis. Your nearest dealer can ask Kinesis to drop one of their test fleet at the shop for you to try. 

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Jimthebikeguy.com [248 posts] 1 month ago
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I have the wessex. Great bike, altho unfortunately the mudguards are a bit rubbish. Unless you are hell bent on getting the 1x version, my vote would actually be to get the ultegra one (i work in a whyte dealer, I have experience of both, its just a nicer bike overall). Its incredible value, beautifully made and designed, and rides all day like a maniac.

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kil0ran [1408 posts] 1 month ago
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Re the long drop vs discs discussions - bear in mind that Shimano standard drop brakes (105 and above) will clear 28mm tyres. If you're mainly doing road riding do you need to go above 28s?

For mudguards there's also the new option from PDW to clear 28s. I don't know whether it will clear 28s plus mudguards on standard drops though.

If you do need long drops then there are options from TRP (RG957) or Velo-Orange. The Shimano long drops are good too - I'm well north of 100kg and they haul me up good enough with standard pads and aluminium rims. Not as sharp as a short drop brake but I ended up concluding that I didn't brake much (no commuting now I WFH) and long drops would be fine.

Get the right size GF_Ti and it will be the last road bike you need. From memory they do 7 sizes so you can really tune the fit on it, loads of flexibility there.

Personally, I got a huge amount of pleasure out of building my bike. Very similar to you, I cobbled together parts from various bikes and built up a Bowman Layhams with a mix of Tiagra & 105. Took me a weekend, learnt a lot, and now if something does break or go out of adjustment I know how to fix it. All the stuff I used to go to the LBS for (gear adjustment, bar tape) I DIY and the only thing I got them to do was chase and face the frame and cut the steerer.

The only thing against the GF_Ti for me is that the widest tyre it will take (in rim brake form) is 30mm. I don't foresee a need to go above that because I've got a tourer for rough stuff but that might be an issue for an N=1. Ultimately if you're happy with rims there's nothing this side of something with canti bosses that will handle fast road duties on a 32mm tyre.

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henryb [81 posts] 1 month ago
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kil0ran wrote:

If you do need long drops then there are options from TRP (RG957) or Velo-Orange.

I have the TRP RG957 brakes (https://www.tredz.co.uk/.TRP-RG957-Dual-Pivot-Long-Drop-Road-Brakes_88000.htm) on my Genesis Equilibrium (to replace the weedy brakes the bike came with), and they are excellent.

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hawkinspeter [3481 posts] 1 month ago
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henryb wrote:
kil0ran wrote:

If you do need long drops then there are options from TRP (RG957) or Velo-Orange.

I have the TRP RG957 brakes (https://www.tredz.co.uk/.TRP-RG957-Dual-Pivot-Long-Drop-Road-Brakes_88000.htm) on my Genesis Equilibrium (to replace the weedy brakes the bike came with), and they are excellent.

Seconded - I put a pair of those on my old Cannondale and yes they're expensive (I got them for about £100 from EBay) but they work very well and look good too.

Road.cc review: https://road.cc/content/review/115645-trp-rg957-deep-drop-brakes

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mikeymustard [43 posts] 1 month ago
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henryb wrote:
kil0ran wrote:

If you do need long drops then there are options from TRP (RG957) or Velo-Orange.

I have the TRP RG957 brakes (https://www.tredz.co.uk/.TRP-RG957-Dual-Pivot-Long-Drop-Road-Brakes_88000.htm) on my Genesis Equilibrium (to replace the weedy brakes the bike came with), and they are excellent.

I've got Shimano BR650's on my Equilibrium and they haul my substantial arse to a stop very effectively (mind you the pads are only half way down the slot). In the last few weeks I've replaced the original rear shimano pads with some swiss stops and I think they might be ever so slightly better

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Freetime101 [52 posts] 1 month ago
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Canyon48 wrote:
Freetime101 wrote:

Thanks for the detailed info - much appreciated! From what I've read about both bikes, and the way I intend to build them, I'm inclined to agree with the do it all/Sunday best comment - unfortunately this fuels my "buy both" feeling  4 Interesting about the whyte being short - how much longer is the stem you fitted, and did this effect the handling? Cheers!

It came with a 110mm stem (medium frame) and I just felt cramped compared with my Canyon Ultimate (which is medium frame with 100mm integrated stem). I put a 120mm stem on and slammed it, now I feel right at home on it, it hasn't had a detrimental effect on the handling. Just for a bit of context/comparison my Wessex has about 10 mm less reach and about 15 mm less saddle-bar drop than my Ultimate, so having a long stem compensates for the more relaxed geometry and suits me well. If you did go for the Wessex I'd recommend a second set of bling wheels with some racey tyres on. That way you have the versatility of the wider (tubeless) tyres on one wheelset (possibly with a bigger cassette), plus a lightweight aero wheelset for the fast Sunday rides  1

 

Thanks, not a massivley longer stem then  4 

Good shout on the wheels, I believe it comes with Schwalbel G-one speed tyres so I think a set of Hunt aero carbon wheels with Schwalbe pro-ones would compliment this nicely!

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Freetime101 [52 posts] 1 month ago
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Fishpastesarnie wrote:

You can test ride a Kinesis. Your nearest dealer can ask Kinesis to drop one of their test fleet at the shop for you to try. 

I know but they want £600 more for the frameset  2 I'm all for supporting the LBS but £600 is £600 - and I dont want to be that guy that tests instore then buys online as it's a small independent. Plus its a mid ride coffee stop so I wouldn't want to piss him off  4

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Freetime101 [52 posts] 1 month ago
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Jimthebikeguy.com wrote:

I have the wessex. Great bike, altho unfortunately the mudguards are a bit rubbish. Unless you are hell bent on getting the 1x version, my vote would actually be to get the ultegra one (i work in a whyte dealer, I have experience of both, its just a nicer bike overall). Its incredible value, beautifully made and designed, and rides all day like a maniac.

Thanks for the input - other than the second ring what's nicer about it? I'm not hell bent on the 1x - to be honest it's mainly the colour I like! 

Avatar
Freetime101 [52 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
kil0ran wrote:

Re the long drop vs discs discussions - bear in mind that Shimano standard drop brakes (105 and above) will clear 28mm tyres. If you're mainly doing road riding do you need to go above 28s?

For mudguards there's also the new option from PDW to clear 28s. I don't know whether it will clear 28s plus mudguards on standard drops though.

If you do need long drops then there are options from TRP (RG957) or Velo-Orange. The Shimano long drops are good too - I'm well north of 100kg and they haul me up good enough with standard pads and aluminium rims. Not as sharp as a short drop brake but I ended up concluding that I didn't brake much (no commuting now I WFH) and long drops would be fine.

Get the right size GF_Ti and it will be the last road bike you need. From memory they do 7 sizes so you can really tune the fit on it, loads of flexibility there.

Personally, I got a huge amount of pleasure out of building my bike. Very similar to you, I cobbled together parts from various bikes and built up a Bowman Layhams with a mix of Tiagra & 105. Took me a weekend, learnt a lot, and now if something does break or go out of adjustment I know how to fix it. All the stuff I used to go to the LBS for (gear adjustment, bar tape) I DIY and the only thing I got them to do was chase and face the frame and cut the steerer.

The only thing against the GF_Ti for me is that the widest tyre it will take (in rim brake form) is 30mm. I don't foresee a need to go above that because I've got a tourer for rough stuff but that might be an issue for an N=1. Ultimately if you're happy with rims there's nothing this side of something with canti bosses that will handle fast road duties on a 32mm tyre.

 

Kinesis state the frame needs long drops - if standards fit this would be great as I plan on buying a full groupset from one of the big online stores anyway! I've read plenty of postive things about the Shimano/TRP offerings, not heard of Orange-Velo though...

 

It's not really N=1, it's N=1 for now but once I move house there'll be a garage for N=Plenty!

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AndyH01 [13 posts] 1 month ago
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I recently went through similar dilemma, I wanted something adapterable 1x, 650b /700c wideish tyres &/or di2 & as commuter full rack and guards, so
i considered the kaniesis, but the full bike costade me look elsewhere
As everything hangs off the frame I spent eyes debating what I wanted

Ruled out carbon as no rack/guards and scared of it getting knocked at wrong frequency in wrong place

Titanium hard to manufacture well I did consider J.ack leverage?? Or an Enigma escape even an Seven Evergreen but again costs put me off nearly £7k
I was tempted with Steel but in end went Aluminium.

I went for a Mason Bokeh but you could look at their Resolution

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Canyon48 [1136 posts] 1 month ago
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Freetime101 wrote:
Jimthebikeguy.com wrote:

I have the wessex. Great bike, altho unfortunately the mudguards are a bit rubbish. Unless you are hell bent on getting the 1x version, my vote would actually be to get the ultegra one (i work in a whyte dealer, I have experience of both, its just a nicer bike overall). Its incredible value, beautifully made and designed, and rides all day like a maniac.

Thanks for the input - other than the second ring what's nicer about it? I'm not hell bent on the 1x - to be honest it's mainly the colour I like! 

I find the Mudguards alright other than a bit rattle if I take off one hand.

I believe any shop that stocks Whyte will allow you to test ride them.

I agree with the 2x over 1x (for specifically road use only), as it's just a little more slick. I certainly love 1x for ease and simplicity though.

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Jimthebikeguy.com [248 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Freetime101 wrote:
Jimthebikeguy.com wrote:

I have the wessex. Great bike, altho unfortunately the mudguards are a bit rubbish. Unless you are hell bent on getting the 1x version, my vote would actually be to get the ultegra one (i work in a whyte dealer, I have experience of both, its just a nicer bike overall). Its incredible value, beautifully made and designed, and rides all day like a maniac.

Thanks for the input - other than the second ring what's nicer about it? I'm not hell bent on the 1x - to be honest it's mainly the colour I like! 

It looks nicer in the flesh, and the wheelset is much better, and it comes with much better tires, and the shimano groupset absolutely pisses all over the sram apex stuff on the 1x from a great height.

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Freetime101 [52 posts] 1 month ago
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Hmmm now that you've mentioned it I've had a closer look at the specs - it's just Force brakes, the rest is Apex which is loosely level with Tiagra... It seems you get quite a bit more for the extra £250! Tyres listed are the same though (G-one speed) so I guess there is some differences in the build...

 

After much reflection, I've decided to go for the Kinesis now, and come back for the Whyte later yes (Though not sure which Whyte - pity they dont do the 2x in yellow...)

As others have mentioned the Kinesis is more of a Sunday best bike - and it's coming up to summer! I'll worry about guards and discs next winter...

The only quandry now is frame size... The height chart says 60cm (I'm 6'2") but based on my XL Btwin being far too big I'm wondering if the 57cm may be a better fit? Also I know it's a completely different bike but on the Whyte I'd be a 56cm cool

From my other thread I know I should be looking at reach but on the Btwin this is only 2mm different bewteen the L and XL frames... The frame is more that 2mm too big!

Avatar
Jimthebikeguy.com [248 posts] 1 month ago
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Freetime101 wrote:

Hmmm now that you've mentioned it I've had a closer look at the specs - it's just Force brakes, the rest is Apex which is loosely level with Tiagra... It seems you get quite a bit more for the extra £250! Tyres listed are the same though (G-one speed) so I guess there is some differences in the build...

 

After much reflection, I've decided to go for the Kinesis now, and come back for the Whyte later yes (Though not sure which Whyte - pity they dont do the 2x in yellow...)

As others have mentioned the Kinesis is more of a Sunday best bike - and it's coming up to summer! I'll worry about guards and discs next winter...

The only quandry now is frame size... The height chart says 60cm (I'm 6'2") but based on my XL Btwin being far too big I'm wondering if the 57cm may be a better fit? Also I know it's a completely different bike but on the Whyte I'd be a 56cm cool

From my other thread I know I should be looking at reach but on the Btwin this is only 2mm different bewteen the L and XL frames... The frame is more that 2mm too big!

The 1x wessex comes with some big fat wtb slicks. They aren't too great and the tubeless fit is poor, even though it also uses wtb rims. The ultegra one uses easton rims with a schwalbe g one speed, which is a sweet combo.

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Freetime101 [52 posts] 1 month ago
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Hmmm, interesting as the Wessex would be for a winter/bad weather steed - so good tyres are even more important!