Is the Kinesis G2 all the road and gravel bike anyone really needs?

The G2 packages twenty years of Kinesis design experience into an affordable alloy all-road / gravel all-rounder. I've been riding one all spring to find out how it performs

Kinesis G2 viewed side on and Bike Perfect recommends badge
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

BikePerfect Verdict

Really well balanced, enjoyable on and off-road all-rounder with mudguard mounts to maximise that versatility. 11-speed Apex saves money over the latest 12-speed too, but it’s not a bolt-covered adventurer or slack angled ‘almost MTB’ play bike.

Pros

  • +

    Perky under power but not punishing over distance

  • +

    Responsive road/off-road happy handling

  • +

    Sorted all-round spec and supplied tubeless as standard

  • +

    Full rack and mudguard mounts

  • +

    Different sizes are different proportional shapes

Cons

  • -

    Basic bar tape

  • -

    Old 11-speed rather than new 12-speed SRAM Apex

  • -

    UK availability only

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UK brand Kinesis have a whole range of adventure bikes from distance road machines to freaky fat tire off-roaders. The G2 is their entry-level, super versatile alloy framed all-road / gravel bike that’s happy mixing town and country off-road or on. Is it everything most people need for mixed riding or could you do better for your cash?

Design and geometry

Kinesis has been designing frames for over twenty years and the G2 is a mix of classic outline and cleanly executed up-to-date details. Offering just four sizes keeps costs under control. Bigger frames use a relatively horizontal top tube, but the small size drops it down at the back for better standover and (according to Kinesis) a proportionately smoother ride performance. Tube shaping is as subtle as the two-tone green paint job, with slight ovalising on the downtube and rear stays. The head tube has a straight taper that reflects the straight-edged full carbon fork. Cables enter under the down tube behind the fork and then exit ahead of the bottom bracket which I was worried would invite wheel spray intrusion. If anything water runs out rather than in though, so rest easy on rainy days. Conventional threaded bottom bracket and flat mount disc brake mounts brings standards up to date. The hooped rear brace gives ample clearance for 45mm tires – or 42mm if you bolt mudguards into the front and rear eyelets. However, the only storage mounts are three sets of bottle bosses with no top tube ‘fuel tank’ or fork eyelets for bolt-on bags and holsters. I was surprised to find you don’t get them on the Tripster AT or ATR framesets either, so then you need to get the Kinesis Tripster AT Plus if you want those in your bikepacking life.

The geometry initially looks as conventional as the frame with a 71-degree head angle, 74-degree seat angle and 547mm top tube / 384mm reach on the medium I tested. The 70mm bottom bracket drop is conspicuously low though.

Kinesis G2 downtube detail

Cables run internally inside the downtube and the fork leg (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Components and build

Kinesis sell a variety of framesets for self-building, but they only make two road bikes and the G2 as complete packages – which affects their ability to haggle for better component prices even compared to other small firms. As a result, while the G2 bike is built around a cable geared, hydraulic brake, SRAM Apex, it’s the old 11-speed version not the new 12-speed setup. That means there’s no power meter upgrade capability on the single ring cranks and the hood shape is the older one too. 170mm to 175mm crank length is matched to frame size. Wheels are a Novatec hub, Jalco tubeless rim setup, but I was pleased to see the tires are Schwalbe’s benchmark G-One Allround TLE in a 40mm size. They’re also set up tubeless as standard which is a nice touch. 

Selle Italia provide the relatively narrow and form X3 saddle while seatpost, bars and stem are anonymous alloy pieces. Bars widen by 20mm with every size from 420mm to 460mm while stem lengths are on the long side at 80mm for a small, 90mm on medium and large, then 100mm on the XL. I was a bit disappointed that the G2 gets a cheap generic bar tape which makes the already narrow round bars look particularly emaciated. I’d definitely try and convince your Kinesis dealer to fit some of their much nicer Kinesis Grip or 4 Seasons tape instead.

SRAM Apex 11 on Kinesis G2

The SRAM Apex group is the old 11-speed version not the new 12-speed, but that saves a significant chunk of cash and it works fine (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Ride, handling and performance

I normally roll my eyes and assume empty hype when presented with phrases such as ‘Rider Fit Design’, but the Kinesis dimensions definitely create a noticeable different feel. In particular, that bottom bracket drop is enough for the bike to feel properly slammed. That’s great for a surefooted feel through corners once you’re used to it, but the overall feel of being closer to the road overall played with my head in terms of saddle height at first. Once you’ve adjusted though, the G2 feels like a well-balanced, responsive but not nervous, road bike and the cockpit complements that. This means any extra confidence comes from the fatter tires rather than a slack steering angle or super flared bars. So if you’re thinking of comparing it to something like the Sonder Camino, then don’t as that's a much slacker, more progressive bike that steers and feels very different.

The frame feel is very well matched to the handling too. The unsloped frame means extra triangulation so it feels taut and responsive under power and accelerates well for a 10kg bike. It’s compliant enough to be comfy on longer rides though and only starts to really kick about and spill momentum when you hit farm track cobbles or baked tractor tread. The front fork is a smooth operator though so hand comfort is fine on longer rides even with the cheap bar tape. As I’ve already said, better quality tape would make a big difference if you can haggle it at point of purchase.

Kinesis G2 in the woods

I've tested the G2 for several months and it's been an enjoyable ride every time (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

Despite being half the price, the Kinesis G2 fills a very similar space in the road to gravel spectrum as the new Cervelo Aspero and it’s a really enjoyable ride on road, back lane, farm track or forest trail. Unlike the Cervelo, you get the added bonus of full mudguard mounts to really make the most of that all-round versatility. The handling and ride feel work well for a bike designed to spend similar amounts of time on road to off, and the low BB means it feels more stable at speed than the rest of the geometry would suggest. The SRAM stop-and-go gear is functionally fine too, although it is previous generation 11-speed Apex, not the new 12-speed kit. Compared to otherwise similar bikes with that new Apex like Specialized’s Diverge Comp E5 at £2,500. it’s a lot cheaper as a result.

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The lowdown: Kinesis G2
AttributesNotesRating
Road performanceResponsive road geometry with stable 40mm tires★★★★
Off-road performanceLower BB helps stability but it's not an MTB★★★
Components and buildSolidly functional if a bit dated★★★★
Value for moneyYou can buy cheaper with similar spec★★★

Kinesis G2 viewed from in front

Geometry is more on road than off-road oriented, but there's plenty of space for 45mm tires on the fork and frame of the G2 (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Test conditions

  • Surface: Everything from road to loam, roots and loose rock
  • Trails: Road, gravel, natural XC, official XC courses, moorland singletrack, red and blue grade trails centre and off-piste play trails 
  • Weather: Pretty much the whole meteorological menu apart from snow  

Kinesis G2 cockpit view

Bar and stem are sized to the frame and work well with the geometry but the bar tape is very basic (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Tech specs: Kinesis G2

  • Discipline: Gravel/all-road
  • Price: £1,680
  • Head angle: 71degrees
  • Frame material: Kinesis G2 Double Butted 6061 Alloy
  • Fork: Kinesis carbon flat mount
  • Sizes: S, M, (tested), L, XL 
  • Weight: 9.9kg
  • Wheel size: 700c
  • Chainset: SRAM Apex 40T 170 – 175mm arms with SRAM GXP bottom bracket. 
  • Rear mech: SRAM Apex 1
  • Shifter: SRAM Apex 1 11-speed
  • Cassette: SRAM PG1130 11 speed 11-42T 
  • Brakes: SRAM Apex, 2-piston hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors 
  • Tires: Schwalbe G-One Allround TLE 700x40c 
  • Wheels: Jalco Tubeless Compatible rims on Novatec centre lock hubs
  • Bars: Black Alloy 6061 OEM S(51):42cm M(54):44cm L(57):44cm XL(60):46cm
  • Stem: Black Alloy 6061 OEM 7° S(51):80mm M(54):90mm L(57):90mm XL(60):100mm 
  • Grips: Black cork
  • Seatpost: Black Alloy 6061 27.2mm, 350mm, 5mm offset 
  • Saddle: Selle Italia X3s
Guy Kesteven
Technical-Editor-at-Large

Guy has been working on Bike Perfect since we launched in 2019. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.

Current rides: Cervelo ZFS-5, Forbidden Druid V2, Specialized Chisel, custom Nicolai enduro tandem, Landescape/Swallow custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg