Saturday, 22 October 2011

Winter Build - Kinesis Racelight TK2

Changing weather conditions are on the way and I've been thinking about putting together a winter bike for a bit,  something dedicated for the job, rather than one of my carbon bikes with crudguards on.  Over the last six weeks, I've been busy buying bits for a build.  Here it is, unveiled for the first time.  It's a Kinesis Racelight TK2 with DC07 carbon forks.

Fully Built Up - Click Photo to Enlarge

Having started looking around, there aren't that many decent winter bikes around to buy off the peg.  A good winter bike has to have all the right lugs and bits on to mount full mudguards, I'd pretty much got the shortlist down to the Kinesis Racelight TK02, having reviewed Ribble and Dolan as potential candiates.  As usual, I got to thinking about how I could create something a little more personal with the money. 

Specialized Short Drop bars with Deda Stem

The Racelight TK02 has had great reviews, I really liked the colour scheme and - as my luck would have it - a 60cm frameset with carbon forks, mudguards and some Specialized bars had just gone onto eBay, hardly used.

Tiagra 9 Speed Groupset

Having successfully won the auction, I picked up a Tiagra groupset (hardly used) off of e-Bay, Fulcrum 7 wheels, Continental Gatorskin 25mm tyres, Deda stem and seatpost from Onix bikes and all the other bits I had hanging around in the garage or just picked up on-line.  Within a couple of weeks, my pile of bits in the conservatory was starting to look complete and ready for building up.

SRAM 11-32 Rear Cassette

One thing I did do was buy one of those SRAM 11-32 rear cassettes, which I thought would come in really handy for some of those harder days out in the hills, when you just need to keep spinning.  I spotted an on-line store doing a deal on one and picked one up for about £15, they're normally nearer £40-£50.  This gives me a gear ratio of 34/32 (1.06), which is basically about the same as a 28 tooth cassette on a triple (marginally better).  More about gear ratios here.

Picked up some Shimano Long Reach Callipers Cheap
You need to consider if building your own winter hack with full dedicated mudguards, that you may need longer reach brake callipers than normal as they may not go over the mudguard (short reach).  You should check, as it's not the same for every bike.  My estimates concluded I needed longer reach callipers, so I found a guy on eBay selling a brand new Shimano pair he'd stripped off a new bike.  Sorted.

Only thing I plan to change is the bar tape.  The Specialized bars I picked up on eBay, came with the tape and levers already mounted, so I'll run this until it needs replacing, then stick some black tape on.

After a super-fast and quality build mechanic mate Mike Jackson, I picked the bike up yesterday.  The bike looks stunning, it's exactly what I wanted.  Distinctive, with the right gear ratios, dedicated mudguards, a nice aluminium frame and equipped for whatever the winter wants to throw my way.  It also means my other bikes can be put into storage, reducing the need for a post-winter service.

It's been really interesting and at times exciting, doing a self-build.  Choosing components, watching auctions, ticking off the shopping list. Yes, it takes a little longer, however you bag some pretty good bargains if you're prepared to be patient.  I'm very fortunate knowing a great mechanic, so bits in boxes dropped off in a box one night, came back as my new winter steed two days later.  Happy days and bring on the winter.

Full Mudguards
Love the Deep Burgundy Colour
Ready for Winter


  1. Wow! I'm impressed and envious. I've opted for a Specialized Secteur with Crud MK 2 fitted. It took a while to get them fitted but did it eventually. The geometry is the same as my Roubaix so I won't need to reposition for the spring / summer.

  2. Love the bike Im just planning my own TK2 in the same colour yours looks stunning love the photos,unfortunatly I dont know a bike mechanic but planning to have my local bike shop put it together, so all new bits but trying to keep cost down.Like the wheels, im using some mavic cxp 22's
    off my old bike but hardly used, cant wait and very excited, I'll be able to rest the nice bike for the rest of winter
    Happy riding