One of the most eagerly anticipated bikes of 2012 is the Kinesis Maxlight FF29. Ever since we rode a prototype in November of last year, we’ve been counting the days until it hit production. That day has come, it is now available.
Speaking to Upgrade’s designer Dom Mason, who has been at the helm designing classics like the XCPro3 and Pro6 since 1999, it’s very clear that he wanted his first 29er to exhibit the sort of handling his previous bikes have been known for.
That means slacker and longer geometry so it’s at home when being hustled through fast flowing singletrack, planting a massive smile over your face in the process. Geometry has settled at 71.5 degrees for the head angle, and it’s designed around a 100-120mm fork. Chainstays are short at 17.5in and the wheelbase is 42.59in.
SuperPlastic Formed technology is used to shape the 6000 series aluminium tubes. The downtube eschews the traditional Kinesis straight tube aesthetic for one that curves at the head tube and bottom bracket. Paired with a tapered head tube, a straight top tube – where the cables are routed underneath – and Supertaper stays providing clearance for 2.2in tyres, it’s an elegant looking bike. Weight for a bare frame is a claimed 1.78kg (3.92lb).
This is Rory Hitchens. He’s the marketing manager at Upgrade Bikes, and sent us these photos of a freshly built FF29. And here are his first ride impressions:
“The whole frame is very stable. I was surprised how sure-footed it was on slow, steep granny gear climbs. The 120mm slide fork never felt like it should be stacked down and I was anticipating some work to control the front end on the steep accents but the bike just sticks and the front wheel is very easily controlled.
“Last night was a time for going fast and I took the FF29 to warp factor 10 on a couple of descents.”
Sounds good to us, and we’ll be getting the chance to ride a fully built bike as soon as we can prise it from Rory’s tightly clenched fingers.