The Bike List

Kinesis DC19 Cyclo-cross / Urban / Touring fork £130

Tested by Cheryl Frost, tester for The Bike List

While building up my dream cyclo-cross/touring bike (with a Yeti ARC-X frame) I decided to break the mould a little. I opted for a front disc brake ( the Avid BB5 mechanical disc brake) rather than the more traditional cantilever brake to avoid brake shudder, get more braking power, better modulation and lastly because it would look pretty trick. This left me with a bit of a search for a suitable fork…

Searching for a reasonably lightweight 700c disc brake compatible fork did not throw up a huge number of options, but UK-based frame and fork maestros Kinesis came to the rescue with a couple of options. I choose the Kinesis DC19 fork, an alloy steered / carbon legged fork that weighs in at a slightly lardy 680g, but once fitted, suited the overall feel and balance of the bike.

When underway the forks feel rigid and the steering is very direct. Bump absorption is good and the carbon legs soak up a fair amount of the road and trail buzz. The overall feeling of the fork is more akin to a rigid mountain bike fork than a traditional road fork and this is, I think, one of the factors that makes them feel so good. 

The DC19's offer more than enough room to run both cross and heavy duty (45c) touring tyres and still have plenty of mud clearance. This was proved at the very muddy Stainton Round of the North East Cyclo-cross League in November. 

The dropouts on the DC19's are a solidly engineered alloy design, with integral socket type idiot tabs. The disc mounts are neatly incorporated into the left hand dropout, the cold-forged crown is drilled and the legs have threaded mounts so a front rack and / or mudguard can be fitted, if desired. Kinesis say a 33c tyre can be comfortably run with a front mudguard fitted. The alloy fork crown looks like a heavyweight in comparison to a svelte road bike fork but it's this sturdiness that ensures the direct steering and inspires confidence both on and off road.

The carbon fork legs and Kinesis decals are lacquered and this looks very sleek when new. The forks have already had a pretty tough life having toured across Bhutan and Morocco in the last two months, not to mention almost daily use off and on road in the Lake District as well as the odd cyclo-cross race thrown in! As a result the lacquer is starting to show some signs of wear but given the use the bike has had, it's well in line with reasonable wear and tear.

Overall these sleek forks are deceptively robust making the best use of carbon (to keep the weight down and dial out some of the vibration) and alloy (for strength and longevity) whilst looking good too. For me, the front disc option has been the right choice. The consistent, judder free braking more than makes up for the few grams of extra weight that this system adds to the weight of my custom-built Yeti. 

I rate these forks very highly and, with a renaissance in disc braked cross bikes anticipated in 2011, I would not be surprised to see this model evolve in due course - bring it on Kinesis!

Kinesis says:

There is an increased demand for a carbon, disc-specific fork, for use with 'cross bikes or tourers. This new fork fits the brief perfectly and has clearance and eyelets for a mudguard and 33c tyre. Carbon blades with cold-forged crown and dropouts keep things light and tough.

  • Wheel: 700c 
  • Rake: 43 
  • Weight: 680g
  • Steerer: Alloy.  1 1/8". 300mm
  • Crown Height: 400mm
  • Material: Bonded Carbon Fiber
  • Tyre clearance 50  mm

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At a glance

Verdict Sleek, robust disc-specific carbon and alloy forks with good vibration absorption and plenty of mud and wheel clearance.