2013 Verenti Kilmeston First Look

Verenti’s Kilmeston is designed to be a versatile, all-year riding machine. With a full complement of mudguards it’s ready for wet winter riding, and come warmer weather you can make use of the rear rack fittings and load up for a spot of light touring. Remove both guards and rack and it’s light enough to tackle the odd sportive.

Frame: Quality triple-butted aluminium, with geometry for a comfortably quick ride (8/10)
Handling: Stable, confident and plenty quick enough (8/10)
Equipment: SRAM Rival is hard to beat at this price. Only the saddle lets down the component package (9/10)
Wheels: Solid, mid-range wheels that roll well are class-leading for their weight, and are shod with good rubber (9/10)
Bearing in mind the Kilmeston’s triple-butted aluminium frame and slim carbon fork, we were expecting a fairly firm ride. It actually does a very good job of smoothing out the high-frequency buzz of rough road surfaces.

The only real comfort complaint we had was with the Me3 saddle; its narrow, flat profile is at odds with the comfort of the overall package, and we spent plenty of time moving it round. We tried – and failed – to find a comfortable position we were truly happy with, especially on the climbs.

The tall frame and long head tube (195mm) combined with 40mm of headset spacers gives a fairly upright riding position. This can obviously be adjusted by moving the spacers. In standard trim though, the commanding position feels great for a bike that will undoubtedly be used for commuting and training.

Handling is confident, with the emphasis on stability rather than the snappy speed of a more race-orientated bike. This makes the Kilmeston an excellent choice if you want a dependable, comfortable and fun second bike for winter training.

It also makes sense if you need one bike that will handle commuting with ease, whatever the weather, and be light and fast enough for forays into distance rides and the odd event or sportive. We’d even recommend sticking a rear rack on and using the Kilmeston for light touring and long weekends in the saddle.

The SRAM Rival drivetrain paired with a Truvativ Elita compact chainset gives a very usable 50/34 up front and a 12-27 rear cassette – a wide spread capable of conquering most climbs you can expect in the UK.

Shifting is positive and quick. Not quite as rapid as SRAM’s top-flight Red group, but easily the equal of its counterparts from Shimano or Campagnolo.

In fact, the more we use SRAM’s mid-range offering the more we like it. Yes, it takes time to get accustomed to the ‘double tap’ shift, especially in a panic or under load, but the simplicity of one lever is great. Plus, the big pistol-grip hoods offer a great, comfortable shape.

The Me3 brakes paired with the Rival levers don’t have quite the same stopping power as SRAM’s top-class units, but they offer predictable progression when applying pressure throughout the levers’ movement. They’re an understandable choice for Verenti at the price.

Like the saddle, the bar and stem are own-brand Me3, while the wheels are Verenti-branded Pro-Lites, hand built and shod with Vittoria Diamante Pro tyres. The complete weight of 9.5kg (20.9lb) for our large test bike – including pedals – is impressive at this price. It actually feels less because of the wheels: fast and tough rubber wrapped around a light rolling package gives the Kilmeston a sprightly feel, something that can get lost when compromises are made due to budget.

The Kilmeston’s strong spec and excellent wheel package make it a real bargain at £900, even more so given that Wiggle, the company behind Verenti, is currently offering it for £750. We’d recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone making their first foray into drop-barred bikes or wanting a second bike for commuting, training and touring.

The Kilmeston isn’t trying to be a fast and flighty bullet, and it’s all the better for that. It’s comfortable, confident, hard-wearing and speedy enough – just a great ride.

Source = bikeradar

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