Simplon Kimplon Kiaro Disc road bike review

The Kimplon Kiaro Disc is a very accomplished bike, which combines a comfortable ride with race bike-like handling, says Warren Rossiter

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
£4,406
Credit: Robert Smith

This review was first published on our sister site Bike Radar

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You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about this Austrian brand, which started life as a family bike shop back in 1930, with the name referencing the 2,005m-high Simplon Pass.

The Kiaro Disc was designed around what the engineering team call ‘comfort concept’. This consists of manipulating the hi-mod carbon fibres with the frame to offer compliance where needed and stiffness in critical areas dealing with load – i.e. the head tube for steering duties and the bottom bracket for pedalling forces. Elsewhere, the tube shapes have been manipulated to offer vertical flex.

It’s easiest seen in the top tube, which tapers from a wedge-like profile at the head tube to an almost flat, almond-like shape in the centre before broadening a little at the seat tube junction. The junction is designed to allow vertical flex in both top tube and the stays – so the seat tube is designed to allow fore and aft movement.

The seatstays bow with a flattened profile and the compact front triangle leaves plenty of exposed seatpost. Up front, the fork is slickly integrated into the head tube as a nod to aerodynamics and the cable routing is neatly internalised through the headset and head tube, again giving the bike an aero edge. The fork is slender in profile and the dropouts, named ‘raptor’ by Simplon, are rear-offset, which means that the fork fibre path is elongated; by offsetting the axle away from a direct path to the rider it lengthens the path vibration has to take, thus reducing the fatiguing impact on the rider. So, while the Kiaro Disc may look simple, there’s actually a lot going on underneath the understated skin.

REAL SPARK

The ride position on our 58cm bike is classic endurance stuff. A 608mm stack is on the lower end of things, while the 387mm reach is spot on for comfortable, yet sporty ergonomics. The 8kg weight makes it the lightest on test and there are smart choices on the build. The DT Swiss ER1400 wheels may not have the glamour of carbon but the alloy rims are built onto Dicut 240 hubs with DT Swiss’ lightweight 240 internals. The rim itself is tubeless-ready and a 20mm-wide pair would set you back around £800. They’re shod with Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyres (set up tubeless) in 28c and they roll superbly and add real spark to the Kiaro, especially on the climbs where the Kiaro outshines the competition.

The slightly forward position,
due to the steep 75° seat angle, means you’re over the cranks and efficiently pushing power through the pedals. The Kiaro rewards hard efforts, especially out of the saddle, and once you’ve crested a climb it’s a confident descender, too.

Equipment wise, the Kiaro can’t quite offer the value for money of Giant’s Defy, but there’s nothing here we ever felt the need to change beyond the decent (but not our personal choice) Selle Italia SLR saddle. It’s comfortable enough with generous padding where you need it and the slender profile is a good fit but the shape is a little flatter than we usually prefer. That aside, the wheel and tyre package is excellent and puts the more expensive Roubaix to shame, the dedicated carbon seatpost offers
a lay-back shape and plenty of compliance. Up front, Simplon’s ARC1 carbon bar/stem combo is superb, stiff yet compliant over rougher roads with a great-shaped drop.

Overall, the Disc is a very accomplished bike. It has a comfortable ride that’s beautifully blended to a lightweight package and race bike-like handling. The downside is that it looks expensive on paper for a bike that’s ‘only’ mechanical Ultegra and has alloy wheels. It’s also quite hard to find in the UK, with only a handful of Simplon dealers around.

REAL SPARK

The ride position on our 58cm bike is classic endurance stuff. A 608mm stack is on the lower end of things, while the 387mm reach is spot on for comfortable, yet sporty ergonomics. The 8kg weight makes it the lightest on test and there are smart choices on the build. The DT Swiss ER1400 wheels may not have the glamour of carbon but the alloy rims are built onto Dicut 240 hubs with DT Swiss’ lightweight 240 internals. The rim itself is tubeless-ready and a 20mm-wide pair would set you back around £800. They’re shod with Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyres (set up tubeless) in 28c and they roll superbly and add real spark to the Kiaro, especially on the climbs where the Kiaro outshines the competition.

The slightly forward position, due to the steep 75° seat angle, means you’re over the cranks and efficiently pushing power through the pedals. The Kiaro rewards hard efforts, especially out of the saddle, and once you’ve crested a climb it’s a confident descender, too.

Equipment wise, the Kiaro can’t quite offer the value for money of Giant’s Defy, but there’s nothing here we ever felt the need to change beyond the decent (but not our personal choice) Selle Italia SLR saddle. It’s comfortable enough with generous padding where you need it and the slender profile is a good fit but the shape is a little flatter than we usually prefer. That aside, the wheel and tyre package is excellent and puts the more expensive Roubaix to shame, the dedicated carbon seatpost offers a lay-back shape and plenty of compliance. Up front, Simplon’s ARC1 carbon bar/stem combo is superb, stiff yet compliant over rougher roads with a great-shaped drop.

Overall, the Disc is a very accomplished bike. It has a comfortable ride that’s beautifully blended to a lightweight package and race bike-like handling. The downside is that it looks expensive on paper for a bike that’s ‘only’ mechanical Ultegra and has alloy wheels. It’s also quite hard to find in the UK, with only a handful of Simplon dealers around.

Verdict: Austrian brand Simplon’s svelte approach makes for one hell of a great product. The spec is smart and the ride superb, but the Austrian masterpiece comes at a price and the lack of mudguard eyes are an oversight for those of us who ride all year. 84%

Buy from www.simplon.com

MORE TO SPEND? 

Complete Campagnolo bikes are quite hard to find nowadays, but if you clamour for a bit of Record glamour then the Kiaro Disc does comes in a 12-speed Record option. Prices start from £4,549.

LESS TO SPEND?

Simplon’s semi-custom way of producing bikes means plenty of configuration choices are available. The lightweight Kiaro Disc 105 (£2,869) frameset doesn’t cost the earth with the basic model priced at under £3K.

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Contact : www.simplon.com