Quintana Roo – Kilo Carbon

They’re the original tri bike brand, but can the Kilo Carbon live up to QR's high standards?

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
£1,299.99
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If there’s one brand that’s rooted in triathlon, it’s Quintana Roo. The founder, Dan Empfield, competed in the first-ever Ironman on Kona and they were the first company to produce a tri-specific bike. With such a history and so many quality bikes having borne their stamp over the years, we always expect big things from them.

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The Build

The black and white styling is reminiscent of a killer whale and gives it a genuine predatory air. This is heightened by the profiled aero tubing of the carbon frame and, in particular, the smart but subtle upsweep of the top tube into the head tube. It bulges in all the right places, with a stiff-looking bottom-bracket area and a paper-thin clearance of the cut-away seattube. The only gripe with the heart of the build is the aluminium steerer on the aero carbon forks.

Unfortunately, the heavy Shimano R500 wheels shouldn’t be seen anywhere near a racing bike and would be a priority upgrade, but the Continental tyres are a solid choice, giving balance between speed and puncture protection. Working through the groupset, QR has opted for the dependable FSA Omega chainset. It would have been nice to see the SRAM equivalent but, having specced second-tier Rival derailleurs, a saving had to be made somewhere. The compact gearing is sensible for a bike designed primarily as a first real triathlon race steed.

The cockpit combines a Premetec base bar with Profile Design ZBS extensions, offering a comfortable ski bend and adjustability for width, but a fixed length. Braking is via fairly low-spec Tektros but at this price their inclusion is no shock, and they can be hugely improved by a pad change. A basic own-brand saddle, with a variable seat angle, bladed carbon seatpost finishes what appears a sensible build.

The Ride

From the first few pedal strokes, there’s a lively and nimble feel to the Kilo. It spins up to speed enthusiastically and, even dragging the heavy Shimano wheels, power transfer is good and there’s no discernible flex. It encourages you to dance on the pedals and, if most tri bikes are like straight-line American muscle cars, the Kilo is more akin to the two-seater roadster.

On the bullhorns, the ride is amazingly like a road bike and you find yourself throwing it in and out of tight turns as if you’re riding a city centre criterium. Despite the slightly suspect brakes, descending is a joy and at the bottom of every twisting hill the Kilo leaves you with a massive grin. It climbs more like a road bike, too, but there’s no doubt that on longer slogs some of its zest is lost due to the wheels. It never feels particularly slow; it just doesn’t have the same responsiveness displayed on shorter power climbs.

Once on the flat and on true time-trial territory, the Kilo ploughs a mostly straight and fast furrow; it has the odd twitchy moment but nothing too serious. With a couple of spacers removed, the position is still a little tall and could do with a little more reach on the extensions, but it delivers a powerful ride position and, particularly important for those with long course aspirations, the ride is deliciously plush and comfortable.

On some TT bikes staying down on the aerobars requires genuine willpower, but on the Kilo it’s just like settling into a comfy, if speedy, armchair.

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Contact : www.evanscycles.com