The Quintana Roo Kilo is
arguably the second dedicated triathlon bike ever
built. Following the introduction of the Quintana
Roo Superform, a radical 80 degree seat angle bike,
in the early 90s, the Kilo (so named because of its
2.2 pound frame weight) was an evolved 78 degree seat
QR founder and designer
Dan Empfield pioneered the use of dual 26" (650c)
wheels and a 78-degree seat angle for efficient, comfortable
riding in the aerodynamic posture using aero bars.
Empfield, along with others such as Ralph Ray, were
visionaries of the sport and their influence remains
powerful today. Dan Empfield's current project, Slowtwitch.com,
is a valuable Internet resource for the multisport
athlete and editorial platform for some of the sports
most vocal and influential personalities.
The current version of
the Quintana Roo Kilo is one of the most advanced
value-oriented triathlon bikes on the market, possibly
second only to the Cervelo One. It is far superior
to "competitors" such as the Fuji Aloha.
The new version of the Kilo features fifth-generation
triathlon bike refinements not found on any other
bike from any other manufacturer. Another plus to
the Kilo is its straightforward, no-nonsense component
We've sold, serviced and
fit many, many 2001 Quintana Roo Kilos, and we have
a lot of experience with them and an thorough knowledge
of what their ownership experience is like. The result
is, if the bike's measurements match yours, it is
an excellent value choice for a triathlon bike. This
is a bike for your first triathlon, or for your first
Ironman. It is a bike you won't "outgrow"
in terms of ability.
Unique features of the
Kilo are its geometrically enhanced tubing configuration.
That's fancy language for frame tubes that are shaped
differently to perform specific functions. The top
tube on the Kilo is ovalized with the wide part running
left to right; it's wider than it is high. This adds
lateral stiffness for standing climbs and big efforts
but adds vertical compliance for better ride comfort.
The seat tube is slightly bladed with a cut out on
some models for wheel clearance.
The Kilo wears a down tube that has a moderate airfoil
shape, a concession to cosmetic appearance as much
as function. Consumers love those airfoil tubes.
Even the seat stays are
slightly ovalized, perhaps improving brake performance
a tad, but more for appearance.
Overall the frame of the
2001 Kilo is very good. It gets high marks for its
replaceable rear derailleur hanger. This feature enables
the rider to install a new derailleur hanger, or attachment
point, if the bike is crashed heavily on its left
side. The hanger is securely bolted in place and the
derailleur attached to that. This modular approach
can save your frame in a pinch. Old version Felt B-2s
did not have this feature, and we saw at least one
frame that was otherwise fine, but had to be scrapped
and replaced because of a bent derailleur hanger.
Look for this feature on any aluminum triathlon or
road bike you buy.
The 2001 Kilo features greatly improved frame features
such as a braze on front deraileur hanger (left) and
a replaceable rear derailleur hanger (right). These
are the truly important features consumers forget
to look for in a quality bike, and make an enormous
difference in the long term ownership experience.
The front derailleur hanger
is brazed on, an enormous improvement over previous
model year Kilos that featured a riveted front derailleur
hanger. The riveted front derailleur attachment points,
found on the older models that were only sold in black,
was a source of constant frustration. The derailleur
mounts would develop the slightest "wiggle"
or movement, throwing the front shifting off chronically.
When Quintana Roo changed ownership to the American
Bicycle Group in late 1999 the design of the Kilo
(and other QR frames) was also completely revamped.
The new bikes featured the greatly improved new front
derailleur braze on. It is worth noting that front
derailleur performance on the new bikes has been nearly
perfect, as good or slightly better than all other
bikes within $500 of the Kilo's price range. Shifting
from the small ring up to the large ring is excellent
on the current Kilo. Part of this is also due to the
improvement in components including the new Hollowtech
Shimano 105 crank and splined, sealed cartridge bearing
Welds on the slightly more expensive Cannondale MS600
(left)are smoother, stronger and less obvious than
the traditional TIG welds on the 2001Quintana Roo
Kilo. However, the Kilo welds are still excellent,
with not a single failure in 2001.
On the down side, the welds
on the Kilo are very obvious. Parked next to a Cervelo
or Cannondale the welds look a bit rough. This is
a cosmetic issue not related to the bike's performance,
ride quality or durability. In fairness, the Kilo
is several hundred dollars less than either the Cervelo
One or the Cannondale Multisport 600 (or new 2002
Multisport 700), so some amount of finish roughness
is acceptable in the name of function and value. If
you want the fancy, smooth welds you have to pay more,
and they probably won't do much for the performance
of the bike.
The Kilo is sold with bullhorn
style base bars and Syntace Streamliner aero bars.
The base bars are good quality and are flat rise,
meaning they have no drop or rise. The aerobars are
the best available. Syntace aerobars are so far superior
to all other brands they are the obvious choice. The
bars are lighter, use less hardware, clamp more securely
and have a more durable, bead-blasted finish. They
are free of the junky, heavy, fragile "adjustment"
hardware you find on some Profile and Cinelli aerobars.
The Syntace bars are sold in three sizes. You buy
the right size and use that: Having a bunch of extra
hardware to carry around on the bike once you've determined
the right length for your [Profile or Cinelli] aerobars
is utterly pointless. Once their adjusted, you won't
move them and they eventually work loose or strip.
The Syntace are simply purchased in the correct length
for your arms, and there is nothing to go wrong with
them. Simple, light and elegant.
We build Kilos with either bullhorn base bars (left)
with shifters at the end of the aero bars, or (for
hilly courses) drop handlebars and Shimano STi shifters
with aerobars. Drop handlebars (right) are a bit of
a compromise (tough to ride in the drops), but you
can shift with hands on the base bars while climbing
in or out of the saddle.
We are also building Kilos
with drop handlebars and Shimano STI shift levers.
There is an upcharge for this assembly since the Shimano
STI levers are more expensive that the combined Dura-Ace
bar-end shifters and Dia-Compe 188 levers that are
standard on the Kilo. Some people like the drop bar/aerobar
combination better than the bullhorns with the shifters
in the tips of the aerobars.
It is important to realize
the Kilo is a dedicated triathlon bike and not originally
designed for use with drop bars. When we assemble
the bike in this manner the best position (once the
bike is configured for the individual rider with the
correct stem length) on the base bars will be with
your hands on the STI brake lever hoods. We find that,
when correctly fitted with drop bars, the position
on the drops is too cramped to be of much use. If
you want your Kilo built with drop style base bars
and STI levers, count on spending most of your time
either in the aerobars (while on the flat terrain)
and on the STI brake lever hoods while climbing in
or out of the saddle. Some people doing hilly races
like Lake Placid might like the drop handlebar option
since they can shift gears while climbing in or out
of the saddle. With your shifters mounted in the tips
of your aerobars you can't shift while climbing out
of the saddle: you have to sit down, break your rhythm,
make the shift and stand up again.
The wheels on the Kilo
are pretty standard for bikes in its price range and
have proven excellent. You can log tons of training
rides on them and race on them. They are a good workhorse
wheel set. To supercharge the bike, buy a set of race
wheels. A good set of race wheels will cost about
the same as the complete bike, so it's a big upgrade.
The Panaracer tires are a pleasant surprise. After
riding them for a year we find they may be better
than either Continental Gran Prixs or Michelin Axial
Pros. Also, our CompuTrainer revealed they had very
low rolling resistance numbers. The tires are medium
weight, ride great, look OK and have been very flat
The saddle on the Kilo
is very nice and is made to match the nice two-tone
blue/black paint scheme. I found the saddle comfortable.
The seat post is pretty cheap but works fine. It has
those annoying serrations to adjust saddle angle.
If your ideal saddle angle is between two serrations
you're out of luck. You can replace the post with
a micro-adjust style such as Thompson, but it is an
expensive upgrade around $100. The existing post works
fine, I'm just very fussy. It pays to remember this
is one of the least expensive triathlon bikes out
there, so they had to cut a few corners.
The Kilo's fork is a nice,
curved and bladed carbon fiber design. It is light,
extremely durable and provides excellent ride quality.
It is largely responsible for the truly exceptional
ride and handling quality of the bike. Truthfully,
a correctly fitted Kilo at under $1500 has better
ride quality than some triathlon bikes costing over
double the price. The fork is great and the ride quality
is absolute top notch.
We've put quite a few miles on this bikes and I never
fail to be impressed by the overall package. The Kilo
is closer to perfect than any other complete triathlon
bike on the market if it fits you correctly.
Another great feature of
the Kilo is size flexibility. The Kilo is available
in two versions: A 700c wheel version with a 76.5
degree seat angle available in sizes 55cm., 57cm.,
59cm., and 61cm. This suits taller riders with a longer
femur bone. A 78 degree seat angle version is available
in sizes 47cm., 49cm., 51cm., 53cm., 55cm. and 57cm.
This suits a rider who needs more advanced triathlon
geometry and tends to slide forward in the saddle
when using aerobars. A good set of accurate body measurements
will determine which geometry is correct for you.
This flexibility in sizing means the Kilo is available
in a size and frame geometry that will fit many riders.
One qualification I would make about the Kilo is that
the top tube runs on the short side. If you have short
torso it may be an easy fit in the correct size. Longer
torso riders can make do, but will need a longer stem
in almost every case. I have longer torso and ride
a 55cm. Kilo. I had to retrofit my bike with a 120mm
stem. This made the reach measurement perfect and
did not affect the handling.
The ownership experience
of the Kilo is smooth and trouble free. We've had
many Kilos on the road for over a year with no mechanical
problems of any kind. Ride quality is way above average,
component performance (including critical front shifting)
is very, very solid and the bike looks nice with a
catchy paint job that should appeal to most people.
Good value and better than good performance.
In general, the Kilo is
a great bike: Truly a standout. In its price range,
there is nothing that compares. You can buy better
bikes for $400 more, but if you don't want to spend
the extra $400 and the Kilo fits you, it is the best