Check back later tonight and I'll give you my impressions of Kuota (Kharma). I own a Giant TCR Composite 0 and a Cannondale Six13, and I'm still looking for that magical carbon ride. I've decided that the Giant compact frame, while comfortable and light, just doesn't do it for me. The Six13 is probably one of the most expensive carbon bikes that rides like a an all aluminum rig. The Orcas have received great reviews and a couple of parking lot rides confirmed that they provide a super ride, but they are very similar to the Giant. I took a shot with the Kuota Kharma because I got a fantastic deal and liked the traditional frame/geometry. Tonight's the first real test ride. Fingers crossed.
Okay. First test ride complete. The Kharma is nice compromise between the comfort of the Giant and the stiffness of the Six13. I would imagine that the Khan would be even better due the direct drive stays and the lighter frame. I'm very impressed with the Kuota frameset. The weave is beautiful and the clearcoat thick. Super workmanship.
Photo attached. Do not hesitate to grab a Kuota.
They have very long top tubes. If you are like me, stumpy, this can really mess up a perfectly good bike. I had a 2004 5500 for about a month but was never able to get it fit correctly and always felt stretched out. I don't know about the kuota geometery but I doubt it has the same "lemond-esque" setup. Test ride the hell out of both before you buy.
I have a Kuota Kharma with mainly old 9-speed Ultegra with some new (9 speed!) Dura-Ace.
I've looked at a lot of bikes here in Tokyo and believe me they have every imaginable high -end marque here. I didn't want the extreme compact geometry of the Giant and the Kharma has more orthodox angles. Frame construction for the price cannot be faulted. You get a clear coat so can see where top,seat and down tubes have been re-inforced. Trek and others give you nice looking frames but few offer a naked carbon finish so that you can see what really went on in the construction process. I know this may be a question of aesthetics for some but for me structural integrity is more important.
The ride on the Kharma is excellent, on my daily commute I'm really just going on sprint intervals between traffic signals on straight flat tarmac. Pick-up from standing to 20+mph is startlingly quick and most of the vibration I got from my old Colombus Zonal/carbon frame just doesn't register with this frame.
Now I haven't tried the Trek so I won't comment there. Try both, but the Trek will have to go some to be a hands down choice over a frame offering such good value. Got mine with full carbon fork and carbon seat pin included. Good luck with your choice.
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