Kestrel Talon Frames

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Talon

The Kestrel Talon is perfect for anybody looking to get into road or triathlon riding. Featuring a 700k/800k Hi-Modulus carbon fiber construction, the Kestrel Talon is race-light and uses large, bladed tube shapes to minimize drag and maxi...

User Reviews (21)

Showing 1-10 of 21  
danaghunt   Commuter [Oct 26, 2010]
Strength:

Stiff but comfortable. Responsive. Superb geometry (I'm 5'11" & a 55 fits me perfect). Incredible power transfer and comfortable on long (50 - 60 miles) rides.

Weakness:

One bottle cage screw stripped inside riv-nut thread but the LBS repaired it right away.

I researched and road numerous bikes before making the big jump from my $800 commuter to a higher end performance bike. The reviews on the Kestrel were mixed. Finally, I saw a Talon in person and talked with a bike tech about the ride. His review convinced me to give it a try. Besides, Performance has a 30-day try-out policy.

I've been riding the bike now for two months. I cannot find a single flaw in performance, components, or durability. The frame is crazy-stiff laterally but cushions the rough roads of downtown Atlanta with grace. The bike is fast, responsive, and trimmed out with full SRAM Force; including, brakes, drivetrain, and levers. The Aksium wheels are heaving but strong and good for training. This is a sweet ride, indeed.

Similar Products Used: Roubaix
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
Jeff Chandler   Recreational Rider [Mar 05, 2009]

I must correct my earlier review. Kestrel eventually made good on the cracked frame and offered me an upgrade (RT700) as a frame replacement. The RT700 is slicker 'n cat snot on a door knob. This is clearly the best bike I've ever ridden.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
kkees   Triathlete [Mar 05, 2009]
Strength:

Good bike, good feel, and was a good warranty and good company.

Weakness:

Owners, beware of FUJI! FUJI IS THE DOWNFALL OF KESTREL! So sad to see a fine company bought buy @holes! If you are looking to buy one of these, do NOT assume that warranty is what it says.

Problem, FUJI bought Kestrel and no longer owns up to the warranty. BEWARE of this existing owners. I had the same issue of seatposts creaping down and i even broke one because of it. There are hair line cracks from imperfections, basically manufacturing defect that is a 'known issue'. Fuji got rid of the guy that made kestrel who they are, Jim, that honored warranties. Now forget about it. I was pissed to see someone was offered in this review, a crash replacement $300 less than what they offered me! they told me $1200, i can get that for retail and GIVE ME ONE REASON TO BUY ANOTHER ONE! HAHAHAHAHAH FORGET IT!!

Similar Products Used: abici, colnago, torelli, specialized
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Available At:
suvacrew   Triathlete [Jan 25, 2009]
Strength:

Descends well, climbs OK, comfortable with good energy transfer to the road. No fatigue after long climbs.

Weakness:

Aging design and fiber technology. Weight. Can get it to flex and feather a gear change with an all out sprint....
Fuji as new owners will certainly undermine the pedigree and the premium normally paid for these bikes. The "new" bikes are now a couple of grand off of MSRP.

After having burglars raid my home and snatch a few of my prized bikes, plus other things...I had to find replacements. I spent the bulk of $$ on replacing the MTB (SC Blur LT2) and TT (Felt DA w/Zipp). The roadie..a recent De Rosa Avant was tougher to replace due to limited access/distrib. In the meantime, I hunted craigslist for a good used alternative with similar characteristics if not pedigree. I opted for the Kestrel talon after riding various frames and took advantage of the current recession and low balled an offer which the seller accepted.
Very decent bike..not a serious racer by any means, but fills the gap in my quiver when I need to spend time climbing and not on a TT frame. Still gets compliments from fellow riders even with a 3 yr old bike. I tried the Talon SL, and that was sloppy in comparison..lighter but definitely "softer".

Similar Products Used: De Rosa Planet, De Rosa Avant,De Rosa king Colnago C-40, kestrel evoke, Talon SL
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
akukutai   Recreational Rider [Nov 15, 2008]
Strength:

Smooth riding, good power transfer and acceleration, stable in fast descents, strong and durable, still looks great after 7 years!

Weakness:

Can feel sluggish on hills given weight, newer framesets do get lightness/comfort balance better.

I've owned my Talon since 2001 and clocked over 8000 miles on the frame. Its strength and smoothness allied to good speed and stiffness have been key reasons I like to ride this bike on my regular weekly solo or group rides. Being a big guy 6'1 and 210 lbs this bike's core strength while being fairly supple are the main reasons I'd buy another. The only upgrade I've made is to buy Neuvation's excellent M28 Aero/ceramic bearing wheels replacing the Spinergy wheelset I bought with the bike. Its is a bit heavy by latest standards but climbs and descends well, and feels stable. It can wander off line on major potholes or cracks but most roadbikes I've ridden do so. Key to enjoying this bike is a good setup, and regular servicing. The internal cable routing, and comment on frame cracks in other reviews have not been an issue on this bike. Still it is a 2001 frame, so perhaps standards have slipped? The paintjob in red still looks great, which is amazing after the use its had. The Kestrel team know how to build quality bikes at a great price

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
jeffchandler1   Triathlete [Jul 07, 2008]
Strength:

Paint job
Cool looking aero tubes

Weakness:

Bonded, not monocoque
Fuji all-hassles warranty

I was so proud of this bike when I first got it. It was nice and shiny, and red, and slick, with cool decals. You know the feeling.

I had a friend of mine, a former professional racer who trained as the Olympic facility in Colorado Springs, help me fit and tune the bike.

After three rides the seat tube on the frame showed multiple cracks. I hauled it back to the LBS for warranty replacement. They said it was an assembly error on my part. I left the seat post too long, and it slid down into the seat tube, cracking the frame.

I remember my first ride, the seat post crept down a couple inches. I hadn't tightened the seat collar enough (or, just being a new bike, it naturally came loose on the first ride).

Kestrel clearly admits that this was a design flaw in the Talon frame that they have since fixed. But the Fuji warranty team has determined that it's not their problem. They just bought Kestrel, but apparently won't assume Kestrel's problems.

So, Fuji offers me a crash replacement for $900.00. That's about twice as much as I'm going to pay for my Pedalforce frame to replace this piece of $hit.

Further review issues:
-the frame is bonded, not monocoque
-the frame is made in China, not USA
-the seat tube was engineered for Kestrel's aero seatpost. However, they ship it standard with a FSA round post tube, along with a funky little plastic adapter to make the round post fit a triangle hole. It doesn't hold the seat post very well. You either risk over tightening the seat collar (thus cracking the frame), or under tightening the seat collar, and having the seat post slide too far into the frame (thus cracking the frame). Either way, the frame is going to crack.

The bike rides nice. At least it did on my first 3 rides before the frame was ruined. In fact, it rides like a dream and climbs like a lizard up a cliff. I loved that bike for the three hours I rode it.

Bottom line: Fuji is not going to honor the Kestrel warranty. When you buy a Kestrel, you are buying a Fuji. Don't confuse the two. Kestrel was a premier boutique frame maker in Santa Cruz, California. Fuji is a reseller of cheap Chinese frames who recently bought the Kestrel brand to buoy their cheap image.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
George Innis   Triathlete [Sep 08, 2007]
Strength:

Very stiff rear triangle coupled with comfort at the hands and saddle.

Weakness:

The "aero" seat tube doesn't really do anything for aerodynamics. Purely a cosmetic treatment. Either you can put up with it or you hate it. Beware, frame CANNOT be clamped by the top tube.

I have read the reviews here complaining about the harshness of the Talon ride and I have to wonder if they are riding the same bike I am. The ride of an old Cannondale? Not hardly!! I have ridden aluminum and steel frames of many different makes and nothing compares to carbon fiber. The only possibilities I can see are 1) they had harsher wheelsets. There is a big trend now to radial spoking and it harshens up any ride, with only a tiny weight savings; 2) possibly the bonded rear triangle gives a harsher ride on a smaller frameset. I am 6'2" and the relatively relaxed backstay angle for that size frame undoubtedly contributes to the comfort. As for the seat tube angle, I found I could comfortably stay in the aero position for the entire Ironman bike leg when others around me were sitting up and stretching their backs -- as I went past them. So I suggest you do as you should with any purchase of this type: try it for yourself, then decide.

Similar Products Used: Specialized, Olmo, Cannondale, Bianchi, Battaglin, Kestrel 4000
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Available At:
Paul   Triathlete [Sep 02, 2007]
Strength:

Price is OK but there is better around that don't try to be a road and a tri bike in one package. Don't think bikes can do both unless you ride a tri bike at 73 degs by choice (not because of lack of fit or suitable steep bike).

Weakness:

Limited as a tri bike, slightly better in road configuration but a bit dead and too harsh (as harsh as an old Cannondale but does not have the liveliness!).

I got a Talon in 2004 and set it up with low pro bars, forward seat pillar etc for triathlons. I was pleased and happy with it but felt it was not too good in a very forward position as the ride and handling was unbalanced. As I prefer a very steep angle (78 degs +) I got a proper tri specific bike (Softride) which was much better set up to ride the position I liked.

I then set the Talon up for road racing use with Dura Ace all round and Zipp 404 tubulars. This rode OK and I did a few races on it - again I was pleased with it until I compared it to other bikes (see below but I know some of these cost 3 times more but it gives a reference).

Now (2007) that I have ridden a variety of bikes in exactly the same set up as what I had on the Talon, I rate the Talon as average on performance and ride, but very stiff, and it is damn ugly.

It is a fair bike for the money but I think it tries to be all things to all men and does none of them very well. It is too relaxed (73 degs) for a tri bike and having a forward seat post upsets the balance too much. For road racing it is very harsh ride and gives a dead feeling (I tried all sorts of wheels to try to change it but no real improvement) and handling is not great either although it is stiff and does not twist when you churn it. However, the balance between handling/stiffness/weight is not great
overall.

Maybe I bought the wrong bike for me and I am lucky to be able to have numerous bikes to be ride specific. In the end I sold it and it now has a happy new owner who will probably hang onto it until he compares it to something else!

Similar Products Used: Numerous steel frames
Cannondale CAAD4
Specialized Roubaix Comp
Softride TT7
Time VXR
Merlin Titanium

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
gcabaltica   Recreational Rider [May 24, 2007]
Strength:

Stiff as Board

Climbs like a Billy Goat

Surges forward . . . really fast!

Lighter than my Cat

Serves duel purposes well (Road/TT/Tr)

Lifetime No Fault Warranty means more mentally aggressive riding with no reservation.

Kestrel has maintained this frame for some time so it will be a viable, serviceable, and current frame for the foreseeable future

A ton cheaper than the similar outfitted Carbon Soloist.

Weakness:

Kinda hard to justify that much more $$ for such a indistinguishable difference from the regular Talon.

Stock Seatpost is Heavy and looks terrible and out of place on such a beautifully Aero looking frame. Kinda like Vinyl seats in a Porche 911

Few Color Options (Only 2). The colors available in the SL Frameset are actually more attractive in the older Talon Framsets from 03-05. Kestrel's color schemes seem to be getting more boring or Dime a Dozen with each passing year. BRING BACK THE PLAIN SOLID CARBON WEAVE IN THE SL FRAMES!!

Seat Tube seems structurally vulnerable to cracking (Though I have not had a problem yet.

After wrestling through the research and buying process, I chose the Talon Frameset. Though I test rode a friends Airfoil (and Loved it), I did not want to commit to a dedicated Tri/TT as I envision riding Group with climbing in the future. However, I was sold on Kestrel's experience and commitment to Carbon (Maybe there is something about Manufactures that start with "K" as I am a Klein enthusiast on the trail) I found the Talon a great choice for a rider that can't afford the space or $ to upkeep two top shelf bikes. I also probably could have got the Talon 700K as opposed tot he SL 800K and not noticed any difference whatsoever, but ego always get's the best of me with these types of choices. Kestrel could probably do away with one of there Talon models as the difference is negligible if not non existent.

In Summary, if my Talon were stolen, I'd buy another . . . . and that is the highest compliment a bike can get.

Similar Products Used: '01 Klein Quantim
'03 Trek 5200

'01 Kawasaki Ninja :-)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
xray   Recreational Rider [May 03, 2006]
Strength:

fast and stable descending.

Weakness:

heavy, clunky, painfully stiff, and flashy.

Be careful, this bike is not for everyone. The joining technique used to attach the rear triangle to the rear requires a LARGE contact area=incredibly stiff ride. When this bike was first introduced, this design was probably an excellent compromise between cost and performance. Today, there are far better choices available at this price in carbon. Trek's 5000/5200 and Giant's carbon frames come to mind. The bike descended beautifully, this is the single attribute I miss about this frame. Otherwise, I was happy to be rid of it. Kestrel needs to stop production of the Talon, its time has passed. In 2006, there are better options available.

Similar Products Used: Cannondale Six13, Synapse, Trek Madone, Madone SSL, Look 585, 555, Orbea Orca, (OK, I'm a shop guy)
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 21  
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