Kestrel 4000 LTD Triathlon Bike

  • Fork: Ems Pro TT Carbon Steerer 1 1/8"
  • Stem: FSA OS-99
  • Shifters: DA 7971 Electronic
  • Bottom Bracket: DA 7970 Electronic
  • Cassette: Recon Aluminum 11-23

User Reviews (1)

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Brad Johnson   [Dec 26, 2014]

Good fit
Nice components


Adjustable rear dropouts require undocumented fix (but it does fix it)
Not many local authorized dealers with a good knowledge of these bikes

This is my first real tri bike, so I don't have a lot to compare it against. I had been riding a road bike with aero bars, but it's a very different ride. I did test ride a bunch of tri bikes before deciding on the 2013 Kestrel 4000 LTD Ultegra Di2. I bought this online and got a killer deal. I was a little thrown by needing to have the bike assembled by an authorized Kestrel shop, but I guess I can understand them requiring that for the warranty.

The downside of this assembly was that the closest shop was ~45 minute drive from my house, and there is a poorly documented problem with this bike that prolonged the setup. The rear dropouts, which are adjustable, will slip regardless of how you tighten the bolts holding them. At least in the condition the dropouts ship from Kestrel. This is somewhat ridiculous. Long story short, after far too much delay and several short, failed rides, the LBS manager called Kestrel who stated that the anodized finish on the dropouts was so perfectly smooth it was actually slippery, especially against the carbon frame. The fix is to sand off the finish on the dropouts. The mechanic told me that in addition to sanding the dropouts they applied carbon grit (which I had actually suggested, jokingly at the time).

The problem with the dropouts is a known issue, I found several references to it on the internet, people returning their bikes in frustration, and the fix is this simple? My primary disappointment here was that I went to an authorized dealer, but still had to make 4 trips to get the bike set up right. It would seem that Kestrel should have done at least one of the following:
a.) Fixed the design flaw
b.) Sand the dropouts before shipping
c.) Inform their dealers of the issue and fix
d.) Put a note in the box explaining what needs to be done.

On to the good stuff.

At 19.5lbs (55cm, before accessories) it's a little heavier than I thought it might be, but not unreasonably so. The Ultegra Di2 adds weight versus mechanical systems. The Oval 700 seat is comfortable and despite a number of internet comments indicating distain for Oval base and aero bars, I was able to get mine dialed in nicely after a number of rides, a self-fitting with help from the internet, and a lot of carbon grit (the aero bars need it to stay put on rougher roads).

One item worth noting, with the all-carbon Oval 981 wheels special brake pads are required for the carbon braking surface. You won't be swapping to Aluminum-braking-surface wheels without also changing the brake pads.

One of my first rides was on a windy day and the 981s felt like a sail, so will need to get the training wheels set up for windy days (at least).

The bike comes with Hutchinson Atom tires. These seemed to work well for the first 4 months or so (400-500 miles), until I got 4 flats in 2 weeks. That was the end of these tires, I went back to the Continental GP 4Ks. Because the GP4Ks are a fair amount taller than the Atoms, I had to adjust the rear dropouts. I was concerned in doing this, but it worked fine. The dropout fix from Kestrel did the job and my adjustments lasted the rest of the season, another 3 months of riding and racing.

I had the LBS add a rear brake adjuster near the stem as this was not designed-in for some reason. Nice to have for making fine adjustments or changing wheels/brake pads.

With all this trouble why am I still giving it 5 stars? On the positive side, now that I have a season of riding in on the bike I am very impressed. The electronic shifting is outstandly crisp and fast and perfect every time. The bike is very stiff, responsive and scary-fast. I'm growing more comfortable on it with each ride. My average racing speed is up almost 10% on reduced training time (traveling for work a lot this year).

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