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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just received my new Kestrel RT700 from BikesDirect. It was my first new bike since...1989! I've been riding a 25lb(everything but me and water bottles) 1989 DiamondBack Centurian MasterTG on and off since I got it. I started riding again here in North Georgia and found that I was shocked that the original 53/42 was killing me on the climbs(21-11 rear). My current bike is full Shimano 105 with Ultegra hubs mounted on Mavic Open4cd clinchers. The hubs are out of true and the bottom bracket seems to be shot! Time for a new bike.:D

After struggling with what to do considering my budget of staying under $2000 it came down to two bikes from Bikes Direct, the Kestrel RT700 versus the Motobecane Immortal Ice. I wanted the Immortal but it wasn't available until August according to the website and the money was burning a hole in my pocket:D .

As for sizing the bike, I went to Colorado Cyclist's website and followed their guide. The tools at www.wrenchscience.com were also very helpful. I compared the suggested frame size with my current bike even though my old bike is CC and the Kestrel is CT which doesn't seem to really matter when considering going from a 1989 steel model to a 2007 carbon fiber model. The geometries are not really close. I struggled with the sizing for about two weeks because everything I did showed me needing 56cm CT and the RT700 comes(among other sizes) 55cm and 57cm. I posted about this and C-40 responded with an extremely helpful post saying basically to go with the 57cm. Then Mike(bikesdirect) responded to a PM saying to go with the 57cm but to also consider the Ti Le Champion SL. It looks like they must have just received a shipment of these because they were all on hold till June 13th. I had spent a fair amount of time researching the RT700 and carbon fiber in general to make the swap to Ti at this point.

I ordered the 57cm on Saturday May 10th and received it on Wed May 14th! UPS said it was scheduled for delivery on Thursday May 15th which would have been difficult for me to receive because of work commitments. I started assembling the bike Wed evening but had to stop before I got the pedals(not included) and saddle installed. I finished the installation Thursday morning and did some prelimiary saddle adjusting.

At this point, I am very impressed. The bike arrived a day early, with no damage, and correct frame size. My only issue was that I'd forgotten what a pain it is to get a bike just right since it's been many years since I had to replace brake pads or do any tuning to saddle or transmission on a bike. I think that I'll probably replace the handlebars since they feel too wide for me compared with my old bike, but I'll wait till I have the rest of the bike tuned and have some miles on them to make sure. I did swap the saddle that came on the bike with the one off of my old bike. My butt was molded to the old saddle and I didn't want to break in another one!

Here are some pictures of the bike. Everything is as it came from BD except the pedals and saddle. I thought that the seat post was the one that didn't need the spacer but fit the native Kestrel tube. No complaints. If I didn't need the spacer now, I probably would need it later and would just loose it in the mean time!

Let me know if you are interested in anything specific. I have not ridden the bike yet as it is about to rain and I have to go to work.:( I'll post again when I get some miles on this bike.

Pictures didn't make it the first time. Trying again.
 

· Bacon!
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It's a nice looking bike. A good deal especially since you knew how to set it all up properly. That helps and a lot and saves some $. You'll definitely have to get out and let us know how it rides.
 

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manhattanproj said:
nice bike. good choice.

personally, i think i would have gone with c'dale or felt.
But you don't see Kestrals at every bike outing/race you go to, and that counts for something IMHO. Nice bike. Haven't seen a new Kestral in a while. Good choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am going to hit a 20 mile loop with some major hills tomorrow afternoon if the weather cooperates. My nose was pressed against the windows at home this afternoon while I watched it rain. :( I just went out to the garage and sat on the bike again and still feel that the bars are too wide. I don't know what size they are but they feel a couple of cm too wide. It may be that they are the proper size and I'm used to bars that are too narrow. I'll have to check the measurements from www.wrenchscience.com and see what they recommended.

I'm pretty handy with bike repair. I've done all the maint on my old bike including breaking it down and doing some sanding/painting on the old steel frame, especially around the cable runs on the top tube where sweat would accumulate. I haven't had to do derailleur tuning in years but still remember the basics which should still apply even though the new bike has brifters and my old bike had shifters on the down tube.

Anyway, I'm really stoked to get the first 500 miles on the bike so I can really tell what I think about it but right now it looks great...all clean...chain is spotless...little tire things are sticking out on the new tires!

Rick

Ridgetop said:
It's a nice looking bike. A good deal especially since you knew how to set it all up properly. That helps and a lot and saves some $. You'll definitely have to get out and let us know how it rides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
manhattanproj said:
nice bike. good choice.

personally, i think i would have gone with c'dale or felt.
I looked at Cannondale but couldn't get the price to work with my budget. Most of the stores in the area are Giant, Specialized, or Trek dealers. I have a Cannondale M800 mtn bike that is fully rigid. I road a friend's full suspension ultra modern bike and hated it. I can't stand that soft feel when you crank down on the pedals or when you hit something with the front shock compressing. I want to feel the trail.

Anyway, I really wanted a Trek Madone, but that was about twice my budget.

Rick
 

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Solid choice, Kestrel is the only all carbon bike I've ever owned, after the first one passed, I had to get another.

Hopefully my new one will be built either today or tomorrow.

I use a 42cm center to center bar, cause thats what I like, and according to this diagram a 42 is what I should be on, maybe this will work for you, too:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
threesportsinone said:
Hopefully my new one will be built either today or tomorrow.
Which Kestrel are you getting?

With handle bars, I've used the rule that says they should be the same width center to center as your shoulders, I think if you check out the Ritchey site you'll find the diagram.
Nice, thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out.

Rick
 

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Which Kestrel are you getting?
I got the Evoke, build will be Chris King wheels, Thomson post+stem, Deda bars, classic Flite saddle, Sram Rival, and Ultegra pedals. I've had the frame for a while now, but my bars just came home after touring the world with the UPS guy.

Nice, thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out.
I found it for you, and edited my last post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
C-40 said:
The brake/shifter levers are mounted too low on the bars. They need to be moved up quite a bit. This will shorten the reach and reduce the drop to the hoods.
I'll have to see how it feels on the road...hopefully today. This is my first bike with brake/shifters. My old bike the brakes were way out in the front of the curve of the bars. Do you mean that they should be more up like antlers?

I'll give it a try this way since I don't really want to re-wrap the bars just yet. Thanks for the tip though.

Rick
 

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rickh925 said:
I'll have to see how it feels on the road...hopefully today. This is my first bike with brake/shifters. My old bike the brakes were way out in the front of the curve of the bars. Do you mean that they should be more up like antlers?

I'll give it a try this way since I don't really want to re-wrap the bars just yet. Thanks for the tip though.

Rick
I think the Kestrel is a MUCH better choice than the Immortal Force. The warranty alone makes it worth it. By the way...I don't think your shifters are too low. They could be moved up a little but you might like them exactly where they are. I wouldn't move them until you ride the bike a bit.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
mprevost said:
I think the Kestrel is a MUCH better choice than the Immortal Force. The warranty alone makes it worth it. By the way...I don't think your shifters are too low. They could be moved up a little but you might like them exactly where they are. I wouldn't move them until you ride the bike a bit.

Mike
Yes, I think that the RT700 is a better bike than the Immortal Force. I was considering the Immortal Ice but I'm very happy with the choice I made. Hopefully the rain will hold off enough for a ride today. If not, I'll put the bike on my rollers and ride in the basement...what boring fun that will be. :)

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

· Bacon!
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Personally I'd just roll the bars up so the bar end caps are pointing at the rear dropouts. That should help a lot and take some strain off your wrists.
 

· Bacon!
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Like so

mnmnmnmnmnnm
 
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