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I ordered a Kestrel Talon TSR 1.0 from BikesDirect (SRAM Red) in mid-June. The bike actually shipped earlier than the anticipated 7/15 date that had been posted. I received it on 7/13. The packaging appeared adequate. The box had one area that was smashed in, but there was no damage to anything inside.

All components appeared as expected. The finish on the frame was much better than I anticipated -- really beautiful finish and decaling, IMHO. I have to say, it's a head-turner when I've had it out.

Assembly was as expected with one exception: the sleeve nut that receives the through bolt of the front brake assembly (through the fork) was too short to actually get the threads of the brake bolt started. After some careful measurements checking, it was too short. I contacted BikesDirect service and received a reply in about 24 hours indicating that they would send a replacement if needed, but I replaced at no charge at LBS (they swapped out the one I received for a longer one -- stay friendly with your LBS!!).

LBS gave a thorough check-out and tune up of the headset, crank, derailleurs and brakes. The front wheel of the Vuelta set had some wobble and needed to be trued.

I have about ~200 miles on it so far. Very different ride than my previous Trek 2.3 (which I loved). It's taken a little to get all the fit and adjustments dialed in. Now it feels like 'my' bike. Selle San Marco saddle that came with it was yuk. Replaced with Specialized Avatar 143 from previous bike. So far, I've been using the Kestrel aero seat tube. Seems fine.

Will be re-wrapping the handlebars. The bar tape that came on it feels cheap and plasticky. It actually makes a 'snapping' sound when sliding my hands back against the wrap direction on the bars. Annoying. Will get some nice Fizik or Profile Designs cork/gel tape on it. Jury is still out on the Richey bars. Not quite used to the flat spot in the middle of the drops. They seem short, like the bar should extend out more at the end of the drops. I find them kind of dorky looking, too, but that's just preference.

The bike is fast, fast, fast. Climbs really well. Vuelta wheelset seems to be very smooth. Of course, I LOVE the SRAM Red grupo, which was one of the prime reasons I purchased. Extremely sure shifting, even under climbing load. Had Ultegra on the Trek, and this is much more solid feeling and I find the double-tap mechanism very intuitive and enjoyable. SRAM is definitely a noisier ride than the Shimano, but I knew that going in and it doesn't bother me. The benefits far outweigh the extra noise, but again, that's personal preference.

All in all, this is a very positive experience. I feel like I got excellent value for the spend. It's my second purchase from BikesDirect (got my wife's bike there, too - a Moto Gigi Pro). Service and follow-through has been excellent, beating expectations. I am very pleased with the quality of the Kestrel so far. I would do it again. Picture attached.

For reference, I'm 6'0" / 205# and got a 57 frame. I do not really race, but ride multiple events and a time trial or two. Have about 2000 mi on so far this season, including a couple of events near home, and a century out west.

Happy trails.
 

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Thanks for the review.

I was seriously considering that bike and I think you made a good purchase. I almost bought it but got hung up on the frame. BD is now selling a Kestrel on the newest Talon frame model for $1995, w/ SRAM force. So it's the older frame design with the best gruppo and better wheels vs. the newer frame with the second tier gruppo. It's a tough call.

Tell you what, BD, put SRAM Red on the newer talon design or the RT900 (along with the Ksyrium Elites) and I'll pay $2600 to $2800 for it.
 

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I'm considering this frame with ...one of the groups.

Is the frame fit less comfortable/more racing/leaned forward aggressively? Does it absorb road vibrations and create a comfortable ride, or is it stiff like an extreme racing bike?.

I'd be using it for long distance commuting and 50-100 mile weekend expeditions, for fitness.
 

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Curious about this too... I like a well-balanced all around road bike with comfort in mind. I currently ride an 07 Trek 1500 with a race geometry which I'm ok with, but would prefer a slightly comfy bike. How do you think this bike will compare in terms of comfort?
 

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I also bought a TSR 1.0 - here is my review

I was going to post my own review of my new Kestrel TSR 1.0 but it said I haven’t had enough posts on here so make my own thread so I figured I’d just add on to this one...

I bought this bike 2 weeks ago from Bikesdirect.com. I previously rode a Cervelo P2C since I used to do lots of triathlons but I’ve been doing more road riding over the past year so I decided to get a road bike that could easily be adapted to a tri bike. I got a size 52 frame (I’m 5’8”) and the bike cost me $2699 on Bikesdirect.com and shipping was free from UPS. I took it to my local bike shop to have them put it together for $75. It’s stock except for my Look KEO pedals, H2O cages, and cycling computer. I’ve ridden it about 200 miles so far and here are my initial impressions:
1. The bike is fast and relatively light (much lighter feeling than my Cervelo P2C) but I haven’t weighed it on a scale yet. I frequently use Strava to record my rides and my times are slightly faster on the Kestrel so far. On a 1.62 mile climb that I ride a couple times a week, I have already set a 7 second PR. Today was my first large group ride on the Kestrel. I averaged 21.3 mph over 50 miles. I also lead the sprint by 30 meters up a climb at 25 miles. I usually finish 2nd or 3rd in the group when riding the P2C. Being only 135 lbs I do fairly well on the climbs to begin with. However, what surprised me was that I faired better on the flats and sprints during today’s ride too. I was able to sprint past the group at 38mph on one of the flat sprints today, which I had never been able to do on my Cervelo.
2. Sram Red components are exactly as I had hoped. I’ve always had Shimano but Sram was easy to get used to. Shifting is quick and exact. Shifting is slightly noisier than my ultegra but not noticeable. I was worried about the cassette/chain since many people say it’s loud but I haven’t noticed any loud noises yet. The only thing I don't like occurs when I'm in the easiest gear on the cassette. If I don't realize I'm in the easier gear and try to shift down again, it actually shifts UP into a harder gear.
3. Saddle seems fine so far but I guess that’s preference. On all of my bikes, I’ve always kept the stock saddle...I guess I’m not that picky.
4. Vuelta wheels are light. Front is 607g and rear is 835. They retail for $999. The bike geometry is definitely geared towards racing. The steering is slightly twitchy like a tri bike, but I’m used to that so it’s not a big deal. If you’re looking for a nice upright bike that’s comfortable for century rides or touring, this is not the bike for you.
6. Looks: It’s got Sram Red Components which look awesome. The frame is surprisingly beautiful. Plain black but the carbon fiber weaving looks really nice. No fancy paint job, but that doesn’t really bother me at all. I got a couple of comments today after the ride about how nice the bike looks.
7. Durability - No comment yet since I only have 200 miles on it so far. Haven’t had any mechanical problems yet (knock on wood). I’ll try to remember to post on here again after a few thousand miles.
8. It is slightly embarrassing telling people you bought your bike online. But when you realize that you could pay 2x as much for a Trek/Cervelo/Specialized etc with lesser components, it makes you feel better. I don't know anywhere else you can get a full carbon frame/fork with Vuelta SL wheels and Sram Red for $2699.

Overall I’m very happy with the bike so far. If anyone is considering a Kestrel from Bikesdirect, I would recommend it so long as you don’t mind buying a bike that you haven’t ridden yet. If anyone has questions or comments, I’d be happy to answer as much as possible.
 
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