Home » Road Bikes » Kestrel Talon Road Bike Review 2016

Kestrel Talon Road Bike Review 2016

Kestrel Talon 2015

The Kestrel Talon 2015 is a full on carbon fiber frame bike, at entry level prices.

But what makes it special?

We review the 2016 Kestrel Talon, with its (mostly) Shimano 105 groupset and carbon fiber frame it certainly looks good on paper, but how does it fair on the road.

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Features of the Kestrel Talon 2016

Carbon Frame.

Kestrel TalonThe first thing you notice is the frame, it looks great in its new colours of black and red handles.  The tubes have a purposeful angular look that has trickled down from the higher end bikes.  The saddle is mounted on an aerodynamic stem that looks like it will cut through the air with ease.

Made from Carbon Fiber (as are the forks), this more than anything keeps the weight of the bike to less than 20lbs (19.2lbs according to the scales).  The carbon is actually a clever blend of high and medium modulus fibre.  This gives plenty of strength with out totally sacrificing comfort.

Groupset

The key components are from the mid range Shimano 105sti groupset, rear derailleur, brakes and shifters.  This will give a good balance between long reliable life, and price.  The other components are either from the lower tier of the Shimano range, and the crank is an “Oval Concepts 140”  not really sure what this is, my best bet is that its actually an FSA crank rebranded.  Still it’s stiff enough to do the job, even if the 105 would be a better overall bet.

To summarise the groupset.  There has to be a balance between price and quality.  Kestrel have done a good job here, with money being spent on the key components.  The lesser parts like the crank can always be upgraded as they wear out.

 Wheels

These are Oval Concepts 327 wheels, bought separately they would normally retail at about $129.  So on a $1400 bike they are about the right spec (normally I would budget 10% of the bike for the wheel cost).  The wheels are decent, not to flashy and will go well.  While they are alloy, not carbon, they still perform well.

Other Features

If you buy online, then you can still get a lifetime limited warranty by having the bike assembled at a local bike shop. This is typically $50.  However there is not really much to go wrong, and if you are confidant about assembly then its easy enough to do at home.  I prefer toKestrel Talon rear do my own bike maintenance and learn more about my bike (hence this site!)

Also you will need to add pedals, as most people now use clipless pedals its standard for bike companies to let customer source their own preferred choice.

Full Specifications:

SPECIFICATIONS
Frame Blend of 700K and 800K high modulus carbon fiber, replaceable derailleur hanger
Fork EMS Pro SL Aero, Full Carbon, 1 1/8″ – 1 ¼ Tapered Alloy Steerer
Wheelset Oval Concepts 327 Alloy Clincher, 27mm rim, 20H Front, 24H Rea
Tires Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 700 x 23c Folding
Crankset Oval Concepts 520 Alloy Compact 50/34T
Bottom bracket Oval Concepts Integrated, External Bearings
Front Derailleur Shimano 105, Braze-on
Rear Derailleur Shimano 105, 11-speed
Shifters Shimano 105 STI, 11-speed
Cassette SunRace 11-28T
Chain KMC X11, 11-speed
Brake set Tektro Dual Pivot
Brake levers Shimano 105
Headset FSA Integrated, 1 1/8″ Top, 1 1/4″ Bottom with 15mm Top Cover
Handlebar Oval Concepts 310 6061 Alloy, Ergonomic Fit
Stem Oval Concepts 313 6061 3D-forged Alloy, 31.8mm +/- 6 degrees
Saddle Oval Concepts 300 w/ Satin Steel Rails
Seatpost Kestrel EMS Pro w/ Ritchey Clamp System
Tape/Grip Kestrel Suede Tape

Any Down Sides?

Switching to Aero Mode.

This is very simple, although you will have to grab some aero bars.  The saddle adjusts to a good comfortable position for aero riding.  This will make this a real triathlon bike.

Assembly:

If you order online you will need to assemble the bike.  This typically takes about 30 minutes so the cost should only be about $50 from your local bike shop.    The bike is nearly fully assembled all that needs done is: attach the handle bar with one bolt, adjust the height of the saddle, fit the wheels and since it does not come with any attach a pair of pedals.

The instructions that come with the bike are not very clear, however if you have assembled a bike, or done even minor repairs to other bikes there is nothing here that will surprise you.

Warranty

The bike does come with a limited lifetime warranty.  You will need a dealers stamp for this. Kestrel Bicycles Warranty Policy which offers the following:

  •  Rigid frames Limited lifetime
  • Rigid forks Limited lifetime
  • Finish 1 year
  • Components 1 year or manufacturer’s warranty

Dimensions:

 

Road gemoetryGEOMETRY
SIZES 48cm 52cm 55cm 57cm 60cm
Seat Tube, Center to Top 50.5 54.5 57.5 59.5 62.5
Top Tube, Center to Center 51.0 53.3 55.6 57 59.5
Head Tube 9.0 10.2 12.9 14.9 17.6
Seat Tube Angle 75.5° 74.5° 73.5° 73° 72.5°
Forward Seatpost Effective Angle 78.5° 77.5° 76.5° 76° 75.5°
Head Tube Angle 72.7° 73° 73.5° 73.5° 74°
Chain Stay 41.0 41.0 41.0 41.0 41.0
Wheel Base 96.3 97.4 98.6 99.4 100.8
Bottom Bracket Height 26.4 26.4 26.4 26.6 26.6
Bottom Bracket Drop 71.0 71.0 71.0 68.0 68.0
Stand Over Height, at Top Tube Center 74.2 76.5 79.1 81.2 83.9
Fork Rake 43.0 43.0 43.0 43.0 43.0
Trail 58.4 57.1 55.3 54.1 51.0
Front Center 56.4 57.5 58.6 59.3 60.8
Reach 37.4 38.8 39.3 39.7 40.9
Stack 50.8 52.2 54.8 56.5 59.3

 

Pros and Cons of the Kestrel Talon

Pros

  • A light weight bike for an excellent price
  • Stiff, yet comfortable carbon fiber frame
  • Reliable and smooth group set

Cons

  • Some self assembly required
  • Aero bars are not perfect
  • As above for a valid warranty you need to have a bike shop assemble it.

 

What are others saying about the Kestrel Talon Road bike?

At the time of writing this bike has over over a dozen reviews, nearly all of them are for a full 5 stars!

“A great carbon fiber frame bike for the price point….. (read more)”

“very smooth and even after being out of the sport for more than a decade getting back into it with this was super easy.. (read more)”

“Cannot beat the bike for the price. I am a true Clydesdale racer (225 lbs.) and I race the crap out of this bike. So far, so good and it looks awesome... (read more)”

Average Customer Rating 4.8

Kestrel Talon 2015What else should I consider when buying this bike?

If you are buying the Kestrel then like most bikes of this standard it does not come with pedals.  Since road riders all have very different tastes in their pedals this is normal.  Since we would normally be using this bike for longer runs then our favorite pedals are the Shimano SPD 105 They cost about $90, and are a great match for this bike.

We would also add a bottle cage or two, as there are mounts for both.

Kestrel Talon Road Shimano 105 Bicycle, Gray/Red, 57cm/Large Review Summary:

This is a great bike for not a huge amount of money, great for intermediate riders looking to take the next step up in performance.  Although it has a retail price of nearly $1500 Amazon are selling the Kestrel Talon for less than $1400.  Similar specced carbon frame bikes can exceed $2000 for little benefit in performance.
We like the well designed geometry, its comfortable and easy to sit in for even the longest rides.  The dual use really works well, I'm not a triathlete more a road rider, however its great to know that if I want then I can use the bike for an occasional race without having to fork out for extra gear.