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kestrel 300ems/ comments on reliablity and ride(9 posts)

kestrel 300ems/ comments on reliablity and riderichard24
Jul 20, 2001 8:35 PM
thinking about a 51 300ems. 130lbs. would be my bike for day rides of 50 or so miles. occassional century. anyone have experience with kestrel?
re: kestrel 300ems/ comments on reliablity and ridecarbonguy
Jul 20, 2001 8:59 PM
great riding bike totally comfortable my only problem with them is the paint. It doesn't stay on the bike at all. Its like the shell of a m&m the paint sticks to itself but not the frame. Thats why I bought my Calfee it was the same price and I think its a better bike (just my opinion)
re: kestrel 300ems/ comments on reliablity and riderichard24
Jul 20, 2001 10:20 PM
would be getting the clear coat treatment not paint..are your talking about just paint and not problems with the clear coat???
re: kestrel 300ems/ comments on reliablity and ridecarbonguy
Jul 20, 2001 10:29 PM
I am talking about the paint I dont know if Kestral will do a "natural" finish meaning no paint just clear I have never seen that. Someone a long time ago told me they wont because you can see how rough the frame is through the clear. I guess bladder molded bikes have some ugly spots that Kestral wouldn't want you to see.
re: kestrel 300ems/ comments on reliablity and riderichard24
Jul 20, 2001 11:31 PM
the 300ems i'm looking at has what is called an "Amber Clear Unidirectional Carbon Finish" you can see the carbon fiber through what looks like a laquered finish. it's a new model. my real concern is some of the things i have read about the bike failing at the top seam..an isolated problem or a more frequent one? and how it feels after spending 4 to 6 hours of riding. comfortable for long rides..
re: kestrel 300ems/ comments on reliablity and ridecarbonguy
Jul 21, 2001 9:06 AM
Yea its totally a long distance bike thats why alot of Ironman Triathletes use them. You are right about the top "seam" I have seen that. I was talking to a guy who's Kestral had a strip down the top tube where the paint had come off over the seam it looked pretty nasty. For about the same price you can get a Calfee luna and a reynolds fork try and take a look at that bike. I know I love mine.
re: kestrel 300ems/ comments on reliablity and rideWhatever
Jul 21, 2001 9:47 AM
I demo'd the Kestrel and ended up buying the Calfee...here' some additional notes comparing the two:

At the LBS where I rode the Kestrel (this shop sells a lot of them), the staff steered me towards the Calfee hanging in the corner and said "similar ride quality, better workmanship." (Advantage: Calfee)

The Kestrel is a wonderful riding bike. So is the Calfee. (Advantage: Draw)

You can read some reviews where people needed warranty work on their Kestrel. Usually, the customer service is positive...but the best customer service of all is the service you will never need to use. (Advantage: Calfee)

The Calfee uses Ti dropouts...harder than the aluminum on the Kestrel, and they won't gall over time. They will also never corrode due to galvanic reaction between the carbon and the aluminum. (Advantage: Calfee)

The Calfee Tetra Pro also uses Ti BB and top tube sleeves...extra insurance against galvanic corrosion and saves a bit of weight. The Luna uses Aluminum BB and head tube sleeves, but nobody is more careful than Calfee in separating the Carbon from the Aluminum (with a layer of fiberglass, in this case.) The bike will not corrode, and Craig warrants his bikes forever. (Advantage: Calfee)

I am guessing that the reason that Kestrel paints most of their bikes, and has an upcharge on the clear is that when the bikes come out of the molds, some need a little bondo or something like that to clean them up. Nothing that affects that durability and quality of the ride, but not pretty...hence the paint. If my theory is correct, they don't get that many frames that they can clear coat, so they charge more for that finish. (The other possibility is that they can get clear-coat quality frames at will, but with extra prep required, so again they charge more for that finish.) Again, this is about esthetics, not functionality or durability. Calfee uses prewound tubes that are either laid up by hand (Tetra) or glued into pre-fabricated carbon lugs (Luna). Both bikes give you a clear-coat ready frame, though. (Advantage: Calfee)

When people I know had a chance to compare the Colnago C-40 against a Calfee, the Calfee again comes out on top. What did they say? "Better workmanship." The shop where I got my Calfee Tetra Pro carries also carries Colnago. What did the shop owner say? "Better workmanship." See a pattern emerging here? (Advantage: Calfee)

Listen to Carbonguy...if you are thinking about dropping this kind of dough on a plastic bike, check out the Calfee. Not many people get a chance to compare the two side-by-side, but when you do the Calfee comes out on top...great carbon ride quality, classic day-long geometry that descends like a cat with it's @ss on fire, and a good dose of steel-like resiliance or springiness that many carbon bikes (Treks)lack. You can check them out at www.calfeedesign.com. If they are not available near you, call them and they'll figure out a way to help you out.

Geeze...do I like my Calfee or what?
re: I'll second that...seamus
Jul 21, 2001 10:46 AM
Kestrels are nice, no doubt about that, and I spent quite a bit of time on a 200sci and was pretty pleased. I know you're looking for a different model Kestrel, but I'd strongly recommend a look at a Calfee, especially if durability is a top concern. I have a Tetra Pro, which blows the doors off just about everything else I've ridden in the past 15 years. Probably not as trendy as Kestrel, but for those in the "know" it's a popular choice, and you won't find many complaints among Calfee owners. I could also go on about my Look KG281, but that's another story for another posting.
i'll look at calfee.richard24
Jul 21, 2001 11:42 AM
Thanks for all the responses...and yes i see a common thread here!!!! the nearest calfee dealer is 50 miles south so i'll go check them out this weekend. it was interesting that there wasn't any strong favorables for kestrel from anyone...but then the logic given for the calfee seemed sensible.