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New Road Biker, Question about Bikes...(24 posts)

New Road Biker, Question about Bikes...FearNo1
Jun 3, 2003 6:05 AM
I am an experienced mountain biker/racer that has recently been introduced to road biking/racing. I am interested in using road riding to train and hopefully start road racing as well. This leads me to be in the market for a new road bike. I have settled on carbon and was wondering if anyone has had any experiences or opinions on the Kestrel Talon and the Trek 5200? Any information, opinions and education is greatly appreciated and thanks in advance!
Jun 3, 2003 6:18 AM
I had to make the same choice last year. I went with the 5200 and I am glad I did. The talon is not made the same way the other Kestrels are they are made in two parts and fused(not even in the same factory). Not that means it is a bad bike but if I buy a Kestrel I want a real Kestrel not soemthing they make cheap just to sell with the kestrel name on it.

I love my 5200 I wish I could have gotten a 55000 or 5900 but that will have to wait. Just make sure you get a good fit kit done!
Jun 3, 2003 6:37 AM
Thank you for the information. I was definitely wondering about the fused front and rear triangles. I have been lucky enough to test ride one of my friend's 5200 on a 40 miler recently and was very impressed with the ride quality and feel of the 5200. It was very fast and light!! I guess the main reason I have been considering a Kestrel is because a LBS has offered a 2002 Talon for $1599 with full 105 parts. I don't know if that is a deal or not but for around $2300 I can get a Trek 5200 with full Ultegra. Since I don't know much about road frames and materials I am definitely glad for your opinions/help. Thanks again!
Jun 3, 2003 12:43 PM
I don't think the Talon with 105 for $1,600 is a very good deal. With Ultegra, yes. Anyway, I am a huge Trek OCLV anything fan. I have a 5500 and 5900. I have also owned a C-40 B-Stay. In my opinion, the 5200 OCLV 120 rides very similar to the C-40. The 5900 is much stiffer than both. Get this, I ended up trading a 5200 with full DA, Ksyriums, EC 90 bars for my C-40 framset. I really like the warranty on the Trek. Talk to their customer service dept. in Madison, Wisc., they have their heads on straight. Good luck.
Jun 3, 2003 7:27 PM
I agree that the Trek OCLV 5200 is an impressive bike. I was lucky enough to test ride it extensively from using one of my road racer buddies on a long ride. The one thing that is also very impressive is the loyalty and impression of Trek owners. But I can also say that for some of the manufacturers and their bikes. That is one of the reasons it is so hard to make a decision on a new road bike. In mountain biking, I have been lucky in that all the frames and bikes I have built have been built from test rides from my mountain bike race team. Granted we are all amatuers. But thanks for your input since it helps me in seeing that the owners of the bike models I'm considering are extremely satisfied and love their bikes. I definitely have to do my homework and test ride all the bikes there are and see how they fit.
Jun 3, 2003 8:57 PM
A local bike shop here in So Cal named Jax has, on multiple occasions offered to sell me a new 5200 for $1999. Having seen that, it's hard for me to see any "used" 5200's on e-bay anywhere close to that price. Just an fyi - depending on where you're located, you might find a similar deal. Jax is a fairly well established shop with multiple locations - in case you thought they were going out of business...
from a kestrel owner...wolfereeno
Jun 3, 2003 3:36 PM
The Talon's just two pieces. But your Trek is a whole bunch of tubes that are bonded together. (Not that I think thats a problem, just questioning your criticism of the talon)

I have a Kestrel 200sci that I bought last year. I really love it. They've stopped making them - supposedly the molds are getting old(?!). I don't know that the Talon's necessarily inferior in any way. Although I guess I did secretly like the idea of my 200sci being one piece and didn't really consider the Talon for very long when shopping. But it was more of a color thing. I just had to have that ruby red clear coat frame!

Many places still have the 200sci and 300ems including R&A cycles in NY. The lifetime warranty still applies. They'll either fix it or replace it. I guess that means I could end up with a Talon if I really total my frame. But if I somehow split this bike in half, I'll be happy to be riding anything!

FWIW, the Kestrel rep at the recent NYC Bike Show mentioned that they're coming out with a new model but wouldn't reveal any details other than it's more 'traditional'. My guess is that perhaps it's lugged tubes like most of the other carbon bikes. Or it's an updated 200sci.

from a kestrel owner...FearNo1
Jun 3, 2003 7:01 PM
Thanks for the information! I do like the Talon because it is asthetically a pleasing bike to look at as well. But from my years of mountain biking, I have learned the hard way that the looks of a bike can contrasts dramatically with how it may actually perform in real life. After reading all the reviews on this site and researching around whether on the internet or asking my road riding buddies, the Talon has had great reviews as well. I definitley have a lot of homework to do to help come to a conclusion. There's just that one problem I guess in any hobby/sport nowadays. Too many choices, and too many places to spend your money! :-) Thanks again!
from a kestrel owner...wolfereeno
Jun 4, 2003 10:34 PM
I hate to be a commercial for these guys but R&A in Brooklyn, NY sells the Trek, Kestrel, Looks, and many other carbon bikes. Call and ask for Phil - or send him an email if you have any questions.

I bought mine from them and had lots of questions about those 3 brands specifically.
Jun 4, 2003 7:09 AM
I am more worried about where the bonding is and where the bonding was done then the fact that it is bonded. Also in my view Kestrel is not the company they were before the "problems".
what "problems" did they have?wolfereeno
Jun 4, 2003 10:38 PM
were they sold or something?
what "problems" did they have?andy02
Jun 5, 2003 5:09 AM
yes, they were totaly out of it for a couple of years! around 94-96????
re: New Road Biker, Question about Bikes...jtolleson
Jun 3, 2003 6:24 AM
Sounds like you are set on carbon, which has certainly made many a roadie happy. You should read the reviews on this site and see if you can snag a test ride. No one can tell you which of these bikes you'll like better.

The 5200 is one of the best selling bikes on the market right now, and no one can tell you that it isn't a very nice option. The Talon is less common (something that I would find appeal). Just because the construction isn't monocoque (many carbon bikes aren't) I would not reject it as a good possibility.

Test ride and then see who offers the better pricing. Seriously. There is no "wrong" answer here.
re: New Road Biker, Question about Bikes...FearNo1
Jun 3, 2003 6:45 AM
Thanks for the information! I am definitely going to test ride both as thoroughly as possible within boundaries set by the LBS. I guess you can definitely classify me as addicted to riding and now a new roadie! I was lucky enough to use a friend's 5200 and it was awesome! Fast and light and I instantly liked carbon. I guess I can't definitely rule out the other frame materials since I have no real experience with road frames in aluminum. I have mountain bikes with aluminum and titanium and both have very distinct ride qualities. I guess I am intrigued by the carbon and definitely both the Talon and 5200 fit that curiousity. I also agree since I see a lot more Trek's around, having a Talon will be unique. I will definitely test ride them both and make a decision! Thanks again!
What's the difference?Matno
Jun 3, 2003 7:02 AM
Between monocoque and non-monocoque? According to the dictionary, the definition of monocoque is "a type of construction (as of a fuselage) in which the outer skin carries all or a major part of the stresses." All of the monocoque frames with which I am personally familiar are two halves welded or epoxied together. (e.g. Marin, Infusion, & K2 mountain bikes). How is the Kestrel in question not a "monocoque" design? According to what I found, the front triangle is all one piece, while the rear assembly is two halves fitted together.

Just curious...
Another Option, LOOK KG461 / 361pitt83
Jun 3, 2003 6:47 AM
Great frame my 461. Compares well with Trek in ride, but different in geometry. Consider it if you have fit considerations.

I've seen the Kestrel advertisement here for $999 at jenson. Group above that and you're out the door for maybe less $ that either LOOK or Trek.
Another Option, LOOK KG461 / 361FearNo1
Jun 3, 2003 6:57 AM
Thanks! I will look on the website to find a dealer in my area so that I can test ride. I guess I didn't look into other manufacturers of carbon and just settled on the two. I will test ride that as well once I can find an authorized dealer.
don't make the dreaded MTBer fit mistakebigrider
Jun 3, 2003 7:13 AM
Remember that fit is much more critical(or should I say the tolerances are tighter) for a road bike. Don't get a small frame with a lot of standover room that doesn't fit your torso ( top tube length). Find the right stretch for you to be in the proper position and then just make sure you can stand over the bike. Take an experienced roadie with you to the shop just to be safe. Good luck.
don't make the dreaded MTBer fit mistakeFearNo1
Jun 3, 2003 7:25 AM
Wow, thanks for the tip! I will bring one of my friends who road races with me to the LBS to help me fit. I went to a LBS and this particular one was not staffed with very proficient or knowledgable staff so wasn't told of the proper reach. From reading the discussions here I am learning a lot on proper ride/reach positioning making a huge difference for comfort and efficiency. Thanks again!
Beware the Dudes!pitt83
Jun 3, 2003 7:32 AM
You'll find many young employees in shops who will tell you, "Yeah, we got road bikes over there" and return to the skateboard stuff they know. Watch out for this. I've left the shop without buying just because they weren't willing to wait on me because road wasn't their thing or find someone who would. Worse yet is if they try and make it up as they go along. Those people usually work at Radio Snack though (Why do they need your address for every purchase; I always give 1600 PA Ave, Wash, DC as mine).

Find good advice and treasure it. Ask for a road expert if you're getting a bad vibe.
don't make the dreaded MTBer fit mistakeNEIL
Jun 3, 2003 9:57 AM
Read this link carefully. This is a great guide to determine the correct bike fit. A standover test is basically useless when you're taking about really fiting a bike properly.
don't make the dreaded MTBer fit mistakeFearNo1
Jun 3, 2003 7:04 PM
Thanks for the link to the website! It's very informative and a good basis to learn about fitting for a road bike. I am learning now the very dramatic differences from fitting for my mountain bikes to fitting for a new road bike. Thanks again!
Highly reccommend the 361.KG 361
Jun 3, 2003 12:04 PM
I picked one up on e-bay after having a previous Look. If you test ride one you will be hooked. It's also nice to have something different at group rides, other than the Treks and C-dales (not a cut on either bike-they're just too popular for me =) ).
Highly reccommend the 361.FearNo1
Jun 3, 2003 7:16 PM
Thanks for the recommendation! I will go test ride it at a LBS once I find a dealer here near me. I am definitely considering all models since I am new to road biking. I do not particularly want to follow the trends or fads but definitely want a good bike for the money to help with my road biking experiences whether or not it is a popular bike or not.