Kestrel Talon Mountain Bike Report-An Honest Review

Kestrel Talon Mountain Bike

If you’re considering a quality mountain bike, the Kestrel Talon is a bike you may or may not have heard of before. Either way – it deserves some serious consideration. Kestrel is a quality brand name that’s been around for a while, with a legion of fans all over the world. It is a brand that’s best known for its quality engineering and design.

But does the Talon measure up? Is it the right mountain bike for you? Let’s take a closer look so that you can decide for yourself.

What separates the Kestrel Talon apart from most competing bikes is that it can be both a mountain/road bike – and employed as a triathlon training bike too. It offers this dual platform geometry that delivers fast speeds, stable rides, and long-lasting durability.

Since it performs admirably in both arena’s the Kestrel Talon represents great value for the money. For the recreational user, the Talon is reliable on trails and by all accounts, a road-worthy bike. It seems to be equally effective when used for training and time trials for the most serious of athletes. If the Talon can withstand the rigors of that level of training, it should indeed measure up well for most buyers too.

The secret of the Talon’s multi-purpose functionality lies, the Kestral EMS Pro seat design, supplied with every shipment. It provides a wide range of positions to suit both road, trail and track riders, and hard-driving triathletes too.

Kestrel_Talon_Road_BikeStandard on the Talon Road Package is a setup that includes an Oval Concepts 310 6061 Road Bar and your choice of Shimano Ultegra or Shimano 105 STI 11-speed shifters. It’s ready for any road or trail right out of the box. The Triathlete package changes things up a fair bit. This one comes with an Oval Concepts Aerodynamic Base Bar with Clip-On Aero Extensions, Bar-End Shifters, plus a Triathlete’s Saddle – from Oval Concepts as well.

The Shimano 105 Front and Rear Derailleurs (standard equipment on the Talon) have a proven track record of reliability. This helps make the Kestrel Talon a top choice when measuring the performance of a bike in relation to its price.

Whether you plan on challenging your own best time, or you’re simply out for a fun afternoon riding the streets and trails, the Kestrel Talon is one bike that merits attention and perhaps, serious consideration.

There are a few important factors you should take into account when shopping for a quality mountain bike. By the way, there are many poorly made, cheap production bikes sold in the big box stores that share the “mountain bike” label. But that’s the only thing they have in common. They may look bright and shiny, and the low price might be tempting. But the difference between those common products and a “real” mountain bike – like the Kestrel Talon – is night and day.

Below are four things you should consider before you buying any bike:

1. The Level of Comfort. You want to make sure that your bike is as comfortable as possible, whether you’re using it recreationally on trails and roads or for athletic competitions. You’re probably going to be in the saddle for many hours over the coming years, so it’s important to pay attention to the level of comfort you experience. Trail and road riding likely mean that you’ll be on your bike for longer stretches of time whenever you head out the door. So having that extra comfort can make a dig difference.

2. The Weight of the Bike. Ideally, you want just the right weight. If it’s too light, you may not feel safe and secure when riding. And when a bike is too heavy, it becomes cumbersome. It’s also far harder to control. Ideally, what you want is to find the balance – a machine that has substance, yet isn’t too heavy to maneuver without a lot of effort.

It’s also important to note that on a heavier bike, more energy is going to be required from you. Are you up for it, even if it means fatiguing early and ending your ride sooner than planned?

Well-built bikes like the Kestrel Talon are lighter, yet provide adequate rigidity in the frame to provide reliable support for your body, even at accelerated speeds. These bikes are durable with just enough flexibility to float over any uneven terrain that you’re likely to encounter. Even a drop of a foot – or two off a trail ledge was no problem for a two-hundred pound+ rider on a Talon.

3. How much it’s going to cost you. Price is an important consideration for just about everybody. With an unlimited budget, you could get anything at all. But let’s face it, most of us live in the real world where we pay attention to prices on an almost daily basis.

Whenever you’re making a significant investment like purchasing a quality bike, there’s one thing more important than price – and that’s VALUE. It’s best to seek out the ultimate value you can find within your budget. Always avoid those cheap, department store bikes. They’re just not made for serious cyclists.

Instead, you’ll be much happier when you find a well-made bike that performs smoothly and more efficiently on virtually any surface. That should come first and foremost. But also it’s important to feel confident with your purchase.

You already know that a serious bike is going to cost you considerable cash and not mere chump change. Therefore, you should look for something that’s going to serve you well over the long haul. This means finding a bike that’s functional, reliable, and attractive to you. It’s got to do the job, and it’s something you want to be proud to call your own.

Where Are Kestrel Bikes Made?

The Kestrel Company Headquarters is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s a company that has been making quality bikes since the mid-1980s. Originally, all of their bike frames (the single most important component of any quality bike) were manufactured in California. But changing marketplace realities led Kestrel to begin to build their bikes in Asia some years ago.

This is not at all unusual in the bike market. Nor is it the least bit odd in virtually any other market either.

kestrel_talon_2005The truth is, like it or not, manufacturing outside the US is an economic necessity today. So we better get used to it. The good news is that each brand is ultimately responsible for the quality of their products. And the quality of bikes coming out of places like China and Taiwan today is quite remarkable.

Overall, quality has dramatically improved in many foreign-made products – including high-end bicycles – to the point where it doesn’t matter anymore where in the world the product is made. To maintain competitiveness, most manufacturers have had to look outside of the United States for affordable production. It’s simply a reality of the times we live in. As long as consumers continue to demand quality products, smart companies like Kestrel will keep them coming.

Are Kestral Bikes A Good Built Bike?

Kestrel bikes, in general, are vigorous and capable. They have a good feeling to them. They are cleverly engineered to deliver a satisfying riding experience. A Kestrel bike allows you to be in control of your bike, yet it adapts beautifully wherever you go. You could say that Kestrels are a natural extension of the rider, capable and reliable, yet adaptable and understanding.

These bikes feature a solidly constructed framework provides a stiff and supportive frame that is surprisingly adept at absorbing any minor bumps along the way. Fast and smooth on flat surfaces, it’s also easy to pick up speed when needed. The Kestrel has superb straight-line aerodynamics that allows you to sail effortlessly without worrying about steering.

On rolling hills, a Kestrel bike takes direction particularly well. Only point your machine in the direction you want to go and allow it to do its thing. With its sturdy base, you’ll enjoy a comfortable feeling that promotes a sense of confidence and trust.

But it’s not just all about function and performance. The Kestrel Talon is one sleek and sexy machine. It’s attractive enough that it induces both compliments and envy – wherever it goes.

It’s lighter than most aluminum bikes. The ride could only be described as super smooth as the Kestrel seamlessly adapts to unexpected bumps, potholes, cracked pavement, and other damaged surfaces it encounters. Even for heavier riders of 200 pounds or more, this bike holds up shockingly well. It looks and performs like a bike that would cost a lot more than it does.

Overall, you can count on a smooth and stable ride. It rides straight as an arrow and only generates a quiet hum. The Kestrel is quite responsive to changes in the terrain and there’s not much you can put this powerhouse through that it can’t handle. It delivers just the right amount of flexibility when and where you need it, without compromising strength and stability.

What I particularly like about this bike is how substantial it feels under your body. At the same time, it’s lightweight and nimble. It’s this combination of stability, durability, and flexibility that can become addictive. But at least it’s a healthy addiction.

A lot of buyers of Kestrel bikes rack up several thousands of miles on their machines. Some prefer to switch out some of the aftermarket parts from the beginning. Others take their Kestral right out-of-the-box and run with it. The thing is, both camps seem to be satisfied.

Is it a perfect bike?

Nothing is perfect. But if there were such a thing, you should probably expect to have to pay 3 or 4 times as much to get it.

Among the negatives cited is the cost. Simply put, the price of a Kestrel may be too high for some folks. If it’s out of your budget, it’s your budget. Not much you can do about that.

Some users only rate the Kestrel Talon as average on power transfer and climbs. But others claim they like the way the Kestrel tackles climbing. One thing everyone agrees on that this bike is superior when going downhill.

Some have found that the aftermarket components included are not quite up to par. Certainly not what one would expect as a Kestrel standard. But others are perfectly happy to take it as it comes, and they’ve certainly enjoyed it.

These bikes are not the lightest on the market, although 19 pounds isn’t exactly heavy either.

Another complaint is that the paint surface tends to chip off easier than on other bikes. This would be a minor issue that could be corrected with some touch-up paint from any automotive supply store.

What Type of Bike is the Kestrel Talon?

kes-talU11_tri-2014-hiresThe Kestrel Talon features a solid frame made entirely of carbon fiber. This rugged frame has just enough give to traverse any terrain easily and quickly. It’s a stiff structure, yet lightweight with no lateral flex. The Talon feels durable, reliable and responsive, providing a stable platform for safe riding. It’s exactly what you want in a quality mountain bike.

Incidentally, Kestrel produced one of the first-ever carbon fiber framed bikes back in the 1980’s. It was revolutionary back then. Since then, their structures have evolved, and Kestrel continues to be a preferred brand among hard-tail bike buyers.

This bike ships in a single box that measures approximately 8″ x 32″ x 58″. There is some assembly required, and it’s nothing for anyone who has been around biking for years. But it is strongly recommended that you take it to a local bike shop for a professional set-up, before heading out on the trails or roadways.

What is the Right Bike Size?

The right size of bike for you is based on your height and the length of your inseam. It’s best to know both dimensions before you begin your search for the perfect bike.

Frame size is measured from the middle of the seat post to the midst of the front post. The Kestrel Talon is available in the following sizes: 48 cm, 52 cm, 55 cm, 57 cm, and 60 cm.

It’s best to be professionally fitted for a bike. Before you go looking, know the available sizes of the models you’re considering and then get measured at your local bike shop. Be sure the person doing the measuring knows what they’re doing. Many bike shops will do this for free. But even if you have to pay a nominal fee like $30 or $50 – it’s well worth it because comfort and fit are everything.

Approximate sizes would be somewhere in this vicinity:
Height of 5’6″ – 48 cm to 52 cm bike frame
Height of 5’9″ 55 cm or 57 cm bike frame
Height of 6’3″ 57 cm or 60 cm bike frame

These are only approximate estimates based on height. Inseams are equally important and can vary quite a bit. That’s why it’s always best to get fitted by a professional.

Conclusion

The Kestrel Talon is a quality mountain bike that’s tough to beat in the same price range. It’s versatility and performance are notable. If you’re looking for a quality hardtail bike with a carbon fiber frame, then the Talon makes a solid choice.

For the best price on the Kestral Talon, click here.

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Tim - September 19, 2016 Reply

This is a very nice mountain bike. I like the fact that it is light but still rugged enough to perform at a top-level.

Sharon - September 21, 2016 Reply

The Kestrel Talon looks like a great mountain bike. I’d expect to pay around these prices for something of quality that’s well built, and with a carbon fiber frame. I like the weight too, not too heavy. Appreciate the detailed review.

George - September 23, 2016 Reply

This was a very informative review. I also appreciate the tips for finding the right bike. The Kestrel Talon looks like a good fit – durable, safe and offering a good ride. Thanks!

S.Swanson - January 21, 2017 Reply

I’ve been researching quality mountain bikes for few months now. My husband is completely sold on these after he borrowed his friend’s Kestrel Talon for an afternoon ride recently. It’s looking like the bike for us!

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