Kestrel has an all-new road look this year, with wide-ranging bikes. The slick 5000 SL tri bike slides back from 2017, while the all-new ultralight Legend SL should make a killer climber’s ride. Then the Talon X scales wind cheating back to aero road, and Kestrel finally joins the endurance disc brake road game with a new RT-1100.
Kestrel Legend SL ultra-light carbon road bike
Kestrel has been a carbon road bike pioneer since their first all-carbon bike back in 1987. A lot has changed since then, so it’s nice to see them at the leading edge again with their new 625g Legend SL frame. That name has adorned their ultra light road bike for five years, but now the bike sheds a whopping 20% of its weight since the last iteration.
To make their lightest ever frame, Kestrel developed a unique new one-piece carbon construction production technique that eliminated the joints between frame segments to shed much of that weight. While making assembly of the frame more labor intensive, Kestrel said it yields a better ride quality while getting weight low with their highest 800K ultra high modulus fibers.
The new bike features a reshaped boxy downtube & taller chainstays around the new PF30 BB for improved drivetrain stiffness & efficiency over the last generation of the bike. It also gets a new, lighter full carbon 1.5″ tapered steerer fork for updated handling. At the same time thinned seat stays, and the move to a 27.2mm post are meant to provide ample comfort for long rides.
Pricing & Availability
The ultralight Legend SL is available for $9000 in a super premium carbon/red finished eTap build weighing just 6.22kg/13.7lb. That gets you the light frame and wireless electronic Red groupset, plus Zipp 202 Firecrest carbon clinchers, Zipp Service Course SL cockpit & a carbon-railed Prologo Zero saddle.
Or there is a much cheaper, and UCI race weight limit friendly Dura-Ace mechanical build in satin blue at $4300 and 6.82kg/15lb with Oval Concepts alloy wheels. A black Ultegra mechanical build for just $2800 and only 7.11kg/15.66lb rounds out the bike build options. All share the same 625g frame and 310g fork, and are in five sizes (XS 48cm – XL 60cm).
RT-1100 carbon disc brake endurance road bike
The RT-1100 is probably the biggest shift for Kestrel, as it’s their first foray into disc brakes on the all-day endurance road bike segment, away from their typical light or aero focus. Both of those are still touched on though, as the RT-1100 is built with the same Kestrel Super Light (KSL) ultra hi-mod carbon as the Legend, and aero tube optimizations based on the Talon X (below), albeit with a more conventional multi-piece construction.
As the only disc brake road bike in their line, the RT-1100 gets geometry geared towards longer rides, with a taller headtube and more slack angles, plus an overall longer, more stable wheelbase. It features 12mm thru-axles, flat mount discs, and is spec’ed with 28mm tires. It shares the PF30 BB and modular internal routing, but gets an aero shaped seatpost with a hidden wedge-style clamp.
The RT-1100 still gets a top-shelf $5000 SRAM Red eTap build with tubeless alloy wheels to come in at 7.8kg/17.18lb. Or you can opt for more affordable $4000 Dura-Ace (7.9kg), $2800 Ultegra (8.2kg), or $2500 105 (8.7kg) builds, each with mechanical shifting and hydraulic disc brakes in a five size range.
Talon X carbon aero road bike
The Talon X is Kestrel’s updated aero road bike for 2018, now built with the same top KSL ultra hi-mod carbon. The bike adapts triathlon-inspired aero profiling to the road for a bike actually targeted as a serious triathlete’s training bike. That gives it an aero shaped fork, fork crown-frame transition, aero downtube, and deep wheel cutout up to the dropped, wide-set seatstays.
Kestrel developed unique tubes for each of the five frame sizes to adapt diameter, aero shaping, and layup to ensure ideal ride characteristics no matter the rider size. The Talon X features direct mount brakes, with the rear tucked behind the PF30 bottom bracket, and a reversible aero seatpost.
The Talon X is available only in Shimano complete bikes, including $3800 Dura-Ace (7.7kg), $2300 Ultegra (8.4kg) & $1800 105 (8.33kg) builds. There is also a $1700 105 Tri build with aero bars for the budding triathlete.
5000 SL carbon triathlon bike
The last of the new-ish ‘road’ bikes from Kestrel is their proper triathlon race bike – the 5000 SL. Released last year, it is a top seller offering 30 years of carbon, wind cheating tech in a package that is both race-ready and relatively attainable.
It hits all of the modern tri bike high points – integrated ‘external steerer’ fork, insanely deep aerofoil tube profiles, dropped & wide-set seatstays, fully enclosed brakes front & rear, hidden clamp aero seatpost with massive fore-aft saddle adjustability, modular aero base bar compatibility and internal cable routing behind the stem.
On top of that, it’s the fastest bike Kestrel has ever made. The 5000 SL is available in three build specs and five sizes (XS-XL). The premium bike again specs SRAM Red eTap again, combined with deep, tubeless Oval Concepts carbon wheels for a $7500 price tag and a weight of 8.72kg. A $4800 Ultegra Di2 build and a $3800 Ultegra mechanical build yield more affordable complete bikes adding only a couple hundred grams each, still with carbon wheels but alloy braking surfaces.