Kestrel built a brand developing carbon bikes, for arguably longer than any other bicycle maker since the late 80s, and is now mostly known for high value & affordability. This year though Kestrel has already made some big performance updates on the road, and the upcoming Ter-X looks like it will do the same thing for gravel riders.

2019 Kestrel Ter-X carbon gravel road bike

image courtesy

This year’s endurance RT-1100 road bike was Kestrel’s first disc brake, drop bar bike, and now it gets a dirty gravel sibling in the new Ter-X. Kestrel says that as the gravel segment was maturing, they’ve been fine tuning what they think a lightweight, versatile, high performance gravel bike can be. And now the Ter-X is almost ready for its debut.

Tech details

Focusing on building a bike with plenty of tire clearance, rider comfort & efficient power transfer, the Ter-X gets an oversized bottom bracket, but tall asymmetric chainstays that will fit up to a 700c x 47mm tire, or even a 650b x 2.1″. Seatstays get flattened (they are wider than they are tall) for a bit of rear end flex, while the seattube even incorporates a ‘flex zone’ to soak up road & washboard buzz. The progressive taper fork legs are said to offer similar high frequency vibration reductions up front too.

The frameset gets plenty of accessory points, with three bottle cage mounts on the main triangle, plus two more on the fork, a toptube set of bento box bosses, rear rack mounts, and full fender mounts. The frame sticks with a tried & true threaded BB, looks to be compatible with a front derailleur (at least in some configuration), and is built of Kestrel Super Light ultra high-mod carbon.

geometry courtesy

The bike comes in seven frame sizes (46-61cm) and will be available in three different specs. It isn’t officially launched yet, but BikesDirect is already pre-selling one model for $2100 with a SRAM Force 1x & Stan’s Grail wheels.


  1. Anyone know who makes this frame? Looks like the same frame as the Bombtrack Hook EXT-C. I think it looks like a great frame and would love to purchase it direct from the manufacturer.

      • Why, specifically? If you’re going to ask someone to spend significantly more then at least make a case for yourself.

        I love bike shops, but they don’t simply deserve to exist, especially if they can’t be bothered to explain why they deserve your business.

        • I work as a mechanic at a bike shop (what you claim to love, but seem to hate). We love online bike sales, because we make lots of money every year fixing all the problems that online, direct-to-consumer bikes tend to have. I have yet to see one I thought was 100% right out of the box. Often, they’re getting a false value. We’ve had more than one customer realize how much it was going to cost to put one right and send it back. A good shop makes sure the set-up is right, that the bike fits the rider, and has the customer’s back when something goes wrong. I think that’s worth quite a bit.

      • Hi Dave if you know a shop that is selling frames direct from the MFG I am in! Unfortunately most of these bikes are going to be sold on direct to consumers, so shops will only see bike service revenue anyway.

        Buy buying an open mold frame direct from the MFG I am just cutting out the brand that does little more than slap their logo on the downtube.

  2. Weird… Seems like it has cx geometry and gearing with gravel bag and rack mounts and wheels. Screaming deal if that’s what you’re looking for. I’d consider it if there were any Ultegra build.

      • Um, that’s nonsense – the reach on a Niner RLT Steel 53cm, is 374. It’s 375 on the Kestrel 52cm. The Open U.P. frameset is at the high end of the gravel frame market – has a BB drop of 70 and a reach of 376 on its medium frame, 365 on the small. I guess it’s too small too? Truth is it’s geometry is line with most other gravel frames.

        Now, the BB drop is a little low at 67, but there are plenty of “gravel” frames at 67-72 – and really, most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference of 3-5mm of BB drop. This is almost the exact same frame as the Bombtrack Hook EXT-C. In fact, they might be the same frame. That bike is marketed and recognized as a gravel-specific bike.

        So, does this frame conform to “ideal” gravel-bike geometry? Maybe not. But few gravel frames do. But to say this isn’t a gravel bike because it’s reach is too small is just patently false based on comparisons of other bikes.

        Kestrel makes decent carbon and this is beyond a smoking deal at $2099 shipped. Nothing touches this bike in terms of value. That’s just a fact – the wheels and groupset alone are at least $1500. The BombTrack Hook EXT-C uses a rival group and Hunt wheels (nothing wrong with either), but they’re asking $1000 more. Folks will try to find fault with it because its BikesDirect, it’s a Kestrel, it’s geometry is a couple of mm in one dimension off from their perceived ideal (which is still different than what other framesets that are considered the best gravel framesets). Whatever. This is easily the best deal on a carbon frame with mid-high end components out there. Nothing comes close.

        • I couldn’t agree more. At this price I would buy the bike for the frame and fork alone and consider the wheels and parts as bonus.

        • I never said it wasn’t an awesome deal… in fact that’s exactly what I said. I just found it to be a “jack of all trades” build rather than targeting either CX directly or gravel directly. There’s nothing wrong with that if you’re looking for a “one bike” solution.

    • Good question @Dolan. Kestrel told us “68mm BSA threaded bottom bracket”, but yeah, the spec on Bikesdirect says “BB386 EVO”. We’ll see what we can find out from Kestrel, and hopefully get more infor and more detail views of the bike once it officially debuts.

      • @Dolan. Here is the update from Kestrel… Yes to a BSA threaded BB. The complete bike is spec’ed with a set of threaded FSA BB386 EVO cups with a 30mm bearing inner diameter to allow the use of stiff SRAM & FSA 30mm spindle cranks.

    • I ran my Kestrel Talon x today about 50 miles and LOVE the Kestrel market, nothing cuts through the wind and shifts like this bike, its 2018 carbon road bike, tried Fuji, Trek, Specialized and this one hands down is awesome, Please take one for a spin some time , its worth 2k all day, cant wait to get Ter-X and start gravel riding

  3. I think its geometry compares to a lot of gravel bikes. BB drop is a little low, but there are plenty of gravel bikes in the 68-75 range. Probably would want a 38 or 40t front chain ring.

    What gets me is the standover: 790 for the 52cm is ridiculously high, and yet they recommend that size for people between 5’4″ and 5’7″. I’m 5’7 and have an inseam of 30.5″ max. Granted, my legs are on the shorter side, but I’m trying to see how someone at 5’5″ fits the 52cm.

    Still, the spec on this bike is pretty unbelievable at this price point. Hard to beat.

  4. Bombtrack as been producing bikes for brands even before they were releasing their own range. Teaming up with Kestrel is not bad too.

  5. When did Kestrel become a BikesDirect brand? I thought that Fuji or ASG owned them or something like that. For some reason I’m thinking they were sister brands with Quintana Roo.

    • Never sister companies, although in the 90’s they were 2 of the top high end brands in the growing triathlon market.

      As a former owner of a beautiful Keatrel 500 sci, It is sad to see them reduced to open molds and budget/value bikes.

  6. Advanced Sports bought Kestrel years ago. They also own Fuji, Bikes Direct, and all the brands you see on that website.

    • Oh, interesting, thanks! I didn’t realize BD had a connection to more “mainstream” brands. I had always thought of them as a kind of lone wolf in the bike industry.

  7. purchased a 58″ Terx. 6′ 1″, 210lb and it fits well with no changes to stems or seat. The other bike in the garage is a 60′ Trek Domane which also fits well and has an extended stem.

    First impressions: Wow, this is by far the best bike that I have owned. Fast. Comfortable. Seems relatively smooth, however, I am new to gravel and do not have enough experience on other Gravel bikes to compare ride. Switched to 42mm WTB Resolute which are better in sand and mud than the stock 35 tires. The 42 tooth front ring and 32 hub make for a relatively tall first gear, I have some issues on the steepest grades, and need to either get faster or consider some change. We are located in the mountains of Waterville Valley NH having many miles of both flat roads and hills so will ride for the rest of this season prior to considering change.

    Shipping: The Hanger came bent and could not be ridden nor fix. Bikes Direct was fantastic in their follow-up support and immediately sent a new Hanger. They responded to emails within hours and had shipped the Hanger within 24 hours.

    Assembly: It took approx. 25 minutes to unpack and assemble. It arrives mostly assembled, just put on stem, handlebars, seat, wheels, pedals (own) and you are good to go. Most of the time is spent pealing away the packaging.

    Local Bike Shops: They are invaluable and the good ones understand that we may not buy all of our bikes from them. Rhino Bike in Plymouth NH was fantastic and they at first tried to bend the Hanger but it was too twisted. They replaced it when the new Hanger arrived, gave the bike the once over making some micro adjustments, and when I took it out for the first ride it was perfect. Matt the mechanic is talented and accommodates you when possible. The bike shop owner charges a fair price, backs his products and services, and is committed to keeping bikes out on the road.

    The TerX is crazy good. Very low price. It seams that comparable bikes have a retail price in the $4,000 range. I have friends that rave about Kestrel bikes which led me to evaluate and purchase the TerX.

    I could not have asked for a better bike.

    • I own the Kestrel Talon and it is the sweetest ride ever ,light , fast , awesome components, I wont ride it in winter in Boston but I want the Kestrel gravel if its anything like it looks, my friend bought one and he loves it, does b direct have more in stock?

  8. I own two Kestrels now (Legend road and Talon X tri) and I can’t wait to add one of these to my stable!! I love my Kestrels and haven’t had any issues with either of them.

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