-Paint still chips fairly easily, but not so much to bother me. A little auto-paint touchup and good as new -The carbon doesn't seem that much better at killing the trail vibrations than my Ti hardtail frame. -It climbs slightly worse than my K2 suspension. Seems that the active suspension keeps the wheel locked on loose inclines better. -The full build was not as light as I'd hoped--23 lbs instead of 21.5lbs.
The Good: -It climbs better than my Ti (litespeed type hardtail). -It is much much stiffer in the BB and chainstays than my Ti, old steel or any Al frame I've had. This is a stiff frame. -It maintains its own on downhills for a hardtail. -The frame feels well built--instilling confidence that a rugged steel frame gives. -It looks very sweet, and is a big winner with the trail bunnies (rabbits that is, though girls...I can't notice--married.) -I enjoy this frame more than any hardtail (though not as much as my carbon suspension frame).
Bottom line, properly constructed carbon frames really do shine over the others.
Strengths: Fairly lightweight (advertised 3.6lbs for 21" was more like 3.8lbs) Very rigid in BB and good energy transfer (like others have been saying, it's true) Sculpted looks (Black to weave is stunning when new) Uniqueness
Weaknesses: You heard it here first, PAINT CHIPS! (all right, enough, enough) Kestrel is sending me a touch up bottle.
Only ridden 20 trail miles so far (built it four days ago). Had no problems climbing hills that formerly had to get off on my Ti frame. The geometry is not a problem for me at all, climbing better than ever because energy transfer (stiff BB) is superb.
Can't comment on smoothness of ride, since I didn't do a back-to-back comparison of my different frames on the same trail. I can say, this frame is at least as smooth as my Ti frame, maybe more. But not a plush as the k2 fullie. (obviously, no?)
Control-wise, it is great.
The chi-chi factor is good. It doesn't look so outrageous from a distance, but on inspection, looks better and better.
While I haven't logged enough miles to really rate this beast, I thought I would at least dispel the climbing problems reported with long travel. Later will report on endurance riding quality.
Similar Products Used: Compared against a K2 Oz carbon fullie (great frame) and an older woods bike: Litespeed built Ti frame (alpinestars Ti-mega with ultra-short chainstays)
Bike Setup: 2002 CSX large (21") frame--geometry changes? Built to about 22.5lbs WITH: Noleen carbon Xlink (80mm travel). Ti-dye wheelset w/ nukeproof carbon a-bomb hubs. American Classic ISIS BB w/ truv team stylo cranks. Carbon post, bar. Ti stem. SRAM rocket shifters, plasma rear der. XT levers, fr der. (many of these were used parts)
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 26, 2002
Strengths: Stiff, light, pretty
Weaknesses: paint chips
I got a great deal ($1100 built with XT) on this thing back in 1995 and have been riding it ever since. I recently considered building up something else (the original components were shot) but decided to rebuild this kestrel. I haven't been dissapointed.
I've never had any problems climbing. Last summer I roadtripped out to Moab and had a blast. The hills were the best part on Slickrock. It's all about technique. Just point this bike where you want it to go, no surprises.
The frame is very stiff and durable. The paint does chip but it's nothing a well placed sticker can't take care of.
I would recommend this frame to anyone looking to build up a lightweight, durable, and unique bike. It's a perfect singletrack machine. Sure, the geometry is dated and the paint will chip, but have you ever looked at the lightweight aluminum frames out on the trail? They dent easily and everyone has one.
Bike Setup: SRAM, XT, SPOX, Bomber fork, avid brakes,
from modena, italy
Date Reviewed: May 20, 2001
Strengths: amazing ride, stiff at the bb, very stiff front triangle,great when descending but you have to go fast (the faster the better), comfortable for a race frame
Weaknesses: geometry for a 400mm long fork, extremely slack angles and high bb, difficoult to control in steep ascents, stupid (too short) rear dera cable hanger (you have to zip tie the cable)
a very emotional, romantic frame, now that i'm not using it any more, i have it in my bedroom. it is a shame that a top performer like this is compromised by a geometry from 1990; i know that molds are very expensive but the frame is very expensive too and there is space under the down tube to cut nearly an inch from the headtube (but is something that must be done by kestrel) i periodically visit the site of kestrel hoping to see a revisited csx, i'm hardly vaiting to buya new one (but with correct geometry)
Similar Products Used: klein, scapin and paduano (italian high pedigree steel branda), d. back ti, merlin
Bike Setup: judy sl99, full xtr, king h.set, c.max, syncros, fizik saddle.
from Tokyo, Japan
Date Reviewed: April 25, 2001
Strengths: Absorbs small vibration very well. Power transfer is excellent. Best looking frame I've ever seen.
Weaknesses: Painted finish chips. Too pretty to ride.
The bike is fantastic. Very fast and controllable on decents. Climbs well too. I don't know what people are talking about, not being able to climb with a suspension fork, their on crack! I've climbed everything I used to on the Ti GT, we're talking granny city. The only bad thing I have with this frame is the paint chipping. Not sure why, maybe the paint just doesn't bond to the finish on the carbon very well. Kestrel sent me a bottle of touch up for free though. Bike rocks!
Similar Products Used: GT Xizang, Myata Elevation 2000
Bike Setup: blue frame, SID Race, Full XTR, Thompson, King, etc....
a Cross Country Rider
from Laguna Beach, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: January 17, 2001
Strengths: It's humanity...I mean the frame is just kind and gentle.
Weaknesses: Huge flex in seat stays when braking with rear V-brakes.
Only had it for a few weeks, but I took it out on the local favourite trail...The one that I ride atleast once a week and I gotta tell you I don't notice the front end problems these guys are talking about. I'm riding an 80mm travel fork and there's only a hint of lift. Maybe try relaxing your shoulders and stop counter-pulling on the handlebars to peddle.
I do have a problem however with the frame flex when braking. There's really no power in the rear brakes without a booster.
Bike Setup: Manitou SXR, Shimano XT/XTR, Mavic 221s.
a Cross Country Rider
from Ontario Canada
Date Reviewed: January 6, 2001
Strengths: Nice looks. Love the carbon weave. Convincing advertizing.
Weaknesses: Mid '80's geometry which means it was designed for a short rigid fork. The company choooses not to tell you this either.
Unless you plan to use a short rigid fork don't buy this frame. I put a Bomber under mine and the head angle measured 68 degrees (with the sag factored in) when it is advertized at 71 degrees. This also raises the bottom bracket an inch over specs too. It's interesting to read that the fellow below found it acceptable with a 65mm travel fork and after facing 4mm off the bottom of the headtube!! I'd be concerned about the fork crown hitting the downtube after doing that. How many 65mm travel forks are out there?
The slack head angle doubles the *trail* figure which makes the ride very unstable - it's almost impossible to ride across a sidehill, impossible to keep it on a 12" wide singletrack, almost impossible to ride it "no-hands" and climbing is another experience altogether!! While ascending, the headtube wags sideways like a dog shaking a rubber bone!
If you ever get a chance to see one just line it up sideways next to a bike with a known 71 degree head angle, sight across the headtubes and you'll see what I mean. I have the tools and the ability to measure frame angles and this frame is 68/70 with a '97 Bomber Z2.
I complained to the factory and proved my case and they refunded my money without fuss or comment.
Take a look at their picture of this bike on their site. Look at the slack head angle and the very high BB! It's about 1/2" less than hub height! Check that against their stated specs.
Similar Products Used: Cannondale, cutsom 853 True North, custom Ti Seven Sola.A
Bike Setup: '97 Bomber Z2
from baton rouge.LA
Date Reviewed: December 6, 2000
Strengths: amazingly stiff laterally and still gives that great cushsy vertical compliance. good bye creaks!!
Weaknesses: When I originally reviewed this frame I was pretty pissed off that the frame geometry published was for a rigid fork. The 80 mm Marzocchi fork made the climbing next to impossible with the front wheel constantly lifting off the ground on steep climbs. Since that time about a year ago I have resorted to limiting my ultra plush marzocchi to 65mm with astounding climbing results.
The bottom line is that I was Quite disappointed with Kestrel at first after speaking with them for so long before buying the frame and never once mentioning the fact the the published geometry was with a ridgid fork. All that being said this frame has turned out to be manna sent from heaven. The bike has always been a great descender and continues to be even after the travel restriction. The climbing which was my biggest problem is great now. ( I did however have the underside of the head tube faced about 4mm) This frame is one bad ass ride. Incredible bottom bracket stiffness, pure energy transfer, while all the time smoothing out the trail. Most carbon frames have a dead feel but this is one of the most lively frames I've ridden.(even compared to aluminium. If your a racer and just want to take the edge out of the trail this is the closest you will get to that full suspension feel without the power robbing drawbacks, or if you just enjoy a great smooth comfortable ride you ca't go wrong. STAY AWAY FROM ANY FORKS WITH MORE THAN 65 MM OF TRAVEL!!!!!!!!
a Cross Country Rider
from Kansas City, MO
Date Reviewed: November 2, 2000
Strengths: I have been riding the CSX for about 8 years now (I bought it in 92'). It's light, handles well and climbs well (due to the negative rise stem).
Weaknesses: I have a negative rise stem on my bike due to my suspension fork (manitou). Other than that no real complaints. I have read a couple reviews on the bike where people have stated that they get upset about the paint chipping on the frame. I myself can't complain, I have owned the bike for over eight years and my frame still looks pretty good. I have come to one conclussion though, a mountain bike is going to get banged and chipped up when you rike hard (hey thats just the way it is, nothing is new forever).
I've logged over 5,000 (8+ years worth) good hard mountain biking on this steed and it has never let me down. I would recommend it to anyone.
Bike Setup: LX & XT Components throughout. Almost every component on the bike has been replaced more than once. (except the frame)
from Colorado Springs, CO
Date Reviewed: May 12, 2000
Strengths: Ripping downhill, single track, frame feels sure, predictable beneath you. Very fast, killer frame.
Weaknesses: Doesn't take much to chip the paint. Kestrel did send me a free tube of touch-up, but for what I paid for it, I'd rather not worry about chips.
I do a lot of long distance riding/racing - especially like the 24 hour races, this bike has never let me down or had me lusting after something else. I haven't had the problems climbing described by some of the others - maybe because of the 63mm travel? I've found this bike to be very fast. I weigh about 185 and wondered about possibly being too big for the bike, but it always performs. Love it.
Similar Products Used: Trek OCLV, Liquid Metal, Litespeed.
Bike Setup: Full XT gruppo, rockshox Judy SL 63mm front fork, rockshox suspension seatpost, easton scandium monkey lite riser bar,
a Weekend Warrior
from Cleveland, OH, USA
Date Reviewed: April 13, 2000
Strengths: One Good Looking Frame, Neat work, and paint job,, look strong,,and feel strong
Weaknesses: PAINT CHIPS!!!!,, front end lifts when climbing steep hill
Hard to climb, but i don't like climbing anyway, usually i carry my bike up even with a not-to-steep trail but i like the control that the bike gives when coming down the slope,,I just love my bike because it fits my riding style,, Customer service is good that they sent me a touch-up paint and a Kestrel Sticker for free in no time, so if u are a small build person, and love going down steep trail, and if u don't mind the front-end too much,, then u can own a CSX,,
from baton rouge, la.
Date Reviewed: March 13, 2000
Strengths: Super smooth ride, stiff bottom bracet, very little flex laterally considering my 185+ weight.Great responsiveness.Descends like no other! The faster you go the better it hooks up!
Weaknesses: Wasn't told after months of inquiring with Kestrel that the frame geometry listed was spec'd with a rigid fork. 71 degree head angle I think not. My only complaint is with a 70mm or more shock travel the front end becomes incredibly unstable on steep climbs.After purchasing the frame Kestrel then told me it works best with 65mm of fork travel and that facing the underside of the headtube wouldn't hurt either. A huge disapointment after shelling out $1300.
overall if you don't mind a short travel fork or a negative stem rise this is one fabulous ride, but if you can't take a little more effort on the climbs to keep the front end down, steer clear.
I'm new to the forums and I just acquired a Kestrel CSX mountain bike. Anyone share information about this bike?
[ATTACH=CONFIG]814219[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]814220[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]814221[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]814222[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]814223[/ATTACH][AT ... Read More »
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A few questions to the team whom know.
I am wanting to get a GPS, have done for sometime now for my mtb riding. I seem odd, I am not interested in speed, cadence etc. Track this on my roadie riding, but not mtb.
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