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  1. #1
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    Kestrel Evoke SL - Experiences

    Hello,

    Back in September, I ordered a Kestrel Evoke SL from BikesDirect (BD). I had a very good experience dealing with Mike, the owner, and wanted to add my two cents regarding both the good service at BD and the quality of the Evoke.

    A month or so before I purchased the bike, I was corresponding with Mike regarding my choices: the Motobecane Le Champ Ti or the Evoke. That correspondence and attention to my concerns continued with Mike through the purchase and set up of my bike. Also after corresponding with several owners of both bikes from this forum group, I decided on the Evoke - the idea of lively handling appealed to me. I was moving from a 35 year-old Guerciotti steel road bike that I had build up from the new frame - 35 years ago - into the world of carbon fiber bikes. I was looking for a good long distance (i.e., century rides), road bike that could climb and handle like my old Guerciotti in its prime - basically, a stage bike.

    The Evoke is clearly way beyond my old steel steed. It climbs like an arrow, corners like the falcon of its brand name, and descends like that same arrow coming back to earth! It "floats" over our New England frost heaved roads and is extremely efficient in transmitting the rider's power directly those roads. As equipped on the BD website, there is little that needs changing. I had a professional fitting for the bike, which confirmed my feeling that the stock Kestrel carbon handlebars were way too deep for me - the second picture, if the pictures showed up, is the Kestrel assembled right out of the box. I changed the handlebars for a set of FSA Wing Pro compact alloy bars - a beautifully functional bend. Then double taped them for comfortable long distance riding. I also swapped out the stock seat for a Terry FLX men's seat. Added Look peddles and some Elite Custom Race water bottle cages. The complete 50 cm. Evoke tops out at 17.3 lbs. I have 700 miles on the bike right now and look forward to the roads clearing from our last blizzard!

    I should also note that after 600 miles the cranks loosened up - the LBS easily fixed that and I learned how to work on these "new" type cranks. The headset should also be checked by the local LBS to make sure you have it torqued properly. The bike got loads of compliments at the LBS - what more could one ask for: performance and compliments!

    AAD
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Kestrel Evoke SL - Experiences-box.jpeg   Kestrel Evoke SL - Experiences-assembled.jpeg   Kestrel Evoke SL - Experiences-assembled_02.jpeg   Kestrel Evoke SL - Experiences-assembled_03.jpeg   Kestrel Evoke SL - Experiences-assembled_04.jpeg  


  2. #2
    Eye of the Bobke
    Reputation: Mike Overly's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review. I'm also an old steel guy who recently added carbon, and agree that well-designed carbon won't disappoint compared to steel. We'll see about the whole longevity thing.

    Nice bike!

  3. #3
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    Thank You, too!

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks.

    And thanks for linking to your bikes! Beautiful. You really take nice care of those old steel bikes. I enjoyed reading about them and looking at them.

    Here's my old Guerciotti - not nearly as in good shape as your steel steeds. I converted it to a Campy triple so I could climb some of these New England hills a little faster! Did a century ride with it a couple of years ago.

    AAD
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Kestrel Evoke SL - Experiences-img_8382.jpeg  

  4. #4
    Master debator.
    Reputation: nOOky's Avatar
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    Nice review, see my post down the page asking about this bike...
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

  5. #5
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    THANK YOU VERY MUCH for this review and the pics. I have been looking at that bike several times on the BD website a long with their TI offerings also. I'm coming from an Aluminum Cannondale R1000 with ultegra/105 mix.

  6. #6
    Eye of the Bobke
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    aadalia: Glad you liked the bike page. Steel provides a great baseline for judging new frame tech. I think CF gets us past the too-stiff and too-flexy flavors of light weight metal. Time will tell if this bowl of porridge is "just right." .

  7. #7
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    Kestrel is one of the original CF frame companies in this industry. It's a shame they haven't progressed and dominated the market.
    about five or so years ago, I was testing out tons of bikes to do a winter build. Unfortunately, the only Kestrel I rode was a talon. It was just so-so
    Enjoy!

  8. #8
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    Good review.
    I've been meaning to get this bike with SRAM Rival derailluers.
    I'm a little curious about the sizing though, because I've never had a road bike before and therefore I'm not to familiar with road sizes (although I had a few test rides)

    I ride a 54cm Raleigh hybrid bike, and I'm about 5 9'' tall. Now which do you think would be the better size? 52cm, or 54cm?

  9. #9
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    dominias04--I have the Evoke SL in 52 cm. I am barely 5' 7" and the 52 fits me perfectly. I would think you'd need the 54.

    I love the Evoke, by the way--great bike in my opinion. It replaced my 20+ yr old Olmo.

  10. #10
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    Beautiful bike you got there! Good move on the bar swap, I did the same with my BD bike. Seems like BD is getting a lot more looks from seasoned riders (maybe because more and more people are having good experiences with them??). During my first century, I saw one other Motobecane (not an older steelie). On my latest century this past weekend, I saw around 15, and also other BD rides. I know they didnt all necessarily come from BD, but I bet a lot did.

    I loved my experience with them, and will probably be a repeat customer!
    Last edited by AMCman10; 10-21-2011 at 04:51 AM.
    Paved - Colnago Titanio, Motobecane Vent Noir
    Not Paved - Cannondale CX, Kona Stuff

  11. #11
    wim
    wim is online now
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhamlin38 View Post
    Kestrel is one of the original CF frame companies in this industry. It's a shame they haven't progressed and dominated the market.
    Just in the interest of historical accuracy: other than the name, the current Kestrel bike has no connection whatsoever with the innovative original Kestrel company.

  12. #12
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    Great looking bike, I am looking at getting a Kestrel, and found this article while researching Bikesdirect.com. I am on a budget, live in Italy, don't speak Italian that well, and want to get the most for my money. So much of me wants the ability to just be back in the states now, so that i could do some real research on the bikes and actually test ride a few. I am glad the BD thing worked out for you. I am almost ready to bite the bullet and buy one from them. A little more research before dropping that kind of cash to a company with no phone number.
    Last edited by tbachorski; 04-15-2012 at 05:29 AM. Reason: typo

  13. #13
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    Cool horse!
    Crediamo in te, bici!

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