Kestrel outsourcing Talon mfg?



H

H. Guy

Guest
I was always fascinated by the Kestrels of yore: the full monocoque SCi
and EMS. Now that I can consider buying one, I see that their bikes all
appear to be two-piecers: a front & rear triangle stuck together in some
manner.

I've also heard that they are outsourcing the manufacturing to China to
make them more price competitive. Anybody have the full scoop (and
reports of what the QC is like if that's the case)?

Never having had the chance to ride the old swoopy frames, I have no
idea how these new ones compare. Might I be better served by seeking
out an older monocoque instead of the glued/bolted ones they're
putting out now? I'd always heard how great the old ones felt, but
the new ones, frankly, don't feel that different from the other bikes
i've been trying on.

TIA for any reports/advice/personal anecdotes.
 
B

B Paton

Guest
"H. Guy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
> I've also heard that they are outsourcing the manufacturing to China to
> make them more price competitive. Anybody have the full scoop (and
> reports of what the QC is like if that's the case)?
>


I rode last week with a woman who bought a brand new Kuota carbon frame/fork
bike. A very expensive high-end bike, at that. On her *third* ride on the
new bike, one of the fork blades suddenly snapped midway while she was on a
downhill. She broke 4 bones in her face, lost/broke some teeth and ended up
with more than a few facial scars. To her credit she is up and training hard
less than 5 weeks after the crash. I presume that there will be some sort of
legal action, but I didn't ask.

She was told by her shop (La Bicicletta in Toronto) that Kuota supposedly
has their forks manufactured "in the same factory that produces Kestrel
forks"--apparently in Taiwan.

If that is true, then I suggest you look to a different brand. You might
want to ask some rather pointed questions at the bike shop.

Blake
 
J

jim beam

Guest
B Paton wrote:
> "H. Guy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
>
>>I've also heard that they are outsourcing the manufacturing to China to
>>make them more price competitive. Anybody have the full scoop (and
>>reports of what the QC is like if that's the case)?
>>

>
>
> I rode last week with a woman who bought a brand new Kuota carbon frame/fork
> bike. A very expensive high-end bike, at that. On her *third* ride on the
> new bike, one of the fork blades suddenly snapped midway while she was on a
> downhill. She broke 4 bones in her face, lost/broke some teeth and ended up
> with more than a few facial scars. To her credit she is up and training hard
> less than 5 weeks after the crash. I presume that there will be some sort of
> legal action, but I didn't ask.
>
> She was told by her shop (La Bicicletta in Toronto) that Kuota supposedly
> has their forks manufactured "in the same factory that produces Kestrel
> forks"--apparently in Taiwan.
>
> If that is true, then I suggest you look to a different brand. You might
> want to ask some rather pointed questions at the bike shop.
>
> Blake
>
>

interesting. don't think taiwanese origin is the problem per se - a lot
of "euro" carbon is made there. but i've had bad luck with a
chinese-made kestrel fork - their current source.

if you have concerns about a carbon fork, squeeze the blade tips
together with one hand. any cracking or creaking noises, take it out of
service immediately. my kestrel made hideous cracking noises like
splintering wood. took it back & got a full refund. i'd not touch
kestrel again.

i have 3 other brands of fork made in usa, taiwan & france - all are
perfect. i also have taiwanese carbon handlebars & seat posts - again,
no problems.
 
M

Mike Jacoubowsky

Guest
>I was always fascinated by the Kestrels of yore: the full monocoque SCi
> and EMS. Now that I can consider buying one, I see that their bikes all
> appear to be two-piecers: a front & rear triangle stuck together in some
> manner.
>
> I've also heard that they are outsourcing the manufacturing to China to
> make them more price competitive. Anybody have the full scoop (and
> reports of what the QC is like if that's the case)?
>
> Never having had the chance to ride the old swoopy frames, I have no
> idea how these new ones compare. Might I be better served by seeking
> out an older monocoque instead of the glued/bolted ones they're
> putting out now? I'd always heard how great the old ones felt, but
> the new ones, frankly, don't feel that different from the other bikes
> i've been trying on.


As far as I know, the Talon frame was *never* manufactured in the US.
Kestrel, like the vast majority of bike manufacturers, contracts out to a
small number of Chinese firms that build most of the carbon bicycles you see
on the road today. Trek (so far) is the primary large-scale exception to
this. I've spoken with Trek engineers about carbon bicycle production, and
how you can compete (domestically) with production from places where
labor-intensive items can be produced far more cheaply. The key is to stay
ahead technologically, and they (Trek) believe they have about a four year
lead at the moment... but it's a moving target and requires constant
innovation and investment to keep ahead.

By the way, I think it's been shown over the years that you can build a nice
frame out of carbon fiber using any number of construction techniques. The
advantage to building something in smaller sections is that you have more
control over the density of the tubing, wall thicknesses and air pockets.
More control means that you can build something of equal weight much
stronger, or lighter weight with the same strength.

--Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
 
K

Ken

Guest
"Mike Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in
news:314Ae.63$_%[email protected]:
> As far as I know, the Talon frame was *never* manufactured in the US.
> Kestrel, like the vast majority of bike manufacturers, contracts out to a
> small number of Chinese firms that build most of the carbon bicycles you
> see on the road today.


I thought Kestrel, as well as Kuota, were made in Taiwan, not mainland China.
Labor in Taiwan is not real cheap. Bikes can be made more cheaply in Taiwan
than in the US because Taiwan bicycle companies have huge and very modern
factories, and thus can reduce labor improved productivity (robotics, etc.).
 
S

Sandy

Guest
Dans le message de news:[email protected],
Ken <[email protected]> a réfléchi, et puis a déclaré :
> "Mike Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in
> news:314Ae.63$_%[email protected]:
>> As far as I know, the Talon frame was *never* manufactured in the US.
>> Kestrel, like the vast majority of bike manufacturers, contracts out
>> to a small number of Chinese firms that build most of the carbon
>> bicycles you see on the road today.

>
> I thought Kestrel, as well as Kuota, were made in Taiwan, not
> mainland China. Labor in Taiwan is not real cheap. Bikes can be made
> more cheaply in Taiwan than in the US because Taiwan bicycle
> companies have huge and very modern factories, and thus can reduce
> labor improved productivity (robotics, etc.).


My new Kestrel 200Sci (as a warranty replacement, after 9 years) was made in
China (says so on the serial number decal), where they obviously don't care
if the derailleur hanger is pigeon-toed.
Need to get the local guy to align it, now, and wonder what level quality
this company now accepts as satisfactory.
--
Bonne route !

Sandy
Vreneuil-sur-Seine FR
 
H

H. Guy

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, "Sandy" <[email protected]>
wrote:

> My new Kestrel 200Sci (as a warranty replacement, after 9 years) was made in
> China (says so on the serial number decal), where they obviously don't care
> if the derailleur hanger is pigeon-toed.


what? you mean that they are still making the old monocoque-style frames?
(or did they replace it with one of the talons?)
 
S

Steve Blankenship

Guest
"Ken" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> "Mike Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in
> news:314Ae.63$_%[email protected]:
> > As far as I know, the Talon frame was *never* manufactured in the US.
> > Kestrel, like the vast majority of bike manufacturers, contracts out to

a
> > small number of Chinese firms that build most of the carbon bicycles you
> > see on the road today.

>
> I thought Kestrel, as well as Kuota, were made in Taiwan, not mainland

China.
> Labor in Taiwan is not real cheap. Bikes can be made more cheaply in

Taiwan
> than in the US because Taiwan bicycle companies have huge and very modern
> factories, and thus can reduce labor improved productivity (robotics,

etc.).

FWIW, the Talons and Evokes come from Martec in Taiwan, who also have done
stuff like the Carbon tube centers on Merlin Cielos and various bits on
Litespeeds. Martec is huge in carbon bike part production.

SB
 
M

Mike Jacoubowsky

Guest
>> I thought Kestrel, as well as Kuota, were made in Taiwan, not mainland
> China.
>> Labor in Taiwan is not real cheap. Bikes can be made more cheaply in

> Taiwan
>> than in the US because Taiwan bicycle companies have huge and very modern
>> factories, and thus can reduce labor improved productivity (robotics,

> etc.).
>
> FWIW, the Talons and Evokes come from Martec in Taiwan, who also have done
> stuff like the Carbon tube centers on Merlin Cielos and various bits on
> Litespeeds. Martec is huge in carbon bike part production.


Martec is a Taiwan company, but according to their own website, carbon bike
products come from China-

http://www.martec.com.tw/
"Martec began mass-producing composite bicycle parts in China to supply for
the Taiwanese domestic market in 1996. A year later, Martec entered into the
international bicycle market. Thanks to our customers' positive reviews and
our employees' constant hard work, Martec's business took off just within a
few years' time. Now Martec is the world's leading supplier of composite
bicycle products."

--Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReactionBicycles.com



"Steve Blankenship" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> "Ken" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
>> "Mike Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in
>> news:314Ae.63$_%[email protected]:
>> > As far as I know, the Talon frame was *never* manufactured in the US.
>> > Kestrel, like the vast majority of bike manufacturers, contracts out to

> a
>> > small number of Chinese firms that build most of the carbon bicycles
>> > you
>> > see on the road today.

>>
>> I thought Kestrel, as well as Kuota, were made in Taiwan, not mainland

> China.
>> Labor in Taiwan is not real cheap. Bikes can be made more cheaply in

> Taiwan
>> than in the US because Taiwan bicycle companies have huge and very modern
>> factories, and thus can reduce labor improved productivity (robotics,

> etc.).
>
> FWIW, the Talons and Evokes come from Martec in Taiwan, who also have done
> stuff like the Carbon tube centers on Merlin Cielos and various bits on
> Litespeeds. Martec is huge in carbon bike part production.
>
> SB
>
>
 
L

Lars Lehtonen

Guest
According to H. Guy <[email protected]>:

>I've also heard that they are outsourcing the manufacturing to China to
>make them more price competitive. Anybody have the full scoop (and
>reports of what the QC is like if that's the case)?


I'm not a carbon-fiber enthusiast, but I don't think it's unreasonable
to not trust Chinese CF. The Taiwanese company that makes Giants and
Colnagos (among others) alleges that its competitors are dying
fiberglass to look like carbon fiber. Scary.

From www.bikebiz.co.uk
http://www.bikebiz.co.uk/daily-news/article.php?id=5532

The first consequences of the [current carbon fiber
shortage] can already be seen, claimed Dr Weng.
He said his R&D team have come across Asian bicycle
components made from cheaper glass fibre, 'wrapped'
in carbon fibre. Last year's trend was for carbon
fibre sheathing over aluminium cores, a shady
practice but one that's easily proved to be taking
place (so long as you can bear cutting into your
'carbon' handlebars, that is). However, glass fibre
cores can be dyed to look indistinguishable from
the carbon fibre outers and it needs specialist
testing to spot the duds.

-----------
Lars Lehtonen
 
A

Alex Rodriguez

Guest
In article <uk%[email protected]>,
[email protected]LETETHIS says...

>She was told by her shop (La Bicicletta in Toronto) that Kuota supposedly
>has their forks manufactured "in the same factory that produces Kestrel
>forks"--apparently in Taiwan.
>
>If that is true, then I suggest you look to a different brand. You might
>want to ask some rather pointed questions at the bike shop.


Kestrel is not a new brand trying to break into the bike business. They
basically created the after market carbon fork market. They make excellent
forks and they carry a lifetime warranty on them. It could very well be that
the forks are made in the same factory, but have very different designs. I
personally keep away from any company that comes out of nowhere and jumps into
the high end bike business trying to sell really lightweight components. You
are letting them use you are a guinea pig.
----------------
Alex
 
B

B Paton

Guest
"Alex Rodriguez" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> In article <uk%[email protected]>,
> [email protected]LETETHIS says...
>
> >She was told by her shop (La Bicicletta in Toronto) that Kuota supposedly
> >has their forks manufactured "in the same factory that produces Kestrel
> >forks"--apparently in Taiwan.
> >
> >If that is true, then I suggest you look to a different brand. You might
> >want to ask some rather pointed questions at the bike shop.

>
> Kestrel is not a new brand trying to break into the bike business. They
> basically created the after market carbon fork market. They make

excellent
> forks and they carry a lifetime warranty on them. It could very well be

that
> the forks are made in the same factory, but have very different designs.

I
> personally keep away from any company that comes out of nowhere and jumps

into
> the high end bike business trying to sell really lightweight components.

You
> are letting them use you are a guinea pig.
> ----------------
> Alex


Kestrel seems to be selling its "superior design" if you check its current
website, though it is light on the details of manufacturing--no doubt
because "'Made in China" does not inspire much confidence. The OP was
wondering about the quality control aspect of their manufacturing. If the
same workers&management who produce death-traps for other companies are also
making Kestrel forks...

Well, do what you like, but if I was buying a new CF frame and fork, I'd buy
Time, Giant or Trek.
Blake
 
A

A Muzi

Guest
H. Guy wrote:

> I was always fascinated by the Kestrels of yore: the full monocoque SCi
> and EMS. Now that I can consider buying one, I see that their bikes all
> appear to be two-piecers: a front & rear triangle stuck together in some
> manner.
>
> I've also heard that they are outsourcing the manufacturing to China to
> make them more price competitive. Anybody have the full scoop (and
> reports of what the QC is like if that's the case)?
>
> Never having had the chance to ride the old swoopy frames, I have no
> idea how these new ones compare. Might I be better served by seeking
> out an older monocoque instead of the glued/bolted ones they're
> putting out now? I'd always heard how great the old ones felt, but
> the new ones, frankly, don't feel that different from the other bikes
> i've been trying on.
>
> TIA for any reports/advice/personal anecdotes.

I own a 1994 200SCi.

The biggest difference besides the lighter overall lighter
weight of the new bikes is that the seat angle is slacker
across the line. On a current bike you'll use an optional
forward position post with aerobars. I ended up using a
plain straight post with a steel clip to get the seat back
behind the pedals -this after trying several post designs.

Yes new models are molded in sections which is why at every
level Kestrels are less expensive now. The mold size is half
as massive and less complex. Molds are cut here and yes,
molded overseas. The official party line at Kestrel is that
they were unable to expand their California painting
facility and so moved.

--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971