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Felt Bikes

Felt Bikes: Felt Z95 Bike Review

“Felt produces road, mountain, track, bmx, cyclocross and cruiser bikes. For our first Felt Bikes review, we feature Felt Z95 Bike. Check it out below!”

Felt Bikes

Felt Bikes

Felt Z95

£649

evanscycles.com / saddleback.co.uk

Mirinda Carfrae and Becky Lavelle are among the triathletes who reached the podium on Felt bikes in 2012. The American company’s bikes always look the part, but their Z95 endurance machine has brought something more tangible than just good looks to the party: nine-speed Shimano Sora shifting. The significance is the range: the Felt doesn’t just have a higher top gear than a lot of bikes at this price, but also a much lower bottom gear.

FRAME AND FORK

The frame is exactly what you’d expect for £650 – but for an entry-level machine it’s very well finished. It’s a welcome sign for today’s bike buyers that even comparatively modestly priced bikes look so much like their dearer siblings, and in a lot of cases ride like them – riding this you could easily believe you’re on something much more pricey.

The frame has all the evidence of hydroforming. It has an oversized down tube and its curved top tube narrows as it nears the seat tube, where it forms a junction with the slightly dropped seatstays. The seatpost is standard 27.2mm diameter rather than oversize, but this year it’s aluminium rather than the carbon of the 2012 model.

It’s paired with an excellent fork too. Felt’s own UHC (ultra-high-modulus carbon) Performance fork has an oversize 1.125in aluminium steerer tube – the sort of fork that would have been on more exotic bikes a few years ago.

THE KIT

Felt has seriously raised the game when it comes to spec. Though it’s only one level higher than 2300 in Shimano’s hierarchy, Sora offers an extra gear and its levers are, ergonomically speaking, a huge improvement. Most significantly for competitive riders, you can change gear when on the drops, the paddle lever being much more accessible than 2300’s thumbshifter.

Paired with the 11-32T cassette, the gear range is virtually the equal of a triple. But it does this without the weight of the extra chainring and the possible increase in Q factor. We reckon the knee-friendly lower gears more than make up for the downside of slightly larger jumps between gears.

In addition to a good groupset for the price, the Felt also has some decent stoppers, its dual-pivot cartridge brakes offering both excellent stopping power and good modulation. The chainset is FSA’s Tempo compact with square-taper bottom bracket, BB30 not yet having made it to bikes at this price. It’s tried and trusted technology, easy to replace and straightforward if you want to upgrade.

Wheels, too, are very much the norm, with Alex’s R500 rims and Felt’s skinny own-brand hubs. They’re competent rather than exciting, but are easy to service. Felt’s own all-weather 25mm tyres favour durability over performance, but their 25mm width offers an ideal balance of comfort and performance.

THE RIDE

Although endurance- rather than performance-orientated, the Z95 actually has pretty typical road bike frame angles – 73.5° seat angle with only a marginally slacker 72.5° head tube. What Felt has done is to shorten the top tube a little and raise lengthen the head angle slightly, though not to extreme proportions, and fit a shortish stem. The slightly upright riding position that results puts less pressure on your lower back, emphasising its suitability for distance rather than sprint events, but the front isn’t so high to prevent you fitting tri-bars.

The Z95’s lower gears come into their own late in a ride after long, hard miles, allowing you to climb riding in the saddle, which is more efficient and uses less energy than out-of-saddle efforts. The gearing also makes it a very sound choice for less-experienced riders, or older riders returning to cycling who might have issues with their knees.

But that shouldn’t make you think this is a bike for dawdling. It’s not quite as urgent around the corners or on climbs as some of its slightly lighter rivals but it’s no slouch, and with that 50/11T top gear you can hit high speeds and maintain them well – and in comfort – with the added ability to change up when riding on the drops.

The drops are quite deep, which offsets some of the effects of the heightened head tube, and the padded gel bar tape proved very welcome too. The dual-density saddle may be a little spongy for some, but the extra softness may be popular with other riders.

Pros

+ Great groupset for the price – Sora is a massive step-up from 2300

+ Good build quality, and excellent transmission range

Cons

– It’s heavier than some of its rivals, and its upright geometry won’t appeal to racers

– Dual-density saddle can be an acquired taste

Verdict

The Z95 majors in comfort over all-out performance, but would make a great long-distance machine if its upright position suits you.

More at Felt Z95 Bike Review

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Diamondback Bikes: Diamondback Grind BMX Bike Review

“Looking for a new bike? Want to try Diamondback Bikes? Read on and find out if this is the bike for you!”

Diamondback Bikes

Diamondback Grind BMX Bike Review

Diamondback Grind

A 20″ bike is perfect for riders who is in need of their first BMX, is you are looking for a low profile freestyle BMX then the Diamondback Grind might just be the one you are looking for. Though it is low profile it has everything the larger bikes when on the subject of features. With an alloy double-wall rims, steel BMX rigid forks and high-tensile steel frame, the Diamondback Grind is perfect for any beginner to tackle the streets because it is a sturdy BMX, park or track just as if you’re one of the big boys.

The perfect Diamondback Grind BMX Bike is just one of a couple bikes on the market that has received thumbs up from a lot of professional cyclist. The company Diamondback Grind has been enhancing very prestigious bicycle lines for decades. It is built with varied styles it includes its ever famous hybrid and cruiser. If you are interested in knowing about this great company’s history then you should become knowledgeable in two names, Raleigh and Centurion. With the passing of these two companies it let to Diamondback bikes series being in existence today.

Over the years, Diamondback Grind has been developing and producing BMX bicycles at top quality. Its Diamondback Grind BMX Bike is not different from its forerunners and it still thrives right along with Diamondback Grind long tradition of great bikes. This Grind BMX Bike is particularly designed for eager and young riders who are enthusiastic about freestyle riding also for experiences freestyle riders who have outgrown their long-standing bikes.

The BMX Diamondback Grind is pretty well built and has strong parts and it does come with many awesome extras. The bike has a hi-ten frame made from steel and comes with a hi-ten steel fork and dual cable routing. Acquiring excellent speed is not that big of an issue the moment you take a ride on its relaxing seat and CellBlock tires and 48 spoke alloy wheels.

Diamondback Grind BMX Bikes

The Diamondback Grind Bike has a dependable Lee-Chi U-brake and comes with an SST DC amplifier and comes with reach adjust alloy brake levers. You won’t experience hurt feet due to pedaling forcefully because it has effortless alloy pedals that has a chromoly axle and a molded traction pins. It also has a SST ORYG cable detangle and a steel sprocket that has chromoly crank 42T that is one piece steel. When riding you will experience real comfort with Diamondback Grind’s padded freestyle seat.

The Diamondback Grind with its brilliant features can really satisfy younger riders. A young rider interested in some tricks the Grind is perfect for having a lot of fun. If you desire your personal Grind you do not have to worry about the cost since it is so affordable. With a cost that is less than about three hundred dollars, your adrenaline cravings can now be satisfied with this Grind BMX bike. When you try the bike for yourself you will agree that this BMX bike is one of the best on the market. Even though is it just a little heavy it’s not so much that you cannot overcome it.

The Diamondback Grind is a machine that is totally freestyle and can be showcased at any dirt road, park or street. If you looking for a great deal in a bike, the Grind’s reasonably priced package is absolutely worth it. This bike is also outfitted with awesome features such as the dual cable routing fork and Remington steel frame with high-tensile.

Summing up its incredible features are its quality specifications and materials for the Diamondback Grind:
Dual cable routing that comes with Hi-ten steel frame
6 millimeter dropouts, thread less steerer Hi-ten steel 1-1/4” OD legs, 1,1/8”,
73 degrees of Head Tube geometry
70 degrees of Seat tube geometry
18 inches of Top tube geometry
14.25” is the Chain stay
A thread less Headset at FSA1-1/8”
Handlebar is made from Hi-ten steel 2 pc. That is 24″ inch broad by 6.75” rise
Nylon end plug that comes with a DB team grip
Top load stem that has Four bolt alloy
It has a SST DC amplifier soft, compound pads and with Tektro 907 U-brakes
Brake levers that are Tektro 2-finger
One piece cranks with 165 millimeter steel
Steel sprocket at 42T
Chromo axles that comes with DB Sound plastic pedal
48H anodized rear rims, 300 millimeter wide
Freewheel at 16t
20 x 2.1DB CellBlock
14g spokes that is Black in colour
Plastic seat that is DB Darin read signature
Steel pillar seat post reaching 25,4 millimeter
Detangle SST ORYG
2 extra pegs

More at 2012 Diamondback Grind BMX Bike Review

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Kestrel Talon Road Bike

Bike Review: Kestrel Bikes

“Thinking of buying a Kestrel Bike for your next big race? Read the review below and let us help you decide!”

Kestrel Talon Road Bike

Kestrel Talon road bike review

Kestrel Bikes – Kestrel Talon 105 Road Bike Review: Aerodynamic and Efficient Out on the road, the enemy of speed is aerodynamic drag

Strengths:
1. Straight-line aerodynamics. Yes, this bike is very fast on the flats and gentle rollers.
2. Cornering. Not a crit bike for sure, but carving down a mountain pass at 55mph it is steady & will go where you point it–thankfully!
3. Solid “feeling” bike. Inspires confidence.
4. Steady handling. Likes to go straight, so feel free to sit up and say, “look ma, no hands.”
5. Dressed up right, a very sexy bike.
6. Neither strength nor weakness, it has pretty average power-transfer. Depends on what you’re comparing it too.

Weaknesses: 1. Durability. The Talon on made it 3500 miles & 100,000 feet of climbing. The first 2000 miles were great. The next 1500 were Hell. I now know that micro-cracks were beginning to form inside the seat tube, allowing the seat post to slip down. The longer I rode it, the more cracks, the worse the slippage became. And yes, I actually use a torque wrench.
2. Advanced Sports now owns Kestrel. The lifetime frame warranty is now a huge pain. It took 4 warranties & over a year before finally getting them to replace the frame. They sent me a new binder bolt–useless. They sent me washers to space out the binder bolt, thinking I wasn’t getting enough torque. Useless. Now I know that micro-cracking is a known issue to them…they just hope that the warranty process becomes so frustrating that you just buy another bike–maybe a Fuji (another one of their brands.) Customer service is very poor and, at least in my town (of 1,000,000 people), no one carries Kestrel anymore. That should tell you something…when no one in a city this big and this cyclist friendly, with well over 2 dozen shops, will carry Kestrel, things have gotten pretty bad. Will Kestrel even be around in 10 years?
3. The bike is a bit heavy, even for an aero bike. But then again, a pound shouldn’t really matter if the bike is used as it is meant to be used–to slice through the wind (not to climb, not to constantly re-accelerate).
4. Great descender, not such a great climber, but again, that’s not it’s purpose.

Bottom Line:
“Reviews” of bikes that you’ve just bought are not reviews, they are initial impressions, and as such are useless to the consumer looking for objective information in order to make a wise choice. Just sharing how great your NEW bike is or feels doesn’t help others, which is the purpose of a review. In fact, the word review implies that you’re looking back on something you’ve had for a while. For long enough to fairly judge the product impartially.

My review is of the 06 Kestrel Talon, built as a road bike with DA7800 & various wheelsets, depending on the event. I’ve road raced, climbed plenty of mountains with it, done numerous centuries, and two 200k brevets on this bike. I have several bikes, however, so the miles are spread out over time.

From other ‘reviews’ I’ve read, let me say this: it all depends on where you’re coming from. From any aluminum bike, the Talon will feel smooth as though it just eats up the bumps. From a higher-end frame, however, the Talon is extremely harsh. Same thing with power transfer. Same with weight. Though heavy by today’s standards, it’s not actually ‘heavy’ and will feel feather light compared to most AL bikes. But again, it will feel heavy if you’ve ridden–I mean many miles–on a higher end carbon bike. So when you test ride bikes, keep in mind what you’re comparing the bike to, and what you SHOULD be comparing the bike to. You should compare the bike to what you want to do with it, not to your old ride.

That said, the conversation on geometry is pretty cut & dry. No, this bike is NOT made for long days in the saddle. Can you do it? Yes. I’ve done it many times. But if your goals include longer rides (like centuries and brevets of 2,3,600k, etc), then this is NOT the bike for you. It’s also too heavy to be a truly competitive road racer, nor does it handle or accelerate quickly enough for crits. If you like TTs, triathlons, longer road races where the pack opens up, the course is relatively flat, and sprinting is nill, then this IS a bike that would work. It’s all in the geometry. A 10-11cm head tube = shorter rides with a stronger core. A taller head tube, even a couple centimeters, allows for a more comfortable position on the bike = longer rides. Even a lot of pro teams are going to slightly ‘relaxed’ geometries. Research is showing what common sense should have told us, that comfort allows for longer durations of power output. The most aero position (i.e. short head tube) increases fatigue, reducing duration of power maintenance. In English, the longer you stay scrunched up, the short the distance you can cover, despite being more aero. So ride the Talon happily on your shorter rides. Race it if you want to. For the money, if they’ve fixed the seat tube problem, it is a good value. But don’t expect to finish a 110 mile road race or even ride and NOT be crying for your chiropractor or massage therapist.

But whoever said that this bike was being considered for RAAM is beyond hopeless. Did he mean the RT1000 with a 16cm headtube (as opposed to a 10-11cm Talon). Then yes. That bike was designed to be comfortable and ridden for hundreds of miles at a time. I’ve heard the RT1000 was ridden by team 4mil in the 2011 RAAM, tho I’m not sure. But people don’t ride the Talon long distances unless they have too (say, riding Ironman on a shoestring budget). Or unless they have something masochistic to prove–like me–as in, I know it’s uncomfortable but I can still do it!

In the next few weeks I’ll be getting a new Talon frame (free warranty after trying for over a year), probably a 2011 model if I judge the new company correctly. Hopefully the durability will have improved, but it will be quite some time before I’ll be able to speak to that. In the mean time, I’ll happily ride my heavy steel Surly or my flyweight comfy SuperSix. The Talon will take it’s place as a backup bike, or one to use occasionally just to mix things up.

I hope this review is more useful than the initial impressions given by new owners. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I used to sell bikes (including Kestrels, back when they were actually Kestrel), so I have a lot to say on the matter. Now I coach endurance riders, so, I have even more to say about the importance of FIT and of buying a bike that meets your needs/ambitions rather than ego or simply because it’s so much better than your last bike.

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