Kestrel's 2018 Legend SL series is focused on one thing: winning races.
Each of the three versions of this bike comes with a different set of parts and features on the same basic frame, centralized around the Shimano Ultegra, Shimano Dura-Ace, and SRAM RED eTAP variations.
Here's everything else you need to know about these high-performance racing bikes.
FRAME SIZE: 48cm, 51cm, 54cm, 57cm, and 60cm
BRAKE TYPE: Ultegra STI, Shimano Dura-Ace STI, SRAM RED eTAP
SHIFTERS: Ultegra, Shimano Dura-Ace, SRAM RED eTAP
RIMS: Oval Concepts 527, 700c 18/24H, Oval Concepts 723, 700c 20/28H, ZIPP 202 Firecrest, 700c 18/24H
TIRES: Vittoria Zaffiro Pro tires, Vittoria Corsa tires, ZIPP Tangente Speed tires
The three versions of the Legend share some features but diverge wildly on others.
Take note of these - there's a big price gap between the low and high models, and you'll need to decide how much the added performance is worth for your races.
All versions of the Legend come in five frame sizes: 48cm, 51cm, 54cm, 57cm, and 60cm.
Unfortunately, Kestrel doesn't provide much information on which frame size is suitable for buyers. To know that - and let's be honest here, you're not planning to pay thousands of dollars just to reduce your performance by getting the wrong size - you'll need to visit an authorized dealer.
The weight of the bike and frame, as shipped, differs between each model. The Shimano Ultegra starts at 15.66 lbs, the Shimano Dura-Ace drops it to 15.01 lbs, and the SRAM RED eTAP gets all the way down to 13.70 lbs. As always, frame size can affect the final weight of the bike, and the loss of every bit helps.
We do not recommend looking for sizing guides online. These may not be accurate for any given model, and individual variations in the human body can affect which size is right for you.
For brakes, the three models stick closely to their named components.
The shifters match the brake types and stick with their namesakes.
Everything mentioned for the brakes continues to hold true here - the systems are distinctly different, and which one you get determined the final quality of your bike.
The rims are one of the most distinctly different parts of the three Legend models.
Much like their rims, the three models of the Legend come with different tires.
All models come with the standard 700 x 25c size tires.
Prices vary significantly between the Legend's three models.
Things We Like
We particularly liked the one-piece structure of these bikes - with no need for bonded joints, the entire bike is lighter and stronger than it would otherwise be. Other positive points include:
Things We Don't Like
Our biggest sticking point with this model is the pricing of the elite version - it's literally more than twice the mid-range version, and while the SRAM RED eTAP system is good, we're not sure it's "entire spare bike" good.
The switch to ZIPP's wheelset and tires isn't enough to explain the difference in prices here. Other than that, we had no particular problems with these bikes.
If you're serious about winning races, we recommend picking up the Shimano Dura-Ace model, which offers highly competitive performance at a more reasonable price.
The Ultegra isn't a bad model, but when victory is on the line, it's always better to get the best bike you can before diminishing returns become prohibitively expensive (as we feel they do for the elite model).
The 2018 Kestrel Legend is a racing bike worthy of the name.
Every part of the bike is designed to maximize your performance during the heat of competition, and it delivers on the promise. If you feel like your current bike is holding you back, take a look at the Legend - it might just help you become one.
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