My Current Bicycles
A Shimano 105 Groupset, Oval Wheelset and Bars, and Aero Carbon Frame, Forks, and Seatpost make up the majority of this bike. The removable Oval aero-bar extensions set it apart from the standard Talon Road, and provide a more aggressive position. With heavy pedals and an uncut stem/seat post, mine weighs in at an actual 20.4 pounds without the aerobar extensions. Shaving a pound off would be quick and easy, but after that it would become costly.
Having rode a 25 year old Nishiki Olympic for several years, including my Triathlon racing years, upgrading to a modern machine was well overdue. The Nishiki predated any thoughts of aerodynamics, weight reduction, or flex/stiffness; it was heavy, difficult to shift, and ill-fitting.
Finally, after years of wanting a new bike, the Nishiki was needing some work that wasn't worth the cost, and I began browsing the local bike stores. A couple were very helpful, a couple were not, but all were fairly expensive. I wanted Shimano 105 or better level of componentry. I loved internal cable routing, but didn't need it. A Carbon Fiber frame was obviously optimal, but not required; a carbon fork was. I tend to prefer a more compact 'race' geometry, although my riding more often suggests an endurance/comfort geometry.
In the end, I landed on this Kestrel Talon Road 105. Having visited the local stores prior to shopping online I knew a similar bike would cost at least double locally (often even closer to triple), so I resorted to purchasing the bike online for direct shipment to my house. The bike has everything I wanted, and much more. The frame, fork, and seat tube are all aero shaped (designed in a wind tunnel) carbon fiber, formed of various types and thicknesses of carbon to attain the desired flex and durability. The wheels have aero bladed spokes, 27mm deep rims, and reportedly weigh under 2000g. Most of the components are Shimano 105, and as parts wear I'll replace the remaining couple smaller bits with 105 or better as well. The cables are routed internally, and this version of the bike came with removable aero-bar extensions.
This particular bike is made to be a cross-over platform between Triathlon/Time-Trial geometry and Road Race geometry. After much adjusting, I believe I have it setup in the most comfortable position for me, which happens to be a bit more on the Tri/TT end of the spectrum, with the seat further forward than usual. I suffer some when climbing, but the comfort is worth it to me for now.
The bike came to my house in a large and well padded box, and was mostly assembled inside already. The cables were already run, and the derailures and rear brake were adjusted perfectly. The handlebars were wrapped, and wheels were true. I had to install the front brake and stem, and bolt on the handlebars and adjust the fork. I also had to add my own pedals, which I happened to have a new set of Nashbar Mountain Bike Pedals sitting on my shelf. I took my sweet time, and assembly was about an hour long. Had I been in a hurry, I'm sure I could've had it on the road within 15 minutes. Nothing was difficult about the assembly in the least. It was all very straight forward. There were no included directions, although there was an assembly checklist. Google has all the answers anyway.
I will be upgrading the pedals to a lighter set, although I still plan to use the mountain style SPD cleats; most likely either the Wellgo MG-8 Magnesium Pedals or the Shimano PD-A520 set. The bike came with a Tiagra front derailleur and cassette. I'm not worried about the derailleur (although the 105 upgrade is only $25), but the cassette is rotating weight, so I may look to upgrade that to a lighter model after mine wears a bit, the difference is close to 100g with some options.
At this time, I can't see upgrading much else on the bike. There are weight reduction possibilities everywhere, but for me, the cost doesn't seem to justify the gain.
Shimano Components, Quad Disk Brakes, and a Suntour 100mm Fork are the main additions to this all aluminum entry level mountain bike. Unlike the large photo, mine is red and white and has front and rear disk brakes. With heavy pedals and an uncut stem and seatpost, mine weighs in at an actual 32.9 pounds.
I bought this bike new from Galyons Sporting Goods in 2003, after having destroyed a couple department store bikes so quickly they let me return them. I picked up trail riding, and even took to mountain bike racing for a bit. Eventually, I became burnt out on having to load the bike up, drive to trails, ride for a bit alone, and then drive back home, so I switched my focus to road biking. At some point over the next year or two, the brakes became contaminated or glazed so bad they didn't work hardly at all.
Fast forward to last year. I'm loving trail riding on my dual-sport, and tempted to get back into mountain biking. Then I realize I have a few friends into mountain biking now, and I knew it was time to get back into it.
I was instantly disappointed in the cost of replacement brakes. To upgrade to a new name brand set of disk brakes was going to cost me half the price of a new bike. Not to mention I should also replace the tires, tubes, grips, and maybe even the seat and forks.
I decided that putting any more money than the absolute minimum into this older and entry level bike would be silly, so I bought new brake pads for the old brakes, hoping that would fix the no-brake issue. The brakes seemed to back up and running, so I bought a new set of inexpensive tires to get me through the season.
I gave the bike a good once-over; cleaning the years old mud off, degreasing and lubing the drivetrain, and cleaning and adjusting the brakes. I also pulled apart the forks, cleaned what remained of the ten year old grease off, and re-lubed them. I did find a set of $2 grips, so I added them as well.
I hope to get out to the trails once a week or so on this bike, and perhaps over the winter I'll find a great deal on a new bike. Ideally, a lightweight 27.5" XC or efficient All-Mountain bike.
I raced in the Cap City Short Track Mountain Bike Race series this summer on this bike, and finished the season in 1st in Category 3. I also raced in the Category 2 race at the last two events, but didn't podium either time.
I took this bike to the Greenbrier River Trail over Labor Day weekend as well. I wrote a small ride report in my short stories blog HERE.
Planned Organized Rides
Mayors Twilight Ride
Friday, July 11th 6:30-8:00 PM
Join Mayor Michael B. Coleman and other home town celebrities for an evening of bicycling through the heart of Columbus on Friday, July 11. Hop on your bike, grab your bike light and helmet and don’t miss Columbus’ finest evening ride. The 15 mile route will be the best tour of Columbus on two wheels! -a unique tour takes riders through the vibrant downtown area, and views of parks, city landmarks, and a wide variety of architecture in scenic neighborhoods.
Stick around afterwards for the *free* Rhythm on the River concert at Bicentennial Park!
City of Columbus & Greenswell
27th Ride The Darby
Saturday, August 2nd 7:30-9:00 AM
Buckeye Grove Shopping Center at the corner of Hoover Road and Route 665, Grove City, OH. Parking in north-east corner of lot only.
Scenic routes along the Big Darby and nearby watersheds . Flat to rolling mileage options from 30 to 100 miles. Roads will be marked and maps provided $5 Members and $10 Non-members.
Columbus Outdoor Pursuits
Tour De Donut
Saturday, September 6th 8:30 AM
Come do our Duathlon. Ride to eat, Eat to ride baby!!!!! A unique bicycle race where you are awarded 5 minutes for any doughnut you eat. Are a good enough cyclist and eater to go into negative time? Riders will be given a card to have punched for doughnuts eaten at the rest stop and after the ride.
Tour De Donut
Columbus Fall Challenge
Saturday and Sunday September 27 and 28
A traditional full-service tour with a new format: now offering one-day option in addition to the two-day challenge. Ride 100 very hilly miles one day, or take on the two-day trip riding 100 very hilly miles each day, with overnight stay, 16,000 ft. of total climbing! Not for beginners! Really hard work. Really splendid fall scenery.
Columbus Outdoor Persuits
Gears And Beers
Every Tuesday at 5:15pm
My fun casual riding group. We ride between 15 and 25 miles on a local bike path every Tuesday, and always head out for beers and some dinner after. Generally 15 mph or less average.
Gears & Beers
PG Shop Ride
Every Thursday at 6:30pm
An A-B level group ride from the store in the Short North. Approximately 30 miles of road riding, averaging 18-20 mph.
Cap City Short Track Mountain Bike Races
Every Wednesday in August at 6:00pm
A short track (0.6 miles) mountain bike race in Big Run Park. Mostly grass, with a short stretch of singletrack; several off camber turns, and a small hill section make up the course. I raced in Cat. 3 all 4 weeks, and also raced in the Cat. 2/3 the 3rd and 4th week. I finished in 1st in Category 3, but wasn't able to pull off a podium in either of the 2/3 races.
Nearby Paved Routes
Alum Creek Trail
A good rails to trails path from Main St south, this trail has some rolling hills, and is approximately 14 miles one way. From Easton north, the trail is fairly flat, and is about 7.5 miles one way. They are working on completing the middle section this year.
This trail officially starts near downtown, although you can begin on a spur that goes to Grandview, and head north to Worthington Hills. The southern-most end has some elevation change as it dips beneath streets and railroad track. The northern-most end is next to the hill at Worthington Hills. From Grandview, the trail is about 15 miles each way. This trail is very busy, and not ideal for fast or group riding.
Ohio to Erie Trail (Southwest Section)
Galloway & Southwest
From my house, I ride 3 miles of Alkire Road and pickup the newest section of the Ohio to Erie trail out of the town of Galloway. Within a year, the trail will run all the way into Columbus, and will pass by about a mile from my home.
The trail currently runs about 2 miles, before you must decide whether you want to ride 1 mile of crushed limestone trail, or 1 mile of road. I choose the road route, but either way, it spits you out at the next section of path. This section travels to London, OH, approximately 13.5 miles west. Another mile of road riding will put you back on the trail, and the next large town is Xenia, another 30 miles southwest. From Xenia, you can head north to Springfield, or south to Cincinatti.
HockHocking - Adena Bikeway
Nelsonville to Athens
One of our favorite local rails to trails, this path travels from downtown Nelsonville to Downtown Athens, passing Hocking College and Ohio University along the way. The Trail is very flat, and entirely wooded. Total length is about 20 miles each way. Click Here For More Information.
Thomas J Evans Trail
Johnstown to Newark
This is a nicely kept rails to trails path not far from Columbus. There are two critical bits of knowledge for traveling this path. Firstly, Johnstown is significantly higher elevation than Newark. If you start in Johnstown, the first 15 miles will fly by, but when you turn around at the end you'll soon realize the 15 mile return trip is entirely uphill. Not terribly bad, but worth knowing ahead of time. Second bit of info, is the side trail towards the Newark end that heads up to downtown Granville, where you'll find a coffee shop, ice-cream shop, and restaurant/bar. This is a perfect pitstop!
Tri County Triangle
Washington Courthouse to Chillicothe
This trail was very flat and mostly wooded, although maintenance isn't kept up as well as the other trails; there was much debris along the majority of the length, it was still an enjoyable ride. We rode from Washington C.H. to Frankfort, where we found an ice-cream shop just off the path.
The total length to Chillicothe is 34 miles (one way), but in downtown Washington C.H., the trail follows some roads, so we opted to start from the Robinson Road Trailhead, about 2 miles into the ride from the start downtown. More info here.
Nearby Trail Routes
Alum Creek Phase 1
North Columbus / Delaware
I used to run this trail very frequently when I mountain biked years ago. Unfortunately, it retains water horribly and becomes unrideable. Our frequent rain this season has kept the trail closed for the most part. I will get back out here soon, but until then I can't write a good review. It is a 6 mile loop, info here. Please review the trail conditions before riding; this trail is likely to stay 'closed' for several days after a rain.
Alum Creek Phase 2
North Columbus / Delaware
P2 is a 5.4 mile loop, and is the most technical of the trails here. Bridges range from standard 24" down to only about 8" wide. There are several log-overs and tight sections, and some nasty momentum-killing roots. This trail only takes a day or two to dry after a good rain; much better than Phase 1 in this regard. Info here.
Southeast Columbus / Canal Winchester
Chestnut ridge is the newest trail in the system, and is the closest to my house. It is also the best at shedding water; often being rideable just a few hours after rain. It is the longest trail at 8 miles, and has the most elevation change, although it is not a difficult trail. Some steep switchbacks and two log-overs are the extent of the technical bits. Info here.