Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

Can I trust my vintage Kestrel?

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Can I trust my vintage Kestrel?

Old 09-05-21, 08:11 AM
  #1  
smildrum
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Can I trust my vintage Kestrel?

I'm hoping to get some advice from this group about something that is driving me nuts. I bought this Kestrel 200 SC in 1992 and raced on it for a few years. During that time I had a handful of crashes, a couple of them pretty spectacular. The bike seemed totally fine and I continued to ride it for many years (tho I no longer race). I love this bike. I think it is gorgeous. It fits me. It rides beautifully.

However, in the last couple of years I got it into my head that "maybe" the carbon fiber has cracks from those years, and gee, doesn't carbon fiber fail catastrophically? So I stopped riding it. My husband thinks I should buy a new bike (probably to make him feel better about HIS new bike!) but I don't know. I hate to give up this bike I love and I also hate to spend thousands of dollars on a new one I may not like as much.

Any advice? Are there things I should look for that would indicate the frame is stressed? Since it has been fine since its last crash 20+ years ago (egad!) do I have nothing to worry about?
smildrum is offline  
Old 09-05-21, 08:39 AM
  #2  
Wildwood
Veteran, Pacifist
 
Wildwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 11,266

Bikes: Bikes??? Thought this was social media?!?

Mentioned: 252 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2918 Post(s)
Liked 2,073 Times in 1,110 Posts
Is the bike painted a light color? Makes inspection for cracks easier. Pay special attention to the fork, crown and fork ends. My 20+ yo carbon needed a fork replacement. I have no qualms about riding it hard.
Wildwood is offline  
Old 09-05-21, 08:50 AM
  #3  
velomateo
Senior Member
 
velomateo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: California
Posts: 803

Bikes: ‘86 Mike Walton, '87 Serotta Colorado,'96 Moots VaMoots, Bertoni MAX

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 103 Post(s)
Liked 82 Times in 51 Posts
I think a quality inspection by a competent mechanic should ease your fears and get you riding your Kestrel again. Those frames are very robust. I once saw a Kestrel that had been locked to stop sign post. The post was then hit by a car, and left completely flatten to the ground. The Kestrel frame sustained only a very small crack, it was quite impressive.
velomateo is offline  
Old 09-05-21, 08:54 AM
  #4  
Classtime 
Senior Member
 
Classtime's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,947

Bikes: 82 Medici, 2011 Richard Sachs, 2011 Milwaukee Road

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1111 Post(s)
Liked 523 Times in 354 Posts
I'm surprised that back in the day, after your crash(es), you didn't replace it. I know a racer who won't ride a CF frame that he crashed "spectacularly". And another who thinks nothing of taking his broken CF bike in for repairs and gets back on it. These are both powerful riders. Of course it is much more fun to ride a new bike than to worry about safely riding the old one.
__________________
I don't do: disks, tubeless, e-shifting, or bead head nymphs.
Classtime is offline  
Old 09-05-21, 09:44 AM
  #5  
dddd
Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race
 
dddd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northern California
Posts: 8,211

Bikes: Cheltenham-Pedersen racer, Boulder F/S Paris-Roubaix, Varsity racer, '52 Christophe, '62 Continental, '92 Merckx, '75 Limongi, '76 Presto, '72 Gitane SC, '71 Schwinn SS, etc.

Mentioned: 116 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1143 Post(s)
Liked 607 Times in 429 Posts
Any imminent failure points will likely show up as cracks in the paint.

Cracked paint is often not a sign of anything failing underneath, but may be.

So an absence of cracks in the paint bodes well. And the Kestrel EMS fork was the one that was most trusted in the 90's.
dddd is offline  
Old 09-05-21, 01:02 PM
  #6  
repechage
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 16,475
Mentioned: 110 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2077 Post(s)
Liked 908 Times in 706 Posts
Primary point of failure on these is the fiberglass liner at the bottom bracket shell
a nuisance not an “imminent death” deal.

agree that any surface cracks in the paint are to be evaluated.

as to how? Composite structures in the boat industry include ultrasound and infrared imaging- problem of course is the cost for peace of mind.

Calfee may still do carbon repair. They must do some form of evaluation prior.
repechage is offline  
Old 09-05-21, 02:11 PM
  #7  
Spaghetti Legs 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Central Virginia
Posts: 4,334

Bikes: Numerous

Mentioned: 108 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1358 Post(s)
Liked 1,148 Times in 461 Posts
I would think any damage from the crashes would have announced itself within a pretty short time (<1yr). The dramatic, crash causing failures are most often fork, head tube related, so I’d remove the fork and take a close look for reassurance. I have a 1996 Colnago C40, still going strong.
__________________
N = '96 Colnago C40, '04 Wilier Alpe D'Huez, '10 Colnago EPS, '85 Merckx Pro, '89 Merckx Century, '86 Tommasini Professional, '04 Teschner Aero FX Pro, '05 Alan Carbon Cross, '86 De Rosa Professional, '82 Colnago Super, '95 Gios Compact Pro, '95 Carrera Zeus, '84 Basso Gap, ‘89 Cinelli Supercorsa, ‘83 Bianchi Specialissima, ‘VO Randonneur, Ritchey Breakaway Steel, '84 Paletti Super Prestige, Heron Randonneur

Spaghetti Legs is offline  
Likes For Spaghetti Legs:
Old 09-05-21, 02:37 PM
  #8  
Chombi1 
Senior Member
 
Chombi1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 3,575
Mentioned: 96 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1268 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 319 Times in 230 Posts
I have a very non-scientific way of checking a frame's integrity.
I "ring" the bare (No seatpost or waterbottle bolts on it.) frame by tapping it with something like a rubber covered screwdriver handle.
I listen for inconsistencies from side to side. If one side of the frame rings and the other side gives out a dull thunk or rattles, it's a sign something might not be right and maybe a tube is loose in its lug socket or there might be a crack on it.
This works very well with metal frames but you'd be surprised how a lugged CF frame in good condition will also ring, if you tap on it. Just a lower frequency. I've never tried this on a monocoque style CF frame, but I suspect it might also work.on some of them too.
Of course only a professional like frame builder or qualified bike mechanic can give the final verdict on a frame's condition, but this ringing method, together with your own close visual inspection of the frameset would be good start.
__________________
72 Line Seeker
83 Davidson Signature
84 Peugeot PSV
84 Peugeot PY10FC
84 Gitane Tour de France.
85 Vitus Plus Carbone 7
86 ALAN Record Carbonio
86 Medici Aerodynamic (Project)
88 Pinarello Montello
89 Bottecchia Professional Chorus SL
95 Trek 5500 OCLV (Project)
Chombi1 is offline  
Likes For Chombi1:
Old 09-07-21, 01:11 PM
  #9  
smildrum
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thank you to all the responders

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. I realize no one on the forum can tell me conclusively whether my frame is still safe but it helped to hear your perspectives some good tips for evaluating the frame. If I learn anything interesting I'll report back.

I would provide a photo of my bike but I have not posted enough to allow photos. It is a bright red frame. Quite a stunner. :-)
smildrum is offline  
Old 09-07-21, 01:18 PM
  #10  
ClydeClydeson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 994
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 339 Post(s)
Liked 477 Times in 288 Posts
If you have been riding the bike and it feels fine, it is likely fine.

I have a high-mileage aluminum fork on one of my bikes, and whenever it's taking up too much space in my head I do a thorough visual inspection, then see if the bike rides no-hands without problem. My hypothesis is that any weakness will make it unbalanced side-to-side and I would be able to detect a problem.
I previously had an aluminum frame that had a crack in the chainstay and the bike rode noticeably weird for months before I wiped the grime away and found the crack.

I understand that my experience is with aluminum and you are concerned about your carbon bike, but structural integrity is structural integrity.

Another perspective coming in subsequent post...
ClydeClydeson is offline  
Old 09-07-21, 01:23 PM
  #11  
ClydeClydeson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 994
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 339 Post(s)
Liked 477 Times in 288 Posts
Originally Posted by smildrum View Post
My husband thinks I should buy a new bike.
I agree with your husband, even though I doubt there is anything wrong with your current bike, going purely on the fact that you rode it and it seems fine.

Maybe get a gravel bike or something slightly different than your old racer. That way you don't have to feel like you are rejecting the old kestrel. Unless you live in a 1 bedroom apartment or something, you should have no problem keeping your old bike AND getting a new bike.
ClydeClydeson is offline  
Old 09-07-21, 01:29 PM
  #12  
smildrum
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Our friends have been raving about their gravel bikes. That is a good idea! We have 7 bikes in the garage. I suppose one more won't hurt. ;-)
smildrum is offline  
Old 09-07-21, 01:37 PM
  #13  
ClydeClydeson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 994
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 339 Post(s)
Liked 477 Times in 288 Posts
smildrum Depending on where you live, the fatter tires on a gravel bike can instantly double your available riding venues.
ClydeClydeson is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.