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rwillrideabike
I have been riding and racing the Kestrel Ter-X as a gravel race bike for a couple of months and can say I really like it. At 5'11" with a 33" inseam the 56 frame fits perfect, but the cockpit not so much. I had to put on a longer stem and a setback seatpost to fit my long reach. 
For the price it can't be beat. The shipping is fast and if you have any issues they take care of them quick via email.
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jerrduford
I took delivery on mine yesterday. I'll be doing a more proper review after at least a month's ownership. Here are my impressions and notes so far:

-The front brake needed bleeding out of the box. Lever went clean to the bars. It was obvious there was a lot of air in the lever when bleeding. A simple bleed resolved it entirely, and they feel great now but hoping there isn't a compromised seal anyplace. 20181001_190728.jpg  20181001_190719.jpg  20181001_183227.jpg 
-Shifting took a lot of dialing and still isn't 100%, but if past experience tells me anything about sram doubletap setups, it will take a lot of fuss for the first few rides and once dialed, it will remain so for seasons without any care.
-The box came with a cheap torque wrench and bits, as well as carbon paste, and a few other bits that were a nice touch.
-Bottom bracket is standard threaded.
-SL8 saddle is a nice touch that I didn't catch on the spec sheet. This is a pricey saddle from WTB, feels somewhat comfortable and is quite light.

-Tire clearance is MASSIVE. I put a 35C cannonball in the rear, and it's obvious this bike could take the 42 with clearance for mud, no doubt. 
-The black is even darker, and better, in person. Love the murdered out scheme.
-Bike rides pretty stiff, compliance will need to come 100% from tire choice and pressure, as the frame and fork both seem to be pretty over built - Which translates to a very fast-riding, efficient feeling frame.
-Weight with 35C Cannonball tubeless on the rear, stock tire&tube front (waiting on second cannonball), XT SPD pedals, single bottle cage: 19 LB

Fit is spot-on for me. I'm 5'11 with 32 inseam, 56CM is a bit tight on the standover, but not terrible, and this is a common sign of good fit for me, has never posed an issue. THe reach is excellent with the stock stem.

Sorry for the poor pics, but it's probably better than nothing. Have only had it 24 hrs. About to take it on inaugural 'fast' gravel ride tonight with a group.

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rwillrideabike
JerrDuford you will be surprised how well/comfortable it rides. I thought it would be stiff feeling, but not at all. I have a few hundred miles and a couple of races on it and finally have it dialed in. I did swap out seatpost to a carbon post with a little setback that supposedly has a little built in flex, so maybe that is the difference.
About brakes-both of mine needed bleeding and then the rear started leaking. BikesDirect reimbursed me the bleed cost of the bleed and SRAM sent a new brake caliper to the bike shop for install.
Enjoy the new ride. 
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jerrduford
rwillrideabike wrote:
JerrDuford you will be surprised how well/comfortable it rides. I thought it would be stiff feeling, but not at all. I have a few hundred miles and a couple of races on it and finally have it dialed in. I did swap out seatpost to a carbon post with a little setback that supposedly has a little built in flex, so maybe that is the difference.
About brakes-both of mine needed bleeding and then the rear started leaking. BikesDirect reimbursed me the bleed cost of the bleed and SRAM sent a new brake caliper to the bike shop for install.
Enjoy the new ride. 


Thanks for the reply! That's unfortunate to hear about your brakes.. I hope mine don't leak. I've had nothing but good things to say about both Rival and Apex hydros on other bikes. Fortunately I've gotten good about bleeding and though it never excites me to have to do, only takes a few minutes if all goes smoothly - I don't think I'll pursue BD over experience so far, but if issues creep back up I may chat with them.


Regarding the compliance, it could be that it's just been a while since I've been on a stiff bike. My 'road' bike for the last 6 months prior to this was a Steel frame salsa fargo with tubeless 29 x 2.2 Sparwoods (or 27.5 x 3.0 WTB Ranger depending on the day's adventure). I could stand to lower the tires on the Kestrel a bit more, and will once I can take the front tubeless, I think that will make a big diff.

It's a bummer that the RD is medium cage. I'd like to extend the gearing to wide range, but the cost of a new force RD is ~200 for the type 3 that it has currently. Will just ride it as is and see how far I can take it till going to 11-36 (which it can handle without a new RD)
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rwillrideabike
About the rear derailleur issue, mine must have come with a long cage as I put on an 11x42 and changed the front chainring to a 44t and it works fine. I did have to get creative with bottom bracket spacing as the 44t almost hit the frame, but a 1mm BB spacer did the trick.
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jerrduford
rwillrideabike wrote:
About the rear derailleur issue, mine must have come with a long cage as I put on an 11x42 and changed the front chainring to a 44t and it works fine. I did have to get creative with bottom bracket spacing as the 44t almost hit the frame, but a 1mm BB spacer did the trick.




hmmm, I was told it was medium but now you have me second guessing. I'd love to be able to put 42 on the back, but noticed the 42 in the front was already about as tight as it can get. I assume the 1mm spacer didn't later the chainline enough to matter much. 

Do you have any pics of the 11/42 w/ 44 setup? Curious if I can surmise from your pics if my RD is the same cage length. I don't think there's a way to identify otherwise?
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rwillrideabike
I will post some pictures tomorrow, but I bet an 11x42 would work for you. The 1mm spacer didn't change the BB spacing enough to mess up chainline. Everything works great.
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jerrduford
rwillrideabike wrote:
I will post some pictures tomorrow, but I bet an 11x42 would work for you. The 1mm spacer didn't change the BB spacing enough to mess up chainline. Everything works great.


Looks like it's possible that it's a long cage (42 compatible). I found a site that sells and pictures all three versions. https://www.trekchicago.com/product/sram-force-1-rear-derailleur-329321-1.htm 

If you look at the long cage version, the lock toggle stays a good Cm above the S in the SRAM logo when extended. I looked at mine and seems much more in line with that than the medium cage, which covers the S in the SRAM logo when somewhat extended. 
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jerrduford
rwillrideabike wrote:
I will post some pictures tomorrow, but I bet an 11x42 would work for you. The 1mm spacer didn't change the BB spacing enough to mess up chainline. Everything works great.


Thanks for the heads up on that. It has to be a long cage - I swapped in the 11-42 sunrace cassette from my fargo's spare wheelset. Not only does it fit without a problem in the rear mech, but the chain didn't need to be lengthened either, and it eliminated all of my shifting problems at the top end. Miracle![image]

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Brysonsethyoung
I’m seriously considering pulling the trigger on this bike. My only concern is wondering if the long chainstay length and geometry in general causes the ride to feel slow and uninteresting. Can any owners of this bike speak to the handling and personality? All things considered it seems like an amazing deal for the price.
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rwillrideabike
Brysonsethyoung,
I have many miles and many gravel races on the Ter-X and I don't think it feels slow in handling at all. It is a very stable bike at speed and is a comfortable bike to ride. However, I needed some parts swapping, stem and seatpost, to fit me. The cockpit was way to short for me at 5'11" so I put on a setback post and a longer stem and the fit is awesome. For the price it can't be beat. Kestrel Ter-X.jpeg 
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jerrduford
Brysonsethyoung wrote:
I’m seriously considering pulling the trigger on this bike. My only concern is wondering if the long chainstay length and geometry in general causes the ride to feel slow and uninteresting. Can any owners of this bike speak to the handling and personality? All things considered it seems like an amazing deal for the price.


Agreed with rwill. It doesn't feel slow at all to me, steers precisely and predictably, corners great. Love the amount of tire clearance. 

I changed the bars, seat, and cassette. 11-42 cassette.
Salsa CowChipper 44cm bars. Love the extra flare for offroading. 3.2mm lizard skins tape.
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Brysonsethyoung
rwillrideabike wrote:
Brysonsethyoung,
I have many miles and many gravel races on the Ter-X and I don't think it feels slow in handling at all. It is a very stable bike at speed and is a comfortable bike to ride. However, I needed some parts swapping, stem and seatpost, to fit me. The cockpit was way to short for me at 5'11" so I put on a setback post and a longer stem and the fit is awesome. For the price it can't be beat. Kestrel Ter-X.jpeg 

Thanks for the info and that's a great looking bike you have there! What size frame do you have? I'm 6' with 33" legs and am leaning toward the 56.
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rwillrideabike
I would recommend the 56. I am 5'11" with a 33 inseam and the 56 fits me great. 
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jerrduford
Brysonsethyoung wrote:

Thanks for the info and that's a great looking bike you have there! What size frame do you have? I'm 6' with 33" legs and am leaning toward the 56.


I'm 5 11 with 32 inseam. Always have issue finding the perfect fit but I'm pretty happy on 56. Not a ton of standover, but that's normal on a good fit for me. My back feels great on it. As does the reach.
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Brysonsethyoung
Does anyone else have an issue with extremely minimal clearance between the chain ring and the chainstay? Mine has ~1mm and has already gouged the chainstay. My frame is size large. Is this just me with the problem?
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rwillrideabike
I'm amazed the chainstay flexed enough to hit as it is massive. I never hit the chainstay luckily.
However, I did upsize my chainring to 44t and had to get some thin BB spacers to  downsize the non-drive side and upsize the drive side to get the clearance. I added 1mm to the drive side. Seems to work and I haven't hit the chainstay. I actually have a little more clearance now also.
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SwiftCarbonBiker
I'd like to get one of these for commuting/bike packing/gravel riding, but my size (56) is sold out. I emailed BikesDirect to ask when they would be restocking these but they don't know.

Does anyone have prior experience as to how often bikes get restocked at BikesDirect? I'm hoping this wasn't a one-off thing.
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jerrduford
They're stocked by a 3rd party so they may have little control or knowledge of when the next shipment is. BD also seems to care less about their sister brands (Fuji, Kestrel, etc.) than their 'house brands' so you may receive little support on it. 

That said, I have a 56 but you can't have it! Now that it's dialed, It's an amazing bike and probably the best fit I've ever had. Tire clearance for days, it can fit a MTB 2.0 too!

If it comes back in stock, don't hesitate to order it, in my honest opinion.
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SwiftCarbonBiker
Lucky you! I'll just have to be patient then, and jump on it when the 56 is available again!
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smoothmoose
jerrduford wrote:
They're stocked by a 3rd party so they may have little control or knowledge of when the next shipment is. BD also seems to care less about their sister brands (Fuji, Kestrel, etc.) than their 'house brands' so you may receive little support on it. 

That said, I have a 56 but you can't have it! Now that it's dialed, It's an amazing bike and probably the best fit I've ever had. Tire clearance for days, it can fit a MTB 2.0 too!

If it comes back in stock, don't hesitate to order it, in my honest opinion.


Did you put 29er MTB tires or 650B?
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jerrduford
smoothmoose wrote:


Did you put 29er MTB tires or 650B?



I put a teravail sparwood 2.2 (a very volumous, but semi-slick 2.2) on the stock 700C rims. It 'fits', but is way too close for comfort. A 2.0 would fit great with adequate clearance. 

For reference, my Sparwood is wider than my Schwalbe Thunderburt 2.35, so I bet this bike would fit the thunder burts.

It would absolutely fit something like a smart sam 2.0, or other 29 x 2.0 tire if you can find some good options. 

Otherwise, 45-50C gravel tires will give you a lot of cush and still have loads of clearance - check out the soma cazadero 700 x 50 and the clement/donnelly Xplor Mso 700 x 50

I wouldn't go down to 650b unless you really like smaller wheels. I don't.


 [image]
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smoothmoose
5'5" with 30-30.5" (~770mm) riding inseam depending on pedals/shoes.  Should I go with the 49 or 52 frame?  Sounds like many riders my height size went with 52, but regret the lack of standover?
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smoothmoose
smoothmoose wrote:
5'5" with 30-30.5" (~770mm) riding inseam depending on pedals/shoes.  Should I go with the 49 or 52 frame?  Sounds like many riders my height size went with 52, but regret the lack of standover?

I think 49cm makes more sense for me.  Another questions.  Is there cable port routing for FD or dropper post?
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SwiftCarbonBiker

Yes, there's routing for FD, and mine came with a direct 'braze on' mount bracket. No FD, of course.

I just took delivery of a 56cm from bikeisland.com, bikedirect's 'scratch-n-dent' outlet. The bike was actually new and didn't have any scuffs of significance - but the fork steerer was 20mm less than stock, and is slammed down to the headset cap. Which suits me fine since it saves me the trouble of cutting the steerer or adding spacers above the stem to get my preferred handlebar position.

Since the stack is so high, the top of the handlebar is just 1cm lower than on my CruX, which works for me. Everything else fits perfectly. Great bike!

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