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Design Expertise

Every Kestrel design is proprietary-we engineer everything in-house right here in Santa Cruz, California, beginning with computer-aided design & analysis and ending with exacting manufacturing procedures and quality standards. While other companies may simply order up a mass-produced, generic-design carbon frame from a nameless factory and slap their own stickers and paint on it, we engineer every Kestrel from scratch.

We begin in much the same way we did in 1986, with computer modeling and finite element analysis. We use 3-D solid model CAD (computer-aided design) drawings, which readily translate to the machine code used to build our high-tolerance production molds.

Once the computer modeling is over we build some prototypes, and progress to a rigorous battery of laboratory tests. We simulate the most arduous conditions a frame is likely to encounter, carefully refining our materials lay-ups and structural shapes to optimize stiffness and control, while still allowing for a plush, comfortable ride.

We also subject our prototypes to miles of ride testing, under the feet of our sponsored pros and our own ride testers. Unlike the engineers at most bike companies, who must rely on rider feedback to understand cycling performance, our hand-picked squad of carbon engineers truly understands cycling. Walk through our engineering department, and you'll find lab coats and cycling jerseys hanging on the same hooks. Our engineers weren't recruited only for their military aerospace composites backgrounds-they were chosen because they also love to ride bikes, and that's a powerful advantage.

One of carbon's greatest advantages is the way it lends itself to 100% functional design. Unlike lugged construction, which feature redundant material (an aluminum lugset can weigh almost a full pound!), our molded carbon constructs are 100% structural. Even welded metal tubes require some redundant material, in the form of tube butts.

Carbon design also allows us to design solely for the mechanical requirements of the frame, without limitations imposed by the materials used or the fabrication process. For instance, we don't need to dimple chainstays to provide chainring or crankarm clearance-we can simply design a tube that's shaped to provide that clearance, without compromising the strength of a plain-Jane round tube by denting it. Likewise, you'll find every part of a Kestrel bike features constantly changing structural shape, in the form of variable tube size, cross-sectional shape and wall thickness, for superior performance.

Designing with carbon is unlike any other type of material design. Carbon possesses tremendous directional strength-it's what engineers call anisotropic (as opposed to metal, which is isotropic, meaning it possesses the same strength in every direction). This makes a carbon structure infinitely tunable, with regard to stiffness, strength and rigidity. By altering the number and composition of filament plies, stack angles and tapers throughout the frame (or fork or handlebar), we're able to engineer a frame that is torsionally rigid, laterally stiff yet vertically compliant, to a degree that cannot be duplicated by any other material.

Production Perfection | No-Compromise Materials | About Carbon | Anatomy of a Kestrel | Perfect Points

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Kestrel Bicycles | 5300 Soquel Avenue, Suite 101 | Santa Cruz, CA 95062 USA
phone: 831-464-9079 | fax: 831-464-9069 | email us