The Peregrine Kamm is a mid range racer from the proudly Chinese bike brand, Falco. Made from T-700 carbon, it’s a more affordable version of the Peregrine Kamm Hi-Mod and features similar geometry to the previously tested Elenora.
As with all of Falco’s bikes they are named after falcons with corresponding flight characteristics. The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest member of the animal kingdom, averaging 322kph (200mph) during it’s hunting swoop – the fastest dive on record being 389kph (242mph).
Ride: solid but lacking pizzazz
While slotted as a racer, we would argue the Peregrine Kamm’s geometry fits much better in the endurance or gran fondo market. Its upright geometry starts with a head tube that protrudes 40mm above the top tube, stiffening the front triangle, but also limiting the possibility of a long and low aggressive riding position without a radical stem.
With the head tube protruding 4cm above the top tube, an aggressive position may be hard to come by: Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
With the head tube protruding 4cm above the top tube, an aggressive position may be hard to come by
Pigeonholing the Falco even further as an endurance oriented bike, the Peregrine Kamm is extremely comfortable. Even after a few all day epics aboard it, riding on less than pristine road surfaces, we didn’t return home feeling beaten and battered.
A comfortable ride is of course something to be welcomed, but in the case of the Peregrine Kamm we found it came at the cost of performance. The Falco lacked much discernible personality, and offered only a minimal feel of the road. When you jump out of the saddle and attack, yes it goes, but no matter how hard you step on the gas the response seems delayed.
Even at higher speed, when most bikes really come alive, we found the Peregrine Kamm bland and tame-handling. It proved stable, albeit sluggish, though mid-corner line corrections required some effort.
The fork crown is tucked up into the down tube: Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
The fork crown is tucked up into the down tube
There is a bit of flex through the frame, but the Falco is no wet noodle. The minor give in the chassis is not nearly enough to be the cause of the lack of feedback and temperament. But something about implementation of the Toray T-700 carbon layup lacks the reaction and responsiveness needed in a race bike.
Frame: a hole too many?
The Peregrine Kamm as the name states, features what Falco has dubbed ‘true’ Kamm-tails on the seat tube and seat stays. Falco’s ‘TT Bike White Paper’ explains that a ‘true Kamm-tail’ or truncation must ‘trick’ the air to react as though it is going around an aerofoil. This means less air turbulence, resulting in better aerodynamics.
To achieve these ‘truncations’ Falco designed the Peregrine Kamm using computational fluid dynamics software to replicate wind tunnel results, though the bike itself has never actually been in the tunnel, nor has the frame been UCI approved. However, our local distributor assured us that both are planned.
falco is proud of its chinese heritage: Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
Falco is proud of its Chinese heritage
Our size 53 sample frame featured a top tube measuring 53cm on the dot. Like the previously tested Elenora, for those who fall into the middle of the bell curve, sizing will be adequate. However, those at the extremes may struggle to find a proper fit and, unlike with the Elenora, custom geometries are not available.
Made from Toray T-700 carbon, the Peregrine Kamm is not breaking any records for stiffness-to-weight ratio – though the lower modulus carbon is likely to thank for the cushy ride quality. Weighing in complete at 7.57kg, it’s actually lighter than its ride feel implies.
Distinct to Falco is the ‘optimal shifting’ cable routing system. While the take on cable routing is a unique one, we believe it’s unnecessary – with four cable holes at the head tube. We’re still mulling over what the fourth hole’s purpose is. The local (Australian) distributor says it’s for Di2 wires, however Di2 only requires two ports – rear brake and the single shift wire. Short of a highly improbable dropper post, it just seems like a mistake or a dated design.
Çan you figure out what the fourth hole is for?: Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
Can you figure out what the fourth hole is for?
The rear derailleur housing exit point is also somewhat of a curiosity, popping out from the seatstay 8cm above the dropout. While this creates a smooth bend for the cable, it requires a lot of housing. In a race, or a very tight group the lasso of housing is just asking to catch a pedal and cause serious damage.
Another nuisance: the combination of limited tyre clearance and a forward placed derailleur hanger means the nut of the Fulcrum skewer catches the derailleur. This makes wheel removal or installation very difficult without removing the skewer nut altogether.
the rear derailleur cable routing requires a massive loop of housing: Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
The rear derailleur cable routing requires a massive loop of housing
Equipment: pricing disparities
On initial appraisal of the Peregrine Kamm’s kit, we felt its flying capabilities seemed closer to those of a penguin than a peregrine falcon. Despite the spec list provided by the local distributor showing Schwalbe tyres, our sample came equipped with Maxxis Re-Fuse rubber – a plasticky, puncture resistant model that could probably impair the ride quality of proven superbikes such as the BMC Team Machine SLR01 or BH Ultralight. The ultra-stiff casing makes it feel like you’re always riding uphill into a headwind, so we swapped to a pair of 25mm Michelin Pro4 Service Course boots to gauge the Peregrine’s true characteristics.
Rubber wasn’t the only material that left us scratching our heads, either. Given that the Kamm is advertised as a budget version of the flagship Hi-Mod edition, we’d question the presence of a high-end carbon bar.
Don’t get us wrong – Fouriers HB-RA002 carbon bars are a treat to ride with. They are light, tipping the scales at just over 200g, stiff, and prevent high frequency road buzz from numbing digits. But they’re also highly expensive, eating up money that could be better spent elsewhere on the bike.
Carbon bars are an odd choice for a bike advertised as a ‘more affordable version’: Colin Levitch / Immediate Media
Carbon bars are an odd choice for a bike advertised as a ‘more affordable version’
The rest of the finishing kit was consistent with what we expect to see on a bike in this price range. The Ultegra drivetrain was flawless as expected, shifting reliably and fast. Semi-compact 52-36T chainrings up front and an 11-28T out back made the hilly profile of northern Sydney manageable.
This tester’s backside hasn’t had a good relationship with Prologo saddles and the Kappa Evo sadly didn’t prove an exception. The bike came stock with a proprietary Falco carbon seatpost, and a 7×7 one bolt seat clamp (larger 7×9 clamps are available from the manufacturer if you plan to use a carbon railed saddle).
The Fulcrum Racing 5 hoops are durable, low maintenance and offer good performance for the money, but at 1645g they aren’t winning the scale awards. The Racing 5s use a differentiated rim height – 24mm in the front and 27mm in the back – and an asymmetrical rear rim profile for more even spoke tension left to right. While they’re not particularly wide-rimmed, the Racing 5s provide decent casing support for predictable cornering.
With its comfortable and somewhat tame ride, the Peregrine Kamm is ideal for all day adventures as long as your riding mates don’t want to race to the nearest road sign. Given that it’s marketed as a race bike and doesn’t showcase amazing value, it ultimately left us wanting just a little more.