Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

RSL Initial Impressions

The weather was pretty uncooperative last week, but I did get 2 brief rides in on the RSL.  With that time interval in mind I'll offer my thoughts so far.

First and foremost the bike fits really well, albeit slightly differently than I had anticipated.  I was between the 19" and 20" for the RSL.  My benchmark YBB is a 20" has a 24.25 top tube, and that is just about as big as I can handle.  On paper the 19" RSL has the same dimensions with an 80 mm fork.  I opted for the 100 mm travel setting on my Reba and the additional front end height has made the effective top tube length a little shorter. 

As soon as I got on the bike I was impressed with how stable and snappy it is.  The bike tracks well and goes where I point it- something that can't be said of all 29ers I've ridden recently.  Even at the 100 mm travel setting the bike felt stable and composed yet responsive enough for me to stay on track.

Although still a hardtail, the titanium frame and seatpost go a long way to passively absorb vibration.  The ti frame coupled with the 29" wheels enable the RSL to roll over trail irregularities like a short travel 26" wheeled bike without the rear wheel deflection.  The updated and more shapely tubeset helps to keep the bike stiff laterally- noticeably stiffer than my YBB in fact. 

More than anything I would say that the RSL has ensured titanium's relevance in the off road racing world.  It handled every bit as well as the carbon 29ers I've ridden with a comparable weight and a much smoother ride.  

This week I plan to get some more time on this bike including Wednesday Worlds at Catamount.  I'm interested to see how it handles familiar terrain at race pace and whether or not it has any impact on my performance.  

Most likely I'll finish in the same place, but it's fun to try out new gear.

1 comment:

  1. Full review posted here.