Review: Rossignol Heretic - Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

Jan 30, 2023
by Matt Beer  

What do skis and bikes have in common? Not that much besides being toys for going down hills on. Either way, Rossignol makes both types of equipment and the Heretic is their 160mm enduro bike that uses a Horst-Link suspension design. The Heretic is the most aggressive model bike in the Rossignol fleet and has been raced under a camouflage paint scheme by their EWS race team, The Bandits, for the last two seasons.

Reasonable pricing and trusted components earned the French brand positive comments when they relaunched their consumer direct sales model and an all-new mountain bike lineup in March, 2022.
Heretic Details

• Frame: 6061 aluminum
• Wheel sizes: XS, S 27.5" / M, L, XL 29"
• Horst-link suspension design
• Travel: 160 mm / 160 mm fork
• 64.5-degree head angle
• Chainstays: XS-S 435 mm / M-XL 445
• Size: XS, S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 16.11 kg / 35.52 lb
• Price: $4,699 USD
rossignol.com

We tested their $4,699 USD Heretic XT, the top-tier model, that uses a full aluminum frame with a 160mm RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork. As the name suggests, the build kit is loaded with the range of Shimano XT components, from the cranks and cassette, all the way through to the center lock hubs and rotors.


Contents


bigquotesRossignol looked to deliver with Heretic in a decent direct-to-consumer deal. Popular component choices and a straightforward alloy frame were appreciated by readers at the time of the launch. Unfortunately, a few frame members didn't hold up to the end of the bargain. Matt Beer





Photo Tom Richards

Frame Details

The Heretic's aluminum frame is fairly basic - there isn't any groundbreaking new construction methods or suspension designs to be seen here. The dull grey color choice doesn’t do much to tell you it’s their top-spec enduro bike either, although I'll take a muted paint scheme over a garish one any day. Keep in mind though, the bike does cost half as much as some other bikes that use a similar parts spec.

All of the specifications are fairly common, such as a Universal Derailleur Hanger, 148 Boost hub spacing, and sufficient chainstay padding. Under the top tube are bosses to bolt a tool onto and the frame has plenty of clearance inside the front triangle for a 650mL water bottle.

Following the internal cable routing down from the head tube, you'll see that the dropper post line takes a detour outside the BB junction. The brake and derailleur housing exit the BB junction below the main pivot and fasten to the chainstays. I had to add another zip tie on the seat stay to keep the housing out of the spokes and tapping the frame on descents.



photo

Geometry


Rossignol has done their homework when it comes to scaling the Heretic sizing by building the XS and S bikes to roll on dual 27.5 wheels, whereas the three larger frames use a full 29er setup. Those five sizes start with reaches of 422 millimeters for the XS frame and grow exponentially; 432, 450, 477, and then 500mm for the XL. On our size L test bike, the seat tube length measured 460mm, which is quite high in comparison to other brands.

The smaller wheeled bikes run on a 435mm rear center and the 29ers are 10mm longer. The BB drop is also 10mm in difference, sitting at 20 and 30mm respectfully. All of the frames use the same seat and head tube angles.

There are no flip-chips to alter the geometry for a mullet setup, although some team members used a customer rocker link to achieve this. That places the seat and head tube angles at a reasonable 77 and contemporary 64.5 degrees.

Rossignol, like a few other brands, also scale the crank and stem length to the size of the frame, which, in my mind, doesn't add up. The stem is related to the steering dynamics which is dictated to the head angle. Why would the rider on the XS frame want faster steering from a shorter 40mm length stem? Especially considering that bike uses a quicker handling 27.5” front wheel. They will most likely cut the bars narrower than the rider on the XL frame, further speeding up the steering.

A similar thought goes along with the longer cranks on longer frames. As the front center grows, the break over angle - basically the chainring clearance - decreases making the rider more prone to pedal strikes, yet longer 175mm cranks are spec’d here.

Those two component choices are more of a specification talking point but are directly related to the geometry. Again, we’ve seen other brands follow a similar scaling pattern and that could be the next candidate for a deep dive article.


Photo Tom Richards

Suspension Design

The bike uses a Horst-Link suspension design, with the rearmost pivot located below the rear axle and the brake caliper mounted to the seat stay to help isolate the braking and pedalling forces. What did surprise me was the short 185 x 55mm trunnion mount shock. Squeezing 160mm out of the shorter Super Deluxe air shock means it has to work harder to control forces versus a 62.5 or 60mm shock that is traditionally used for that much rear wheel travel.

Specifications
Release Date 2022
Price $4699
Travel 160
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate
Fork RockShox ZEB Ultimate 160mm
Headset FSA No.57
Cassette Shimano XT 12spd
Crankarms Shimano XT 170
Chainguide E-Thirteen TRS
Bottom Bracket Shimano XT
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT 12spd
Chain Shimano XT 12spd
Shifter Pods Shimano XT 12spd
Handlebar E-Thirteen Plus 35
Stem E-Thirteen Plus 35 x 50mm
Grips Rossignol
Brakes Shimano XT 203mm CL rotors
Hubs Shimano XT
Rim E-Thirteen TRS Plus
Tires Maxxis EXO+ Assegai/ DHR II, MaxxTerra
Seat WTB Silverado
Seatpost KS LEV Integra 150mm



Photo Tom Richards

Specifications

Scouring over the components list, the Heretic is of great value for $4,699 USD with a full Shimano XT build kit and RockShox Ultimate suspension. The entire drivetrain is of the Deore XT level, including the hubs which engage about every seven degrees.

If that's out your budget, there are two other Heretic price points that are even easier on the wallet at $2,799 for a Shimano Deore build kit, or $3,599 USD for a SLX build.

Where SRAM or Shimano parts aren’t used on the Heretic XT, E-thirteen takes care of the rims and controls. The KS LEV Integra seat post does the job but our size large was fitted with only 150 mm of drop. That could mean that some riders on a size large will have to fiddle with the post insertion height for each climb and descent or replace it with a longer option from the start.






Test Bike Setup

Unboxing and setting up the Rossignol Heretic from its consumer direct packaging was straightforward. There are instructions included for those less familiar with wrenching on bikes too. It’s a catch twenty-two with packaging; too much can seem wasteful, but there’s nothing worse than the bike arriving damaged from too little. I do think less bubble wrap could be used here, given that the bike was well secured inside the ginormous cardboard box.

Getting the suspension balanced on the Heretic right took longer than expected. At 30% sag the shock dipped into the initial part of the travel swiftly, so I increased the pressure to balance out the fork setup. Bumping up the pressure to 220 psi resulted in 28% sag and improved the front to rear balance. I landed on 90 psi in the Zeb, placed a 5mm spacer under the 35mm rise bar and called it a day.

There were a couple annoying bits about the setup. On the first climb I realized I needed the seat a touch higher. Although I tried to slide the housing through the frame to provide slack, the bends in the routing caused it to bind and I ended up with too much slack in the system.

photo
Matt Beer
Location: Squamish, BC, Canada
Age: 36
Height: 5'10" / 178 cm
Weight: 170 lb / 77 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mattb33r
Keeping air in the rear tire was also a challenge as I would also find out on my way up the road on my initial ride. Thankfully, I had brought along a pump, because I needed to stop multiple times along the ride to increase the pressure. I would later discover that rim tape was installed incorrectly, allowing air to escape.

Neither are expensive fixes, but for a bike that comes from a consumer direct brand the bike shouldn’t need this much attention on day one.


Photo Tom Richards

Climbing

Over the last few years, there’s been a strong convergence on geometry and anti-squat values for enduro bikes and the Heretic partially meets that trend. The Heretic features the commonly found 77-degree seat tube angle that places the rider in a comfortable position, but there is a heavy onus on the shock lockout to negate the rear shock from diving through the travel under pedalling forces.

Pedalling performance out of the saddle is less than ideal, and making your way through uphill rock gardens is challenging. You want the climb switch open so the suspension can harness traction, but the minute you push on the cranks to pedal kick forwards or up a stepped section of trail the balance of the bike is greatly affected. I’d describe this as swimming in the rear suspension. There’s simply a lot of movement, so while it’s very smooth across small bumps on the trail, any body inputs to push the bike up and over an obstacle saps energy as the shock oscillates.

When the climb switch is in use, the Heretic is an effective climber that can negotiate tight switchback corners and keeps the cranks clear of any obstacles on the trail, however, I did find another object to tag my feet on - the chainstays. They have a large outward bend near the rear pivots and the rubber protector also hangs in the way. Heel clearance is not a problem I normally encounter, so it was surprising to have this occur, especially considering that the Heretic doesn’t even use SuperBoost.


Photo Tom Richards

Descending

Much like the uphill characteristics of the Heretic, the same is true when you point the bike downhill - there is a lot of movement from the suspension. The suspension does track the ground quite well and the thick rubber chainstay protector keeps noise to a minimum. That Horst-link suspension is a progressive system with plenty of movement at the beginning of the stroke that soaks up a lot of the high-frequency chatter and the air shock ramps up sufficiently for big hucks.

That’s all well and good, that is until you apply the brakes and the rear suspension extends, pushing weight onto the front wheel when you least want it there. Although the rear wheel can remain active under braking, I find the change in geometry to be more problematic.

Since the braking forces pitched the bike forward and the head angle wasn’t the slackest to begin with, I toyed with a 170mm fork for a couple of rides and found that it warded off that forward movement while braking. I actually preferred the balance of the 160mm fork since the rear suspension is progressive and changes the dynamic geometry quickly as it reaches the sag point. This action would suit someone who prefers a softer, more progressive fork than I do.

The suspension rise became the least of my concerns when a loud chattering began in the suspension linkage after a fair amount of vertical descending and hard cornering. Looking at the rear triangle construction, where there's small-diameter tubing and no seat stay yoke, or cross brace, I wasn’t surprised when I found that the seatstay/rocker link pivot had given up the ghost. Even though the pivot hardware stayed tight, the bearings ovalized their seats. Whether that was due to the amount of flex in the stays or just poor machining tolerances, I could push the bearings out by hand.

In their defense, Rossignol intentionally built the rear triangle to be laterally compliant after receiving feedback from their enduro team. Opinions about frame flex versus body fatigue can be a personal preference at such a high level of racing, but that shouldn't lead to frame reliability issues.

Rossignol sent out a new rear triangle and I read into the 5-year limited warranty that would earn any original purchaser the same replacement frame components. The replacement rear triangle and links arrived with the bearings installed and new hardware. Mounting the parts was straightforward because the housing is routed externally, but I noticed more problems when the trunnion mount didn’t align with the shock. There was even play in the box-fresh chainstay pivot and a replacement rubber chainstay bumper was missing.

In this day and age, even at this price point, that’s tough to look past. Bikes like the Specialized Status are much less expensive, at $3,000 USD, but are built to higher standard. Although it wasn’t a catastrophic failure, it's an issue that shouldn't occur in such a short period of time (or ever, for that matter).


photo
photo
photo
photo
Even though the pivot bolts stayed snug, the bearings began to wander in and out of the machined seat in the rocker link.

Technical Report

E-thirteen stem: The machined block can often be a bland or bold piece of equipment, depending on your tastes. Those low-profile clamps that sweep around the back of the E-thirteen Plus 35 stem make it one of my favorites on the market. I don’t hit my knees on my stem as often as I did when we rode short, 26” wheeled bikes, but I appreciate the clean lines. E-thirteen also uses T25 torx bolts that are less likely to round out.

Shimano XT Hubs: The Japanese giant doesn’t deviate from their ideas quickly. These XT hubs still use their preferred cup and cone bearing arrangement that allows you to adjust the preload on the bearings. The 7-degree engagement was totally adequate and the noise from the hub has a subtle, unobtrusive buzz, similar to DT Swiss’ Star Ratchet system. Truing the wheels did require some patience as the spoke heads turned in the hub flanges though.

Shimano brakes: It's old news by now, but the wandering bite point issue came back to haunt us, even with a solid bleed and centered pistons. I’m not sure how or why it happens, but Shimano brakes also seem to become contaminated much more often than other brakes. The pads were swapped out with freshies and the rotors were cleaned, but the lack of bite and squealing soon returned.


photo Tom Richards
Rossignol Heretic
Cotic RocketMax
Cotic RocketMax

How Does It Compare?

When the bike was up and running, the Heretic isn’t the most aggressive bike out there and rides somewhat like a long-legged trail bike with the stock 160mm fork. It’s more conservative compared to the other enduro bikes that I’ve ridden over the last two years.

The Cotic RocketMax primarily uses steel tubes, with the exception of the chainstay, placing the Heretic’s all-aluminum frame in the same ballpark weight. One substantial difference was the robustness of the RocketMax - none of the hardware on that frame even flinched.

There was also a strong, secure feeling about Cotic’s enduro bike that always begged to push harder. Less rise under braking and a 63.5-degree head angle earned it plenty of confidence to push harder on track. The small bump compliance and noise damping give the Heretic an edge in those areas, but that’s about all I can credit the Rossignol for.

Although the geometry is a touch conservative, namely the head tube angle, it’s not totally out in left field. Improvements could be made to the suspension kinematics to calm down the braking influences and reduce the progression for a more settled ride


Photo Tom Richards



Pros

+ Well gathered components package for Shimano fans
+ Supple suspension

Cons

- Braking shifts the rider's weight forward heavily
- Flexy, unreliable frame construction
- Seat tube is long for the frame size




Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesCompeting with the main players in the industry for mid-priced bikes is surely challenging, but when you stamp your logo on the frame, that’s the last piece of the pie that should crumble. Rossignol could have been in the running for Value Bike of the Year winner with the Heretic XT if the frame was reliable. It’s a shame that such a well priced, widely-available bike didn’t live up to the basic needs of a modern enduro bike. Matt Beer







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210 Comments
  • 248 0
 Built for one purpose, to be sold in fleets to the rental shops that already buy Rossi skis for the winter season. I just feel bad for the rental customers who are always riding terrible gear thanks to business relationships.
  • 18 0
 The normal demo bike sales at year end see some abused bikes that can be serviced back to decent health to be sold, I wonder how many of these will make it that far? I bet these things clap out and literally disintegrate being used in a DH park fleet.
  • 19 16
 Rossi and GT -- bikes we see in shops and rental fleets plus a few pro riders, then almost never out in the wild.
  • 43 6
 @peterman1234: the USA is not the world.
  • 31 2
 @incapacidade: tell that to our superiority complex /s
  • 9 36
flag cmi85 (Jan 30, 2023 at 14:05) (Below Threshold)
 @incapacidade: I wish the rest of the world agreed, we seem to feel the need to keep subsiding it
  • 12 0
 @peterman1234: I guess there's always outliers. I've never ridden a rental GT, I'm not a pro, but I'm looking at my 2017 Force across the room right now.
  • 19 2
 @cmi85: "subsiding?" Subside: 1. become less intense, violent, or severe. 2. (of water) go down to a lower or the normal level.
  • 5 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: their subsidized copyediting
  • 7 2
 Come hit up Thunder Mountain in Massachusetts. Killer trails and Yeti rental bikes Wink
  • 1 0
 @cmi85: did you mean to type subsidizing?
  • 2 0
 @weebleswobbles: correct, qwerty didn't pick it up and I failed to proofread.
  • 1 0
 @cmi85: haha cheers man!
  • 2 1
 @incapacidade: the wild. Out in the wild is an expression. ESL I get it.
  • 1 1
 @Intense4life: I don't think you had to go to the ESL level. I get your point on the expression, but I also get @incapacidade 's point on mountain bikers, generally speaking, are not globetrotting people of unlimited means. So it's possible that @peterman1234 's experience is within the USA and that's how it was taken. Also possible that peterman does travel a lot and it was a much wider comment.

I can tell you in my Canadian experience I've owned 3 GT's, known people who raced them, but never saw one outside of that circle. After 5 fall/winter months in Lyon, haven't seen one here either. And commenting about ESL based solely on a internet user's handle is bad form.
  • 2 1
 @iammarkstewart: ESL is not a derogatory acronym. Had nothing to do with a user name. Sticking up for the boys across the boarder. Either @incapacidade has trouble reading English, or took a jab at Americans based off a stereotype that assumes they think the world revolves around them. Which is getting a bit old I'd say. Without them we'd all be f*cked. Take it easy Mark. If you insist on acting like a clown, at least wear the nose bro. You can get the shoes from your mom.
  • 2 0
 @Intense4life: might I suggest a course in de-escalation strategies? that or humor. wait, is it spelled humour up north? I digress...
  • 1 0
 @Intense4life: thanks brah! For sticking up for us south of your border! You are correct Not all Americans are self centered egotistical a*sholes. Some of us Americans are decent human beings
  • 118 0
 Flexy, unreliable frame construction is quite a big negative haha
  • 203 0
 Pros; all the bits they bought in from other companies. Cons; all the bits they tried to do themselves.
  • 11 0
 @codfather1234: or bought in from other companies as well, but failed to do some research and checks before ordering from the cheapest supplier.
  • 6 0
 It was a pre-production run!
  • 1 0
 Exactly, like bro tell me what you really think Big Grin
  • 5 0
 Rossignot-quite-ready-for-prime-time
  • 8 0
 Feels like he had to dig pretty deep to supply a couple Pros too haha. That shimano comment is like saying "great bike for those who like handlebars, this one has handlebars"
  • 74 1
 "Those five sizes start with reaches of 422 millimeters for the XS frame and grow exponentially; 432, 450, 477"
So is it really worth mentioning exponential growth to a power of 1.0039?
  • 49 0
 It's technically correct - the best kind of correct.
  • 72 0
 "...has been raced under a camouflage paint scheme by their EWS race team, The Bandits, for the last two seasons."

The Bandits? A less organized group than the Syndicate and less threatening than The Mob.
  • 9 0
 But much meaner sounding than "Those pesky varmints"
  • 6 0
 "Head badges?!? A-HA-HA-HA-HA! We don'need no steenkin' HEAD BADGES!!!"
  • 2 0
 Am I the only one who immediately thinks of the film “BMX Bandits”?
  • 3 0
 @Ttimer: Even bandits can benefit from having a BMX background...
  • 60 1
 That Cotic looks so damn good.
  • 10 0
 It really does!
  • 6 3
 @onawalk: hey we can agree on some things
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez: Even a broken clock is right twice a day
  • 37 10
 So you're saying it's more of a Joseph Smith heretic, than a Jim Jones heretic?
  • 8 1
 Sounds like suicide either way you go...
  • 3 0
 @danger13: [slow clap]
  • 3 0
 @preach Username checks out (in terms of field of knowledge).
  • 27 3
 Rossignol has rental fleets at ski areas. it's easy to add in a new sku to those buyers. Rental ski, boards and bikes! Do they still make golf and tennis? Either way. Rossi is a rental brand. They abandoned tech and innovation years ago.
  • 7 0
 Some of their skis are top notch. A set of Rossis is one of my favourite skis I've ever had, sham they don't make them any more.
  • 4 4
 @Jules15: Where do you ski in England?
  • 4 0
 @Jules15: baqueira now won twice in a row on Rossis. And @kootbiker Brits are still allowed to travel despite Brexit.
  • 3 0
 @Kootbiker: we are allowed to travel you know, there are also places up in Scotland
  • 3 0
 @Kootbiker indoors, but mostly we travel to place like the Alps or BC
  • 1 0
 Ah yes, a big mountain charger that only comes in a 194, perfect for rental fleets
  • 2 0
 @Jules15: Let me guess, Rossi Soul 7's? lmao
  • 1 0
 @pbfan08: no Experience 84s
  • 2 0
 @Jules15: hahahah those are LITERALLY the ski's they use in rental fleets, and they're ok. If you need a basic no frills directional ski for green/blues.
  • 1 0
 @pbfan08:They were really good for reds and double blacks, and surprisingly good in powder but now is have QST94s
  • 22 0
 Burn the Heretic!
  • 17 0
 Ouch thats one of the worst reviews I read in a long time. These days a lot of people say you cant get a bad bike. They proved them wrong.
  • 19 2
 That frame looks like it should have been released 5 or 6 years ago.
  • 4 0
 And it has engineering and quality control from 15 years ago.
  • 9 0
 re: sizing stems and cranks: maybe they figure shorter people with their shorter limbs would appreciate quicker steering since they won't have the same (absolute) range of motion at the grips. Same with cranks, it might be less about pedal strikes and more about long legs being able to move through a larger range of motion at the pedals, while maintaining a similar range of hip and knee angles.

IE: short people can't move their hands and feet as far for a given range of movement from the associated joints, so a bike that allows for a full range of inputs with less absolute movement of hands and feet is pretty nice.
  • 1 0
 Generally speaking smaller people cut their bars shorter than taller people, so this is something that kind of sorts itself out. Of course bar width is something that is actually adjustable. You can cut your bars, but you can't cut your cranks, so some OEM specs are more important than others.
  • 12 5
 A good review of what might have been a promising budget option for some. Some pretty serious concessions for the savings.

Interesting that you've identified the XT build as a pro, but highlighted two specific issues/challenges connected directly to the XT parts (brakes and spoke/hub interface).

Editing could use some work- extra zip ties to keep zip ties out of the spokes and Deore builds for both $2799 or $3599... unless this is a new marketing model- don't overwhelm customers with spec choices, just let them choose from different prices for the same stuff.
  • 3 0
 Thanks for fixing the errors!
  • 6 0
 I wouldn't blame Shimano for straight-pull spokes, exactly. Lots of brands sell them and they all have that problem (which is why I only use traditional J-bend hubs).
  • 1 0
 @barp: No blame for creating the concept- but they do use it, and it is an XT part with a flaw.
  • 1 0
 @Quinn-39: Eh, to me that would be like ordering a pizza with anchovies on it, then complaining that you don't like anchovies. They're just selling you what you asked for.
  • 7 1
 The use of Rossignol bike to use the equipe de France (made in France) logo is interesting. Being a skier from the 60/70/80’s French made skis, boots, poles from multiple manufacturers proudly sported the rooster/ski crest.
Swiss made Rossignol skis had a circular Swiss flag in the tip.
The true logo for Rossignol has always been the stylized capital R with a circle.
Kids these days……
  • 16 1
 "The true logo for Rossignol has always been the stylized capital R with a circle"

Rooster or die. Get out of here with that stupid circle R!!!!
  • 4 1
 @nskerb:

Not bike related but could not let that one sit….

Wrong - study history of manufacturing and marketing.
Equipe de France and that logo is a real source of pride for the French.

Besides, Rossignol skis has the circled R clearly on the base at the tips.
On most current Rossi skis the bird is nowhere to be found.

The Rooster is/was displayed by Trappaur, Heschung, Ramy, Moncler and many others.

Anyway, go get your current bike dirty in that PNW mud.
  • 5 1
 @NWintheUSA: You arent serious - first pair of skis I clicked on on their website has the rooster - www.rossignol.com/uk/rampr02-000.html As does the website.....
  • 3 0
 @NWintheUSA: What? The Black Ops, Sender, and Experience lines all have the rooster.
  • 2 0
 Le coc k
  • 1 1
 @src248:

My main point is that it’s a made in France logo.
And yes, some Rossignol skis are still made in France so they get to use the Rooster.

Proof:
longskistruck.com/products/vintage-dynamic-vr17-antique-snow-skis-for-sale

Decal right in the middle.

Also used by Kerma poles and others.

For an Asian made product to sport this logo it’s kinda off.
  • 8 0
 A bunch of photos, but no details ol the nitty-gritty i.e. the chainstays/main pivot interface that seems ot have doomed this bike.
  • 8 0
 @DavidGuerra @TurboDonuts Detailed photos have been added.
  • 5 0
 " Braking shifts the rider's weight forward heavily"

Could you put some numbers on the anti-rise value? Cos I find it hard to believe that any bike these days would actually extend under braking. It's difficult to tell if this is a genuine issue with the frame design, or just rider preference.
  • 7 0
 Agreed - there seems to be nothing bizarrely different about this frame vs many others on the market that get no such criticism.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: I had the same reaction, and I wonder if it’s the 2.9 avg leverage rate is contributing to the sensation
  • 1 0
 @kleinblake: Thats not a bad thought actually, it could well be something to do with the bike naturally wallowing about low in the travel, but then anti-rise normally increases deeper in the travel so I'd still like to see hard numbers on exactly whats going on. Numbers don't lie Wink
  • 8 3
 Once again, no one is making a bike that can compete with a Status for build, durability, modern geometry and fun factor. This with it's shoddy frame, conservative geometry and additional $1700 ain't even close.
  • 7 1
 As a Status 140 owner, I do and don’t agree. As far as bang for buck (on paper), it’s a killer option. I feel the Status is a bit too linear on the back end and slack on the front end to be as playful as could be. The shorter rear center is what makes it playful, but pushing into suspension, it feels traction-oriented compared to other bikes I’ve ridden. A 64.5-65° HTA and slightly more progressive back end would make it perfect, IMO
  • 5 0
 agree if the status just had a full 27.5 option from factory.
  • 11 0
 Not to mention the status is on sale for $2250... www.specialized.com/us/en/status-160/p/199767?color=320388-199767

Unreal value. No wonder my used bike isn't selling haha
  • 4 4
 @TurboDonuts:

27.5 front wheel, air shock with volume reducers. Don't be afraid to tune your bikes people.
  • 2 0
 @8a71b4: I don’t disagree! Going to try 160/27.5 up front. Just worried about BB clearance, but should be okay…
  • 2 1
 you aren't the target audience for this- ski resort rental shops are. They aren't paying retail per bike.
  • 1 0
 @luckynugget: I don't see it as available in Canada...am I missing something?
  • 3 0
 I am going to pick up my Status 160 tomorrow. For $2300 on sale, kind of a no brainer
  • 1 0
 @TurboDonuts: If you want a steeper head angle for greater agility, keep the fork on there. The 29er fork also has a higher offset, so going with a smaller wheel will reduce the geometric trail value.
  • 1 0
 @8a71b4: I'm on a 150mm/29" Lyrik, with the rear flip-chip in the high position. I put a 27.5x2.6 wheel/tire in there last night and the front end dropped quite a bit, to the point where I'd need to get higher-rise bars or put the 160mm air spring back in. The +10mm travel would be a bandage, IMO, as bars would dive harder on bigger hits. HTA steepened by ~0.4-0.5 deg.
  • 1 0
 @TurboDonuts: Yep, and the 160 fork will bring it back to the original HTA.

Keep in mind that wheel size in itself does very little for you unless you are into big tricks and spins. The thing that wheel size affects is geometry. Because a 27.5 rear end requires shorter chainstays than a 29, its going to be more agile.

Bringing the front end closer through a steeper HTA will do the same thing.
  • 2 0
 @8a71b4: Not true, bigger wheels absorb more pop from steeper lips and require longer transitions. More giroscope effect keeping that wheel strait and upright, great for bombing trails but jumps and steeze not so much. I've been riding mullets for the past two years and am finally ditching that shit this year for something that jumps correctly. The bigger front wheel also requires more time to lean from one corner into another, needs more space between transitions, and is more likely to blow over the top of a berm. (Giroscope effect, and bigger circle for the berm to try and contain) I've been building trails and jumps full time through every popular wheel size and the current 29 phase is requiring so much more space and dirt to build transitions gradual enough.
  • 7 4
 "Squeezing 160mm out of the shorter Super Deluxe air shock means it has to work harder to control forces"

Yet, in the Airdrop review, the high leverage ratios (3.1 starting and 2.85 at sag versus 2.9 average here) were praised as "happy to get moving whilst in its travel"

150x50 and 160x55 is pretty common nowadays, and modern shocks seem to be up to the game, especially considering that lighter tunes are becoming popular.
  • 1 0
 Perhaps how the leverage works is different and creates a different feel between the two bikes?
  • 2 0
 I was about to say, it’s time to review some articles because I’ve seen some TINY shocks on long travel bikes and never really heard about it from the testers
  • 1 0
 The previous standard was 200x57 for most enduro bikes, now it’s 205x63

This lesson was learned years ago, small shocks for long travel makes it more difficult to adjust and creates more heat.
160x55 is more in line with a trail bike…
  • 6 0
 Like all things suspension, it's not just one thing. That Airdrop at 3.1-2.85 is actually not that progressive, and the key is that it's relatively low leverage even with the short-ish stroke. That means the effective damping force is higher than something with higher average leverage, so the damper will exert for force for a given wheel movement because the shock shaft will move faster. Airdrop also have their heads screwed on so in all likelihood spec'd a good tune to go with their bike. With higher progression rates you need a longer stroke shock because a lot of the leverage curve is quite low leverage because of the progression, so you need more stroke to physically deliver the travel. Unfortunately what they seem to have here is a progressive frame, and they have upped the average leverage ratio to keep using the short shock for packaging reasons, giving you a double whammy of lower effective damping at the wheel and less stroke to do anything with the forces. It's possible to do well with tunes and the like, but they're making it hard for themselves. I would imagine the smaller 27.5 bikes work really nicely for lighter riders if they keep a similar kinematic though.
  • 5 0
 Thanks for the honest review. I get weary of glossy BS opinions and WANT to hear the truth–IE that the cons are a "Flexy, unreliable frame construction."
  • 2 0
 Maybe we don’t this often because most other brands are building really good bikes these days?
  • 1 0
 @sfarnum: That's a good and correct observation. Most of the time our complaints now involve affordability.
  • 1 0
 @njcbps: Turns out there are cheap bikes, there are good bikes, but there aren’t many cheap good bikes.
  • 3 0
 Sounds like the factory straight up used the wrong diameter for the bearing seats, then? If the new bearing in the new frame member is loose, that implies a slip-fit (bearing outer diameter and bearing seat diameter are the same) rather than a proper interference fit (typically the bearing O.D. would be 0.1 or 0.2 mm larger than the hole it goes into). And no wonder the original bearing rapidly ovalized its seat.
  • 5 3
 " Although I tried to slide the housing through the frame to provide slack, the bends in the routing caused it to bind and I ended up with too much slack in the system."

So you needed more slack to move the seat, but bends caused it to bind, so you got too much slack because of the binding? I don't understand: if it bound up, wouldn't that mean you couldn't slide it through enough and would not have enough slack to move the seat at all?

Or you overshot pushing it in and it bound up so hard you couldn't pull the housing back out the front and there was extra slack inside the frame? Who cares as long as there was enough at the front to turn the bars?
  • 3 1
 So it turns out that when you buy the worst MTB bike company in the industry.... this is still better. Apparently, the due diligence in buying FELT didn't include asking a single MTB rider if the bikes were even remotely decent.
  • 2 0
 Maybe buying good designs were secondary to buying infrastructure, patents, manufacturing contacts, etc.
  • 2 0
 Low antisquat and high compression ratio to make it feel "plush" in the parking lot. Much like Specialized bikes from 8 years ago. If these were meant for anything but rental fleets I'd say these things must suck haha. But for non-enthusiast riders, a compliant bike that has good rear grip is probably best when lapping the green trails all day and cycling the lift.
  • 5 3
 I was not expecting a glowing review, but this seemed nitpicky af. I do think that packing usage could be better in the industry as a whole, but i don’t recall ever reading about that as a complain about a bike until this article.
  • 1 0
 Was it Trek that did the big sustainability survey and found the biggest impact was from shipping stuff all over the world? If we’re criticizing excessive packaging (fair), we should be praising the sustainability of folks who build bikes close to their customers.
  • 1 0
 @sfarnum: I’d agree with that for sure
  • 1 0
 I ride sometimes with an older guy who runs the previous version of the bike, and from what i can tell this new one is just in line with the previous one. Great on paper, lots of nice soft suspension, great parts for the price. Just a little wonky though and a visibly poor pedaling bike. I feel like its a great bike for maybe older or more casual type riders, but wont hold up or be desirable to those riding harder or more frequently
  • 3 0
 Sounds like the perfect bike for park rentals!
  • 4 0
 Do you think older or casual riders have time to push bearings back in ? Shit like that shouldn't happen on any bike.
  • 2 1
 @watchtower: no not at all, but i guess the folks around here that im kinda thinking of dont use it so hard or enough that its less likely to be a problem. Theyre also happy to pay to have their bike maintained.

Maybe someone who rides 20 times a year, those poor tolerances become a problem after 5 years. Someone who rides 200 times a year, maybe thats a problem in 6 months. That was kind of what i was thinking anyway
  • 2 1
 I really enjoyed the Pros section of this review. "Well gathered components package for Shimano fans" is about as complimentary as "looks only a mother could love." I picture a polite Canadian reviewer really scraping the bottom of the pot to come up with anything remotely positive to say. I get the sense this might not be a great bike!
  • 1 0
 Looks a lot like my GT that runs a 185x50 trunion RS shock. I'm 205 lbs and run 190 psi to get 28-30% sag...this bike runs considerably more psi, for a rider 35 lbs lighter, with a longer shock stroke too. I wonder if the damping spec on that shock was flubbed as rockshox offers different tuning states for rear shocks.....
  • 3 0
 They made the conscious choice to name the bike "Heretic", but also made it the most conventional and basic bike they could? Something's not right here.
  • 4 0
 So, hot garbage with decent XT bits?
  • 1 0
 Like an expensive dumpster fire.
  • 4 0
 exponential reach growth would be truly something
  • 1 2
 Yeah, because if you do the math that's not what's happening here.
  • 6 4
 I remember when Shimano brakes were the gold standard... What happened?! I recently went from XT's to Code RSC's and my riding confidence lately is through the roof.
  • 11 4
 It has to be. Because now you can’t stop.
  • 4 3
 @BrianColes: the idea of "stopping" isnt the goal, its to remove and control speed - something codes do better than XT/shimano.
Shimano is wicked, if you love to haul on the brakes and skid down with less control.

Have you ever messed with real brakes on a race car? Could easily give the Brakes a heap of power but thats useless as theyd just lock... any high level Racer will tell you brakes arnt all about power.
  • 2 1
 @HeatedRotor: Nope. Tons of power makes a brake easy to modulate. Too little power means the wheel either spins freely or locks. The envelope within that range ends up being too small to work with effectively. If the brake is too weak to even lock the wheel, thats a whole different problem...
  • 2 0
 When a new MTBer asks me, "what bikes should I avoid"....and I often say "they are all good these days, not a worry" I might have to check my reply.
  • 4 0
 a bike that sounds like a champagne brand reviewed by a beer
  • 4 0
 ASTROssignol...
  • 1 0
 Ain't that a renewed Felt Redemption?
  • 1 0
 It has strong Cube/Radon vibes - who makes their frames?
  • 1 0
 @JohSch: No just looked into the Swoop 8.0, it is quite different. That Heretic is pure ASTRO.
  • 1 0
 @cxfahrer: Cube Stereo 170/150/etc or Radons older Swoop models. Where are the Rossignols made?

Astro is from Taiwan, I doubt that they missed the chance to go to China, Myanmar, Vietnam to save some €€€
  • 1 0
 @cxfahrer: Rossi purchased Felt.
  • 1 2
 Any pictures of the problematic bits? Can we see the rear triangle up close?

What spec Deore builds come on the other trims? SLX? Base Deore?

The team uses a *custom* rocker link for 27.5 wheels, yeah?

The wandering bite point might be affected by brake line routing. If you tip the bike into a corner and the hose sits higher than the reservoir, the bite point dives. I’ve had that issue only on one (of a dozen) Shimano-equipped bikes.

Sounds like the sizing/geo was focused around rider size and ergonomics versus on-trail practicality, perhaps?
Also sounds like Matt isn’t the target demographic / riding feel for the bike. The design ethos on this bike seems a bit more up my alley
  • 2 0
 I get wandering bite point on my Shimano stuff on flat ground. Just pump the lever fast and the bite point will move. Possibly something to do with fluid flow speed. I don't know of anyone who has the wandering bite point thing totally figured out.

Component sizing according to rider height is something that came over from road bikes and there is sense to it, but the different demands of MTB require a different approach to component sizing. It is definitely a subject for an article as there are a lot of competing factors that determine how to apply scaled component sizing (if at all).
  • 1 0
 @WheelNut: I've heard that switching to bleedkit.com's Gold Fluid helps resolve the pesky bite point issue.
  • 2 0
 @jovesaxa: I've also heard people say Putoline HPX 2.5 fork oil fixed their Shimano brakes.

Me, I haven't tried either, because my brakes have never had that problem.
  • 1 0
 @barp: I have Putoline in the cupboard here at home. I put it into a new XT brake last week. That brake had a consistent bite point, but I didn't try it with standard Shimano oil. All my MT520 brakes have wandered like crazy. Eventually I'll try the Putoline in the MT520 to see if it helps.
  • 2 0
 if there's one thing a good ski company knows, its good bike manufacturing...
  • 2 8
flag IMeasureStuff (Jan 30, 2023 at 9:23) (Below Threshold)
 It can work, Santa Cruz makes good skateboards and bikes which are about as different as ski's and bikes.
  • 8 0
 @IMeasureStuff: the boards and bikes are made by different companies with the same name.
  • 3 0
 @boopiejones: well there you go, I had no idea about that one.
  • 2 0
 @IMeasureStuff: It can work but I feel like the bike-boom bandwagon shouldn't be the determining factor to suddenly build a bike. Bikes are complex and (most) buyers have been groomed to understand what a quality bike consists of. Companies trying to capitalize on the tail end of this boom rather than take the time will produce exactly what Rossi produced... A rushed sub par product that will ultimately just result in a bit of tarnish on a companies name that otherwise has a great reputation in a different sport.
  • 3 0
 @IMeasureStuff: Skateboards cames first, then Roskopp (skateboarder) and Novak (owner of SC skateboards) banded together to create SC Bikes, with Mike Marquez.
  • 3 1
 @scallywagg: Rossignol have been building bikes and e bikes for quite a few years now.
  • 2 1
 @IMeasureStuff: If this doesn't describe the world at large...

IMeasureStuff: It can work. Like George Costanza, there is no lie because I believe it. "Santa Cruz makes good skateboards and bikes".

boopiejones: No. Santa Cruz bike people don't make skateboards.

IMeasureStuff: Well, there you go. The stuff I didn't measure at all and just typed out...I had no idea.
  • 2 1
 @iammarkstewart: commencal makes both bikes and skiis
  • 2 0
 @scallywagg: Amen Brother!
And these guys have no room to complain when the dust settles and they’re stuck with unsold bikes.
  • 3 0
 @DKlassen8: Commencal skis are rebadged Faction skis, so Commencal is selling skis but definitely not making them.
  • 2 0
 compared to the capra, or the spectral, the value of the rossignol is terrible.
  • 3 1
 i appreciate the honest reviews, relieved to see not everybody is a sellout.
  • 1 0
 Alternatively, the bearings on most of the bikes PB tests don’t fall out during the review period.
  • 1 0
 Had similar happen on a Radon Swoop 170 Al. There was so much flex between the two separate rockers and the seat tube. You could basically press the bearings in by hand.
  • 2 0
 But low AR bikes are the best with super active suspension during braking !?! This must be a mistake how could it be ? Lol
  • 1 0
 I could swear that pic of the rear triangle and shock was straight out of 2005. I’m not trying to be cute here, I’m old and that thing looked like my Maverick ML-7!
  • 1 0
 ..and like my ML-7, rear linkage bearing failure
IDK how they justify that price. Why should the consumer be stuck with the bill for a component group that doesn’t belong on that frame?
  • 1 0
 Always liked Rossi skiis. They did break though. Still have a pair of B3s. Too bad the bike seems not so good. Oh well. Maybe next one will be good.
  • 2 0
 imagine sending your bike off for review, only for it to break and get absolutely destroyed by the public lmao
  • 2 0
 Keep the components and melt that whole frame!
  • 2 1
 What do skis and bikes have in common? Not that much besides handling/riding both is very similar each other
  • 3 0
 Right. I imagine, since skis have no moving parts, the amount of engineering and testing to make a great pair of skis is extensive.
But the bike guys didn’t seem to grok that. Instead they just threw some tubes together while looking at a “modern” geometry chart.
I bet the ski guys could have done better.
  • 1 0
 @Untgrad: they bought that bike and it's engineering somewhere in Asia for sure
  • 1 0
 @JohSch: I guess when your company name is world wide, you’re too big for some crap product to tarnish it.
Probably owned by some conglomerate behemoth by now that finds X amount of failures at that price point acceptable.
  • 1 0
 Wow, I have had their skis in the past and they were top notch, these are not so much.
  • 1 1
 Did you have the clipless or the flats?
  • 1 0
 lol, guess they thought they could do better by selling Felt Bikes and going at it on their own.
  • 1 0
 Next week's news: "Rossignol Bicycles' CEO Resigns, Company Founder to Take Leading Role."

You heard it here first.
  • 6 8
 If you’re getting a wandering bite point on Shimano brakes you’re almost certainly not bleeding them correctly and are not removing every last air bubble. It really isn’t a big mystery.

I and loads of my friends have used a variety of Shimano 4 pot brakes over the years - Saint, Deore, Zee, XT and SLX and none of us has ever had this issue. The one common factor is that we all use the same ex World Cup DH mechanic to bleed them,. This can just be a coincidence.
  • 17 3
 If everyone has to use some kind of magic trick that only some washed up DH mechanic knows, to simply bleed your brakes (an operations that is easily done by any home mechanic with any other brand)... That means... your brakes are shit.
  • 1 0
 The wandering bite point happens most in the latest generation XT and XTR brakes with the servo wave junk link.
  • 1 0
 I am pretty good with procedures and pretty careful and patient, yet I have been unable to get my XTs to be consistent. I've tried the Park Tools video method, Shimano's recommended procedure and my own lifetime of wrenching on bikes to no avail. Bite point is all over the place. Any chance your ex World Cup DH mechanic can let me know his ways?
  • 2 1
 I've had my XT's even vacuum bled, they still get a weird bite point, randomly the Bite point moves and doesnt give alot of confidence - Even when working properly they dont fill me with confidence on the steep stuff with lack of Speed control Codes are bit tricky to bleed and many cant do it properly and often enough, but they work well and for sure take the speed off quicker. Though neither XT or codes are as good as TRP or the new hope brakes.
  • 2 0
 In other words, this is the worst bike ever reviewed by Pinkbike.
  • 2 0
 Morgane Jonnier custom retro paint for this bike looks amazing
  • 2 0
 Rossigdull
  • 2 0
 rossignovalized bearings
  • 1 0
 Sounds like a right dogs dinner of a bike.
  • 3 0
 My dogs love dinner time. It's one of their favourite times of day.
  • 1 0
 Did you try to install an other shock with more compression tune ?
  • 2 0
 Rossigone!
  • 1 0
 looks like Giant Reign with Horst link
  • 1 0
 the link is giant like... the rest of the bike? ah no.
  • 1 0
 Good to know Rossignol's bikes are just as shitty as they look
  • 1 0
 LOL!
  • 1 0
 like a Thrill Fervent 140
  • 1 0
 Matt beer breaks them all! Smashem!!
  • 1 0
 rented a rossi at deer valley one time. it was fine to ride for a day
  • 1 0
 Someone woke up on the wrong side of the pink bed.
  • 1 0
 that rocker link geo is fairly telling.
  • 1 2
 how many will they sell seriously ? i dont understand why bike companies keep losing money !
  • 2 0
 Someone else made a similar comment, but the main customer will likely be existing Rossignol stores at ski resorts for bike rental fleets. They probably don't need to make a ton to justify it. I've only seen 1-2 of these in the wild, all at bike parks/ski resorts. I can't imagine any serious mountain biker buying one of these bikes with their own money among all the options available. The only retail customer I can imagine would be a serious skier who already trusts the Rossignol brand.
  • 1 0
 Oof!
  • 1 0
 Large in 27 please
  • 1 1
 Looks like a ‘18 sentinel.
  • 1 0
 "Well priced"
  • 1 2
 That price is pretty darn tempting
  • 5 0
 Not at all You can get serious bikes barely used for that price Not this thing with Flexy, unreliable frame construction
  • 1 4
 Trek slash 8 is the best aluminum frame and components for the money... specialized sucks and so do ebikes
  • 1 0
 new reign destroys the slash in value.
  • 1 4
 size specific wheelsize gross. Perfect rental bike
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