RSD Bikes Triumph Hardtail - Review

Apr 14, 2014
by Mike Kazimer  
RSD Triumph Hardtail

WORDS & PHOTOS Mike Kazimer

Ever since the first full suspension mountain bikes came to market, countless articles have been written announcing the 'death of the hardtail.' Yet, despite these proclamations, hardtails continue to survive, and a number of small companies continue to keep the link to mountain biking's early days alive. RSD Bikes, a new company out of Toronto, Canada, has tossed their hat into the ring, launching a line of steel hardtails that are available for every wheel size. We tested the Triumph, a bike meant to be something of a Jack-of-all-trades, with 27.5” wheels and a 140mm Fox 34 front fork. Available in sizes small, medium, and large, and in four different colors (blue/pearl white, silver/matte black, navy/pearl white, matte green/pearl white), RSD welds up the Triumph with either a Reynolds 853 frame or a full 4130 chromoly frame. The 853 frame-only price is $999 USD, and the full chromoly frame goes for $499. The price for a complete bike starts at $1999 and goes up to the $4499 version that we tested. Without pedals the Triumph weighed 27 pounds (size large).

RSD Triumph Details

• Purpose: trail / all-mountain
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Reynolds 853 frame, handmade in USA
• 12 x 142mm rear axle
• ISCG 05 tabs
• Weight: 27 lbs (size L, without pedals)
• Sizes: S, M, L
• MSRP: $999 frame only, $4499 USD as tested.

RSD Triumph review test
The Triumph's 44mm head tube allows for a fork with a tapered steerer to be run by using an external lower headset cup. The subtle bend of the brace between the seat and top tube adds to the bike's clean look.

Frame Design

The front triangle of the Triumph is constructed from air-hardened Reynolds 853 steel, and then welded to a chromoly 4130 rear triangle. The 44mm head tube permits both straight and tapered steerer tube forks to be used, and a gusset is in place between the head tube and down tube in a design feature intended to add additional strength to the bike's front end. Sliding rear drop outs allow for the bike to be set up as a single speed, or for the rear wheel position to be changed depending on what a rider prefers. Each dropouts is secured with two Allen head bolts, and there's a tensioner to provide extra insurance that the rear wheel won't slip under pedalling loads. The dropouts are designed to accept a 12x142 thru-axle, and the rear disc brake mount is attached to the dropout, so there's no need to realign the caliper if the wheel position is changed. Other features include cable guides for routing dropper post housing, and ISCG 05 tabs for running a chainguide.

RSD Triumph review test
Sliding dropouts allow the Triumph to be run as a singlespeed, or for riders to choose the geometry they prefer. A threaded bottom bracket shell, ISCG tabs, and clearance for fat tires adds to the bike's versatility.

Price $4499
Fork Fox 34 Float 140mm FIT CTD
Headset Cane Creek ZS 44
Cassette SRAM 11/36 10spd
Crankarms Truvativ XX1 175mm
Rear Derailleur SRAM XO
Chain KMX X10-L
Shifter Pods SRAM XO
Handlebar Easton Haven 720mm
Stem Easton Haven 55mm
Grips Race Face Half Nelson Lock-On
Brakes Avid XO
Wheelset Easton Haven 15mm F, 12x142 rear
Tires Maxxis Ardent 2.25"
Seat Race Face Atlas
Seatpost Easton EA70
RSD Triumph review test

Riding the Triumph

bigquotesIt's easy to forget just how efficient a hardtail is for climbing - out of the saddle efforts are rewarded with near-instant acceleration, and since there's no need to worry about flipping any rear shock levers or setting the right amount of sag, all that's left to do is ride.

Fit / Climbing

Our test bike came equipped with half of the wide bar / short stem combination we prefer – the 55mm Easton Haven stem was a good match for the bike, but we ended up swapping the 720mm handlebars out for something a little more appropriate. The other immediately apparent omission was the lack of a dropper post, something that we would have expected to see on a bike at this price level, although there are cable guides in place for running one. At 27 pounds, the Triumph isn't XC race bike light, but it is light enough to take some of the sting out of extra long climbs, and the bike's single ring setup, with a 32 tooth X-Sync narrow wide chaingring paired to an 11-36 cassette was a good match for our local terrain, although we can imagine some riders may want to either run a smaller front ring or add on one of the aftermarket cassette adaptors that are starting to pop up to achieve an easier low gear.

It's easy to forget just how efficient a hardtail is for climbing – out of the saddle efforts are rewarded with near-instant acceleration, and since there's no need to worry about flipping any rear shock levers or setting the right amount of sag, all that's left to do is ride. While hardtails demand a more precise riding style, this precision makes it possible to dissect a technical climb without needing to fight against any rear suspension movement. Much of our testing period took place in less-than ideal weather and trail conditions – pouring rain (or snow), wet roots, and slimy mud puddles to kept things interesting, and to make already challenging climbs that much more technical. Luckily, the Triumph didn't have any trouble getting up those tangled messes of wet roots, and the longer top tube length gave us ample room to find a comfortable climbing position. After some experimentation, we found that running the rear wheel close to the middle of its range of adjustment felt best, giving the bike a balanced feel both on the climbs and the descents. This position equates to around a 430mm distance from the rear axle to the center of the bottom bracket. Sliding dropouts can sometimes be problematic, either slipping or creaking under hard efforts, but this never occurred with the Triumph, and it is nice to have the option to change the rear wheel position or convert the bike to a singlespeed for even more simplicity.

RSD Triumph review test
The Triumph's downhill prowess almost made us forget we were riding a hardtail. Almost.


Where there are some hardtails on the market that feel more like overgrown dirt jumpers, bikes that play well until the terrain gets technical, the Triumph isn't one of them. The longer top tube and fairly short chainstays combined with a 68 degree head angle work together to create a bike that doesn't have any issues diving into tricky root filled chutes or getting down steep rock rolls. Even on trails where we fully expected to get jarred and bucked around by the chunky terrain, the Triumph surprised us by how well it handled the rough stuff. Bear in mind, it still rides like a hardtail – you can't go blasting into rock gardens at full speed and expect to prance through without a care in the world – but the bike does an admirable job of staying composed and taking the edge of smaller trail vibrations. We kept the Fox 34 Float fork set in Trail mode for most of our time on the bike, finding that the slightly firmer compression setting was a good match to the rigid rear end of the bike.

The same geometry numbers that make the Triumph handle the steeps well do make it a little harder to get it airborne; the long top tube means it lacks the snappy 'pop' off the lip of a jump like a dirt jumper would have. Still, it didn't take much effort to figure out the best technique to loft it over mid-trail gap jumps and drops, and the Triumph's predictable handling never let us down. That predictable handling was what makes the Triumph excel on a wide variety of terrain - it's one of those bikes that feels comfortable and familiar after only short amount of time in the saddle, making it easy to focus on the trail rather than worrying about how it will behave in certain situations. Whether it was leaned over, cornering hard through tight berms, or rocketing down a smooth straightaway, the Triumph was well mannered, and didn't balk at anything that came its way.

RSD Triumph review test
Race Face's Half Nelson grips earned their keep, as did SRAM's X-Sync chainring, but the Atlas saddle was a little too firm for our liking.

Component Check

• Maxxis Ardent tires – The Ardents wouldn't usually be our first choice for a wet weather tire, since they lack the tall knobs and open spacing to dig in for traction, but they work well in most conditions, and the fast rolling tread pattern makes them a good choice for an XC / trail bike. They do require a little more attention and technique during hard cornering, and can feel a little under-gunned in the steeps, but overall the Ardent is a very predictable tire.

• X-Sync chainring – We didn't experience any dropped chains during out time on the Triumph due to the combination of a Type II rear derailleur and the X-Sync chainring. Now that 42t aftermarket cassette cogs are available, we'd imagine that would be a popular upgrade for a setup like this.

• Race Face Atlas Saddle – Saddles are a matter of personal preference, but the Atlas saddle is most definitely on the firm side of things, and the lack of padding in the sit bone are was noticeable on long rides. We don't have any complaints about the shape, but a little extra padding would go a long ways to make this a much more comfortable saddle.

• Race Face Half Nelson grips - The Half Nelson grips earned a spot on the short list of lock-on grips we like. They're constructed from a tacky rubber compound that kept our hands in place even on the wettest rides, and the raised portion on the underside of the grip added even more security. Plus, the thin profile ensured it never felt like we were holding onto the fat end of a baseball bat while riding down the trail.

RSD Triumph review test

Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesWhy would someone choose a steel hardtail over the growing crop of carbon-fiber, full squish wonder bikes? Well, for one, the simplicity of a hardtail can't be beat. With no bearings or bushings to worry about, the Triumph's steel frame should outlast the majority of the components that get hung on it. Plus, there's just something about cleaning a tricky section of trail without the aid of rear suspension that makes it a little more satisfying, and the Triumph's well thought out geometry goes a long way towards boosting the fun level to 11. Add on a dropper post, a wider bar, and maybe slightly meatier tires and you've got a recipe for a bike that should be a trustworthy adventure companion for years to come. Hardtails aren't for everyone, but RSD Bikes has cooked up a ride that deserves a look. - Mike Kazimer


  • 197 5
 Production Privee might have something to say about this!
  • 15 3
  • 24 3
 At first I thought about the new NS Eccentric... Butyou're right, the paint job is closer to the PP Shan !
  • 28 4
 I thought they had the wrong picture attached in the thumbnail.
  • 46 7
 Not only did they steal the concept (which isn't that uncommon) they even copied the graphics. Pretty blatant rip off if you ask me..
  • 22 5
 Frame styling/geo together with the paint - blatant plagiarism.
  • 44 31
 Right, because a company that ripped its paint schemes from early 90s Kleins isn't allowed to have it ripped from them by another brand. As to styling... you kids need to expand your bike knowledge beyond the past few years... there's nothing particularly original by this type of hardtail layout.
  • 7 11
flag orientdave (Apr 14, 2014 at 1:21) (Below Threshold)
 DDB1 : See my comment below. Blatant plagiarism? Do me a favour and look at the numbers before you say that. There's more in common with other HTs than the Shan.
  • 23 13
 The exact numbers might be different but the general idea is the same, when combined that with the paint scheme that makes it a rip off to me.

D8: Read these comments again. If it were only the graphics things would be different but in this case pretty much everything is similar. Also, do you really expect people to know how 90's Kleins looked? Do you realise most PB members were riding tricycles at that point? You should make the switch to Retrobike or MTBR if you want to whine about kids not knowing anything about the (i.e. your) 'golden days'.
  • 17 14
 Sorry bonkywonky, vacuous comment of the day here Sir unless you explain this one to me.

"The exact numbers might be different, but the general idea is the same"
  • 13 1
 orientdave: I'm with bonkywonky. Just cos the geometry and frame detailing differ, it doesn't change the fact that the paint and general appearance is highly derivative of the PP Shan.

D8: I'm familiar with Klien's epic paint (I've only ever seen the classic Attitude triple fades, vertical fades and candies), less so one with two contrasting colours dividing the frame horisontally. I think that claim's a bit of a push.

And FWIW putting sliding dropouts on a agro HT is just plain dumb. Crack'n'fail v.2 ...ATMO
  • 7 10
 ddb1... look for the rascal and its paint schemes. I owned one, it was a two tone split horinzontally and not one of the Imrom colour-changing fade jobs.
  • 8 8
 Also bonky...exactly what is "all is similar" ? Why do you assume the shan was in any way original to start with?
  • 4 5
 Well, it's a long travel hardtail, designed for backwoods playriding or mild enduro: slack head angle, low standover. And once again, it's not just the fact that the concept is similar (otherwise 90 per cent of what's on sale would be a rip off) it's also the graphics and look of the frame that are a little bit TOO similar as well.
  • 14 15
 And the Shan wasn't even original at that... it missed being original at that by a decade.
  • 12 2
 If you like it, buy it, if you don't, don't buy it. But always respect your elders.
  • 3 4
 Learn to read. You pick out one aspect while my point is ALL aspects are similar.
  • 1 2
 I'm out of the loop, what is Production Privee? Good bad???
  • 15 9
 Again I ask...and I'll try simpler words this time since apparently I was too vague before... What are these "ALL" aspects that which you refer to? Paint? The shan was far from the first to do that sort of two-tone paint scheme. The low standover with a cross tube reinforcement of the extended seattube ? Again the Shan wasn't even close to first there. Dropouts? yeah dropouts that can be swapped but don't offer compatibility to 12 x 142 as one of the options really compared to a frame that only comes in 12 x 142. Tubing... in what universe is plain heat treated (but not on the seatstays) 4130 chromoly superior to Reynolds 853 mixed with heat-treated chromoly ? A BB92 press-fit BB (which is something folks here usually bitch about) is now better than an external cup english threaded bottom bracket but also similar apparently. An intergrated headset that is ONLY is compatible with straight 1 1/8 or 1 1/8-1.5 taper steerer tubes and isn't even the most common of bearing sizes outside of road bikes is apparently similar to a headset that takes cups and works with straight 1 1/8, 1.5, tapered 1 1/8-1.5 or 1 1/4-1.5. Two degree difference in the headtube. Totally different wheel sizes. Shall I continue or are you going to keep insisting they're all similar ?
  • 11 4
 in a nut shell , if one of these passed me on a trail without stopping i would think its a shan! Right or wrong I would think that, to me it just looks too similar to a bike / frame released last year
  • 8 12
flag bonkywonky (Apr 14, 2014 at 3:02) (Below Threshold)
 All these things have been done before, the point is the combination of all these is what makes it a rip off to me. Maybe you should take a deep breath and actually read what I'm saying before typing another novel.
  • 2 1
 Yes we will.
@ Scythe888 , PP is a recent french/Andorra brand of "high end" components and frames.
  • 7 2
 hang on... rip offs, saracen zen, productino privee shan, transition pan am from a while ago this... all two tone paintjob hardcore hardtails. all are going to ride very differently. if you're saying it's a rip off of a concept as well as a paint job, then you're also comparing to cotic bikes, the NS eccentric, the stanton slackline, i can list more if required.... oh and the two tone orange and blue paint job is a "rip off" or homage to gulf liveried race cars! a classic race paint scheme. (and breathe)
  • 7 0
 Don't forget it has rims brakes shox and handlebars. It's gotta be similar to other bikes it's a Bike!!!!!!
  • 4 0
 I don't think its a ripoff, the only thing that is close and not that close is the paint job the headtube is not tapered and the rear dropouts are totally different take a look at the PP and see for yourself.
  • 4 3
 D8 - ignoring the geom of the bikes there is no excuse re: the paint scheme -

The first 2 Shans were based on paint designs from famous CARS! - there is one based on the Dukes of Hazzard car and the one used here, based of on a Porsche 917 design from the 70's ( and i dont see where you get the ref to Keins- apart from two toning? -
now, seeing as PP based their colours on the cars from that article and applied it to a steel hardtail and then suddenly this similar looking beast also does a "common" split colour using almost identical colours - thats what has got peoples goat!

so, quite simply I, like many others, did a double take when we saw the thumbnail for this article and thought "Shan" and then were amazed to see something that resembled a cheap chinese knock-off, people were on the back foot from the start

we do not know if this is "better in every way" than the Shan but one can't deny the rather cheeky (blatant) hat-tip this bike takes towards the Production Privee paint scheme.
  • 2 1
 colors yes but its not the same paint scheme.
  • 3 1
 Just like new nomad uses Yeti's blue?
  • 5 9
flag deeeight (Apr 14, 2014 at 8:19) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah because pale blue is exclusive to one bike brand. Doesn't occur to you euros I'm sure but most people in canada and the usa haven't ever seen a PP frame... they're not reviewed here (in print anyway) and they're not sold here. Why would a canadian bike brand be any different in that regard. They've (P-P) had two reviews on pinkbike but didn't exist before 2012 at all and pinkbike isn't actually the go-to site for most bike consumers in north america to sift thru for news. And the frames are made in Taiwan also so they might as well be catalog models (probably are which is why so many other taiwan sourcing brands have similar stuff).

Both reviews here on pinkbike have paint schemes that while having 2 colours... are NOT the same layout of colors as this RSD Triumph. Using one colour for the top and front of the toptube, seat tube and head tube, and the seat stays... is not even remotely the same as RSD's using one color completely around the outside of the frame and the other around all the inside of the frame. And that's only ONE of RSD's color options, they have other patterns available as well. All the P-P frames use the same boring layout just they change the two colors. But then that's one of the differences between making and painting frames in taiwan and shipping them to the UK to pass off at inflated prices to people who don't know any better, and having the frames handbuilt in the USA and shipped to canada and then custom painted. 650 Euro vs 499 USD... yeah I'm sure RSD really planned to rip off P-P with that sort of pricing.
  • 4 3
 "And the frames are made in Taiwan also so they might as well be catalog models"

That's a ridiculous comment deeeight and you know it.
  • 3 4
 Is it Dave? It was mentioned in the reviews of the Shan 2 years ago by other posters. So when they say it its valid but when I say it its ridiculous? Ok then.

DrShovel... the colors are backwards and again... not the same paint layout...painting the top of the toptube and the front of the headtube, and all around the center section of the chainstays... is not the same as this RSD. But sure, you folks will keep having this paint delusion / conspiracy regardless of evidence otherwise.
  • 7 0
 Am I the only one who thinks like 80% of mountain bikes look the same?
  • 5 2
 These are details. I think a guy above said it best, something along the lines of 'if it rode past quickly I'd think it was a Shan.' Which is what matters, not the fact that the scheme differs around the headtube. You're clearly digging yourself a hole here..
  • 2 2
 Yes, it is ridiculous dee because of your comment's wording ("might as well be"). You know it is used to indicate that a situation is the same as if something hypothetical thing stated were true right?

Yes, the PP frames are made in Taiwan, as are the likes of say, Santa Cruz and some of my favorites, Cotic and Stanton.

By your reckoning then shall we also say then that SC, Cotic and Stanton frames might as well be catalog models? I presume you know of the history of the designs of those companies' models, so you would agree that would be ridiculous, would you not?
  • 2 0
 To have this many comments / buzz in this article it's got to be aesthetically similar to a Shan ,and a bloody expensive one at that (full build)
  • 2 5
 @bonkywonky and I'd counter perhaps if he didn't live in a bubble world where no other bikes existed like that but the Shan... then maybe he wouldn't draw such a stupid conclusion.
  • 3 7
flag zshipowick (Apr 14, 2014 at 9:30) (Below Threshold)
 @orientdave while many bikes that are made in Taiwan are not catalogue models I think you would be quite surprised at what is. PP and RSD probably took the exact same frame out of a catalogue, made a few changes to call it their own and ran with it, which is what a lot of smaller bike companies do. Take a look at any of the taiwanese factories' catalogues and I'm sure you will find many of the frames from your favorite companies.
  • 3 0
 With respect zshipowick, your point has nothing to do with my beef with d8's throwaway over generalization that all Taiwanese made frames "might as well be catalog models".

To put your mind at rest you might like to know that no, I would not be surprised at the number of catalog models I suspect.

Since I have to go to bed I will wish you all a goodnight, politely remind everyone that choosing bikes based on how it fits you and your style/needs (rather than looks where possible) is a good place to start, suggest again in closing that the RSD shares more of what matters (geo with a HT) with LTHTs other than the PP Shan and finally, to placate all of you who somehow think that it is important...

Yes, it looks like a Shan.
  • 6 0
 Its not plagiarism. Its a hard tail. They are all going to look very similar because they are fundamentally very similar. But where it can be different from the Shan it is meaningfully so. Geometry is different, drop outs are different, gussets and bracings are different, where the seat stays adjoint the front triangle is different, ad infinitum. If the measure of plagiarism is that it strikes a similar silhouette as another bike and has a similar paint scheme then every road bike would be a blatant rip off of every other road bike.
  • 2 0
 It has wheels and horizontal dropouts. I think my daughter's bike may be liable for patent infringement.
  • 2 0
 I can't even figure out what you guys are debating. It's a hardtail as far as I can see, they all look pretty similar to me.
  • 6 0
 This should lighten the mood.
  • 2 0
 ^^ this guy wins.
  • 25 3
 $4499 for hardtail aimed at all mountain riding and it doesn't even come with a dropper. I get that its botique and has a good spec but spending that much on a HARD TAIL I wouldn't want to have to change anything.
  • 9 1
 Kona Honzo and Explosif are both half the price.
  • 7 4
 yes, this bike is SO MUCH overpriced
  • 2 5
  • 6 18
flag deeeight (Apr 14, 2014 at 1:26) (Below Threshold)
 And Kona has NEVER made frames themselves or even in north america. They've always ordered asian frames and slapped their name on them. This RSD uses a made in the USA frame. So yeah...apples vs oranges....mass production brand vs boutique brand... great price comparison there.
  • 3 10
flag Baba-Ji (Apr 14, 2014 at 1:38) (Below Threshold)
 for being "boutique" is that bike missing something, for me its just "wannabe" ...frame doesnt have anything special (in my eyes), spec. isnt anything for apologise that price too ...and that "external headset" for using tappered fork, thats just bad joke
  • 14 6
 How is it a bad joke? Its quite common for using a 44mm headtube because it allows straight 1 1/8, 1 1/2, or tapered setups. If being able to use any steerer tube size used for the past decade is a bad joke...well then there's going to be no pleasing you.
  • 1 15
flag Baba-Ji (Apr 14, 2014 at 2:14) (Below Threshold)
 bad joke is, that frame for 1K dont have tappered headtube and its needed this "DIY" solution for using tappered fork, thats all ...for me its another proof, that frame its not so smart designed and complete bike its not worth that price - low level bike for premium price ...and "hand made" makes no sense here, if its not really good designed bike Wink
  • 11 4
 using 44mm sized headtubes is not a DIY solution...its done by a great number of brands. The bad joke is people who think they know better like yourself.
  • 4 0
 @Baba-Ji Tapered headtube is an alu thing, they need oversize tubes for stiffness. Steel doesn't need that and a tapered headtube would look really ugly with smaller diameter tubes used in steel (and Ti) frames, not to talk about the weight increase for no real gain. 44mm is there just to allow you to install tapered forks given that 1 1/8 steerers are gradually disappearing from new forks. Among all the long travel steel hard tails that I know of only Shan choosed to put a real tapered headtube.
  • 3 0
 @justgivemeanavailableusername Ah, thats possible, thanks for enlightment Smile
  • 4 0
 On one and Ragley offer similar bikes as well at a much better price point
  • 3 0
 Cotic had a taper headtube last year. Steel tapers are pretty new and rare. Mine does not have one and I looked for a steel frame with a taper 2.5 years ago, no luck. RSD came out a few months after I bought my Cotic BFe and had an oversized headtube.

If I had walked into a bike shop and paid retail for my Cotic BFe, I'd have paid $4800. But with some killer online sales and slowly buying parts I spent around $2500. Yes I do feel kind of bad not supporting my local shop, but having bought 10 or so bikes from them in the past and seeing what they had on the floor and what they could order, I choose have an XTR/XT, Marz 55 Micro Ti, matching Hope hub/brake equipped bike for the same price as a SLX/XT Fox bike. And I paid for it when I had the extra money, not in a single purchase. A Cotic is rare in my neck of the woods, but that's part of what a boutique company offers. Just a frame that you can build with what you like or a parts spec to get the ball rolling. I could have just done a parts swap and saved $1900, but I built it my way.

If you add $500 to the total price of the Triumph, most fs frames are $1500+, the pricing is in line with some fs bikes of the same spec. Does that mean it's overpriced? I don't think so, it's a steel frame that will likely last years past what most fs bikes will and cost $0 in maintenance. And a 160mm hardtail is a fun ride, climbs like a goat and is always ready to go.
  • 2 0
 Uh, you're right @oldschool43, didn't notice they upgraded Souls with tapered headtubes. It's a bit against what they used to say about tapers
I guess they were just super tired about having to explain why they didn't have tapered headtubes. I really can't see any other reason as their burliest frame bfe (supposed to endure more beating than the soul) still has 44mm and can take tapered forks. Maybe they were losing sales from people too sold on the stiffness koolaid.
Agree about the frame price, and if one wants a better deal on kit, building from online bought parts is the way.
  • 6 2
 You obviously have no idea how nice and expensive a Reynolds 853 tube set is. This bike is made for people with a passion for quality bikes. Not a Joe blow looking for the best deal.
  • 1 0
 @oldschool43 I just noticed they still use 44mm bottom and a slimmer 34mm top, neat trick, seems to confirm my idea.
  • 2 0
 @justgiveme.... Yeah, Cotic only moved up in ht size so taper forks will fit, not really a functional move. My BFe front end is stiff, even with the old 1/8, that's more from the oval top tube.. Think the straight 44mm ht they use on the new BFe was a prediction that steer tubes would end up a straight 1.5 steerer for 150mm+ forks. 1.5 were available around 2010, when the new BFe would have been designed. Only boutique bikes and a handful of mass produced bikes would fit straight 1.5 forks and could make a return someday. I heard the 1.5 crown's were a bit lighter and the stem area was stiffer, but everyone was up in arms because nobody had 1.5 frames, headsets and stems.. Good thing no one has come out with a new wheel size the last year or so, could u imagine the uproar that would cause?

@z-man My 853/631 frame is really nice. Everything a quality steel frame should be. Can only imagine how much nicer a full 853 Soul would ride like. I hear you can feel a difference.
  • 2 1
 Well GT could always revive the size they invented, 700D, get the Atherton's racing and winning on it, then everyone will want one.
  • 1 0
 700D was a mess. We were a GT shop and had some 700D's in there, but dropped GT a few months later. No spare rims or tires in our stock. Talk about angry customers. You can still find NEW 700D's. They go for $160 each for basic gumwall.
  • 1 1
 650b is three millimeters difference (smaller) is rim diameter. You can generally squeeze a 650b tire onto a 700d rim without problem, or fit 650b wheels in place of 700d wheels. Velocity and weinmann make rim brake compatible 650b rims too. Keep those old gt's rolling. A tachyon looks sharp with 650b wheels.
  • 4 0
 Great read, made me want to buy a Shan Smile
  • 21 7
 another shan rip-off.
  • 5 2
 I've got a 2000 giant Yukon with a dual paint scheme so is the shan ripping off my old ass giant bud just a question?
  • 4 2
 I'm not referring to the paint, but the general appearance.
Granted, I've got a soft spot for the PP Shan, as it opened my eyes a few years back and my only reference is the PB community and my friends, but nevertheless the Shan was considered to be THE coolest looking and best riding steel HT ever, before the Honzo came out (correct me if I'm wrong) or the big 650b wave along.
It had quite unique looks, cool paint scheme and brilliant ride qualities. One might even call it innovative, maybe.
When I thought of a sexy steel HT, I always pictured the Shan.

Then last year NS bikes came out with their Eccentric. Tamed down, more convenience, but same (general) looks*, similar paint scheme, same niche of the market.

* By looks I mean the almost inline top tube and seat stays, that brace between top tube and seat tube and the lettering on the seat tube. Yes there are differences, but if you don't know much about bikes that's what you see.

And now RSD comes out with this bike. Again same general looks, minus the lettering, similar paint and same niche.
Why would you make the effort to design a great bike and then make it look like something arguably outdated? Because it looks great and you don't have better ideas. And if you copy the looks and most of the characteristics it qualifies as a rip-off in my book.
  • 1 0
 Not to add to the war here, but is it possible that with modern techniques and understanding that most companies seeking to build a modern steel hardtail is going to end up with a similar design, simply because it's the best design for the times?

I agree, three companies, three bikes with similar function and purpose looking the same. I can't speak to the paint scheme though.....
  • 1 0
 Well, there aren't countless ways ro join tubes and beef up those joints. But if you really want to, there is no need to mimick anybody. Take a look at BTR fabrications, Ragley, On One, Stanton, maybe REEB and the likes. They are all more or less modern and do not look like they are from the same taiwanese catalog.
  • 1 0
 In that respect I agree. Part of the reason I chose an on one 45650B to build.
  • 6 0
 Always interesting to see new things but the review seems somewhat brief. Not very much description about the frame or bike itself besides basically saying "it is a hardtail and we've forgotten hardtails are fun" :/ What has the world come to when 720mm bars need to be swapped out for something wider too? Wink
  • 13 8
 "Another Shan rip off" "Poor Shan" "Production Privee might have something to say about this".
What? Something like... "Looks like a Trek" perhaps. However, were a little more thought given to it, one might end up comparing the RSD not to the Shan, but some other HTs.

Just because the orange and blue paint job with a curved seat tube brace brings up instant thoughts of a Shan, a quick look at the numbers reveals some significant differences.

Shan: HA 66 BB 300 CS 420 Chromoly

RSD: HA 68 BB 320 CS 425 Reynolds 853
Stanton Slackline: HA 68 BB 315 CS 415 Was Reynolds 853, now 631
Cotic BFe HA 68.6 BB 319 CS 420 Reynolds 853 with Cromoly

The Shan has a very low BB height when compared to other "hooligan hardtails" like the Stanton Slackline, Cotic Soul / BFe, as is the HA. The Shan has by far and away some of the more extreme numbers when comparing similar bikes. The numbers on the RSD make it less like the Shan and more like any number of other HTs.

Oh, and at 1000 USD for an 853 frame, it is not really a poor man's anything.
  • 3 0
 agreed, i'll bet that most people are looking at the gulf race car inspired paint job and claiming that's a rip off too!
  • 4 2
 But you don't get it bro.... it LOOKS like the Shan. If you don't get it now, you never will Razz

Glad you're talking some sense to these ppl. Frame looks sexy, but for my money I'd go On-One or one of the other steel LTHTs for less than half the price. Or for the same price, support my local frame builder.
  • 5 0
 Exactly bkm. Brant Richards is a master of HT geo and knocks out ripping frames for less than half the price of some other boutique brands.
  • 1 0
 hahahahahahahaha. Brant. Master. Hahahahahahahahahaha.
Is that why he's constantly changing the angles on his bikes and calling them "evo" or somesuch nonsense?
  • 1 0
 Sorry? You have a lot to learn Sir. A) Show me the frames you have designed, influenced and or made and I'll consider your opinion as more than just dogma. I have spent a long time riding some of Brant's frames on the other hand and he knows what puts smiles on faces.
B) As for changing angles, no, no, you are so right, excuse me, geometry of frames has been a constant for years and frame designers never change their angles, yep, you're right there. I stand corrected.
  • 1 0
 I really couldn't care less what you consider my comments as. I really couldn't care less what you say, do or think either.
Following frame geometry trends decided by the industry doesn't make you a master. And that new 29 FS thing is an insult to my eyes, but it's cheap and I suppose that's what people want from on one isn't it?
  • 1 0
 No, don't run away with that I don't care line Dobbsy, get in and have a conversation why not.. Who is your HT master then? Having ridden a few variants, Cy Turner does a good line in Geo.. and so has Dan Stanton. Who do you rate if not Brant then?
  • 2 0
 Dave, On One and certainly Stanton aren't doing anything new are they?
All of the ground breaking is being done by the FS boys, and the HTs just do their best to follow that. Look at the explanation of how they measure geometry; sagged vs unsagged, basically so it's more comparable with FS bikes' geo. We saw AM then enduro FS bikes get slacker and the HTs followed with "evo" or new models.
I love a good HT, I've had a dialled PA (too steep) and a blue pig (fun but rough as arseholes) and a commencal XC thing. Would I buy an on one? NFW. Brant is a marketer, which is why he is the forumites sweetheart. But his bikes aren't products of mastery, they are reasonably priced but simple and heavy fairly generic frames. Nothing wrong with that, it's what lots of people want.
I'd like a crack at a PP Shan, a Chromag sam or aperture. Again, nothing earth shatteringly revolutionary but they are bikes with refinement. Gentlemans bikes : )
  • 1 0
 It is hard to make a revolutionary HT, of course, they are all very much of the same stock.. however, for me, some changed my opinion. The Cotic BFe was an eye opener; the ability to use an HT where I previously thought a FS would be "a better ride" led me to start trying out a hole bunch of other HTs, so personally they were "something new" to me (I used to ride department store HTs in the 90s!!). Then I got a Slackline and the acceleration I could get out of corners was again, for me, something new.

I have over the years managed to get test rides on On-one, BTR, Chromag, and NS BIkes HTs over here and I agree there that the Chromag line up does look attractive; beautifully made machines, and the BTR ranger was absolutely brilliant. Over here though the costs are astronomical compared to the likes of the frames the UK designers put out (A Chromag Samurai here goes for close to 200,000 yen, (2000 USD, 1350 GBP), and the BTR ranger is close to that too... and that prices me out of the market.

That is why I think Brant is a master; he is a master of bringing smiles to faces for peanuts; as you say a brilliant marketer who gives the people who cannot find the money for the more refined HTs out there. He always seems to be there or thereabouts in the UK HT scene and may well be bringing 29er FS to the masses with the new On-one.
  • 1 0
 But Dave, we must compare apples with apples. If we consider that brants frames are made a LOT closer to you than Sheffield, and that BTR manufacture frames in the UK, we are bound to see a difference in costs. I am unsure why the Stantons cost so much though, they are all far east made are they not?
Glad you mention the BFE. Lovely bike.
  • 1 0
 Apples and apples... yes yes. Cy very kindly got my BFe sent direct from Taiwan here to cut down some of the costs, and the Stantons are made there too.... so they are, as you say, a lot cheaper than the BTR or Chromag.

It is interesting to me that there are many ways to skin a cat where frame manufacture is concerned. Cy, Dan and Brant all choose the Taiwan route (although Cotic are now doing FS in the UK), whilst BTR and Chromag go for the locally made option. However, and this maybe will have some people up in arms, when I am out on my local trails, the quality of the workmanship or refinement rarely equates to much difference in the riding experience for me. The BFe, Taiwan made, has been my favorite bike for years, and the BTR ranger put just as much of a smile on my face... but just not an extra 500 GBPs worth of smile on my face. There is no right way of course.

Anyway thanks for the chat n Mr Dobbs, I have to leave it here and do some work, however, I look forward to more HT talks on PB.
  • 5 2
 1000$,for an 853 hardtail made in america is actually a f*cking steal of a deal. IGood luck finding a deal that good from anyone else.

My dream frame is a stainless 953 hardtail. And they can cost 3-4g for just the frame. You neigh sayers need to go take a look at the high end steel market if you think 1g for a solid frame is expensive. Pinkbike never seises to surprise.
  • 3 0
 If it wasn't for the paintjob most of the comments above wouldn't have been written. My first thought as well was "Shan!", but then I read the article and it's a different animal.

I do believe that it's the company's fault though, as they could bring out a different colour scheme and give it a visual character of their own. Same goes for NS Eccentric.
  • 6 0
 Hardtails are for everyone... nothing more fun than a hardcore HT
  • 2 0
 Haha, you're a bunch of funny people. I'm surprised you have time to ride you're bikes with all this tip tapping on ya key boards. Anybody else apart from me simply likes the bike and doesn't really care if it looks, feels, rides, smells, sounds, or even is the same as another bike?
What on earth do u guys do when u go out riding and two or more of you are wearing jeans....both the same colour, size, even the same amount of stitches!! Do u get on a forum and wrestle it out?
  • 5 0
 Lol costs the same as a carbon sight
  • 2 1
 I just rode a 70 mile race on my newly built steel HT, it weighs about the same as my 6" F/S carbon bike, but I chose it due to pedaling efficiency and thought I'd get the ride done quicker.
Well, at about 50 miles my ass couldn't take the beatings anymore and I pulled out of the race and headed for whiskey! Last year I rode my f/s bike the complete route.
I really like my H/T but for me it's not for long rides. Back on the squishy this week and let my ass bruises fade!
  • 2 0
 To RSD's defense, if you check their website, they do have their own trademark paintjob. Their bikes are also offered in a 4130 non-US-made version for a much friendlier price. I still find the Shan sexier though...
  • 1 0
 I like the frame, but don't like the choice of components. Boooooring. $999 steel hardtail needs something cooler, more exotic. Sram cranks and brakes are way too mainstream for this bike. seat post/seat is terrible. Wheels might be quality and functional,but again they don't match the spirit of the frame. Expensive steel needs king, hadley, I9..
  • 1 0
 You're looking at Sram 1x11 and calling it boring? Yea, I agree with you. Steel hardtails tend to be second bikes built from all sorts of cool bits. Part of their charm!
  • 1 0
 I would be more concerned about the brand name itself wich is the same as RSD >>> Rolland Sands Designs who also makes "bikes" (but with an engine). That confuses me more than a global paint scheme. I really tought Rolland Sands started to produce MTBs when I saw the post.
  • 5 1
 You guys really have to stop wearing that helmet....
  • 2 0
 Yeah all it needs is a chin strap and a padded room!
  • 4 5
 So it's just another hardtail but they made it look like the Shan and offer an 853 tubes to make it seem more refined. Sounds like a shit ride to me, those numbers sound pretty boring. The numbers might not match but you can't deny what they've done with the looks.
  • 2 0
 Fuck yaaaa glad to see more AM steelys on the market.thry are way more capable an fun then one might think
  • 2 0
 £600 for a steel hard tail is a rip off, get a Cotic or a Stanton over this anytime.
  • 3 0
 looks good to me. it is a bit too much like a privee shan though.
  • 1 0
 Great bang for you buck on this bike. I'm personally still on the hardtail side of the fence. Just got the Trek Stache 8 and this style of bike can still perform in contrast.
  • 1 0 Looks like my canfield too. Loads of bikes share the same graphics/geo ect. NBD. Seems f'ing spendy though
  • 5 3
 damn right, that's pretty much a Shan on medium sized wheels....
  • 10 12
 Ummm children, CRC mail order prices aren't retail, so stop basing your whining of complete bike test build prices on make believe blowout world prices. The number of people who don't buy their bike stuffs online FAR outnumber the ones that do. As to comparisons to the Shan... yeah ok if you're blind and illiterate...sure... - Not the same headtube bearing setup - not the same BB shell type - not the same dropouts - not the same tubing options - not the same wheelsize - not the same geometry
  • 3 1
 Even though you know I disagree with your style sometimes D8, you are far from wrong with your comments about the comparison.
  • 5 0
 I was a Shan owner and when I bought it this bike would not have made the comparison list - different bike by the numbers alone. So I too have to agree with D8, much as it pains me
  • 4 3
 As keys said it's almost a direct copy of my privee so much so I thought it was another review
  • 4 11
flag deeeight (Apr 14, 2014 at 2:42) (Below Threshold)
 Except it isn't at all a copy. Its a superior design in every way/detail.
  • 4 3
 4K for a hard tail, lose yourself!! What a joke! Just because it took you hours to make doesn't mean it's any good.
  • 2 0
 4k you are really playing with our money!
  • 1 3
 I want to know about the weight of this bike. It is really not that much better (climbing) then a full-suspension with the climb settings on. No hard tail can beat a full suspension downhill. The only thing that would make this bike "better" then a full suspension was if it was much much lighter.
  • 1 0
 that is a good looking hardtail. almost makes me second guess my stylus. almost
  • 1 1
 How comes, in the process of copying a beautiful bike, they have ended up producing such a damn ugly one? It's a complete dog.
  • 3 2
 Not even a justifiable rip-off frame (poor Shan).
  • 1 0
 PB the link to RSD bikes take you to Intense cycles
  • 1 0
 Thanks guys, fixed.
  • 3 2
 Wow looks just like a Production Privee Shan.
  • 1 0
 Blah blah blah technical review IT'S GORGEOUS.
  • 1 0
 Hardtail Pitch huhumm.....?
  • 2 0
 What's a "Shan"?
  • 1 0
 Looks sick. I like the versatility as well.
  • 1 0
 I built up my HT for $2600... Way sicker than this one!
  • 2 2
 can't understand why a hardtail frame with average geometry cost you 999$
  • 1 0
 How is this build $4500?
  • 1 1
  • 1 3
 they are crazy... i would never pay $999 for a hardtail frame. i prefer my dartmoor hornet für 220€. Razz
  • 1 0
 ok i have to correct myself... the chromoly frame is at $499. Thats completly fine Big Grin
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