PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
RSD Wildcat V3
Words by Sarah Moore; photography by Tom Richards
RSD Bikes are a brand based in Toronto, Canada, and while they are best known for a range of hardtails, fat bikes and plus bikes, they also make a full suspension bike, which we got our hands on for the Quebec Field Test.
While we had a lot of expensive carbon machines this time around, at $3,999 USD, the aluminum Wildcat V3 wasn't one of them. Don't mistake that price tag to mean that it's not interesting, though. There are adjustable dropouts that let you run either a 29” or 27.5” rear wheel, DVO suspension on both ends, and a solid spec that does a good job of prioritizing fun on the descents.
RSD Wildcat V3 Details
• Travel: 125mm rear, 140mm fork
• Aluminum frame
• 65° head-tube angle
• Reach: 462mm (med)
• 76º seat tube angle
• 425-440mm chainstays
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 34.2 lb / 15.5 kg
• Price: $3,999 USD
There were two models of Wildcat V3 available at the time of testing, although they recently released a longer-travel Wildcat 150
with the same name. The shorter travel 125mm version is available in the Deore build that our test bike came with, or an SX build that retails for $3,249 USD. Each is available with either a 27.5+ or a 29er version, with or without a dropper post, and there’s a frame-only option for $1,799 USD. Trailforks Regions Where We Tested
We were lucky enough to ride the natural, technical network of trails at the Vallée Bras-du-Nord during the Downcountry Field Test. The network was the furthest for us to get to from our home base in Mont-Sainte-Anne, but it was well worth the drive and we had a blast filming amidst the wet roots and on the interesting lines that wound alongside the Neilson River. Unfortunately, while we avoided the July thunderstorms for the most part, our drone didn't have quite such a good day after it was swallowed up by the gorgeous river. RIP beautiful drone shots! VBN Secteur Saint-Raymond mountain biking trailsClimbing
We had some of the best climbing bikes that are available to buy in this Field Test, but the RSD Wildcat V3 wasn’t among them. It's not a terrible climber, it’s just more of an all-rounder so it doesn't make you feel like a superhero when the trails points upwards in the way that the race-focused Ibis Exie and the BMC Four Stoke LT do.
Nowhere does RSD claim that the Wildcat is going to be winning cross-country races, however, and while it might not be comparable to a bike that’s built to race elbow-to-elbow in spandex, it’s a perfectly confident climber if you’re just looking to cover a lot of ground without the pressure of the clock. It has great traction and feels stable on awkward technical climbs, although it does not feel spritely or lively by any means.
As for your position on the bike, it's much more relaxed and comfortable than conducive to all-out speed. In addition to a riding position that is closer to that of a trail bike than a cross-country bike, the size medium we rode weighs 34 pounds 4 ounces. While it might cost less than half the price of some of the carbon bikes that are almost 10 pounds lighter, there's no doubt that extra weight holds the Wildcat V3 back on the climbs.
The Wildcat V3's weight isn't helped by the fact that it has adjustable seatstays, and we did have to wonder how many people are asking for 27.5+ bikes. The hardware required to make the adjustments to the chainstays definitely contributes to the frame's overall hefty weight.Descending
Descending is where the Wildcat shines, and I would go so far as to say it was probably the most confident of all the bikes we tested in Quebec on the downhills. It held traction on the off-camber rocks and slippery root sections post-thunderstorm with ease and there was a lot less trepidation when approaching steep and technical descents than on the race-oriented bikes.
RSD stands for Rubber Side Down and that felt aptly named since the Wildcat V3 definitely required less energy, both mental and physical, to keep upright than a bike like the BMC Four Stoke LT. The Wildcat V3 was the bike that was easiest to turn your brain off on the descents and you could allow the bike to charge more instead of picking your line carefully.
The Wildcat V3 was the longest and the slackest of the bikes we rode in Quebec with its 65-degree head tube angle and it also had the most travel with 125mm of rear travel paired with a 140mm fork, so it's not entirely surprising that it was such a monster on the descents. However, it was nice to see how well it held up when compared to bikes that were more than double its price. The DVO suspension worked well on small bumps and on bigger hits, smoothing out the terrain beneath it, and the spec was well selected to prioritize fun and confidence on the downhills with 200mm/180mm rotors, a 150mm dropper on size medium, a short stem and wide bars.