Rapide are a house brand of major UK bike distributor Madison that launched their initial range for 2015 without an enormous amount of fanfare.
It’s my understanding that the brand was created as a stepping up point for Madison’s highly successful Ridgeback brand for customers who want to move to a road bike but ideally one with a slightly more relaxed than a race geometry.
For 2016, the company’s second year, they’ve committed to road disc and launched two interesting looking ranges that I think roadies might find surprisingly appealing.
2016 Rapide RC disc – carbon flat mount disc road bike with mudguard mounts
Starting with the 2015 caliper braked Rapide RC road bikes, the RC disc brings the Shimano Flat mount standard into play, which gives a much cleaner look. The RC disc also brings a 15mm through axle to the front wheel only (the rear is quick release). There are clearances for 28mm tyres, endurance geometry, mudguard mounts and clearance for 25mm tyres with full guards.
The frames are produced in 24/30T carbon and in what will please a lot of people, features the dependable BSA bottom bracket standard.
The Rapide RC disc will be launched in three different spec levels and also available as a frameset only for £999, which might be quite tempting as a carbon winter bike/audax frameset for some people (including me).
The top of the range build will be the blue/black and white RC Disc 3, featuring Shimano ST-RS685 hydraulic mechanical shifters, the top spec flat mount calipers (BR-RS805), Ultegra 6800 cranks and mechs with a KMC chain and Shimano 105 5800 cassette. Standard gearing is 50/34 and 11/28. The wheelset is a Fulcrum 5 disc, shod with Continental Ultra Sport II 25mm tyres and FSA finishing kit. This will retail as a complete bike for £2699.99
Taking a step down to what I suspect will be the big seller in the range is the RC Disc 2. This build features Shimano 105 5800 shifters, mechs, cranks and cassette. The only exceptions to the full groupset are a KMC chain and TRP’s highly regarded (and light) Spyre SLC mechanical disc brakes. Like it’s more expensive sibling, it also features Fulcrum disc wheels (albeit a cheaper model), Continental Ultra Sport II 25mm tyres and FSA finishing kit (the cheaper Gossamer range on this model). However it’s a lot cheaper to buy at £1,899.99 and comes in what I thought was a really striking green colour. I think this particular version will be the star of the range and I’d be keen to try one given the chance.
The entry level build is the RC Disc 1, which is due to come in a black/raw/red colour scheme. This build features a big dose of the striking new Tiagra 4700 including shifters, crankset, mechs and cassette, with just the KMC chain and TRP Spyre disc brakes breaking it up. All great choices though and if new Tiagra rides as well as it looks, it’ll be terrific. The RC Disc 1 features the same Fulcrum wheels and Conti tyres as the RC Disc 2 but a cheaper FSA finishing kit.
All the bikes feature a Rapide competition saddle, will be available in 6 sizes from XXS to XL and should arrive into the country during October 2015.
I have to say I think they look really interesting. I particularly liked the green RC Disc 2 and really like the full guards with 25mm tyres, flat mount brakes (running post mount TRP brakes with adapters on the 2 and 1) on an endurance platform. I reckon this could be a really good all rounder that is affordable to a lot of people.
But if that’s too much money for you …. read on …..
2016 Rapide RL disc – aluminium road disc bike with massive clearances for wide tyres
Earlier in the year at Madison’s Ice Bike trade show I first saw a prototype RL Disc and was intrigued. I’m glad it’s in production and that they’ve kept the striking colour schemes. In simple terms it’s exactly the same concept of the RC Disc – take a caliper braked bike and create a disc version.
It’s not as simple as that though and it’s all the better because of it. The RL disc features the same endurance road geometry but with clearance for 42c tyres! So you could throw Cyclocross tyres on it if you want or big fat road tyres and full guards as it has mounts for them and a rack. As it’s aluminium it’ll be tough. I’ve often thought lots of people who buy Cyclocross bikes for going off road on probably spend most of their time on road – so would be better off with road geometry rather than ‘cross geometry. So the idea of a disc braked road bike with really big clearances and guard and rack mounts sounds fantastic to me.
Sadly it’s not going to be available as a frameset but the three builds are all eminently sensible both in terms of component selection and price.
The one I’m excited about is the terrific orange coloured RL Disc 3, which will retail for £1,199.99. This features the 6061 aluminium frame and carbon disc fork (with mudguard/fender mounts), Shimano 105 5800 shifters, mechs and cassette, TRP’s fantastic HY/RD disc brakes, a KMC chain and the Shimano S500 cranks (which I’d personally upgrade to 105). Gearing is a “generous” 50/34 & 11/32 on all models, so climbing should be fine! The wheels are what should be a tough (if not especially light) 32 spoke front and rear with Formula hubs and Alex rims. Tyres are Continental Sport Contact II in 32c and the finishing kit is Rapide’s own brand. On paper at least, this is a build that would work well for me personally.
The next step down the range is still very good looking in blue and black and will retail for £1,049.99. The RL Disc 2 features new Tiagra 4700 including the shifters, crank and mechs, combined with TRP Spyre dis brakes. The chain and cassette are non-series Shimano 10 speed, the wheels are again 32 spoke but this time with a Shimano M525 6 bolt hub and an Alex rim. The tyres are the same 32c Contis as is the Rapide finishing kit. This should also be a great bike for the money.
The entry level RL Disc 1 which will ship in an alloy (silver) and red colour scheme features 9 speed Sora Shifters, mechs and crank with a non-series Shimano chain and cassette. Once again the hubs are a little lower down the range for the cheaper model but still use the same Alex rim as the RL Disc 2 and are still 32 spoke. The Continental Sport Contact II 32c and Rapide finishing kit once again finish off the build.
Rotors sizes on all three bikes are 160mm front and 140mm rear which seems like a good choice too.
This could be a bike that establishes the Rapide brand.
I have to be honest and say that the original caliper braked Rapide bikes (which all continue for 2015) didn’t particularly leap out at me – but both of these new disc bikes caught my eye. If you want post mount brakes you’ll need to go for the carbon RC Disc and if you want massive tyre clearance and versatility (with post mount disc brakes) the RL Disc looks really interesting too.
Keep an eye on http://www.rapidebikes.co.uk/ for more information as it emerges… I’ll be keeping a look out for these myself.
Thanks for reading