Earlier in the year I wrote a post about Rapide’s 2016 range after seeing them at UK distributor, Madison’s 2016 bikes launch. One of the models that particularly stood out was the new RC Disc – in the striking green and black colour.
I thought it was a smart move by Rapide to embrace disc brakes early in the development of the brand, not least because disc brakes really suit endurance style bikes (to me). Other things I thought were smart was making their carbon frames flat mount compatible – that’s the way the market’s going and also 15mm through axle on the front wheel. I also like the fact that the bikes were designed to run 25mm tyres and full mudguards – to me extending the potential audience for the bikes to include club or distance riders looking for a carbon winter or commuter bike. It’s also smart to have a clear and simple range of Tiagra, 105 and Ultegra level builds or a frameset if you fancy something different.
As luck would have it, a little while later Rapide offered to send me an RC1 Disc to review and I’ve managed to get out and get some first impressions recently which I wanted to share.
The RC1 Disc features the new improved 2016 Shimano Tiagra 10 speed groupset hung on a black with red branding version of the RC Disc frameset. Available in 6 sizes, the RC1 Disc also features Fulcrum Racing Sport DB Disc wheels (they were also specced on the Genesis Datum I rode recently) and are shod with Continental Ultrasport tyres in 25mm.
The brakes are well respected TRP Spyre cable operated discs and interestingly matched with TRP 140mm rotors on the Rapide carbon disc range rather than the “normal” 160mm most brands seem to specify. The finishing kit (bars, stem and seatpost) are all FSA and it’s topped off with a Rapide branded saddle.
Apart from the brakes and chain (KMC), it’s a pretty much full Tiagra 4700 groupset with Shifters, Mech’s, chainset, and cassette. On paper I think it’s a solid build list and the full bike retails for £1,699 compared to £999 for the frameset. The other option some might be tempted by is the striking green 105 build which moves you to 11 speed, but keeps the same wheels and tyres with a slightly upgraded FSA finishing kit for an extra £200. Whether that jump to 11 speed is worth it, is up to you and I’d suggest reading to the end before you decide.
Endurance geometry generally means a more stable, less twitchy handling, often a little shorter reach and a higher front end and the Rapide has much of this in its’ design. I love a good endurance geometry.
Yes, I also love my race bike but I don’t always want to ride a bike like that – a bike that’s comfortable and fast over long distances is also incredibly appealing, often making for a terrific companion, so I’m curious about how I get on with the Rapide. On the website the company says they’ve worked hard to combine great handling, fantastic acceleration and superior comfort. I’ve been sent a medium with has a reach that is pretty much bang on for me and also boasts a stack height that’s exactly the same as a Genesis Zero or NeilPryde Nazare(Alize) on paper. So for me I’m not sacrificing any front end height or reach according to the sizing chart.
In the flesh, to me, the bike looks rather masculine with the matt and gloss black frame matched with bold red graphics. The bike and frame look well put together and the new Tiagra looks a class above the old one – especially the cranks and shifters.
I’ve managed to get out for one ride over one of my favourite testing loops on the Rapide, which features lots of Britain’s typically awful and broken road surfaces, chip seal, short steep climbs, long fast descents and some great views which make no difference at all to how the bike performs but I like them all the same.
My first impression of the Rapide upon heading out onto the road was that the ride feels very, very smooth. It seems a very comfortable bike and handled all my rotten local roads with aplomb. The handling also seemed stable but with enough nimbleness about it to keep things interesting.
Having spent a lot of time on hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors the 140mm cable disc brakes felt a touch lacking in bite on the first ride but they did the job.
The new Tiagra groupset instantly impressed – it doesn’t just look good, it’s a pleasure to ride too. The new concealed cable shifters have a lovely feel to them. The shifting is very good and of course the new 4 arm cranks look great on the bike. If you’re worried about choosing Tiagra either for budget reasons or because you’re not ready to switch to 11 speed – don’t as this is very good indeed.
The finishing kit – including the saddle, all worked well and were comfortable.
The flipside of the terrific smoothness was perhaps it lacked a little road feel. I’ll swap wheels and tyres during the test to see how that changes things as I’ve previously found both the wheels and tyres competent but a little underwhelming.
Overall it was a good first ride and I’ll look forward to spending some miles on the bike soon – including on the upcoming #girodilento250
My full review is now published here: https://girodilento.com/rapide-rcdisc1-review/
You can find out more about the bike here: http://www.rapidebikes.co.uk/bikes/carbon-disc/rc1-disc
Thanks for reading