The Rapide RCDisc1 is a well-designed, endurance geometry, disc braked road bike that’s a comfortable and smooth companion for distance riding.
- Well-sorted endurance geometry
- Comfortable and smooth ride
- Good long distance companion
- Not the lightest
- Mechanical disc brakes are poor compared to hydraulic
- A little lifeless at low speeds
Since I posted my first look review on the Rapide RCDisc1, I’ve been out riding the bike on a range of types of rides, to fast social rides to longer 3 figure rides. As I outlined in my first look post, the designers at Rapide have done a good job with the core of the design brief. Disc brakes? Check Flat Mount Disc brakes? Check. Through axle – Check (on the front wheel). Internal cabling and Di2 compatiblity? Check. Good tyre clearances? Check Mudguard Mounts? Check Well-sorted endurance geometry? Check
On paper the Rapide RCDisc1 makes a strong case for itself. The spec is solid too – the new 4700 Tiagra looks great on the bike and is a pleasure to use. Don’t let this being specced on any bike put you off (including this one) as it’s very impressive. The FSA finishing kit is also solid. The compact bars have a compact 80mm reach, 125mm and a good shape. The matching FSA stem and seatpost also do the job well.
The Fulcrum Racing Sport DB wheels also do the job well, although they’re not light and they’re 6 bolt rather than centrelock (for fixing the rotors). The Continental UltraSport 25mm tyres are like the wheels – solid but don’t set the world on fire for performance. They performed fine during the test period but swapping to a pair of Kinesis RaceLight Disc wheels shod with 28mm Continental GP4000s were faster and more fun to ride. There’s nothing wrong with the stock choices, they’re just a bit heavy and sluggish but they’re tough and durable and didn’t let me down on the test. The tyres would certainly be the first part to upgrade once you’ve worn out the ones that come with the bike.
The TRP Spyre brakes were competent but they’re a real step down compared to the performance of Shimano’s full hydraulic brakes. The TRP’s improved once they bedded in and with the 140mm rotors, I often felt that the braking was one of the aspects of the bike I enjoyed the least. I think if it was my bike I’d be certainly stepping up to a 160mm, if not looking to switch out to a full hydraulic solution.
During the test period, I found that I enjoyed the Rapide most on long rides where I wasn’t looking to set a load of personal bests. The geometry helped me feel comfortable and suited longer days in the saddle. In fact I felt so confident with the stability of the geometry that I found myself descending (not steep descents) no hands and even round corners, just shifting my body weight. I wouldn’t do that on my race bike!
I found the Rapide a smooth ride as well as comfortable but as I said in my initial report, this did translate into a ride that felt a bit lifeless, especially at lower speeds. This actually worked in it’s favour on long rides as it make it easy companion over distances. Removing lots of buzz/feedback probably also makes it easier to acclimatize too as a newer rider. What was a bit of a surprise that the level of feedback from the bike increased significantly (and to me in a good way) at speed. I found that at faster points over 35kmh, the feedback through the bike was actually quite nice.
The weight of the bike isn’t exceptional at around 9.2kgs complete but at low speeds it feels a touch sluggish but it’s got good gearing and it was never a problem to climb any hill (unless I was considering an attack on a Strava KOM).
The Rapide was a bike I warmed to a little bit more with each long ride I did on it. It was a comfortable, smooth companion. It’d make a decent bike for anyone looking to do long sportive rides, where comfort and smoothness over outright speed wins the day. I reckon it’d be a good Audax bike too, as you can also fit mudguards (although it doesn’t have rack mounts). The frameset is well designed and thought through and it’d be easy to upgrade over time.
If you’re relatively new to road cycling and want a bike that stable, comfortable and easy to build your confidence on, then the Rapide is worth considering.
For more information visit: http://www.rapidebikes.co.uk/
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