On the Rocket, Reynolds 853 delivers a fantastically robust front end with incredible stiffness at the seat tube and suspension pivots to give you the confidence you need when pushing on. The details are all covered, with ISCG05 mounts, taper steerer compatible head tube, 142 x 12 bolt thru back end, sealed, capped and shielded pivots, right down the precisely located hose routing.
Strengths: For a start I'd better state I'm not really a 150mm trail bike kind of a guy. I'm a bit long in the tooth, hurt myself enough in the past and take too long to heal so it was with a pretty sceptical frame of mind I took the Rocket for a demo.
And boy I'm glad that I did!
My standard demo loop (which I've done a few times this year already on a steel 29er and ti hardtail 26er) I know pretty well and its starts off with an hour and a half of climbing. So the first strength of the Rocket is its climbing ability. The front stayed planted and only started to wander when it got really steep and is probably down to me rather than the bike. It climbs much better in the middle ring than the grannie (due to chain growth) and I got up stuff in the middle better than both the HT's despite the conditions being a lot wetter on the Rocket.
On the flat (singletrack) the bike was pretty taught and definitely didn't wallow. I had to check if it was really 150mm rear travel...
Descending, well, I guess I should have said that this particular bike has a 66.5 HA so its long, slack and low. It should descend well, and for me it does. The faster you go the more stable it felt, very confidence inspiring. Over tech the front wheel felt like it was damped as sideways hits it felt it would revert to straight by itself...
The frame material is 853 steel for the front triangle, alu rear end. Syntace rear axle. 44mm head tube so you can run taper steerers.
The demo had a RP23 which I mostly ran wide open. P/P helped on the steep climbs but I think I preferred it without (I usually forget to switch off...).
I didn't throw it down anything too steep or chunky but I was more than happy with how it dealt with the tech single track.
Weaknesses: The bolts holding the the drop link on protrude slightly and I did hit them very occasionally with my chunky calves.
I did experience a little bit of pedal strike but to be honest I think the rear shock was a little under pressured, I should have pumped it up a bit more than I did as it was set up minus camelbac, etc.
I did get a bit of heel rub running flats, pedals were cheap jobs. Should have brought my own, duh.
This is a pretty modern put together trail bike. Slack 66.5 deg HA @ 150mm (although you can run it at 140 -160mm), low (13.3") bottom bracket and a long top tube (23.4"/593mm on a 17.5" medium which was spot on for me at 6'). Also got ISCG05, 44mm head tube, and 4 shock choices (and prices!)
The front end is 853 steel, with a 35mm seat tube for stiffness. Rear end is alu with Cotic's Drop Link suspension which to me worked well.
The biggest surprise for me was just how well the bike climbs (better than my Soul hard tail,and possibly even the Solaris 29er...).
Tech and Descending the geo inspires confidence, even in an old xc mincer like myself! Found myself going 'off line' to hit little kickers and drops just for the hell of it.
I demo'd this bike to see what the fuss about a slack, low and long bike was about. Well I was impressed, turns out that's kind of how I like it.
I thought that 150mm rear was too much travel but I never felt over biked on the trail. I wasn't particularly serious about the bike beforehand, but I am now...
I'm 150 lbs, and am an aggressive XC rider (some AM, but no down hill tendencies).
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