- Good racer
- Not a very comfortable option
Price as reviewed:
This must be the fourth or fifth Raleigh I’ve ridden over the last few years, most in tests for Cycling Active. As something of a self-professed expert in the recent history of Raleigh bikes, I have to say I like the way things are going. Last month, I was impressed with Raleigh’s all new Strada 6 hybrid, and now Raleigh is heading off-road.
For 2014, Raleigh has drawn up a to-do list, with a couple of major boxes to tick. First is to reintroduce a time trial bike to the range, something that it hasn’t had for a few years. The second is this, the RX range of cyclo-cross bikes, Raleigh’s first collection dedicated solely to cyclo-cross.
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It has done a great job with the looks. Co-tester Dan said that his Cube looked great out of the box, but personally I don’t think it can compete with the Raleigh. The RX’s graphics are definitely a step in the right direction. I’ve seen enough red-and-black bikes to last a lifetime. Along with the bang-up-to-date finish, the Raleigh has a solid spec sheet. There’s a lightweight alloy frame, and an even lighter carbon fork. SRAM Apex takes care of the shifting, while Avid BB7 brakes make for fast stopping. A cyclo-cross-specific chainset, which is the common feature among all our test bikes, served me well for the rolling terrain I had planned.
The chunky wheels are Raleigh’s own, and they’re fitted with Schwalbe’s fast and very capable Racing Ralph tyres. They’re a good choice, certainly very capable off-road but also not too knobbly for tarmac duties. They proved themselves to be at their most comfortable on muddy terrain, switching between dry and wet conditions.
I followed Dan on many of his testing excursions and found that the RX Comp performed remarkably similarly to the Cross Race. The Raleigh also has some racing potential. The gears are perfect for racing, as is the geometry, which has you sitting fairly low at the front end, making steering easy and agile. The flipside is that this geometry doesn’t exactly help to promote comfort on longer rides, as I found out on a three-day, off-road excursion. Talking of longer rides, Raleigh has made a token gesture towards practicality by offering rack mounts at the rear. You’ll need a disc-specific rack though, as those disc brakes sit in the way and make fitting a standard rack all but impossible. Lots of cross bike manufacturers claim their machines are do-it-all steeds ready for anything. And most of them are, as professed, jack-of-all-trades bikes — including the Raleigh. It shines particularly bright in a couple of areas. It’s no inter-continental tourer, and it’s not a comfortable all-day bike, either. It is, however, a very competent racer, and it’s forgiving ride feel and powerful brakes made light work of the adventure cross events I rode.
Frameset: Alloy 6061 w/carbon fork
Gears: SRAM Apex
Chainset: SRAM Apex 46/36
Brakes: Avid BB7 w/160mm rotors
Wheels: RSP CX2.0
Tyres: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 32mm
Bars: RSP compact alloy
Stem: RSP Alloy
Saddle: Selle Royal Seta S1
Size Range: 53,55,57,59cm