Pace RC325.5£2,200.00

Versatile trail hardtail

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Pace’s first product – the early 1990s RC100 – set so many standards it  was years ahead of its time. Oversize bottom bracket shell, undished rear end, Ahead-style headset system, square tubes… The RC325.5 doesn’t even try to rewrite the rule book, but can its pedigree still make the difference?

Ride & handling: Brilliantly balanced and will tackle anything

Pace claim cross-country, er, pace and ‘bike park’ durability for the RC325.5. With its mid-range X7 transmission and 140mm fork, our test bike weighed in under the 11.8kg (26lb) mark. That gives it an eagerness on the climbs you wouldn’t expect from its burly appearance, helped along by the generous volume of Schwalbe’s Rocket Ron and Nobby Nic tyres, and the impressive ground-hugging ability of DT’s XMM140 fork.

Early impressions of DT Swiss’s fork are that this is a light, stiff and capable trail companion with easy setup and a tunable, fairly linear feel. The rearward-facing brace suits the bike’s quirkier design features, and mud clearance is mahoosive. It’s unflinching in the rough, allowing a weight-forward riding style that makes the best of its more relaxed front-end geometry.

Combined with a comfy rear end – the upward flick of the seaststays where they join the seat tube seems to add a small degree of what we’ll call vertical flex – it makes for a potent technical trail slayer. We took the long way home, chose the tricky line, rode the climbs one sprocket smaller… Just because we could, and because the Pace made it fun.

Few bikes feel instantly ‘right’. The RC325.5 is one of them. The geometry is nigh on perfect, combining comfort and confidence in the right proportions to wring the best out of its rider, whatever their experience and skill level. 

It’s light enough to ride all day, but strong enough to stand up to some hard use. A worthy descendant of the radical RC100, then, but your wallet will feel it.

Pace rc325.5: pace rc325.5

Frame & equipment: Low weight and decent strength but looks spendy

All the standard aluminium attributes –  tapered head tube, curved down tube, snaky stays – are here. Other changes from its RC305 forebear include a slacker, 68.5-degree head tube and longer front centre for better long fork handling, removable screw-in cable mounts and forged, adjustable dropouts for easy conversion to singlespeed.

There’s a pair of Crud Catcher-compatible bosses, an adjustable – and effective – anti-chainsuck device under the driveside chainstay and the necessary chainguide mounts for 1x10 duties.  

Pace normally supply the RC325.5 as a bare frame at £575. Our test bike came with a SRAM X7 2x10-based setup, available with a RockShox Revelation fork, for around £1,966. 

However, Pace went to town with the options, and our bike arrived with tasty upgrades including a DT Swiss XMM140 fork, a custom built Pace wheelset centred around Hope Pro 2 EVO hubs with DT M480 rims and DT Champ spokes, and a funky limited edition Thomson Union Jack seatpost. The extras bring the build price to around £2,200.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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