Rotwild R.E1 FS Pro - First ride £4199

Long-travel downhill demon

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

Known for being ahead of the downhill game in the 1990s, Rotwild are back with a long, slack and low approach to enduro. We sent our wildest test pilots to find out whether the R.E1 FS is fast – or just another long-travel outcast.

Ride & handling: Descending dream that doesn’t sacrifice on climbing ability

With a 65.5-degree head angle and 175mm (6.9in) of rear wheel travel, it was no surprise when the Rotwild ripped up the downhills. Its low bottom bracket and downhill DNA wheelbase of 46.5in contributed to its incredibly stable nature and balanced feel at high speeds. A side effect of its long and low geometry was its reluctance to turn when riding slower, tight and twisty trails.

It weighs in at 14.5kg (32lb) minus pedals, but the Rotwild climbs and accelerates like a much lighter, shorter-travel bike. Its super-steep seat tube angle of 74.4 degrees made it easy to get forwards and put power down on climbs without stressing about a wandering front wheel. Light and tight DT Swiss EX 1750s keep rotational weight to a minimum, making it easy to gain and maintain speed. 

Rotwild’s XMS Enduro Suspension System and Fox’s RP23 feel perfectly in sync. Over small bumps and in corners it’s smooth and keeps grip, and with bigger bumps the suspension ramps up steadily for a bottomless feel.

Any rider with a gravity background will instantly feel at home on the Rotwild – likewise any enduro rider wanting the benefits of a highly capable descender that’s a competent climber too should welcome the long, slack and low R.E1. FS.

Frame & equipment: Built for purpose, although missing a dropper post

The 7005 T6 aluminium frame sports a big-for-enduro 175mm (6.9in) of rear wheel travel, and all standard expected features, such as ISCG-05 chainguide mounts, a 142mm bolt-through axle and a tapered head tube.

Most manufacturers mask areas of increased material and varied tube diameters within smoothly hydroformed frames, but Rotwild have kept it all on display. Large welded gussets for added stiffness and a signature bulbous top tube for optimum strength-to-weight ratio mean there’s no getting away from the fact that the Rotwild means business.

Rotwild have made a good choice of lightweight but durable components that should stand up to the abuse the R.E1 FS is clearly capable of handling. Shimano XT brakes offer fantastic modulation and stopping power in wet and dry conditions, and a Shimano XT 2x10 setup with an 11-36T cassette is ample for conserving energy on long climbs or cranking flat-out descents.

Shimano XT brakes are great in any condition

The Crank Brothers 780mm bars offer decent width for any rider, but an obvious omission from the expensive £4,199 build is a dropper seatpost. However, a RockShox Reverb is on offer for an extra £200.

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

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