RAM Nduro review£1,599.00

Good all-day trailbike

RAM Bikes are big in Bulgaria and the solid, functional Nduro translates well to all-round trail riding. But the East Europeans aren’t the standout value they used to be against the established brands these days. 

The frame

The nduro frame is a classic four-bar linkage frame with a contemporary hydroformed front end, including a geometric seat tube brace and multi-section down tube. Gussets and head tube ring reinforcement make for a tough front end.

Standover height is nice and low, mud clearance is reasonable, cable runs are neat and there are enough machined bits to make it look worth the money. The swing link lets you choose either 101.6 or 127mm (4 or 5in) of travel from the RockShox shock too.

Sizing is limited to three options, but if you’re prepared to pay £120 and wait a few weeks, you can choose from a huge range of awesome-looking two-tone paint finishes.

The detail

The RAMs we’ve ridden before have blown us away with their kit value, but the nduro isn’t quite such a bargain. The RockShox Recon fork works OK, but they’re not in the same league as the Fox’s you can get on big name brands at this price. The Mavic rims and Maxxis tyres are good all-rounders though and we’ve no complaints about the SRAM transmission.

The short stem, wide bar Truvativ cockpit is the right dimension for rioting on and the SDG I-Beam seating is an underrated lightweight bonus. It could do with more braking grunt up front than the 160mm rotor and the grips are a nightmare when wet or muddy.

The ride

With its short stem and a weight of just over 13.5kg (30lb), the nduro isn’t up to a fast XC blast. The relatively chunky tyres mean it struggles on long climbs too. But if your riding DNA is more staffy than whippet then the short, stiff cockpit and 68.5 degree head angle handling loves a good chuck-around.

Both ends take hits on the chin without wobbling or wandering either, and while there’s a bit of rear end flex, overall ground connection is consistently good. If you’ve got the muscle it’ll grunt up technical climbs without slipping and you don’t have to go easy for traction under braking either.

The RockShox Monarch 3.1 shock is stable and sticky enough to kill pedal bounce in the four-bar rear end without too much added Floodgate compression damping. The fork and shock aren’t as fluid as those on the best similar priced bikes though – they just do their job adequately for their travel.

If you’re after an alternative all-rounder with custom colour options and toughness to spare, the nduro is a good solid ride. At 13.6kg (30.48lb) and £1,600, it’s up against serious competition that’s either significantly lighter or longer travel and certainly more chaos capable.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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