How RDR built a 8.5kg full suspension XC Bike

Behold 8.5kg of Italian carbon exotica

We’re at the Riva Bike Festival on the shores of Lake Garda and walking through the event village, we couldn’t help but take a closer look at this insanely light full suspension XC bike from Italian carbon specialists, RDR.

The cockpit is RDR's own
The cockpit is RDR's own

Founded by Nicolas Jeantet —  a former rider of team Mapei — and his father, RDR is a small Italian brand that produces a range of carbon road, mountain and gravel bikes in its workshop in Aosta.

The Ares LTD is the brand's top-end full suspension XC race bike.

Our eye was immediately caught by that scale
Our eye was immediately caught by that scale

Not what we expected to see!
Not what we expected to see!

The frameset weighs an impressive 1,570g for the frameset (claimed, without shock), with the complete build as pictured coming in just a touch over 8.5kg / 18.8lb.

Unlike many super light mountain bikes, the Ares LTD could hardly be described as impractical.

To start, while the bike is designed around 29in wheels, it also has clearances out back for 27.5x3.in tyres, an unusually generous size in the typically conservative world of XC race bikes.

Dropper post routing and pretty much anything else can be accommodated by RDR
Dropper post routing and pretty much anything else can be accommodated by RDR

Dropper post routing can also be accommodated by RDR. Unlike some other super light XC bikes, the bike is designed around a 31.6mm seatpost, so you also won’t be limited to only a handful of dropper posts.

The bike also features flippable chips, allowing you to slacken out the head angle from 70-degrees to 69-degrees, again, a fairly progressive move for an XC bike.

The bike is built around an XX1 Eagle drivetrain
The bike is built around an XX1 Eagle drivetrain

Only the very lightest will do for this build
Only the very lightest will do for this build

The cockpit is RDR's own
The cockpit is RDR's own

The bike features all manner of carbon exotica in a bid to reduce weight, including a top-end SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain, a DT Swiss X313 carbon rear shock and RDR’s own carbon stem, handlebars and rims.

This oil-free damper is from ND Tuned intriguing
This oil-free damper is from ND Tuned intriguing

A particular highlight of the build is the interesting OVR damper cartridge — produced by Portuguese suspension specialists, ND Tuned — that has been fitted to the RockShox SID fork.

This unique damper doesn’t require any oil to work. This combined with the lightweight construction of the damper, it brings the weight of a fork down by a claimed 300g.

The cartridge is available for RockShox Reba, SID and RS-1 forks at a cost of approx €350. The damper is also available for the Fox 32 SC for approx €370.

We haven’t had a chance to use the damper, but the impressions of other reviewers seem very interesting. Watch this space.

RDR Ares LTD sizes, availability and price

As you would imagine, such lightweight carbon exotica comes at a premium, with the frameset costing a whopping €4,390.

The brand also produces hardtails...
The brand also produces hardtails...

...gravel bikes and much, much more
...gravel bikes and much, much more

The Ares LTD is only available in set sizes. The rest of the brands are available in custom sizes. Painting is done in-house and is also fully customisable.

Clearly confident in the quality of its products, RDR backs up all of its frames with a lifetime warranty.

Keep your eyes peeled for more coverage from the event over the weekend.

Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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