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Revel Ranger 29 XT first ride review

Can a 115mm-travel bike be a hooligan on the trails?

GBP £6,299.00 RRP | USD $8,554.00 | EUR €7,550.00 | AUD $11,913.00
Pack shot of the Revel Ranger 29XT full suspension mountain bike

Our review

Flat-out fast, the Ranger’s white-knuckle ride kept us grinning all day long
Skip to view product specifications

The Ranger is a 115mm-travel cross-country or downcountry bike from Revel, a relatively small brand based in Carbondale, Colorado.

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The frame uses Revel’s ‘CBF’ linkage, one not seen on mainstream brands’ bikes, which the company claims gives XC efficiency, along with a bottomless feel that gives it plenty of performance over bigger hits.

Numerous builds are available, as is a frame-only option. This review is of the XT build, which features Ultimate-level suspension from RockShox, a Shimano XT drivetrain and Hunt wheels (I9 wheels are specced in the US).

This is a first ride review of a full build, however keep an eye on BikeRadar throughout 2022, as I have a Revel Ranger as a long-term test bike. I’ve built it up from a frame-only offering, with a selection of my own components.

Revel Ranger 29 XT frame

The carbon fibre front and rear triangles are joined by a pair of co-rotating links, with the shock being driven by a separate yoke.

Revel says this ‘CBF’ linkage completely separates rear-wheel movement from brake and pedalling forces, by controlling the position of the axle’s centre of curvature (virtual pivot point), as well as its instant centre as it moves through its travel.

Frame dimensions are on-trend for the downcountry market – the large size has a generous 473mm reach, average-length 436mm chainstays, a 67.5-degree head angle and 75.3-degree seat tube angle. The 338mm BB height is spot on, too.

Revel Ranger 29 XT kit

A 120mm-travel RockShox SID Ultimate fork and SID Luxe Ultimate shock take care of keeping the 2.4in Onza Porcupine tyres stuck to the floor.

These are mounted on Hunt TrailWide wheels, driven by a full Shimano XT groupset, including the brakes.

The Revel Ranger 29XT full suspension mountain bike is equipped with a RockShox SID Ultimate fork
RockShox’s SID Ultimate has a surprisingly stout chassis for a lightweight fork.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

A BikeYoke Revive post props up a Burgtec saddle, accompanied by a matching carbon bar and alloy stem.

The Revgrips grips have a small amount of twist built in, designed to reduce arm pump and fatigue.

Revel Ranger 29 XT ride impressions

Pitched against a trail bike, the Ranger is a little whippet. Its 12.7kg weight, combined with fast-rolling tyres and suspension that’s on the more aggressively damped side, means it reacts instantly to pedal input.

At the same time, the geometry gives it lightning-fast handling from corner to corner. It’s easy to get airborne, too – if you’re happy piloting its short-travel chassis back to earth with a little finesse.

Revel’s CBF linkage gives a rock-solid feel to the back end under pedalling, provided you’ve got the shock pressure right. In order to match the fairly aggressive damping of the SID fork, I’ve reduced rear sag to 22 per cent.

I never had to reach for the small compression lever on the shock, and while I’ve ridden bikes that deliver more grip, I only occasionally found the rear wheel scrabbling for traction on loose, steep ascents.

On descents, the rear end struggled to keep pace with the fork, skipping and slapping around a little, especially under braking.

Male cyclist in green top riding the Revel Ranger 29XT full suspension mountain bike
Pitched against a trail bike, the Ranger is a little whippet.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Upping the sag made it easier to keep the wheel stuck down, but led to a disparity in feel between the front and back of the bike, and a little less reactivity to pedal input.

I preferred it with my original, slightly more ‘on edge’ setup, which helped give it an intoxicatingly fast feel.

The Revel may be short on travel, but even on steeper, rockier tracks I found its shape more than acceptable, particularly the long reach.

While the handling is on the more exciting side, I never felt any nervousness, and the fork’s composed damping and stout chassis made me feel happy to push the Porcupine tyres to the limit.

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These offer reasonable rather than exceptional grip, but that’s reflected in the bike’s willingness to accelerate.

Revel Ranger 29 XT geometry

SMLXL
Seat angle (degrees)75.375.375.375.3
Head angle (degrees)67.567.567.567.5
Chainstay (mm)436436436436
Seat tube (mm)373403439457
Top tube (mm)559580602628
Head tube (mm)95105116127
Fork offset (mm)44444444
Trail (mm)108108108108
Bottom bracket drop (mm)38383838
Bottom bracket height (mm)338338338338
Wheelbase (mm)1,1461,1701,1941,223
Standover (mm)699699699700
Stack (mm)600609619629
Reach (mm)430453473498

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $11913.00EUR €7550.00GBP £6299.00USD $8554.00
Weight 12.7kg (L) – without pedals
Brand Revel

Features

Available sizes S, M, L, XL
Brakes Shimano Deore XT, 180mm rotors
Cassette Shimano Deore XT
Chain Shimano Deore XT
Cranks Shimano Deore XT
Fork RockShox SID Ultimate, 120mm (4.7in) travel
Frame Carbon fibre, 115mm (4.5in) travel
Handlebar Burgtec Ride Wide Carbon Enduro, 800m
Rear derailleur Shimano Deore XT 12spd
Rear Shocks RockShox SID Luxe Ultimate
Saddle Burgtec The Cloud
Seatpost BikeYoke REVIVE
Shifter Shimano Deore XT 12spd
Stem Burgtec Enduro Mk3 35mm
Tyres Onza Porcupine 29x2.4in
Wheels Hunt TrailWide