German brand Rotwild have been in and out of the UK a few times over the years. The bikes are now available through online retailers Bikestuff, with the X1 being Rotwild’s new-for-2010 all-mountain bike.
Ride and handling: A whole bucket of fun on the trail
With all sorts of suspension designs and geometry experiments appearing on the market, it’s refreshing to encounter a fairly straightforward bike. Angles are 68.5/73 and Rotwild’s back end is a conventional four-bar layout of the sort that Specialized’s FSR patent has ensured is largely the preserve of European manufacturers.
Stir in a short stem, top-notch fork and shock, and big (but surprisingly fast-rolling) tyres and it’s a whole lot of fun. The whole thing comes in right on the magic 30lb (13.6kg) mark.
The back end is quite linear and needs careful setup to strike the right balance between big and small hits, and it can be a little spongy under power – there’s a ProPedal platform damping lever to deal with that, though.
Frame: Four-bar smoothness and some neat touches
Rotwild have taken a no-nonsense approach to designing the X1. There are a lot more straight lines on this frame than most, lending it a purposeful look. Only the stepped-down top tube leaps out as a bit of a constructional gimmick.
There are plenty of neat touches, though. The head tube is slimmed down in the middle and the huge down tube is flattened underneath and takes advantage of the press-fit bottom bracket to get maximum width at the bottom end.
Suspension pivots are all well-shielded. Slightly unusually, both gear cables and the rear brake hose route under the bottom bracket – it’s the most direct route, but it’s an area potentially vulnerable to rock strikes.
Equipment: Brakes and transmission work fine but feel a little low-rent for the money
While you may expect spendier parts than Shimano SLX for the money, Rotwild aren’t Trek or Giant and don’t have that kind of buying power. They’ve spent their spec budget wisely, though, focussing on the important stuff rather than chucking in largely pointless rear mech upgrades and the like.
You get a Fox 32 TALAS fork with 150/130/110mm travel settings and QR15 axle, an RP2 shock with Boost Valve position-sensitive damping and a DT Swiss M2000 wheel package shod with big-volume Continental Rubber Queen tyres. Brakes are decent, if unexciting, Formula RX units. Finishing kit is largely Rotwild-branded.