Spanish bike brand BH’s latest RS1 sits in the firm’s road bikes range alongside its flagship and pro-tour-proven Aerolight: a light, fully integrated aero road race bike.
The RS1 is very aerodynamic and very integrated, but where the pro-race Aerolight has a slammed front end of just 554mm, the RS1 lifts that figure by 3cm and shortens the reach by a couple of millimetres.
This makes the RS1 a genre-busting endurance aero-road bike.
On the road, if you hunker down into the deep drop of the one-piece BH Evo Monocoque ACR bar/stem combo, you can take full advantage of the RS1’s slippery shape. Up on the hoods, it’s a much more measured ride that works well for high-mileage days.
BH RS1 5.0 specifications and ride impressions
The aerodynamics of the Kammtail-heavy frameset are enhanced by the wire-free nature of Ultegra Di2 and FSA’s ACR system, which routes the brake hoses internally through the head tube.
The Vision TC40 wheels add more aerodynamics. Their 40mm depth is a sensible choice for all-round riding and the 1,650g weight isn’t hugely light, but isn’t so heavy as to become a burden when the gradient steepens.
They are shod with durability-focused Hutchinson Epsilon 28c tyres. I had no issues with the grip in changeable conditions and they rolled well.
Compared to Continental GP5000s, for example, these felt much firmer and less forgiving in the sidewalls. When riding on poorer surfaces, they tended to bounce across rougher sections rather than smoothing them out.
The Shimano chainring choice is more about speed, however, with the ‘pro’ compact combination of 52/36 chainrings teamed with the broader 11-34 cassette, which meant I never wanted for a lower bottom gear and it was easy to find a good gear to spin on longer, more gradual climbs.
As expected, the combination of new, more progressive Ultegra hydraulic brake units and the latest Ice-Tech rotors produced superb braking. All the power worked well with the superb feel from the drops or the hoods.
The RS1 is certainly firmer than rival bikes, but I never found it uncomfortable; it’s more that you aren’t isolated from the road surface.
It’s an exciting ride, but one that’s balanced by the ride position, which takes much of the sting out of prolonged harder efforts.
In fact, with a set of less rigid side-walled tyres in place, the RS1 could be one of the best-balanced aero road bikes for the endurance rider looking to up their average speed.
The RS1 handles like a race bike rather than an endurance bike or stable, straight-lining aero road bike. The 73-degree head angle and steeper 73.5-degree seat angle enable you to get in a straight line over the cranks for powerful pedalling. The small trail means nimble steering.
BH RS1 5.0 geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.5||74||73.5||73.5||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||71||72||72.5||73||73.5|
|Seat tube (mm)||460||480||500||520||540|
|Top tube (mm)||516||531||545||561||576|
|Head tube (mm)||120||135||150||175||190|
BH RS1 5.0 kit details
BH has a knack for putting in some great details, such as the one-piece bar and ACR-compatible (aero cable routing) cockpit (so long as the bar width and stem length suit your needs).
I like that the drop in the bar is deeper than the average compact bar because that offsets the higher stack, so you can get a low position when you want to.
I also really liked BH’s thru-axle design, where the flat ends have a pull-out-and-flip T-bar handle, making wheel removal easy. Only the lack of mudguard mounts sets the RS1 apart from most of its endurance rivals.
The RS1 aero post has plenty of clamp-head adjustment, enabling you to push the saddle forward, effectively steepening the seat tube angle, or push it back for a longer position.The exceptionally long Fizik Arione saddle on my test bike helped with this.
BH RS1 5.0 bottom line
Overall, the RS1 5.0 is a brilliant bike.
The mash-up of aerodynamics with an endurance ride position and racy handling has worked to produce a great bike for everyday riders looking to hit high mileages at higher speeds.
|Available sizes||XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Brakes||Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc|
|Cassette||Shimano Ultegra 11/34|
|Chain||Shimano Ultegra 12v|
|Cranks||Shimano Ultegra 52/36 12v|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Ultegra Di2|
|Handlebar||BH Evo monocoque ACR one piece bar/stem|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Ultegra Di2|
|Shifter||Shimano Ultegra Di2 Hydra|
|Stem||BH Evo monocoque ACR one piece bar/stem|
|Tyres||Hutchinson Epsilon 28c|
|Wheels||Vision TC40 carbon|