There’s no two ways about it, this bike is bright. Planet X has taken the current trend for bold hues, and chanelled the early 90s to create this fluoro yellow machine that takes no prisoners in looks or specification.
This frameset is made by Viner, another Planet X brand. It’s Viner’s entry-level chassis, on its Mitus bike – but in this case, as the RT-90, it’s Planet X’s range topper.
Highs: A full Chorus groupset alone almost sells this bike
Lows: Sadly the frameset and wheels mute Campagnolo’s Chorus
Buy If: You’re a Campagnolo fan who values mechanical brilliance above all else
The shouty frame is in almost total contrast to the sublime Campagnolo Chorus groupset. The original 11-speed manufacturer has refined and honed its shifting, and Chorus just exudes class.
With deeply polished alloy and a generous quantity of carbon used in its components, it looks glorious. For anyone who appreciates engineering excellence, a Campagnolo-equipped bike is hard to beat.
Those sculpted ergo lever hoods are testament to getting a design right from the outset, changing little since their launch, and are still a joy to hold. The carbon brake levers, crank spider and rear derailleur outer plate meld prettiness with functionality, and if your idea of added value is more of the black stuff, then Chorus should make you very happy.
Campagnolo chorus carbon levers are pretty and functional:
Campagnolo Chorus carbon levers are pretty and functional
As if proving a cycling version of Newton’s third law, to have glorious components for a low price, you inevitably have compromise somewhere else. In this case, it’s the frame and wheelset that by comparison are a little short on class.
Both are competent, and look great – if fluoro’s your thing. But on the road, we wondered several times if something was dragging, as there was just no zip.
The sub-1000g monocoque frame is lively and keen, and we found little to fault with it when testing the impressive Viner Mitus 0.6 a couple of months back. As the core of the RT-90 though, it didn’t seem to have the finesse that a good frame should.
As a race-focused weapon it feels laterally rigid. But it’s also quite stiff vertically, delivering a hard ride.
The wheelset doesn’t help matters either. The 18mm wide alloy rims have a bonded carbon fairing that is easily compressible between the fingers, creating 52mm total depth, with wide bladed spokes producing a hugely rigid pair of hoops.
The wheels roll well on the flat, but aren’t really that urgent. They respond quite well to accelerations, and can hold speed a while, but it definitely takes more effort to sustain it.
Hills just compound the physical workload, and ascending certainly isn’t as lively as the frame’s paint finish. Downhills at least play to their aero shape, unless there’s a crosswind, when the narrow profile’s reduced stability comes into play.
On hills, the sluggish-feeling wheelset can be frustrating:
On hills, the sluggish-feeling wheelset can be frustrating
The slight echoing noise from the hollow fairings may not be to everyone’s taste either, but we found it a bit of a positive spur as speed increased. Possibly the saving grace for the wheelset, Continental’s Grand Prix GT 25mm rubber is speedy and grips tenaciously when the going gets twisty – plus that little extra air volume is much appreciated.
The white alloy Selcof bar and stem look stylish, and give a good hand position, though the oversized central bulge means that out front GPS mounts won’t fit. When sprinting or climbing hard there was some flex from the front end, most likely from the spacer-extended steerer tube, which might be cured with a slammed stem. With a 155mm head tube though, things could get low.
Having a complete Campagnolo Chorus groupset on a carbon bike at this price is truly extraordinary, and it lends great satisfaction to the riding experience. Unfortunately, the Chorus gloss is somewhat dulled by the lack of excitement from the frame and billiard table-friendly wheelset, as if Campagnolo’s mechanical efficiency is consumed and retained, with a regrettably limited proportion reaching the road.