Rapide RC3 review

New Brit brand’s endurance special

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £1,800.00 RRP

Our review

A fine debut – nothing outstanding, but no major issues
Skip to view product specifications

Rapide bikes come from the same parent company as Genesis and Saracen, with the whole range placed in a middle ground between Genesis’s carbon race machines and Saracen’s go-anywhere offerings.

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  • Highs: The RC3 has good kit, it’s nicely finished and all at a good price
  • Lows: Firmness at the front end means a bit of excess road buzz
  • Buy if… You want a bike that’s easy to live with at a good price

All its bikes have ‘endurance geometry’, so we were expecting a short-reach, tall riding position, which can be a little underwhelming when you want to up the pace. Thankfully that’s not what arrived. Compared with the racy Genesis Zero, our Rapide RC3 has 8mm less in reach, a 10mm-shorter head tube and a slacker head angle by 1.5 degrees (72 degrees).

A comfortable rear end, despite the alloy seatpost…
A comfortable rear end, despite the alloy seatpost…:
Robert Smith

A comfortable rear end, despite the alloy seatpost

What that translates into is a bike that’s relaxed without being dull, and quick enough when you want to speed up. The steering is stable and assured, great for covering big miles comfortably but without the sharpness of a more race-tuned bike, and we did find the limit in high speed corners.

The build is based around a mainly Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, with non-series R561 brakes. These have the previous Shimano dual-pivot shape rather than the latest minimal Ultegra units, but it’s a design that’s proved more than capable over the years, although we’d prefer softer-compound pads.

Fulcrum’s Racing 7 wheels have always been a staple of bikes around this price, with top-notch construction, great sealing and hard-wearing rims. The new wider-rim LG version here pairs well with the excellent 25mm Continental Ultra Sport tyres, giving them a rounder profile and adding buzz-killing compliance.

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While the rapide’s geometry is a little slacker and more upright than out-and-out race machines, it’s no slouch:

While the Rapide’s geometry is a little slacker and more upright than out-and-out race machines, it’s no slouch

It’s something the RC3 definitely needs. We expected something a little smoother for an endurance/sportive bike. It’s not harsh, but it’s certainly on the firm side. The back end is fine – in fact it’s better than many on rougher surfaces, even with the average saddle and alloy seatpost – but up front the stiff alloy bar and solid fork do little to mitigate high-frequency noise over rough tarmac. Dropping a few psi out of the tyres helps, but that saps some speed over rolling terrain.

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Overall the Rapide is a fine bike, a good all-rounder with balanced geometry that’s neither too aggressive nor too sedate, but it just lacks that extra spark to launch it to the top of the class.

Product Specifications

Product

Name RC3 (15)
Brand Rapide

Brakes Shimano BR-R561
Saddle Rapide RC
Weight (lb) 18.52
Year 2015
Wheelset Fulcrum Racing 7 LG
Weight (kg) 8.4
Stem Rapide RC
Shifters Shimano Ultegra
Seatpost Rapide RC
Rear Tyre 25mm Continental Ultra Sport
Cassette Shimano 105 CS-5800, 11/28
Rear Derailleur Shimano Ultegra RD-6800
Handlebar Rapide RC
Front Tyre 25mm Continental Ultra Sport
Front Derailleur Shimano Ultegra FD-6800
Frame Material Carbon
Fork Carbon
Cranks Shimano FC-RS500, 50/34
Frame size tested L