Van Rysel RR 920 CF
These days a £2,000 road bike typically comes with a carbon frame, Shimano 105 and own-brand wheels, but Van Rysel’s RR 920 CF ups the ante a little here by speccing a set of the now-defunct Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbons.
When it was available, this was a £989 wheelset, the Ultegra groupset has a £1,099.99 RRP, factor in a 7.61kg weight and this Van Rysel’s use by the AG2R La Mondiale under 19 team and you’ve got what looks like a bona fide, stone-cold, road-biking bargain.
Two types of carbon fibre make for a stiff, light frame. Robert Smith
As for the name, Van Rysel is the brand Decathlon uses for its racier bikes. And this certainly is every millimetre the race bike.
The Flanders designed and tested RR920 is a flyer. It gobbles up miles on the flat, accelerates sharply and climbs and descends with the best of them. The comfort is good rather than exceptional and it doesn’t have too many aero features, but the combination of intermediate-modulus and high-modulus carbon fibre is both stiff and very light – an 850g claimed weight for the frame and 320g for the fork.
Throw the Van Rysel into a corner and it’s pitch perfect; sprint against your mates and the upsurge in speed is instant. Handling is poised and controlled, the frame stiff through the PF86 bottom bracket and it’s quick to get to the drops on the compact bar.
A large part of the 920’s performance is down to the Mavic Cosmic Carbon wheels. These have 45mm deep rims with a NACA profile. Mavic claims these offer low drag in any conditions and I found that they were fast and reacted very well to some unpredictable gusting sidewinds.
Braking was equally impressive, thanks to the powerful direct-mount front brake and the wheels’ Maxtal aluminium braking track, which means you don’t need carbon-specific brake blocks.
The rims’ 25mm external width makes for a very smooth and aerodynamically friendly transition to the 25mm tyres – which is good for speed while offering more comfort than 23mm rubber.
Mavic Cosmic Carbon wheels equal controlled handling. Robert Smith
I’d have preferred a round seatpost to the dedicated design, but that’s a minor quibble. And if you are prepared to shell out two grand on a less familiar name you’ll grab one hell of a bargain.