- 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
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.
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.
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.