Scott Peterson tested an early, pre-production RSD Sergeant that company owner, Alex, was kind enough to lend us last fall and now the full-on production Sergeants, with basically no changes, are available. Let’s check out what Scott learned.
RSD Bikes is based in Toronto, Canada. Their bike building perspective includes both mountains and coastal areas so both environments are considered in their designs. The ride I have been testing is the RSD Sergeant, a 27-Plus bike. In case you are not familiar, 27-Plus combines the best ride characteristics of the 29er wheel diameter with the joyful fatness of 3″ wide tires. RSD has mated this with the latest Boost, 110 mm wide, 140 mm travel suspension fork offering from Manitou called the Magnum.
The bike arrived with a solid package of components:
- Aluminum 6061 frame with micro adjustable rear dropouts
- Manitou Magnum Boost 110 fork, 140 mm travel, with QR15 Hexlock axle
- Easton EA70 bars & stem
- Raceface lock on grips
- Easton EA70 seat post
- WTB seat
- Avid XO hydraulic disc bakes, 180 mm
- Avid X9 1 x 10 shifter & X9 rear derailleur
- Race Face Turbine crankset with narrow/wide 30t sprocket.
- Sun Ringle Mulefut 50 mm wide 27.5 rims
- Sun Ringle 110/148 hubs
- Maxxis Chronicle 27.5 x 3.0 tires, 120 TPI
- Weight for Medium is 28.5lbs
- Complete: $1999.00 USD / $2299.00 CAD
- Frame Only: $499.00 USD / $599.00 CAD – Frame Only Includes:
- Cane Creek ZS-44 Headset for tapered steer tube
- Rear 12x148mm Sliding Drop-out Inserts
- SRAM Rear Maxle Lite 12x148mm
- Seat post clamp
The Sergeant I have been testing is the aluminum framed offering from RSD. There are Titanium and Stainless Steel frame options as well if you are so inclined. The frame has well thought out geometry, with the 68 degree head tube angle and 72 degree seat tube angle. The 140 mm travel fork, 12.4″ bottom bracket height, and 30-tooth front chainring makes it easy to overcome nearly all trail obstacles.
I have been commanding the Sergeant all over my Midwest riding area including some trips to northern Wisconsin and Northern Michigan. One of the things that usually bogs things down on these rides is the amount of sand and exposed roots in some areas. This was never a problem with the Sergeant. The Maxxis 3.0 tires float over roots and through sand like no other, without the extra drag and weight of typical 4″ and 5″ fatbike tires. This also made it easier to lift the front end over obstacles and up sandy, rooted trails. During testing at the remote Shingle Mill Pathway in Michigan I was able to make it up several climbs that had stalled my 29er in the past. The tire flotation, traction and front suspension all worked together to maintain my momentum.
One of the first things I noticed about the cockpit and riding position was the very short Easton stem. At about 50mm length, it looks pretty short. Some riders will want to try a longer stem, but after a few test rides I really liked the stock setup. The WTB seat is very comfortable, with a little softer padding that the similar WTB seats I have on all my bikes. The Raceface grips got the job done but, personally, I would opt for something slightly larger in diameter.
The Avid X9 10-speed rear shifter was functional and I hit every gear I asked for of the Type-2, clutch rear derailleur. It did not have the same precision as my personal XT shifters, but this could be due to the full length cable housing or the many test miles I put on the Sergeant.
The Manitou Magnum fork performed flawlessly for me. I pumped up the recommended 68 psi for my 180 lb weight but the action seemed a little harsh for me. I finally settled on 58 psi, which resulted in smooth, bump eating travel. The damping was perfect for the Maxxis 3.0 front tire. It was supple enough to erase the small roots but still handle large rocks and ruts when aimed downhill. The QR15 Hexlock axle no doubt adds to the torsional stiffness of the whole package and steering precision was excellent. Combined with the RSD frame strength this bike really can go exactly where you point it.
The things I liked the most about this bike? The whole Sun Mulfut 27.5 wheel/Maxxis Chronicle tire package, which is a great compromise between flotation and rotating mass. The Manitou Magnum fork is perfectly tuned to match the wheel package. RSD’s frame quality, with beautiful welds detailed rear dropout adjusters. RSD’s own frame geometry which managed to give the big fork and tire very good steering precision without ever wandering on the climbs.Plus, the 73 mm bottom bracket width, and consequently narrower Q-Factor, is a pleasant change from the wider 100mm fatbike BB’s I am used to.
Things I would like to change to suit my personal tastes? The 30-tooth front sprocket which is too low for my local riding conditions. A 70 or 80 mm stem would not upset the RSD’s balance and give a little more reach to the bars. The Sun-Ringle rear hub has very good engagement but is also pretty loud. Some folks like that. I’m a little stealthier.
All-in all I think RSD has a winner on their hands. The Sergeant has my full attention and would make a great addition to anyone’s team.
Learn more another the Sergeant, and other RSD bikes, at http://www.rsdbikes.com.
Sven here, I just wanted to add in my two cents worth. I got a chance to do couple of rides on the Sergeant before we sent it off to Scott and I’ve gotta say, I think RSD nailed this one!
I rode most of last Spring, Summer and Fall on a Schlick APe fat-bike that I converted over to 27-plus with the addition of a 120mm Manitou Magnum and 27.5 Mulefut-based wheels to replace the Bluto and 4-inch fat-bike tires I normally run on that bike so I had some basis for comparison with the Sergeant. What struck me initially about the Sergeant is how much the cockpit set up was almost exactly the same as my rig. It made getting used to the bike a breeze. The slightly longer travel on the fork was a plus in some situations and the more MTB-like Q-factor will please a lot of folks. Couple that with the fact that recently RSD dropped the price on their line by several hundred dollars and I think this is one of the best specced bikes for the price in the biz!
RSD provided the Sergeant for review and they also advertise with us but fear not, our opinions are not tainted by this fact. We just want you to know how it is.