Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Review: Redline d660

I am not big on writing reviews of products, there are generally plenty of folks that are more than happy to talk about that sort of thing. However, sometimes there is little to be found or little found in them. One item on point is the Redline d660 mountain bike.

2014 Redline d660
It is no secret that I am a Redline fan. Currently we have two monocogs (a 26er and Flight 29er) plus Ethan is now riding my d440 (geared 29er). Largely this is due to the fact that these are steel bikes.  There weren't many making steel bikes unless you wanted either really cheap or really expensive.  The Redlines were a good fit, right in the middle.  The Redline Monocog Flight 29er is a classic XC 29" geometry wise.  Steep head tube, short top tube, medium length chainstays, twitchy handling. All that said, there were times I wanted a geared bike with a little suspension.

I set out to find something with gears, front suspension, and with more trail capability. Initially I wanted to build a Ritchey P29er. Another steel bike with some updated geometry.  Then I realized how much the build kit was going to be. Then I looked at the newly released Cannondale Beast of the East. The new version was rolling out with 27+ tires and a hardtail. But, I wasn't sure I wanted all that trail'ness without much XC'ness. Sometimes I want to ride my mountain bike out to the trails (to Lake Hope for example, a 25 mile ride on back roads just to get there). I also looked at the Cannondale FSi 29er, their redesigned XC bike with slightly slacker head tube angle and shorter stays. But, I am not sold on the Lefty. Then I ran across the Redline. Redline completely dropped their "adult" line of bikes last year, selling only BMX now.  When they did this, the dumped their inventory.  What that meant was I could get the above pictured bike for about half the cash. That meant that if I really wanted, I could take all the parts off the bike and buy a P29 frame and have less in it than buying them all separate. I had Cycle Path order the bike, which they confirmed would still have a lifetime warranty, the warranty would just be through one of the other companies in the Redline conglomerate.

FrameFull carbon fiber utilizing RCT Monocoque construction, internal cable routing, BB92 press fit bottom bracket, tapered headtube and 12 x 142mm rear spacing
ForkRockShox Reba RLT 29" with tapered steerer
Sizes17, 19, 21
ColorsBlack with bright green
HeadsetFSA Internal
StemXLC Pro, 31.8mm, 7 degree
HandlebarXLC Pro, 31.8mm, 700mm width
GripsRedline Flight flangeless lock-on
SaddleWTB Volt Race
Seat PostXLC Pro 27.2mm, 400mm length
Seat Post ClampAlloy 31.8mm Bolt
WheelsetWTB I19 TCS rims, Sram sealed hubs with 15mm QR front and 12mm thru rear
TiresSchwalbe Racing Ralph 29X2.25, Folding bead
CranksetShimano SLX Hollow Tech, 10s
Bottom BracketShimano BB92 PRESS FIT
Shifters/Brake LeversShimano SLX 10s
Derailleur-RearShimano SLX 10s
Derailleur-FrontShimano SLX double, 31.8mm clamp
CassetteShimano 10s, 11-34t
ChainKMC X10
BrakesShimano SLX, 160mm rotors
Head Angle70.57171
Seat Angle73.273.173.1
Top Tube605626641
Chain Stay436436436
BB Drop585858
Fork Offset454545
Wheel base110111221125
Seat Tube (c-t)440480520
Head Tube100110120
Crank Length175175175
Stem Length708090
Bar Width (c-c)700700700
It arrived and Cycle Path assembled it. A quick trip on the scales showed 24 pounds even without pedals but with tubes.  Since then I have replaced the bars with Ritchey's carbon trails as well as the seatpost with a Truvativ Noir (the stock one couldn't hold the angle of the seat), plus I setup the tires tubless and replaced the front Racing Ralph with a Rocket Ron for slightly more aggressive tread.

Getting assembled.
Here are my thoughts as I now have a full riding season with the bike, doing everything from back roads, SE Ohio singletrack, to Davis, WV rocks and roots.

Fast. This thing is fast. Coming from a svelte steel frame that even in single speed setup was heavier than this, this carbon framed bike is stiff and light.  The Reba is smooth and I haven't really felt like I needed more than the 100 mm of travel (though keep in mind I have been riding a rigid steel fork for the past several years). The combination of the longer top tube and shorter stem and wide bars help with handling over rougher terrain and the short stays still keep this handling fast. Climbing is as you would expect from a XC bike. I am also glad for the 2x10 setup. Fast. It is quite comfortable. As stiff as it feels while pedaling, I would have expected more harsh feedback, but between the frame, fork, and seatpost, I find it quite comfortable. Oh, and it is fast (that is, unless you are me and you are riding over a bunch of root s and rocks in Davis, WV.).

Along a gravel forest road near Lake Hope.
The only complaint has to do with gears. Maybe I have just been spoiled by single speeds. With the SLX derailleur clutch engaged, the shifting isn't crisp, nothing like I am used to with my road bike. There is always chainline noise, not in the badly adjusted kind of way, I just mean the chain slaps around and makes noise. I have dropped the chain off the small front chain ring a couple of times, though it has been while not pedaling over some pretty rough stuff (like rocks in Davis). Still, getting a chain stuck between the ring and your new carbon frame isn't cool. Again, this may well be all par for the course with geared mountain bikes. It is certainly better than it was 8 years ago. Other than that, I do wish they would have come with i23 rims rather than i19, but honestly with the narrowish tires (2.2") this hasn't been an issue.

All that said I am quite happy with it (and do not plan to disassemble it to build a P29).

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