New bouncer from arguably the most storied Brit bike brand
Pace is selling suspension bikes again, with the launch of the beautiful Pace RC295. Back to the future! Carbon fibre bike with 135mm of rear travel.
It’s been a decade, but Pace Cycles is back in the full-suspension mountain bike game with the Pace RC295, a carbon-fibre 29er with 135mm travel, and an impressive £1,899 price tag for the frame and shock. Around year ago we covered the prototype of the RC295, before details like the suspension partner, price or geometry were nailed down. Twelve months on, Pace has filled in the gaps and you can get your hands on a complete bike for £3,999.
Suspension is nothing new to Pace, of course — 10 years ago the Yorkshire brand was cracking out a range of alloy full-suspension bikes and carbon forks, before pulling back and selling the suspension fork design to DT Swiss, and concentrating on hardtails. The new RC295 is a jump back to the future then, with modern materials and suspension. It also boasts modern geometry and a radically low BB, explains designer Adrian Carter.
“It’s 325mm, I’ve been able to get it this low with the short arm cranks that have been developed for e-bikes,” he says. “I’m pushing the envelope but I think it’s worth it because the dividend is so big in terms of how well the bike corners.”
A 325mm bottom bracket is really low, to put that into perspective the new Santa Cruz Tallboy has less travel at 120mm but we’ve measured the BB 7mm higher than the Pace here. Just as well the RC295 comes fitted with offset bushing hardwear in the upper eyelet of the shock, just in case you want to raise it up a shade.
The bike uses RockShox suspension because Adrian found the SRAM brand supple off the top, a feeling he is keen to design into bikes. Besides choosing SRAM over the rest and working on the shock tunes though, the suspension design remains the same from the initial prototype we saw a year ago.
“I was sort of relieved,” Adrian says. “From the first ride on that bike, as soon as I pressed the pedal down, I knew if the bike was right, and everything going forward from there was building on that. I’m reasonably pessimistic, but then I start to ride it and know by feel what the bike is like, whether it’s right or not.
From then on the process was about fleshing out the bike with components and a final figure for this RC295 Ultimate build, as yet the only complete bike available.
“Often I find that I buy something, I look at the product and can’t draw the parallel between what I have in my hand and the price I paid, the relationship is just disappearing,” he says. “It’s great to look at a product and not feel that.
Four thousand pounds for a bike is not cheap, but we get where he’s coming from — shouldn’t a s mall UK brand producing a modern carbon-fibre suspension with high-end suspension be charging a lot more than this? The Hope HB130 is north of £6,000.
“Well we’ve put together a sensible components package, we looked at higher specced carbon cranks and more to drop the weight but it drives the price up too much,” Adrian says. “We’ve gone for a GX Eagle drivetrain, Pike RC2 Ultimate, Deluxe shock, Reverb with the latest 1x lever and 175mm drop, our own 35mm Pace RC stem, 800mm Renthal Fatbar 800mm, DMR flangeless grips, SRAM Guide R brakes, Hunt Trail Wide 30mm wheels and Maxxis DHF and DHRII tyres… it’s a decent benchmark set of components.”
The Pace RC295 is available now in size large, with a 480mm reach — small is on the way and XL later in the year, Adrian says. You’ll also be able to buy a more wallet-friendly Select build based on the Pike Select, as well as the Ultimate in GX, XT and SLX drivetrain versions, and you can also buy the frame-only.
Later this year Pace could also start testing its latest bike, a 170mm-travel 29er e-bike, with more battery capacity and range than anything yet on the market, Adrian says. Called the RCE297 it’ll work as a mullet bike too, thanks to a flip-chip.