Delivers a glued-to-the-floor, super-stable feel, particularly when slashing through corners or blasting down trails
The Pace RC 627 has the ride quality and specification to back up the geometry, and with that sleek, slender look, it will become a modern classic.
The RC 627 is Yorkshire-based Pace’s no-nonsense 27.5in steel hardtail. But should you desire larger hoops, there’s also a 29er version called, not surprisingly, the RC 629.
Pace RC 627 Ultimate GX review
For 2020 the 27.5in frame has become 1x-only, inherited a lower top tube, a one degree slacker head angle and similarly steepened seat tube. It’s made from an interesting mix of materials too. The front triangle is Reynolds 853 tubing while the rear stays are cro-mo steel with 6082 aluminium dropouts thrown in for good measure. Or, to be more precise, the alloy dropouts are slotted and allow 13mm of chainstay adjustment from 425mm to 438mm.
Like most steel frames, the Pace RC 627 has a traditional threaded BB. Bosses on the down tube house the fully external gear and brake housing. Not only is the full-length gear outer easier to maintain, all of the cables are tucked neatly out of the way, their position making it much more comfortable to shoulder the bike. Yes, the dropper post hose is a bit floppy, and the RC 627 could probably do with an additional non-drive side clip to secure it.
With 150mm travel, the new RockShox Pike Ultimate suspension fork is fitting of any high-end build. It gets the Charger II damper first developed for the big-hitting RockShox Lyrik, so it has both high and low-speed compression adjustment. Its action is super-plush and supportive. Pace also uses a shorter 37mm fork offset crown, which perfectly balances the slack 64° head angle to stop it feeling too floppy at lower speeds.
Hope Fortus 35s use wider rims than the 30s but they are also a fair bit lighter. The extra width means they can easily handle fatter 2.8in tyres, and the frame has plenty of mud clearance if you want to upsize — either for extra traction, comfort or even pedal clearance. In fact, the shorter 170mm SRAM GX Eagle cranks are very sensible given how low the RC 627’s BB is.
Talking of tyres, Maxxis High Roller IIs should come stock on this A build, but we didn’t feel short changed by the Magic Mary/Hans Dampf Addix combo that’s pretty fast rolling considering how much grip is on offer.
Pro 4 Hope hubs are proven UK kit, but the rear DT RWS axle unwound slightly multiple times during testing. Huge lateral forces go through aggressive hardtails, but it needed cranking up super-tight and the prime culprit for this issue is flex in the adjustable dropouts.
Guide R disc brakes are no-frills in terms of adjustment, but plenty sharp enough in action with the lightweight, cutaway, Aztec rotors on the RC 627.
On the first ride, the rear brake on the RC 627 had air trapped inside and stopped working properly halfway into a big loop. What happened next set the tone for this review though, we ended up riding several steep, hand-cut, tracks in sloppy conditions with a rear wheel that wouldn’t stop.
On some hardtails, it might have been game over, but with the super smooth Pike Ultimate fork and geometry that’s as confident and stable as Pace’s, we actually had a ton of fun anyway, and not only survived, but thrived in the mud.
This is down to the RC 627 being totally at home pointed down rooty, slippery off-piste trails. It’s equally adept at railing corners and ruts too, without getting deflected or making you feel like you’re teetering over the bike.
With the adjustable stays in the shortest position, it’s easy to lift the front wheel, with seemingly no penalty when it comes time to smashing through braking bumps and roots.
Having the lowest BB by a big margin keeps weight rearward downhill, and also prevents repeated hits from tipping you forward. The steel frame displays noticeable suppleness and vibration damping too, which amplifies this calmness while maintaining speed.
Yes, the RC 627 is not the most nimble of our trio – possibly reflecting its marginally heavier weight – but don’t take that as a slur though. If your idea of fun is being urged to go faster down challenging trails, this is definitely the bike for you.
It’s stable, has completely neutral steering and the weight distribution is very balanced. Even flat-out, it never feels sketchy. Ok, so the Pace isn’t the most eager uphill, but the pay-off on the way down is well worth a slightly longer climb. As for the £3k asking price, only you can decide if it’s worth your hard-earned. As test bikes go though, it’s a clear winner, as it never has us wondering ‘what if…’ and there were no annoying niggles to spoil the fun. The RC 627 is very much the complete package then.