Who doesn’t love the Transformer films? Now we aren’t saying that the ROTWILD R.X2 can transform from a car into a robot warrior, but it’s still pretty nifty with the choice of three wheel sizes and various geometry adjustment options. So which is the best choice for this lightweight carbon fully? Don’t stress, we’ve found out.
After launching the aluminium R.X1 model on both 27.5″ and plus-size tires at EUROBIKE 2015, ROTWILD has now introduced the R.X2 in carbon with an additional 29″ wheel option down in Riva at Lake Garda. The carbon version is a full 800 g lighter than the aluminium and is reputed to give a comfier ride due to the frame’s improved damping. We’ve spent the past few weeks exhaustively testing the R.X2 in order to determine once and for all whether this carbon transformer has the strength to win us over.
The spec on the ROTWILD R.X2 Evo
Cashing in at € 6,999, the ROTWILD R.X2 Evo has a pretty sorted looking spec list, with the field-proven 140 mm FOX 34 FLOAT Factory forks doing their duty like a reliable steed. For suspension at the rear there’s a 140 mm FOX FLOAT DPS EVOL Factory rear shock taking over, while your own rear end perches on an Ergon SMA 30 saddle on the dropper KS LEV Integra with 150 mm of adjustment.
So while the production model is set to come with Shimano XT Di2 groupset, our pre-series model housed an XT 2-speed chainset with an XTR 11-speed cassette and derailleur. For positioning the battery for the Di2, ROTWILD has opted for a PRO cockpit. Again, differing from the one that’ll hit the shelves, our model featured a Crankbrothers cockpit with a long 65 mm Iodine stem and 780 mm wide Cobalt bars.
During our testing we had all three wheel size options available, and each one rolls on DT Swiss XM 1501 SPLINE ONE wheels. The 27.5″ and 29″ wheels take Continental Mountain King 2.4″ tires with a 25 mm internal rim, while the plus-size (35 mm internal width) roll on new 2.6″ Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires.
The geometry on the ROTWILD R.X2 Evo
At first glance the ROTWILD R.X2 appears to have pretty moderate geometry; the 435 mm reach for the medium frame is rather on the compact side and the 67° head angle isn’t overly slack. But the 20 mm drop on the bottom bracket is pretty substantial, so you really feel like you’re inside the bike. Then the chainstays are mega short at 422.5 mm, turning the R.X2 into an agile and lively ride. But it doesn’t end there – the geometry is just as adaptable as the rest of the bike: with a -1.5° angle set you can slacken the head angle massively to 65.5° and use the flip chip to lengthen the chainstays to 435 mm. And that my friends, is how you turn the ROTWILD into a serious weapon for the downhills.
|Seat tube length||400 mm||435 mm||475 mm||510 mm|
|Top tube length||560 mm||595 mm||610 mm||635 mm|
|Head tube length||100 mm||110 mm||120 mm||130 mm|
|Head tube angle||67°||67°||67°||67°|
|Seat tube angle||74°||74°||74°||74°|
|Chainstay length||422.5 /435 mm||422.5 /435 mm||422.5 /435 mm||422.5 /435 mm|
|Bottom bracket drop||20 mm||20 mm||20 mm||20 mm|
|Wheel base||1114 mm||1141 mm||1172 mm||1201 mm|
|Reach||400 mm||423 mm||450 mm||475 mm|
The ride of the ROTWILD R.X2
Our rider, 170 cm, immediately felt at ease on the medium-sized ROTWILD R.X2. Thanks to the steep 74° seat angle and low weight of 12.39 kg, it’s easy to gain speed and the initial climbing feels nice and comfortable.
ROTWILD haven’t scrimped on the suspension either, and the FOX FLOAT Factory are ultra sensitive and deliver top feedback thanks to the FIT4 damper cartridge. This, plus the 2.6″ plus-size tires, means you’re never short of grip. Thanks to the immense rigidity, the bike handles like a pro. The firmer setup of the forks suits ROTWILD’s own XCS chassis layout on the R.X2, with a FOX FLOAT Factory rear shock and EVOL air chamber taking over at the rear.
The ROTWILD R.X2 is a tour de force on downhills, lying glued to the trail – especially with the angle set and the longer chainstay setting. On mellow flow trails pedaling is second nature and the low BB height means nothing will stop you ripping up the corners and popping all over the trail. Plus, the geometry keeps gravity in check and you won’t feel like exiting out of the front door.
On ultra tricky terrain the firm suspension needs an equally firm hand, and that same welcome feedback on mellow trails now turns into a bit more of a handful. Fortunately, ROTWILD’s sorted geometry has your back and prevents the bike from getting twitchy.
The big question: 27.5″ vs 27.5+ vs. 29″
One bike, three wheel sizes: We’ve been outing riding at Lake Garda, Latsch and our home trails in Stuttgart to find out which wheel size suits what type of rider.
Who should ride 27.5″?
With 27.5″ wheels you’d define the ROTWILD R.X2 as agile and playful on the trail. At high speeds it retains the same direct handling. Thanks to the low BB height it’s super precise and responsive. This would be best suited to racers and experienced riders.
Who should ride 27.5+?
The 27.5+ deliver a ton of grip! Climbing or descending, the bike provides unrivalled stability and confidence, majorly boosting the fun you can have. There’s a significant increase in forgiveness, so no worries if you slightly miss a line. But don’t get cocky – this isn’t a monster truck. Thanks to the same low BB height, it’s still a playful ride and therefore the ultimate choice for 90 % of all riders. This bike rocks!
Who should ride 29″?
On 29″ wheels you can expect even more stability, although the bottom bracket height is higher than on the 27.5″ so cornering is significantly affected. For riders heading out for long days in the saddle, this 29er would be a great choice as they definitely work to your benefit on the climbs. However, on the descents you’ll feel less integrated with the bike.
A veritable transformer, the ROTWILD R.X2 can work for anyone thanks to the geometry adjustment and the wheel size options. Our standout favourite is the plus-size version with the slack head angle, but we wouldn’t turn down any of the other set-ups either. If you’re looking for a versatile bike capable of any situation then the R.X2 is a seriously worthwhile contender that could hold its own in an enduro race on the Sunday followed by a week doing the Transalp before a casual Saturday ride with your mates. Spot on.
For more information check the Rotwild Website.
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Words & Photos: Noah Haxel