by Wil Barrett
December 16, 2016
Like many British mountain bikers, we love a good steel hardtail. Carbon fibre is great and all, and intricate suspension linkages on long-travel enduro bikes certainly earn their fare share of attention, but there’s just something to be said for the elegance and simplicity that comes along with a series of slender steel tubes welded together in a compact double-diamond hardtail frame. Maybe it’s the toughness and durability of steel, or the all-weather practicality of owning a bike without a rear shock and suspension pivots. Whatever it is, we just can’t get enough of the new school steel hardtails currently hitting the market.
One such example is the Pace RC127. Pace Cycles is a British mountain bike company that knows a thing or two about making lovely steel frames. In fact, the brand’s RC127 steel trail hardtail impressed us so much, that it even earned a ‘Singletrack Recommended’ label when we tested it. New for 2017 is a new version of the RC127 hardtail, though this one can fit MUCH bigger rubber…
“A whole new class of bike – a whole new bundle of fun. With all the pedigree of the proven RC127 but designed around the very latest 27.5 x 2.6” Plus tyre size the RC127+ has a raft of performance benefits including diesel like grip, drive and rollover but without the overweight over blown drawbacks of monster truck tyre sizes. Plus we’ve built these features into the very latest progressive geometry package blending a gravity defying slack headtube angle with long toptube and low BB giving you insane levels of grip and control.” – Pace Cycles
The Pace RC127+ Features:
- Reynolds 853 steel chassis
- Built around 27.5×2.6in wheels, though will also accommodate 29er wheels
- Max 27.5in tyre clearance: 2.8in
- Tapered head tube
- Designed for 130-150mm travel forks
- 65° Head tube angle
- 73.5° Seat tube angle
- 435mm Chainstay length
- 148x12mm rear thru-axle
- Adjustable Slideout dropouts
- Colours: Tangy Gloss Orange or Grumpy Carbon Black
- 6 decal colourways options
- Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
- Includes DT Swiss RWS rear thru axle and Pace CNC machined seat clamp
- Claimed weight: 2.65kg
- RRP: £499
Just like the existing RC127, the RC127+ is built from lovely Reynolds 853 tubing, which is custom butted and shaped into the final form you see here. The RC127+ frame is loaded with modern features, including a tapered head tube, ISCG05 chainguide tabs, Stealth internal dropper routing, and sliding dropouts. However, there’s still plenty of British practicality to be found, with a threaded bottom bracket and external routing for the gears and brakes that’ll keep home mechanics happy. Even the exit port for the dropper post cable is reinforced to keep it sealed from the elements.
Out back, you can fit up to a 2.8in tyre with 27.5in wheels. However, Pace has designed the RC127+ around the emerging 27.5×2.6in tyre size, which we’ve previously predicted will be one of the more popular tyre standards of the future. Given the generous tyre clearance, you’ll even be able to fit a 29in wheelset into the RC127+ frame, though we don’t have confirmation for the maximum tyre clearance when using 29in wheels. Guess we’ll just have to get one to test…
The adjustable Slideouts mean you can tweak the overall chainstay length of the RC127+ by 13mm. That means you can run it as a singlespeed without need for a tensioner device, or if you’re running gears, it gives you the ability to adjust the handling by changing the rear centre geometry. The RC127+ also uses a 148x12mm DT Swiss RWS screw-in axle.
In terms of geometry, the RC127+ goes thoroughly into the future with a slack 65° head angle that’s exactly the same as the Stif Morf hardtail that we’ve reviewed for Issue #110. However, the RC127+ is capable of fitting a bigger fork, with Pace recommending 130-150mm of travel up front. As is the current industry trend, Reach measurements are generous across the three frame sizes, and the RC127+ has been designed to run a compact stem and nicely wide ape-hanger bars.
With all of those ingredients, it looks like Pace has cooked up a very tasty little muffin with the RC127+. Chubby tyres make a lot of sense for a trail hardtail, and with the slightly tougher 2.6in tyres currently hitting the market, there’s certainly a lot of appeal for trail riders who like to rip hard.