Review -

ENDURO Long-Term Test 2015 | Review: Rotwild E1 FS 27.5″

For the past six months ENDURO’s long-term tester Klaus has been wielding the Rotwild E1 FS 27.5 as he thrashes through the woods. Aggressive, fast, generous: three words that nail this trail weapon. But let’s find out how the bike has really fared over its first 20,000 altitude metres.

“I’m going to ride so wild this season,” exclaimed Klaus, and that’s exactly why he needed a loaded gun in his hands – but would a long-travel enduro bike suffice? It didn’t take him long to settle on the Rotwild E1 FS 27.5, whose 165mm rear travel and plush 170mm at the front waited expectantly for the wild times ahead.

Das Rotwild E1 FS 27.5 - Konstruiert für die etwas härtere Gangart, weiß seit knapp 6 Monaten gekonnt zu überzeugen.
The Rotwild E1 FS 27.5 – After six months it has proven just why it’s primed for aggressive riding.

Rather like a Mercedes G63 AMG 6×6 puttering through the city, the Rotwild only really comes into its own once the ground is tougher, the trails gnarlier and the summits higher. And so, accordingly, its first race was the TrailTrophy in Latsch, South Tyrol. After 3,000 altitude metres of race-pace downhilling, you know exactly why it’s worth huffing this slightly portly bike uphill. And after a snakebite pinch flat cost Klaus vital seconds in the race, he’s subsequently made them tubeless and cut the overall weight by 600 grams, so it’s down to 13.5kg – not bad for a 4,999 € aluminium fireball.

Wer den Anstieg ersteinmal bezwungen hat, wird im Downhill mit einem breiten Grinsen belohnt.
Once the climbs are behind you, get ready for a massive grin as you tear down the descents.

The spec

Rotwild made no compromises when it came to the E1 FS 27.5’s spec: the FOX 36 FLOAT 170 RC2 at the front, FOX FLOAT X shock at the rear, Shimano XT brakes and the SRAM X01 11x ensemble leave no room for desire. I mean, seriously, we’re only mentioning them here to highlight just how much Rotwild have invested in speccing the bike to a high level. In the original First Look article, I went through the stock build in more detail.

Wie in unserer interaktiven Dauertest-Timeline (Link) beschrieben gab die FOX 36 im Verlauf des Test nur noch wenige Zentimeter Federweg frei. Auf Gewährleistung erhielten wir von FOX Germany eine neue Federgabel. “Dieser Austausch ist ein Service den auch jeder Endkunde in diesem Fall erhalten würde”. erklärte und Chris Trojer.
As you saw on our interactive long-term test timeline, the FOX 36 only managed to release a few centimetres of travel. Under guarantee, FOX Germany replaced the forks. “This is a service that any end customer would get in such a case,” explained Chris Trojer.
Die Kettenführung von e.thirteen verrichtet gute Dienste. Die Kette blieb bis jetzt immer an Ort und Stelle!
The chainguide from e.thirteen has performed brilliantly so far and the chain has stayed on!
Die KindShock Lev Sattelstütze mit 150mm Verstellbereich überzeugte bis vor einer Woche noch mit tadelloser Funktion. Seit neuestem fährt sie allerdings nur noch ca. 130mm weit aus und wird nun einem Service unterzogen.
Until last week I was loving the super efficient KindShock Lev seatpost with 150mm drop, but it has recently decided to only allow me 130mm, so it’s about to be serviced.
Mit der Q36R Quick Release-Achse von Maverick Suspension geht der Vorderrad Ein- und Ausbau wieder schnell von der Hand.
The Q36R Quick Release axle from Maverick Suspension makes taking the front wheel on and off an easy job.
Da die serienmäßig verbauten Continental TrailKing nicht tubeless-ready waren, wurden diese nun nach 500 Km durch eine MAXXIS Highroller 2 & Ardent - tubeless - Kombi ausgetauscht. Gewichtsersparnis: knapp 600g!
As the standard Continental TrailKing don’t come tubeless-ready, these have now been swapped after 500km for a MAXXIS Highroller 2 & Ardent combo – tubeless! Weight saved: 600g!
Die Shimano XT Bremse sorgt auch nach 20.000 Tiefenmeter noch für ordentlich Verzögerung. Mittlerweile aber mit dem zweiten Paar Bremsbeläge.
Even after 20,000 altitude metres of descent, the Shimano XT brakes are still braking well – although we are on to the second pair of brake pads.
Die nach unten schließende Sattelklemme wird selten benutzt. Passt die Stützenhöhe aber doch mal nicht perfekt, erfreut uns die werzeuglose Justage.
The downward-closing seat clamp hasn’t seen much action yet – but if the seatpost height did bother us then we’d love the fact that it’s quick release.

The climbing

With a chassis developed by ADP Engineering, the construction and design office behind Rotwild, the bike launches spryly up climbs thanks to the four-pivot rear, the clever geometry and the CTD damping setup of the FOX FLOAT X – even if it doesn’t always put its whole mass of travel up for grabs. The riding position is really comfy, with brilliant front-centre stability; meaning long climbs are efficiently tackled. Even on super steep sections the front manages to stay planted on the ground, a feat that’s pretty surprising given the 170mm of travel.

The descending

Screaming to be thrashed at high speeds, this is where the Rotwild E1 FS 27.5 really shines. With the 27.5” wheels providing a ton of confidence, the short chainstays (428mm) and 66.5° head angle give you nothing but conviction that you’re going to roll tidily downhill, despite the pretty short wheelbase of 1,171mm. Its superb agility comes courtesy of its low weight and the short chainstays, so cornering is a treat. I ride the forks with 20% sag, and the damper with 30% negative travel, which gives the suspension a super balanced feel. The bike keeps tight to the trail, and shows generous forgiveness to big hits and the occasional poor line choice! At high speeds, you’re in good hands with the Rotwild and thrashing over root gardens has never been this much fun. The only qualm I’d have would be that the long-travel bike tends to respond a little sluggishly on slow, technical sections.

Mit dem 780mm breiten und sehr flachen CRANKBROTHERS COBALT2 Lenker kann man ordentlich Druck aufs Vorderrad bringen und behält beim harten Shredden die volle Kontrolle.
At 780mm wide and super flat, the CRANKBROTHERS COBALT2 bars make sure your pressure is always over the front, so you’ve got full control when shredding.
Sobald es schnell und ruppig wird, fühlt sich das Rotwild am wohlsten. Hier kann das volle Potenzial des Rades ausgenutzt werden.
The Rotwild is in its element once the going gets fast and tricky; this is where it really comes out to play.

Conclusion

So far, so good. The Rotwild E1 FS 27.5 has taken me hostage and I’m a willing victim. Super well manufactured, I can fault neither the frame nor the parts. If you’ve got mountains on your doorstep and you’re a fan of super fast, gnarly trails then this is the perfect bike for you. For flatter rides with loads of short climbs, then this bike could be a little too much.

Price: 4.999 € | Weight: 13.9 kg | Suspension Travel: 170/165 mm (f/r) | Sizes: S-XL

Words: Klaus Kneist | Photos: Christoph Bayer & Klaus Kneist