ENDURO Long-term Test | First Look: Radon Slide Carbon 27,5 9.0
Radon have had a facelift! Just two years ago, these West German bikes were primarily known for their reliable performance and value for money. No bad thing, you might say, but the bikes lacked a certain charm, and their image never quite caught on. But this has all changed recently – and while the prices remain fair – the bikes are starting to look pretty cool. But what about the reliable performance, what’s the deal there? Long-term test rider Philipp will take on the responsibility by putting the Radon Slide Carbon 27.5 9.0 through the wringer over the coming months.
Radon Slide Carbon 27.5 9.0: a rather lengthy name, but one that includes all the facts: model, frame material, wheel size and component setup. The paintwork is the first thing to catch your eye and Philipp seems quite taken: “Sweet, finally something a bit different, I like it!” He takes a closer look, leaning over the frame and encounters the boldness from another angle: “Flip-flop paint, amazing!”
Lift it by the top tube. Not bad. Light. Really light! It feels balanced too. The medium weighs in at 12.2kg, the pedals still need to be attached. Wheeling around the yard doesn’t tell us much, so we’re itching to get into the woods and gather some objective evidence.
On the way to the HQ of Radon Bikes in Bonn, Philipp muses over what he’ll be riding over the course of the year. An average bike with a top quality spec? Nothing special? Or could the Radon surprise him with an entirely new style? Only time will tell.
The price of 3,599 € gets you a lot of bike from Radon. At first glance – and for the first few metres – it seems justified. The spec is well thought-out. Dropper post, great gear ratio, powerful brakes and air suspension – the foundations of everything you need to ride an enduro race appear to be there.
The RockShox air suspension, comprised of Pike RCT3 forks and Monarch RT3 shock, has proved its worth more than once.
The RockShox Pike RCT3 forks, RockShox Monarch RT3 shock and the Avid Guide RC brakes might not represent the pinnacle, but they’re still top of the list for many riders and racers. Both suspensions have 160mm travel, which should mean coasting downhill, and the 2X10 drivetrain should mean you’ve always got something in reserve. The groupset comes courtesy of SRAM, and even comes with carbon cranks included in the 3,599 €.
The Cockpit has a combo of Raceface bar and stem and Ergon GE1 SD grips. Schwalbe’s Hans Dampf tyres do the groundwork.
Philipp chose a medium for his test bike. The chainstay lengths are unchanged for all four sizes, but the headtube varies in proportion to the rest of the geometry.
“I ride firm suspension and prefer less travel. I’d probably call myself a technical rider, as I play with the terrain and don’t always choose the direct line,” Philipp comments.
After my first two rides I’ve got some initial thoughts about how I can tune the bike to suit me more. I’d like bars with more rise for a more upright position when it gets steep, upgrade to tubeless to avoid punctures, as well as changing to a 1X10.
It looks quick – so now we’re wondering, just how quick can it go?
I spent most of 2014 on a Radon Swoop. It handled solidly but as soon as it got steep, it’s natural character came out: cumbersome and sluggish. Will 2015 be a repeat of this? But the first impression of the 2015 version of the Radon Slide is different! I’m as excited as kid before Christmas and looking forward to giving Radon another chance. My local trails have never been as cool as they are now. The woods are calling me, they’re so green. The season is set to look like this: Finale Ligure, Germany’s Enduro Championship, Scandinavia, the North Cape, EWS, and Sicily. After all, the bike and the rider should grow and rise to the challenges ahead.