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First Ride Review: Revel Rascal – a new high-end brand from Colorado

Real innovation or just bold marketing slogans full of hot air? Revel Bikes is another ambitious newcomer lining up at the starting blocks and we were the only magazine in the world fortunate enough to review the Revel Rascal. Does the brand new 29” trail bike from Colorado have what it takes?

Will we soon see the Revel Rascal populating the trails?

Revel Bikes, the brand

Never heard of Revel Bikes? Don’t worry, there’s no way you could have, with the release of their trail bike, the Rascal, and their enduro bike, the Rail, the Colorado-based brand is making its first public appearance. But the folks behind Revel are no strangers to the scene and bring with them a lot of experience from the bike industry. Before the launch, founder Adam Miller paid us a visit in our headquarters in Stuttgart to tell us some more about the background of Revel Bikes. Adam hasn’t even cracked 30 but he’s already built two bike brands from the ground up (Borealis and Why Cycles). Senior engineer Jeremiah Starkey has worked for RockShox for over 11 years, and Jason Schiers, the founder of ENVE, brings with him a wealth of carbon know-how.

The Revel Bikes team wants to shake up the market

The story of Revel Bikes began when founder Adam Miller was in search of a new trail bike. After testing countless bikes from the well-known brands, he tried a Canfield Balance at a trade show and was immediately convinced – this suspension was exactly what he was looking for. Canfield was ready to license the rear linkage and so after two and a half years of development Adam is ready to present us with two carbon bikes with the patented Canfield Balance Formula, or CBF for short. The Revel Rascal we tested is a 29” trail bike with 140/130 mm travel, the second model is called the Rail and rolls on 27.5″ wheels, offering 170/165 mm travel.

The Revel Rascal in detail

We tested the 29er Rascal with 130mm of travel, but the longer-travel Rail shares the same details and features. The bike is exclusively available in carbon and comes in four frame sizes S, M, L and XL. The cables are routed internally through carbon channels, which makes them very easy to feed through the frame, and the mechanics among us will be happy to hear it’s got a threaded bottom bracket. There is space for a 600 ml water bottle in the front triangle of all frame sizes. Revel offers a lifetime warranty on the frame and even has a crash replacement program.

The Canfield rear linkage is an offshoot of the VPP system and should provide for a unique riding experience
Some details like the cable routing are solved better than with established competitor brands; the bike is really impressive for a debut model
Instead of keeping the weight low with flimsy tires, Revel relies on grippy Maxxis Minions in 2.5″ and 2.4″ widths
The Revel Rascal features 130 mm travel in the rear, paired with 140 mm forks on the front
The straight seat tube lets you pick long seat posts without any issues, even smaller riders will get away with a 150 mm or even a 170 mm post
The wide cockpit looks tidy and suits the stealth look of the Rascal perfectly

The geometry of the Revel Rascal

The geometry of the Revel Rascal holds little surprises for a bike of this category, the dimensions corresponding with the current interpretation of a modern, versatile trail bike. With 464 mm reach in size L, the Rascal is long enough without going to extremes. Some might call the 66° head tube angle slack for a bike of this class, we think it’s spot on. The 75° seat tube angle is acceptable, although it could be a bit steeper for our taste. The chainstays fit into the scheme and are neither overly long nor exaggeratedly short. The only really remarkable value here is the bottom bracket drop of 38mm, which promises to keep your centre of gravity low.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 386 mm 416 mm 446 mm 476 mm
Top tube 555 mm 575 mm 590 mm 612 mm
Head tube 104 mm 115 mm 125 mm 135 mm
Head angle 65° 65° 65° 65°
Seat angle 75° 75° 75° 75°
Chainstays 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm
BB hight 337 mm 337 mm 337 mm 337 mm
Wheelbase 1,173 mm 1,208 mm 1,230 mm 1,254 mm
Reach 430 mm 450 mm 470 mm 495 mm
Stack 595 mm 607 mm 615 mm 625 mm

Revel Bikes Launch Video