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Raleigh RX COMP 2015

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Tested by Rob Mehmed

Review

It's official, Raleigh makes cyclocross bikes. In fact, Raleigh makes great cyclocross bikes. The RX series first appeared on the scene in 2014, and the second round picks up the baton and runs with it.

The RX Comp is at the lower end of the Raleigh RX range, with Elite below (at £800) and Pro (£1500), Race (£1850) and Team (£3000) above. It features an improvement on equipment levels compared to the 2014 version, something Raleigh aims to do across the range, offering the same bike, but better, and without hiking up the price.

The alloy frame features a tapered headtube, hydroformed tubing and is finished in striking red with white detail. It stands out from the normal black/grey colour schemes which seem to be in every range at the moment. The forks are rigid C3 carbon and really look like they are built to handle whatever you throw at them.
The frame geometry differs little from the equivalent road bike, resulting in low bars and a very aggressive riding position. It can be a little uncomfortable on a long ride, but the trade off is a bike that's comfortable going fast, very fast! The handling is responsive, without being jittery.

Drive is provided through a 20-speed SRAM Apex (link to review) groupset, with 46/36 chainrings (as you'd expect on a race-capable cyclocross bike) and 11-28 cassette. While there are cyclocross bikes available at the £1000 price point with Shimano's 105 22-speed groupset I never found myself wanting for more, and the range provided by the APEX cassette is wide enough even for the steepest climbs. The SRAM Apex levers take some getting used to, with one tap and release to shift down gears, and a longer push to shift up gears (2-3 at a time is possible). The added benefit of the gear lever doing both jobs is that your brake levers aren't needed for changing gear. This results in them feeling a lot more solid.
About those brake levers... The TRP Spyre cable-actuated discs are operated by SRAM APEX levers, and between them they do a fantastic job. The brakes manage to be both highly sensitive and progressive whilst also extremely powerful, even when operated from the hoods. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better set of cable-operated disc brakes at this price.

The black, own-brand hubs, rims, spokes and Schwalbe Racing Ralph (700x33) tyres complement the overall look of this bike. At first the tyres appear to be more designed for off-road, but they are surprisingly quiet and smooth on the road. There's plenty of grip when you do venture off the black stuff, although the pressures these 33mm tyres need to be maintained at means you do feel every bump and root.

Overall the Raleigh RX Comp is a neat and tidy bike. Dressing it almost top to toe in SRAM clothing results in everything working together rather nicely. The bike manages to be both rugged and lightweight, and is perfect for a commuter who wants to take the off-road route home, and would even be at home racing in a local cyclocross race or adventure cross events. The only downside is the comfort as you wouldn't want to spend all day on it.

Finally, if you're in the market for a do-it-all-style bike, the Raleigh RX Comp comes equipped with mudguard and rack eyelets, making it commuter or touring-capable. The major limiting factor here being comfort, which could be addressed by flipping the stem to raise the handlebars, making the riding position less aggressive and more upright.

At a glance

Verdict A great entry level race rig with brilliant stopping power that would also double as a commuter, touring or winter bike.
Value
Performance

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