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Revel Rascal GX Review

A versatile mid-travel 29er that would be a great one bike quiver for most riders
Revel Rascal GX
Photo: Laura Casner
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Price:  $5,499 List
Pros:  Quick up and down, versatile, sharp handling, well-damped and refined ride feel
Cons:  Slacker seat tube angle, conservative-ish geometry
Manufacturer:   Revel Bikes
By Jeremy Benson, Joshua Hutchens  ⋅  Aug 5, 2021
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86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 21
  • Fun Factor - 25% 8.9
  • Downhill Performance - 35% 8.7
  • Climbing Performance - 35% 8.4
  • Ease of Maintenance - 5% 7

Our Verdict

Revel may be a relative newcomer in the industry, but with quality bikes like the Rascal, we think they are here to stay. This carbon-framed mid-travel 29er has 130mm of rear travel paired with a 140mm fork. Versatility is its strong suit, and it does just about everything well. It's impressively calm and stable on the descents, yet its somewhat conservative geometry gives it sharp handling and above-average technical riding performance. The CBF suspension design works very well and provides a super damp and refined feel with a stable pedaling platform. It's also a quick, efficient climber, and a good companion for any length of ride. The GX Eagle build we tested is pretty nice for the price and comes ready to party on the trails.

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Revel Rascal GX
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Revel Rascal GX
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Price $5,499 List$5,899 List$7,299 List
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$4,300 List$5,399 List
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Pros Quick up and down, versatile, sharp handling, well-damped and refined ride feelOutstanding all around performance, more capable on the descents than its predecessor, great climber, excellent buildExcellent climbing abilities, impressive downhill performance, high fun factor, tremendous build kitHighly adjustable geometry, adaptable for terrain or riding style, SWAT storage, plush suspension, very stable and confident descenderLightweight, playful, well-rounded, modern geometry, solid component specification
Cons Slacker seat tube angle, conservative-ish geometryExpensive, still not a full-on enduro bike, a touch on the heavy sideExpensive, pivots came loose a few times during testingOverkill for tame trails, Fox 36 Rhythm fork, moderate weightNot a brawler, Fox 34 fork can be overwhelmed
Bottom Line A versatile mid-travel 29er that would be a great one bike quiver for most ridersThe new and improved Ripmo V2 is the best all-around trail bike we've ever testedA fantastic trail bike that blends superb climbing abilities with fun and well-rounded downhill performanceA heavy-hitting longer travel trail bike with an innovative, highly adjustable geometryWe loved the old version, but believe it or not, the new Ibis Ripley is even better
Rating Categories Revel Rascal GX Ibis Ripmo V2 XT Yeti SB130 TURQ X01 Stumpjumper EVO Comp Ibis Ripley GX Eagle
Fun Factor (25%)
8.9
9.3
9.2
9.3
9.1
Downhill Performance (35%)
8.7
9.5
8.9
9.4
7.8
Climbing Performance (35%)
8.4
9.0
9.1
8.0
9.5
Ease Of Maintenance (5%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Revel Rascal GX Ibis Ripmo V2 XT Yeti SB130 TURQ X01 Stumpjumper EVO Comp Ibis Ripley GX Eagle
Wheel size 29" 29" 29" 29" 29"
Suspension & Travel CBF (Canfield Balance Formula) - 130mm DW-Link - 147mm Switch Infinity - 130mm FSR - 150mm DW-Link - 120mm
Measured Weight (w/o pedals) 30 lbs 5 oz (Large) 31 lbs (Large) 29 lbs 9 oz (Large) 31 lbs 14 oz (Large) 28 lbs 14 oz (Large)
Fork Rock Shox Pike Ultimate, 140mm Fox Float 36 Grip 2 Factory 160mm Fox 36 Factory - 150mm 36mm stanchions Fox 36 Rhythm - 160mm Fox Float 34 Performance 130mm 34mm stanchions
Shock Rock Shox Super Deluxe Select Fox Float X2 Fox DPX2 Factory Fox Float DPX2 Performance Fox Float Performance DPS EVOL
Frame Material Carbon Fiber Carbon Fiber Carbon Fiber "TURQ" FACT 11m Carbon Fiber Carbon Fiber
Frame Size Large Large Large S4 (Large equivalent) Large
Frame Settings N/A N/A N/A Flip Chip and Headtube angle N/A
Available Sizes S-XL S-XL S-XL S1-S6 S-XL
Wheelset Industry 9 Enduro S 1/1 Ibis S35 Aluminum rims with Ibis hubs, 35mm ID DT Swiss M1700, 30mm ID w/ DT Swiss 350 hub Roval 29 alloy rims with Shimano Centerlock hubs, 30mm id Ibis 938 Aluminum Rims 34mm ID w/ Ibis Hubs
Front Tire Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 2.5" Maxxis Assegai EXO+ 2.5" Maxxis Minion DHF WT 29 x 2.5" Specialized Butcher GRID TRAIL T9, 2.6" Schwable Hans Dampf 2.6"
Rear Tire Maxxis Aggressor EXO 2.3" Maxxis Assegai EXO+ 2.5" Maxxis Aggressor 29 x 2.3 Specialized Eliminator GRID TRAIL T7, 2.3" Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.6"
Shifters SRAM GX Eagle Shimano XT M8100 12-speed SRAM XO Eagle Shimano SLX 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX Eagle Shimano XT M8100 Shadow Plus 12-speed SRAM X0 Eagle Shimano SLX 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle
Crankset SRAM GX Eagle DUB 170mm 32T Shimano XT M8100 32T SRAM X0 Eagle Carbon 30T Shimano SLX 170mm SRAM Descendant Alloy 32T
Saddle WTB Volt CroMo WTB Silverado Pro 142mm WTB Volt Specialized Bridge Comp WTB Silverado 142mm
Seatpost Crankbrothers Highline 7 Bike Yoke Revive (185mm size large) Fox Transfer 150mm X-Fusion Manic 170mm (S4/S5), 34.9 diameter Bike Yoke Revive 160mm
Handlebar Truvativ Descendant Alloy, 800mm Ibis Adjustable Carbon 800mm (30mm rise) Yeti Carbon - 780mm Specialized 6061 alloy, 30mm rise, 800mm width Ibis 780mm Alloy
Stem Truvativ Descendant 35, 40mm Thomson Elite X4 RaceFace Aeffect R 35 Specialized Alloy Trail stem, 35mm bore Ibis 31.8mm 50mm
Brakes SRAM G2 R Shimano XT M8120 4-piston Shimano XT M8000 Shimano SLX 4-piston Shimano Deore 2 Piston
Measured Effective Top Tube (mm) 633 632 628 625 625
Measured Reach (mm) 464 475 477 475 475
Measured Head Tube Angle 66-degrees 64.9-degrees 65.1-degrees 63-65.5 (adjustable) 66.5-degrees
Measured Seat Tube Angle 75-degrees 76-degrees 76.8-degrees 76.9-degrees 76.2-degrees
Measured Bottom Bracket Height (mm) 335 341 335 340 (adjustable with flip chips) 338
Measured Wheelbase (mm) 1220 1238 1231 1247 1210
Measured Chain Stay Length (mm) 433 435 438 438 (S1-S4) 434
Warranty Lifetime Seven Years Lifetime Lifetime Seven Years

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Revel Rascal is a sporty mid-travel trail bike that does just...
The Revel Rascal is a sporty mid-travel trail bike that does just about everything well.
Photo: Laura Casner

Should I Buy This Bike?


Revel bikes is a smaller Colorado-based brand specializing in carbon fiber mountain bike frames and wheels. Founded by a team of industry veterans, the crew at Revel has plenty of experience designing bikes and working with carbon fiber. They also licensed the Canfield Balance Formula (CBF) suspension design from the Canfield brothers of Canfield Bikes, which they claim is the "heart of every Revel bike". They made a splash a few years ago when they entered the market with two full-suspension models including the mid-travel Rascal reviewed here. The Rascal sports 130mm of rear-wheel travel paired with a 140mm fork and is intended to be a versatile do-it-all trail bike for any terrain. We found it to be just that, with a somewhat conservative but balanced geometry that performs well in all situations. High speeds, low speeds, aggressive terrain, or mellow trails, the Rascal felt comfortable, intuitive, and ready for anything. Its handling is sharp and this bike feels playful and poppy yet remains surprisingly composed at speed or when the going gets rough. The CBF suspension design impressed us equally on the descents and on the climbs, and the Rascal is quick and efficient on the ascents. Our only real complaint is the slacker-than-we're-used-to seat tube angle, but that really didn't affect this bike's overall performance. The GX Eagle build we tested also comes nicely equipped and ready to shred. Not to mention the fact that this bike looks fantastic, with excellent attention to detail and superb finish quality. If you're a trail rider looking for a mid-travel ride that really does it all well, we think the Rascal is worthy of serious consideration.

If you like tricky technical riding, the Rascal has you covered.
If you like tricky technical riding, the Rascal has you covered.
Photo: Laura Casner

The Norco Optic C2 is an interesting comparison to the Rascal. The Optic is a 29er with 125mm of rear-wheel travel paired with a 140mm fork with a longer reach and wheelbase and a 65-degree head tube angle. Its Horst-Link suspension design is super active and this bike throttles down aggressive terrain well above its short travel pay grade. It doesn't climb with the same efficiency or urgency, nor it is quite as nimble as the Rascal, a tradeoff for its confidence-inspiring descending prowess. If you value versatility, we'd steer you towards the Rascal, but if charging hard on the descents is your priority, give the Optic a look. The Optic C2 SRAM we tested retails for $4,399.

Fezzari's Delano Peak is a direct-to-consumer mid-travel trail bike that rolls on 29-inch wheels and has 135mm of rear-wheel travel paired with a 150mm fork. Its geometry qualifies as modern and progressive compared to the Rascal with a longer reach and wheelbase and slacker head tube angle. The Delano Peak is equally versatile, though it feels a touch more stable at speed and comfortable in steep and rough terrain with a slacker head tube and more front travel. That said, the Rascal is a touch lighter weight with a more stable pedal platform, enhancing its efficiency on the climbs. The Rascal's guided internal cable routing also helps to make it quieter and feel a touch more refined through the rough stuff. Both bikes are really quite good, although the Fezzari is a fair amount less expensive, with the Elite build we tested going for $4,599.

Revel makes very nice-looking bikes, and the Rascal is no exception...
Revel makes very nice-looking bikes, and the Rascal is no exception. It has clean lines, great colors, internal cable routing, room for a full-size water bottle, and molded chainstay and downtube protection.
Photo: Laura Casner

Frame Design


The Rascal is built around a carbon fiber frame comprised of a mix of Japanese Toray T700 and T800 fibers. Revel claims that their optimized layup using 30 and 60-degree fibers results in a stronger, stiffer tubing while using less material. The frame has 130mm of rear-wheel travel using the Canfield Balance Formula (CBF) suspension design. CBF is a dual-link suspension design with a rigid rear triangle attached to the frame using two links. The lower link is attached at the bottom of the seat tube just above the bottom bracket, and the upper link is attached to the front of the seat tube a few inches higher up. According to Revel, the CBF design is based around the Center of Curvature and balancing it with the Instant Center which allows the suspension to function without the influence of drivetrain or braking forces. The frame has guided internal cable routing, molded chainstay and downtube protection, and room within the front triangle for a full-size water bottle.

The Rascal comes in four frame sizes, Small-XL. We measured our size large test bike and found an effective top tube length of 633mm and a moderate 464mm reach. The chainstays measured 433mm with a 66-degree head tube angle resulting in a 1,220mm wheelbase length. The effective seat tube angle is 75-degrees, although the actual seat tube angle is a fair amount slacker than that. Revel has also spec-d a (formerly) standard 51mm offset fork on the Rascal. Our test bike weighed in at 30 lbs and 5 oz setup tubeless and without pedals.

Design Highlights

  • Carbon Fiber frames only
  • 29-inch wheels
  • 130mm of Canfield Balance Formula (CBF) suspension
  • Designed around a 140mm fork
  • Full sleeve internal cable routing
  • Integrated chain guide
  • Threaded bottom bracket
  • Molded chainstay and downtube protection
  • 2.4-inch max rear tire clearance

The Rascal is a pure-bred trail bike. It performs well just about...
The Rascal is a pure-bred trail bike. It performs well just about everywhere with a super damp and composed feel when things get rough.
Photo: Laura Casner

Downhill Performance


Our testers were pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Rascal on the descents. Despite its somewhat conservative geometry, it did everything we asked of it and handled anything that came down the trail with confidence and composure. Revel did an excellent job creating a mid-travel trail bike that is both playful and agile and stable and damp, it never felt out of place. The CBF suspension design was a definite highlight, soaking up small bumps, high-frequency chop, and big hits alike. The GX Eagle build we tested also comes ready to rip and further enhances this bike's downhill performance.

The Rascal's geometry is considered relatively moderate by today's...
The Rascal's geometry is considered relatively moderate by today's standards, but we didn't find that to be an issue. It has super responsive handling and felt very quick on the descents.
Photo: Laura Casner

When compared to many of today's trail bikes with modern, progressive geometry, the Rascal's measurements seem relatively moderate, conservative, and perhaps even a little dated. While it may not be exactly cutting-edge in terms of the length of its reach or wheelbase or slackness of head tube angle, we found it to perform exactly like the super versatile mid-travel trail bike that Revel intended it to be. They seem to have aimed for and hit the comfortable middle ground and created a bike that performs well in virtually all situations and is super easy to get along with. The 66-degree head tube angle is slack enough to tackle virtually any steepness of trail, without being so slack that it feels dull or lethargic on mellower terrain or at lower speeds. The moderate length 1,220mm wheelbase and 464mm reach measurements (size Large) help to keep the bike feeling nimble and maneuverable in tight/technical terrain and didn't seem to negatively impact its stability at speed. This bike feels fast and remains remarkably composed with a head of steam. At the same time, the short-ish 433mm chainstays keep the rear end feeling sporty and flickable, and this bike will happily pop and play the way down the mountain if that's what you're after.

The CBF suspension design works very well. It provides great...
The CBF suspension design works very well. It provides great mid-stroke support for a poppy and playful feel and soaks up big impacts and high-frequency chop with the best of 'em.
Photo: Laura Casner

With 130mm of rear-wheel travel and a 140mm fork, the Rascal falls squarely in the mid-travel category. It has just enough travel to handle virtually any terrain, without being so bulky that it feels like overkill on mellower trails or lower speeds. Revel has licensed the relatively uncommon Canfield Balance Formula (CBF) suspension design to control the rear wheel travel, and we were quite impressed by its performance. This was our first experience riding the CBF design and the general looks and feel of it reminded us a lot of a similar dual-link system known as DW-Link. We found it to provide a super damp ride feel, with ample sensitivity over small bumps, excellent performance over mid-sized and high-frequency chop, and great bottom out resistance on bigger hits. We also found adequate mid-stroke support, creating a poppy and playful platform to push off of that didn't tend to wallow when you jam on the pedals out of a corner. During testing, we punched it down some seriously long and chunky Tahoe rock gardens and noticed that the suspension seemed relatively unaffected by braking forces. Overall, it was impressively quiet, calm, and never felt it was really being pushed beyond its limits. The Rascal also felt stiff and precise laterally, with no noticeable flex or play between the front and rear triangles. We wouldn't be disappointed at all if we saw other brands using the CBF suspension design.

The GX build we tested comes nicely spec'd with components that are...
The GX build we tested comes nicely spec'd with components that are ready to stand up to some serious use and abuse.
Photo: Laura Casner

The GX Eagle build we tested is the least expensive option offered by Revel, but we feel they pretty much nailed it. Our test bike had the fork upgrade to the RockShox Pike Ultimate, providing more tuning options compared to the Select version that comes standard. Either way, the Pike is well suited to the Rascal and provides ample stiffness and control for the front of this bike. Likewise, the RockShox Super Deluxe Select shock handled the rear suspension duties very well. A definite highlight of the build was the Industry Nine Enduro S alloy wheels with 1/1 hubs. These alloy hoops have a great ride quality and the 4-degree freehub engagement helps to give the bike a responsive and high-quality feel. The Maxxis Minion DHF and Aggressor combo is a crowd-pleaser and left nothing to be desired. SRAM's G2 R brakes work well enough, although they'd likely be one of the first things we'd upgrade to enhance this bike's performance on the descents. The Truvativ Descendant alloy handlebar and stem combo provided responsive steering, while the Crankbrothers Highline 7 dropper worked well enough to get the saddle out of the way on the descents.

We took issue with the Rascal's seat tube angle, but regardless...
We took issue with the Rascal's seat tube angle, but regardless, this bike is quick and has no limitations on the climbs.
Photo: Laura Casner

Climbing Performance


We found the Rascal to be a surprisingly swift and effective climber, although we weren't thrilled about the bike's relatively slack seat tube angle. Beyond some minor comfort issues, this bike felt impressively efficient and almost eager to get up the hill. Thanks to its somewhat conservative geometry, it also handled well at low speeds and tackled tight and technical terrain with relative ease.

The slacker seat tube angle takes a little getting used to, but...
The slacker seat tube angle takes a little getting used to, but otherwise, this bike is a fast and capable climber.
Photo: Laura Casner

As mountain bike geometry has rapidly changed over the past several years, seat tube angles have steepened with most new trail bikes in the 76-77 degree range. The 75-degree effective seat tube angle doesn't seem too far off of that mark, but the Rascal's actual seat tube angle is a fair bit slacker than that. Riders who are on the low end of a frame's recommended height range will be close to that effective seat tube angle measurement, but taller riders, like our six-foot tester with long legs, may end up in a less ideal position. We found that our weight was a little further back than we're used to, with our hips a touch behind the bottom bracket, as opposed to right on top of it. In this position, we found that we were using slightly different leg muscles than usual, a bit more hamstring, and that resulted in some minor lower back strain. Now, this is probably only something that riders coming from bikes with steeper seat tubes would notice, but we feel it is notable nonetheless. Interestingly, we didn't find this to have any negative impact on the bike's climbing performance, and it was otherwise very comfortable and intuitive on the uphills. Handling felt responsive, and we found it to negotiate tight, technical terrain with relative ease and scramble up steep, loose pitches just as effectively.

On the climbs, the CBF suspension design impressed us once again. It supports the rider well and sits relatively high in its travel. We found it to provide a very calm pedaling platform as well, with virtually no noticeable pedal bob or energy wasted through unwanted suspension movement. At the same time, the suspension remains supple enough to maintain excellent rear wheel traction and take the edge off small bumps in the trail. Other than some paved road climbs, we never found the compression damping switch on the RockShox Super Deluxe rear shock to be necessary. Despite our above-mentioned gripes about the seat tube angle, the Rascal proved to be a very efficient climber with testers setting PRs on climbs they do on a regular basis.

Smooth climbs or chunky, steep tech, the Rascal handled it all with...
Smooth climbs or chunky, steep tech, the Rascal handled it all with ease.
Photo: Laura Casner

The GX Eagle build gave us nothing to complain about on the climbs. The 12-speed GX drivetrain performed flawlessly, and the 10-52 tooth cassette provides a huge range for any pitch of climb. The Maxxis Aggressor is a great, versatile rear tire that works well in a huge range of conditions and is reasonably fast-rolling. The 4-degree engagement of the Industry Nine 1/1 hubs was also excellent, with minimal lag between engagement points giving the bike a refined feel. Lastly, the WTB Volt saddle is a long-time tester favorite, and we found it to be a very comfortable place to sit and spin away the hours.

Photo Tour


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Value


While the retail price of the Rascal with the GX Eagle build we tested is certainly no drop in the bucket, we feel it is a good value for a boutique carbon frame equipped with a quality component specification. It is priced competitively with complete builds from major manufacturers, which we feel is quite impressive given Revel's smaller-scale production. The build kit is also quite nice for the price, and this bike is ready for action right off the bat. The frame also comes with a lifetime warranty that covers defects in materials and craftsmanship, so you can rest assured that you're covered should something go wrong.

Conclusion


The Revel Rascal is a top performer amongst mid-travel trail bikes. This carbon-framed 29er climbs and descends swiftly and feels both nimble and planted at the same time. Its somewhat conservative geometry gives it responsive handling, yet doesn't hold you back in aggressive terrain, and the CBF suspension design eats up rough trails with a calm and refined feel. If you're looking for a bike that not only looks great but actually does it all well, check out the Revel Rascal.

Anyone in the market for a versatile mid-travel trail bike would be...
Anyone in the market for a versatile mid-travel trail bike would be wise to check out the Rascal.
Photo: Laura Casner

Other Versions


Revel currently sells the Rascal in 4 complete build kits ranging in price from $5,499 for the GX Eagle build up to $9,999 for the fully tricked out XX1 Eagle AXS. They also have upgrade options for parts like the fork, rear shock, wheels, seatpost, and handlebar should you wish to customize your bike even further. The frame comes in three colors, T1000 silver, LYB purple, and Sedona (tested). It is also offered as a frame and rear shock only for $2,999, or as a frame, shock, and Pike Ultimate fork for $3,699.

Jeremy Benson, Joshua Hutchens