Bike Review: Revel Rascal

Bike Review: Revel Rascal

Look, the Rascal is a trail bike—plus. Suspension with 130/140 may sound middling, but this bike feels more capable than those numbers suggest. So too the specs (65.5-degree head tube, 76-seat tube), which are fairly conservative, but somehow add up to more than the sum of the parts. That’s what I like about it: the Rascal is seated, efficient, calm, and—most of all—far rowdier a descender than you expect. Between the frame angles and the sharp handsome paint job, it’s also a looker. If you’re spending thousands, that’s important. 

revel rascal grid detail images

Revel Rascal Details

The standout for me is the XT drivetrain and brakes. I like the smooth action of Shimano shifting—fast and crisp, but not sharp like SRAM—and the braking is superior with better modulation and no fade. For a minute, I wished for a 34mm fork, but the Fox FLOAT 36 Grip 2 suited the bike’s aggressive stance. The Industry 9 wheels were great and are reputed to be extremely durable and long lasting. For my personal build, I’d go lighter, but that comes down to budget. Lastly, for the backcountry riding I prefer, which is trail with plenty of sass built in, the 2.5” Maxxis Minion DHF front and 2.3” Aggressor rear felt like an ideal combo.

The Ride

CBF suspension feels quick and perky pedaling. I climbed every step-up, dusty hill, and tech bit that came my way—easy. The suspension works. Downhill, it feels like you’re riding a bike with another inch or two of travel. On big drops or scary, steep roll-offs, I didn’t even hesitate. I was capable on bits that are normally hard, and more comfortable (wrists, elbows, neck, knees) than on my four-year-old Specialized Stumpy. This bike is an all-arounder, but 50 percent more capable than most bikes with the same suspension numbers.

reval rascal bike full view with sedona background

Last Take on the Revel Rascal

I would buy the Rascal. Except my home trails aren’t as harsh or technical as the ones in Sedona. Based on Revel’s build details (tops!), suspension feel, and aesthetics (it’s a pretty bike versus others), I’m looking at the Ranger, which has less travel but feels bigger based on the CBF suspension. If I purchased another brand, maybe I would need this much travel. With Revel, it feels like I can size down, which buys me a lighter, more maneuverable bike.


by Aaron Gulley

Aaron has been writing about cycling, travel, and the outdoors and reviewing gear for the likes of Outside, Bicycling, Velonews, and others for over two decades.