Building on years of frame design experience both for themselves and others, the new Culprit RAD combines road bike performance with trail capability to deliver an all-in-one road, gravel, adventure, bikepacking, touring bike. With mounts for most anything and tire clearance for days, it’s designed to fill in any holes in your drop bar quiver (or replace it altogether) and look good doing it.

The Culprit RAD built as a road bike will still fit full coverage fenders with up to 700×32 tires.

RAD, which stands for Road And Dirt, is a full carbon frame and fork combo that’s being sold as either a frameset or rolling chassis. It’s built around the latest 12mm thru axle standards front and rear, and flat mount brakes. There are three water bottle cage mounts, fender and rack mounts on both ends of the bike, and bento box mounts on the top tube. It even ships with the quick access bento box.

Tackle rougher roads with 650b x 2.1 mountain bike tires...

The frame and fork are moderately aero shaped, and funnel all cables and hoses inside to reduce drag and improve looks. Any drivetrain and braking setup will work, with multiple cable ports on the top tube (directly behind the steerer, feeding down toward the downtube…which takes advantage of their new integrated stem concept shown below) or letting you run things through the steerer with compatible bars and stems.

…or crush gravel with 700×45 or 650×2.1 gravel bike tires.

The bike is built and tested to handle anything you’ll take it on, and by simply swapping wheelsets, you can easily transition from pure road to fast gravel to backcountry dirt road touring or more. The frame and fork will fit up to 700×45 tires (700×32 with full fenders), or 650×2.1 gravel or mountain bike tires.

Rack mounts can handle up to 25kg in the rear, and 9kg up front. Use those plus a saddle bag and handlebar roll and you’re ready for multi-day touring. It an extremely versatile frameset that somehow pulls off looking good in any configuration.

The matte carbon frameset comes in five sizes, from XS to XL, with three logo colors to choose from: gloss black, neon yellow, and neon pink. Framesets will have an MSRP of $1,650, but are available on their IndieGoGo launch for 25% off ($1,235) and includes frame, fork, headset, seatpost (0mm or offset), thru axles and bento box.

culprit rad is the perfect gravel and road bike that can handle any terrain

A frameset with cockpit adds their new ergo aero carbon handlebar (which is very nice, full details in the campaign), and your choice of the integrated or standard carbon stem for $1,495 ($1,995 MSRP).

Culprit RAD road and gravel adventure touring bike frameset options

The rolling chassis adds your choice of their aero 50mm deep 700c carbon wheelset (Venn rims, Token hubs, Pillar spokes) or 35G 650B carbon mountain bike wheels (Culprit’s rims, Token hubs, Pillar spokes) for $2,425 ($3,245 MSRP).

The wheels, handlebar, stems and two different tool kits are all available on the campaign, too. The latter packs everything you need to fix your bike (plus room for any small paraphernalia you like to take on your adventure rides, snacks or otherwise) into either a saddle bag wrap or a bottle-shaped soft case with interior organization to keep it rattle free.

culprit covert ops stem with integrated hidden cable management

Included in the campaign as a separate item is their new Covert Ops stem, which allows you to hide the cables and any junction box inside the main compartment without having to reset your handlebar position. It’s made to spit the cables out the back, where many triathlon bikes route the input, or run things into the steerer for compatible forks.

It’s also designed to work with their new aero bars system, which lets you set the mount and handlebar position once, then tweak aero bar position independently so your position remains consistent even if you have to travel with the bike. For anyone looking at this bike as a long distance tourer, it’s a good add-on to consider.

All packages include free shipping to North America, Europe and Asia. Shipping is charged for other countries. We had a chance to preview the bike for a three hour ride around Culprit’s home base, and it’s a great bike. Short ride review coming soon!

Check the IndieGoGo campaign here.

26 COMMENTS

    • exactly you see a problem where there is none. “Needing steel for bikepacking” is just an excuse for rich dudes to buy yet another bike. Most bike are good for bikepacking and carbon is certainly not fragile. Also in the very unlikely event where you damage that carbon frame reparing it is not that hard. Some carbon cloth and epoxy resin, which can be easily found in any furniture store and you’re good to go.

    • have you ever tried bikepacking on a carbon bike, do you even own one? why comment if youve not got either the experience nor the data to back up your viewpoint?

    • nice, after searching for a low cost frame to build a bike I notice China catalog frames turning up will all kinds of brand name logos on them… some even from the larger well regarded brands 😮

    • The first line of the article reads that Culprit designs their own or designed for others. Both are true in regard to RAD.

      In order to reach our funding goals of only 40K across so many products, We did work with a manufacturer on the design.
      From the mention of my supplier talking about a new gravel model. They allowed me to really have my input and design cues instilled in the designs. I was involved with this frame from concept, to 2D, 3D through to early carbon samples.

      Due to Culprits smaller volume, it was agreed to be available to other brands keeping a few things unique to me. Such as the cable routing which allows the frame 2 options. Either the top tube entry like a TT bike or directly through the steerer and out the back of the steerer when using new internal routing systems such as my new Covert Op cockpit.

      Unfortunately those delays in the stem pushed back our frame release date. Thus why we are now coming out in Nov rather than very early in the year But we wanted a complete package to offer as we feel that using our new stem really adds features to the bike.

      We also found alot of issues with the first molds and had to do modifications. So, the Holdsworth is shown only with mechanical shifting because the frame was not di2 compatible. I have ensured our design is Di2 compatible and modifications were made to allow ease with Di2 installation. Also, bottle cage positioning, etc

      We also have a different carbon lay up to accommodate our cable routing, top tube bento box and ride quality needs. As well as different layup in the fork and steerer to allow cable routing through it.

      We also have very thorough testing and don’t just rely on our suppliers internal testing. So to test frames during production and development we factor outside testing fees into unit pricing. This way we can ensure that the product being produced is what we agreed upon and meets and exceeds industry standards.

      Another big increase in our cost is painting. We found the frame supplier’s painting to be sub par. Out of the mold we had to invest more in making the frames meet our standards and also wanted raw carbon vs a smoked black or painted over frames. This kept our frame weights down but also added cost.

      IF you look at alot of brands. they offer price points for frame lay up, etc. Specialized uses the same molds but charges more for their lighter S works versus their standard. Canyon does the same. So, if the outside looks the same, does not mean the internals are.

      So, Different routing, different lay up, higher quality control costs, Extra testing measures, Di2 compatible, Bento box as well as lighter and better painting and finish are the major differences.

      Hope that makes sense and you will be a Culprit RAD rider.

      • You must really think your customers lack any analytical ability. You made the cable routing worse for mechanical drive trains because there are more bends. Who uses di2 for bike packing? Internal routing on the fork. No thanks! That just means I have to bleed my brakes when I install or change them. You changed the layup? Prove it! You’ve never even been trying the factory that produced them, so how would you know? Extra testing? Maybe. But did it actually make it better? Let’s see some actual data. Better paint? Who cares it’s a gravel/bike packing bike so it’s going to be messed up quick anyways. The bento box and stem are hideous, and there is better quality and versatility from stems and bags already on the market. I don’t normally criticize things on here, but this is a complete fail. The Planet X version is a better version of the same open mold frame even before it being nearly a grand cheaper. Bring something original to the market.

      • With utmost respect for independent designers, you have a great product here but the obvious misstep is pricing. PlanetX probably has preferential pricing over you which could explain the massive price difference. Since you contributed so much to the frame design, you could’ve also demanded exclusivity for one season.

      • These frames cost less than $400 wholesale. I know your supplier personally, you’re free to charge what you want, but your prices scream retail arbitrage to me even if it’s a slightly modified product.

        How is your safety testing better than your supplier’s testing procedures? They have a room full of gold-standard testing instruments and certify every frame to at least 130% of ISO 4210 standards.

        How was your supplier’s painting not satisfactory? Are they not able to stick vinyl decals on raw UD matte finish or stencil paint them on?

        Designing a frame is not the equivalent of emailing, Skyping, or WhatsApping with a factory agent who passes your thoughts on to factory engineers to have them incorporate a suite of features. It’s not your years of experience in carbon frame design, it’s theirs.

        Sincerely, I thank you for your service to the sport in bringing better frames to publicly available catalog options. But I’ve also discussed frame concepts with agents in an advisory role. These concepts have and still are being realized, but I don’t have a license to claim that I designed these frames, because I didn’t draw the CAD file and plan the layup. That’s 99% of the work.

        If your frame were proprietary and you did earn sole rights to it somehow, there would be a sole agreement on sales of this frame at least somewhere on the globe. But there is no sole agreement that I can find. You may have added additional features which we can only get by ordering through you, but who would value these features at $1000 extra? Other comments here speak for themselves.

        You are working through an agent just like any of us that buy factory-direct. We can all negotiate with an agent to have them move bottle mounts, drill other routing ports, use a different material, sand a little longer for a smoother raw feel, lay up a little more carefully to get a cleaner UD matte finish, etc.. It takes a little extra cash, but all it takes is an email.

        I can appreciate the fact that you import frames, warehouse them, and ship them with shorter lead times than factory agents and provide customer service in English. That’s worth value in and of itself, but it’s not worth $1000.

        The fantasy brand dream lives within all of us, you’ve put a little more capital on the table to get this started and gotten it this far — kudos. But please ask customers to pay for what you’ve put into it with a sustainable fund set aside for return and growth.

        Honest and transparent marketing is the most effective strategy, even if you offer less as a result.

        • “Designing a frame is not the equivalent of emailing, Skyping, or WhatsApping with a factory agent who passes your thoughts on to factory engineers to have them incorporate a suite of features. It’s not your years of experience in carbon frame design, it’s theirs.”

          So how many brands actually do their own carbon layup? Most brands rely on the factories experience to know better than them. I would say at most 10 brands actually do their own carbon layup. The other brands do the 3d designs and the factory then does the layup and testing..

          I never said my suppliers testing wasn’t good. I was just stating we did extra testing to verify 3rd party.

          Painting. We paint in Taiwan. Always have and always will. We do all personal QC check of painting and being near the factory makes it easy to reject a paint job and be around to check again til it passes QC. We don’t hire our use any trading company since we are in Asia full time. But to answer your question, no they won’t do raw carbon with decals, they will smoke it black first if they do decals.

          We have designed our own projects. Hence Culprit Legend but couldn’t afford to bring it to market with our own molds. Thus this time working with our supplier on this new mold/which they can sell to others. We have patents on this aerobar/stem design and alot of design and testing into that. The bike was designed as a complete package. Even if we did use some open tooling parts to achieve the goal.

          About costs. Sure. knowing what it cost to produce versus what it actually costs from factory to my hands, packed, marketed, add ons, etc. Shipping rates from Taiwan are MUCH higher than China and even UK frame pricing. A brand can only survive if their is profit and the bike industry is a race to the bottom which is hurting the industry as a whole.

          • Totally empathize with you Joshua. You have no scale therefore you will inevitably have higher costs all around. Selling D2C globally out of Taiwan without local market partners is another disadvantage.

      • “So, if the outside looks the same, does not mean the internals are.”

        Respect you for replying here Josh. Call me cynical – the ‘same mold, different layup’ thing has been said many times re. catalogue frame shapes and it’s a bit like ‘custom drawn/butted’. An industry line that needs more back-up of how/what/why. Without that it only plays to the views of carbon as something hardly anyone in the bike industry really understands. If you can get it across, no doubt you could, you may get less flack for the frame shape. After all the lay up is the factory’s work. Brands need to explain what they do there.

    • now that’s funny. Things like cable ports and at least the tt bag mounts appear to be different, but certainly the same mold. Makes me wonder what it would cost on aliexpress or ebay.

    • I can’t see the top tube mounts on the planat x version (or how do they fix the top tube bag?). Shame that they stop one frame size short. Otherwise I would give it a try but I need stack around 640 and reach around 415.

      Also, it seems a little silly to place the bag on the saddle if there is still space unter the bottom bracket.

  1. Bike-packing is fairly rough on bikes any drop is made worse because your bike is loaded, your bike gets thrown around on trains and planes, smashed off rock crossing rivers, dropped off high ledges, generally beat to sh1t. Nice if you can avoid it and look after your stuff but my experience in the cold dark wet, middle of nowhere I tend to compromise on carrying for me gear my bike too much.

  2. Any frame that is stiff enough for road is going to rattle your teeth on the trails they show on the video. Of course the 27.5 x 2.1 tires will help.

    • You’re assuming a stiffer road bike is better. Sean Kelly won hundreds of races – often in sprints – on a Vitus 979 aluminum bike which was noticeably less stiff than any steel bike from that era. In the 90’s lots of races were won on noodle-like TVT frames. The less a frame beats you up, the more energy you can apply to going faster. That’s as true on the road as off. Also why even the pros have been gravitating towards wider tires.

    • Functionally that is identical to my Tri bike front end, and, no, you don’t need more cable than that to turn.
      The Bento does not interfere with the cables, nor does the cable exit of the stem cause interference in this setup.

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