The new marathon XC Ares from bike maker RDR Italia is their most recent new frame and their first full suspension mountain bike. It is also the first in their lineup to fully address many of the recent crop of trail riding standards, from plus sized tires and Boost spacing to longer toptubes, pressfit bearings, a tapered front end… it even throws some graphene in the mix. But the short trail XC bike still has racing at heart and sticks with some fairly steep angles, plus a pivotless rear end designed to go fast. Plus, check out some updated info on the bike’s unique vented rotors…
Entirely built in Italy, RDR’s new 100mm travel Ares gets a monocoque frame construction with a mix of hi-mod T800 fibers and some graphene thrown in there too. RDR doesn’t elaborate on how or what the graphene does, but they do claim that it leads to a complete frame weighing just 1570g, including the alloy rocker and all the hardware. They also say the means that pretty much any complete bike they build with the Ares will come in under 10kg/22lbs.
The front end of the Ares incorporates a lot of wide boxy tube sections to deliver a stiff backbone for the race bike, and transitions at a high main pivot to a set of equally boxy chainstays. The Boost 148 rear axle gets inset a little bit away from the chainstays, which allows for the design to use a thinner flattened set of seatstays which RDR names Flexy stays since they allow for the vertical flex in the rear triangle without the addition of a pivot.
This layout makes the bike perform essentially as a faux-bar single pivot with the linkage driven shock. All pivots the bike does have rotate on ceramic bearings for lifetime performance.
And to add a bit of adjustability, the rear shock mount on the two-piece CNC rocker link includes a two-position mounting point that allows the rider to set the bike for either a steeper head angle and taller bottom bracket for a more XC feel or a 1° slackened headtube and a lower BB for a more stable descending trail setup.
The wide set boxy chainstays also provide plenty of room to squeeze in some fat rubber. With not overly short 435mm chainstays the bike is designed to accommodate either standard 29″ wheels or 27.5+ wheels with the modern crop of 30mm wide rims. That means you can either go 2.4″ on a 29er build or 2.8″ on 27.5+.
In addition to Boost spacing, RDR is said to also offer a conversion kit that lets buyers space the bike back down to a 142mm rear if they feel the need to build up the bike with an existing wheelset for the time being.
The 1x specific frame gets fully internal routing for shift and brake lines, all through a modular port on the non-driveside behind the headtube that includes a housing clamp to hold everything in place. Besides electronic or mechanical shifting & the rear brake line, the frame also can accommodate an internally routed stealth dropper post or remote rear shock controls.
Also interesting on this Ares were its brake rotors. Made by Taiwanese company Alero Bikes, they are another of the fairly rare options to provide some more performance tech features often seen just under the biggest brands. This rotor combines a 6-bolt interface on an aluminum carrier with a floating stainless brake track. And on top of that already less common combo it adds a third material, what appears to be a stamped alloy plate with cooling dimples. We don’t have much more detail on the rotors, other than the fact that they’ve been on the market for most of this year, but we will update if Alero gives us more info.
We have a bit more detail on the rotors now. They do indeed use a stainless brake track, but it gets a small groove cut into it that lets the cooling fins snap into place. The dimpeled & perforated fins themselves are 1050 aluminum. Then the floating carrier is a 7075 alloy for higher strength. The producer Alero does not have EU or US distribution now, but that is looking to change in 2017. For now RDR is a key customer through their parent company, so can make them availble on their bikes.
Like the rest of RDR’s frames, the Ares comes backed by a lifetime warranty to the original owner, and even covers paint for two years. With its monocoque construction the Ares is less customizable than RDR’s tube-to-tube hardtails, but the frame comes in three standard sizes that they say should fit most mountain bikers.