Revel Bikes has added the Rail 29 to its line-up of carbon full suspension mountain bikes, a long-awaited addition following the release of its 27.5″ counterpart back in 2019. The 29er runs 155mm of rear wheel travel delivered by the CBF suspension platform developed with Canfield. That’s paired with a 160mm fork sat at a 65° head angle. Revel certainly hasn’t gone overboard with geometry changes, keeping angles pretty consistent with the 27.5″, but there are a few key changes to the frame specs that should please riders and mechanics alike.
Revel Rail 29
The welcome addition of a long-travel 29″ enduro bike from Revel keeps them relevant in a market segment where 27.5″ wheel options seem to be dying out at a rate of knots. That said, Revel are keeping the original 27.5″ Rail in the line-up for those who prefer the more nimble ride feel of a small wheelset. And so they should; it’s a great bike, so good I went out and bought one for myself.
With the Rail 29, Revel has brought in some appropriate frame spec updates to lengthen the lifespan of the linkage bearings. The links (carbon upper, alloy lower) and shock yoke now pivot about larger diameter bearings making the whole linkage slightly chunkier, but by no means burly. Revel also tells us the bearing seal quality is upgraded too, now dual lipped sealed for improved weather resistance.
The increased bearing diameter, along with the addition of a second lateral brace on the swingarm (above the lower link) has allowed them to eliminate the use of double-row bearings, bringing the total number of frame bearings down from 18 to a more easily-stomached ten. Less hardware also means reduced weight; a medium Rail 29 weighs a claimed 7lb 4oz/3.27 kg whereas the 27.5″ Rail in medium weighs a claimed 7lb 14oz/3.56kg. A 6mm wrench is all that is needed for pivot maintenance and you can disassemble the entire linkage without ever having to take your cranks off.
The addition of ISCG-05 tabs is welcomed, allowing riders to mount an aftermarket bash guard, as is the replacement of Revel’s own derailleur hanger with the ubiquitously available SRAM UDH.
We’re disappointed not to see a linkage-specific protector like the debris guard that is available for the short-travel Ranger; the spacing between the articulating links on the 27.5″ frame is pretty small so they trap mud and small stones very easily leading to multiple scratches and frame chips. Revel reassure us they have designed the Rail 29 with ample clearance (noticeably more than on the 27.5″) for debris to pass through.
The downtube, home to two sets of bottle bosses (one on top and another underneath), gets a protector extending from the bottom bracket area. Meanwhile, the driveside stays are protected from both chain slap and debris kicked up by the rear wheel, though we note the chainstay protector does not extend along its full length.
Routing for cables, hoses and the dropper seat post is internal, with tube-in-tube housing for ease of maintenance. The Rail 29 gets a 73mm English Threaded BB, and maximum chainring size on this one is a 36T round, or a 34T oval.
Rail 29 Geometry
As we see so often with 29ers, rear wheel travel drops from 165mm down to 155mm (running a 230mm x 65mm shock), with the fork travel dropping to a recommended 160mm. The HA sits at 65° with the BB at 348mm, a drop of 31mm. Across the S-XL sizes, reach spans a healthy 427mm-494mm range with a consistent chainstay length of 436mm. The seat angle is very slack by modern standards at an effective 76° (actual 69°).
The 76° published seat tube angle is measured from the center of the BB to a point in space that is horizontal with the top of the center of the head tube. Basically, around about where the seat would be if the dropper post was in the fully down position.
Should you wish to run a little more travel up front, Revel do approve the use of a 170mm fork which would see the head angle and seat angle slacken off a little more, the BB height increase, and reach decrease.
The suspension kinematic of the Rail 29 is very similar to that of the 27.5″ bike, with 17.2% progressivity. It sees a slightly higher starting and end stroke leverage ratio. For more info on the Rail 29 kinematic, head to the Revel Bikes website.
Pricing & Availability
The Revel Rail 29 will be available from Spring 2022 as a frame only, as well as in several complete builds. Frame pricing starts at $3499 USD with a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Shock. Complete bikes are priced as follows:
- SRAM GX complete $5,999
- Shimano XT complete $7,299
- SRAM X01 complete $8,299
- SRAM XX1 AXS complete $10,999
For more details on spec options, head to the Revel Bikes website.