FIRST RIDE REPORT
CRESTLINE RS 205 VHP
First Ride Review by Drew Rohde
Photos by Dusten Ryen
Designed in partnership with Cascade Components, Crestline Bike Company’s RS 250 VHP downhill bike is their first release and one we were lucky enough to briefly review. When the two brands joined to collaborate on creating a downhill bike that was fun, versatile and incredibly capable, they were able to approach with a blank slate. Built around a virtual high pivot point suspension design, this 205mm DH bike sports an instant center that Crestline say, “Moves in a truly special way that makes it different than most all other high pivot or mid-high pivot bikes on the market.” Let’s learn a bit more about the bike and we’ll share our initial review of the Crestline RS 205 VHP.
While some things are risky when working with smaller brands, the ability to do really cool stuff is an upside. Crestline and Cascade will be offering additional custom lower links for customers which will adjust travel settings, kinematics, and overall ride characteristics. This is the type of custom that’s usually reserved for factory racers.
Adjustable idler pulley placement is another benefit that will help riders who want to focus more on pedaling or all out DH performance. Since the bike will accept a full length dropper post and can be travel reduced down to 175mm, it’s not unreasonable to see riders wanting to fine-tune that idler pulley to eek out a bit more pedaling performance.
It doesn’t stop there with removable drop outs at the rear of the frame so riders can customize things a bit more. Chainstay lengths, wheel sizes and geometry changes are all easy to achieve depending on the track or preference of the rider. Speaking of preference, there’s not many downhill bikes on the market that have a water bottle mount or an integrated tool storage mount, the Crestline RS 205 VHP does, which we really like.
Initially Crestline will only be offering the RS 205 VHP in raw carbon with alloy links. Future plans include colored decal kits and the ability to ad protective coverings to their frames. The $3,699 price tag covers the frame only, but customers can select to add on a Fox or Ohlins rear shock. Crestline also has a detailed FAQ page to answer relevant questions about building the bike up.
BASIC FRAMESET INFORMATION:
- Available Size: RH (Rider Height) 3 Reach of 480mm +/- 5-10mm (With aftermarket headset)
- Rear Travel: 205mm Virtual High Pivot (Adjustable down to 175mm with aftermarket Cascade Links with various options in between)
- Recommended Fork: DH or Single Crown
- Rear Wheel spacing: 148mm Boost
- BB: 83mm
- Dropouts: Removable for different wheel size options
- Wheel size: Mixed wheel or 29 front and rear with optional dropouts
THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSIONS
With Crestline Bikes and Cascade Components both being relatively small, independent companies, there have not been many of these bikes floating around. In fact, even now after their official release, there will only be 50 numbered frames out in the world, which is a shame because more people should get to see how beautiful they are in person.
As such, our test period to get this initial review of the Crestline RS 205 DH bike was limited to say the least. Lucky for us, we were able to spend time riding the bike on trails we are very familiar with and could quickly get up to speed. The RS 205 VHP’s riding characteristics are very neutral and comfortable. Some bikes take a bit of fidgeting and tuning to feel comfortable on, this is not one of those bikes. Within the first lap I felt comfortable, was linking up corners, hopping blindly into the backside of transitions and pushing into corners with confidence. Of course, I’d love to have more time aboard it to really isolate some of the little things I noticed in certain situations on the trail, so we’ll hope for a long term loaner in the near future.
I really liked the adjustability of the Crestline RS 205. From geometry to travel, adjustable idler-positioning to installing a dropper post and pedaling it, the Crestline RS is quite versatile. I was able to get the headset cups and reach adjusted to exactly my favorite position and had a nice balance of high-speed stability without losing the snappy, tight handling I look for in more technical, natural trails. Similarly, many of the high pivot bikes I’ve ridden suffer from rather significant wheelbase changes, mostly in the form of lengthening. It’s something that has both pros and cons and I’m not exactly sold entirely on the Cool-Aid. The Crestline seems to ride less like a high-pivot bike than some others I’ve ridden, and I mean that in a good way for the most part. I hope to spend more time on the RS but I felt that the bike rode a touch on the stiffer, racier side compared to some more “Plus” feeling bikes on the market. Then again it was designed to be a race bike. Usually when it comes to racing speed is placed above comfort and that is something customers should consider if they’re regularly riding mega-long downhills, or spend back to back full days in the bike park without a racer-level fitness.
If I saw someone at the bottom of a run at the bike park and they asked me what I thought about this bike after just a few rides, my answer would be, I’m into it and want to ride it more. I’d also probably say, with only 50 of them currently made, I’d probably jump on buying one purely from a collector’s position. It’s a unique and beautiful bike that seems to ride just as well as many other bikes on the market and better than some. Crestline Bike Co and Cascade Components have done a great job releasing a bike that I think deserves interest and attention from downhillers, now only time will tell how they hold up and what the next phase of their growth looks like.
For more information, visit https://crestlinebikes.com/
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