Product Preview: Raleight RX 1.0 Women’s Specific

New bike day is always the best day of the year or lifetime or month or however often people purchase new bikes!

I was super excited when my hot new Raleigh RX 1.0 showed up in our bike parking area at work. I was able to order direct from Raleigh as they are a distributor of our products, but you should be able to find this bike at any Raleigh dealer.

When searching for a new bike I knew I wanted something light and fast. I have a history of riding steel steeds, which are great and super durable, but I had the need for speed. During my search I had considered some various road bike options from Trek, Felt, Giant, Kona (who no longer offers a women’s road bike *frown*), and Foundry bikes.

I had ordered a bike last year from Trek, so I didn’t really want to go that route. The Lexa SLX is a bike that gets a lot of use in my house. I’ve been using it to train indoors this winter and Keri used it last year for the ACT Ride. It’s an awesome bike, but it was lacking on some of the features I’ve come to love. One of those is being able to mount wide tires. I absolutely LOVE the feel of a fatty, slick, folding tire in the summer. On Wisconsin roads, it gives so much great cushion.

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The 2012 Lexa SLX
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Foundry Auger- Canti Edition

Foundry didn’t end up making the cut as I wasn’t quite ready to rock a full carbon bike. I don’t know if it’s because I read too many retro grouch blogs, but I just wasn’t ready to take the leap into that world. I really dig the look of the bikes. Very little flash, all black, and lots of sex appeal. The price was also a bit out of my comfort zone. I’d still love to test ride one of their bikes. If anyone out there is reading this and has the hook up, let me know!

Eventually I decided an aluminum cross bike with a carbon fork would probably be the best fit for me. Felt usually has some sexy ‘cross options, but I didn’t see anything in the current line up that made me drool. The color schemes were kind of blah and I just wasn’t really sold on their setups.

The one bike that I had really hoped to buy was the Salsa Chili Con Crosso, but they discontinued it only to end up coming out with the Warbird. It’s their new gravel, disc brake bike. The Con Crosso was a staple at every cross race I’d ever been to. Hopefully they’ll bring it back someday, once people realize disc brakes aren’t all they are cracked up to be for ‘cross racing.

The lack of options out there eventually led me to Raleigh. Some of their pro level bikes were featured at Cross Nationals in Verona and they looked pretty sweet. After some research I saw they were one of very few companies that offers a women’s specific cyclocross bike. They actually make two levels of the ‘cross bike, the basic RX and the RX 1.0. Once I pretty much settled on the bike, I started doing some online sleuthing. I found out that Bike Shop Girl aka Arleigh Jenkins had done a pretty good overview of the previous year’s model. It all seemed legit to me and the men’s versions got pretty good feedback from various ‘cross blogs and industry sites.

I sent off an e-mail to one of the Raleigh reps and the bike was ordered. My cross-check is a 50cm and based on the geometry I decided a size 52 in the RX 1.0 would probably fit best.

Only about a week or so after the initial inquiry, the bike arrived. YAY! You’ll see in the photos below how much detail Raleigh put into the bike. The aesthetics are very pleasing…girly, but not so girly that I would be embarrassed to show up to a group ride with it. The frame color is a little more purple than I expected, but still very nice. The photos online show it as a grey/black color. There’s only one small detail on the bike that is cheesy, but I didn’t even bother to take an initial photo of it. I will probably find a little decal or something to cover it up. It’s on the down tube and will probably go unnoticed by anyone not paying attention.

The drive train is Sram Apex with an FSA crank and Rival rear derailleur.This is my first Sram laden bike, which is pretty exciting.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my trusty Shimano, but Sram has some hot stuff going on. The doubletap is actually pretty sweet.

The handlebars, stem, and seat post are Raleigh house brand, Avenir. Not too shabby, but I ended up putting a slightly taller Thompson stem on the bike and will be replacing the handlebars with Salsa’s Road 2 bars in size small, 40cm width. The bars that come with the bike are 38’s, which are kind of on the small side for a 52cm bike.

The only pedals included with the bike were some cheap plastic test ride pedals. I recycled those and bought some Crank Brothers Egg Beaters. I’m used to using the Candy pedals, but I wanted to give the Egg Beaters a try. Crank Brothers has always been my favorite pedal system, so I’m sure they’ll work out just fine.

The brakes are Tektro c720’s (?) and come with cheater levers. I’ll probably end up getting rid of the levers once I swap the handlebar out. I don’t really like them as they take up too much space and add unnecessary weight. (This is my “fast” bike after all!) The wheels are ridiculous (wait until I post the real follow up photos, you’ll see)  Weinmann DP18’s with standard 32 spokes and pink nipples. Good for training I suppose, but I will definitely buy a new wheel set in the spring. I could probably drop a whole pound or more just by swapping wheel sets.

The tires are some pretty awesome Vittoria ‘cross tires. I’ll keep those around for rail trail riding or for if I ever decide to woman up and do some racing. I’ll swap those out for a fattier slick tire for road riding in the mean time.

I’m keeping the stock seat post. It’s not too heavy and does the job. The saddle I wasn’t a fan of. It had way too much pink on it and was a Velo branded uncomfortable thing. I went with Bike Shop Girl’s (Arleigh’s) recommendation of the Fizik Vitesse. I actually could only find the Tri model, so I went with that and it seems pretty good. I’m usually a Brook’s, so it will take some time getting used to a regular saddle. I really like how long the saddle is. Plenty of length for if you shift your weight.

Overall I’m super excited to ride the bike. The snow is keeping me stuck on a trainer, but at the first sign of spring, I’ll be sure to take her out for a nice long adventure. For the price, I think the bike is a great value. Yeah, there are a few things that could be better, but there’s rarely a mass produced bike that doesn’t have something less than perfect about it.

I guess I’ve maybe become spoiled with nice bike parts, but I could make due with the stock parts if needed. The bike fits nicely and is quite the head turner. Big props to whoever designed the RX line over at Raleigh! Keep up the great work 🙂

-Cassandra