The downhill bike test 2018: Propain Rage
Does 27.5 still hold up in 2018?
Propain bikes have come into their own in the past few years with some stella offerings such as the Spindrift and more recently the Hugene 29er, not to mention the Rage Carbon. The Rage is a bike that you just cannot leave out of a DH bike lineup. An amazing look combines with clean lines, smooth details in the cable routing and chain protection and most of all that Rear Suspension linkage design.
Placing the damper behind the seat tower not only gives this bike its characteristic looks but also makes for a great feeling ride, as we found when riding the previous bike. The bike of choice for the Dirt team, Phil Atwill did some wonderful things aboard the Rage last year, with podium performances and a great year all around.
This is another direct sale bike similar to the Canyon Sender. With a 27.5 wheel size and adjustable geometry, there are a lot of boxes ticked. The Propain is the best-specified bike here this week with the top level build coming in at €6,785.00, so not a small fee.
Propain Rage detail gallery:
Propain Rage Specification
Frame Propain Rage Carbon
Fork Fox 40 Factory Kashima 203
Rear shock Fox Factory X2 Coil
Brakes SRAM Code RSC
Seatpost Sixpack Kamikaze Alu
Wheelset SixPack racing Millenium
Crank Sram X0 DH Carbon
Rear derailleur Sram X01 DH
Trigger Sram X01 DH
Cassette: Sram XG795 10/25
Handlebar Sixpack Millenium Carbon
Stem Sixpack Millenium Direct Mount
Tyres SCHWALBE Magic Mary Adix
The Propain Rage came in with the best level of build. With code RSC brakes, top level Fox suspension and SRAM X0 gearing. This does come at a cost but the quality of the Propain is high so you can see where the money goes.
Opinion - IEUAN WILLIAMS.
The Propain Rage has, for some time now, been a bike that we really like here at Dirt, from the up to date sizing to the high-quality build and vast array of parts. This is the reason that this bike had to be here to contend for the number one prize.
Straight out of the gate it was obvious that the addition of the metric coil damper at the back, giving 210mm of travel, made for a great upgrade. The old bike was great over most terrain when equipped with an air unit from Fox, but this bike is just a step ahead. Over the smaller, faster, high-frequency bumps it was like being on a magic carpet, with more than enough hold and ramp-up to cope with any of the big hits.
The Rage compares well against the Canyon Sender; both brands have extending rear stays, with the Propain ranging from 445mm to 459mm, a carbon main chassis and the option to change out headsets to adjust geometry. There are some major differences though. One being the material used on the stays. It’s all about the carbon here on the Propain Rage, with the flex coming from the two links that allow the complete rear end to float.
The Rage we had was a size L and fitted pretty well, with the numbers coming in where I would like them. Reach at 461mm with the headset in +10 may not be as large as the Sender but it was ample enough. We did have to roll the bar forward though as neither of us were overly keen on the shape.
This is a 650b, or 27.5, chassis just like the Sender and once again the difference in grip compared to the 29” bikes was fairly noticeable. But the shorter wheelbase here gave for a super playful ride with the suspension making up for a lot of the wheel size issues. The aluminium wheelset fitted from Sixpack breaks up the carbon theme, providing a forgiving ride and helping alleviate any harshness that may have been felt through the chassis. The wide rim profile also gave for a solid tyre feel when smashing into turns. The main thing you notice about the lack of 29” is all of the braking bumps. And if you have been to Morzine you will know what I mean by that.
Propain have really done a great job with the build kit here. The Code RSC brakes are amazing and one of my favourites on the market at the moment and X0 gearing is given preference ahead of the cheaper GX; these are all things that count towards deciding an overall winner. Though you would hope for this level of finish when the price is €6,785.
All in all the Rage is a great bike. Strong, fast and with a good balance between flex and stiffness there is little fatigue when you are in “normal” riding conditions. The price did take me by surprise and I had expected it to be a little cheaper, with the Sender coming in a storming €1,650 euros cheaper and the commencal almost €1,500 it’s a difficult decision to make. The scores are in though and it will all tally up towards finding out where this bike has ranked. It could very well be so good that the performance outweighs the price!!
Opinion - TOM COOPER
The Propain Rage is the second of the four bikes that I had already ridden before this test. Having liked the previous bike other than the bar and the damper things looked promising. Ieuan had a tweek about with the bar to make it feel more inviting and it seemed to work, providing more room in the cockpit. The best change here though was in the rear shock. This coil unit really made a huge difference in the way the bike rides through the smaller high frequency bumps.
In my eyes the Propain is one of the best looking bikes we had with us this week and, after long discussions, it came in very close to the Commencal. With all the internal routing and built in bump stops it is a clean and quiet bike. The build kit was also one of the highlights on the Rage, with the brakes and gearing superior to that found on the other bikes. The Sixpack wheelset that was fitted also had a great feel and complemented the carbon frame.
The Propain ranked highly for me but the main downside was the lack of that big wheel. It really does make a difference, the Rage is still super fun to ride though. I will be getting together in the pub soon to compare the scores and to see how everything stacks up so far, ready for round two.
Check out MTB Beds for the best accommodation in Morzine