RSD Wildcat V3
Words by Sarah Moore; photos by Tom Richards
While we had plenty of expensive carbon machines this time around, at $3,999, the aluminum Wildcat V3 was not one of them. But don’t take the price tag to mean it’s not interesting. There are adjustable dropouts that let you run either a 29″ or 27.5″ rear wheel, DVO suspension on both ends, and solid specs that do a good job of prioritizing fun on descents.
• Travel: 125mm rear, 140mm fork
• Aluminum frame
• 65° main pipe angle
• reach: 462 mm (medial)
• 76º seat tube angle
• 425-440 mm chainstays
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 34.2 lb / 15.5 kg
• Price: $3,999 USD
There were two models of the Wildcat V3 available at the time of testing, although they recently released the longer-travel Wildcat 150 under the same name. The shorter-travel 125mm version is available in the Deore configuration our test bike came in, or the SX version, which retails for $3,249 USD. Both are available in either 27.5+ or 29er versions, with or without a dropper post, and the frame-only option is $1,799.
Trailforks areas we tested
We were lucky enough to ride the natural, technical trail network in the Vallée Bras-du-Nord during the Downcountry Field Test. The net was the furthest we could get from our home base of Mont-Sainte-Anne, but it was worth the drive and we had a blast shooting amongst the wet roots and some interesting lines winding along the Neilson River. Unfortunately, even though we avoided the July thunderstorms for the most part, our drone didn’t have such a good day after being swallowed by a gorgeous river. RIP beautiful drone photos!
VBN Secteur Saint-Raymond mountain bike trails
We had some of the best climbing bikes available for purchase in this field test, but the RSD Wildcat V3 was not among them. It’s not a terrible climber, it’s just more versatile, so it doesn’t make you feel like a superhero when the trails point up the way the race-focused Ibis Exie and BMC Four Stoke LT do.
However, RSD makes no claims that the Wildcat will win cross-country, and while it may not compare to a bike built to race from elbow to elbow in spandex, it’s a perfectly confident climber if you just want to cover a lot of ground without the pressure of a watch. It has good grip and feels stable on difficult technical climbs, although it doesn’t feel snappy or lively in any way.
As for your position on the bike, it’s much more relaxed and comfortable than promoting full speed. In addition to the riding position being closer to a bicycle than a mountain bike, the medium we rode weighs 34 pounds 4 ounces. While it might cost less than half the price of some carbon bikes that are nearly 10 pounds lighter, there’s no doubt that extra weight will hold the Wildcat V3 back on the climbs.
The Wildcat V3’s weight isn’t helped by the fact that it has adjustable seatstays, and we had to wonder how many would ask for 27.5+ wheels. The hardware needed to adjust the chainstays definitely affects the overall weight of the frame.
On descents, the Wildcat excels, and I would go so far as to say it was probably the most reliable of all the bikes we tested downhill in Quebec. It gripped post-thunderstorm off-camber rocks and slippery root sections with ease, and approaching steep and technical descents had far less tension than race-oriented bikes.
The RSD stands for Rubber Side Down, and it felt like an apt name because the Wildcat V3 required significantly less energy, both mental and physical, to stay upright than a bike like the BMC Four Stoke LT. The Wildcat V3 was the easiest bike to turn the brain off on descents and you could let the bike charge more instead of picking your line carefully.
The Wildcat V3 was the longest and lightest of the bikes we rode in Quebec with its 65-degree head tube angle, and it also had the most travel with 125mm of rear travel and a 140mm fork, so it’s no surprise that it was such a monster on the descents. However, it was nice to see how well it held up compared to bikes more than twice the price. The DVO suspension performed well over small bumps and bigger hits, smoothing out the terrain below, and the specs were well chosen to prioritize downhill fun and confidence with 200mm/180mm rotors, a 150mm dropper in the medium and a short stem. and wide bars.
#Field #Test #RSD #Wildcat #Purrfectly #Capable #Descender #Pinkbike