I voted for the RSD Ti Mayor
Part of my responsibilities as Payload Specialist on the USS Faterprise is to schedule bike tests with our Bike Black Ribbon Test Pilots. This year, we’ll be testing an All-Star lineup of 2017’s, like the Fatback Rhino (Travis) & Skookum (Sven), along with a Borealis Flume (Wade) and the brand new Otso Voytek (Ken Blakey-Shell). We have more that are floating out there, but I guess my point in mentioning all of those other bikes, is that I had my pick of all of those incredible machines, but I voted for the RSD Ti Mayor. I saw this frame come through the shop last winter and it ticked off all of the check boxes on my personal list of fat-bike requirements.
1- The ability to run 4.8’s mounted to 100-mm rims
2 – The Alaskan Top Tube for increased stand-over
3 – Touring/Cargo Braze-Ons
4 – Thru-Axles
5 – Strong and Light-ish – (yet supple)
a quality titanium velocisaurus
The last three Fat-Bikes that I’ve reviewed have been carbon. Carbon frames are very popular with bike companies, yet some of my Luddite friends think that carbon fat-bikes are crazy. I often wonder how long a carbon Fat-Bike would last in my moderately irresponsible care. We’ve had a parade of them come through the shop without any “incidents” that might fuel any misgivings about carbon, but I think that I’d have a difficult time laying out my own hard earned cash for a molded carbon fiber bike frame. I think that I’d have an easier time letting go of my money on a Titanium fat-bike. Even the crustiest of the crusty, steel bike, retro grouch, bike mechanic types – love Ti bikes. I’ve owned and ridden Ti bikes from Moots, Lightspeed and Matt Chester, so I have a history of shelling out the cheese for a quality titanium velocisaurus. A good Ti, double diamond, bike frame is nearly as light as the carbon version and when executed correctly, can possess all of the positive ride characteristics, of a quality steel frame.
So after I saw that RSD Ti Mayor, with my very own eyes, I set the wheels in motion, to explore the opportunity to ride one for the next few months. We going to see if the Ti Mayor can produce the perfect balance between light – strong and supple. RSD put a really nice build kit together, so let’s take a look at our Test Ti Mayor’s Spec’s.
RSD Ti Mayor Spec’s
Fork: RSD Custom 490mm Carbon w/15x150mm Axle
Headset: Cane Creek ZS-44
Handle Bar: Race Face 35mm Next SL
Stem: Race Face 35mm Cinch 70mm
Front Wheel: 26x80mm Reynolds Elite Carbon rims on I9 15x150mm Hub
Rear Wheel: 26x80mm Reynolds Elite Carbon rims on I9 12x197mm XD Hub
Crank: Race Face 175mm NEXT SL DM
Chain Ring: Race Face 28T NW Ring
BB: Race Face 100mm BSA
Chain: KMC 11SL
Cassette: SRAM XG-1150 10/42T 11spd
Rear Shifter: SRAM GX 11spd Black
Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX Type 2 11spd Black
Brakes: Avid Guide RS (These Brakes Failed Immediately)
Rotors: Avid 180mm CenterLine
Saddle: WTB Volt Team
Seat Post: Race Face NEXT SL
Rear Axle: SRAM Maxle Ultimate 12x197mm
Tires: Husker Du’s
It really makes you wonder what the RS stands for…
We built up our Mayor and ran into an issue with the Sram Guide RS Brakes that kept us chasing our tails for about two and a half weeks. The down time came from waiting for Sram to warranty the brakes and Two Rivers Bicycle to trim and bleed the new brakes which then set us back $139. I’m a firm believer that your local bike shop isn’t trying to rip anyone off, (rather) they’re just trying to stay in business; but RSD and Sram thought that we were overcharged by Two Rivers to bleed the replacement brakes and they weren’t shy about letting us know about it. After the fact, I checked with some of my learned bicycle gurus and it looks like RSD and Sram were right about Two Rivers Bicycle charging us about $40 more than any other bike shop that we surveyed. That process, did reveal that a couple of our bike mechanic amigos, charge more to bleed Sram brakes vs. other brands, because they’re more difficult to service. Of course, none of this would have happened if Sram could make a pair of hydraulic disc brakes that actually works correctly. It really makes you wonder what the RS stands for…
The Sram Guide calipers locked the pads onto the rotor and wouldn’t let go. This happened when I was bedding in the brake pads, right after assembly. So I only got to ride the Mayor about 200 yards before the brakes went kerflewy. Sram/Avid have had problems with their Code and Elixer discs, but the Guides were supposed to be the answer to all of those problems. So once again, if I were spending my own money….my money will not be spent on Sram Hydro Brakes. I’ve had a great luck with Shimano XT Hydraulic Disc Brakes (YMMV). I suppose that’s what I get for not running mechanical discs.
I had over two weeks to think about those 200 yards that I rode the Mayor. I hadn’t trimmed the Steer-Tube and my hands felt like they were too high, The rider position felt more upright than I’m used to, so the fit of the bike haunted my sub-conscience (till I was able to ride it again). I ended up with only a 5mm spacer below the stem on this bike. I normally run flat bars with 25-30mm’s of spacers, but the Mayor came with a riser, so maybe that was the difference. The Mayor still feels slightly more upright than I fit on my fatback (Otis). I talked with Alex from RSD and he explained that the Mayor has a slightly more upright position to support the exploration or omni-terrain nature of Ontario winters. I’m already getting accustomed to the more upright position, and the bottom line is, the bike feels really good once you get it out on some dirt twisties. I may try to get my hands further from my hips with a lay back post or longer stem/flat bars, but it’ll require more time to decide if we need to make some fine tuning adjustments.
Raw satin titanium never goes out of style
I have to say that one of the first things that attracted me to the Mayor was the fact that this bike looks bad ass! This particular, mayoral conveyance is classically understated, in comparison to most of the bikes out in the market. Raw satin titanium never goes out of style. RSD has chosen a very subtle approach to the graphics on the Ti Mayor with stunning results. The components that came on the Mayor are from the Next Collection from our amigos from up there in British Columbia (RaceFace) and Sram’s pedestrian GX 1×11 drivetrain. The wheels are a set of Reynolds Elite carbon hoops, laced to a very noisy pair of I9 hubs – (well one of them is really loud and the other actually pretty dang quiet – like Penn & Teller).
the bike feels like it sling shots
I’ve spent enough time riding the new rig to say that I think that it’s going to be a very nice winter! The Mayor feels different, than any fatty that I can remember. I can get on most fat-bikes and draw comparisons to other bikes that I’ve ridden, but with the Mayor, I felt like I was into something new. There’s a trail at Kettle Moraine called Richard’s Revenge that’s a pretty good litmus test for how well a bike handles singletrack. The first time that I rode the Mayor down Richard’s revenge, I thought to myself, ‘just take it easy, new bike, new build’…..but once gravity joined the game, I forgot all about caution and set my mind, and the brakes…free! The mayor handled that trail like a natural.
The frame has the effect that you get with quality Ti & steel frames, where on vertical, pump compression or the centrifugal force, in a bermed curve, the bike feels like it sling shots you out of there. So far, the lateral stiffness of the Mayor has been sufficient with four inch tires mounted to 80 mm rims. This winter we’ll be running 4.8’s on 100mm rims which will create tighter tolerances and be a more difficult test for the Mayor’s bottom bracket stiffness. You’ll be seeing quite a bit of the Mayor over the next few months as our long term test continues. I’m looking forward to many more miles of smiles and hopefully some sweet snowy winter trail rides on the Mayor!
Look for a full review of the RSD Ti Mayor coming this winter!
Learn more about the RSD Ti Mayor at – http://www.rsdbikes.com/portfolio/2016-mayor-titanium/