PROPAIN RAGE - DH BIKE TEST
Updated: Aug 11, 2019
Propain bikes have been coming into their own over the past few years with some stella bikes such as the Spindrift and more recently the Hugene 29er. There is also the Rage Carbon. This is a bike that you just cannot leave out of a DH bike lineup, with an amazing look and clean lines. Smooth details in the cable routing and chain protection. But most of all the PRO10 Rear Suspension linkage design. This makes for an interesting look, with the damper behind the seat tower, but also for a great feeling of ride, as found when riding the previous bike. With Phil Atwill doing some wonderful things in previous years, podium finishes and a great all round performance.
This is another Direct sale bike similar to the Canyon Sender. A 27.5 wheel size and adjustable geometry, there are a lot of boxes ticked. The Propain is the best specified bike here in this group, with the top level build coming in at €6,835 so not a small fee. The bike we had came fully equipped with some small changes from what I can find online.
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.
Frame: Propain Rage Carbon. Size L
Fork: Fox 40 Factory Kashima 203 Rear shock: Fox Factory X2 Coil
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC 200mm f/r
Seatpost: Sixpack Kamikaze Alu 250mm schwarz matt Wheelset: SixPack racing Millenium wheel. Crank: Sram X0 DH Carbon Rear Mech: Sram X01 DH (1x7) Trigger: Sram X01 DH (1x7) cassette: Sram XG795 10/25 Handlebar: Sixpack Millenium Carbon 785 (35 mm) Stem: Sixpack Millenium Direct Mount Tyres: SCHWALBE Magic Mary Adix
OPINION - IEUAN WILLIAMS
The Propain Rage has, for some time now, been a bike that we really like here at Descend. From the up to date sizing, to the high quality build and parts array. 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 rear, giving 210mm of travel, was a great upgrade. Their old bike was great over most terrain when equipped with air unit from Fox, but this bike is just that 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.
This compares well against the Canyon Sender, with both brands having extending rear stays, 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. The flex coming from the two links that allow the complete rear end to float.
The Rage we had was a size large and fitted pretty well, the numbers coming in where I would like them. Reach at 461mm with the headset in +10, it may not be as large as the Sender but it was more than enough considering it was a large. We did have to roll the bar forward, as neither of us were overly keen on the shape.
This is a 650b or 27.5 chassis just like the Sender and once more, the difference with the grip between this and 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, seemed to break up the carbon theme. This gave a forgiving ride and did help towards 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. X0 gearing instead of GX, these are all things that will count towards deciding what bike you would buy. You would kind of expect this high end finish when the price is €6,835 .
All in all the Rage is a great bike. Strong, fast and with good flex/stiffness, there is little fatigue when you are in 'normal' riding conditions. The price did take me by surprise as I thought this bike was a little cheaper than it came in at. With the Sender coming in a storming €1,650 euros less and the Commencal almost €1,500, it’s hard to make the decision.
OPINION - TOM COOPER
The Propain Rage is one of four bikes being ridden back to back. Its a bike that I had already ridden before. Having liked the previous years model, other than the bar and the damper, things could be good here. Ieuan had a tweek about with the bar to make it feel more inviting and it seemed to work. This also gave 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. After long discussions it came in close to the Commencal. With all its internal routing and built in bump stops, it is a clean and quiet bike.
The build kit was one of the highlights on the Rage. Out ranking brakes over the other bikes and better gearing. The Sixpack wheelset that was fitted also had a great feel and complemented the carbon frame.
The Propain rated highly for me but the main downside was the lack of that big wheel. It really does make a difference and is still super fun to ride.
WORDS - IEUAN WILLIAMS, TOM COOPER
PHOTOS - IEUAN WILLIAMS, TOM COOPER