Call in the reserves: Ragley TD-1

Ragley TD-1   RAGE Against The Machine

 No3 is going to take some time to fix and there’s a pile of bits that are just wasted without a frame to stick them on. Having been gob smacked at how much fun I’ve had riding rigid, the risky decision to  stump up for a Ragley TD-1 is made. Available in a hurry at a mouse click and 400 notes less than a Pegasus with xmas discounts. Yes I know bike tart ahoy! 

It’s designed to run rigid only using a non suspension corrected fork (essentially a 26 inch fork) the front end should be lower for a racier profile.  Sliding dropouts and Brants customary big tyre space mean it has plenty of alternative attributes to test. Official Stream Of Conciousness here

Fingerbridge

First design point that hits you full on is the FingerBridge, don’t really have to point out why I think that’s a genius piece of design.

Dropouts

Then the Dropouts, practical for gear changes yes, but a bit fiddley, getting a singlespeed one thrown in is a good touch. Have to say though the dropout quality is a tad pour. The quality of the milling on the rear face is to be honest crap! It’s not exactly flat there are pronounced steps where the cutter made its passes. It’s not the most difficult bits of machining to perform.

A few points from the build, boring but here goes.

  • Headset cups – The top Hope bearing cup had a slight gap to the frame even though fully home, and boy did I press it,  all square so left it.
  • Bottom Bracket threads are tight on non-drive side and took a sliver off the Hope BB threads when fitted. Seen this before on a made in USA frame so might have to run a BB tap down it before using the FSA one.
  • Downtube to BB welding area is huge, as wide as the BB itself and looks super stiff, whilst headtube is small but seems totally covered with tubes connected to it.
  • Fantastic rear clearance for tyres and chainrings with the fingerbridge it’s a work of genius.
  • Where the hell do the stickers go, 2 sets come for you to decide. I bet someone tells me there wrong but I just adapted them for my needs…and missing crudguard mounts.
  • Adjusted the dropouts back for potential increase in 18T on rear. Going to have to replace those M5 bolts with some thread locked cap heads to save carrying a small spanner with me on trail.

The eXotic fork which is 445mm long, has a smaller hole than normal but I adapted the Hope Bung to fit. Not before finding out that a star fangled nut for inch steerer doesn’t work. Bugger, oh well I pushed it right down to the bottom. It might get used for  a mudguard mount nut one day.

Comparisons with No3 are hard to ignore so here goes.

  •  20g heavier and 400 notes lighter
  • Effective Top Tube length is 9mm less – Seat angle is 1 deg more at 73.5 which along with the slight seat tube kink gives more tyre clearance and moves weight forward a bit.

Started with a set up guess. 90mm stem to cover the missing 10mm top tube length, left inverted and Ragley seat fitted mid adjustment. 10mm spacers on bottom for starters and 5mm on top – effectively 3 inch seat to bar drop. Plenty of Metrich measurements here.

Full Build for starters then– 19.06lb
18 inch  Ragley TD-1
Exotic 445mm Rigid Carbon Fork
Stans Crest on King Hubs with Maxxis Aspens
Hope Stainless BB
XTR960 crank cut down and polished with 32T Homebrewed red ano chainring
Red Spank Tweet Chain and 20T Superstars ring (first ride Cannock)
Hope X2 race brakes
90mm Ritchey WCS stem
Salsa ProMoto 11 deg carbon bars
EggBeaters Candy pedals
Use Sumo Alloy Post, Ragley Seat
TD-1_SS_4
RAGE is born – First Impressions:

Initial Impressions were FUCK it’s small, real small….like oh shit this is a mistake small, the measurements said not but it actually looks like a smalle wheeled bike size. First rides on the super frozen hard Tundra and it feels harsh. More panic, straight rigid fork nowhere near as plush as the Niner which is too long, and a smaller tighter rear end. FUCK this is going back to the reasons I haven’t owned any hardtails for 15 years! Panic over though, it seems unfair to take this as gospel as my body is as frozen stiff as the ground and the surface is like a massive washboard.

It’s definitely a racier riding position, harder to pop the front but sharp on the steering. Drop the shoulder and 90 deg turns are history, same legendary 29 front confidence thats become adictive. Cannocks tight twisty trails could not phase the steering, but landing a jump is a direct shock to the system. The short straight fork seems to plug you directly to the ground, more finese and maybe a bit more volume on the front needed here. Where’s that 2.4 Racing Ralph.

The overwhelming first impression out on the trails though is the pickup and acceleration. It’s like being plugged directly into the back wheel. Stunning burst of power which is totally addictive. Grunting up stupid slopes on a SS just makes me smile on this bike, boot it hard and fast and it goes, no delay no messing. Being a sprinter I have seen some frames bend out of shape in the heat of battle, Ti compliance especially so. That huge BB weld area, the fingerbrace and the compact rear triangle really do work well here, but at what price comfort in the long term.
One relieved dude for now then, ready for a new journey.

Loads more photos over here on Flikr

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