Rizer Rival 2.0 27.5 hardtail review

Solid value, but needs component updates to truly compete

27.5 Cross Country
The Rizer Rival 2.0 is a solid entry level hardtail, if you can live with a few odd component choices.

The Rizer Rival 2.0 is a solid entry level hardtail, if you can live with a few odd component choices.

Lowdown: Rizer Rival 2.0 27.5

The appeal (or lack thereof) of the Rizer Rival 2.0 depends greatly on your budget and bike riding abilities. If you’re cash strapped and/or new to the sport, the $1200 price tag and simple design of this 27.5 alloy hardtail could make a great entrée into the world of mountain biking. But if you’re looking for a high performing machine with up-to-date componentry, this bike will likely leave you wanting more even at this price point. Get all the details in our full review below.

Stat Box
Frame: 7005 Smart Alloy double butted Fork: RockShox Recon 100mm with lockout
Shock: n/a Wheels: Mavic Cross One Disc
Hubs: Mavic Cross One Disc Tires: Continental RaceKing 27.5×2.2”
Brakes: Avid DB-3 hydraulic Rotors: Avid 180mm front, 160mm rear
Shifters: Shimano SLX Front derailleur: Shimano SLX Dyna-Sys
Rear derailleur: Shimano XT Cable routing: External
Crankset: Shimano Deore 2x 38-26 Cassette: Shimano 11-36 (10-speed)
Chain: KMC X10 10-speed Bars: RZR Race 680mm
Stem: RZR 100mm Seatpost: RZR Race 31.6mm
Saddle: RZR Headtube angle: 69 degrees
Chainstay length: 430mm Seat tube angle: 73 degrees
Weight: 27.6 pounds (size XL) Price: $1200
Rating: 3 Flamin' Chili Peppers 3 out of 5

  • Affordable
  • Heavy
  • Stout downtube
  • Quick release skewers
  • Shimano XT rear derailleur
  • No dropper post
  • Fast rolling tires
  • Narrow bars
  • Wide gear range
  • Long stem
  • Slack front end
  • Minimalist tires
  • Tapered headtube
  • Tight tire clearance
  • Efficient climber
  • Unrefined welds
  • Solid shifting performance
  • Non lock-on grips
  • Fork lock-out
  • Schrader tubes/rim cutouts
  • Jagwire cable housing
  • So so braking
  • Attractive look
  • Little known brand

Review: Rizer Rival 2.0 27.5

Because you are probably asking yourself, who or what the heck is Rizer, it’s best to start with a little background before delving into the details of this bike. The medium length answer is that Rizer is the mountain bike brand managed by Swiss Cycle Group AG, a Luzern, Switzerland-based company founded in 2015. Currently, the small outfit consists of a product manager, designer, sales manager, and marketing manager. Their bikes are not currently available in the U.S., but they’re seeking a North American distributor with an eye on entering the North American market in 2017. That’s why the reached out to Mtbr for a product test.

Not exactly the most contemporary stem choice.

Not exactly the most contemporary stem choice.

Rizer is also in the process of looking at factories in Cambodia, China, and Portugal. The XL-sized 27.5” bike tested here is essentially just a sample model. In 2017, the company says it will keep the 27.5 wheel size for small and medium size frames, but add a 29er option for large and XL. And that’s a good thing, because, in the U.S. market at least, 27.5” aluminum hardtails have fairly limited appeal unless they come with plus size tires. We’d also advise Rizer to outfit at least some of their bikes with dropper posts, something that’s absent in the current 2017 hardtail-only line-up, that also eschews boost spacing and plus-sized tires.

The welds around the rear brake are decidedly unrefined.

The welds around the rear brake are decidedly unrefined.

Spec: The Bad

The Rival 2.0’s alloy frame and mid-to-lower tier components net out at 27.6 pounds. And while light weight is not something you should necessarily expect at this price point, contemporary components are another story. The cockpit of this bike is simply behind the times. Bars are a super narrow 680mm, while the stem stretches 100mm. It’s a bygone style that’s also not particularly beginner friendly. We’d much rather see a 60mm-70mm stem and bars in the 720mm range.

Continue to page 2 for more of our review on the Rizer Rival 2.0 »

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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  • Johny says:

    “super narrow 680mm” – ??? Really. After getting fed up with the super the wide is better koolaid (and having hit some trees in that time) I’ve trimmed mine to 660, now my 29″ fits between trees and I fill more confident while riding narrow trails. Plenty wide even for 6’3″ rider. I agree when it comes to stem length though.
    And nothing is wrong with that QR. Unless the hub was wider (to gain rigidity in the wheel) all that’s “lost” is some weight. Not really an issue for already chunky bike.

  • Rob says:

    I wouldn’t say 680mm bar is “super narrow”, narrow yes, but leave “super narrow” to 540mm

  • Matt says:

    Just buy a used bike instead of this.

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