Long Term Review: Raleigh’s Revenio 4.0 Carbon

Sun burst Raleight Revenio 4.0

When the Revenio first showed up, I have to admit I was a little confused as to where it fit in. Grouped into the Endurance/endurance Race category, the bike seemed to fit in somewhere between the racey pro peloton bikes, and the sit up and beg club rides. Equipped with narrow tires, and a racey seat, the spec seemed to confuse things further.

After only a few rides though, things started to make sense – the Revenio is built for riding.

Bontrager Clothing Raleigh Revenio (25)

Just what does that mean, the Revenio is built for riding? Isn’t every bike?

Sure, though most road bikes these days seem to have very defined purposes. The Revenio it seems, is built for those among us who just like to ride bikes. Your road rides may be long club rides, short and fast hammer fests, gravel road jaunts, or just cruising around. With a few component changes, the Revenio is an incredibly versatile bike that seems happy in just about any riding situation.

Bontrager Clothing Raleigh Revenio (14)

The good:

The headtube  on the Revenio is tall enough that if you wanted to, you can set the handlebar above the saddle. There are certainly more upright bikes available, but the Revenio also allows for a fairly aggressive position as well. This is a great bike for the less flexible just starting out, while leaving room for adjustments in the future.

While the geometry might be a little relaxed, the ride is all business. An incredibly laterally stiff fork and head tube reward aggressive cornering and descending, while the bottom bracket and chainstays are up to the task when sprinting or climbing. I found myself routinely jumping on the Revenio for a leisurely rest day, only to find myself hammering harder than the day before – the bike just likes to go but at the same time it’s just as happy noodling along. It’s hard to explain.

Thanks to the intuitive ride of the Revenio if you get into trouble, like I did after hitting an oil slick while descending in the rain, the bike will stay composed and allow you to ride it out like a pro.

Bontrager Clothing Raleigh Revenio (18)

Action shots by www.da-photo.com

This should go without saying, but the performance of the Ultegra Di2 drivetrain has been stellar. I meant to keep track of total mileage on a single charge, though all I can do is estimate. After a full charge during the initial build, I rode the bike until the first low battery indication – the front derailleur stops working and shifts to the small ring, with a flashing red light on the control box when you try to shift. This happened somewhere around 1500 miles, and in about 5 month’s time. If I had kept riding and completely ignored the non-functioning front derailleur, eventually the rear derailleur would stop working as well. After a quick charge overnight, the drivetrain was back in action ready for another 1500 or so miles. Even after riding in pouring rain, and through dirt and gravel, the only maintenance required has been to lube the chain.

Raleigh Revenio 4.0 Carbon review (15)

The Not so Good:

While the frame and the drivetrain are stellar, there are a few component choices that left me scratching my head – namely the wheels and tires. The Revenio is not a race bike, which to me means it would be better off without 23mm tires. Combined with the stock wheels (we’ll get to those in a second), the ride suffers quite a bit. Swap the tires out for a pair of 25s or even 28s and the Revenio really comes into its own. I’m guessing the choice to spec 23s was a weight issue, but to me it holds the Revenio back and it’s a bummer to have to invest in new tires right off the bat.

25mm tires made the ride quite a bit better and still very quick, while the 28s which were on the bike more than often than not really fit the Revenio well. With 28s all of a sudden I was exploring dirt roads, gravel paths, and doing big road miles wet or dry. Understanding the target market, to me it would make the most sense to spec the bike with 25mm rubber – which should be one of the easiest OEM changes to make.

The stock wheels are also a bit of a disappointment, but are somewhat understandable. The price of the Revenio 4.0 is under $4k, and this includes an entire Ultegra 6770 Di2 drivetrain, including an Ultegra chain, cassette, and brakes – no cutting corners here.

In order to meet that price level, sacrifices have to be made somewhere, and there’s a good chance someone buying this bike may already have a set of their own wheels. If not, it allows for the customer to upgrade to their own choice later on down the road. The wheels look great, and really wouldn’t be much of an issue if the sleeved rim joint didn’t cause the brake pads to catch on the rim during braking. They are also a little narrow, with a black brake track that will wear away over time, but that is simply nit picking.

Raleigh Revenio 4.0 Carbon review (13)

The other odd choice is the inclusion of a super racey, carbon railed saddle perched atop an aluminum post. A more cushioned saddle with steel or Ti rails would seem like a better fit and may free up some $$ to change out the tires or rims on the OEM side of things.

Bontrager Clothing Raleigh Revenio (16)

The Revenio will put a smile on your face.

Verdict:

Even with the wheels and tires that would likely end up on the trainer after the purchase, the Revenio 4.0 Carbon is still a bike that I would not hesitate to recommend. The stock wheels and tires are more than adequate to get started, and just happen to be the low point on what is an incredibly rad bike. And better still, the 2014 spec appears to address nearly all of the low points found on the bike – including an option for discs.

Anyone that considers them self a rider – not a racer, someone who just likes to ride bikes, the Revenio 4.0 Carbon is an awesome bike – and a few simple spec changes by Raleigh could make it even better.

Highs:

  • Incredible value for a full Ultegra Di2 equipped bike
  • Geometry and ride are tuned for performance and versatility
  • Clearance for up to 28c tires and a little mud
  • Great power transfer and steering precision

Lows:

  • Spec choices for stock wheels, tires, and saddle are a bit disappointing – though it seems to be fixed for 2014

Comments

Alex - 08/13/13 - 1:38pm

For 2014 the Revenio is spec’d with 25mm tires. The wheels are also a bit lighter now. The saddle has also changed. Those changes should take care of the ‘lows’ in the review.

Zach Overholt - 08/13/13 - 2:36pm

@Alex, that’s great to hear!

Engineer - 08/13/13 - 3:45pm

Wheres the wheelie pic? Thats what I clicked on this for haha.

Velo - 08/13/13 - 5:01pm

How can people actually believe that a 2mm increase in tire size has a significant effect on ride quality? In a blind test, no one is able to tell the difference between that small of change in tire size.

nathan - 08/13/13 - 6:20pm

Velo: It’s pretty hard to ride a bike blindfolded. It’s not necessarily the width, it’s the pressure/volume. A 25 has a larger air volume and can take pressures of 90psi without the risk of flatting a 23 would run. The difference of those pressures is very noticeable.

Velominati - 08/13/13 - 6:29pm

@Velo

It’s cool how you have no idea what you are talking about. Keep sharing. Please.

Guy - 08/13/13 - 7:56pm

Yeah, Velo might need to ride a few more bikes before posting something that he doesn’t know enough about. As far as the bike goes, the 2014′s are getting a solid redesign that should really give the Revenio line a distinctive ride when compared to other comparable bikes. Fork rake goes to 50mm which seems pretty far out there, but might compliment the ’14 geometry really well. Rims also get wider along with 25c tires (assuming Velo approves). Good on Raleigh for going this route.

Nargle - 08/14/13 - 2:04pm

@Velo must be an engineer

tubasti - 08/15/13 - 9:39pm

That composure over the oil slick sounds like the work of those couple of extra millimeters of fork offset (rake) that I see in the geometry charts. That should make the Revenio a fine choice for dirt, gravel, and other manners of bad road.

Velo - 08/16/13 - 4:16pm

@ nathan: Please see the wikipedia entry for blind experiment if you don’t know what one is.

The difference in pressure for a 23 v.s a 25 mm tire is about 15%.

labrat - 08/22/13 - 11:31pm

Velo, 15% is VERY noticeable to an experienced rider at ANY pressure. The difference on rough roads, between the sizes in question, is measurable and for this bike, 25mm makes sense.

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