At Interbike, I was able to ride the Raleigh Talus Carbon Elite, (see ride impressions here), and a week later, the Talus Carbon Pro was hand delivered to me by a Raleigh representative for a short test and review. This was something of a surprise, as I hadn’t settled on anything specific with Raleigh at the show, and this model is quite rare. Let’s take a quick look at this model’s specs….

Testing Sept 11 005

The Talus Pro is equipped with SRAM XO throughout. Brakes included. The cockpit is all Easton, coming mostly from the carbon EC 90 components. The saddle is an Avenir, but before you turn up your nose at that, know that this particular saddle has carbon rails and is quite nicely made. :) The wheels are the top of the line Easton EC 90 carbon hoops and sport a 15QR front axle which mates up with the 100mm travel Fox RLC FIT fork. Tires are Geax AKA folders with tubes.

Curiously, this model does not sport the ever more popular 2 X 10 SRAM cranks, but has a traditional triple: 22-32-42 rings. In a day where XC racers get 2 X 10, and even trail bikes are showing up with a 2 X 10 set up, I found this spec……different. (Never thought I’d write that. ;) )

Although the spec isn’t all the best of the best, it is top stuff, and light. The entire bicycle weighs 23.05lbs/10.46kg and feels feathery. (With Shimano low end pedals and an aluminum bottle cage mounted. :) ) The frame is the same as the Carbon Elite, but to reiterate, here are the pertinent measurements on the size Large frame I was delivered.

Testing Sept 11 006
Head Angle: 70*
Seat Tube Angle: 73*
Effective Top Tube Measurement: 615mm
Chain stay Measurement: 445mm
Bottom Bracket Drop: 65mm
Note: Frame set available MSRP $1775.00USD Complete bike is MSRP $6250.00 as it sits here.
The Elite model I tested at Interbike goes for a much lower $2950.00USD

The frame is constructed by using Raleigh’s proprietary “Direct Connect” method, which they have used to great success on their road bikes for several years now. This entails molding each tube shape with size specific layups, and then mitering each tube, much as in traditional frame making, to mate up with each other. then carbon is wrapped around the joints, and all is cured to make the frame a single structure. The only tube that isn’t mated in this manner is the down tube at the head tube. This section is molded as a single piece.

Raleigh also has Kevlar bonded to the underside of the chain stays and the lower portion of the down tube to protect these areas from damage from rock impacts. Pretty thoughtful. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Raleigh chose to have this painted over. I think it may have been cool to have left that yellow-ish material visible, but maybe I am a minority there. ;)

Talus Pro Sept 11 001

First Impressions:

I had a bit more time to spend with this sample than I did at Interbike, so I took the opportunity to flip the stem and lower it to my liking. Otherwise, the bike is dead stock using my Shimano pedals.

The Talus Carbon Pro’s light weight is something that pretty much overwhelms you when you first get on board. Everything suddenly becomes that much easier. Yes….I could stand to lose more weight, and all of those old cliche’s you hear when talking about light weight bikes could be said here. Look, a lighter weight bike is just plain more fun. Period.

The Raleigh’s head angle seemed to indicate to me at Interbike that this was a more trail-like bike than XC rocket ship. Out in Bootleg Canyon, this suited the Talus to a “T”. Out here in the Mid-West the trails feature more of the “tight twisties” with short sight lines. This means lots of accelerating, and lots of cutting corners in tight to get through the myriad trees and saplings. The Raleigh served up on one count, and was a bit problematic on the other point.

Talus Pro Sept 11 003
The Raleigh accelerates really well. I was constantly amazed at how well my efforts were translated into forward motion. Getting off a corner and back up to speed was nearly effortless. Climbing was met with higher gear choices, and less shifting. (Light weight doesn’t hurt here either.)

The thing that was harder though was getting into and around the tighter corners. The Raleigh’s head angle, at 70 degrees, is matched up with a claimed 40mm offset. (Raleigh has traditionally favored higher trail figures on their 29″ers.) The resulting trail figure is approximately 90mm. This makes getting your rig around a tightening radius corner, for example, a real chore. Putting more “lean” into it around the corners helps, but around here, the trees keep you from doing that without risking high speed impact. ;)

So, the Talus Pro is teaching me how to corner in a bit different way, but this seems to be offset going up every climb, down every descent, and while accelerating out of corners by the frames efficiency and the bike’s overall light weight. Stay tuned for another update in a week or so.

Raleigh Bicycles has submitted the Talus Carbon Pro 29 for testing and review at no charge. We are not being bribed or paid for this review. We will strive to give our honest views and opinions throughout.