Regular readers know I bought a new mountain bike earlier this year and while I’ve been sharing bits and pieces about my new ride it’s time I wrote a summary review. The Redline d660 is a sleek, race-ready mountain bike that proves 29ers (and Redline!) are here to stay.
You may be familiar with BMX bikes from Redline but the company has recently made a big commitment to 29ers and now offers them exclusively in their MTB line. I first rode the d660 at the Interbike Outdoor Demo last year and it was easily my favorite 29er hardtail. While 29ers from other brands have issues with toe rub and high bottom brackets (which raise the rider’s center of gravity and reduce stability), the d660 felt completely comfortable and natural. Having trained and raced on this bike I’d say the geometry strikes a nice balance between comfort and aggressiveness – it won’t leave you sore after 50 miles of riding but it’s also nicely responsive when you mash the pedals.
The Redline d660 comes with an attractive component mix from SRAM. The standard build is geared 1×9 with a Stylo 32T crankset which means there’s no front derailleur (mounts are included if you want to add one later). Ditching the front derailleur saves on weight and maintenance costs and so far I’ve only missed the extra gears on the steepest climbs. The d660 comes with a Rock Shox Reba SL that sports 100mm of travel which is more than enough bounce for aggressive XC riders, especially on 29-inch wheels. Brakes are dependable Avid BB-7s and the shifter/rear derailleur is SRAM X.9.
The stock wheels on the Redline d660 are built up using Redline sealed bearing hubs and WTB Laser disc trail rims with 32 stainless steel spokes. Now admittedly I’m a bit of a weight weenie and I was initially disappointed with how heavy the bigger wheels felt, especially coming from a 26er. But after a spoke-bending crash at mile 40 of a 62-mile race I found how just how durable these wheels really are. A few whacks to the pavement and my rear wheel was almost as true as new! I recently upgraded to Easton XC One wheels and while they’re much lighter than the stock wheels I have yet to test the limits of their durability…
While components are interesting to talk about, the thing that makes a bike a bike is its frame. The d660 is constructed from R6 double butted aluminum alloy tubing which makes this a super lightweight bike, regardless of the component mix. I recently took the bike in for some work at the local bike shop and the mechanic remarked that it was the lightest 29er he’d ever worked on – not a bad endorsement for sure. The paint and graphics are sharply understated and all the welds are crisp and professional. Components went on smoothly (I did some of the installation myself) and the frame includes a replaceable derailleur hanger to save your derailleur and your frame (I’ve already replaced mine once).
At this point you’re probably wondering how the d660 handles on the trail. XC riders like to talk about flow on the trail and honestly I’ve never ridden a bike that flows as well as the d660. On swoopy trails the bike hugs the contours almost like a full-suspension ride while remaining stable and responsive through moderate twists and turns. The big wheels roll over roots and rocks with ease and can soak up mid-size whoops and drops thanks to their bulk. The light weight of this bike adds to its responsiveness and makes it a joy to climb (seriously). Because of the over-sized wheels the d660 can be a bit awkward in really sharp turns; fortunately, Redline compensates with extra wide handlebars (I eventually ended up narrowing mine a bit).
Not surprisingly the d660 gets noticed wherever I go. At the barber shop it was “where’d you get that bike? how much did it cost?” At a stoplight in town a homeless-looking man on the street asked me if those were 29-inch wheels. Some of our old riding buddies in North Carolina had never seen a 29er (or a 1×9 set-up for that matter) and were quickly sold after I smoked them on the trails If you want a high performance bike that gets you noticed in town and on the trail, the d660 is the bike for you.
The Redline d660 is a solid choice for anyone making the switch to 29ers since it addresses many common problems associated with larger wheels (toe rub, weight, stability, etc.) while maximizing 29er advantages (low rolling resistance, smooth handling, etc.). Take a test ride at your local Redline dealer and you’ll see the difference!