Back in 1987, if you lusted after any bike, it would have been the Pace RC100. At the time, the distinctive square section aluminium frame of the RC100 was pure bike porn, a bedroom poster dream, a design icon. However, for the last 20 years, Pace Cycles has fallen off the global radar. Is that about to change with the new RC295 trail bike?

Cutting a handsome silhouette, the new £3999 13.96 kg Pace RC295 is their first carbon bike.

The Pace RC295 is Pace Cycles’ first carbon fibre bike. It’s a trail bike with 135 mm of rear travel, designed to be used with a 140 – 150 mm fork. Running as standard with 29″ wheels, the RC295 can also be set up as a 29 / 27.5″ mullet set up by adjusting the included offset bushing. Being a UK designed frame, it’s perhaps no surprise that Pace has built the RC295 with a nod towards reliability and durability. The Toray carbon frame features a full-size carbon fibre frame protector for the underside of the mainframe, and heavy-duty armour tubes protect the cables that run under the BB. We like that all bearings in the frame are the higher quality Enduro MAX fully sealed with CNC machined alloy cover plates and O-rings, and there is a bottle cage mount for those that need water on the go. Pace is offering a ten-year warranty on the frame, which is impressive indeed.


Pace’s Freefloater Suspension

The Pace RC295 features their ‘Freefloater’ suspension system, the result of 30 iterations. The system is based on a twin link design, allowing almost limitless control over the axle path and suspension characteristics. Both links rotate in the same direction, and the RockShox Deluxe RT3 Debonair 210×55 is activated from both ends. The design of the suspension systems leverage ratio has been tailored around a low compression shock tune. To ensure maximum performance, the two-piece aluminium linkage hardware bolts in place to secure the shock and it’s offset bushing, bringing massive stiffness between the front and rear triangles. Clearly designed by an engineer, the flat and square linkages certainly bring a functional aesthetic that sits in contrast to the glossy, and sculpted carbon fibre frame.

The low-compression tune shock is driven from both ends
The linkage bolts together to secure the shock and hold the offset bushing in place
The iundustrial looking bolted linkage of the Pace RC295 stands in contrast to the sleek and sexy carbon triangle with its deep gloss coat.
We did find that mud built up a little on the shelf created by the lower linkage
The Pace RC295 uses a low compression shock tune but retains excellent mid-stroke support

I wanted to design a bike that was a Mountain Bike, not a Bike Park or Trail Centre bike but something that performed out on the mountain and could punch up a climb well with grip and drive but then handle a gnarly descent.” Adrian Carter (designer)

Pace RC295 Geometry

‘Three years in development’ can set alarm bells ringing, especially with bike geometry advancing so fast, but on paper, the Pace RC295 has kept up with the trends. In size Large, the 436 mm chainstays, 64.5-degree head angle and steepish 76-degree seat tube angle put the RC295 in the same ballpark as the latest’ hard hitting’ trail bikes. However, the 484 mm reach is long for a Large and so will better suit riders who are happy to ride with a more aggressive position over the bars. A 630 mm stack height suggests comfortable rider integration and a 46 mm bottom bracket drop should help riders get their knee down in the corners.

Size M L XL
Seat tube 445 mm 457 mm 490 mm
Top tube 622 mm 635 mm 665 mm
Head tube 100 mm 110 mm 130 mm
Head angle 64.5° 64.5° 64.5°
Seat angle 76.0° 76.0° 76.0°
Chainstays 436 mm 436 mm 436 mm
BB Drop 46 mm 46 mm 46 mm
Wheelbase 1,228 mm 1,241 mm 1,277 mm
Reach 466 mm 484 mm 503 mm
Stack 624 mm 630 mm 651 mm

The Pace RC295 Models

The Pace RC295 will be available as two complete bikes, and also as a £2839 rolling chassis and £1899 frame only. The model we tested was the £3999 RC295 Ultimate GX build, complete with a 150 mm RockShox Pike RC2 Ultimate fork, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, SRAM Guide RS brakes and Hunt Trail Wide MTB wheels (although the website lists the bike will come with Hope Fortus wheels). A slightly more expensive £4149 Ultimate XT build is available with a Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain and Shimano XT M8120 brakes. For those who like to customise their ride, Pace also offers a custom build saving, passing on some good savings to the customer.

The 800 mm Renthal 35 mm bar suggests an aggressive intent, one that the Pace suspension can deliver
Armour cable covers protect the cables running externally under the frame
The Hunt wheels impressed us, inexpensive and seemed high performance

Would we run a mullet?

The Pace RC295 is designed to work well as a 29er, but also offer compatibility with a mullet setup of 29 front and 27.5 rear. The geometry can be shifted by rotating an offset bushing in the top shock mount, correcting the BB height, seat tube and head tube angle. Of course, you could also leave the offset bushing in the 29er setting to slacken out the mullet bike. We tried the bike in all configurations, and it is amazing how changing the rear wheel size can influence the feel of the bike. In the mullet setting, you feel lower behind the forks, making steeper trails feel easier to attack, and it’s easier to throw the rear wheel around. However, after extensive testing, we found the 29/29 configuration the most balanced, with an effortless central riding position. However, some riders may enjoy a more ‘behind the fork’ feel, so it’s nice that PACE has offered the option with the offset bushing.

An offset bushing in the top shock mount allows the bike to be slackened a steepened to work with a 29 or 27.5″ rear wheel.

Riding the Pace RC295 Ultimate GX

The trail bike market is currently exploding with some amazingly versatile machines. We have to admit that before riding the RC295, we worried that Pace would play a little on nostalgia and heritage, targeting their bike at fans with a bike dated from the outset (which we have seen with other UK brands). However, looking at the numbers and after riding the bike, it’s clear that Pace has designed a thoroughly modern trail bike that really does rip.

We ordered some traditional British weather to complement the British bike.

We enjoyed a few weeks of riding on the Pace RC295 on a variety of trails, from weekend epics to white knuckle DH runs. Initial setup was effortless, RockShox leads the game when it comes to fast suspension setup. Running 18 / 30% sag front and rear on the Pike Ultimate and Deluxe RT3 shock and tweaking the low-speed compression and rebound to personal preference, the RC295 felt great right out of the box. With a spacious reach and relaxed angles, position and balance on the bike are sublime – further improved with a wide Renthal 35 800 mm bar and Pace’s own brand super short 32 mm stem. We like that Pace have not skimped on the contact points with the excellent DMR Deathgrips.

Pace Cycles have earned their place in the MTB hall of fame, however, that does not mean the new RC295 plays on that nostalgia, instead, it’s a very modern trail bike that simply rips

Pedalling uphill, while not quite as efficient as the latest super-steep seat tubed mountain goats, the Pace RC295 holds its momentum well, partly due to the low 13.96kg rolling weight and partly due to the balanced geometry and supportive suspension. We did experience bobbing from the rear suspension indicating that a lower anti-squat has been engineered in to reduce pedal forces, using the climb-switch on the shock quietened things down. It’s a comfortable bike for long days, and with excellent Maxxis 29 x 2.4″ DHR II Exo tires, we were looking forward to the descents.

The Pace RC295 is super easy to exploit; you can throw it around with total confidence.
Helmet: MET ROAM | Jacket: LEATT DBX 5.0 | Pants: VOID Range | Shoe: ION Rascall

Where we enjoyed the Pace RC295 the most was on challenging but fast natural trails, where the excellent and highly sensitive suspension carries speed easily from hit to hit. The low compression tune used in the shock allows the rear to respond quickly without hanging up, and the minimal chain growth ensures that rocks gardens are dispatched with a magic carpet feel, reminiscent of the excellent Yeti SB bikes. For those who like to rail corners, mid-stroke support is high, allowing you to lean on the bike mid-turn. We found running slightly faster rebound gave the bike a lively and super engaging feel on undulating trails. The Freefloater suspension is the highlight of the bike, and the stability and stiffness through the bolted linkage is impressive – hard, side-on landings and cutties are vibration-free. There is also very little noise from the bike, even though the chainstay guard is minimal to the extreme, we experience no loud chain slap or cable rattle.

Three years in development’ can set alarm bells ringing, especially with bike geometry advancing so fast, but it is clear that the Pace RC295 has kept up with the trends

The 180 mm front rotor is too small, especially when combined with the averagely powerful SRAM Guide RS brake.
Shorter legged riders will curse the short insertion depth possible on the Pace RC295

Our only slight concerns focussed around the build components, namely the front brake. Even though the SRAM Guide RS is a solid brake, a 180 mm rotor on the front is too small for a hard-charging 29er, especially in the wet, and we repeatedly found ourselves struggling to haul down speed safely. We would swap for a 200 mm rotor immediately [Pace have just informed us they will now ship the bikes with a 200 mm rotor]. Also, shorter-legged riders will struggle with the high kink in the down tube that limits insertion of a longer dropper post; our test rider was surprised he could only fit a 150 mm dropper, generally used to a 170 mm. If we owned this bike, we would look at the latest low-insertion depth posts like the One-Up V2. We enjoyed the bike most in 29/29 format, but for those looking for more of a descending bias, you could drop a 27.5″ rear wheel in for a slacker feel.

This is where the Pace RC295 excels, flat-out on undulating trails

Overall we found the Pace RC295 a great trail bike, quiet, balanced and a total joy to ride fast. There is a sense of refinement to the build and ride quality that will appeal most to the rider looking for an exceptional all-rounder, rather than a slash and burn park bike. It’s an easy-going bike that devours long rides with great comfort, but is happy to go hard if needed. The ride is certainly more ‘intuitive and responsive’ than ‘plow and hope’, and on really rough trails the lightweight bike requires a little more finesse, but in all honesty, we struggled to find terrain where the RC295 felt out of its depth.


The PACE RC295 is an effortless bike to enjoy, offering predictable handling, supportive and active suspension and a highly engaging ride. It crushes long loops and ‘big ride’ Sundays, and will not hold you back on the descents. It does face some stiff competition, however the £3999 price tag positions it as more ‘affordable’ than ’boutique’ and the quality and engineering would typically be found on a bike that costs a lot more. The trail bike market is currently bursting with exceptional bikes, however, for those looking for something a little more unique, we can find no reason not to buy a Pace RC295, it’s a belter.


  • Superb Pace FreeFloater suspension
  • Balanced and easy to exploit geometry


  • Front brake rotor too small
  • Low seat-post insertion potential

You can find out more about the Pace RC295 on the Pace Cycles website.

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Words: Photos: Finlay Anderson