In our latest enduro group test, SIMPLON delivered an impressive performance with their Rapcon platform. Accordingly, our expectations were high when the Austrian manufacturer entered our Light-eMTB group test with the Rapcon Pmax TQ. Can it deliver like its analogue sibling?
The SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ is hard to tell apart from its award-winning analogue counterpart, which shares the same name and 170/165 mm (f/r) frame platform. Both models are also available with 150 mm travel front and rear and the spec can be customised using SIMPLON’s online configurator. While the latter isn’t the most intuitive out there, it still allows you to customise the spec down to the smallest detail. Our test bike tips the scales at 19.4 kg and sets you back € 12,999. In our big 2023 enduro bike test, it has already competed against 12 of the hottest enduro bikes of the season.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best Light-E-MTB 2023 – 8 bikes in review
The Light-eMTB SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 2023 in detail
As the name suggests, the Rapcon Pmax TQ comes equipped with a TQ HPR 50 motor and matching 360 Wh battery. The motor system is neatly integrated into the bike and hardly noticeable. With its simple, restrained style, the TQ motor fits the Rapcon’s understated design language extremely well. A minimalistic remote on the handlebars allows you to switch between support levels, while a display neatly integrated into the top tube shows the selected support mode using circle pictograms. Unfortunately, the system isn’t very intuitive. The permanently integrated battery can only be charged on the bike, but can be expanded with an optional 160 Wh range extender, which can be selected from the configurator for an additional € 600. All cables are routed into the frame through the headset but not through the stem, making it easier to adjust the cockpit.
The spec of the Light-eMTB SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 2023
Since the spec of the Rapcon Pmax TQ can be customised down to the smallest detail using SIMPLON’s configurator, our test bike is a belter – we don’t mess around ;). The FOX suspension consists of a 38 mm Factory GRIP2 fork and matching X2 Factory shock, both with externally adjustable high- and low-speed compression and rebound settings, allowing you to fine-tune the suspension to suit your riding style. The 200 mm Kind Shock LEV INTEGRA dropper post offers the most travel in the entire test field, ensuring plenty of freedom of movement. However, the remote isn’t attached to a matchmaker, adding an extra clamp to the 800 mm SIMPLON carbon handlebars. At 35 mm, the stem is super short. SRAM CODE RSC brakes are paired with a massive 220 mm rotor at the front and 200 mm disc at the rear, which gives an indication of the SIMPLON’s intentions. Shifting is taken care of by a wireless SRAM XX1 AXS groupset. For the wheels, SIMPLON rely on a DT Swiss HXC 1501 carbon wheelset and Schwalbe tires, combining a Magic Mary at the front and Big Betty at the rear, both in the ADDIX Soft rubber compound and robust Super Gravity casing which, in our opinion, is the only reasonable option for a bike in this league. At the front, the Super Soft version would work even better, delivering that little bit of extra grip. If you want to save some money on the spec, you could pick the more affordable, yet still wireless SRAM GX AXS drivetrain and DT Swiss HX1700 alloy wheelset, which would shrink the bill by €1,490 and still deliver a tremendous performance on the trail despite weighing 200 g more.
SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ
Motor TQ HPR 50 50 Nm
Battery TQ HPR Battery V01 360 Wh
Display TQ 0-LED
Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory 165 mm
Seatpost Kind Shock LEV INTEGRA 200 mm
Brakes SRAM CODE RSC 220/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 1x12
Stem SIMPLON ZERO3 35 mm
Handlebar SIMPLON Carbon Riser 800 mm
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary Super Gravity ADDIX Soft/ Schwalbe Big Betty Super Gravity Soft 2.5/2.4
Size S M L XL
Weight 19.4 kg
Perm. total weight 140 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 121 kg
Trailer approval nein
Kickstand mount nein
160 Wh Range-Extender available
Tuning Tips: If you want to save money, pick the DT Swiss HX1700 alloy wheelset and SRAM GX AXS drivetrain from the configurator | Tires with softer rubber compound at the front
The geometry of the Light-eMTB SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 2023
The SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ is available in four sizes, S to XL. As the only bike that we tested in size XL, it has 495 mm reach, which is the longest in this test. However, at 445 mm, the seat tube is super short, which, together with the long-travel dropper post that can be fully inserted into the frame, ensures maximum freedom of movement on the trail. Chainstay length is 447 mm and grows with the frame size, providing consistent handling across all sizes. Additionally, SIMPLON adapt the kinematics and progression of the rear suspension to the respective frame size to ensure a consistent character across the board. Since the SIMPLON also allows for a mullet wheel configuration, there’s a flip chip in the shock mount that allows you to adapt the geometry to the respective wheel size.
The Light-eMTB SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 2023 on the trail
Riding uphill, the SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ places you in a comfortable pedalling position, meaning that it’s the amount of juice left in your legs and battery that dictates how far you’ll be riding, not your bum bones. The TQ motor provides natural support but doesn’t feel as powerful as the other motors in this test, requiring higher pedalling cadences to get going. The suspension is firm but remains active when pedalling, working efficiently yet at the same time generating tons of traction. Even on steep climbs, the front wheel remains planted on the ground, so you don’t have to actively weight it to prevent it from lifting. While the Rapcon Pmax TQ is a very good climber, it can’t keep up with the mountain goats in this test, which is due to the sheer lack of motor power. In addition, the bottom bracket is rather low, requiring you to time your pedal strokes carefully to avoid clipping the cranks on obstacles.
The Rapcon Pmax TQ looks incredibly tidy. From the frame silhouette to the finish, all the way to the motor integration, the Simplon is refreshingly understated.
When shredding your way back down into the valley, the SIMPLON makes you feel at ease from the get-go, inspiring tons of confidence with its super intuitive handling, regardless of whether you’re a novice or a trail veteran with a massive day on their shoulders. Simply put, the Rapcon Pmax TQ doesn’t require a high level of concentration and forgives the odd riding mistake – it’s the most composed bike in the entire test field. As a result, it ploughs through anything you throw at it and isn’t fazed by nasty rock gardens or spicy root carpets. However, the stoic composure comes at the expense of agility, placing the Rapcon alongside the Trek and Forestal in our flickability test. That being said, the suspension is in a class of its own, providing everything you could wish for: sensitive response for tons of traction, plenty of support to pump through rollers and berms at Mach 10 and at the same time enough reserves to bail you out on botched landings.
The Rapcon Pmax TQ is super easy to control, allowing you to tame any trail with its potent suspension and composed character.
At first glance, the SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax looks refreshingly unpretentious, combining a modest frame silhouette and discrete motor integration. Under the understated dress, however, hides a top-notch spec and mind-boggling trail performance, which is truly overwhelming right from the first crank spin. The Rapcon Pmax TQ is easy and intuitive to ride, feeling reassuringly composed with its potent suspension. Without doubt, the Rapcon Pmax TQ is the best Light-eMTB of 2023!
- Outstanding handling
- Top integration of the motor system
- Comprehensive configurator
- Battery can only be charged on the bike
You can find out more about at simplon.com
The test fieldd
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best Light-E-MTB 2023 – 8 models in review
All bikes in test: Focus Jam² SL 9.9 2023 (Click for review) | Forestal Siryon Diode (Click for review) | Haibike LYKE CF SE (Click for review) | Orbea Rise M-LTD (Click for review) | Pivot Shuttle SL Pro X01(Click for review) | SCOTT Lumen eRIDE 900 SL (Click for review) | SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ | Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS (Click for review)
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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Peter Walker, Mike Hunger