After riding the mod bike, we had high hopes for the Runwin stock bike, and couldn?t wait to try it out the next day.
We liked the metallic red coupled with white colour scheme on the frame. Together with the polished fork, the bike really stands out when it is being leaned against the wall. In fact, when we were having dinner at a nearby hawker centre, at least two people who went by were staring at the bike like it was some piece of art. Putting the aesthetics aside, let?s get back to the review.
Comments on the bike at first look:
1. Thin GT grips, great for trials; 2. Wide handlebar of 27.5 inches; 3. Gripshift-like shifter doesn?t get in the way of gripping the handlebar; 4. Box seat and chainstays for high stiffness for precision riding; 5. Tear drop shaped down tube for increased frame stiffness; 6. Frame made of U6 alloy, very strong and light; 7. Very stiff rigid alloy fork with disc brake tabs; 8. Alex DM18 rims, 2.1inch front Kenda Klaw, trialsy looking 2.5 inch rear Cliff Mountain Sudden Man tyres; 9. Very short chainstay length ? only 15.1 inches, on par with the other short frames on the market with very short chainstays; 10. Option of putting a seatpost to ride to places with optional clamping assembly; 11. Short cage rear derailleur coupled with 7 speed cassette for less slack in the chain, great for pedal kicking; 12. Well designed 4-bolt bashring to protect the 22 tooth chainring; 13. CNC machined chainstay yoke for great rear tyre clearance; 14. Extra gusset at the seat stay-chainstay junction to withstand forces if running disc brakes; 15. Bling bling-looking metallic cable housing like in the Runwin mod bike.
We only had two less positive things to say about the bike. The first one is that the fork has pretty poor clearance for the front tyre. The extra gusseting on the fork made it possible for the front tyre to rub when making sharp turns. This is also partly due to the very knobby Kenda Klaw front tyre that came with the bike. If the bike came with a less knobby tyre, the problem wouldn?t be as bad.
The second gripe we had was that there were no QR skewers on the hubs. It isn?t a problem while riding, but it would be quite a hassle to use a spanner to remove the wheels if a flat tyre was encountered. The good thing is that the skewers feel very secure, and gave us a sense of security as we tightened the bolts down with the spanner.
Riding the bike
The first impression when we got onto the bike was that the front end was pretty high, and that our weight was centered towards the centre of the bike instead of towards the front or rear. This could be due to the really high 40-degree rise stem coupled with the 410mm fork. This aids in steering, as the bike does not fumble when turning at slow speeds. The cockpit also doesn?t feel as stretched out as the other stock bikes we have tried before due to the short 80mm stem. In fact the bike feels very playful, and steers more towards a street trials bike setup, or a beginner?s trials bike.
With the super short chainstays, short stem and high rise, the bike is very easy to bunnyhop. Although the front end might feel unnaturally high for some, the stem can be changed for one with a lower rise, or the spacers below the stem could be moved above to have a lower front end to suit the rider. The 22inch top tube is of a very nice length for all round versatility, not too long and overstretched, and not too short to make the rider feel cramped or have the front wheel rub the leading foot.
Trackstanding on the bike is very easy too, as both the reviewers could do it with just one hand on the handlebar! The ultra stiff fork, with the long handlebar and light front wheel made the trackstand so easy to manage as we were used to trackstanding with suspension forks. This is a very good plus as trackstanding is vital during considering and preparing for the next move on the bike.
Getting the bike onto the rear wheel is also extremely easy due to the short chainstays. Just preload the pedals, lean back, then spring up and forward and the bike follows suit to land onto the rear wheel. Pedalkicking to gap the bike does feel slightly less far due to the high rise stem though. However, changing to a lower stem as the rider?s skills improve can solve this.
The superb standover height of the frame also ensures that nothing gets in the way when the rider needs to get the centre of gravity of the body really low over the rear wheel for big obstacles.
One noticeable trait when doing pedal kicks on a normal bike is that the chain will usually slacken and become very sloppy, especially when running a long cage rear derailleur found on most mountain bikes. However, this trait is not found on the Runwin bike, as the chain tension on this bike is tight with the short cage rear derailleur and 7-speed cassette. Coupled with a strong engaging hub and tight chain tension, pedal kicking feels sharp and precise. The chain can be further shortened to increase the chain tension even more, but we did not do it, as the drivetrain felt fine already.
The advantages of riding a stock bike over a mod bike include: 1. Having larger wheels means that the bike rolls over obstacles easier; 2. Larger wheels with the option to shift to the smallest cog in the rear allows the rider to ride to the destination faster to go play around on the bike; 3. The bike geometry feels more familiar to a mountain bike, so riders who want to try out bike trials would probably feel more at home on it.
However doing moves and flicking the bike around for trials will always be easier on a mod bike, so it?s actually the rider?s preference as to what he or she wants to ride.
Anyway, the Runwin Apachesuperlight Trials stock bike feels very fun to ride. With the great frame in the centre, the bike is worthy of upgrades like better brakes without breaking out the bankbooks. In fact, upgrading to a pair of better brakes only brings the price of the bike to around the price of a single branded frame on the market. It is also the same in the case of the Runwin Mod bike as both bikes are extremely affordable. We would highly recommend either bike to anyone looking for a new trials bike, or just wanting to start out in bike trials. So if it?s either Mod or Stock, Runwin?s got you covered without burning up your wallet.
Runwin Trials bikes specifications
Top tube centre to centre: 22 inches
Headtube angle: 71 degrees
Handlebar width: 28 inches with grips
Stem: 80mm, 40degree rise
Seat tube length: 8 inches
BB height: 13.3inch
Head tube length: 110mm
For more information on the Runwin bikes, you can refer to Runwin-Singapore or see the bikes close up at Realcom Trading or Gee Hin Chan