Remember when drop bars, fat knobby tires, flared bars, Euro steel and dropper posts were a thing? Most of us don't remember the first time, but they're all back in a big way, and Raleigh has assembled them all into a stylish package called the Stuntman.
As one of the oldest bike companies in existence, Raleigh has a long history of road bikes targeted towards adventure riders. With the current wave of gravel bikes, Raleigh takes things even further with the new Stuntman. We first highlighted the new bike at the Sea Otter Classic last year, and it was easily one of the biggest hits of the show. In January we got reacquainted with it a few weeks ago at Winter Press Camp, and now we're finally testing insurance policies with some stunts of our own.
The Raleigh Stuntman Frame
The Stuntman is a unique bike that slots into the monster cross / adventure category of bikes similar to the Bombtrack Hook EXT that we recently reviewed as well as the Van Dessel ADD—bikes that continue to blur the line between traditional cyclocross bikes and modern mountain bikes and don't limit your options or aspirations.
Big tire clearance, fittings for racks and fenders, a low bottom bracket for loaded stability and flared bars and dropper post for technical riding make for a bike that could replace everything else in your stable or on your wish list, with the exception of a UCI weight limit-violating climbing rig. The Stuntman takes a different approach to thinning the herd than the more pavement-oriented but equally versatile Fyxation Quiver Disc also under review, instilling more fear in the mountain bikes than the road bikes in your garage.
Reynolds 631 steel and a full alloy fork provide the foundation for your stunts, racks, fenders, bottle cages and dropper post. There's ample clearance for a 2.1" 29er mountain bike tire, and room for mud around the 50c stock tires.
Geometry is long and really low, with a whopping 8.25cm bottom bracket drop and lengthy 45cm chainstays. Both come in handy with the high volume tires due to the necessary tire clearance and increased ride height. Paired with a 50mm fork rake and 57cm top tube, our 56cm test bike boasts a stretched-out 105.8cm wheelbase. For a cyclocrosser, those dimensions may sound off, but for reference, they're nearly identical to a similarly-sized 1983 Specialized Expedition, in case you're curious if such a drop bar setup has been validated before.
After the pieces are welded up, a 56cm bike offers a 385mm reach and 605mm stack. It's worth noting that this size is the third smallest of six sizes. Typically our test bikes are a M/L or Large size, and often the second largest of the available options, but the Stuntman runs big and serves the taller market well (or is well-suited to flat bar conversion).
The Raleigh Stuntman Build
That fact that the Stuntman is equipped with a dropper post and fat rubber expands most riders' drop bar comfort zone, unless they were one of the few doing similar things over 25 years ago [See our #TBT profile of the 1991 drop bar Salsa Alacarte here.]
Equipped with a SRAM Rival 1 clutch rear derailleur, Apex-level 1130 11-42 cassette (non-XD) and Sammox 110mm BCD crankset with 40t narrow/wide chainring, the bike has sufficient gearing for most unloaded pavement or dirt riding. Have some hills and bikepacking or loaded touring in your future? You may want a lower gear.
The biggest standout of the parts spec is definitely the Raleigh dropper post. While hardcore adventure riders have been able to rig up some dropper posts on their rigs, the Stuntman is one of the first production models to come stock with a dropper and it's a trend that we expect to grow. The dropper provides 65-80mm of adjustment and has an internally-routed cable with a lever on the left side of the handlebar. While drop-bar oriented dropper posts aren't new to us, the Stuntman is the first dropper post-equipped test bike we've seen.
The post caught the lust of younger CXM testers, and skepticism of resident retro grouches. More on that later.
Other components highlights of the Stuntman include the SRAM Rival hydro disc brakes, the 16 degree flared handlebars, and wide 22.4mm internal (28mm external) width tubeless ready rims with an excellent bead-retaining lip.
With a name like the Stuntman and a courage-inducing dropper post, one might expect the bike to be aggressive in nature and offer padding for protection against the inevitable and needing a stunt double. However, this is where the bike surprises, for better or for worse. The cockpit attempts to add some tradition and refinement to the two-wheel package in the form of leather-look handlebar tape and riveted saddle with hints of Brooks style. It's a stylish look but for our stunts we'd want a more comfortable perch and favor grippier, padded tape and a more forgiving shell, similar to the flexy Fabric saddles.
Raleigh should be commended for pairing tubeless-ready wheels with tubeless tires out of the box. The rims are proper tubeless hoops that are pre-taped and offer an adequate bead shelf and retention lip. Although they come set up with inner tubes, the Clement MSO X'Plor 50c tubeless tires offer great volume, reliable tubeless use and a fast-rolling tread that will handle gravel and pavement riding well. But when you're ready for stunts on more technical trails, especially if there's any bit of moisture, you'll want something more aggressive. The MSO rubber should hold up well under miles of exploration and get you back to civilization, as they're reinforced with puncture protection, but there's a weight penalty at 786 grams per tire.
Stunts require either heavy duty machines or vehicles light enough to encourage big air, and Raleigh opts for the former option in putting together this $2500 rig. The total package without pedals tips our scale at 26.54 pounds, and without the wheels it's 16.38 pounds. Neither metric is light for a full rigid, single chainring bike, but for perspective, even with a metal fork and dropper post, the Stuntman is amazingly still lighter than the carbon fork-equipped Quiver Disc by Fyxation.
We'll fully admit to being biased based on the name, 1980s movies and preconceived notions of what the bike would do best, but only test rides can reveal the true nature of a vehicle.
Raleigh Stuntman: Early Ride Impressions
First, let us say in our initial rides what we have and haven't covered. We haven't taken the Stuntman bikepacking (yet), to technical mountain bike parks or flow trails (yet), on day-long gravel rides (yet), nor attempted any real big air or extreme stunts (won't happen). Over a few weeks we have ridden dirt and gravel roads, double track and singletrack, stairs, paved bike paths and a few dozen laps of a mini pump track. So that's the context of our early review.
"Do one thing and do it well." -Steve Jobs
"Do one thing and do it well," said the late Steve Jobs. The Stuntman does not follow this philosophy. It has enduro ambitions, gravel bike tendencies, cyclocross roots, bikepacking dreams while affording partial L'Eroica dress code compliance. It's the story of do-it-all bikes and keeping all your options open.
If it truly replaces all the bikes in your quiver, it might just become the best thing ever. The Stuntman can simplify your options, your riding and eventually your life. Keep those other bikes around however, and you're faced with constant reminders of what you might be carrying around—10 extra pounds on the hills or on your shoulder—while giving up a tighter turning radius along with hill climbing prowess and traction.
An 82mm bottom bracket drop may sound extreme for a bike on the trails, but pedal clearance isn't an issue on trails as long as you keep similar volume tires as the Clement 50c X'Plor MSO tires. On gravel roads, the bike just is really at home, as it just trucks along, and on longer descents, the bike really shines.
As for that dropper post...initial test rides might just have us dropping our skepticism with each flick of the handlebar lever. The benefits might not pop up when you'd most likely expect: on steep descents, when we have no problem sliding far back even with "proper" saddle height. It's on high-speed turns when the lower center of gravity and increased ability to weight the outside pedal that the lower saddle height offers quick cable-actuated courage and speed. Of course this all comes at a weight penalty that hurts when you have to go back up and there's no shuttle in sight.
Got a few minutes of twisty downhill? Drop the post, push down on your outside foot in the corners and engage the side knobs and grin muscles. But be warned, your toothy grin might just get you kicked off the action film's set.
On tight, technical riding, the Stuntman slips a bit. The rubber isn't grippy in slippery conditions, the long wheelbase makes navigating tight areas more cumbersome, and the long chainstays make rear wheel traction something you'll have to think about if you're game to try to get the 26-pound sled up that steep hill. Even bunnyhopping is a heavier challenge.
The tinkerer or weight weenie can certainly make some quick modifications to alter those traits. Pulling out the inner tubes (191 grams each!) and replacing them with sealant sheds some rotating weight, adds traction via lower tire pressure, and increases ride comfort.
Going further to swap the burly 50c gravel tires for lighter, higher volume rubber (in our case discontinued Bontrager 29-0 2.1″ tires) shed a whopping 2.25 pounds (1021.5g) and gave the bike a more spirited ride. Post diet, the Stuntman might be an attractive choice for bumpy cyclocross courses.
Going in a different direction and adding bigger knobs instead of shedding weight helped expand optimal stunt conditions beyond dry sunny days. And more padded tape and a flexy saddle (next on the mod list) just might have us debating if the Stuntman could be the bike of choice for the Lost and Found gravel ride.
Stay tuned as we expand our test terrain in our long-term test of this bike.
The Stuntman is part of Raleigh's All-Road line, available either from your local Raleigh dealer or direct from Raleigh, shipped to your local dealer or your residence.
The Early Verdict
Perhaps it's unfair to judge Raleigh's creation against the words of Steve Jobs. In reality, Jobs' own iconic iPhone attempts to do so much, trying to replace our computer, television, mail and occasionally, a traditional voice telephone, albeit with some compromises in each form of use. That's not all that different than the Stuntman, and an iPhone comparison would be considered flattery by many product reviewers.
Perhaps the words of Eleanor Roosevelt might be more appropriate. "Do one thing everyday that scares you," said the longest-serving First Lady.
"Do one thing everyday that scares you," -Eleanor Roosevelt
While the latest creation by Raleigh might not have us attempting to jump over rows of cars, it has us contemplating doing something even scarier—thinning the herd to just one bike.
Now that's a scary stunt.
See our full photo gallery below the specs. Andrew Yee and Gregg Kato contributed to this review.
Raleigh Stuntman Specs:
MSRP: $2499.99 as tested complete ($2299.99 current sale price)
Frame: Reynolds 631 Chromoly Custom Butted, Post Mount Disc, 142x12 Thru Axle, Tapered HT
Fork: Alloy SPF Blades, Alloy Taper Steerer w/Post Mount Disc, Internal brake routing, 15mm Thru Axle
Headset: Integrated Cartridge Bearings
Cranks: Sammox, Forged Alloy 2pc w/ CNC Narrow Wide 40t
Bottom Bracket: External Bearing
Rear Derailleur: SRAM Rival Long Cage 11-speed
Front Derailleur: n/a
Shifters: SRAM Rival Hydro Road Disc
Cogset: SRAM PG-1130 11-42 11spd
Chain: SRAM PC-1130 11sp
Spokes: 14/15g Stainless Butted MAC w/Brass Nipples
Rims: Weinmann U28TL, 32h Double Wall, 28mm Wide
Brakes: SRAM Rival Hydro Road Disc, w/160mm Rotors
Brake Levers: SRAM Rival Hydro Road Disc
Handlebar: Raleigh 200 series 31.8 with 16 Degree Flare, 42cm
Bar Tape: Raleigh Leather Bar Tape
Stem: Kalloy 3D Forged 31.8 90mm
Seat: Raleigh Classic Road Saddle, Leather w/ Stainless Steel Rails
Seatpost: Raleigh Dropper Post, Alloy Dual Bolt 27.2mm w/ Internal Routing 65mm drop, 80mm on three largest sizes
Tires: Clement MSO X'Plor 50c
Warranty:limited lifetime warranty on the frame, 1 year on the fork for the original owner
Country of origin: China
Weight: 26.54 pounds without pedals, 16.38 pounds without wheels
More info: raleighusa.com