Connect with us

CONTACT US (editorial board)

365mountain bikes


RDR test Ares 1.2: Lightest Down Country in the world?

Quality and performance at the highest levels, weight pushed to the limit and a completely Made in Italy construction. We are talking about RDR, tested here in the Ares 1.2 model.

RDR Ares

Steering angle (°) Vertical tube (mm) Rear carriage (mm) Wheelbase (mm) Height BB (mm) Reach (mm) Front / rear excursion (mm)
67.2° 450 mm 439 mm 1181 mm 330 mm 449 mm 120 mm
size M

If there was a contest, surely the RDR would be competing to be among the lightest bikes in the world. The Ares 1.2 model is the sister (or brother) of the Ares Xtreme. What are the differences between the 2? The differences are that the Ares 1.2 under test is a model with slightly more relaxed geometries and a 120mm fork compared to the 100mm of the Xtreme. Full Down Country style. But, as we will see in the test, the term "relaxed geometry" for RDR has limits always shifted towards racing.


We love to test in the field and choose each component that we offer to our customers and, as far as possible, we love to combine our products with Made in Italy or high-end artisanal components. Based on the experiences of our athletes and following the tests carried out, we have prepared two settings, both top of the range, which we believe concentrate the best of what is offered on the market today in terms of reliability, performance and lightness – RDR Italy

RDR Ares


The main triangle of the ARES is a carbon monocoque, i.e. a single piece that is molded in the Aosta Valley company of RDR Italia: the design, mold and production take place entirely in Italy. The thrust of the shock absorber is quite direct with a lever, fixed to the seat tube, which slightly filters the thrust of the rear end towards the shock absorber. Like all RDRs, it is not delivered painted, but treated with a nanotechnological resin finish which makes it more "race" and resistant to scratches and bumps (saving weight). Customized decals chosen by the customer are applied to it.

The frame is delivered to the customer with a lifetime warranty booklet. This guarantee is ensured by the mandatory annual coupon which can be carried out directly by RDR Italia staff or at one of the authorized Tech Points and Dealers. Suspension, in this montage, by FOX with Float 34 at the front and Float Factory at the rear, both tuned by Rooster Moto. I remember that a plus of RDR is the collaboration with Gallo Moto and therefore the possibility of having a bike tailored to you, as long as we know how to give the right feedback. This collaboration is also useful for having growth in the field and being able to understand how to adjust a suspension, which is important not only downhill but also in Cross Country. The three-position locking is unique and simultaneous for both units: a very racing solution and useful not only in competitive contexts.

RDR Ares
Collaboration with GalloMoto to give the customer a perfect suspension setup

The braking system is by SHIMANO with the 2-piston XTR model. Combination with discs produced by RDR (dimensions 180mm at the front and 160mm at the rear). Transmission again by SHIMANO, with the XTR 12v model, and Leonardi Racing crankset/sprocket set. Leonardi's sprocket, the famous General Lee, has a ratio of 9-48!

The handlebar is a prototype made by RDR740mm wide with an integrated 70mm mount angled at -22° (Backsweep 9°, Upsweep 4°). Even the wheels are built in-house, or rather the rims, with the RDR Italia Fibra Race Carbon rims 30,5 model equipped with Tune Kong Boost hubs

Attention to detail with the flap on the rear to prevent dirt from entering the linkages. LEONARDI Racing Capo 3 crankset with 170mm length and 34T chainring. The crankset also takes into account HORS CATEGORY legs with a very wide chainring passage that allows the use of chainrings up to 40T.

RDR Ares
Attention to detail such as the flap to prevent dirt from entering between the linkages


RDR offers sample fittings that can in any case be modified and personalized in each of their components, it being understood that the Aosta Valley brand always recommends field-tested components: light but reliable and, where possible, always Made in Italy. It's not at all difficult to build your own bike from scratch, component by component.

The 2 configurations proposed are the World Cup model and the Prestige model: both models weigh less than 10kg! An outrageous result for a full-suspension bike with 120mm travel and a dropper post. The World Cup model offers DT Swiss suspension with remote control on the handlebar, a telescopic seatpost (choice between the 80mm of the Bike Yoke Divine SL model and the 125mm of the Revive model), SRAM AXS, Leonardi Racing sprocket cassette and Formula Cura braking system.

The Prestige version is the choice for those who want "a Ferrari Full optional" with a record weight for the category of 9100gr (+-5%) in Tg.M. Suspensions always entrusted to DT Swiss, Yep Podio Carbon XC dropper, SRM carbon crank with SRM Origin power meter, Shimano XTR FM brakes with Carbon Ti discs, New version of Fibra Race Xtreme wheels with textile spokes and finally the full carbon saddle Alpitude.

To complete the fittings, wheels and handlebars handcrafted in-house by RDR: real and authentic jewels.


The geometric dimensions of the Ares 1.2, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, differ slightly from the Ares Xtreme version, which is more popular in the professional racing world. As can be seen, however, these are aggressive geometries that can also be used without problems in a competitive environment, keeping the bike manageable and racing. Possibility of possibly slightly modifying the geometries using a rocker supplied by RDR, a sort of Flip Chip, in order to bring the Ares more towards the cross country that the down country.

The 67.2° steering is also in line with the other xc racing proposals on the market, the vertical saddle angle (75.8°) is well exploitable and not too standing to be pushed on the pedals anyway.


You don't have time to leave the garage before you leave: this is to say that the superlight weight makes itself felt especially if, as in my case, I come from 2 enduro bike tests. But what is striking is the quality of the whole: it's not just a matter of aesthetics and weight which, okay, is among the lightest products on the market, but it's the surprising contrast to the stiffness value. It's easy to make a light product but also making it rigid is no small thing.

rdr italia ares davide finetto (4)_1
Frame extrapolated from the TEST video (link at the beginning of the article)

RDR has succeeded with a product just over 10kg (with pedals, telescopic and 2.35″ tyres) that responds immediately as soon as you stand up on the pedals. The fact of being able to lock the front and rear simultaneously is greatly appreciated: the control is intuitive and can be activated whenever necessary, without losing contact with the handlebar. Once locked, the Ares is stationary and standing up on the pedals is a pleasure.

rdr italia ares davide finetto (4)_1
Frame extrapolated from the TEST video (link at the beginning of the article)

Downhill the shock absorbing scheme works well: sensitive in the first part even if you use little SAG. There is a lack of resistance at the bottom out but the beauty of RDR is being able to work closely with Gallo Moto and therefore modify some characteristics of the shock absorber at will. At the beginning of the test I was told by Cristina and Vincenzo of RDR that the calibration was perhaps a bit soft for my tastes. So they stood by their word.

Given its weight of only about 10kg, downhill we must not have a guide like a Maremma boar otherwise the bike suffers a bit. The guide must be clean and we cannot afford to completely miss a line or a passage: Ares does not subscribe too many Jolly cards. However, he does his duty as a Down Country in full and we can descend very fast with the right technique.

rdr italia ares davide finetto (4)_1
Frame extrapolated from the TEST video (link at the beginning of the article)

In this test bike the cranks were 170mm but honestly, I was so intoxicated by the positive pedaling sensations that I hadn't noticed. I have a horse around 87cm so surely the 170mm are a bit short. It means that with the 175mm I would have taken flight! Super positive feedback from the Carbon RDR rims combined with the Tune Kong hubs: smoothness at an all-time high and a Leonardi 9-48 sprocket set that allows for a great range of gears, with the final 9 that allows you to push very hard, without going over-revving , in easy terrain/asphalt situations.

Sizes XS/S, M (test) and L/XL
Steering angle 67.2°
Vertical tube 450 mm
Head tube 90 mm
Saddle corner75.8°
Rear wagon 439 mm
Wheelbase 1181 mm
Bottom bracket height 330 mm
Reach 449 mm
Stack 599 mm
Particular signs LABORATORY
A very high quality of the frame in every detail. A true concentration of design and technology made by bicycle with a lifetime warranty*
*This guarantee is ensured by the mandatory annual coupon which can be carried out directly by RDR Italia staff or at one of the authorized Tech Points and Dealers.

+ Lightness and responsiveness. Made in Italy. Lifetime warranty.
- The 160mm disc at the rear (with 2-piston brake) tends to get hot on long, technical descents.
5.390,00 Euros
(frame kit)
World Cup version weight: 1580 grams (without shock absorber).
SL version weight: 1490 grams (without shock absorber).
Official Website:  
Weight (without pedals) 10,1kg
Fork FOX Float 34 FIT4 120mm (3 positions)
Shock absorber FOX Float Factory Kashima 165*45 (3 positions)
MonitoringDT SWISS remote control that locks both fork and shock absorber simultaneously
wheels RDR Italia Fibra Race Carbon rims 30,5 with Tune Kong Boost hub
Service VICTORY Mezcal 29×2.35
DiscsRDR (180mm front and 160mm pos.)
Rolling mill chocks LEONARDI Head 3 – 170mm (34T)
Rear gearbox SHIMANO XTR 12v
commands SHIMANO XTR 12v
Brakes SHIMANO XTR 2 pistons
Buy Boxes LEONARDI General Lee 948 (9-48)
CollarRDR Light Alu
Handlebar Race Carbon Fiber (integrated handlebar and stem)
seatpost FOX Transfer SL 100mm (34.9mm)
Sella SAN MARCO Shortfit
Color Custom

The verdict

A Down Country with a record weight

You're on the safe side with the RDR Ares: it's a bike suitable for both competitive cyclists and hikers who want to do pedaled tours with single-track downhill sections. An uphill surface-to-air missile and a safe downhill vehicle. The fact of being able to customize the bike's components and follow its construction, as well as receiving advice on settings or components during the selection phase, is a plus that the more famous brands cannot offer.

Written by

[email protected] I am a fan of everything that has 2 wheels: at a young age I practiced road and track cycling (Italian Allievi champion). At the age of 18 I passed into the cross country competing at national/international level as an Under23. Past Elite, I made the choice to take things more lightly from a training point of view, and my love for gravity disciplines was born, training me as an FCI MTB instructor and guide. Now I have made passion my profession by managing 2 MTB centers on the island of Elba (Bike Center Elba and Elba MTB), creating the FANTAmtb and telling in an ironic but professional way everything that revolves around MTB thanks to 365mountainbike and 365TV (YouTube'PULITI dentro BIKER fuori').


Mondraker F-Podium Flight Attendant (6) Mondraker F-Podium Flight Attendant (6)

MONDRAKER F-Podium Unlimited Flight Attendant: 20 examples in the world


New CANNONDALE Scalpel: what a fireball for the Cross Country!


Canyon Lux 2024 World Cup (1) Canyon Lux 2024 World Cup (1)

CANYON Lux World Cup CFR Untamed: News from Cape Epic



365mountainbike is a newspaper registered at the civil and criminal court of Verona on 10/01/2012
Copyright © 2019 | 365 sport srl (04835100233)
via Brenta, 7 - 37057 San Giovanni Lupatoto (VR)

© 365 sport srl All rights reserved. The articles contained in the site cannot be copied or reproduced by other means without a license granted by the author. The public reproduction of a content of the site, in whole or in part, by any means, without the express written permission of the author, is prohibited.