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  1. #1
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    RSD Big Chief 29 Plus - Thoughts and experiences. Buyer Beware

    A few weeks ago I was looking for a inexpensive 29 plus hardtail to use as a second bike. I went through a list posted here on MTBR and checked out a bunch of different brands and ultimately decided on the RSD Big Chief. The price seemed reasonable for being equipped with a suspension fork, the bottom bracket height was what I was looking for, and it was already specced with the tires I wanted to run.

    Alex was responsive to some geometry questions I had. I ordered it and it shipped out right away. A week later it arrived and I built it up that night.

    First impressions were that the frame looks great and the mid level parts build was all quality stuff. The rims are already taped for running tubeless. All you have to do is supply the valves and sealant. I found the tires on the Sun Duroc rims were too loose to easily setup without a compressor so I put of converting them to tubeless.

    The bike come with a 70mm long 35 stem and fairly typical low riser bar. Itís not bad, but the reach seems a bit long to me, but I like setting up my bikes shorter and more upright than most. The long Manitou Mattoc fork and the huge wheels put the front end up nice and high. Usually I have to achieve this position with a long steerer or upright stem. I put on a swept back bar with my only spare 31.8 stem sitting around and itís pretty comfy, although, if I keep riding this thing I will find a 50 mm stem to use with the swept back bar instead of the upright stem Iím running at the moment.

    Iíve put around 130 miles on it since receiving it about a week and I love the Maxxis Minion 29 plus setup and the Mattoc fork. The slack seat tube really lets you feel confident descending even without a dropper and the high bb allows you to easily pedal through technical terrain.

    Unfortunately there is one major problem. The frame, even with the sliding dropouts pulled as far back as they can go, does not have adequate room to accommodate the tire and rim combo the complete bike comes equipped with. From the moment I took my first few pedal strokes I heard that sickening sound of the tire rubbing the frame. See the video below.


    Not only does the tire rub the frame, with no room to move the wheel forward and no room in the dropout to move it farther back the sliding dropouts are nearly worthless when it comes to running it as a single speed.

    Iíll be adding more to this post shortly.

    Tires are at 15 psi. I'm putting my weight into the pedal stroke a bit here for effect, but during normal hard pedaling or corning the tires rubs.
    Last edited by pbasinger; 11-05-2017 at 06:17 PM.

  2. #2
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    Bummer.

    At first, when watching the video, I thought it was just your typical level of flatulence I was hearing...

    The bike's spec sheet calls out Chronicle tires. Yours came with Minions?

    I don't know that there's enough size difference between them to matter, but maybe they designed it around Chronicles and didn't think to check fit with Minions?

    Dunno, but it could have happened that way.

    What did they say when you told them this was happening?

  3. #3
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    HAHA, sorry to laugh but that's hysterical, in a ridiculous way. Do you have pics of the tire clearance and dropout position?

    This is sad news, but a timely thread for me as I was considering this for my next 29+ bike. Now, not so much.

    I can't believe it would flex that much, seems like a major design flaw. I get the feeling even a 2.8 would rub.

    I'm not sure what to make of this. Curious what size frame your on and your weight and height. After checking out the geo it seems to have a much shorter ETT/reach. That was my primary concern as I'm tall and need a longer reach. I also plan to run SS, and am a pretty strong rider, and would be doing a lot of standing climbs. Clearly I'll have to reconsider using this frame.

    Interested to hear what they have to say about it. I'm assuming you've reached out to RSD?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    The bike's spec sheet calls out Chronicle tires. Yours came with Minions?
    Your probably looking at the 2016 model. The 2017 steel frame comes with minions.

    29+ Big Chief Titanium and Gravel Bikes | RSD
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  5. #5
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    Yep, you have to find the 2017 build on the site. It is a little confusing.

    I am 185 pounds. I have a size large.


    Getting pics of the actually clearance is tricky, but I'll put some up shortly.

    To answer Mike's question, RSD hasn't responded yet to my email this morning describing the rubbing. All other emails were answered promptly, but I think they may be at Interbike.


    When I first built up the bike I sent the following email and received the following response.

    Me:
    Hey Alex.

    I got the bike and hope to get a real ride on it this weekend.
    Definitely a quality product and a smart build.

    I have one concern. In order to get the widest part of the rear tire situated at the widest part of the chainstays, the dropouts have to be completely maxed out in the farthest pulled back position. This isn't a terrible thing, just not a great design since the chainstays are now pushing 18 inches.

    Of greater concern though, is that even at the farthest pulled back position, the Maxxis DHR has pretty minimal clearance with the chainstays. You cannot pull the dropouts back far enough to hit the widest clearance point in the frame. I think it's adequate in ideal, dry pack conditions, but any sort of mud and the paint on those chainstays will be polished off in no time and I worry will eventually be grooved into.

    I'm going to ride it and ignore this detail, but I just wanted to give you some feedback and heads up on a potential problem.


    RSD:
    Hi Peter,
    Thanks for the feedbacks
    Basically, the longest chainstay position would be used for the 3in tires. You can only bend the tubes so much. The clearance is there. The idea was to keep the 73mm BB shell and offer the maximum clearance possible .
    The reason for the availability of the shorter position is in case you want to run standard 29in with 2.4 or 2.6in tires. It gives you the option to bring the chainstay length back in a bit.
    If the tire position were to be in the widest part of the stays, the chainstays would even be longer. It was a hard compromise, but we are confident that we found the best balance.
    I have no doubt that youíll love the bike.
    Best,

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Bummer.

    At first, when watching the video, I thought it was just your typical level of flatulence I was hearing...

    Sometimes it is tough to tell the differnce between the tire rub and my ass, but I had the mic on the chainstays in that video.

  7. #7
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    RSD Big Chief 29 Plus - Thoughts and experiences.  Buyer Beware-driveside-rub.jpgRSD Big Chief 29 Plus - Thoughts and experiences.  Buyer Beware-non-drive-rub.jpg

    Not great pics, but you can see where the tire is rubbing. I've put tape over the contact area. Iím not really sure what the point is, because it rubs through immediately.

  8. #8
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    I was seriously considering a Big Chief a few months ago. The one thing that stopped me was that it says on the website that it has a 27.2mm seatpost. I wanted 30.9.
    I ended up getting a Krampus. I paid 660 and got a frame and fork.

    After I bought the Krampus, someone on mtbr pointed out that the RSD site is wrong. The bike actually has a 30.9mm seatpost.
    The mechanic at the bike shop thought I'd end up with a creaky bike because of the adjustable dropouts on the RSD. I make a lot of torque.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    I was seriously considering a Big Chief a few months ago. The one thing that stopped me was that it says on the website that it has a 27.2mm seatpost. I wanted 30.9.
    I ended up getting a Krampus. I paid 660 and got a frame and fork.

    After I bought the Krampus, someone on mtbr pointed out that the RSD site is wrong. The bike actually has a 30.9mm seatpost.
    The mechanic at the bike shop thought I'd end up with a creaky bike because of the adjustable dropouts on the RSD. I make a lot of torque.

    I could have sworn the RSD site had the post listed at 27.2 also and that was a major downside for me, but I mostly wanted to use it for bikepacking so I was willing to overlook that aspect. I was surprised and happy by the 30.9 post.

    I don't think sliders are necesarily creaky, but if you're known to really torque a frame you probaly ened up better off with the Krampus. I'm not sure what the tire clearance is on that frame, but I imagine it's better.

  10. #10
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    For shits and giggles could you post a pic of the tire clearance with wheel mounted in the farthest drop out position? Id like to see just how close the tire is to the stays.

    I've too have been heavily considering the Chief, I currently have an RSD Mayor fat bike and have a friend who has a Sargeant 27.5+, both bikes have been stellar, sucks to think that Alex would make such an oversight. I'm not doubting you I'm just curious how much clearance there is, I like a decent amount of tire clearance. Thanks.

    Hopefully you and Alex will get this sorted. He's a solid dude from my experience and from others who I know have dealt with him, I have no doubts he'll make it right.

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  11. #11
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    If you watch (listen to) the video I think your question will be answered, especially since you "like a decent amount of tire clearance".

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    If you watch (listen to) the video I think your question will be answered, especially since you "like a decent amount of tire clearance".
    Well we can surely postulate based on the video, but we don't know where the dropouts where located when the video was taken. I'd still like to see if this was a lack of clearance, frame flex, dropout issue, etc a lot of factors could have contributed.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    Well we can surely postulate based on the video, but we don't know where the dropouts where located when the video was taken. I'd still like to see if this was a lack of clearance, frame flex, dropout issue, etc a lot of factors could have contributed.

    Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

    If you read what is already here, in this very thread, about where the dropouts are, you'll have your answer.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    If you read what is already here, in this very thread, about where the dropouts are, you'll have your answer.
    By that logic OJ was innocent, because he said so.

    I'd still like to see pic if possible, it's not an uncommon request.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    By that logic OJ was innocent, because he said so.

    I'd still like to see pic if possible, it's not an uncommon request.


    I intended to go back and add more pictures to the original post, but MTBR is being difficult.

    The wheel will not physically fit in the frame if the dropouts are not pulled fully back. It is impossible not to run them in the fully pulled back postion.

    Getting a good picture of the clearance is tough, but I hope this helps. I would guess it is about 3-4 mm when the tire is below 15 psi.

    Also pictured are the dropouts. One side is a hair forward of the farthest back position to compensate for typically frame alignment inconsistency.


    Alex did get back to me this morning after I shared the video and said he would try to find me a smaller tireÖ

    Iím leaning towards a call tag and a refund at this point.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails RSD Big Chief 29 Plus - Thoughts and experiences.  Buyer Beware-chainstay-clearance-2.jpg  

    RSD Big Chief 29 Plus - Thoughts and experiences.  Buyer Beware-disk-side-slider.jpg  

    RSD Big Chief 29 Plus - Thoughts and experiences.  Buyer Beware-driveside-slider.jpg  

    RSD Big Chief 29 Plus - Thoughts and experiences.  Buyer Beware-chainstay-clearance.jpg  


  16. #16
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    I will read and learn, just curious how much does it weight? Thanks

  17. #17
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    Weight seems a moot point given this other problem. I don't have a scale and simply don't care about weight when it comes to a bike in this category, but it is heavy.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the pics, helps a ton.

    That clearance is shit, damn. If it were me I would definitely like a refund. That really sux, good luck hopefully Alex comes through.

    Definitely taking the Chief off my list of available 29+ candidates.

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  19. #19
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    That isn't plus clearance. I'm glad I got a Krampus.
    I like turtles

  20. #20
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    Awww man!!! I have been exchanging emails with Alex about the Big Chief. I was this close to ordering a small. I'm test riding a Pedalhead in a couple weeks.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    Thanks for the pics, helps a ton.

    That clearance is shit, damn. If it were me I would definitely like a refund. That really sux, good luck hopefully Alex comes through.

    Definitely taking the Chief off my list of available 29+ candidates.

    Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

    He seems like a good guy. I honestly think it's just a poor design and they didn't really check clearance with the Minion. I feel a little bad bringing it up on here, but before I bought it I couldn't find any info anywhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pbasinger View Post
    He seems like a good guy. I honestly think it's just a poor design and they didn't really check clearance with the Minion. I feel a little bad bringing it up on here, but before I bought it I couldn't find any info anywhere.
    The lack of review/threads on this bike always had me a bit leary. I've seen several on the Sargent.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbasinger View Post
    He seems like a good guy. I honestly think it's just a poor design and they didn't really check clearance with the Minion. I feel a little bad bringing it up on here, but before I bought it I couldn't find any info anywhere.
    It sux, but that's all part of the game with bikes as a mfg, you take the good with the bad. Personally, im glad you shared, like you mentioned there are no reviews on this bike, so we have to rely on riders on the forums for insight. Hopefully RSD will make some changes and get it corrected for the future.

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  24. #24
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    Wow. Yeah, the lack of clearance definitely is not good. Thanks for sharing this.
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    Is there any update on this problem? Did you try a smaller rear tire?

  26. #26
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    UPDATE

    Alex at RSD was very responsive to my concerns and we've worked out a solution. I appreciate that he was willing to make things right.

    I think they intend to address this problem with next years model, but in the meantime if you are planning on running this tire and rim combo or something similar you will be dealing with very limited tire clearance. I don't have other tires and rims to try out, but I'm sure you could find smaller combos that work fine.

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    I have a 2016 that came with Maxxis Chronicle on Mulefuts. I don't quite have the wheel all the way back, but I don't think I've had it rub. I was somewhat concerned about it when I got the bike, but it has not been a problem yet. I'm 185ish and running with about 25 PSI. I plan on lowering that for the winter so we'll see how that goes.

    It's hard to tell from the pictures, but I think I may have a little more clearance than you do. No much though, like a couple mm at most.

    I love this bike.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbasinger View Post
    UPDATE

    Alex at RSD was very responsive to my concerns and we've worked out a solution. I appreciate that he was willing to make things right.

    I think they intend to address this problem with next years model, but in the meantime if you are planning on running this tire and rim combo or something similar you will be dealing with very limited tire clearance. I don't have other tires and rims to try out, but I'm sure you could find smaller combos that work fine.
    Very nice to hear he stepped up, maybe next year I'll give the updated model a look. Thanks for the update.

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  29. #29
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    What's the overall wheelbase measure? I don't see it on there website geo.

    Appears it could be on the shorter side.
    The tires are the things on your bike that make contact with the trail.

  30. #30
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    Looks like RSD is selling the 2017 Big Chief with 2.6 Nobbie Nics now.

  31. #31
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    oops
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

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    In our defence, which was explained to Peter but somehow it never made it into this post.
    We found out really late into production that Maxxis was coming out with the Minion FBF and FBR 29x3.0 and simply assumed it was the same 3.0 size as the Chronicles. So we specíd it as our tire of choice.
    Once we received the tires, we realized the side knobs were massive and if over-inflated, it would rub. Thatís what Peter is hearing. Over-inflated tires rubbing on the stays. In his defence, it shouldnít have rubbed, even if it was over-inflated. BUT I wouldnít call this a design flaw though. It was a tire choice error from the get-go.
    This is why we tried to bend over backward to accommodate Peter and in the end, we offered to replace his frame next Spring Ė which I donít see into this post either.
    Lesson learned for us.
    On a positive note: The Nobby Nic 2.6 Addix Speed Grip is an unbelievable tire which gave the Big Chief a new life. It feels a lot lighter, more snappy and definitely inspires more confidence, and in the end allowing you to go faster.
    In the end, we think the Big Chief with the 2.6 is way more fun.
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  33. #33
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    You're leaning heavily on the claim that he had the tires overinflated, thus causing the rub on the frame.

    Y'ought define, carefully, what "overinflated" means, both here and on your website.

    I've ridden a lot with Pete, and he's not one to run too much pressure on any bike.

  34. #34
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    15psi for his weight and that size tires is over-inflated to me. It might not be to you or anyone else.
    Bottom line is that there is nothing to define - we made a tire choice error and we fixed it - that's it.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by RSD Bikes View Post
    15psi for his weight and that size tires is over-inflated to me. It might not be to you or anyone else.
    Bottom line is that there is nothing to define - we made a tire choice error and we fixed it - that's it.

    Thanks for clarifying.

    15psi isn't overinflated for any normal sized human on that tire -- especially if it's squirming and/or bottoming out. If he sawed off a leg, maybe, but short of that 15psi is a very reasonable pressure.

    Your first post today sounded a lot like passing the buck and/or throwing Pete under the bus, which is your prerogative, but it's also something that potential customers are going to see for what it is.

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    I wasn't trying to pass the buck or throw anyone under the bus. just clarifying some facts and especially acknowledging that we made a mistake and the reasons why.
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  37. #37
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    In my opinion, if you're going to call a bike a 29+ bike, Surly Knards and Bontrager Chupacabras on 50mm rims should fit.

    If I had bought one of these and my rim/tire combo of choice did not fit, RSD would get it back.
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  38. #38
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    Hey. I wasn't aware this thread was still going until a few days ago.

    I just wanted to be clear that Alex at RSD has been nothing but great in dealing with this issue in the end. He has truly bent over backward to make this right. I intentionally did not mention the replacement frame thinking that may not have been something he wanted me to share for various reasons.

    He has dealt with it in the best way possible and all is well.

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