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  1. #1
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    Rockstar V2 Review

    Back in early-June I asked Jeremy at Titus if he had a 29er I could demo for a few races. It seems like the majority of xc racers are on 29ers now, especially all the fast guys. Jeremy and Shiggy were kind enough to send the demo large Rockstar V2. As most of you know, I race (or should I say “raced”) a pretty tricked out El Guapo that weighs in the low 28 lb range. The Rockstar weighed 27.2 lbs with my XT pedals, so about a pound lighter than the EG. I had ridden a RIP 9 at Interbike back in 2009 and was impressed with how it rolled over small trail irregularities but it felt big and clumsy. My first ride on the Rockstar was intriguing, it rolled very well and climbed great as long as the trail didn’t get too steep or technical, but I was a bit gun-shy at diving into technical stuff. As my riding buddy that day said…”you are taking XC lines instead of charging through”.
    I continued riding the Rockstar but racing the EG, I felt that the Rockstar’s gearing (26/39 front-11-36 rear) was making me a stronger climber, all the while I was really starting to enjoy the 29er. One of the things that bugged me about the bike was the small Rubena Sylica racing tires, I thought some more rubber would increase my confidence so I put on a pair of Intense System 29 micro knobby tires, which made me instantly more comfortable and only added about ¼ lb. In August I decided to try to make the Rockstar even more comfortable in the technical stuff. I put a shorter 70mm stem with my 711mm Easton Carbon Havens and my DSP Racing Bighorn adjustable seatpost on the bike and boy did it change the bike. Suddenly I was charging through technical sections that would hang up the EG in its tracks. I set several KOM’s on Strava (I know Strava is for dorks but boy has it made me push myself to be faster) that I previously held on the EG and a few that I couldn’t even come close to on the EG, most on super technical sections. The way the 29” wheel bridges the gap over rocks and roots is just amazing. The traction from the larger contact patch of the 29” tire is equally amazing; you can run smaller, faster rolling treads and get the same traction as a 26” wheel. There is no need to lean forward to keep the front wheel planted while climbing on the Rockstar. But what draws me most to the 29er is the sensation that you are sitting “in” the bike as opposed to “on” it. When I ride the EG now I feel like I am sitting on a tall barstool, it feels top heavy, a bit scary. When I ride the Rockstar, I feel like I’m centered on the bike, I can stay centered without much effort and make the bike just rails everything.
    Being a strong climber is prerequisite for being quick on a 29er. You have to keep the pedals turning when going up, if you let your cadence get too slow, the 29” wheel will get you, but in the end, riding a 29er makes you quicker and stronger.
    Currently I have a standard post on the bike as I found the dropper post really wasn’t necessary in the technical sections as I don’t need to get way back over the rear tire in steep sections as I would on the EG. I bought a set of Answer Expert 720mm wide low rise bars and a second 70mm/5 rise stem because I got tired of switching parts around. The bike weighs 27.86 lbs, so about half a pound lighter than my EG. That is how I raced it in the final races of the season where I did pretty well. Now I am convinced that I need to have a 29er for next season.
    I recently went to Interbike where I had a chance to ride the new Giant Trance X 29, it was a great bike, it did everything well. The way the cockpit felt was exactly like I have the Rockstar set up, wide bars, short stem, a compact set up. The two felt very similar with the Trance just having a bit more trail oriented suspension (ie. Cushy). I also rode a Rocky Mountain Element 999 SL, I didn’t like it at all, it was too stiff, the suspension was harsh and the cockpit was uncomfortable. I was also able to snag a Specialized Stumpy EVO 29, it felt very similar to the Rockstar in ride quality, albeit it had more travel and slacker geo, I think they are aiming more toward the AM category with the EVO, hopefully the EG 29 feels much like the EVO, if it does, Titus will have a ringer on their hands. When I got home from Interbike I had to race that night, when I threw my leg over the Rockstar for the Tahoe Fat Tire Festival Short Track, I felt more at home on the Rockstar then any bike I rode at Interbike.
    Now to talk about some of the specs on the bike. The XO 2x10 drivetrain is awesome, love it, I love 2x10. I only dropped the chain one time. The 26/39 gearing is a bit steep for where I ride but do-able, when I build my 29er it will have 24/38 front gearing. The XO brakes are strong and modulate well but have that slight Avid squeal that I could never seem to tune out. The XX World Cup fork felt great, push loc lockout worked flawless, I was able to set it up easily and was using full travel with no issues. The Monarch RT3 was interesting, it was a “LL” tune, I’m about 180 with gear and I only needed 90 psi to get 30% sag. The three settings worked as advertised with the “firm” setting being very close to a lockout. The interesting thing about it is the air pressure, I run a Monarch on my EG and have to run about 150 psi compared to 90 psi Rockstar shock, seems a bit low? The Crank Brothers Cobalt 29” wheels were the weak link of this build, while light, they were very flexy. I could make the tire touch the seat stay just by pushing on it with my hand. I could hear the tire rub during hard cornering and there is burnt rubber on the stays. The smoothie mixer headset and Titus branded seatpost worked great, no issues.
    If this were my bike here are some of the changes I would make for the next race season. I would strip the frame raw to save about ¼ lb. I would ditch the CB wheelset and replace it with a pair of American Classic MTB Race 29 wheels:
    MTB RACE 29
    That would save close to half a pound. I would get the new Michelin Racer R 29 tires and convert them tubeless, probably close to another half pound of weight savings there. I would get carbon bars and a carbon seatpost, possibly save a quarter pound there? I would swap out the 26/39 front chainrings with a 24/38 and swap out the 1070 cassette for an XT which is a little lighter. I might throw on a XO type 2 derailleur to lessen the chain slap and eliminate dropping the chain or possibly the trusty little bionicon V2. All in all, I think I could get this bike down to about 26 lbs. Could it be “Project Rockstar V2 Lite”?
    To summarize, I loved the Rockstar V2. It took me a while to realize the potential as I have kind of been a 26” wheel holdout. If you are on the bigger, taller side (I am 6’/ 178 lbs) you should really consider a 29” bike for trail riding, it just fits the larger torso better, it’s more comfortable, and feels better. The riding prowess part will take a bit of getting used to but it will come. If you are looking for a 29” trail, endurance, or race bike, pick up a Rockstar V2, at $1200 it’s a steal!
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  2. #2
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    Hell of a salesman aren't you Craig?
    "I'm the fastest of the slow guys"

  3. #3
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    Was that a compliment

    Quote Originally Posted by terrible View Post
    Hell of a salesman aren't you Craig?
    or a stab?
    In retrospect, its hard for me to write a review as I am a biased reviewer. After I wrote the review I thought I should have renamed it something like:
    " A diehard 26" wheel guy's conversion to a 29er" or something along those lines. It was more a story of my conversion to 29ers. I didnt go into frame geometry or fit and finish. The issues I had with the bike were all in my head, minor adjustments to certain parts of the bike made me feel more at home, it wasn't anything that was the frames fault. Take it with a grain of salt, but read my story with an open mind.

  4. #4
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    Hi Craig, I'm interested to know if they fixed the chain stays so that they are now 135mm wide not 140 ish like they were on the V1 Rockstar?

  5. #5
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    Take it with a grain of salt, but read my story with an open mind.
    I've tried the 29r thing and was very impressed with the climbing and braking ability of the big tires. But they just don't have that fun factor of a 26" bike.

    I was bummed to see that the carbon rockstar is being moved forward so fast but not the EG 29.

    Maybe if I pick up a 29r for the race season next year I can break into the top ten and out of the top 15......yeah I race an EG in xc races too.
    "I'm the fastest of the slow guys"

  6. #6
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    Didnt notice an issue with the chainstays?

    Quote Originally Posted by Komdotkom View Post
    Hi Craig, I'm interested to know if they fixed the chain stays so that they are now 135mm wide not 140 ish like they were on the V1 Rockstar?
    Rear wheel fit fine.

  7. #7
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    I think it depends on setup

    Quote Originally Posted by terrible View Post
    I've tried the 29r thing and was very impressed with the climbing and braking ability of the big tires. But they just don't have that fun factor of a 26" bike.

    I was bummed to see that the carbon rockstar is being moved forward so fast but not the EG 29.

    Maybe if I pick up a 29r for the race season next year I can break into the top ten and out of the top 15......yeah I race an EG in xc races too.
    I felt it wasnt as fun or flickable with the longer stem and narrow bars. When I put the short stem/wide bars on, it became more playful. I think the carbon Rockstar was further along in development then the EG 29, hence it being first to hit production. Glad to see you race your EG, its a great all round platform.

  8. #8
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    BTW, I didn't notice that in the post right after I called you a sales man that you started your reply with

    Was that a compliment
    But in the first line you put

    or a stab?
    I meant it as a joke but meant no harm by it. I find your race reports intresting and your ride reports from interbike very usefull.

    As much crap as I've given you in the past I do enjoy your posts and have no ill will or hard fealings towards you.

    A buddy of mine just sold a v1 rockstar. He bought it right before titus was closed. He liked the bike but felt it had a bit too much travel for him. Also it had developed a crack in the seatstay. Being impatient he ended up selling it to build something else. If it would have been my size I would say it would be under me right now.
    "I'm the fastest of the slow guys"

  9. #9
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    Good timing, Bikerumor put up their review of the Rockstar right after you did. They seemed to have the same stiffness issues with the CB wheels, although they attributed some of it to the frame.

    It's too bad the carbon version doesn't get a TA, but then again stiffness should be compared against a sub 25lb 26er race bike, and not something like the EG. I've been riding a 1.125" QR Reba 29er for the last month and it requires a totally different mindset compared to a Lyrik or 36.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Komdotkom View Post
    Hi Craig, I'm interested to know if they fixed the chain stays so that they are now 135mm wide not 140 ish like they were on the V1 Rockstar?
    We signed off early production Rockstar carbon's on Tuesday. All chainstays were easily within +/- 1mm of 135mm.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrible View Post
    I was bummed to see that the carbon rockstar is being moved forward so fast but not the EG 29.
    Seperate factories in seperate countries. The Rockstar 29 has taken far too long to get to production for various reasons, mostly managerial. It's nearly there now. EG29 also very close to complete.

  12. #12
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    What country is the eg being done in ? The rockstar carbon is obviously Taiwan.
    "I'm the fastest of the slow guys"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrible View Post
    What country is the eg being done in ? The rockstar carbon is obviously Taiwan.
    EG29 is being made by Kinesis in Taiwan.
    Non of the Titus carbon frames are/have ever been made in Taiwan. They are made in China.

    Had the great pleasure in spotting an awesome US manufacturer's new secret carbon model in testing :-)

  14. #14
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    Names? ......

    Im a big dumb American I consider anywhere "over there" Asian.
    "I'm the fastest of the slow guys"

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrible View Post
    Names? ......
    That wouldn't be right of me, but after some checking I have found that the company have actually mentioned the fact they are doing carbon frames. I didn't know that.

    Anyhow. Cool brand.
    Delighted to be in the same place as them.

  16. #16
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    So we've dealt with this brand before then? The quality is proper for a carbon bike? I just don't trust it like I can aluminum. Atleast I can see the welds on my frame, with carbon that glue covers up all the f-ups.

    But build me a 650b 6"/+ bike with 5+ yr warranty and I'll bite.

    Thanks for all the info B and C.
    "I'm the fastest of the slow guys"

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrible View Post
    So we've dealt with this brand before then? The quality is proper for a carbon bike? I just don't trust it like I can aluminum. Atleast I can see the welds on my frame, with carbon that glue covers up all the f-ups.

    But build me a 650b 6"/+ bike with 5+ yr warranty and I'll bite.

    Thanks for all the info B and C.
    This same company have been making the X-Carbon and FTM previously, yes.

  18. #18
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    Sounds like the Rockstar Carbons need some good field testing. Hmmm.. I might know someone.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blofeld View Post
    Good timing, Bikerumor put up their review of the Rockstar right after you did. They seemed to have the same stiffness issues with the CB wheels, although they attributed some of it to the frame.

    It's too bad the carbon version doesn't get a TA, but then again stiffness should be compared against a sub 25lb 26er race bike, and not something like the EG. I've been riding a 1.125" QR Reba 29er for the last month and it requires a totally different mindset compared to a Lyrik or 36.
    Wow, that bike rumor review is harsh and the comments ever harsher...

  20. #20
    what's that rattle?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Wow, that bike rumor review is harsh and the comments ever harsher...
    Considering their penchant for 11lb road bikes and other superlight stuff I was surprised that they were so critical of the stiffness. I hadn't seen the comments earlier, but the complaints seemed to be more about the FTM and lack of free t-shirts?!

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