The V2 Revel Ranger just got better [Review]

Revel Ranger V2
Photo: Matt Miller

The Revel Ranger already had a lot going for it when it debuted. Its Canfield Balance Formula (CBF) suspension platform is complex compared to other single-pivot bikes in the class, but it offers excellent pedal feel, and the progressive geometry gives the bike a blend of stability and agility. Revel must have known he had something good on his hands, because the Ranger’s latest update was pretty minimal.

The latest Ranger has received SRAM UDH compatibility, making it compatible with Eagle Transmission as well. Revel also enlarged the linkage and hardware on the rear triangle, improving lateral stiffness in the rear by 20% without adding weight.

About the Revel Ranger

Other than that, the Ranger is largely the same save for two new colors, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s a cross-country bike, with trail bike characteristics. At the rear, it has 115mm of travel and is paired with a 120mm fork.

At 5’8″ tall, I rode a size medium, so I’ll talk a little bit about the geometry. The seat tube is short for people who want a longer dropper post, and for an XC bike, the chainstays are quite long at 436mm across the board.

The head tube angle is 67.5, reminding riders that this is still an XC bike with sharp handling. The wheelbase feels pretty moderate, short for a trail bike, but long for an XC bike at 1,170mm. The seat tube angle is steep enough even for an XC bike at 75.3. While it might not feel steep for bikes these days, the head tube angle doesn’t really call for a steeper STA. Finally, reach is moderate and some might say long for an XC/trail bike at 453mm for the size medium.

The Ranger frame is full carbon, from the rear axle to the head tube. In the latest version, Revel added a debris guard or hard splash guard to keep the linkage clean. This build includes a parts kit with some trail touches, but that really adds to the Ranger’s underlying intentions.

We tested the XO Eagle Transmission build which offers the aforementioned drivetrain, SRAM’s new Level Stealth brakes, RockShox SID Ultimate suspension, Maxxis Rekon and Dissector tires, and your choice of wheels, starting at $8,499. With a FusionFiber wheelset from Revel, the builds range in price from $9,000 to $10,000.

Revel Ranger V2 linkage

Climbing the Revel Ranger

I’ve been a huge fan of the CBF platform since my first ride on a Revel shortly after the brand’s debut. And I am on my second bike of ownership with the suspension design.

For a prize of 27 pounds, lightweight 115mm full carbon trail bike, Revel pedals as you’d expect; delightfully. The bike is also loaded to the gills with premium parts, like Revel’s R27 carbon wheels, which help it pick up speed as soon as you step on the pedals. Typical of the CBF platform is the feeling that the Ranger has extra propulsion as your quads pound on the cranks.

The Ranger accelerates quickly and holds its speed well. On the flats, you really can’t help but hammer because the results are rewarding. Maybe you’re more of a Rascal or Rail type of rider who likes stable descents on a bigger travel bike, but the Ranger reminds me why I love XC bikes; because it’s also fun to go fast uphill.

I never suffered from loss of traction with the CBF and the rear wheel stayed in close contact with the ground marching up technical climbs and rock gardens. Some XC bikes feel like they don’t get deep enough in their travel for decent traction on technical climbs, but I was very happy with how the Ranger’s suspension gave it a balance of cushioning, traction, and climbing efficiency.

There was one area that I thought could be improved on the Ranger when climbing. At times the front end of the bike felt a little long and made it difficult to put weight on the front wheel, giving it an anxious or unplanted feel in some pedaling situations. Perhaps this is due to the steeper seat tube angle with a longer reach and still moderate head tube angle. This was most noticeable on steep climbs where I had to be mindful of pulling myself into the cockpit for better front-wheel weight distribution.

The bike also has a short offset fork paired with a steeper HTA, giving it very quick turning characteristics. The bike as a whole didn’t feel too long on the switchbacks and that could be why.

Let it rip. Photo: Hanna Morvay


Being such a light and stiff bike on strong wheels, the Ranger carries its speed very well even downhill. It only takes a few pedal strokes downhill to pick up speed and then you make your way through the berms.

The CBF performed as it has in the past for me, quickly getting out of the way and smoothing out squared-off rocks and small bumps. I found plenty of support in the mid-stroke as well, and the Ranger is just fun and clean on the descents. He’s happy to hug the trail and carve all the way or hit the bonus kickers to the side.

On big drops, like the one pictured above, I’ve never noticed hard bottoming, but 115mm of travel is just about as plush as it gets.

The Ranger’s length isn’t necessarily long for an XC/trail bike, but if you call it an XC bike, it’s a bit long. The bike could have been pushed harder on both sides, but I think it gets it wrong more on the XC side, with component choices like the RockShox SID and 180/160mm brake rotors. The wheelbase and reach length give the Ranger an edge on the rowdiest descents, keeping it stable and postural.

Most people won’t gravitate towards a bike like the Ranger because it’s riding a bunch of steep, faded trails. It’s on smooth, flowing XC/trail terrain that the Ranger shines with seamless CBF suspension behavior, stable geometry and stiff chassis.

Checking the components

Revel makes choices in builds easy for you. You can save quite a bit of money right now if you opt for the V1 Ranger and remember, the driving experience is almost the same. You may notice an increase in stiffness from the rear triangle, but you may not.

If you like SRAM’s new Eagle drivetrain, opt for the V2. The main benefit of the current Ranger is that it is SRAM direct mount compatible, and you may be better off in the long run with the improved linkage. There are more affordable builds with a Shimano XT 12-speed and SRAM GX Eagle, for $6,000-$7,000, but the V1 is about $1,400 less on both builds, and they’re still available as of publishing. And why get the V2 anyway if you don’t get the latest and greatest technology?

The RockShox SID ditches fancy top caps and dials for lightweight function.

The Eagle drivetrain is very nice though. Shifting is quick, crisp and reliable. I raced the Ranger at the Fruita 18 Hours, and while they all washed the moondust off the chain and sprockets after every ride, I showed no mercy to the new SRAM drivetrain and it took the oomph in the stride.

The SRAM Level Stealth brakes also performed admirably, and I’m happy to say I had no fade issues, which wasn’t always the case with review bikes in the past with Level brakes.

Pros and cons of Revel Ranger V2


  • Great suspension manners
  • Rigid and responsive frame
  • Eagle drivetrain compatible, stronger frame


  • The front end can feel long going uphill

Bottom line

There’s a lot to like about the latest iteration of Revel Ranger. It’s also nice to have a second version of a bike that isn’t a radical overhaul. The Ranger keeps what was great about the first version and makes it tougher and more future-proof with UDH compatibility.

If you’re looking for a fast, stiff and responsive cross-country bike with trail bike capabilities, the Revel Ranger delivers.

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