Words by: Trevor Mejia
Crestline Bikes has released their highly anticipated E-Bike, the RS75/50 and RS50/75 EEB with 175mm and 150mm of rear travel respectively and we are super excited to share these amazing bikes with our eager customers! The EEB is equipped with the new Bosch CX-R (Race) motor with 85Nm of torque and a 750wh battery. The small brand out of Southern California has been hard at work developing this bike alongside Cascade Components to perform as one of the best E bikes on the market. The bike has been designed around full customization so that the end user can get exactly what they are after. The two owners of the company and great friends of Worldwide Cyclery, Mark Clemens and Troydon Murrison are both certified shredders who have pushed and developed these bikes to their fullest potential. Both versions share the same carbon frame with the difference being a shock size and flip chip configuration.
Having released their RS205 last year, the brand is staying true to their downhill roots by making the best riding downhill bikes they can. For 2023 they have also signed Sam Blenkinsop, downhill world cup legend where he will be competing in the DH World Cups, Crankworx events on the RS205 and even some e-mtb races on the Crestline RS75/50.
The Crestline RS 75/50 comes stock with 175mm of rear suspension travel combined with a 180mm fork for the best experience in rough terrain or for racing circumstances. The RS 50/75 comes stock with 150mm of rear travel and a 160mm fork for a more lively and fun ride. These figures are very customizable via changes in shock stroke and a flip chip on the rear Cascade suspension linkage. The shock size/travel configurations are as follows:
Since there are different stroke lengths available for a 230mm length shock, Crestline is allowing their customers to play around with this. For example, you can run a 65mm stroke shock with the ST flip chip to give the bike 162mm of travel.
There are only 3 sizes available RH-2, RH-3 and RH-4, however, this was on purpose due to how much adjustability is available. For the RS75/50, the RH-2 and RH-3 come stock with MX mixed wheels with 29” front and 27.5” rear. The RH-4 comes with 29” wheels front and rear. This 29” rear involves a different rear triangle which is available from Crestline for the smaller sizes along with a 27.5” rear triangle for the RH-4 if requested. The RS50/75 comes with 29” wheels front and rear in all sizes.
There is a straight 56mm headtube with a ZS56 - ZS56 pressed in headset which allows for the possibility of a different reach and angle adjustments as well as a DH dual crown! Crestline has teamed up with Works Components to provide a +/- 5mm reach adjustment headset for tapered forks and a +/- 10mm reach adjustment for DH dual crown forks. Works Components also produces great anglesets so you can play around with geometry if you feel so inclined.
Crestlines are all UDH (Universal Derailleur Hanger) equipped for consistency in derailleur hangers across the world and compatibility with SRAM’s newest T-Type Transmission Drivetrain, something that is very useful for e bike situations.
There is plenty of space for an extra large water bottle on the downtube as well as mounts on the bottom of the toptube for tool storage! This is something that we really appreciate and keeps things clean while ensuring you always have the repair essentials on your bike.
Bosch’s CX-R motor is similar to their previous model, but this newer version has been slimmed down in weight to 6.1lbs and has an overdrive race mode that keeps the motor running for a second longer to keep momentum everywhere. This motor produces 85Nm of torque at 400% of your own pedal power. Combined with a 750wh battery, this bike can get you up the hill fast but also last a while so that you can do exactly what Crestline’s motto says: “All The Laps”.
Integrated into the top tube is a computer display from Bosch that looks clean and functions as it should. To go with this is a wireless remote on the handlebar and a power button/mode selection underneath the toptube. The charging port is placed on the side of the bike where the top tube and down tube meet. Previously with the Bosch system the computer was sticking out on the handlebar and the remote placement was not very ergonomic with wires coming out of the units for both. Now with the remote being wireless and an integrated computer screen, Crestline has been able to integrate a super clean Bosch system to their bikes. This is very impressive for a brand as new and small as Crestline to pretty much have better integration and utilize the newest Bosch technology before just about any other brand at the time of this review.
We have been riding and testing a RH-3 RS 75/50 EEB stock setup from Crestline for a while now and have been extremely impressed with its performance and capabilities. It is easy to write off such a small company producing their first e-bike, but with Mark, Troydon & Cascade Components at the reins, nothing has been overlooked and everything has been built for a rider that really knows what they are looking for. Our bike does not have the new CX-R motor but luckily the benefits from the updated motor are marginal. Besides that, the Bosch system is extremely powerful, the fastest we have tested to date and with the 750wh battery, you can manage to get more than enough riding time. Their motto really is true with “All The Laps”. On the first few rides I was shocked when I could get 6-8k of elevation gain on a single charge, oftentimes with some battery life to spare. That all depends on your terrain and how steep the climbs are, but needless to say it can pretty much ride as long as your hands can keep up.
It took a little bit of playing around with the Ohlins suspension to get comfortable on the Crestline RS75/50. I ended up running the air pressure for somebody who weighs about 220lbs and I weigh 180lbs. To be fair, the terrain that it has been put through is extremely rocky with huge compressions so most e bikes would need to be oversprung anyway. The Ohlins fork feels pretty good once you get it dialed in, again it takes a little longer to get to that happy spot compared to Fox or Rockshox but when you do the whole package feels amazing. The rear end has a great feel, with our Ohlins air shock the bike rode high in its travel while having a very predictable feel, never getting bucked or wallowing through multiple compressions. As Cascade has proven their kinematic expertise with making links for other brands, you can imagine when they got a blank platform to do what they wanted, this bike really excels the harder you push it. Also, our test bike came with Shimano Xt 4 piston brakes with 203mm rotors, and as fast as this bike goes I could easily see how a 220+ rotor front and rear would help add some braking power.
We swapped out the One Up cockpit for a Trail One Components bar, stem and grips to keep things consistent and installed Cushcore in the rear to save the wheels and allow for running lower pressures. This bike really takes on everything that you throw at it, riding the burliest trails with no issue and still wanting more. I have to compare it to my personal bike, the Specialized Kenevo SL which has similar travel numbers and is impressive when pointing downhill. The RS 75/50 keeps up no problem and I would argue that it is even faster when gravity is on your side. Combined with the Bosch system, it blows the Specialized out of the water when it comes to pedaling up anything.
When first riding this bike, I had forgotten that it came stock with the mullet setup. I could feel that it was turning on rails but I didn’t know if the dirt was that good at the time or if the bike was just working correctly. Turns out the mixed wheels really do turn that well and still keep speed like a 29er. After dialing the suspension and getting comfortable with the weight of the burly bike, I have to say it is the fastest E-Bike that I have ridden up and downhill with not much to be changed.
We have been nothing but impressed by the results of Crestline Bikes’ first E-Bike, the Crestline RS75/50. They have really done things right and made a bike that excels when going fast. Even though there is only one build kit at the moment, the build spec is spot on and ready to ride the roughest trails or even get out and race right from the box. The Bosch motor is impressive and is the fastest we have tested so far, plus paired with a 750wh battery, you’ve got power and range for days. The kinematics and rear suspension linkage made by Cascade components is sought after by much of the industry so it is awesome to see it come stock and designed around this bike. I don’t see any of us getting off this E bike any time soon and we are excited to continue adding up the miles aboard a Crestline.