Review by: Myles Kelsey
For all the brand-bending brilliance of the Cypher RS, its models like the Rogue that has cemented Titan Racing’s reputation for no-nonsense value.
At the time of writing, the Rogue Cruz retails for around R12000 which pegs it firmly in the budget bikes category here in South Africa. There’s a big market for base-level mountain bikes and its also a very competitive space for brands. Delivering a package that offers desirability, durability, and off-the-shelf usability for riders is key. Whilst often overlooked, easy-to-ride handling characteristics are, in my opinion, imperative.
The Titan Racing Rogue Cruz is a good-looking and very affordable, 29″ hardtail mountain bike.
FEATURES & DETAILS
Rogue Cruz is a 29er hardtail mountain bike with a 100mm fork. The 6061-grade hydroformed aluminum frame has a smooth finish with two water bottle mounts and external cable routing. The frame features a low standover design with trusted geometry numbers.
Hydroforming is a manufacturing process that eliminates the need for excess welds. The result is a stronger frame with a smooth finish.
Upfront the Rogue Cruz features a 34mm stanchion TRC 550 fork.
The TRC fork has a modern short-offset design, that improves handling. The Vittoria Barzo tyres are mounted to a set of TR aluminum rims and hubs.
It is an Air Spring unit with a manual lockout lever.
The zero rise bar is 750mm wide…
… mated to an 80mm stem.
The 1x 9-speed drivetrain features a 32tooth chain ring, KMC chain and an Advent Microshift derailleur.
The 9-speed Microshift Advent cassette has an 11-46tooth spread giving a generous gear range.
Brakes are the hydraulic Promax Solve ST, with a 180/160mm rotor combination.
With pedals and tubes, the Rogue Cruz is a 14.4kg bike.
Overall, it’s a good-looking chassis.
Titan Racing saddle.
GEOMETRY & SIZING
The Rogue is available in five sizes spanning reach numbers from 380 to 465mm. The seat tube angle is 74°, the head tube angle is 70° and whilst the chainstay lengths are the same through the size curves, the stack height does increase proportionately with the reach and wheelbase numbers.
At 1.74m tall I opted for a size medium test bike which felt spot on.
For this test, I did a little over 60km of riding mixing it up on the rocky trails surrounding Table Mountain and the flow lines in Tokai MTB, just outside of Cape Town.
I haven’t ridden a hardtail for a few months and was impressed with how comfortable it spins up the trail.
The shifting – even when out of the saddle and accelerating – is impressively smooth. Naturally, finding the right cadence with the 9-speed shifting requires a little more thought than the 12-speed setups of high-performance racing machines. For a base-level bike, the shifting is truly impressively – it is smooth, quiet and positive.
The geometry is well-balanced, and despite the weight, the bike scampers up steep climbs without fuss. The Vittoria Barzo tyres have a tread pattern designed for wet or dry conditions, on mixed terrain and have good climbing grip. It’s also worth mentioning I had no flats during the test.
The Rogue Cruz is not packed with a ton of nifty features that high or mid-level bikes have. It is, however, a simple and efficient climber, in or out of the saddle.
Pick the right size frame and your weight will be centered nicely between the wheels – improving stability at speed and safety when descending.
Simply put, the Cruz is easy to ride…
… and pretty stable around switchback corners or other low-speed sections of trail.
The quick-release seat post clamp is a very nice touch. Dropping the saddle adds an element of fun (and safety) for riders tackling intimidating obstacles or steep descents.
No bike test is complete without the obligatory huck-to-flat exercise…
… or a little drift.
Measuring the performance of components on a budget bike has to be done within context. The standout component for me has to be the Promax Solve ST brakes – they have impressive stopping power and modulation.
The Rogue Cruz is a fun bike that does everything an entry-level hardtail should.
TAKEOUT & WHO IT IS SUITED TO
It’s staggeringly impressive how solid and fun this base-level hardtail feels. It has a calm and planted disposition on the trails that’ll suit rookies. Experienced riders will enjoy the easy handling characteristics. Titan Racing easily gets a ‘Bike Network 5-star rating’ for their Rogue Cruz. It performed far above its pay grade.
It’s an easy handling and enjoyable ride suited to quick backyard sessions or longer adventures.
WORDS: Myles Kelsey | IMAGES: Retroyspective | LOCATION: Cape Town