Catering to a new generation
Big bars and a long top tube allow for plenty of room to swing your legs around on the Complex. No-footed can by guest test forcer Rickey Acosta.
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With each passing year we get increasingly more excited to see what Redline will be releasing next. Over the past few new bike releases, we have seen them go from a predominantly race-driven brand to a serious contender in the freestyle market. With the help of a serious team of riders—including BMX Plus!’s Dirt Jumper of the Year winner, Brandon Dosch—they have managed to turn their freestyle line from something once considered average to a driving force in quality, affordability and performance. And it’s not just in the extreme high end. These features have been found throughout past lines—from the most basic of beginners to the cream of the crop—and, fingers crossed, we can find more of the same in the 2012 Complex, which is designed for the mid- to high-end rider with a thin wallet but big expectations.
THE COMPLEX, DELIGHTFULLY SIMPLE
Sometimes the most complex of things are best left simple, and that is exactly what we found with the Complex, which can be found in the top tier of Redline’s D/S/P line. The frame on the Complex is full chromoly, with classic lines and a gimmick-free design. It rocks an integrated head tube—drilled for use with removable detangler tabs, a Mid bottom bracket shell and an integrated seatpost clamp—seat stay-mounted removable brake posts and cast dropouts with cutouts to save unwanted weight. The new chromoly Monster forks are nothing like their overbuilt predecessors and are now made from butted chromoly, with tapered legs and notched dropouts that interface for increased peg clearance.
The new H-bars saw some welcome upgrades as well. Still made from full chromoly, they now feature an 8.25-inch rise and 28.5-inch width to keep the big-bar fans out there happy. A CNCmachined, alloy, front-mounting stem joins the two in fine style. Redline’s Monster three-piece cranks are back and are pushing a 25-tooth sprocket with the help of Odyssey Twisted PC pedals, which we are always glad to see. Device sealed-cassette hubs keep the Alienation Black Sheep rear and Skylark front rims rolling, while Tioga 2.25-inch Street Blocks keep things rubber side down. Tektro brakes help bring it all to a stop, and, when need be, a padded Pivotal saddle will give you a nice place to park yourself between runs.
WHAT WE LIKED
There was definitely no shortage of things to like about the Complex. Out of the box, it received nothing but compliments on its cool color combination and heavy helping of brand-name parts. We loved the new frame and fork details, like
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the tapered legs up front and the cast dropouts in the rear, and you will never hear us complain about a 21-inch top tube on a stock complete—unless it happens to be on a flatland frame. The added rise in the front end—thanks to the 8.25-inch bars—was a nice touch, getting the grips a little higher off the ground, and it was much appreciated by the bulk of the test riders. The Odyssey Twisted PC pedals really helped give this bike a custom feel, which is something that has been lacking in past Redlines. Pair them with the dialed wheel package and you have a real headturner. Everyone loved the Tioga Street Block tires on the slippery skatepark floor, and, from past experience, they are even better on the streets. They are not only fast and durable enough to handle big drops to flats, they are also quiet—thanks to their three-stage tread design—allowing them to cut through the park in near silence. Now, back that sort of performance up with a set of lightweight Alienation rims and you have a set of wheels that performs nothing short of amazing in the air. Compared with similarly priced bikes, the wheels on the Complex weigh up to one-third pound less than some of the competition, and that was something that was noted in the bike’s handling time and again. The bike’s roomy top tube was welcomed by our taller test forcers, and, as you can see by the photos, it allowed for us to get a much better feel for the bike in the air, where it ultimately felt most at home. But don’t count yourselves out, tech riders. Quick-handling geometry also lurks in this bike’s bag of tricks, meaning it offers the best of both worlds—if you’re tall enough to work around the 21-inch top tube. A day of throwing airs went to prove that the Monster cranks were capable of holding their own, even under the weight of some of our test riders, who were well over 200 pounds. Consider that a testimony to the wheels as well, which escaped without ever seeing the business end of a spoke wrench. For those of you who run brakes, those on the Complex worked amazingly well, thanks in part to Redline’s choice to run clear, ultra-soft compound brake pads. Pair this feature with a hinged brake lever and fully removable brake hardware and you have the best of both worlds—functional brakes that can be quickly and easily removed to suit your riding style. While it doesn’t come with pegs, the axles are plenty long to later add the pegs of your choice—which is the way we prefer it— saving you weight, money and allowing you to custom-tailor the bike to your riding style. And to save you from any surprises in the future, we sized up the pegs on the dropouts and found no hang-ups, either up front or through the full range of the dropout in the rear. Overall, we were 28 www.bmxplusmag.com
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After swapping out the pivotal post for a considerably shorter one, Rickey had no problems putting the Redline upside down with classic style.
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really impressed with the performance of the new Complex.
WHAT WE DIDN’T
The first thing we noticed was the crazy-long length of the Pivotal post on the Complex. While it is nice to be able to cut a seatpost to suit your specific needs, the seat you see in the studio shot was actually all the way down in the frame—meaning if you ride with the times and have your seat slammed, or close to it, you would have to trim a sizeable amount of seatpost off. Fortunately, this will save you a lot of weight. But if you happen to find yourself at Woodward West—like we were—without a saw or pipe cutter, you may have to do what we did and borrow a shorter post so you can ride without the fear of getting kicked in the butt by your seat every time you case a jump. Another issue we had, which is getting more and more common as riders continue to ride with taller front ends, was that bike companies can’t keep up with the latest trends. For instance, the bars on the Complex are now a quarterinch taller, but riders now are looking for much more than that. In this instance, a top-mounting stem would give the bike 3/4–1 inch more rise, which, according to our test riders, would have been much more desirable. While the bike handled great as it was, the universal consensus was that experienced riders should upgrade to a taller stem from day one and take advantage of the quick handling it has to offer. Sticking with the front-end theme, the Hex grips felt great but are too short. On a bike with a 21-inch top tube, which is obviously built for the bigger rider, we would expect big hands, but the short hex grips on the Complex are a tight fit for most and make for a very small target when tossing the bars. Because of this, we would say longer grips are a must-have for the target rider. Last on the list was the cut of the 30 www.bmxplusmag.com
bars. While the geometry was all spot-on, with a wider 28.5-inch span, 1 degree of upsweep and 12 degrees of backsweep, they still feature a very narrow center-box section and crossbar—much like the old Redline bars we thought we had seen the last of when the Device line took over. While this won’t make them feel any different, the exceptionally wide grip surface of the bars now lacks the support a larger box section would have to offer, making them seem more prone to bending. While we had no issues during testing, it is a long-term thing to keep an eye on.
When we finally got the seat slammed to our liking, we really loved the Complex. It offers brand-name parts, current geometry, and great all-around handling and puts it all in a lightweight package that proved itself capable of taking a serious beating. It has removable brakes done right, with a hinged lever and great tires for all-around performance. When placed side by side with the competition, it offers reliable brandname parts, is competitively lightweight and, in most cases, offers a better price point. With a $12 investment for a longer set of grips, this would be a dream ride for the beginning to mid-level rider. And with about $50 for a top-mounting stem, this would be a complete that any experienced rider would love to shred, day in and day out. Make these upgrades over time and you have a bike that is ideal for the long run, making it a great choice for the rider shopping for one bike for the long term. q
For a video walk-through on the Redline Complex, scan the code on the right!
HEAD TUBE: 74.5° SEAT TUBE: 71° TOP TUBE: 21” CHAINSTAY: 13.75” WEIGHT: 26.1 lb. PRICE: $580 HITS: • Attention to detail • Brand-name components • Brakes worked great • Roomy 21-inch top tube • Easily removable brake system MISSES: • Unnecessarily long stock seatpost • Small grips • Current bar geometry but dated cut
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