The Raleigh Talus 1 is a durable and well-built bike that’s perfect for recreational riders on a budget. Great for tweens, teens, and adult who want a good-quality, all-around basic bike for use on basic terrain. Its heavy weight makes it less ideal for extended climbing. Check out the details of the Talus in our review!
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Recreational riders who want a good-quality, all-around basic bike for use mainly on basic terrain. Heavy weight makes it less ideal for extended climbing.
DRIVETRAIN: 3 x 7
WEIGHT: 32 lb. (Talus 1, XS)
BRAKES: V-pull (Talus 1), Mech disc (Talus 2), Hydro disc (Talus 3, 4)
3 x 7 Shimano Trigger
Pros & Cons
- Moderate price point that won't break the bank
- Easy to use Shimano trigger shifters
- 4 models with various price points
- Good mid-range geometry, not too upright, not too aggressive
- Available in 5 different frame sizes and in various colors
- Over 8" of seat height range
Raleigh Talus 1 Review – Results of our Test Rides
The Raleigh Talus is a great recreational mountain bike that is designed as a daily rider for tweens to teens, or even as a commuter bike for adults. Available in 5 different frame sizes (with 27.5″ or 29″ tires), as well as 4 different model levels, the Talus line has a lot to offer – all for under $700.
For this review, we tested out the Talus line’s base model, the Talus 1. We had the XS frame, which was a great fit for our tall (5’2″), 10-years-old tester. From paved trails to basic packed dirt trails, the Talus has been a hit. As a recreational mountain bike, the Talus provides the “cool” look of a mountain bike our tween wanted without the added expense or unnecessary components of a true mountain bike designed for real trail riding.
Recreational Mountain Bikes vs. Traditional Mountain Bikes
Bikes labeled as “mountain bikes” can range in price from $200 to over $20,000! From bikes that mimic the typical frame style of mountain bikes to full suspension e-bikes, there is a vast difference in the functionality and performance of these bikes labeled as “mountain bikes”. The category of “recreational” mountain bikes, however, is reserved for bikes that have suspension forks and look like mountain bikes but aren’t designed specifically for riding on true mountain bike trails.
Recreational mountain bikes typically have a more upright position and entry-level components as compared to true mountain bikes. While they can certainly be taken on basic mountain bike trails, they aren’t designed primarily for such and therefore shouldn’t be expected to tackle or perform as well as a true mountain bike.
Raleigh Talus In Action
From the first ride, the Raleigh Talus did not disappoint. With a comfortable position and great stability, the Talus was easy to shift, easy to maneuver, and certainly fun to ride. After an hour or so of riding, our tester actually declared that he liked the Talus better than his mountain bike! For everyday riding, he greatly appreciated being in a more upright position and found the Talus to be easier to shift than his mountain bike (more about this later)!
As a recreational mountain bike, the Talus is not made specifically for trails, but with a local bike park nearby, we couldn’t resist the urge to give it a go! While our 10-year-old couldn’t shift his weight around on the bike as easily as he can on his mountain bike, the Talus handled well and is certainly capable for occasional use on basic trails and bike park lines.
For those who plan on riding off-road on a more regular basis, the higher level Talus models would certainly be a better pick. The hydraulic brakes on the Talus 3 or 4 or the RockShox suspension fork upgrade on the Talus 4 will be much appreciated while on the trails.
All four models of the Raleigh Talus share the same frame design that features a more upright position for the everyday rider. Certainly not upright like a cruiser bike, but much more relaxed than a cross country mountain bike, the Talus’s geometry provides a comfortable ride best suited for use around town or on paved bike trails. As we pointed out above, the geometry of the Talus does not prevent it from being used on basic trails, but its upright position doesn’t make it ideal.
Weighing in at 32.7 lb. (the Talus 1 in an XS frame), the Talus was surprisingly nimble! The effect of weight on performance, however, was noticeable upon hitting some uphill sections. Although the Talus is geared plenty low for climbing, our tester struggled to get up hills as compared to his much lighter mountain bike, but was able to do so without stopping.
We compared the Talus to other recreational mountain bikes in the sub $600 price range, such as the Giant ATX or the Schwinn High Timber, and we found their weights to be similar at around 30 lbs. For those riders with more petite frames who especially need the benefits that come from a lighter bike, your budget will likely need to be greatly increased; the components necessary to build a lightweight bike do not come cheap.
The Raleigh Talus is available in four different models, each with a different level of components. The main difference between the various models is the brakes.
The Talus 1 has Tektro v-pull brakes, the Talus 2 has mechanical disc brakes, and the Talus 3 and 4 have hydraulic brakes. The more aggressive you plan on riding, the more stopping power you will need. So for more adventurous riders or those traveling in hilly regions in the city or around cars, the Talus 3 or 4 would definitely be worth the additional expense.
Additional differences included the fork and shifters. All four models feature a coil-spring fork with the 1, 2 and 3 coming with a Suntour with 100 mm travel while the 4 steps it up to a RockShox coil fork also with 100 mm. All four models also come with different Shimano trigger shifters varying in levels of performance.
Like brakes, the more advanced riding you’ll be doing, the more money you want to invest towards a quality shifter.
All four models also feature progressive wheel sizing, so the bike frame you need comes with the most suitable tire size. The XS (5’1″ – 5’4″) and S (5’4″ – 5’7″) frames come with 27.5″ tires while the M, L and XL frames (for heights 5’7″ – 6’4″) come with 29″ tires.
Raleigh Talus Models
|Features||Talus 1||Talus 2||Talus 3||Talus 4|
|Model||Talus 1||Talus 2||Talus 3||Talus 4|
|Gearing||3 x 7||3 x 7||3 x 7||3 x 8|
|Drivetrain||Shimano Tourney||Shimano Tourney||Shimano Tourney||Shimano Tourney and Acera|
|Brakes||Tektro V-pull||Tektro Mech Disc||Tektro Hydro||Tektro Hydro|
|Fork/Travel||Suntour Coil, 100mm||Suntour Coil, 100mm||Suntour Coil, 100mm||RockShox Coil, 100mm|
|Tires||Vee Rubber Crown Gem, 2.25"||Vee Rubber Crown Gem, 2.25"||Vee Rubber Rubber Rail, 2.25"||Kenda, 2.1"|
|Shifters||Shimano EF41 Trigger||Shimano EF 5000 Trigger||Shimano M310 Trigger||Shimano M310 Trigger|
Talus 1 Components
The Talus 1 (base model) comes with a 3 x 7 drivetrain, which provides plenty of gears but does require shifters on both hands to operate – one for the chainring in the front and the second for the cassette in the back.
This is the one downside to adult bikes versus kid-specific bikes. While many adult bikes are available with 1x drivetrains with only one shifter, those models tend to be much more expensive – we couldn’t find any within the Talus’ price range. Single shifters are generally much easier for kids (and many adults!) to manage.
The transition to two shifters from one shifter is a challenge for many kids as they often get confused as to which shifter is attached to the “front” and which to the “back”. With time, most kids tend to pick it up. Fortunately, the shifters on the Talus 1 are easy to use and include convenient viewing windows that show the rider which gear they are in.
The Shimano EF41 triggers on the Talus 1 are an entry-level mountain bike shifter with one lever on the top of the handlebar and the second below. Although entry-level, our tester actually found this set-up easier to use than his more expensive mountain bike that has both shifting levers below the handlebar.
On his current bike, it’s often been confusing for him to correctly locate the right lever with his thumb because they’re right next to each other. On the Talus, with one lever clearly on the top (shifted with the forefinger) and only one lever below (shifted with the thumb), the Shimano EF41 trigger shifter was much easier and enjoyable for him to use.
The higher levels of the Talus also have Shimano trigger shifters, but higher-level, more compact versions that focus more on performance. The upper shifter is not as prominent and is tucked down below the handlebar. For more advanced riders, the quicker and more efficient shifting is worth the additional expense. For more everyday riders, the shifter on the Talus 1 works great.
Suspension forks vary widely in overall performance, weight and features. The Raleigh Talus 1, 2 and 3 all feature a Suntour coil shock with 100mm of travel. The shock is certainly on the heavier side, which adds to the overall weight of the bike.
But for those tweens (or adults) who want the “look” of a mountain bike but don’t need the rebound and lockout features of a more advanced fork, the Suntour fork works just fine. The shock does have a pre-load adjuster that allows you to stiffen up the fork while on paved trails and loosen it up while on all-terrain.
The Talus 1 comes with Tektro v-pull brakes that performed great for our use. The levers aren’t easy-reach levers found on kid-specific bikes, but they offer enough adjustment that they certainly weren’t a problem for our tester.
The remaining Talus models all have disc brakes that will be greatly appreciated for more advanced riders. For less than $100 in price difference, the mechanical disc brakes in the Talus 2 is worth the jump, but for those looking for top-notch braking, be sure to upgrade to the 3 or 4.
Raleigh’s Talus line is a great choice for those in the market for a budget-friendly and capable recreational mountain bike. With 4 different models in the line, one can easily select the level of components to match their intended use. For everyday use, the Talus 1 is a great option for tweens, teens, and adults looking for a quality bike without breaking the bank. For those looking to ride more aggressively around town, or even on basic trails, the higher-end Talus 2, 3, or 4 would be a much better option.