Pace RC 100

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Pace RC 100
PACE RC100 (1991)

frame: Aluminium 19"forks: Pace RC35'sgroupset: Shimano XTwheels: PACE Hubs and Mavic 231mileage: Lotsseller: PEestimate: £3000 (buyers premium:c. £200 - £300)

Demonstrated via history


If there is such a thing as a holy grail bike, then this is one for retro Mountain Bikers.  This is the late, great, Steve Worland’s Factory fettled Pace RC100.  Steve was a legend of mountain biking and those of a certain age would have read countless of his articles and bike reviews across many magazines in the 90’s and 00’s.  Steve sadly passed in 2014 and sold on this bike a few years prior.  The bike is steeped in heritage, not only due to Steve’s original ownership and personal touches, but also because it started life as an iconic Pace RC100, a bike that broke the mould and pioneered mountain bike design and innovation in the UK.

Originally launched in 1989 the RC100 is an iconic design and at the time a huge diversion from the traditional small-tubed steel frames that were around at the time.  The Pace RC100 was the brainchild of Duncan McDonald and Adrian Carter who both came from a motocross background and just saw things differently.  The frame is extruded aluminium which is then machined externally on the faces to create a type of external butting, normally internal on steel frames.  The beauty of this is that more or less can be taken out on each face dependent on the characteristics required.  Pace Cycles were always keen to push the C.A.D philosophy of their bikes.  It is believed that less than 200 RC100’s were sold before the RC200 took over production in 1992.

The RC100 had a number of other significant design features including the one-piece stem steerer, the oversized bottom bracket which housed the Bullseye one piece crank set, horizontal rear drop outs, and the direct mount Magura hydraulic braking system, mounted behind the forks to increase braking effect.   The RC100 was a pure race bred bike and the geometry and riding position reflect this with its stretched-out racer feel.  It is a super stiff frameset and if you get the tyre pressures a little too hard it takes you back to the teeth rattling days of early mountain biking!  The flip of this is that every ounce of peddling pressure launches you forward with zero slack and you soon find yourself whipping along.

With regards to this RC100 and Steve’s relationship with Pace Cycles, this bike takes on a whole new level of personalisation and interesting factory tweaks.  To help maintenance, the RC100 sports grease nipples on the headtube and bottom bracket, however, this goes one stage further with grease nipples fitted to the lovely Shimano XT thumb shifters!  Furthermore, the clamp on the thumb shifters has been cut out to save additional weight and match the clamp of the Magura Raceline brake levers.  The other most obvious change from the early traditional Pace grey and yellow colours is the black gloss finish.  This has not been anodised, as per the later RC200 models, but has been painted instead.  Interestingly, whilst this is obviously an RC100, this bike has been fitted with the sticker set from the later RC200’s, possibly to help with promotion, or they just look cool!

When first launched, the RC100 came with the rigid RC30 steel forks and then Pace started developing their own suspension, something that surpassed the bikes in terms of the company’s long-term legacy.  Steve’s RC100 has the second generation RC35’s although there are hints at the evolving design of these RC35’s as they have the ‘atmosphere balanced’ lower legs but retain the original round tubed brace behind the crown.  These later moved to a squarer section machined aluminium brace.  Like all early Pace suspension forks these are elastomer based and the travel is around 35mm.

The groupset is a real mix of interesting parts born out of both necessity and personalisation.  Like all RC100’s, due to the square seat tube you cannot use a conventional round clamp-on front derailleur, so the RC100 uses a boss-mounted Suntour model (XC Pro/Comp).  The rear derailleur is a short cage Shimano XT variant and both this and the Shimano XT thumb shifters are the M732 variant.

The cranks and bottom bracket are a Bullseye one-piece unit and these look like they have been coated/anodised gold.  They certainly show some superficial wear from general knocks and scrapes.  All of the chainrings are Pace RC20’s machined out of 7075-T6 aluminium. 

The stem, headset and steerer layout are unique to the RC100’s and supersede the now standard ‘a-head’ headsets used on the market.  The Stem and steerer are a one-piece unit that runs through the headtube and bolts directly into the fork crown.  This bike comes with a lovely Campagnolo headset and the stem has been coated in the same gold as the cranks.

The pedals are interesting too and worthy of a mention in their own right. Information on these is limited. They are a solid rubber construction with a Shimano SPD compatible mechanism. They are stamped with a WPD logo and are a design we have never seen before. The rubber construction acts like the spring you would normally find in a conventional cleat and works well. The spindles also look to be titanium as well.

The brakes, as mentioned above, are the Magura HS Raceline’s rather than the standard Magura brakes that came fitted to the standard RC100’s.  The front brake is mounted behind the fork and the design philosophy behind this is that the rotation of the wheel, combined with the brake pads angled slightly in, will pull the brakes on to the rim tighter.  This was something that stayed with the Pace design not only for the Magura brakes but also the conventional cantilever versions that were subsequently released.

The wheelset is a combination of Pace RC50 hubs laced to Mavic rims.  The front is a Dave Hinde built M117 SUP CD and the rear is a M231 CD.  Both tyres are a 2.1” Ritchey AlphaBite in the World Cup Series ‘low density compound’ casing.  Both wheels come with the super light X-Lite quick release skewers.

This bike has stood the test of time and is a museum worthy piece, taken out for the occasional ride and enjoyed.  It is something that is hard to value because of the heritage of the previous ownership and the place in the history of UK and global Mountain Biking history.

Curated Cranks can verify this is a genuine seller with a genuine reason for sale.  The bike is located in Warwickshire, UK.

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