Revolution Ascent Disc XC


Neil Braidwood takes this affordable entry-level mountain bike for a spin.

I’m a regular cyclist, always on the road, and usually commuting to work, so I am very much a mountain bike novice. Having been invited to try out the Selkirk MTB Marathon, I thought I should get an upgrade from my eight-speed hybrid.

Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative came to the rescue, suggesting their own Revolution Ascent bike, suitable for beginners like myself, but with enough features to make the experience a memorable one – for the right reasons.

This is a hardtail aluminium-framed mountain bike, meaning there is no suspension at the back. For the routes I am riding, I’m not likely to need that level of sophistication, but I am glad of the SunTour suspension shocks at the front.
These have a hydraulic lockout key, if you prefer a fixed fork.

Another decent addition to this model is the disc brakes front and rear. I love the stopping power these have, and when you’re hurtling down a hill at 30mph, it’s good to know they are there when you need them.

Larger than average 27.5” wheels with seriously chunky tyres help you stay upright on narrow tracks, and give you more speed and traction when you need it. In addition, the clearance between front wheel and the main frame is different from hybrid bikes. Even the tubing is a different shape – but overall the appearance is seriously solid.

On test
I rode the bike home the five miles from Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative’s Edinburgh Bruntsfield store, and was instantly smitten. On tarmac, at least, this bike was pretty fast, with more than enough gears and a good, wide stance on the handlebars. One of the things I dislike about my commuting bike is that it has stubby bars. They allow me to weave in and out of traffic, but on long distances they can be uncomfortable, so these wider bars felt good.

The bike comes with pretty basic pedals as standard, and the assistant in the shop removed the fitted toe clips for me, as he suggested I probably wouldn’t need them. I am used to my feet being clipped in, and these pedals felt a bit strange.

I met Tom Nash, of Durty Events, and his friend Scott Kimber the next day at Yair forest. Seasoned single trackers, they were going to show me around some of the Selkirk MTB Marathon routes. These trails were pretty much in their back garden, so they knew every inch. Read more of what I thought of that route here.

We got under way, climbing three abreast on wide gravelly forest roads, past loggers and felled trees. “Just thinning it oot a bit,” came the shout from one of the forestry workers.

IMG_3465The incline was gradual, but long, and I was still getting used to having 21 gears. More than once, I got caught out using the changers, and struggled to keep my momentum up for the many steeper hairpin bends I encountered. The pedals were annoying me, and I slipped a few times, catching my shins.

By the time we reached the summit of the Three Brethren, my blood was flowing, and I needed a drink of water. But then so did everyone.

The descent was my first time on a proper single track, and this one rates red on the scale – so relatively tricky. No pressure.

Tom was a great coach, though, and suggested I sat up off the saddle, and leaned back a bit. Feet needed to be parallel and heels down to give more control.

As I gained momentum, I felt like I was tilting forwards at 45º. It was all I could do to hold the bike steady and steer round the twisty turns and avoid either crashing into a tree or going over the bars.

I was braking way too much and the back wheel slid out from under me a few times. Speed, I have since discovered, is actually your friend in this type of situation, but you also need control, confidence and the ability to see far ahead of you, rather than concentrating on the tree root at your front wheel. I think I need more practice.

I had to get off and walk a couple of times – I just felt too out of control – but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I had only just taken delivery of the bike, and never done this type of riding before.

The rain began, and the ground turned to mud. The chunky tyres spat dollops of the stuff up at me, front and rear. Some bikers attach ‘crud catchers’ – small mudguards to deal with the worst of it – and there are fixings on this frame to allow you to do this.

The bike had held up brilliantly throughout. Solid, lightweight, and with quality fittings, it’s a great value buy. The one thing I would change – and my companions agreed – was the pedals. They just feel cheap, and let the bike down. A decent platform pedal with pins might set you back £40 or so, but they will be worth it when paired with the right shoes.


Main features:

• Weight: 15.42 kg (without pedals)
• 21 speed Shimano gears
• 90mm alloy stem
• 640mm alloy handlebars
• SR Suntour shock forks
• disc brakes front and rear
• 27.5” x 2.25” wheels

RRP: £339. Comes in 14”, 16”, 18”, 20” and 22” frame sizes, and any colour as long as it’s white. (It shows the mud better)

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2 comments on “Revolution Ascent Disc XC
  1. Neil Braidwood says:

    I have since bought new pedals, and replaced the cheaper versions supplied. After speaking to the bike shop, apparently all bikes are supplied with these cheap pedals as the buyer is expected to replace them immediately, and they are such a personal choice.

  2. Thanks very much for the positive review, Neil.

    Here’s the inside skinny on pedals on bikes.

    With very few exceptions, most bikes these days – even bikes costing £3,000 rather than £300-odd – come with a pair of cheap nylon pedals. We call them ‘test ride pedals’ in the trade. They’ll do the job for casual cycling and won’t fall apart prematurely, but their main purpose is to allow a customer wearing everyday shoes to take the bike out for a test ride

    The reason even expensive bikes come with cheap pedals is because most people who get into cycling adopt their own favourite style of pedal, be it flat, quill, SPD, Look, SPD-SL and so on.

    Pedals are therefore very much a matter of personal choice, and the first things the discerning rider usually upgrades. It therefore makes sense to save money on something that gets discarded (the pedals) when we spec the bike, so we can spend it on the fundamentals – i.e. the best frame, fork, brakes and so on, we can get for the money.

    All the best,



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