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New flat mount fork with mudguard eyelets, wider tyres add extra versatility and RAG+ gets a new lick of paint too

We first saw the NS Bikes RAG+ at Core Bike Show earlier this year, and it proved so popular that it pretty much sold out straight away. There’s a new version out now though, with a few useful updates and a fresh lick of paint.

NS Bikes is a mountain bike company that you may or may not have heard of, and the RAG+ was a step into a new market, and with the gravel and adventure scene really exploding right now the RAG+ was a thoughtfully designed bike with some nice details.

- 18 of the best 2018 gravel & adventure bikes

ns bikes rag3.jpg

ns bikes rag3.jpg

First, let’s just remind you of what the RAG+ offers. RAG+ is short for road and gravel and the plus is an indicator of its possibility to take both 700c road wheels and 650b mountain bike wheels. It’s all about offering versatile and maximum tyre choice for any style of rider and riding.

It uses a 6061 aluminium frame with a carbon fibre fork, thru-axles and disc brakes, external cable routing for simplicity and a dropped chainstay to maximise clearance.

The new bike gets some useful revisions. Tyre clearance has been increased from 40 to 43mm when using 700c wheels, and the production bike will be specced with a Panaracer GravelKing.

ns bikes rag1.jpg

ns bikes rag1.jpg

The carbon fork, their own design, now includes mudguard eyelets and the disc mount has swapped to the flat mount variety. The fork still uses a 15mm thru-axle and not the newer 12mm, but that’s only a problem if you’re building your own bike, but NS sell the RAG+ as a complete bike so it shouldn’t be an issue.

Cable routing, while still external, has been moved to the bottom of the downtube for a cleaner appearance and easier bottle cage mounting. The paint finish has been updated as well, but they’re keeping the same, slightly rebellious, graphics that we loved on the original bike.

For €1,899 (we’re just confirming UK pricing) the RAG+ is specced with a SRAM Apex groupset with hydraulic disc brake, the wheels are Alex Draw tubeless rims on NS Rotary sealed bearing hubs, and all the finishing kit is the company’s own equipment. There’s a change of saddle to one that is claimed to offer more comfort in a lighter package. Talking about weight, NS claims 9.9kg for a size medium.

If you like the look of it you can find out more here. We’ll hopefully get one in for a test soon, the extra levels of versatility bestowed by the mudguard and rack mounts make it (on paper at least) a serious option for bike packing, go anywhere touring, and of course as an everyday commuter in a similar vein as the highly regarded Kinesis Tripster AT.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.