Throwdown: RSD Mutant and Surly Instigator 2.0



Two big-tire heavyweights go head to head.

RSD Mutant

From our neighbors to the north comes the Mutant, a hardtail 29+ monster hell bent on global domination! Hailing from Toronto, RSD Bikes (Rubber Side Down) is showing promise with its new line-up of hardtail trail bikes and the Mutant shows the company is willing to be among the first to put a 29+ bike to market.

Built up from the same frame as RSD’s 29er trail bike, The Chief, the Mutant displays characteristics not unlike any other slackish trail bike: predictable handling, an easily lofted and agile front end, and it absolutely loves to roll. The beauty behind this wheel/tire size is it’s ability to remain playful and yet steamroll everything in its way.




Vital stats

  • MSRP: $2,400 (frame only $500)
  • Travel: ha!
  • Wheelsize: 29+ (29×3)
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X9 1×10
  • Brakes: Avid Elixir 5
  • Fork: RSD carbon with 15mm thru-axle


Surly Instigator 2.0

I was also assigned to the Instigator 2.0. This is a bike I think a lot of people were stoked to see come to fruition, including me. Though I missed the first iteration of the now infamous Instigator 1.0, I was no less eager to get this monster out on some dirt.

The raked-out, low slug profile of the Instigator, with its by beefy 26×2.75 Dirt Wizard knobbies and utilitarian brown paint job reminds me of the homegrown pick-up trucks I pined for in my youth, complete with DIY lift kit, mismatched body panels and ridiculously large tires. Part bad idea, part best thing ever.

This bike, much like a nightmare of a pick-up truck, has a distinct “get in, shut up and hold on” personality, for better or for worse. One thing is for sure, it won’t be a boring ride.




Vital stats

  • MSRP: $2,600
  • Travel: 140 mm front
  • Wheelsize: 26+ (26×2.75)
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX 1×10
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX
  • Fork: Fox Float 32 Evolution

Watch for my full-length review of both bikes in Issue #178 of Dirt Rag, on sale May 13.