2012 Alloy Rocky Mountain Element – First Look

Jul 12, 2011 at 0:07
Jul 12, 2011
by Jason Sumner  
 
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Views: 15,217    Faves: 63    Comments: 9


What is it: A more price point friendly version of Rocky Mountain's high-end race bike, the full carbon Element RSL (race super light) and MSL (marathon super light). Of course those bikes are still around, too, but now they have a younger sibling that shares all the same MSL geometry and design, with a more friendly price tag. Starting point is $1900 for the Element 10. There are also Element 30 and 50 versions on the way to market, which will run $2400 and $3000 respectively. All three bikes are 120mm travel steeds meant for long distance racing, or friendly all day cross-country epics. Just like the its carbon predecessor, the new Element uses a four-bar SmoothLink suspension design.


Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch.
The brand new aluminum Element 50, retail price $3000. Weight 26.5 pounds
Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch.
Bikes on display outside the visitors center. No test rides were allowed, as these bikes were all destined for the company's dealer launch next week in eastern Canada.
Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch.
The Brazilian duo of Dri Boccia and Luci Cox help spread the Rocky gospel through their love of all things pink. Rocky liked what the ladies were up to so much, they made them these pair of one-off pink Elements to race at BC Bike Race.


How are the Element 10, 30 and 50 different: Well, compared the carbon MSLs, the only difference according to Rocky Mountain is frame material, price and weight. The key is how they are the same. Rocky got deservedly great reviews for its carbon MSL offering and is attempting to duplicate that for the more price conscious consumer. The three new 120mm 26-inch bikes are $1900, $2400 and $3000 respectively, meaning you don’t have to take out a second mortgage or sell your car just to buy a bike that is race – and trail – worthy.


Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch.
Long time team rider and brand ambassador Andreas Hestler talks BC Bike Race adventures with Rocky Mountain's general manager of sales and marketing, Charles Russell.
Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch. Photo by Margus Riga
Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch. Photo by Margus Riga
Andreas Hestler puts the new Element through its paces during a photo session in Squamish.


Features you need to know about include: 7005 aluminum FORM tubesets, extended top tube, slack 69.5-degree head angle, four-bar patented SmoothLink suspension, a nifty sag indicator on the rocker link for easy set-up, internal cable routing and cable guides for dropper seatposts, a tapered head tube, BB92 bottom bracket shell, direct-mount front derailleur, anti-chain-drop plates, and a rubber seat collar sleeve that keep the mud and muck out of your seatpost, even if you’re racing a seven-day stage race on the rough and often muddy trails of British Columbia, as Pinkbike has been doing all week.


Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch.
Rocky Mountain product manager Alex Cogger stands behind the latest additions to the company line, literally.


Product manager Alex Cogger says “We’re based here in British Columbia, so this event shows off our backyard, our roots. It also shows what the bike is capable of. You can take to the start line and race or it can just be an everyman bike that can do all day trail epics with your friends. Cross-country is a lot more things than what it used to be. 2011 was our first ever ground up re-design of the Element platform and the consensus is that we knocked it out of the park. When it came time for the aluminum versions we had to transfer all the successes over – the technology, the ride quality, the trail worthiness into the new aluminum platforms.

That started with the SmoothLink suspension, which we carried over. The two most important points with that are easy to reach controls on the rear shock and very stiff rear links. SmoothLink is our trademarked suspension. The key about this is the average chain torque line is parallel in all points of travel. That means the chain can't pull on the suspension. That’s the key. The way we do this is by very carefully positioning the rear pivot 10mm above the rear axle. It seems like a simple solution. But to do that we had to do some tricky configurations to sneak the chain past.

The other key point with SmoothLink is minimal chain growth. If the suspension pulls on your chain you get pedal kick and bob. But with the SmoothLink design we are able to dramatically reduce the chain growth. There’s only 11mm on the 26-inch version compared to our competitors that are easily double or triple that amount. Long story short, our bike has a very neutral suspension system. Pedaling has no effect on the suspension compared to other bikes.”


Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch.
Luminaries in attendance at the low-key launch included BC Bike Race overall leader Chris Sheppard, and longtime Rocky rider and gospel spreader, Andreas Hestler.


Details:
-7005 aluminum FORM tubesets
-Long top tube (58.5cm on 18” model)
-Slack head angle (69.5°)
-Four-bar SmoothLink suspension
-Sag indicator on rocker link
-Internal cable routing
-Cable guides for dropper seatposts
-Tapered head tube
-BB92 bottom bracket shell
-Direct-mount front derailleur
-Anti-chain-drop plates
-Rubber seat collar sleeve


Pinkbike’s Take: We didn’t get the chance to ride the new aluminum 26-inch Element – or any of the new steeds. But if the 120mm aluminum bike handles anything like its carbon cousins, then we like this bike. Rocky was kind enough to loan us an Element MSL 70 to race in the BC Bike Race, and after six days of hard riding the review is two big thumbs up. While not a pure bread race machine, the Element MSL has handled endless miles of precipitous granny gear climbing, and tons of rough, rooty, rocky descending with equal aplomb. The rear shock is easy to reach for on-the-fly adjustments. The SmoothLink suspension has deftly soaked up all that we’ve thrown at it. And combined with a pair of light and stiff 2012 Mavic CrossMax STs, our race machine has eaten up extended fire road sections as fast as the legs could spin. Which by the way, isn’t very fast at this point. Stage racing is hard…


Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch.
Rocky also rolled out a new full suspension 29er which utilizes their RTC-29 (race tuned compact) design. Retail price $4300. Weight is 26.6 pounds.
Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch.
If you're in need of a hardtail for some reason, Rocky hopes you'll opt for a 29er, because starting next year that's all they're making when it comes to the new Vertex RSL. Retail price $5550. Weight is 21.6 pounds.
Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch.
Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch.
Rocky's launch coincided with stage 6 of the BC Bike Race, a seven-day cross country epic that started on Vancouver Island and finished in Whistler on July 9. Venue for the powwow was the Squamish Visitor Information Center, which parcels out lots of information about the local bear population. Besides lots of bike talk, snacks and cold beverages were on the menu. When things wrapped up, all the bikes were loaded onto a truck bound for Rocky's dealer launch in Eastern Canada.
Rocky Mountain Bikes press pics for the Vertex and Element 26 29 launch.

By Jason Sumner
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59 Comments

  • + 20
 i may not ride cross country that much, but that bike looks amazing. sick video as well!
[Reply]
  • + 8
 antmav, you must be joking, those trails are perfectly suited to 100 -120mm travel bikes.170mm travel on them you would go much slower and bounce around all day. that trail would perfectly suit my 120mm travel steel hardtail that bike can destroy any trail that people on pinkbike think would require a full sus AM bike, some people on here are deluded when it come to travel.
  • + 1
 Amen bro. +1 for 120mm steel HT
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Nice to see that RM is offering the Element in a (relatively)cheaper aluminum version. These days it seems increasingly hard to find decent bikes that aren't insanely expensive.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 I love the look of the Aluminum Element! I've heard they are amazing.
  • + 2
 You heard right. I have never ridden a fully that climbs like this thing did, but still has travel to smoothen out the trails. UNreal XC bike.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 Thats a lot of pink, Damn
  • + 0
 i wonder if they're brazillian all over
  • + 1
 They are bonkers, I met them at Trans Rockies. So energetic, and hilarious, and remarkably good athletes.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Go Flower Power! Nice to see these girls here!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I like the $500 Ford Festiva holding the $5000 bike on it's trunk in the second pic....
  • + 1
 It's called The Roller Skate.
  • + 2
 your bike should always be worth more then your car.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Dope Vid, but c'mon............. Does RM really expect us to believe that if we buy their new Element (with 120mm of travel) and ride it for a year on terrian like they show in the vid, that we'd be happy with the bike? Yes, you can ride that bike on trails like the one's featured in the vid, but IMO, it better be done occassionally, not everyday. Yes, you can get away with it, but wouldn' most trails like that be better suited for a bike with 150-170mm of travel? For the most part, it's all about using the right tool for the right job. XC epic, jump on a new Element.........more of a downhill/AM/trail ride, go for a Slayer. What's next, we gonna see a vid of Kabush ripping the Sea Otter Short Track on a Flatline?
  • + 7
 You need to come and check out some trails in BC. That`s what our average XC trails look like.
  • + 4
 I thought those trails looked quite smooth?
  • + 4
 Are you serious? You think you need 150 mm of travel for those trails? Those trails are baby butt smooth.
  • + 1
 antmav, why dont you listen more and judge less. Its an XC race bike. They are very clear on that, but because its born and bred on the north shore its a little tougher that your run of the mill short travel bike. Just read Bike magazines gleaming review of this bike if you are still unsure. Not everybody's cup of tea, but one hell of a bike.
  • + 1
 Ya, you definitely need to come to Squamish and experience the trails in the vid. All the trails have smooth lines. For sure an AM will smooth the rocky sections even more but this Element would definitely be an awesome ride for the real XC rides here.

Forgot: This bike looks pretty awesome for an XC.
  • + 0
 What I'm saying is that this bike is a XC race bike and they are showing it on trails that don't look anything like any XC race course that I've ever raced on. I've raced 15+ years, mostly recently using a 4 inch travel bike (Specialized Epic). I'm based in the Northeast United States, but have raced Sea Otter on the West Coast, and in Colorado extensively. I've been to Whistler twice (sorry, only on the big boy bike), but unfortunately, never to Squamish. To narrow it down, yes, you can have fun on a XC race bike on most trails, but be serious now, how many XC race bikes to you actually see on the local trails in Squamish? Be serious!
  • + 0
 Its a promotional video. Showing the bike on a fireroad would be boring. Get real. This is a very nice highly capable machine. Do you dispute that? Just because they show it ripping some trails that a bigger bike might do better on- you fault the bike??
  • + 1
 I ride agressive xc on a 100mm bike and enjoy every minute of it..........food for thought. I also own and race a DH bike. I have love for all two wheeled machines and this is a nice one.
  • + 1
 The XC is BC is truly the best XC that I have ever ridden, and a world apart for what we have.
You cannot understand what a RM is for when you have not ridden there.
It becomes obvious when you are there why the RM does not and cannot work in the UK. Our trails are a world away from what you have over there.
UK Dh is so far behind the BC trails, we have very few sections of Dh tracks, let alone tracks that even compare for difficulty to BC XC.
I can't wait to ride BC XC again... sorry that is All mountain/Dh for the rest of us who are not as lucky as you guys in BC.
  • + 1
 lol most of my friends rode trails like that on hardtails...
  • + 1
 wtf is "aggressive XC", how is it different than normal XC? The video looked like pretty standard XC riding, having fun on the trails, and not worrying about how gnarly you got off that 2ft jump or that sketchy ladder bridge. It's kindof like 'freeride', you shouldn't try to make up different classifications. One man's "all mountain" or "aggro-xc" or "light freeride/dh" or "trail biking" could be another man's plain old every day XC.
  • + 2
 i.e. there is a continuum of riding styles out there defined by the trails, the rider skill, and the bike. a kids can hit a 2ft drop they built in their backyard and call it "extreme freeride", while a good rider can hit a similar drop off a rock on a 5hr run of the mill rail ride. Respect and sample from all riding styles! I think a lot of the kids who call themselves "freeriders", or "aggro-xc'ers" or "all mountain riders" don't respect what people can do on 4" race bikes, and at the same time you have some "xc riders" who don't respect how challenging DH courses actually are.
  • + 2
 racefacer.... I agree with a lot of what you say.
I would like to add though.
Taking an "XC" bike and putting on "Dh" wheels, tyres, bar, stem, chain guide, pumping the fork up hard and lowering the saddle.... this is not really XC, but just mountain biking.
XC IMO is supper fun, where you have a 2.0 race king front and rear and provide the power yourself, don't let gravity do it for you. Your saddle stays where it is, you might have wider bars on than 10 years ago and a shorter stem if that is your thing, but all in, you are providing the power to cover lots of ground across the country and not down the hill.
Just my 2p.
  • + 1
 @ Darkstar.....
Nah, I don't fault the bike at all, in fact is looks pretty damn sweet. Probably one of the nicer 120mm rigs that I've seen. Yes, a skilled rider can rip mostly any terrain on any bike. But for the masses, it seems like RM is marketing a 'knife' to bring to a 'gun fight'.

IMO, if you're gonna market a XC race bike, slap a plate on da front of it, insert Kabush wit da spandex kit, then have his blasting some UCI World Cup Course, that's what the bike in the video is.............this bike is in no way shape or form, an Ibis Mojo, Pivot 5.7, Remedy, or Enduro that are just as comfortable blasting the 'entire' mountain as they are on buff, fast XC race courses. You tryin to tell me this XC race bike will taclke North Shore terrain the same as the Mojo or 5.7? Yea right.
  • + 1
 I still don't understand what's so bad about this trail. If I'm on a trail like this I would expect to see everything from a small travel hardtail, XC bikes with lycra wearing riders, to AM bikes. So I would say a 120mm fully is probably not that far off from what the average rider would be riding. This trail looks nothing like a typical Super D course which is really where AM bikes belongs.
  • + 1
 Stick an "XC" bike in the right hands and it is more than capable.
Watching Joe Barnes at last years XC at Laggan (more like a Dh the descent TBH), on a Scott Scale carbon, he made the very technical part of the descent, which most walked or fell on look simple.
I just wish I had the skills haha.
  • + 1
 antmav - That trail in squamish is considered xc. I'd ride that trail on my old RM Element 2007 vintage and that bike was about as xc as it comes. It's not a putdown on riders from different parts of the world but we're just used to riding stuff that most other people consider technical on xc bikes. No offence to you but a Pivot Mach 5.7 would be overkill for Value-added. Not to say that it won't do well but it's just not necessary. Ride here enough and you'll probably get an idea about what myself and others are telling you. I do agree that an element 29er might be undergunned for North Shore trails but North Van trails are beat compared to Squamish trails.
  • + 1
 Antmav, I have to agree with the others and say that the trail in the video is no rougher than what we race XC here in Canberra (probably Australia's biggest XC and Enduro race scene). I don't think the bike is being shown doing anything it couldn't handle for a few seasons.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 What does the low end element 29 retail for? Thats going to be a machine!
  • + 1
 Really? cool
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I don't care what kind of riding you prefer/do but that video & riding was tight!. It made me want to go ride. So video scores 1.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Oh, now I have to wait to find out prices on the 29er Element before I can get my new bike, decisions, decisions
  • + 1
 970 $4449 CAD
950 $3299 CAD
930 $2599 CAD
  • + 1
 Ok thanks, Guess a Spearfish it is then, nubers make it so much easier to make up your mind Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Who does the music in the video? I thought it was great. Kind of a sped up version of mono.
  • + 1
 Explosions in the sky - Catastrophe And The Cure
[Reply]
  • + 2
 This could be one of my next bikes... Great news for 2012 so far
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Killer new geometry of the bike and over all look. I love it and the video was a pure thrill! RideOn!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 That video was insane. They shredded that trail to pieces.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Nice looking bike, looking forward to seeing the new Flatline.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 all the 2012 stuff yyyaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy!! Wink
[Reply]
  • - 1
 i'm liking all the rockies. could be slacker though. really like that styumpy evo
[Reply]
  • - 1
 5500 dollar production hartail!! JEEZ that's some serious cash
  • + 3
 Its freak'n sweet looking! But yes lots of$$$$
  • + 3
 That's a carbon framed 29er hardtail though, 29ers are by the very nature of smaller production volumes of the frames and major size specific parts... more expensive.
[Reply]
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