Rocky Mountain's New Thunderbolt - First Look

Mar 27, 2018
by Mike Levy  



The modern Thunderbolt name has been in Rocky Mountain's catalog since 2014 (but, as a few clever Pinkers have pointed out, goes as far back as 1989) when it was introduced as a 27.5'' wheeled cross-country and/or trail bike, and since then it's been everything from a wallet-friendly, alloy-framed do-it-all rig to a carbon dream machine. Rocky has spent the last few years re-vamping their range of full-suspension bikes, with everything from the Element to the Slayer getting shaken up, and now it's the Thunderbolt's turn.

Rocky's add more rear wheel travel to the Thunderbolt – up by 10mm to 130mm on the normal models, and 140mm on the BC Edition – and there's a completely new frame that sports the ubiquitous ''progressive geometry,'' a tweaked suspension layout, and a host of details already found on the company's other fresh platforms.





Are you sure it's new? Looks similar to me...

Yup, the new Thunderbolt is fresh from axle to axle, even if it sports similar lines to all the Thunderbolts that came before it. That's kinda the same story as Rocky's other re-designed bikes; the silhouette is comparable, but the frame, features, and geometry are all completely new. The intentions are the same, though: even with the added travel, it still straddles that line between capable cross-country and trail terrorizer. Somewhat surprisingly, it's also still rolling on 27.5'' wheels rather than Rocky bumping up to bigger hoops, with them emphasizing their goal of keeping the baked-in playfulness that the Thunderbolt name has long been associated with.


Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt


All four models of the new Thunderbolt can only be had with a new carbon frame that sports blind pivots, bearings all around (including the lower shock mount), and metric-sized shock compatibility. In other words, it had the same treatment as the Altitude and the rest of the family.


Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt
Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt


Like many new bikes, you won't be attaching a front derailleur to the Thunderbolt, but Rocky says that you can run a dropper post, Di2 drivetrain, and Fox Live suspension all at the same time. Batteries won't get in the way, it seems, and neither will the bike's chainstays or seatstays - 27.5'' x 2.5'' and 26'' x 2.8'' rubber will fit without issue, and you can even run a 3'' rear tire if it has a reasonably low profile. Short-travel and big tires is often a fun combo, isn't it? Unlike the longer-travel Instinct, the Thunderbolt isn't compatible with 29'' wheels.

Other details include shorter seat tube lengths so riders can run droppers with more stroke, a 2-bolt ISCG 05 guide mount and Rocky's own 'Spirit Guide' bolted onto the top of the bike's chainstay, and room for a bottle inside the front triangle regardless of if you've fitted a piggyback shock or not.

Frame weight is a claimed 5.63lbs for a medium, including the shock, protectors, chain guide, and axle. A complete Carbon 70 should come in at 26.0lbs, too.
Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt


More and better suspension

Travel on the three ''normal'' Thunderbolt models have seen a 10mm bump up to 130mm, but that doesn't automatically mean that it's a squishier, slower ride. Rocky says that they've also upped the anti-squat number – in simple terms, how much the drivetrain's influence stiffens the suspension under pedaling load – so that the new bike can still get a move on when it needs to. All of Rocky's new bikes have been impressively efficient, so I'm inclined to think the Thunderbolt will perform likewise.


Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

''We’ve flattened out the rate curve to directly increase the amount of usable travel,'' Rocky says in the press pack, ''while maintaining mid-stroke support and making small-bump performance even more sensitive.'' Just imagine being a 130mm-travel bike and having to be good at everything; it wouldn't be an easy life.

The geometry and rate-adjusting Ride-9 system is still present, but just like on their other re-designed bikes, it's been moved from the frame's forward shock mount to the rocker link in order to drop some grams and gain some sleekness. It does look a lot cleaner than the old version.



Want more travel?

In true Rocky fashion, they've also created a BC Edition of the Thunderbolt that follows the same recipe as their other souped-up models: more suspension front and rear, a Fox 36 instead of a 34, slacker angles, and a burlier parts spec. So instead of the normal 130/130mm combo, the BC-inspired package gets 140mm front and back, and a head angle that runs from 65.9/66.6/67.1-degrees (depending on the Ride-9 setting) instead of 66.4/67/67.6-degrees. The static numbers aren't massively different but don't forget that the increase in travel will also result in additional sag as well, so the BC Edition should be more at home on the steeps and at speed.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt Carbon 90 BC Edition: $5,999 USD

Rocky says that a medium-sized BC Edition frame weighs 5.63lbs, which is the same number as the normal version that has 10mm less travel. The claimed weight for the top of the line Carbon 90 BC is 27.7lbs for a large, or a bit more than a pound and a half heavier than the non-BC Carbon 70, a difference that's down to the stouter fork and select components.


Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Carbon Geometry

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Carbon Geometry
Geometry for the standard, 130mm-travel Thunderbolt.
Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Carbon Geometry

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Carbon Geometry
Geometry for the BC Edition, 140mm-travel Thunderbolt.



2018 Thunderbolt Pricing

Over the past four years, the Thunderbolt name has been attached to everything from reasonably priced, aluminum-framed models to Di2-spec'd dream machines that dip into five digits before you get to the decimal point. Rocky has the new Thunderbolt sitting in the middle of the cost spectrum, with the lowest-priced model, the Carbon 30, seeing a $3,499 USD price tag. The Carbon 50 gets a $4,499 MSRP, while the 70 can be had for $5,399 USD.


Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt Carbon 50: $4,499 USD
Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt Carbon 70: $5,399 USD

n a
Thunderbolt Carbon 30: $3,499 USD
Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt Carbon BC Edition Frameset: $2,599 USD


The big daddy of the range is the Thunderbolt Carbon 90 BC Edition (pictured below) that has 140mm out back, a 140mm-travel Fox 36 up front, and a selection of stout components. That'll cost you $5,999 USD, or you can pick up the Carbon BC Edition frame for $2,599 USD. Rocky isn't offering the standard, 130mm-travel Thunderbolt as a frame-only option, however.



Enough with the numbers. How does it ride?

I think I might have spent more time on different Rocky Mountain bikes than any other brand. That list includes the big-hitter Maiden DH sled, the last three versions of the Slayer (including the new 165mm bike), both the old and new 150mm Altitude, the latest Instinct, and even the old and new Element cross-country rockets. It's been interesting to see their line develop from the heavier, arguably less refined older bikes to the latest models that are much sleeker, sport more forward-thinking geo, and have become some of the most efficient machines across the board.

So, where does the new Thunderbolt fit into that picture?


Riders Unknown Location Bromont Quebec Photo Andy Vathis
Rocky Mountain's Peter Ostroski on the Thunderbolt in Sentiers du Moulin, Quebec. Andy Vathis photo.


I'll need more time on the red and black bike before I can call it a review, but the handful of rides I have put in is enough for me to share some early impressions. If I'm honest, I was a bit bummed at first to see that Rocky's stuck with small wheels for the Thunderbolt - I'm a big fan of the good things that 29'' wheels and tires do - but the 27.5'' wheels and 130mm of rear wheel travel do set the Thunderbolt miles apart from the 29'' wheeled, 140mm Instinct. Both bikes fill the role of a capable trail rig, but the 27.5'' wheels of the Thunderbolt definitely lend it more of a perky personality. It might be a tired idiom these days, but smaller wheels do often make for a more playful ride, and this is one of those cases.

It certainly doesn't feel like a cross-country bike – it's not intended to – but it does have the pedaling potency that Rocky's bikes are quickly becoming known for.

I think I'd still prefer big wheels if I were looking for an all-day kind of bike that has a sporty feel, but I can see a rider who's coming off a longer-travel, 27.5'' wheeled all-mountain rig really jelling with the Thunderbolt.

Rear suspension is efficient, as expected, and it feels a lot like 130mm should feel; it's supple on top despite the on-power competence, but is much, much more forgiving than bikes sporting just 10mm less squish.
Riders Peter Ostroski amp Unknown Location Bromont Quebec Photo Andy Vathis
Rocky Mountain's Peter Ostroski on the Thunderbolt in Sentiers du Moulin, Quebec. Andy Vathis photo.

So, early impressions are good. Strong (and predictable) points include the efficient suspension and frisky disposition, but I'm not sure it's as capable as the 10mm longer-legged Instinct. In other words, no surprises yet, but you'll be able to read more about the new Thunderbolt's performance down the road when it's been ridden enough to receive a proper review.


181 Comments

  • + 116
 A playful 130-140 bike that's capable on the downs and is not two meters long should be what most of us want. In capable hands you can rip like crazy without big wheels, big travel or extreme stability in mind!

Designers take note and release more short-ish travel, short chainstay F U N trail rippers!

PS. Pinkbike I think you have reversed the geometry charts? The BC edition should be slacker than the normal 130 version right? DS.
  • + 8
 Just go one size down. My large Capra is not as fun as my friends medium Capra.
  • + 15
 But I love my 29" 170mm big mountain killer. I keep my Smuggler as my daily driver.
  • + 2
 I feel you man, the options for a 140-150ish playful trail bike that isnt over 1200mm and 65 ha are down to just a couple now. Stumpjumper/HD3/Alchemy maybe? But as people mentioned I might start having to buy a size down and get offset bushings to use the opposite to normal and shorten the WB and steepen the HA.
  • + 3
 @tomlynchwatson: Every time I look at the Alutech ICB2.0 it screams FUN at me. I'm sticking with the hardtail for the time being, but if I really get the chance to frequently ride terrain where the hardtail (BTR Ranger) doesn't do, this Alutech seems like the most fun choice. But it takes quite something for the hardtail to not suffice...
  • - 16
flag chyu (Mar 27, 2018 at 3:52) (Below Threshold)
 Doesn't look like a Bronson at all.
  • - 14
flag TightAF (Mar 27, 2018 at 4:43) (Below Threshold)
 No. Chain stays are too short as it is.
  • - 3
 double post
  • + 4
 @chyu: This bikes falls in the SB5,5010 and DB Release category
  • + 8
 I'll keep my playful, 160mm travel bike that pedals just fine, and doesn't bottom out on the larger trail features.
  • + 2
 @tomlynchwatson: Santa Cruz Hightower! 135 mm, 67 ha, climbs great. Fast, never feels over or under biked.
  • + 4
 @tomlynchwatson: Santa Cruz 5010... 130 rear, mine is bumped to 140 in the front, which takes the head angle to 66.5..poppy and playful for days
  • + 4
 Ns snabb t if ur on a budget. 422mm CS, 66°, 470 reach L, 140 rear, lots of antiswuat and supportive suspension and built for heavy use. Love mine
  • + 13
 After getting a Transition Scout w/125 rear travel I sold my 160 bike(had about five over the years). Bumped the front up to 150, and it takes anything the longer travel bikes took but more fun. Also, I'm a heavier/taller rider at 6'4, 210 and I'm riding a size Large...small and flicky, and I've been amazed at how it handles, so much so I'm going to get a second one for back up Smile
  • + 10
 So you want a Knolly Endorphin?
  • + 3
 @FredrikWestman Could not agree more! My playground is the chunky stuff of Southern Utah, and after demoing a 5010 I'm convinced that the huge majority of riders could benefit from a 130 bike.

When it gets really hairy, these bikes are just on edge enough to keep it exciting. Yet on the flowy downs or smooth flats they're just poppy enough to keep things FUN.

My next bike will be a 130, and this Thunderbolt is a great contender against the 5010.
  • + 1
 @Birmingnar: I hear ya Smile
  • + 13
 Evil - The Calling
  • + 3
 There are plenty of these types of bikes that exist already. I have been running my 5010 with a 36 140mm for a long time and I could not agree more. Mid travel trail bikes with proper geo RIP!
  • + 3
 This is exactly what I had in mind when I purchased my medium Kona Process 134 Smile Got to demo the 153, and it just wasn't as fun for me. It was a close call with the 111 though, but I preferred jumping on the 134.
  • - 1
 @PNdubRider: What's its weight?
  • + 1
 Agreed. These bikes have been all about fast fast fun since the platform came out in 2014.
  • + 6
 @tomlynchwatson: This is exactly the Norco Sight... part of the reason I bought one! Wheelbase of the large is 1189mm. And you have so many options, 3 carbon framed versions, 3 aluminum framed versions (plus womans specific versions), and all versions can be had as either 29'r or 27.5 for a total 12 options. 27.5 versions are 140mm/150mm and 29'r's are 130mm/140mm

I have an aluminum 27.5 and ride it through some pretty gnarly westcoast BC terrain... it's f*cking awesome. It may not have the travel of the Range (Norco's "Enduro" bike), but I actually find it more fun and faster. I find riding a bit shorter travel 27.5 I tend to "pop" over features a bit more rather than trying to steam roll through them.

I demo'd a lot of bikes before I chose... I've only had it a few months so far and about 10 rides... but I couldn't see myself going any other way.
  • + 3
 @Birmingnar: Totally. My carbon boutique 29ers are for business trips. My 5010 is a straight up party bus. Short travel 27.5s have brought me back to the good ol days of just plain fun!
  • + 2
 @GlassGuy: This is exactly how I feel on my 16 fuel ex 9.9 bumped to 140 front /120 rear.. Fun/flick able/capable, and still very pedally! ????
  • + 5
 @GlassGuy: Why would you buy two of the exact same bike? You must have some serious disposable income.
  • + 3
 @onemanarmy: he's just emphasizing he likes his setup, I doubt he's running out to get a twin.
  • + 3
 Yea man. I'm gonna hang onto this Process 134 for as long as I can. I should start hoarding non-boost rear hubs.
  • + 2
 @onemanarmy: I'm on my third chainstay on the Scout, and I've had other stuff break(Race Face BB's are crap!), get warrantied and I hate the waiting of 3 days to 2 weeks to get a part. I sold my other bikes since I prefer the Scout over anything else I've ridden, so I figure get a second one at some point so I'm never off the bike too long..plus I'd love to try the Lyric at 150 on a newer Scout Smile
  • + 1
 @Beez177: I am keeping my eyes open for a good deal in the near future Smile
  • + 2
 @onemanarmy: His username is GlassGuy and he lives in Florida. He probably deals meth Big Grin
  • + 2
 @GlassGuy: Hi my friend! So you ride a Transition Scout? I wanna buy a new bike. I'm 6.6 tall and I weigh 280 lbs. How does this bike perform? Is it really a good bike for big guys? Ride on!
  • + 1
 @tomlynchwatson: Canfield Toir. Under 1200mm in all sizes, 66.5 HA, 140mm. I like mine. You can't go wrong with an Ibis, so I hear.
  • + 2
 Like the Canfield Riot...
  • + 3
 @tomlynchwatson: Banshee Spitfire, still probably my favourite bike of the last 5 years.
  • + 1
 @Beez177: but that slackish seat angle sucks
  • + 1
 @Artigas: probably close to 30.
Rocky runs much lighter 4 sure
  • + 1
 @tomlynchwatson: Also the Banshee Rune.
  • + 2
 @DemoN8: My favorite bike ever, for the style of riding I do. You will definitely need the XL and you'll probably break the chainstay like I have, so hold onto your warranty info! At your size anything is going to break so it's nothing against Transition. But I totally recommend the Scout
  • + 1
 @dlxah: coke pays much better and your teeth don't fall out, ha ha. Not sure how "glassguy" pertains to meth though
  • + 1
 @jrocksdh: maybe if your 6'6", at 5' 10" it's fine.
  • + 1
 @GlassGuy: Glass is a slang term for meth (see definition 2: www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=glasses)
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: is that the new capra ?
  • + 4
 Not as capable as a big wheeled Instinct? What kind of propaganda is this. Just come off a ride on my 26" steel HT and its so capable its silly. In fact its fun and capable, and has better front end grip than my slacked out almost plus sized 27.5 enduro bike. You'd think wheel size would be the last thing on peoples minds by now, but no...
  • + 1
 @LaXcarp: Yeah i love mine and its so capable and tons of fun!
  • + 64
 what is this, a geometry chart for ants!
  • + 3
 Yep, that got me
  • + 36
 Rocky Mountain makes some amazing bikes. I find them highly underrated in the grand scheme of things/industry.
  • - 36
flag tomlynchwatson (Mar 27, 2018 at 2:42) (Below Threshold)
 they just all give off this department store bike vibe with the graphics, fonts and colour schemes in my eyes. In saying that the slayer in black is one of the coolest bikes ive seen, everything else is so meh though.
  • + 30
 @tomlynchwatson: If that's what your department store bikes look like what stores are your going to? Got directions!?
  • + 4
 At one time I rode Rockies exclusively but somewhere in the early 2000's they lost touch with what the market wanted yet kept their pricing high. It's good to see them back on point, but there is a lot more choice when shopping for a new bike now. Riders have their individual preferences but it's hard to buy a bad bike these days.
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: Think he means color schemes/graphics
  • + 5
 @bohns1: I don't know, most department store bikes have enough acronyms painted on them to write an entire technical manual. They certainly never have neat, clean paint jobs with just the company name on the down tube.
  • + 2
 @Fix-the-Spade: www.thewarehouse.co.nz/p/milazo-condor-29er-bike-in-a-box-298/R2127432.html

They are sweet bikes, just the look doesn't do it for me that's all, maybe it's part of why the original poster suggested they are underrated?
  • + 32
 "One bike to rule them all?"
Everybody take a drink.
  • + 45
 Quiver killer? Vertically compliant yet laterally stiff? Drunk yet?
  • + 82
 @brianpark: if this is going to be that kind of party then I'll just stick my d*ck in the mashed potatoes.
  • + 25
 Neg props? Some people should go study the Beastie Boys because my chrome is shining, just like an icicle
I ride around town in my slack, long and low-rider bicyle.
  • - 3
 @Boardlife69: You got neg props 'cause you did not give credit where it is really due: Mantan Moreland!
  • + 20
 Wait... What? 2019? But I thought... what happened to this year?
  • + 2
 New bikes are a year "ahead", aren't they....
  • - 1
 The New Stumpjumper is to be released next month too.
  • + 15
 And a picture of a guy riding it in Bromont, which means he was riding it on summer 2017... Marketing has no limits
  • + 2
 The 2021's come out next month!
  • + 16
 Don't sleep on mid travel 27.5" bikes, they perform great on tight and twisty single track and make doubles feel fun again

This looks right in line with bikes like the 5010, Scout, SB5, The Calling, etc
  • + 0
 MDGA!
  • + 14
 A Crossmark II? Holy crap that's the first time I've seen one outside of Maxxis' website.
  • + 4
 Good eye...me too. Basically a Larsen renamed
  • + 10
 This bike needs to be under the "Trail" section on their website, not XC
  • + 9
 Cleanest bike i've ever seen ! Good job Rocky Mountain !
  • + 3
 In the world of product management feature creep, marketing buzzword chasing, and PB comment know it alls, it’s hard to make something clean and purposeful looking. RM has done it here.
  • + 4
 I have the 2017 thunderbolt, great bike, been having it for over a year, I've ripped through the Rocky peak trail system in Simi Valley, CA. Bike pedals amazing, Rocky Mountain knows what they are doing, plus it's so easy to disassemble the bike and service it. No special tools, but I did upgrade my bottom bracket with a wheels manufacturing threaded one. And I'm going to grab a 130mm pike down the road. I could say on my end that it's quality. Love the ride.
  • + 1
 I have a 2017 model too and think it's the tits. I don't know anything about travel beyond basic numbers but the bike llets me do xc and single-track and off-camber sections. I'm perfectly happy with the machine they built, it's nimble, durable and looks slick.
  • + 9
 27 aint dead
  • + 2
 By the sound of the surprised ad speak it's lucky it didn't they 29er wheels...
  • + 8
 Is this the bike @mikelevy will get humbled on?
  • + 7
 Trail bike without a dropper and a price tag of 3500?
  • + 7
 full carbon bike for 3500
  • + 14
 @applepie: Sadly, it's a full carbon bike with a garbage front fork, SRAM NX, crap wheels, and no dropper post. Sweet deal.
  • + 28
 @stevemokan: It gets you in the door at a reasonable price for a FS carbon bike. I see this for someone who doesn't want to tell their wife they spent $5000 on a bike; so they spend $3500 and then drop $1500 in upgrades over the next few months all incognito-like. "Why are you spending so much time in the garage on that bike if its brand new?!? What's wrong with it?!?"........."Nothing hun, just keeping it clean."
  • + 8
 @applepie:
Is carbon really that important because you're left with entry level parts and no dropper.
For less money you get Giant Trance 1 with eagle, fox performance elite suspension and dropper post.

If RM would offer alu Thunderbolt then you could argue that they offer frame option in form of "inexpensive" base model, but that base model's sole purpose is to make the mid and high end models look like a good deal.
  • + 1
 @msusic: they do offer an alloy tbolt.
  • + 1
 @j-t-g: Yes, but the alu version appears to be sticking with the "old" design for now. No geometry updates, no travel increase, etc. Maybe this will change for next year, because others are saying the alu versions were just released in the fall
  • + 8
 @msusic: Because simply put, sometimes you want a Rocky and not a Giant.
  • + 1
 @msusic: No that's why I ride an alloy bike. I could have gotten the same bike in carbon for another $1000 and I thought it was a total waste of money. But that doesn't mean that it isn't reasonably cheap for a carbon bike
  • + 1
 @j-t-g: from what I read ... no more in 2019 (those are not on the website, or are they ? under 2018 ?)
  • + 5
 The thunderbolt was introduced when?????
It certainly was not 2014. Reintroduced. Revitalized. Brought back. Sure. But not at all introduced.
  • + 1
 I seem to remember seeing them around in the late 80’s...
  • + 5
 Correct. I had a titanium thunderbolt circa 1993, and it had been on my wish list for a long time already.
  • + 5
 Does it sound funny to anyone else that the reviewer made a comment about 27.5 being to small. Guess we know its about to be dead. Ha Ha
  • + 4
 that line stuck out to me like a sore thumb. nothing like trying to push your opinions..
  • + 2
 Mike Levy always says that. I don't know why they keep letting that XC wiener review 27.5 bikes.
  • + 5
 Love this category of bike, great to see it progress. The 140/140 BC Edition seems to overlap a bit with the Altitude, but... options are good I guess?
  • + 2
 @steveo1117 ahh man that would
Mean that bikes haven’t gotten better since 2011? Thad’s ridiculous, pro or no pro. That’s like saying the original iPhone is as good as the new ones. It’s just simply not true. Go ride a 2018 anything and come back and honestly tell
Me it’s not better...
  • + 2
 @mikelevy

We get it, you love 29ers. Please don’t make the upcoming review all 29 vs 27.5. And why be bummed the new thunderbolt doesn’t have 29” wheels? Rocky has the instinct and then the element. So why not the altitude and thunderbolt? Every bike in their lineup doesn’t have to be a 29er.
  • + 1
 Well said!
  • + 6
 Entry point went from ~$2k to $3,500 on these. Thanks Rocky Mountain!
  • + 4
 The old aluminium frame will be carried over for entry to mid level bikes I think.
  • + 5
 @mickeg1: English isn't my first language, and I suck at reading, but what else does this mean? Straight from the article:

'All four models of the new Thunderbolt can only be had with a new carbon frame that sports blind pivots...'
  • + 2
 @m1dg3t: The Rocky website shows eight 2018 models including 3 AL ones...
  • + 2
 @m1dg3t: Mistakes were made on my part, now I'm shocked at the "Only Carbon" thing.
  • + 5
 @sparkman: Yes, but those are still the "old" Thunderbolt without the revised geometry, increased travel, etc
  • + 3
 wow!.....this two wheel design is sure to change everything you know about MTB.....And a handlebar too......this is truly innovative
  • + 5
 Finally a bike named after my toilet habit, the Mrs will be pleased
  • + 3
 So is this considered 2018 or 2019 Thunderbolt? RM year models now confuse me as they skipped a whole year last year and went from 2016-2018.
  • + 5
 Perfect bike for Ontario singletrack!
  • + 2
 I demo'ed one and I was left with the exact same thought. Definitely doesn't feel like an XC bike, but still pedals well. It felt like it wanted to be thrown into stuff.
  • + 0
 Meta TR 4.2 if you want something cheaper :>.
  • + 0
 Love all the rocky mountain bikes, super capable beyond what they should really be. Ive had a 2010 element msl70 full carbon as a daily rider for the way it pedals wherever you take it but then i slapped a set of 150mm fox forks on the front of it upgraded all the good stuff and now ill take anything on the trail, the bike feels great and matches up to most bikes of today in looks and performance. Im a heavy rider so i never really wanted a carbon bike but then i saw the teaser video of the bike on here where they were smashing a trail no xc should go and the bike did it all and that sold me, id love to try out the new ones and see how they feel in comparison. Rocky mountain makes great bikes and these look like no exception, light, fun and ready to do anything
  • + 1
 So your 2010 bike matches up to most bikes of today in looks and performance, yet you’d love to try the new ones to see how they feel in comparison? That makes zero sense. And no, your 2010 bike isn’t nearly as good as the new ones, not even close.
  • + 0
 No carbon Element in 2010. At the high-end, there was the Element SE, then the Element Team.
  • + 1
 @blawrence skipping the 2010 bit, the 150mm fork on it is the best part.
  • + 2
 @jbob27: my bad 2011 element, and unless your a pro racer dont bullshit me about how much different new bikes feel than bikes that had the last standards that werent gimmicks to attract dentist and if you are a pro good for you and your special but the new standards dont mean shit to an average everyday rider who isnt a brand whore or snob about petty bullshit like the newest standards . you make no sense and dont know shit but enjoy your opinion.
  • + 1
 @steveo1117: msl70 was an Amazing bike, I recommend you don’t ever sell it. It’s strength to weight ratio and fun factor is off the charts. But you will notice when you test ride a new RM with the updated geometry that it is more capable on the fast and flowy trails. But if your trails are more tight and technical, then I would say stay with your old MSL 70, I also own one, that is an amazing bike.
  • + 2
 Pretty sure the Thunderbolt name was in the catalog well before 2014....like back in 87 or so....it just took a break for 30 years, and then came back awesome.
  • + 1
 I thought the next move for theThunderbolt was to make it a 29er with same travel as the previous version. That is a bike I would seriously consider to buy for my XC and trail rides
  • + 0
 I love it! And the price points/builds are great.

I am so torn... moving to BC in August and I am trying to sort out my bike situation. My 90mm 26inch hardtail will not be coming, but I was planning on bringing my 130/120 Thunderbolt 799msl and perhaps complimenting it with a long travel hardtail for the rougher stuff.

However, I knew this was coming down the pipe, so I wasn't sure... and I'm still not! Do I upgrade my frame (and rear hub shell) and take my fork back to 140mm, resulting in a longer travel, more capable, Funderbolt... or do I bring my current ride as an XC machine and get that long travel hardtail as well? Help!

What a world...
  • + 2
 Where in BC?
  • + 1
 @j-t-g: That's what I'm waiting to find out... I'll have to factor it into my decision. It's based on work, but I have my preferences.

Either Sea to Sky, North Van, or a smaller town further inland (Revelstoke (good luck!), Hope, Nelson, Rossland, Fernie). Might end up in Kelowna... but that's at the bottom of the list.
  • + 1
 Either of those choices sound like awesome options man. I know quite a few guys that ride big forked chromag hardtails and those bikes are not holding those guys back.

When you rattle off that list of towns, all I can think of is the serious gnar there is there.... (except Hope and Kelowna, never ridden there.)

I think you should do up that new Thunderbolt build. Still super capable within reason and uber climbing efficiency.
  • + 2
 If you're coming from Kingston, ON basically anything in BC will be amazing...and eye-opening. There's some pretty awesome, sharp, rocky trails in the Okanagan, so don't be quick to write them off.

We rode in Penticton last summer www.trailforks.com/region/three-blind-mice and it was darn fun.
  • + 1
 @gdharries: Dude I love riding Penticton. I've hit that three blind mice area the last thee summers. Vernon is also really cool and a big contrast to the coastal zones. I've just never ridden Kelowna.

Those pics of this big rock walls beside your bike look wicked too. I've got buddies from Ontario that all say it's super beautiful. Really want to check out some stuff out east, Quebec too. Except its so far. That's not really drivable for most people.
  • + 1
 Right on. I rode with the chromag guys this past summer in Whistler and they gave me a stylus to use (wasn’t there for a riding trip, so I didn’t have my own gear with me). It was awesome and I can’t wait to do more. When I was in Vernon a few winters back I was lent a chameleon as well... Long travel hardtails are great, and Chromag in particular are a great company and group of people (and dogs).
I’ve gotten pretty good at exercising in the woods here in Ontario, so I’m really looking forward to some real mountain biking. I really appreciate the input! . @vanmtnbiker:
  • + 1
 thanks! Those rock walls are at Black and Decker in brockville. Lots of rocky riding in this area, while south western Ontario has some incredibly fast singletrack (hydrocut). I hope to get in a few day in Quebec before moving too! As you said... everything is far apart here.
Cheers! @vanmtnbiker:
  • + 1
 Sounds great to me! @gdharries:
  • + 2
 Chick Hicks from the movie Cars was killed last week as he tried to turn right. His remains has been recycled into a new trail bike according to local news sources.
  • + 2
 a 26" x 2.8" tire you say? where would one acquire such a thing? Surly and WTB Ranger... anyone else?
  • + 3
 Maxxis!
  • + 3
 26x 2.8 ! Maxxis Minion DHF & DHR2, in both dual and 3C compounds. Happy days
  • + 2
 Listed in the Plus section on maxxis site, not under the regular Minion range
  • + 1
 thanks - that's awesome. weights look manageable too. sweet.
  • + 1
 These have decent reach numbers. So how come the Slayer is so short in that department when you'd think a Enduro bike would benefit more from the extra reach.
  • + 2
 So, you need like the entire first paragraph to justify it's wonky wheelsize. Stopped reading from there....
  • + 2
 The bike I've been waiting for...
  • + 3
 #275aintdead
  • + 2
 2019 bikes in March 2018... this is just sad! Also, no aluminum?
  • + 1
 Aluminum versions were released last fall
  • + 1
 They are listed as 2018 models on the Rocky site.
  • + 1
 The 2018 alu is the old frame. It's just fresh paint on a 2017. Still has old geo and 120mm rear. I'm sure you'll see an updated alu frame next spring.
  • + 1
 Kinda like my Mojo 3, and room for a waterbottle.... Thumbs up Rocky Mountain!
  • + 3
 press fit BB Frown
  • + 0
 Way better as long as the tolerances are good. Screwed in, externally positioned bearing loads are the dumbest idea of all time.
  • + 3
 @jclnv: What are you on about?
  • + 4
 @rideonjon: The issues people had with pressfit systems, especially PF30, were due to manufacturing tolerances of the BB shell ID and BB face alignment. Get those two right and even the crappy SRAM BB's last an okay length of time. Put a half descent pressfit BB in with a well toleranced frame and it easily outlasts a Shimano external cup BB, let alone a crappy GXP.

The reason people have had issues with pressfit is the first, and some second gen frames, were way out of tolerance. Think of all the millions of Giant's, YT's and Trek's that are now sold with pressfit systems. If they were still as bad as the first gen bikes they wouldn't still be using them would they?

Another reason is most people are really shit mechanics and can't even get their head around making a $10 press. Oh and they're scared of change and simply jump on the anti-pressfit bandwagon without having the slightest f*ck about what they're talking about.

Go chat to any mechanical engineer and try and convince him/Her that the best way to support a crank spindle is by threading in bearings that sit in cups external or the frame. They'll call you a f*cking idiot.
  • + 2
 @jclnv: Press fit was brought in to save money on manufacturing,there was nothing wrong with threaded bb's.I'm sure press fit is fine if it's manufactured correctly,but a lot of companies seem to not be able to do this.
  • + 1
 @rideonjon: Yes but after having to get the tolerances better I doubt they're saving much. Fundamentally it's a better system.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: Please explain to me how "Fundamentally it's a better system."
  • + 1
 So many neat bikes being released, it's a great time to be a dirtbag!
  • + 1
 Looks like a.....Santa Cruz?
  • + 1
 Pic by the river looks like Bras du Nord to me.
  • + 1
 This looks like the perfect EC trail bike honestly.
  • - 2
 Always disappointed when first look is touted. I click on the link and realise I’ve seen it all before. In the thumbnail. Needs to say second look by the time you’ve clicked and opened the page!
  • + 1
 The onslaught of fun/fast bikes continues!
  • + 1
 Looks like a bicycle???
  • + 1
 This or a 5010?
  • + 1
 27.5 ain't dead!!!
  • + 0
 No AL?
  • + 1
 Probably get rolled out later.
  • + 0
 The AL ones have been available for a few months already.
  • + 4
 @sparkman: The alu bikes I see on their site are still the "old" Thunderbolt without the revised geometry, increased travel, etc. But they do already show these new carbon "2019" versions

Looks like we will have to wait a bit, or maybe till next year, for a comparable alu version
  • + 0
 long life 26 ! Smile Smile Smile
  • - 1
 So... It's a Transition Scout from 2016?
  • + 1
 That you will actually want to pedal up a mountain
  • + 0
 no alloy frame in plans?
  • + 12
 No. You will get carbon, you will like carbon, and you will PAY for carbon.
  • + 1
 Aluminum versions were released last fall
  • + 1
 Already out.
  • + 2
 @Quinn-39: The aluminum versions use the "old" geometry, 120mm travel, etc. These changes appear to be only for the new carbon versions. Maybe updated aluminum versions will be released in the coming fall then?
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