Rocky Mountain aren't necessarily a name that everyone associates with enduro. For most people they are better known for their deep roots in freeriding. Simmons, Tippie and Schley hucking their RM7s in afro wigs is one of the most iconic mountain bike images of the late 90s, more recently they have had Vanderham going huge and sideways on his Flatline. Yet, it is that history that also links them to enduro.
Fred Glo, the man who founded the French Enduro Series and held the first ever enduro race back in 2003, is their long-time distributor in France. He was one of the first Frenchmen to travel over to the North Shore to experience the original-style of freeriding and became involved with the brand precisely because of those ties. As enduro grew and spread in Europe he began suggesting how Rocky Mountain could tailor their bikes to suit this emerging market.
This Rally edition of the Altitude is a product of that relationship - taking a well-established trail bike and sticking a hand down the front of its trousers to make what Rocky Mountain describe as a race-ready enduro bike. Calling it the Rally Edition is another recognition of enduro history. In France rally races were being held as far back as the 1980s, it is one of the formats that enduro grew out of and the Superenduro-style of enduro racing owes even more to it. What's more, Fred's own Urge enduro race team, who include former World Cup star Alex Balaud and up-and-coming enduro pinner Maurian Marnay, use the Altitude to race the French Enduro Series and the Enduro World Series.The Bike
• Intended use: All-mountain/enduro race
• Toughened spec for enduro racing
• MSRP $5599
• Available now
The frame is unchanged from the carbon Altitude 790 we tested earlier this year
, it is in the spec where the bikes has been toughened up. Out front, the travel of the Fox 34 CTD fork has been pushed out to 160mm, which also reduces the head angle from 66.6 degrees to 66.2 degrees in the frames slackest setting. The new Fox Float X keeps the rear under control and is mounted with the same chip that allows you nine positions of geometry adjustment. Up front the handlebar is a full-fat 785mm and the stem shortened to 50/60mm (depending frame size), both come from the Raceface Turbine range. It is at the cranks where you really see this bikes intentions - gone is the double ring of the regular Altitude and in comes a single 34t ring and an eThirteen TRS+ guide. Sure, for some people that may seem like an intimidating prospect if they've never pushed a single ring that big before, but that's what the fast guys in mainland Europe are running to race.
After that the build is pretty much what you would expect from a bike at this pricepoint, and it's a SRAM full-house except for the Race Face Turbine cranks. Their X9 group makes the bike go with a Type 2 clutch rear derailleur and running gear, beefy four-piston Trail brakes are there to stop it again, an internally-routed Reverb holds the saddle in place and the Stans Flow EX rims are laced to X9 hubs. We are pleased to see them speccing an excellent WTB saddle, which is nice and light, but comfortable enough to ride on all day.
The carbon-framed 770 MSL Rally Edition also has a more affordable younger brother, the aluminium-framed 750 Rally Edition. X-Fusion take over on the suspension and dropper post duties, X9 is replaced by X7 in the drivetrain and the controls are from Race Faces Evolve line, rather than Turbine. It shares the same, aggressive race-ready spec, but comes home at a more wallet-friendly $3299.First impressions:
|We got to spend an afternoon with the Rally Edition in the trails above Val D'Allos after the second round of the Enduro World Series this year. When RC tested the Altitude 790 he placed it firmly towards the easier going side of things, stating that "it doesn’t exude confidence like a super-slack all-mountain bike." So how does this transfer into a race bike? Based on our first impressions, we would say that it depends on what you are looking for from a race bike, the beefier build doesn't change the nature of the bike greatly. If what you are looking for is a something forgiving and comfortable, then maybe this isn't the right bike for you. However, if you are a more aggressive, active rider who wants a bike that will respond, then the appeal of this bike is obvious, even from the first ride. It also reflects the current trend in many enduro race bikes, where they are moving away from the burlier freeride bikes they were born from, towards lightweight race weapons. At the moment the word "enduro" is being attached to many things, both rightly and wrongly, so it's great to see a company really understand what racers need and spec a bike accordingly. What's more, although this still isn't what we'd describe as a budget bike, it's great to see this kind of spec being offered at a more reasonable pricepoint and not just at the top end of the range. - Matt Wragg|
For more info, visit Rocky Mountain
. To find out about the Top Of The World trail, check out Whistler Mountain Bike Park.