Field Test: 2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude - The All-Mountain Enduro Bike

Dec 7, 2020
by Mike Kazimer  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Rocky Mountain Altitude



Words by Mike Kazimer, photography by Tom Richards


Up next in the Pinkbike Field Test is the new Rocky Mountain Altitude, a bike that had a strong debut under Jesse Melamed during the shortened EWS season.

The Altitude has 160mm of rear wheel travel with a 170mm fork, with different wheel size options depending on the frame size – there are 29” options for M, L, and XL sizes, and 27.5” sizes for S and M sizes. Rocky also offers full carbon and aluminum framed version of the Altitude, with a total of 8 complete configurations to choose from.

That 160mm of travel is delivered via Rocky's Smoothlink suspension design, their version of a Horst link layout. The Altitude's kinematics changed with the new frame, and the result are numbers that blend the best traits of the old Altitude and the Instinct BC. Anti-squat sits a little below 100% at sag, but it doesn't drop off quite as quickly as before.
Altitude Details

• Travel: 160mm rear / 170mm front
• Wheel size: 29"
•Carbon frame (aluminum options available)
• Head angle: 64.4° - 65.5°
• Seat tube angle: 75.4° - 76.5°
• Reach: 474mm (lrg)
• Chainstay length: 438 or 449mm (slack setting)
• Sizes: M, L (tested), XL
• Weight: Weight: 31.4 lb / 14.2 kg
• Price: $9,099 USD
bikes.com

The suspension rate is progressive, with a flatter curve earlier in the travel that ramps up more quickly towards the end of the stroke to provide additional bottom-out resistance. Each frame size has a specific shock tune in order to ensure that lighter riders on smaller bikes are able make the most of the bike's travel, and to keep bigger riders from blowing through all 160mm too quickly.

When it comes to frame details, internal, fully guided cable routing on the carbon frames makes it possible to run regular or moto style brakes without trouble. There's very nice chainslap protection to keep things quiet out on the trail, and plenty of room for a water bottle inside the front triangle.

The Altitude has Rocky's Ride 9 geometry, which, you guessed it, allows for 9 different geometry settings thanks to 2 flip chips. In the neutral setting, the bike has a 65-degree head angle and a 480mm reach, but for this test I ran it in the slackest setting, which is also the most progressive; that gives it a 64.4 degree head angle. I went with the slackest setting in order to give it a fair shake against the other bikes on hand. The chainstay length can be set at either 438 or 449mm, which lets riders pick the handling traits they prefer (for me it was the 449mm position).

I tested the Carbon 90 Rally edition, which is built up with the same parts that Rocky's Enduro team are using. Now, they're not out there racing around the world on entry level parts, which means this is an expensive bike at $9,099 USD. All those dollars get you a Shimano XTR drivetrain and, a Fox 38 fork and Float X2 shock, and Race Face Turbine R alloy wheels. Keep in mind that there are less expensive carbon versions, as well as a range of aluminum framed options with prices starting at $3,500 USD.




Rocky Mountain Altitude review
Rocky Mountain Altitude review

Climbing

The Altitude has the slackest seat tube angle out of all the bikes here, but thankfully the actual seat tube angle isn't super slack, which meant the climbing position was still very comfortable. Having the chainstays in the longer position also helped to position me over the center of the bike, which makes it easier to find the right weight balance for steep climbs.

The rear end is fairly active under hard pedaling, so I regularly made use of that little blue climb lever. It's easy to reach, and I'm not as opposed to using it as Levy, but it's worth noting that the Altitude isn't the snappiest climber. The Propain Spindrift felt more efficient, even with 20mm more travel and a coil shock, a sensation that was backed up by Levy's pseudo-scientific effeciency test.

It may not be super-snappy under power, but the Altitude is a very easy bike to live with on technical climbs, with plenty of traction, and reasonable dimensions that keep it from feeling unwieldy in the tight stuff. The weight's very reasonable as well, especially for a bike designed to withstand the rigors of enduro racing. It was the lightest out of the five bikes in this category by over a pound, part of the reason that this would be my pick out of the bunch if I was looking for a longer travel, do-it-all machine.


Rocky Mountain Altitude review

Rocky Mountain Altitude review
Rocky Mountain Altitude review


Descending

That active suspension that had me occasionally reaching for the compression lever on the climbs pays dividends on the descents – the Altitude has excellent traction, with a nicely damped, ground hugging feel. It doesn't feel overly stiff either; it feels like it contours to the terrain rather than trying to smash it into submission. Those traits are especially evident in wet or loose conditions, where it has an innate ability to grip rather than slipping and sliding.

Early on in the testing I removed one volume spacer from the Float X2 shock in order to take full advantage of the bike's 160mm of travel. Previously there'd been too much end-stroke ramp up for my liking, but that spacer removal did the trick, allowing me to use full travel when warranted while still retaining enough progression to prevent any harsh bottom outs.

Even though I set the bike in the longest and slackest setting, it never felt like a handful, and even with the chainstays in the longer 447mm position it was still easy to snake around tight turns and to navigate tricky, slower speed sections of trail. The Altitude will clearly work well as an enduro race bike, but there's more to it than that. It's a bike that can go up and down without demanding too much from its rider – pro level skills aren't required to have a good time on this machine.
Timed Testing

The enduro and freeride bikes were all tested on a section of trail that included a mix of everything you'd expect to find on a race track. There were tight corners, a few drops, some sidehill sections that get trickier the faster you go, along with some higher speed, open corners.

Don't forget that timing is just one of many ways to judge a bike, and fast doesn't always mean it's the best for everyone.


Mike Kazimer: "My fastest lap took place on the Altitude, just squeaking in ahead of the Propain Sprindrift and the Trek Slash."

Realistically, I'd say Rocky's geometry numbers are on the more conservative side of the spectrum, considering how good the bike felt in the slackest out of 9 settings, and there's probably a reason their team riders are running an angleset to slacken the bike up a little bit. A -1 degree angleset in the neutral setting would preserve the 480mm reach and give the bike a 64-degree head angle, numbers that are becoming fairly standard for this category.

The top tier components left little to be desired, with the exception of the rattly XTR brake pads. A strip of mastic tape on the caliper underneath the fins solved that, and the bike was very quiet after that, with the exception of the occasional 'twang' from the spokes of the Race Face Turbine wheels.


Rocky Mountain Altitude review


Pros

+ Great traction inspires confidence in wet conditions
+ Very versatile – you don't need to be a pro racer to make the most of it

Cons

- Lots of geometry adjustments, but they're skewed towards the steeper side of the spectrum
- Not the best value when looking at the price vs. parts spec




The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible with support from Dainese apparel & protection, Sierra Nevada refreshments, and Smith eyewear and helmets. Thanks also to Maxxis, Garmin, Freelap, and Toyota Pacific.





330 Comments

  • 130 4
 on order February 2021 arrival frame only. cant wait. went with the purple nurple
  • 20 6
 *everybody liked that*
  • 3 0
 I have a bike on order too (not this, just a hardtail). And every new bike that comes out and every new posting on the buy/sell has me researching everything about it and second guessing my choice!
  • 20 2
 Purple is the new black.
  • 60 3
 @kcy4130: contentment is a choice. And comparison is cancer to happiness. Just keep in mind that everyone can ride full suspension “somewhat fast”. But a hardtail will teach you a deeper skill level. You made the right choice. The first 10 years of my “mtb career” were spent on XC hard tails and dirt jumpers. I still profit from these days. And that’s been over 10 years ago.
  • 5 0
 @TheR: I have a c70 coil that just came. Now 6 months till spring!
  • 1 0
 @kcy4130: Been there...
  • 4 0
 @drjohn: Yeah, I have too many bikes already. I just meant that the waiting is giving me time to overthink it. like, I wonder if this other steel hardtail with identical geometry except 5mm longer reach and 10mm longer chainstays would suit me better. It's an absurd first world problem, if you will.
  • 2 0
 @drjohn: main bike is a chromag doctahawk. this is for the real jank and bike park.
  • 1 0
 @drjohn: amen, the key is to just get what you need, and you'll be alright. having ridden a hardtail for a while made switching to the full suspension way easier, but there are still things I miss about my hardtail on every trail.
  • 4 0
 @KVJACKSON: Wasn't the spring included? ;-)
  • 3 0
 Que zarra!!! 10k ? Ya ni la chiingan. Entiendo que la mayoría de sus componentes son totalmente avanzados,pero la industria de la bicicleta está haciendo bastante inalcanzable para el average joe.
  • 2 0
 Excited for you, man. Sumbitch looks awesome.
  • 1 1
 I have a 2020 that ive long shocked for 160mm travel and put a 170 fork on, i went with coil front and rear because the bike was too progressive with the stock build and a custom made ride 9 chip its awsome! You wont be disappointed id just recomend a coil shock and a fork with a coil conversion and i dont think a bike gets any better then that
  • 89 1
 This bike is beautiful but I don't understand what happened with Rocky's pricing this year. They went from fairly normal to Yeti pricing.
  • 3 1
 It's 4k on the europe for frame i guess?
  • 11 2
 same happened with Canyon CLLCTV, if a brand sponsors the best athletes, bike prices go up
  • 22 0
 Agree 4500cnd for the frame only glad I went with forbidden at 4000cnd
  • 10 22
flag pisgahgnar (Dec 7, 2020 at 7:58) (Below Threshold)
 They've won races and have a budding superstar in Jesse Melamed. They can charge what they want now!
  • 49 5
 Corona! Manufacturing got more expensive, along with tariffs, and labor increases. Prices have gone up across the board. I think companies with more padded margin are raising $$ less. Good thing we all got raises this year, am I right!
  • 8 1
 It's alarming to say the least... the top spec aluminum one would be the best choice, and even that is, unfortunately, more expensive than expected.
  • 7 1
 The midtier C50 build looks like solid value (as far as $5.5k bikes go). Why does everyone whig out about the halo model that like 10 people are going to buy?
  • 37 7
 Gotta pay for all those frame recalls and broken bike warranties somehow.
  • 38 1
 I get that Yeti has a rep of drawing wealthy, arrogant riders, which is probably more true of their brand than others in the industry. That being said, a comparable sb150 build is $1k less than this Rocky, so where does that land it on the dental scale?
  • 49 0
 @mountzlu: orthodontics
  • 4 1
 Agree. Other top brands’ prices are not up this much. Take out the noise of the spec by just comparing frame prices. Really appealing bike, but struggle with the premium over other options.
  • 2 0
 if i had to guess, limited bike park contracts for rental bikes this year. How many places have you been where its either a rocky or specialized as the rental bike?
  • 3 1
 @mountzlu: maybe bumps up to the oral surgeon pricing...
  • 3 0
 @onlyDH: periodontics.
  • 2 0
 It seems to be the trend these days especially with manufacturing and supply chain challenges going on. Unfortunately we may not see a downward correction anytime soon, if ever.
  • 3 0
 Note that the 2015 Thunderbolt 799MSL retailed for $11k.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: And years of chain suck.
  • 1 0
 @dorkbike: That had carbon wheels (all mainstream options commanded a significant premium at the time- regardless of if they were 'worth it') and a brand new, at that time, electronic shifting system that cost in the realm of $4000cad.
  • 2 0
 @mountzlu: Pretty wild... was looking at the this Altitude, the Slash, and the SB150, but the pricing across those 3 bikes is not what I would have expected.
  • 2 0
 @mountzlu: I'd say this is full on proctologist level pricing...
  • 1 1
 Perhaps it’s the Melamed effect?
  • 2 0
 As far as NZ pricing: the A50 I own (and love) got from 4.5k NZ$ 2 years ago to 7k NZ$...
  • 2 6
flag Saidrick (Dec 7, 2020 at 12:33) (Below Threshold)
 @mountzlu: where are you getting that number from... The Rocky Mountain has carbon wheels, the yeti sb150 XO1 has aluminum at 85-$8,700 Not really a fair comparison...
  • 6 0
 @Saidrick: Those wheels aren't carbon.
  • 2 3
 50% ish margin
  • 1 0
 @mountzlu: ENDODONTICS for sure. Highest paid dental specialty out there.
  • 2 0
 @dirtologist: Had a stand up argument about this last Friday with a local NZ dealer, my 18 C50 is now double what I paid for it . My point was that I could buy the top end Giant for the same price but in his opinion was no where near the quality of the RM.
  • 4 2
 EWS win warrants an automatic msrp increase of at least 25%...
  • 3 0
 @jrocksdh: No way. 30% tops.
  • 2 2
 @ybsurf: you can get a handmade reynolds or ti frame for that rather then a chinese made plastic frame , i dont get it, a chinese made plastic frame would be a tenth of the cost to build then-a handmade reynolds frame, and a 20th of the cost of a handmade ti frame
  • 2 6
flag mikec933 (Dec 7, 2020 at 16:50) (Below Threshold)
 @ybsurf: also you cant tune flex with carbon, i dont get it carbon chinese frames should be the cheapest its really bot that expense to lay up a carbon frame especially with a machine in china, their not durable you cant tune flex and really the weight you save can be saved in many other places but unless your a road biker or xc a lighter bike isnt good its harder to control a light bike downhill and over gaps, guess it all comes down to marketing and selling the next best thing
  • 2 0
 @mikec933: good story bro
  • 1 2
 @mikec933: by the way a light bike is way better downhill or in anyway maybe get a bike with a modern geo and you will see doesnt need to be heavy. My double crown dh bike just weight a hair over 30lbs and ride like a charm.
  • 1 2
 @ybsurf: i just said i have a 2020 altitude, i also have a brand new pivot pheonix and its way to light and hard to control on freeride to each their own opinion though , you can spend all the money you want on gimicky chinese built plastic bike and the companys will make you feel good about wasting your money, i could care less about what you do and as long as your light chinese factory bike makes you happy and you can afford it then good on you
  • 1 2
 @ybsurf: for the two to ten pounds you save on the bike you could literally just eat good for a couple weeks and lose the weight with cardio and get the same outcome as a lighter bike for about ten bucks
  • 1 3
 @ybsurf: send me a pm we can go for a ride in comox and hopefully you can change my mind about weight and chinese built components Smile
  • 1 0
 @mikec933: might want to check your sources
  • 1 0
 @mikec933: nice of you thinking I eat badly and fat haha when the covid it's done come anytime I'll show you how a light bike works a good if not better than a heavy one trail or park.
  • 1 0
 @Solorider13: what sources my sources are personal expierience
  • 1 0
 @ybsurf: i never said you were fat but clearly by your comments your of the age as were i have to ask for parental consent to go for a bike ride, what does covid have to do with people going for a ride in the north island? You wont be close to six feet of me anyways, heavy bikes for life! Jk really who gives a f*ck
  • 1 0
 @mikec933: I ride alone for now and my initial.comment was about a druid over a altitude for 500$ less never said carbon was better or whatever, like you said to each their own I bought the druid for the design and really happy about it regarding of material. But yes I do like light bike.
  • 1 0
 @ybsurf: the druid is sick i love high pivot my dh bike is high pivot single speed , see just like that we agree on something, would love to go for a rip though sometime when covid is over! Sorry for the miscommunication
  • 2 0
 @coldone: Yes, it's a shame since I really love the bike, but I simply can't justify the price difference. Many other contenders at that much higher price point, better supported in NZ. Sigh.
  • 2 1
 They need to fund all the expensive R&D for their huge new lineup of Electric Motorbikes.
  • 1 0
 Agreed. I picked up a 2020 C70 Slayer this summer and the same trim level went up by about $600 for the 2021 where the only real difference is they went with Fox in 2021 over the Rockshox in 2020. Capitalizing on the pandemic and shortage of bikes, is my guess...
  • 1 2
 @rossi45: more like staying afloat, rocky isn't some big huge corporation making crazy $$$$ like you think it is. they are a reasonably successful organization were people earn less then stellar salaries but love what they do.
  • 1 0
 supply and demand. manufacturing is actually not really costing more - labor, machines, material and energy didn't really change. its mainly market conditions and the fact that RM is a relatively small outfit without the buying power of the big S and others.
  • 2 1
 @Pamlico: In some countries, there has been increased investment in their facilities and ppe for labor. Not 100% correct that manufacturing costs have not gone up. How much of the price increase is due to that is not so straight forward though. I would guess the large increase is that they have to pay for the 4700 new front triangles they had to send and install for their customers this summer.
  • 1 0
 @ptrcarson: if it's the case it's kinda shitty that customers pay for their lack of quality control and testing.
  • 2 0
 @ybsurf: Well, I am not sure they get money any other way than from customers. If they had enough money to just cover the recall they would be charging us too much on those bikes in the first place.
  • 3 0
 @BoneDog: I highly doubt that Rocky is just staying afloat. I deal with the highest volume RM dealership there is and the owner is a friend of mine. He couldn't get the volume of bikes he usually gets this year because they were flying off the shelf due to the pandemic. This has been his most profitable year because of the pandemic and peoples needs to spend their money elsewhere since they can't travel and do other things. RM is doing well. Most bike manufacturers this year did well. I'm not sure if its the same in your area, but in BC, the volume of riders at the parks this year is insane and everyone seems to have a shiny new bike...
  • 4 0
 @BoneDog: Since the Procycle rebranding, Rocky's been mighty sketchy. They're still supporting people in BC (obviously their enduro team is exceptional) and the PNW, but their general ethos has really shifted from one of innovation and high quality products to one of trend following and aesthetic upgrades while cutting production costs.
  • 73 14
 "My fastest lap took place on the Altitude"
"Lots of geometry adjustments, but they're skewed towards the steeper side of the spectrum"

WAT? Well no? They wanted to create a fast bike, and they did.
  • 53 12
 Well you see, there is no way that a bike with this 2019-ass geometry can be competitive on a true EWS caliber track. What are you even thinking Rocky Mountain?
  • 15 4
 They think every longer travel bike needs a 63 degree head angle for whatever reason.
  • 59 6
 Except that the team riders are running custom links and angle sets to slack/stretch things out.
  • 23 0
 64.5 is conservative? Mtb is evolving too fast for me...

Anyway, can we presume that setting it in highest position and shorter chainstay, will transform this bike into a poppy playful machine?
  • 12 0
 @salespunk: True, but Mike also turned in his fastest time on this bike.
  • 4 7
 @Pyres: 2017 Giant Reign SX was 64.5 with 160/170 travel and 27.5 wheels. 4 years and 29ers are at where the 27.5 bikes were. Not evolving that fast really.
  • 9 10
 @Pyres: I have both a SJ Evo and Enduro with nearly identical geometry, same rear shock, etc. The Evo is super playful and can be thrown around, moved from line to line and loves to pop off of every side hit. The Enduro is a full plow machine that just wants to drive straight down the fall line.

Geo has very little to do with how playful a bike is on the trail. It is much more about the suspension curve.
  • 39 0
 In all seriousness, this bike looks great. The fact that it's the fastest, while maintaining all around trail manners just point that the sacrifices demanded by dedicated enduro sleds are silly and unnecessary. Mountain bike geo and kinematics have evolved to the point where a bike can absolutely thrash downhill while still keeping weight low and geo accessible enough for every day riding. It's a beautiful thing.
  • 10 0
 @salespunk: , yeah a suspension has a crucial part, my old ‘16 Patrol was super fun compared with a Nomad 3 I had before that. But, I ll disagree with you on the geo part. A steeper ha and a shorter wheelbase are better for slower and playful trails. It depends what you want, speed or fun. My current Sentinel is fast and scary af, but as speed decreases the bike becomes harder to move around, I believe it’s the longer wheelbase that causes this. Your Evo and Enduro share the same wheelbase?
  • 8 3
 @salespunk: drank too much kool-aid, i believe you have
  • 1 1
 @hi-dr-nick:

and every short ravel bike needs 64 bc we're all roughAF no matter which bike we're on.
  • 2 0
 @JesseMelamed: speak of the devil. Are you selling an altitude any time soon?
  • 1 0
 @Pyres: they are within 15 mm of each other. The reach is slightly shorter on the Evo.
  • 1 2
 @housem8d: and I suppose you have two bikes that are nearly identical in geometry and setup to test this like I have?
  • 5 0
 @salespunk: geo does make a big difference though. At least I like the stumpy evo in the high position even more than the low. Steep loose sections are about the only exception. I also leave the headset in the middle so I’m running a 64.5 head tube angle. In the low setting with the longer chainstays I couldn’t even pedal out of a corner.
The enduro I actually sized down at 5’11” as the S4 was way too much of a plow bike and the S3 was a better all rounder for me. So Geo changes the way the bike rides big time.
All that being said the new Stumpjumper evo seems like they copied the cascade designs rear link to change the leverage curve and all of a sudden the stumpy climbs and descends better. So kinematics also plays a big role.
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: It's worth noting that the customizations on @JesseMelamed's bike partially offset each other. The custom ride 9 plate makes the bike about a third of a degree steeper and the angle set brings it back and then some.
  • 1 0
 @onlyDH: Not until the spring!
  • 35 0
 Interestingly, most top EWS racers seem to prefer these "AM" bikes vs the mini DH rigs their brands have
  • 20 0
 Smallest bike you can get away with seems fastest? Especially since these guys and girls are so good they can put the bike where they want it. Saying that, it is surprising they aren't on bigger bikes on some tracks. Finn on the Stumpjumper winning a bike park enduro race was impressive riding.
  • 2 18
flag DAN-ROCKS (Dec 7, 2020 at 8:40) (Below Threshold)
 Rocky mountain doesn't even sell a bike with a dual crown, which I found interesting. I guess this is their biggest rig!
  • 42 2
 What I need to be able to go fast (fast for me) vs. what the pros can go fast on, are two very different things.

Pros want more precise handling because they have the strength, skill and razor sharp reflexes to place the bike where they want, handle it and react to surprises/changes. It's fast but dangerous for regular riders.

I need something that, when the shit hits the fan, I can let "Jesus take the wheel" and bail me the f*ck out.. which just happens to be bikes that are a little longer and a little slacker than what most pros are riding.
  • 9 1
 @DAN-ROCKS: Rocky has the Slayer in theire lineup which can be used with a dual-crown.
  • 38 1
 It really does seem like the pendulum is starting to swing against the extra long, extra slack bikes. This recent test was a real eye opener.

"EWS professionals ride surprisingly short bikes – for good reason
The development of innovations always follows certain trends. Often the pendulum swings far in one direction only to level off somewhere in the middle. This seems to be the case with modern geometry. If you check out the race bikes on test, you’ll probably be asking yourself how Richie Rude, who is 180 cm tall, can be so fast on a bike with a reach of only 460 mm. Jack Moir is 1.91 m tall and rides a size L Strive, which, due to the extremely tall cockpit, is guaranteed to have a reach under 460 mm. The mullet conversion on the GT Force Carbon that Martin Maes rides has also shrunk the bike down to less than 460 mm in length. The reason for this became clear during the course of our test. Not only did the shorter bikes record faster times, they also allowed our test riders to change direction more quickly and position themselves better before corners to carry their speed through them. On top of that, the agile handling of compact bikes is usually more fun. Anyone who thinks that these bikes aren’t composed at high speeds can rest assured: handling stability is heavily determined by the suspension and all the bikes on test performed brilliantly in this regard."

enduro-mtb.com/en/enduro-race-bike-mtb-review
  • 4 0
 @DAN-ROCKS: The slayer is 180mm and you can put a dual crown on it as they advertise this. Not really a DH rid but close to it.
  • 5 13
flag iiman (Dec 7, 2020 at 9:06) (Below Threshold)
 @islandforlife: so a long ass bike to make up for the lack of skill. Beautiful.
That's your Jerrymetron (thx Waki) concept right there.
  • 12 1
 @iiman: Ya... I'm never going to be as good or fast as Jesse Melamed (neither are you by the way)... but I love to go fast... so a bike that helps me go fast safely is super fun. This is the same for 90% of the riders out there. Just a realist man.
  • 4 0
 @DAN-ROCKS: You can buy the new Slayer with 180mm of travel... it's also rated for use with a dual crown. My local bike park has a bunch of 180mm Slayers with dual crowns as rentals.
  • 34 1
 @islandforlife: Maybe this bike WILL make you as fast as me!
  • 4 0
 @islandforlife: which is precisely why i have a Slayer 29. not because i'm a 'big mountain' rider, but because i'm a regular joe who rides hard technical trails with an aging body. the Slayer has an even steeper STA and climbs amazingly well. the hardest i can ride challenges me, not the bike, and my back and knees are happier for it. sure i'd live the weight of this bike, but i'm glad i have the Slayer over this bike all day.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: the 2019 C50 Slayer is a great value and similar geo. The travel is a nice to have and saved me a few times. Lots of RM on Fromme.
  • 3 0
 @DAN-ROCKS: They sell a Slayer A30 Park Edition with a dual crown.
  • 2 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: I think part of this is brands trying to make the climbing position comfortable for normal people. I doubt any ews rider cares able feeling cramped on the climbs as long as the downhill performance is there. Someone who takes 3 times as long to climb due to fitness might not feel the same.
  • 2 1
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: The Grim Donut says hello
  • 3 0
 @JesseMelamed: Your winning run at Zermatt appeared sort of slow because you were riding so smooth. And then you notice the terrain flying past...
  • 4 0
 @islandforlife: also not to mention when us mortals ride its for a few hours at a time (vs 10-15min ews stage) and a little more “cushion for the pushin’” definitely helps (esp for us over 40).
  • 33 1
 Seems like everyone loves the new altitude, but it’s hard to justify their pricing with all the other options out there...
  • 9 0
 C70 Coil Spec is where its at.
  • 7 0
 @poolboy1-0: until you look at the wheels
  • 2 5
 Why do you need better spec if it’s already faster?
  • 1 0
 @poolboy1-0: Yep! Thats the route I went.
  • 1 0
 @CircusMaximus: On the C70 Coil?
  • 6 1
 @poolboy1-0: yep. A 350 on the back is good, but a RM hub on the front and AR race face rims. Give me a break for $9K.
  • 1 3
 @CircusMaximus: maybe this is a bigger tip off that after market high end wheels aren't really all that they're made out to be?
  • 1 1
 @TerrapinBen: probably, my 19 c70 is a demo bike and Ive smashed it at places like Windrock in TN, zero component failures.
  • 2 2
 @TerrapinBen: When NSMB tested the Altitude, the cheap wheels broke super fast. I bet that this wouldn’t have happened with a set of DT EX 1700 or similar. The wheels on all the Altitude models are just not worthy of the price tag.
  • 2 1
 @Ttimer: can confirm that the wheels didn't break, but aren't crazy strong - and at 95kg, alloy wheels will never last forever. You'll notice the Rocky Mountain Product Manager comments on the NSMB article that wheels are built well with quality spokes, and an ARC HD is easily swapped in when the AR30 bites the dust (or granite).
  • 3 0
 @gdreezy: yah cuz after $9K I wanna swap out my rims for the ones that should have been on there to begin with.
Thanks for the tip Product Manager!
  • 1 0
 @CircusMaximus: Think we are talking about the 7k bike.
  • 2 0
 @KVJACKSON: maybe 7 in your country but we use funny money up here.
  • 32 5
 So you got the fastest time but you think the steeper angles are a con? lol ok
  • 6 5
 it'll go faster in a slacker position... what Jesse and Remi are doing.
  • 14 4
 I'm sure he wasn't using the rowdiest terrain he could find as the testing loop.

Is basically anyone going to be buying this bike and running it in the steepest Ride9 setting? Why make a super-adjustable bike if you're going to have the slackest setting be the "normal" one, and lots of folks (including your own team) are going to be immediately installing an angleset on your newly-released bike? Why not build in a bit of future-proofing for your customer?
  • 33 1
 Dude it gives you 9 choices... but the only usable one (to most enduro riders looking at this kind of bike) is the ninth/slackest?? Even the race team had to go beyond with -1 degree anglesets. Like Kaz said... if you're going to offer 9 choices, at the very least offer some slacker options. Like who the f*ck is going to ride a 160/170 enduro bike in the steepest setting at 65.5??!

If I'm Rocky... I'd change "Ride Nine" to "Ride Four" (similar to the Slayer), less complicated... for this bike I'd start at 65 in steep, then 64.5, 64 and 63.5. Done... let people have the choice to ride it in "modern trail bike geo"... or "mini-dh" geo... or somewhere in-between.
  • 5 1
 just because its the fastest, doesn't mean its the most fun Smile
  • 21 0
 @islandforlife: Kazimer got his quickest time on this "steep" bike. You want slack, freeride, bail me out bike? Get the Slayer. This bike is an aimed at a different thing. And apparently does it extremely well. And like 65.5 is fine. If you're on tighter terrain, with lots of rocks and shit, it's a perfectly sensible setting for someone who still wants a ton of squish. Trails didn't suddenly change from 2 yeas ago when bikes like the Process 153 and last-gen Enduro were the hot shit. Variety is good. This bike rips. Want something slacker, get something else.
  • 4 1
 @islandforlife: model 2023 will be slacker / longer... gotta keep the $ train coming in.
  • 1 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: I bet the isn't on the Slayer due to it's heft.
  • 2 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: The bike is aimed at a thing that the team that does that thing uses an angleset to make it slacker for.
  • 1 1
 @4823904823041: ok so.... he's estimating that a different test loop would require a slacker head angle therefore he's putting it down as a con on this test loop? lol there's no way out of this, it's stupid to say a certain head angle is a con because it just means that bike isn't designed for your preferences
  • 10 0
 @ipreferdirt: He's saying that releasing a brand new frame, with wide-ranging adjustability as a major selling point, and designing it such that the most extreme setting is in line with - or in some cases slightly more conservative than - the current industry standard basically eliminates that adjustability for the majority of customers. It's not a great look to release a brand new enduro race bike and have your enduro race team have to use anglesets to get it to fit what they want out of an enduro race bike.

Furthermore, he's not "putting it down as a con on this test loop." The timed testing portion is only one part of the overall test. The idea that this field test boils down to just ranking bikes based on their timing numbers is absurd. Do you think he only rode the bike on the timed loop?

Also, it's absolutely not "stupid to say a certain head angle is a con because it just means that bike isn't designed for your preferences" - that's basically what a review is.
  • 21 2
 @jaydawg69: That's actually not a fact, I never raced it without the angleset. I put the angleset in to help bring the geo closer to the Slayer I had been riding. We knew we would be switching mid-season and I wanted to make the transition as seamless as possible. It could have been completely unnecessary.
  • 2 0
 @JesseMelamed: thank you
  • 17 0
 @4823904823041: I was using an angleset in pos 2-3 of ride9 so it was only about .3 of a degree slacker.
  • 36 0
 @4823904823041: In this thread- armchair punters telling us why EWS pros do the things they do, EWS pros literally saying no, that's not true, while armchair punters continue unperturbed.
  • 2 2
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: Unless I'm mistaken, what he said he was doing is exactly what you guys are yelling at Kaz for talking about in the video: Using an angleset to slacken the head angle while running the bike in in the more "neutral" Ride9 settings.
  • 4 0
 @4823904823041: he just said it was only .3 of a degree and potentially was not necessary as he just wanted to reduce variables when switching bikes.
  • 12 2
 @4823904823041: Alls I'm saying is this bike is fun, it's fast and the way I used the angleset probably had nothing to do with it.
  • 3 2
 @JesseMelamed: I’m sure it’s a great bike as-is. Hell, my last bike, which I started this year on, was a several-iterations-old instinct, and I had a blast on it even though the geometry was outdated and conservative.

My argument isn’t that it’s a bad bike, it’s that Kaz isn’t an evil moron for suggesting that they might have made it a touch slacker at the head angle, even though his timed testing said the bike was fast as-is.
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: that's actually what I was referring to... my bad on the context of it.
  • 3 2
 Kaz is gaslighting us then with the angleset comment then.
  • 12 2
 @withdignityifnotalacrity, my time was with the bike in the slackest setting. Like I mention in the video, and as other have chimed in here, I'd like to have the slack setting be the middle, neutral setting, which would give riders the ability to go even slacker or steeper to suit their preferences.
  • 1 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: And then downvoting......
  • 4 4
 @mikekazimer: we understand what you said but where is this opinion coming from? How are you estimating that slacker settings would be even better on this bike? "Slacker preferences" stem from exactly these kinds of reviews and aren't based on any real values.
  • 3 0
 @ipreferdirt: I think Kazimer is basing his opinion on his preferences and experience. Like any other opinion. The guy rides a shit ton of bikes and can probably guess what he would prefer to see or not see in each one.

In a test where there are control tires to try to level the playing field, do you think he needs to make up some "real values" by pressing in an angleset? If someone published a food review and said "not spicy enough", would you take issue with that?
  • 17 2
 Looks like a great bike for us riders that are not EWS level racers or riding those types of tracks every day. Jesse killed it on this bike, although he did some custom modification to bring it closer to the Slayer he had been on. To me it seems perfectly reasonable that EWS racers would be on custom bikes or at least custom setups. The tracks they ride and the speed they ride them at are not the norm for the rest of us.
  • 48 0
 There may be some misunderstanding as to why I brought my Altitude closer to the Slayer. It was to make the transition from the Slayer to the Altitude mid-season easier, not because the Altitude geo is wrong. Once I won Zermatt I wasn't changing anything until I had proper time to experiment and get comfortable.
  • 10 1
 @JesseMelamed: I should have been more clear. What you explain is exactly what I was trying to describe. You were on the Slayer and didn't want any dramatic changes prior to the start of the season. I would expect that you will do a lot more setup/riding on the Altitude and end up either stock or closer to stock for next season.

I do standby my statement of custom setups for pro level riders. I don't think there is anything wrong with the manufacturers modifying stock setups with custom links or even full custom frames to make their racers as successful as possible. That doesn't mean the stock bikes aren't fantastic for the other 99.9% of us.
  • 24 0
 @salespunk: That is exactly what I will be doing this winter!

I would agree and I wish more people saw it that way! We are riding at the extreme end of what these bikes are capable of and need it to be perfect for us. I don't know what is right for everyone, but I will try to find what is right for me.
  • 15 0
 That's one sexy bike. The altitude has always been one of the best looking bike on the market: simple aesthetic lines and sensible geometry: not too conservative, but not too agressive either.
  • 12 0
 Dude, I love these reviews. I refreshed the page a few times this morning looking for this and I was not disappointed when it was finally posted. I'm not sure why I like these even more than typical reviews. Is it just the video element? Anyway, keep up the good work, folks.
  • 7 0
 Glad you're enjoying them - there's more on the way.
  • 3 0
 Completely agree! Waiting on the MYSTERY bike!!! Wish I knew the embargo date so I didn't have to keep hitting refresh every couple hours... Good work @mikekazimer!
  • 2 0
 @krichardson: The company who makes the mystery bike does launches on Tuesdays, pretty much as a rule. So, should be tomorrow or a week from tomorrow.
  • 1 0
 @krichardson: tomorrow ????
  • 2 0
 @BrambleLee: Alright, hopes crushed today (though the Shore looks killer), and waiting on next Tuesday! I'm putting my faith in you BrambleLee! Smile
  • 15 2
 Man I've grown to love the looks of these bikes over the last few years
  • 11 0
 You can really tell Levy was riding bikes that climbed faster- he ended up with a lot more time to write at the end of the day!
  • 10 1
 Rocky Mountain was actually an innovator in steeper STA s. They use to call it Straight Up geometry ( 10 years ago ). I believe from memory it was around 75°. I had an Altitude and it was a great bike, although the 68° HTA held it back on anything steep or fast.
  • 4 0
 Yeah, same - climbed amazing back in the day, and I threw some offset bushings on there to get it a bit slacker. But wasn't much you could to to stretch out the reach, or the straight steerer headtube, which were the only reasons I ended up selling mine. Great bike!
  • 5 0
 @OldScratchJohnson @bishopsmike:

76 degrees effective STA with a steep actual STA on my 2011 altitude - what an awesome bike that was ahead of its time. i had a -2.0 angleset and offset bushings in mine and it ripped up and down. only sold it because it didn't make sense to upgrade with a 1 1/8 steerer tube and a 135mm QR axle
  • 5 0
 My main ride is a Slayer of that era, 2012 with 66.5 HTA... I have yet to ride anything which is so much better that I actually want a new bike.... Ticks all the boxes. Can do legitimate 40 mile XC rides or huck it off 15 ft drops without changing a single component.
  • 11 1
 Did you test the P-Train on this track too, so we can compare it to the enduro bikes?
  • 9 1
 I think not,Levy tested the trail bikes in BC and Kazimer tested the enduro ones in WA.
  • 8 2
 You mean the t-pain?
  • 4 0
 I was kinda wondering the same thing, despite the fact they said Kaz/Levy testied in Bellingham/BC respectively. The little ladder drop at 6:40ish in the video looks super similar to the one in Levy's vids.

But then again, I live in SoCal so all PNW stuff just looks equally drool-worthy to my untrained eyes lol.
  • 5 0
 @erikvehmeyer: Im pretty sure its not Mike K in the riding clips at all. My guess is they shipped the bike back up North so the video crew could film someone riding it.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, one of the things that made the field tests better than just a usual review was the fact that two riders tested the same bikes. What I value and look for in a bike aligns more with Kaz than Levy, hence I give much more weight to what Kaz says about a particular bike. Plus, disagreements and banter adds to the videos as well. Of course, logistically having both of them ride the same 10 bikes without being in the same location would have been challenging.
  • 2 1
 @nozes: Bellingham has some pretty rad terrain, but I think the enduro bikes should have been tested in BC and the trail bikes in WA. BC terrain is notch or two above WA, for the most part.
  • 7 1
 @NWBasser, I can assure you that the trails where the enduro bikes were ridden are on par with what you'd find in BC - there's no shortage of good testing zones around here.

And @mtmc99, you're right - that's my stunt double, Aidan Oliver, in the riding shots. The border closure threw a wrench in the works, so unfortunately Levy and I weren't able to ride together and argue as much as we usually would.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Come to think of it, North Mountain (Darrington) would be an awesome place to test enduro bikes. It gets pretty serious up there. And heaps of fun.
  • 3 0
 @NWBasser, definitely - I went down there a couple times this year to get some test laps in. It's a great spot.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: North Mountain is the "next best" thing to riding BC. BC gets the edge though..because Tim Hortons!
  • 6 0
 I really appreciate the test, but I feel the review is kinda half-assed when you have a bike with this much adjustable geometry/suspension-setup and you only rode it in one setting. It does the bike a disservice IMO. Jeff-Kendall Weed has been riding the altitude a ton and he made an absolutely awesome video on the ride characteristics on the bike, with back to back laps in different settings.

You have mentioned before that you have several riders test these bikes for the field test. Why not elaborate on how different riders (weight, riding style and on different trails) found the different settings?

At least this one didn't break.
  • 6 0
 I bought the purple nurple coloured frame about a month ago, somehow found some parts available to build it, and am now three rides deep. Started in shortest/steepest positioning, making it suuuper playful, this thing is a hoot. The north shore jank has never been more fun and lippy.
  • 5 0
 I know they will test the Spindrift, but I would still like to have it compared to the Tyee as they are more meant for the same audience.
(and the same goes for the Spindrift vs the Slayer - I'm more into this category of bikes)
  • 2 0
 I think the spindrift and tyee will ride very similarly. Geo is very similar and the linkage seems the same. I'd imagine the spindrift rides like a heavier tyee with extra travel. I personally can't wait for the spindrift review as I'm thinking of buying one.
  • 1 0
 @hugh-dh: same here - if the review is what I hope it will be I will order one
  • 8 3
 Great review. But I’m starting to think Mike is getting to be a little bit like the Princess and the Pea, hearing the sound of rattling brake pads and the twanging of spokes. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but either I don’t notice, don’t mind or have even come to expect a little noise from my bike. Or maybe the buzz of my I9 hubs covers it all up. But then when you’re constantly reviewing all newest, best and latest and greatest, maybe you develop an ear for it.
  • 7 0
 Think that's true in a sense... when you ride that much and ride that often... you notice these things more. But I think it's great because it's representative of a big chunk of riders who are SUPER anal about every detail on their bikes and every noise they make... like me. It's actually part of why I didn't move to a silent hub this past year. I've heard from others that they like it, but if you're anal about bike noise, you'll hear everything and be constantly chasing noises.
  • 10 0
 Those Shimano finned brake pads are REALLY ANNOYING when they start rattling, and once they start they do it all the time. Fair to call them out on it IMO.
  • 6 0
 I mean he is a professional bike reviewer. I would hope he'd be in tune with small issues or noises.
  • 1 1
 @chakaping: Hand to god, I’ve never heard it.
  • 2 0
 @TheR: I didn't have any issues for six months, then it started and it was maddening until I sussed the problem. A quiet bike is a happy bike. Smile
  • 8 0
 Mine is literally on a FedEx truck for deliver today.....today will be the longest day of my life!
  • 4 0
 Of course you inevitably have to run to the store real quick and miss the delivery and signature required...FML!
  • 1 0
 @OldScratchJohnson: It's going to my LBS otherwise I would be camped out in my driveway for sure.
  • 4 0
 Yes! Enjoy!
  • 2 0
 @JesseMelamed: I think I may be calling out sick tomorrow, maybe the next day as well!
  • 17 0
 @Hammersmith: You'll have Altitude sickness for sure.
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: I see what you did there
  • 7 0
 Just know from the 2018 recall that if Rocky needs to replace a front or rear triangle, it probably won't be the same color you bought. #stillbitter
  • 5 0
 You're not alone Mike. I'm still gutted with how poorly the whole frame recall debacle was handled. So much for buying 'local'
  • 3 12
flag housem8d (Dec 7, 2020 at 9:36) (Below Threshold)
 do you honestly think companies are gunna stock every color?! just ride your bike and do a custom paint job sheesh
  • 5 0
 @housem8d: then replace the whole frame!
  • 1 0
 ..
  • 3 0
 Yep! Bit burnt
  • 2 0
 I can comment on this based on my participation in the frame recall as well as broken one front triangle on the old instinct and broken two rear triangles, one just a few weeks ago and one on the previous instinct. I can tell you for me they have stocked raw and painted to match on the warrantee replacements. The only time the paint was not matched was the recall. I really believe that they were honest about not being able to custom paint and get the frame replaced in a timely manner. They were quick to get me mine, only down a month, I know not everyone had that same experience. That being said, I have bought my last Rocky Alloy frame. Too bad as I think the A70 is the perfect build apart from the wheels but I always switch my wheels out. My service was always fantastic with the warrantee and crash replacement but that may have more to do with the shop I go to.
  • 4 0
 @ptrcarson: sounds good to me, I personally would rather not hang around for that many replacements and recalls. Seems like a problem that has not been addressed as it’s multiple generations and over many years. There are tons of bike companies out there who don’t have these issues and are very worth exploring
  • 1 0
 @zombiejack33: It's only two bikes and I did say I was not going to buy an aluminum frame from then again. They have issues with their Alloy builds, that is clear. They need to fix this. Their customer service has been excellent in my experience. Maybe the credit belongs with my shop but it has been easy to find solutions.
  • 3 0
 @ptrcarson: I was speaking more about multiple gen instincts with recall / rear triangle issues and the more recent pinkbike slayer failure. I think the shops buying power has a lot to do with how the company will treat you for sure, my experience with the recall reflects that. At least their carbon hasn’t had as many issues I guess so it might be interesting to try, if the price was ever reasonable
  • 3 0
 @zombiejack33: I agree with you there, I will likely getting a Meta next. For the price and tank like build.
  • 2 0
 @ptrcarson: Ya the Meta looks so sick, I hope all the best for you in getting one as covid has spiked demand and stripped the shelfs unfortunately.
  • 7 1
 This is definitely a sweet bike. Rocky Mountain's prices are not very competitive though. Many other brands offer much better value which is why I won't be considering an Altitude for my next bike.
  • 5 0
 I really love how many bikes are starting to come with adjustable length chainstays (This, Stumpjumper Evo, Kona Process X, Banshee Titan, SC Megatower).

It both lets people from both chainstay length camps (short vs long) have it their way, as well as giving people the chance to test BOTH on the same bike, and see what they actually prefer. And even stuff like "short for local trails, long for bike park" and other stuff like this.

That said, I'd REALLY like to see a test where chainstay lengths are the topic of the test. Where some of these bikes with adjustable lengths are used as the platform for the topic of short vs long, and who might like/benefit from one size or the other. And then maybe using bikes that are otherwise very similar to do the same thing (Commencal Meta AM TR vs Privateer 141 for example)

@mikekazimer/@mikelevy any chance of something like that in the future?
  • 4 0
 "Not the best value when looking at the price vs. parts spec"
I totally agree on the price that is out of this world (like 90% of the bikes), because carbon frame, fox kashima suspension and shimano xtr groupset is everything you need.
There is no way to justify that price but putting some diamonds on the handlebar.
  • 6 1
 If they made it a degree slacker it would just be the slayer which just plows but is not great at slow speeds and tight corners.
  • 6 1
 You'd still have the rest of the ride9 adjustments to steepen it back up if you like.
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: So does the slayer
  • 3 1
 Their race team running anglesets would disagree.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: Jesse said in a video he was using the angle set to make if feel like the slayer for the summer. Confirming my point as rocky likely didn't do that because they did not want two almost identical bikes in the line up. I am not saying they are right I am just pointing out the clear reason they did not make it more slack.
  • 6 0
 @ptrcarson: Exactly. Different horses for different courses.
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: I know the Altitude and Slayer are different animals designed for different purposes. I live in Vancouver and ride everything between here and Pemberton and always ride to the top (never shuttle). Because of the terrain I am seriously considering the Slayer which, with the same spec, is about 3-4 lbs heavier than the Altitude - have you found the Slayer to be a beast and much worse on the climbs than the Altitude?
  • 7 0
 Was looking at a 153... but the A30 Altitude may convert me.
  • 5 0
 Two solid working man choices (I'd go with the Rocky).
  • 3 0
 This bike has been getting some decent press lately.

Sadly, no alloy frame only option, even though they offer some alloy models.

And their carbon frame pricing is wayyyy up there ($3700 usd, more than the low end alloy complete...). Which means this bike is officially off my demo list.

Frown
  • 5 2
 Rocky Mountain and Kona think they are boutique brands with their prices for low end spec. The aesthetic of the bike doesn’t do anything for me either. Haven’t been bothered to ever consider a RM and won’t again this year. However, their hardtail Growler is pretty sweet and is priced reasonably!
  • 5 1
 I think testers should start riding mid range spec'd bikes that will give the majority of buyers a good idea on how the bike performs. Oh you're seated in a $10,000 cockpit? And the bike doesn't feel like trash? Hmm ????
  • 2 0
 They actually aknowledged that in a previous article explaining that with this year's crazy demand companies didn't have every build available to lend for the tests! So basically they wanted to do so but it was high-ends or nothing!
  • 4 0
 Love the two flip chips.Go to steep, add a 27.5 rear wheel and Mullet it. Keep at BB height and STA within the 29/29 slack specs.
  • 3 0
 Yep... once people realize how good mullets are, there will be a shift... I'm guessing by summer 2022 we'll start seeing a lot more mullet options.
  • 4 0
 @islandforlife: Copy that - I'm all in re Mullet, Enduro, eeb, and DH bike....sooo good.
  • 2 0
 So many beautiful bikes in the last decade , most of them pushing the envelope of what people will pay. However the price increases in last two years have pushed that envelope just too far . I'm guessing it's going to produce a reduction in sales . aside from the pricing issue , i would never buy such a nice bike , because of fear of crashing it . The most fun i ever had was on my old Schwinn Cimarron. it was just cheap enough with medium level quality that i never felt i had to be careful when riding it . i beat the crap out of that bike and had a blast doing it .
  • 2 0
 "and there's probably a reason their team riders are running an angleset to slacken the bike up a little bit."

Yeah, the reason was "just to make it feel closer to the Slayer that was used previously".

According to the racers, the geo is just fine for both regular customers _and_ high-level racing, and the angle-set on the team's bikes will go away eventually.
  • 2 0
 It surprises me that folks have so much trouble explaining Ride 9. I like to think of it as 3 geometry settings with 3 leverage ratios in each. For example, positions 3 & 4 are the same geometry, but 3 is more progressive. Its not a perfect example - there is a big jump between positions 1 and 2 - but whatever. Figure out your geo first (fore-aft), find the mid-stroke support you want (up-down), then add/remove spacers until you get full travel. As adjustments go, it is a pretty clever system.
  • 4 1
 I've had an altitude in 2015, wonderfull bike but had a lot of issues like a lot of creaking with shock mount and a broken rear triangle. Wont go back to rocky.
  • 5 0
 $12K CAD?? With alloy wheels? Am I missing something?
  • 17 0
 I'm missing about $11,975
  • 1 0
 people be lined up around the blocks... I'd take the Enduro.
  • 2 0
 I've ridden this bike and can confirm it's amazing. Definitely a capable bike to race with, and comfortable and efficient enough for longer distance rides. Rocky Mountain nailed it.
  • 1 0
 I demoed a 2020 Altitude back in early February in between two demo weekends on different sized Transition Patrols. Was impressed enough with the Altitude to have considered it a real contender. However, the seat tube was too high for me to be able to get a dropper post that would give me a decent amount of drop, set the saddle at the right height for pedalling and drop it far enough to get it out of the way on descents. Really nice bikes, though.
  • 1 0
 Smoothlink used to be very specifically a kind-of reversed-horst-link, with the axle _below_ the seat-stay pivot: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGrlbYrnheg

Now, I understand that suspension designs evolve and change almost continually. However, it's not making it any easier for customers to understand what the benefits of a branded design when the design behind the brand keeps changing, and even more so when the special sauce of the original branding is completely removed.

Of course, Rocky Mountain isn't the only one doing this to their brands, just that Levy calling out Smoothlink by name and referring to it as a version of a Horst-link reminded me that Smoothlink used to refer to something very specifically _not_ a Horst link, It was touted as the best option with minimal chain growth and a smoothly progressive leverage rate. After the Horst-link patent expired, was that suddenly not good? Enough that a switch to a Horst-style axle-above-pivot was necessary, completely dropping a major design feature of the Smoothlink system?
  • 1 0
 Oops, Kazimer not Levy. (I though Levy was doing this whole FT, but looks like Kaz is on the enduro-ish bikes)
  • 1 0
 A Horst-Link is defined by the axle connected to the seat-stays instead of the chain stay. The dropout pivot location is a way of tuning the kinematics. I'm pretty sure the Horst patent has been expires for some time.
  • 1 0
 @Joecx: the patent, which specifically calls out the pivot being below the axle, expired in 2013/2014 (depending on whose lawyers you talk to)
  • 2 1
 "I ran it in the slackest setting, which is also the most progressive"

Not according to their docs. Pos1 is the slackest, but Pos 3 is the most progressive and very slightly steeper. Yeah, small changes, but isn't that the point of Ride 9, to allow small changes? Might as well get the facts straight about those changes.
  • 1 0
 well I can't even get it in my country, and nobody in Europe will send it or have it in stock or could order until june/july period. Damn shortages, I wanted new bike after 5 years of abusing mine, and can't seem to get a new bike this year. Guess I'll race national events on old outdate fu*ked bike Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: Drop a 27.5 rear wheel on it and you're slacked out another .7 degrees or so...fun factor up for guys who aren't racing but like to go fast with some cushion...but I'd probably stop at 64 Mulleted as to not drop the BB too much. Hopefully RM makes a proper Mullet version with geo options via flip chips - although this 29r version offers a great platform to tinker with a Mullet.
  • 1 0
 in the first look a while back, something was made of the interchangeable part for mounting the shock on the top tube. Could the design of that part be used to alter the kinematics of this bike, or is that only possible through changes to the linkages at the back? Seems relevant given the reviewers seem to think this bike doesn't climb as well in the current configuration as some competitors (although I would still take it over many other recently released enduro bikes, regardless).
  • 1 0
 I have a C70 (29") and I mostly agree with the points made by Mike here. Very confidence inspiring, LOT of grip and traction. Not the easiest bike to climb (draggy OEM tires - Assegai Maxx Grip up front and DHRII at the back, and active rear suspension) but it really gives you control during descent. Even if it's a big bike, it really feel active because of low weight. However, even though I haven't had any problem yet, the wheels are not what should go on a bike this pricey (can include stem, rotors and press fit BB). They are a bit too heavy and cheap rear hub doesn't feel high end. Fit and finish is very impressive and bike is incredibly quiet. All in all a very enjoyable bike but not flawless in terms of spec and expensive.
  • 1 0
 @ttimer can confirm that the wheels didn't break, but aren't crazy strong - and at 95kg, alloy wheels will never last forever. You'll notice the Rocky Mountain Product Manager comments on the NSMB article that wheels are built well with quality spokes, and an ARC HD is easily swapped in when the AR30 bites the dust (or granite).
  • 1 0
 My boyfriend bought this bike. Very stable downhill, excellent cornering. Super quiet! Low bb can result in pedal strike if not careful and definite pedal Bob when climbing, in comparison to yeti sb150 (my bike).
Has anyone else had problems with rear Axle seizing? I saw a note about this in old review for altitude - issue with factory... Tried to pull rear wheel off on day 1 to put on ride wrap, Axle was seized, snapped Allen key trying to get it off! Bike shop had to machine out the Axle to remove and replace... A bit disappointing for a new bike...
  • 4 0
 Rocky, why no 27.5" option on the size L? Is 27.5" dead?
  • 1 1
 27.5” is on life support.
  • 1 0
 With all the adjustability, you could build one if you wanted it that badly.
  • 1 0
 @JohanG: good to know!
  • 4 4
 I am sorry to say, but come on, 9000 $ for a bike !! what is the point in testing this version ! ?
I am so sick of seing that this kind of price tag is slowly becoming the norm,
today, with 3000$, you don't get a better bike than 5 years ago, so what is the point of progress ? Making more dentists ride, and slowly loose the true passionate guys ?
  • 1 1
 Let's keep our head offce in North Vancouver said Rocky Mountains SR. management. We can ride the shore every day. We'll just keep increasing our prices of our bikes to pay the mortgage. Customers will never notice.... said nobody. My 2018 Altitude is likely the last RM bike I will own. RIP Rocky ????
  • 1 0
 This is one of the most beautiful bikes ever this year, but damn that’s too much money!! It’s even hard to find them used now for a decent price...what are they made of gold??
  • 1 0
 @TheLongMan: unobtainium
  • 3 3
 I am getting confused with bikes....trail bike come all mountain bike that's also good for enduro. All the bikes seem to be getting longer and slacker....It's like being on a dating site...lots of choice available.
  • 11 8
 And just like dating, the more money you have the nicer your "ride" !
  • 4 0
 Hopefully bikes won't share the dating site likelihood of being heavier than advertised.
  • 2 0
 @commental: Haha. To continue the dating analogy: Hopefully you don't have to demo lots of bad bikes before finding the right one.
  • 7 5
 Yep looks like a bike that you can ride... Anyone else stop getting anything out of these reviews a while ago?
  • 6 1
 Levy’s reviews not so much, but this one in particular was a bit bland. „It climbs, and it also descends. The top spec everything performed well. There were a few issues with parts that I’ve mentioned in about half a dozen other reviews before. This bike is nice but also expensive.“

Like, give me something to work with, make it interesting. It’s still better to watch than the horribly overdone acting on GMBN that makes me want to projectile vomit every time I see Blake’s face, but in terms of reviews it didn’t feel like a lot of information besides „it rides bretty gud“, which you should expect from a 9k bike. Or maybe bikes these days are all just really good and there isn’t much left to say.
  • 5 0
 @pbfan08 i agree, but i cant pinpoint what it is though... I mean reviews are helpfull but they seem repetitive, i honestly think the Grim Donut like content is the future of Pinkbike.
  • 2 0
 I must be a machine, I got confused by those hoses and pipes in the background of the rear wheel Eek
  • 2 0
 All those adjustments would just hurt my brain. Still trying to dial in my fox 36 grip2! Too much choice isn't always good.
  • 1 0
 Looks like the fork is using quite many times and relatively easily all of it’s travel in slow motion pictures around 7 minutes.
  • 2 0
 Can someone elaborate on "A strip of mastic tape between the fins" to eliminate finned brake pad chatter?
  • 1 0
 There's a shot later on in the video at 10 mins. It appears to just be on the top of the caliper where the pad rests. i would be worried about putting it somewhere that would cause rubbing on the brake pads.
  • 1 0
 @lefthandohvhater: Same, that was my concern. I run Zee's and use finless pads but shimano pads have proved more effective and longer lasting. I don't like the idea of sticking stuff around my calipers/pad interface. Maybe I'll give a try.
  • 3 0
 $9,100 USD and doesn't even come with carbon wheels LOL
  • 1 2
 Hmm, a $9k bike that requires tape on the brakes... makes sense? No shoestrings holding things together or other MacGyver tricks needed though? Rocky should maybe include swiss army knives with the bike. (Sorry if you aren't old enough for that reference)
  • 1 0
 Wish the Yeti SB150 was compared with these Enduro bikes. Altitude vs. Slash vs. SB150 -- who would win as best all mountain bike???
  • 3 0
 It is interesting to see that the sb150 is still bang on with it's numbers despite being almost three years old. I wonder what the new one will look like.
  • 1 0
 Same here! Would love this comparison. I've been on the altitude, but not the sb150.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer great work!
Can you give me some feedback on the Dainese Trail Skins Pro knee, going to pull the trigger on ones.
Word is you have to size down right?
  • 1 0
 A few days ago there was a Ridden and Rated on knee pads, and the Dainese was in there. Kaz was pretty lukewarm on 'em!
  • 2 0
 @BrambleLee: yes I read the review, but in the review they tested the trail skins light and the ones in the field test are theTrail Skins Pro.
  • 3 0
 Did anyone notice they were in a brewery?
  • 1 0
 Why all mountainbikes become more and more expensive, and more and more heavy ? Ok also more and more fast and confortable in downhill, but I dont understand...
  • 1 0
 Very bold choice by RM to offer a bike with a chainstay length over 445mm in size M.
  • 2 0
 So I guess the slayer is chopped liver
  • 4 1
 Could be... that’s the one that cracked last year, right? Hard to look past that, even if it was an isolated occurrence. Might have spelled doom for that particular model.

Even if the Slayer didn’t have that happen, the travel and geometry have moved into a realm that’s a little bit more than what I’d like for the type of riding I do. This bike would be a little more of what I’m looking for.
  • 4 1
 Them RM EWS boys has pretty made their Altitudes into Slayers (chip for the same chainstay length, angled h.set and custom chip Ride 9)apart from the slightly negative: slacker SA. I am keeping my 2020 Slayer 29"!; can go DH -slack if one prefers. The coil suspension is Magic for traction! And alu. rear end is solid for crashing...
  • 2 0
 @Alexdeg: Ya, the EWS guys riding what you just described is probably the nail in the coffin
  • 5 0
 I still ride mine and love it!
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer if you can say, what trail in B-Ham did you use for your timed descent?
  • 3 0
 I used a portion of Double Down for the timed testing. It's obviously not the absolute gnarliest descent, but that makes it easier to ride at a consistent pace, and I think it's a good representation of what these types of bikes should be able to handle.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Very cool. It would be interesting at some point in the future to see how different bikes handle different types of descents timed testing wise. Double Down looks amazing, but as a desert dweller, I'd be curious to see how the timed order would differ in rockier, rougher terrain where you were getting constant jostling rather than the bigger drops. I'm curious to see if the same bikes would end up as fastest.
  • 1 0
 @MarcusBrody, I'd be interested in that as well. I'd initially planned on doing my timed laps up on the North Shore, where there's no shortage of chunky, rough trails, but the border closure took that off the table. Hopefully next year.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: O Express after the beating it seems to have taken this year would be a good test track for that Smile
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Well feel free to send them down here for some Bootleg Canyon testing. I promise top content showing how under the right rider, all of the models can climb like a downhill and descend like an XC bike. Plus an exciting bonus feature looking at which bike is best at being carried down intermediate features when you get scared of the exposure!
  • 2 0
 swarovski crystal front hub and BB....
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer did I miss the uphill times?
  • 1 0
 I went to the bike store to get one of these, the guy told me he could get it in for me me early to mid november... 2021
  • 1 0
 Literally every bike: more versatile than we expected!
  • 1 0
 Since when did PB hire Mads MIkkelsen to test ride bikes?!?
  • 1 0
 i‘d never buy a rocky without maple design, whats going on here
  • 1 0
 It has maple design on the top tube
  • 1 0
 9 grand....? Sweet jesus.
  • 1 0
 Cool, now give me The powerplay version.
  • 1 0
 Is rocky mountain still using bushings for their main pivots?
  • 5 0
 Nope, they have switched to bearings.
  • 2 0
 thank goodness. my several years ago thunderbolt was such a great bike, apart from the bushings
  • 1 0
 @telephunke: Yeah, not a fan of bushings with anything. They seems to all develop squeaks. There is a noticeable improvement of bearings vs bushings in the SRAM/Avid brakes. So much smoother with bearings.
  • 1 4
 "The chainstay length can be set at either 435 or 447mm,"

Or 437 as stated in the sidebar, for Neutral Ride9 (not stated in the sidebar)?

Or 438 to 448 in the Ride9 Pos1 that was used in the test?

Details matter!

(All numbers directly from bikes.com)
  • 1 0
 Finally an AllDuro bike for the masses.
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer you gotta put all these bikes up against the Grim Donut for a real comparison!
  • 2 2
 should have compared all the enduros to the grim donut
  • 1 1
 new rule for shootouts: only one Horst link bike gets invited.
  • 1 0
 help
  • 1 0
 he's not Levy.
  • 14 0
 Thankfully.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: haha nice!
  • 1 1
 Adjustable, except that's its not really
  • 1 0
 9000USD? Holy...
  • 1 2
 Where is the list of bikes tested??
  • 2 0
 Why am I getting downvoted for asking a legit question? Normally there is an intro video to the field tests and I didn't notice one on the site for the enduro category
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: thank you Mike! Didn't realize the trail and enduro tests were linked together
  • 2 1
 Add the Norco Range
  • 2 0
 @Dogl0rd: same here!
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