Field Trip: Rocky Mountain's $1,669 Growler Doesn't Hold Back on the Descents

Apr 29, 2021
by Sarah Moore  


PINKBIKE FIELD TRIP

ROCKY MOUNTAIN GROWLER

Doesn't hold back on the descents.



Words by Sarah Moore, Photography by Tom Richards



Next up is the Rocky Mountain Growler 40, the final hardtail in our Field Trip value bike series. It's an aluminum 29er that comes with a 140mm fork and retails for $1,669 USD. Rocky Mountain bills it as “an incredibly capable hardtail” and with its 64 degree head tube angle, it's the slackest of all the bikes we rode on the Sunshine Coast.

Rocky did include some of the features you’d hope to see on pricier bikes, with all the cables running inside the frame through rubber grommets, including the dropper post line, a threaded bottom bracket, and a Boost thru-axle rear end. Our Growler 40 is the middle child of the bunch, with the most expensive Growler 50 model retailing for $2,099 USD Growler 50 and the Growler 20 priced at $1,039 USD.
Rocky Mountain Growler 40

Fork travel: 140mm
Wheel size: 29"
Frame construction: aluminum
Head angle: 64 degrees
Chainstay length: 435mm
Reach: 440mm (medium)
Sizes: S-XL
Weight: 31.2 lbs / 14.2 kg
Price: $1,699 USD
More info: www.bikes.com

Let's talk about that 64-degree head angle for a second. When you sit on a full-suspension bike, the rear end sags just like the front, meaning that the bike gets a bit lower to the ground and maybe a nip slacker, but when you sit on a hardtail it’s only the fork that sags, obviously. That means that hardtails get a little steeper when you’re riding them. Their dynamic geo is steeper than the static geo, to sound all official. The seat tube gets a 75-degree angle and, again, this will actually get a tiny bit steeper rather than slacker as it does on a full-suspension bike.

All sizes come with a 435mm rear-end, with the reach running from 425mm on the size small to 500mm on the XL. Our medium sits at 450mm.




2021 Rocky Mountain Growler. Photos by Tom Richards
2021 Rocky Mountain Growler. Photos by Tom Richards


Climbing

The Growler’s focus is clearly about having as much fun as possible, and I think we all know where that usually happens: on the descents. So the thing we were curious about before riding the bike was how much that would take away from its climbing abilities. Our climb trail snakes up through a few tight spots here and there and definitely had some slippery roots to trip you up, but the Growler went through it all just as well as the steeper bikes.

That being said, the steering isn't as quick and precise and it's not going to be quite as adept at the really tricky stuff. It’s also not a bike that’s going to encourage you to chase a fast time up anything. Of course it’s efficient, but the WTB rubber makes you feel like you're chained to one spot whenever the trail was rolling slow. We were grateful for the wide-range Deore gearing in those moments.

The Growler is best suited to a rider that's going to pedal it up the mountain at whatever pace is comfortable, with the ride being about fun instead of fitness. It’s not a climber’s bike, but I doubt that’s what a potential Growler owner will be interested in.


Photo by Tom Richards. Pinkbike Field Trip 2021

2021 Rocky Mountain Growler. Photos by Tom Richards
2021 Rocky Mountain Growler. Photos by Tom Richards


Descending

You know what a Growler owner probably is interested in? What happens on the way back down. That's where the Growler is leaps ahead of the other hardtails we had for the Value Field Test. Actually, it’s ahead of some of the full-suspension bikes as well. It all comes down to that progressive geometry and spec choices made to suit aggressive riding.

The position with the 800mm wide handlebar, low slung frame, and how the relatively slack head angle puts the front wheel a bit farther out in front of you all combine to instantly make the Rocky feel more ready for anything than the other bikes. One of our test trails was a high-speed descent covered in embedded round rocks and slippery roots, exactly the kind of place that can surprise you quickly, but the Growler was much more stable and relaxed about things than the Norco or Canyon. Instead of reacting to what the front-end was doing and constantly being on the edge of control, the bike’s calmness gives you more time to prepare and think ahead about what’s coming.

The Growler's composure gives you time to actually look at the trail more, and so you can find better (or just more fun!) lines. As Mike Levy said, "It’s the only hardtail on test that I rode like a full-suspension bike - similar lines, similar moves, similar commitment." If you're going to continue to push the limits on this bike, do yourself a favour and upgrade the brakes since the 2-piston Shimano brakes that come on the bike don't have enough initial bite and lack power.

Rocky Mountain Growler 2021 Field Trip





Pros

+ Incredible on rough, fast descents
+ Spec well-suited to aggressive riding

Cons

- Handling not as quick and responsive as traditional hardtails
- Can feel sluggish on mellower trails














The 2021 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible with support from Toyota.




Video: Jason Lucas, Max Barron
Editing: Devan Francis



176 Comments

  • 190 1
 An article AND a video? This really should have just been an interpretive dance.
  • 58 0
 I would never buy a bike based just on a review. Tell me it rides well in an interpretive dance and I'll start lining up now for when stock arrives in 2025
  • 2 28
flag nickmalysh (Apr 29, 2021 at 8:05) (Below Threshold)
 @Kyanw: Any brand can post Adv on pink bike and list item in stock will make a deal, currently any of ads leads to put of stock options
  • 15 0
 @Kyanw: a Pole could be Growler's interpretive dance partner
  • 28 0
 @nickmalysh: did you type this on a dancefloor with dim lighting?
  • 6 0
 Or maybe a review with a mime.
  • 5 0
 I'd upvote this thrice if I could.
  • 1 0
 @nickmalysh: interpretive typing this?
  • 2 0
 Dad Joke Level 30 Unlocked
  • 1 0
 @SyKon: sorry for dyslexia, i was trying to say : all adv on pink bike redirects you to out off stock products or products that will stock in July-September
  • 56 4
 I find it odd that the climbing prowess in these reviews is almost always inversely proportional to the head angle. Head angle isn't necessarily a climbing negative - especially if your climbs are technical and straighter. I get that if you're turning tight corners on your climbs a slacker head angle can be a small negative, but if weight / tires / seat angle / chainstay length are held equal, head angle is a relatively neutral influence on climbing prowess (but almost universally a positive influence on descending).
  • 32 1
 Ok but is anyone worried about straight line climbing performance? I can't think of a single modern bike that doesn't climb well in a straight line.

Although I do agree that most people should be able to see a head angle and understand that it has a wider turning radius without hearing it from levy.
  • 17 0
 It's not just that slacker hta makes the steering lazier, (that can be mostly compensated for) it's that it increases the wheel base, and that is what it makes it harder for narrow trails with tight corners. Also the front wheel being further out makes pivoting on the rear wheel in really tight corners a little more tricky.
  • 5 0
 @lefthandohvhater: yes! I live in an area littered with babyheads, boulders, ledges, and straight climbs. A slack head angle makes it easier to get up that stuff (longer wheelbase, lower front wheel angle of approach, and front end less likely to be bounce-turned off line).
  • 2 2
 @rickybobby18: Yeah I have definitely felt that before. It's just that I don't think that is super relevant to the review because it is quite obvious from the geo chart and other factors mentioned in the review. Just trying to explain why they might not include that and focus more on tight technical corners.
  • 1 0
 I suspect (like tyres, bar width, etc), it comes down to where you live. I have very few tight twisty climbs, but lots of straight steep climbs and awkward steps and ledges where one of those crazy Icelandic hillclimb Motos would be ideal.
  • 12 0
 @lefthandohvhater: You're overestimating the rest of us knowing anything.
  • 2 0
 Agreed. Seems like HA has the least effect on climbing compared to SA, weight, rear suspension efficiency, and tire choice. I actually dab less on my enduro sled than my xc whip because I have more traction from suspension and tires so I slip out less on gravelly steep climbs and little rock steps and things. It makes more room for error. I definitely climb faster on the xc bike though. Different styles of climbing for sure. Am I going for dabs or time?
  • 1 0
 @lefthandohvhater: there's a Strava segment where I live called "Knox Wall" its about 13% gradient and all the full enduro bros slop up this steep 0.7km section of hill, all their crazy slack and long geo seems to climb great. Isn't like the trinity geometry of bikes are: HTA, STA and Chainstay length?
  • 47 0
 I find it is my fitness that is the biggest and most significant factor in how my bike climbs.
  • 6 2
 They describe it as "sluggish on mellower trails". I don't get it, if a hardtail doesn't excel at mellower trails, then why get it? Mellower trails are where hardtails are the most fun. I mean slow speed tech trails are fun too. Basically, anything except high speed chunder is fun on a hardtail. But mellower trails is where they shine the most. If you have a full suspension already and you’re buying a hardtail cause n+1, then you might be better off getting a less slack one, more of an all rounder. I suppose if it’s your only bike then this bike makes more sense. But, I haven’t ridden this slack of a hardtail, so I might just be falling into the trap of believing that my hardtail’s geo is the best for hardtails, because it’s mine and I like it.
  • 1 2
 @riklassen: and, if you were looking to improve your fitness, wouldn’t you want the worst-climbing bike possible?

...and bikes can’t be playful, either!

People say stuff to have said stuff, whether it lines up with the last stuff they said is only a bonus. Bike people are among the least consistent with their claims. People.
  • 2 0
 @riklassen: Don't forget to include your ability to work the bike up the obstacles that litter your way to the top.
  • 4 2
 @kcy4130: They have to help sell bikes and move the industry in a certain direction. Consumers are victims of focus groups & think tanks.
  • 4 0
 @lefthandohvhater: A lot of new people have no idea what the numbers mean though. After 3 bikes in 3 years, I'm just starting to figure out where my skill level and geometry mesh the best. I think it's good info for people buying their first purpose built mountain bike.
  • 2 0
 @owl-X: I don't get the point you are trying to make, regarding my comment? As per my comment, the most important factor in climbing has nothing to do with the bike one is riding. This is based on my own personal experience and is truth for me. I could buy the most purpose built climb machine or the least climb worthy pig of a bike and it will make barely any difference in how I climb if my fitness is terrible.

I love the the Growler bike and actually tried to buy one last year and had one of the last few lined up, in my region, for purchase when a shipping issue to the shop from the manufacturer scuttled the deal. I ended up getting a Fuse (similar to growler, bit steeper HTA) and it has been awesome... super playful bike on descents and climbs just fine as long as I am up to it.
  • 4 0
 @riklassen: I can't tell if owl was joking or not. If the wasn't joking then he'd dead wrong. Getting a poor climbing bike will not improve one's fitness. It'll have the opposite effect. If a bike climbs poorly, then most people (certainly me anyhow) will just give up and push the bike up the climbs. Whereas a good climbing bike motivates me to keep riding and try to clean a climb.

I wish the growler could be purchased as frame only.
  • 5 0
 I think it's as simple as, if the bike company puts a slack head angle, they assume it will be ridden more aggressively so spec stickier, slower rolling rubber. How much difference can be made other than weight and tyres in climbing?

Honestly if you're climbs are constantly so technical HA makes a difference it must be a PITA to get to the descent bit as you'd spend your life doing slow awkward bits and not quickly ascending.

If you want a better climbing bike, put lighter, faster rolling tyres on it and adjust your suspension, if you want a better descending bike, well, geometry is the limiting factor if you don't already have the right tyres and brakes on.

Short version, buy a bike that descends well, trade off tiny bits of descending to make it climb much better if you want to.
  • 7 0
 @riklassen: Very true. One can also bring a potato for a mid-ride snack to boost climbing ability.
  • 1 0
 Indeed. I went from a XC bike to a trail / enduro bike and if anything it corners better (doesn't feel like it's going to jack-knife) and climbs just as well, if not better. The steeper seat tube angle helps a lot with that.
  • 2 0
 @riklassen: bowing out. Have at it!
  • 2 0
 @kcy4130: I think that in this case, "mellow" also pertains to the speeds he's hitting those trails with. With a slack hard tail on mellower trails, you usually just need to crank the speed up a bit to reap the rewards of the more stable front end. If you're slow and plodding along, without any steep or unruly features, you'd definitely want the steeper HA. I also think a lot of his impressions are related to the tires, which he found to be slugs, so not entirely related to his take on the HA.
  • 53 8
 Growler? Seriously?

Every company should consult urbandictionary before naming their products...
  • 31 1
 First thing I think of with 'Growler' is FA-18s. Guess I'm out of touch with kid's slang.
  • 36 1
 Growler - The swelling of a horrendous amount of fecal matter moments before it is excremented.
“I’ve got to get off the phone now, that five pound carne asada burrito I had last night has produced a giant growler in my intestine that is about to crown”
  • 42 1
 @Three6ty: It means something quite different in certain parts of the Yoo Kay...
  • 18 1
 @Peally: Might be a UK thing but has a very different meaning over here!
  • 2 0
 @Franziskaner: I can only imagine. appropriate to share?
  • 8 0
 Maybe they did Wink
  • 5 1
 Could just see the looks you would get when answering what is that you a re riding! ;D
  • 54 0
 Growler makes me think of beer. Perfect mountain biking association!
  • 10 3
 @Three6ty: Slang for some female genitalila
  • 29 0
 saying "I would like to go down on your growler"
might get me in big trouble
or maybe not, depending on who I say it to
  • 91 1
 Good thing it's not a Giant then
  • 14 0
 Maybe they consulted with Tobias Funke on the name.
  • 9 0
 @Three6ty: Kona Stinky, Coiler, Dawg, the list goes on...
  • 6 0
 Poor dear, she's really let her vagina go

UK: un-kempt

Would you be more enthusiastic if it were called Twat? Since Rocky Mountain Oyster is taken
  • 54 0
 Except here on the West Coast... Where Rocky is from... Growler means giant bottle of craft beer....
  • 1 1
 @taprider: Now you´re just gonna confuse him Big Grin
  • 4 0
 I feel like that would be the end of product names as a whole. We would be reduced to referring to things by their SKU's
  • 8 0
 Growler in these parts (Vancouver) is beer .
  • 14 0
 growler in canada is a beer size. usually a bottle that's refillable that you can return for a deposit after
  • 38 0
 You guys have obviously never heard of Cove Bikes then.....

Peeler (stripper)
Shocker (two in the pink, one in the stink)
GSpot (don't bother bro, you'll never find it and she's faking anyways)
STD (you put your peter where you shouldn't have)
Hooker (just add blow)
Stiffee (we all get them)
Handjob (something you do to yourself)
Hummer (the dreams)
Sanchez and Dirty Sanchez (nsfw)
Hustler (many wasted teenage fantasies)
Foreplay (something yall need practice in)
  • 4 0
 @OlSkoolJake: It's that way in pretty much all the U.S too.
  • 4 0
 @Peally: EA-18 Wink
  • 3 0
 @OlSkoolJake: That's a universal term I'm pretty sure, it's the same thing here in Newfoundland. It's also means a small iceberg here.
  • 7 0
 @Lee13: Definitely exactly what any mountain biker in the PNW is going to think of immediately. "Which local brewery am I going to for a growler fill after I have my fill of riding my Growler?"
  • 2 0
 @OlSkoolJake: a long time ago, I learned about the second one from the first...
  • 2 0
 @OlSkoolJake: my peter ended up in a garden hose. That was an awkward call to the plumber....
  • 2 0
 @maxxx: EA-18G Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @Veggiemoto: Well played!
  • 4 1
 As soon as i read the title, i said "Can you see my Growler?"

www.youtube.com/watch?v=X73BNKS04xw
  • 4 0
 Most people in my area associate Growler with a large glass receptacle for draught (draft) beer.
  • 4 1
 "I think I damaged my Growler when I crashed it into a tree.”
  • 3 0
 @MrBaldwig: 'Growler in the front, liquor in the rear'
  • 1 1
 Bo selecta!
  • 2 1
 Bo selecta!
  • 1 0
 @Kyanw: haha brilliant!
  • 4 0
 Knowing what this means in the UK, I immediately scrolled down to have a chuckle. In Canada this is a large glass beer receptacle one can get refilled at one’s local microbrewery. When I mentioned to a UK friend I was going to get my growler filled he damn near fell over laughing...I’m a male you see.
  • 2 1
 @w0dge: Haha, I can't hear the word growler without thinking of Lorraine Kelly.
  • 2 0
 @Kyanw:
Giant has the XTC (Ectasy) since 1999 and the Trance since the early 2000's. Maybe they're not so out-of-the-loop either.
  • 2 0
 @Peally: I must be ancient then because I was thinking EA-6b Growler long before the FA/18 took over.
  • 4 0
 @BuzzinHornets:

That was the EA-6 Prowler
  • 2 0
 In most cases, I much prefer named bikes to ones with designations (combos of numbers and letters). I get that naming bikes is tricky (especially when selling it in multiple countries), but they just seem to have more personalty that way.

For example, with cars, the Mustang is an iconic name with cache, whereas an “X7” may be better at denoting where a vehicle falls in a product lineup, but it’s far more sterile and forgettable.

With bikes, just about every review of the Stumpjumper starts with the reviewer talking about how far back the name goes, and how by attaching that name to this bike, it shows how important that particular bike is to the company.

Whereas something like a SB115 is a company playing it safe. The designation works fine for sales purposes, as it serves a function of telling people something like how much travel it has, but it’s frankly pretty boring as far as names go. It’s kind of like naming your kids FW1 and FW2 (kid by first wife number 1, and kid with first wife number 2).
  • 2 0
 @MB3: They could have resurected the "Stratos" name from the 90's...
  • 1 0
 @giantwhip: Same here in the midwest USA. Big refillable beer!
  • 1 0
 @woofer2609: yup. Lots of great bikes from Rocky Mountain back then. My brother used to have an Experience that I raced on once. Super short elevated chainstay, and big shiny straight gauge aluminum tubes. Pretty much the opposite of this Growler... that Experience could climb like a mountain goat.
  • 1 0
 @maxxx: Being a growler prowler could well end up with you being on some sort of registry!
  • 37 0
 Why is this not titled "The bike @mikelevy wanted to talk about all along?"
  • 19 0
 No, no, no Levy the bike does not need bottle bosses on the seat tube. Far more important to be able to fit a good length dropper without bosses getting in the way.
  • 15 2
 So, that's where we are? We need a minimum 64° head angle to descend without fear.
  • 27 2
 Yeah, fear of being "outdated"
  • 12 0
 Oh a hard tail it probably helps a lot more than on a fully given that you lose HTA when the fork sags and goes through impacts.
  • 5 0
 I’m a big advocate of moderation on geometry but I really do think slacker head angles on hardtails are good. I’ll take a slacker head angle on my hardtail than my full sus and be happy about it.
Too slack on the susser really annoys me but I haven’t really found the limit on the hardtail. And I do a lot of DJ/trials messing about on that bike too.
I don’t feel it’s necessarily a confidence thing (tho for sure will help with new riders). It just think the bike feels nicer on the trail, more predictable.
Associated issues of bushing bind and stuff don’t really seem to be an issue either, in my experience.
  • 5 2
 @Kyanw: I'm not saying I don't welcome modern geometry. I started MTBing when they were little more than beefed up road bikes with "high volume" tires. I just think the ability to descend confidently is more dependent upon rider skill/ability than it is dependent upon geometry.
  • 2 1
 @ProperPushIrons: Please refer to my above comment. I think everyone should start riding on a HT and build/hone the proper bike handling skills that help make MTBing so much fun.
  • 2 1
 @m1dg3t: I agree on your first point. It’s funny, most experienced riders don’t want a massive slacked out barge. I find it quite inhibitive, especially where I’m riding. But newbs will benefit from bikes like that I think and will help em progress quicker.
For the earlier part of my life I was a snow sports instructor. I was so anal about how people should learn, I’d scoff at riders doing flips off a tiny lip “yeah but look at his technique” that’s how far I’d disappeared up my own ass... These days it’s all about fun for me, whatever gives the biggest grins is what’s good in my book. The best way to get better (if that’s what is fun) is to do whatever it is more, and keep having fun doing it. People will get better at things they enjoy without even thinking about it and perhaps we shouldn’t think about it so much. Just go out and play!

Please forgive the way I’ve explained that, I get the angle about learning on a hardtail. Part of me kinda agrees.
  • 2 0
 @m1dg3t: Its one of those things you didn't know you liked until you try it.
  • 3 1
 @m1dg3t: descending fast and confidently is definitely dependant on rider skill, but with more aggressive geo its just easier to descend just about anything with more speed.

With a long front end and slack HTA you can keep your weight more forward on the descents which can give you a ton of control. You can ride steep and fast terrain on older geo just fine, but your weight is going to have to be farther back and sometimes you're just holding on.

Modern "aggressive" geo really moves the riders weight forward on the bike by making the front end longer. With your weight forward I feel you can ride much more aggressively and with more stability.
  • 6 0
 @m1dg3t: Oh man,
This was my mantra for years as a bike shop rat, mechanic, manager, etc.
I’ve changed my tune a bit in the last 6 or so years. Bikes have changed, trails have changed, the skill level is through the roof, and its all happened quite quickly when I look back.
I’m not sure there’s a “need” to learn basic skills on a hard tail, or if there ever really was. Maybe it was more of a “This is how I learned, so it must be right” mentality. I have riding buddies that never threw a leg over a hard tail, and I certainly cant find fault in their handling skills as they blow by both up and down on the techy bits.

You know whats fun, mountain biking, in all forms really.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: I’m not sold on needing a hardtail to learn skills... but definitely sold on needing one. It’s just a different ride, snd on intermediate and less trails, adds a different element of fun to me. Makes 15mph feel like 25 on the trail bike. Not to mention they are pretty solid gravel bikes if you don’t want a gravel bike and always my preferred choice when it’s muddy.
  • 2 0
 Things don't get easier, you just go faster.

Without fear = confidence.

In this context:

- you can get stand in a strong position and feel the fun/thrill of having more freedom to creatively control the bike

- less urge to drag brakes. Braking tends to have you get back in a weak position in anticipation of brake dive, and it also lowers traction/control. Feels more fun/thrilling to let go more, perhaps letting you experience a level of riding you thought was reserved for the top athletes. Need stronger brakes to scrub speed at the last second for corners
  • 1 0
 @deez-nucks: 100%
Well, 90%,
Hard tails are a tonne of fun, I’ve had my fair share,
Le Toy 3,and 4
DMR trail star LT
.243, (running a 24” rear wheel, and 170mm Marzo 66 fork, man I miss that bike)
Love them.
I find myself lusting after something steel, and highly adjustable.
Toying with bikeCadd, and messaging Marino about a highly adjustable hard tail that can be run 27 or 29, with adjustable blah blah blah.

Turns out, I like bikes, they’re a tonne of fun, and realize I’ve spent way too much time telling others what I think they should ride, only to find out, I’m a bit of a twat.

Be good to one another, and have fun out there!
  • 12 0
 This one vs the norco torrent tho
  • 7 0
 I have both, and can confirm they basically ride exactly the same. The torrent is slightly heavier but thats about it. The aluminium torrent would probably be lighter and feel even more similar.
  • 6 0
 In my opinion, this is a strong investment of 1900 canadian bever tails.

I bought this bike last october to be a winter/shoulder season bike. It hasn't disappointed in the least, and it brings a huge smile to my face when I take it out.

Last night, took it on some of Canmore's best trails. Mix of ice, mud, loam, rocks, roots, snow, etc. 15km and 500m of climbing later, i was suprised how well this thing rode. This was my biggest ride on this bike since i bought it, and definitely the most varried terrain.

Sure, you have to pick your lines, but you can plow through a lot. This bike climbs really well, and descends really well too. The low standover height is fantastic. WTB tires are a highlight.

The growler does get rattled on high-speed chunky rooty stuff. Or maybe its just my skills.

I'd love to put a better fork on this bike and see how it opens it up.

Love my growler.
  • 1 0
 Not sure if you're running inserts, but that was a total game changer for my hard tail. I put an angle set in for a 64.5 deg HA, and added Tannus inserts. Tire pressure balance between grip and rim damage normally such a fine line on hard tails, but with a couple psi less, the grip is absolutely insane, and it takes a surprising amount of the edge off rear wheel impacts.
  • 7 1
 I'd like to see a side by side comparison with my 1992 yokota yosemite hardtail's geometry and this one. Why'd it take so long to figure out that long and raked was the way to go?
  • 3 0
 Holy crap I had the same bike with the red/white/blue fade. Never thought I'd talk to someone else with that thing. IIRC, 71 degree HA, 73 SA (standard XC geo at the time). Chainstays longer than the reach, although I don't know how long either one was. I'd guess the reach was prob 415-430mm, CS was probably 430-450. Relatively low BB for the time since lots of makers thought hi BBs were important to "get over stumps." Put a suspension fork on there (Girvin - remember those?) which was too much for the little 1" head tube and ovalized it. That bike was a piece of crap but I put a LOT of miles on that thing. Most bikes at Wal-Mart now are better. Memories!
  • 1 0
 @gtill9000: no doubt I had a TANGE Shockblade on it which I think the elastomer wore out in about 3 months...I had more OTBs doing gnarly east coast rockgardens. I had bar-ends on it I think ended up donating it to the salvation army. It was basically a road bike with bigger tire clearance in geometry...but like you said I must've put 5000 miles on that thing.
  • 2 0
 They had that dialed back in the 80's. My Kuwahara was super slack with nice long chainstays, and it was ridiculously capable for a rigid bike with cantilever brakes.
  • 5 0
 @mikelevy I'm curious what your thoughts are on the size Medium bikes with with ~450 mm reaches that you've been riding for this test? It seems like over the past ~1-2 years, you and @mikekazimer have really settled into enjoying the size Large bikes with ~470-480mm reaches. Major drawbacks or advantages you've notice regarding smaller reaches? You should answer this on the next podcast Wink
  • 5 0
 Not many bikes pierce the indifference that I have developed over decades or riding and turning wrenches. But this bike is pretty freaking awesome. Affordable(ish), great geometry, decent parts. Perfect for a kid sweeping floors and washing bikes at their first shop job. Perfect for someone who's just starting out but wants to get rad. Perfect for someone who does 5 or 8 sports and needs a decent bike to add to the toy quiver.
  • 7 0
 Am I crazy or were there two bikes with two different paint colours on the rear end?
  • 3 0
 I've noticed the same,on video the red back end looks orange.
  • 9 2
 maybe they broke another Rocky and had to switch to another one
  • 1 0
 Why not both?
  • 10 0
 Same thing happened with the BMC, one of the cameras they use must have a problem with the red-orange color.
  • 1 0
 Commitment to the video colour correction
  • 11 4
 Great looking bike but why flat mount??? Keep that standard away from mtb
  • 24 0
 the aerodynamic advantage is worth it
  • 3 1
 @BigPapi69: Any down votes on this = those that don't get sarcasm.
  • 2 0
 Honest question - what's wrong with flat mount on an MTB? I haven't given it much thought but I don't immediately see what the problem is? An obvious advantage I see (at least on hardtails) is that because the chainstay is stronger, they don't need that extra piece of tubing to reinforce the area.
  • 1 0
 @IamZOSO: Or have fat fingers
  • 7 0
 Uh oh, seems like Mike is seeing the light with these modern hardtails. Wink
  • 2 0
 Yeah, his tune has changed since the hardtail podcast a few months back.
  • 1 0
 Also large volume tires....
  • 3 0
 Sometime you guys should come to Ontario for a Pinkbike Field Trip. It would give you a sense of what it’s like to ride trails that are a constant mix of 20-40 meter up down up down up down. It’s hard to find any bike reviews that talk about what a bike is like in this kind of terrain. Every bike review goes through the same “this is what it’s like on the climbs, and this is what it’s like on the descents” routine and those of us who don’t live in the mountains have to try to make sense of what that might mean if translated to our trails. We have some pretty gnarly trails around here but they aren’t on the sides of mountains. So what kind of bike do you get for that? I have a good bike, but it took a lot of research and asking around before I landed on the bike I have. Just a suggestion for a niche in the review market that hasn’t been properly filled, and you may find is actually relevant to a really large audience.
  • 5 0
 Nice - wish they made it out of steel with any type of sliding dropout. Would piss off some british builders.
  • 2 0
 I wish they stated the geo tables in a uniform way. Preferably with 25% sagged fork. Changes between sagged and unsagged numbers are huge. For example, The Growler has a 64° head angle (unsagged?). Sagged this wil be 65,5° which is even steeper than the Canyon Stoic (65°). Canyon states it's geo number sagged. The reach also increases by almost 10 mm going from unsagged to sagged. So, if the numbers of the Growler are unsagged, it's less aggressive then the Stoic. On paper at least.
  • 1 0
 You mean you wish they stated the geo tables like Canyon. On the flip side, you could wish that Canyon stated their's as unsagged, as if there was a current industry standard, that would be it (that's what most brands do).
  • 1 0
 @mammal: I think the sagged number represents the way the bike feels ,when riding it, best. A lot of UK brands like Cotic and Stanton also state the hardtail geo sagged. But either way, make a choice so we can compare apples with apples.
  • 4 0
 Mandatory to growl while riding this bike. *Going full speed down the trail* "Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"
  • 1 0
 Dual position forks are really an attribute to slack head angle bikes. I have an old TALAS 90-130mm fork on a 2005 hardtail, and the difference between pedaling up at 130 vs. 90 is massive. At the same time, the 130mm affords a pretty capable descent.
  • 1 0
 Great review. Felt the same as @mikelevy on my growler 50. It's a ripper and far more capable than you might think! Found myself wanting to ride the growler over my ripmo! It's just a fun bike and puts a smile on ya face when tearing through some ruff stuff!
  • 1 0
 Just helped my friend pick up a growler as her first mtb. She’s so stoked, riding squamish and the north shore on that thing is going really well for her. The WTB tires are perfect as far as I’ve seen as well. Definitely a great machine when you’re not on a full suspension budget!
  • 3 1
 I find it weird that Mike and Sarah never compare how comfortable these HT are/are not. The difference in terms of vibrations and impacts absorbtion significantly changes the riding from one frame to another.
  • 1 0
 I think because neither of them are regular hard tail riders. When you read a thorough review of a hard tail frame, by someone who regularly rides and loves hard tails, you can really tell. If you normally always ride full suspension rigs, nuances between frames are probably lost.
  • 1 0
 @mammal: totally agree.
  • 1 0
 HAHAHAHA us in the UK love a hard core hard tale ... but with that name maybe not Wink defiantly wouldn't buy it for your girlfriend in a large size....

yes i know it is a beer container across the pond but my god that's funny or is it fanny....
  • 1 0
 The frame looks just like my 2021 Blizzard, albeit a bit narrower Big Grin . Probably the same MFGr is what I was getting at. The Blizzard has a 66HTA and absolutely rips single track. I've PR'd some of my favorite local downhill tracks on my RIGID frame vs my Process 134. I know the fat tires are adept in murky conditions and wet roots on sidehills, but with the geometry largely the same, I can only imagine the Growler being as much of a ripper.
  • 1 0
 Love that PB is evaluating value trail bikes! Only wish some of the picks would've been a little more comparable, and slightly higher up the food chain, closer to the sweet spot.

Next let's see ~$2K USD hardtails (in the $1700-2300 range):
$1849 Devinci Kobain SLX 12S hardtail w/Marzocchi Z2 fork & Shimano 12s drivetrain;
$1999 Canyon Stoic 4;
$2099 Rocky Mountain Growler 50 hardtail;
$2239 Marin San Quentin 3 hardtail.
  • 4 0
 Too bad there's no frame only option. (at least not that I saw)
  • 2 0
 Nice bike. Unfortanately, to me frame looks like someone wrapped it in electrical tape, starting at the front, and then ran out of tape halfway through.
  • 1 0
 So... Growler has 140mm fork with 64 degree head angle. Sag ok, set sag at 20% = 28mm or at 25% = 35mm

The sagged head angle thus becomes roughly 65.5 to 66 degrees same as many trail dual suspension bikes.
  • 2 0
 Are there different versions depending on the market?
Bikes.com says 150mm RS 35 and Alivio 4-pot brakes.
  • 1 0
 I found that it was common for some markets to call the unbranded Shimano brakes Alivio for some reason. To be fair, Shimano is very confusing with their unbranded brake lineup.
  • 2 0
 I think you might be looking at the Growler 50. That spec gets the RS 35 @ 150mm, 4 piston brakes, and an SLX/XT drivetrain.
  • 2 0
 It comes in 3 tiers. Growler 20, 40, and 50. The Growler 40 comes with a 140mm Suntour Raidon and Shimano MT4100 2-pot brakes, The Growler 50 has the 150mm RockShox 35 Gold and Shimano MT4120 4-pot brakes. the 50 gets an SLX shifter and XT derailleur upgrade over Deore as well.
  • 5 3
 If an agile lively bike is wanted perhaps they need to stop making most bikes as bloody 29ers these days.
  • 1 0
 Cons - Handling not as quick and responsive as traditional hardtails - Can feel sluggish on mellower trails 64 HTA is what it is- Rowdy!
  • 1 0
 wondering how many people JUST realized the static versus dynamic HTA bit regarding hardtails and full squish because this article said it.
  • 2 0
 I would very much like to see this enter an Enduro race and do well.
  • 6 1
 I'd like to see this enter Red Bull air race
  • 3 1
 64 HTA matters. Really refreshing to hear PB has warmed up to this.
  • 2 1
 It' doesn't.
  • 1 0
 That was formerly too slack on a hard tail?
  • 2 0
 But that jacket tho @mikelevy, do tell?!
  • 1 0
 I second this, that Jacket looks sweet.
  • 1 0
 At least it'll climb well since your wallet won't weigh you down after dropping that much on a hardtail.
  • 2 1
 Looks like this one will be best in class.
  • 2 2
 It looks pretty sweet!
But why would you call it a Growler? It conjures up all sorts of unpleasant images!
  • 3 1
 The "Rocky Mountain Minge"
  • 3 2
 Too much money for too little bike if you ask me.
  • 1 0
 Same with most bikes these days tbh. Severely diminishing returns the more you spend, especially on a hardtail.
  • 2 0
 I'm sure they'll probably end up collecting dust on the showroom floor.
  • 2 0
 @MisterChow: the showroom floor has plenty of space bro! I mean just try and find a bike......
  • 2 0
 @madmon: Oh for sure, it's a great time to be selling bikes (hence higher and higher prices).
  • 2 0
 @MisterChow: Not in this current market. Bike shops can't keep inventory on their floor.
  • 1 0
 ahh giving me flashbacks of my transition transam
  • 1 0
 Once again, is that orange or red ?'!
  • 1 0
 Red. For sure.
  • 2 2
 Steel version would be nice to take the edge off of the trails around here
  • 2 2
 Is this a womans bike
  • 5 8
 This bike FUCKS!
  • 1 0
 You tell 'em Russ!
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