Construction and Features
Step back a few meters and you might be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the new Thunderbolt and Rocky's other recently re-worked platforms like the Altitude and Instinct, with all three sharing a similar silhouette. They're very different bikes made for different intentions, of course, but it's interesting to see the shared design language across much of Rocky's cross-country, trail, and all-mountain platforms.
Cable routing is internal, and while there are no hose guides inside the frame, the large opening beneath the bottom bracket shell makes it easy to swap lines when the time comes.
Like the other new bikes, you'll find blind pivots on the Thunderbolt that make for some pretty clean lines, as well as sealed bearings all around (including the lower shock mount) that replace the bushing system Rocky used previously. Yes, it could be argued that bushings make more sense mechanically for a bike's pivots, but I assume that most of us don't hear "bushings" and think that they're better than sealed bearings, especially if you were riding in the late '90s and early 2000s.
To be honest, I never had any troubles with Rocky's bushings over the years, years that included loads of time on a handful of different models, and multiple seasons on a few, but I've heard that their bushing setup could be troublesome if the tolerances weren't bang-on.
There are two (not three) ISCG 05 tabs around the bottom bracket shell, and a number of chain guide companies make protection to fit. The bike comes stock with a small upper slider mounted onto the top of the chainstay that worked perfectly.
Like many new bikes, you can go full robot-mode if you want, with the ability to mount a Di2 drivetrain and Fox's (finally) upcoming Live electronic suspension system at the same time, along with a long-stroke party post. You can't put a front derailleur on, which you shouldn't want to do anyway, but there is a 2-bolt ISCG 05 guide mount and Rocky's own 'Spirit Guide' bolted onto the top of the bike's chainstay. There's room for a bottle inside the front triangle, too, regardless of if you've fitted a piggyback shock or not.
Frame weight is a claimed 5.63 pounds (2.55 kg) for a medium, including the shock, protectors, chain guide, and axle, which is far from porky.