First Look: Rocky Mountain's Carbon Thunderbolt MSL

Aug 19, 2014 at 1:17
by Richard Cunningham  
Rocky Mountain originally released the Thunderbolt with an aluminum chassis and billed it as an XC/trailbike for big rides and for epic competitions like the BC Bike Race. Today, there is a burgeoning trend among the sport's top bike handlers to ride lighter, snappier-handling bikes with less travel on terrain that was once the exclusive domain of 160-millimeter all-mountain/enduro bikes, and a number of them work at Rocky Mountain. When Rocky's design and testing staff started tricking out the original Thunderbolt with wider tires, one-by drivetrains, full-width handlebars and shorty stems, they realized that they had already laid the foundation for an all new model. The only thing that was missing, was the go-ahead to execute their future dream bike in lightweight carbon fiber.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 2015


Meet the 2015 Thunderbolt 799 MSL

So here it is: the 2015 Thunderbolt MSL - and it's story begins with a beautiful, 120-millimeter-travel carbon chassis, built around 27.5-inch wheels, that reportedly was designed from the ground up to blend the best aspects of XC and all-mountain into a powerful and playful trail shredding tool. Cable housings are internally routed and the rear suspension is Rocky's "Smoothlink" four-bar, rocker-driven system. Thunderbolt MSL geometry is slack enough to be brave without losing its sharp, XC playfulness, and by switching the nine options of its Ride-9 upper shock mount, owners can manipulate the bottom bracket height and frame geometry to arrive at a slack trail, or a steeper XC tune. Two versions of the Thunderbolt will be offered that share the same frame: the MSL and the MSL BC Edition. The top-range Thunderbolt 799 MSL, featured here, is decked out in Shimano's Di2 XTR, remote-control, Kashima coated Fox suspension and a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post. Wheels are Stan's new carbon Valor and its cockpit is all Race Face. Weights for the bikes were not forthcoming, but the MSL 799 feels around 25 pounds or less. The Thunderbolt 799 MSL comes with a whopping $11,499 MSRP, and while you recover from your sudden heart attack, you should know that Rocky offers two more affordable Thunderbolt MSLs, both in carbon and both with dropper posts: the 770 MSL for $5799, and the 750 MSL for $4599. Sizes are X-small, small, medium, large and X-large.


Specifications
Release Date 2015
Price $11499
Travel 120mm
Rear Shock Fox Float CTD Remote Kashima
Fork Fox 32 Float 27.5 120 FIT CTD,Kashima,120mm
Headset Cane Creek Forty, tapered
Cassette Shimano XTR 11-speed, 11 x 40
Crankarms Shimano XTR 175mm 38/28T, 2x11
Chainguide NA
Bottom Bracket Shimano XTR Press Fit
Pedals NA
Rear Derailleur Shimano Di2
Chain Shimano XTR Sil-Tec 11spd
Front Derailleur Shimano Di2
Shifter Pods Shimano Di2
Handlebar Race Face Next SL Carbon 13mm rise, 35mm x 740mm
Stem Race Face Turbine, 35mm clamp, 60-80mm
Grips ESI Silicone Super Light
Brakes Shimano XTR, 180mm rotors
Wheelset Stan's Carbon Valor tubeless
Hubs Stan's 3.30Ti
Spokes Sapim Laser
Rim Stan's Carbon Valor
Tires Maxxis Maxx Speed Ardent Race 27.5" x 2.2" F/ R
Seat WTB Silverado Carbon
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth




Construction

The carbon Thunderbolt frame uses Rocky's "Smoothwall" molding process, which employs foam mandrels that are molded to the shape of the parts, which are then overlaid with carbon material before being placed in the molds. The end result is a more compact and accurate carbon frame that is almost as smooth inside as it is on the outer surface. The frame is molded and drilled to accept internal cable routings and also for Shimano's Di2 E-tube wires. A screw-down plate in the downtube near the bottom bracket gives access to the inside of the frame to make assembly an easier job. The plate also tucks the Di2 battery neatly inside the downtube. Rocky molded a concave "pocket" that allows the shock to nest into the top tube - a treatment that adds stand-over clearance and also reduces bending loads to the frame. The very conventional profile of the Thunderbolt chassis allows for downtube water-bottle placement and makes for a very clean looking bicycle.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 2015
  (Clockwise) The Thunderbolt's aluminum Pipelock swingarm pivot is almost 25 millimeters in diameter and rocks on a composite bushing that can be serviced through a grease port, Lots of mud clearance over the tire tread and a view of the offset seat tube and swingarm pivot. The performance of the 799's Shimano XTR ICE Tec brakes is maximized by its four-bar Smoothlink rear suspension. A look at the recessed shock mount and its Ride-9 geometry chip arrangement. A screw-down plastic cap on the down tube doubles as a cable guide and internal storage for Shimano's Di2 battery.


Smoothlink suspension: Thunderbolt suspension is Rocky's Smoothlink four-bar system, with a modified Horst Link dropout arrangement that is said to better isolate pedaling forces from affecting the suspension, by maintaining alignment of the dropout pivot with that of the swingarm. The caliper mounts to the seat stay, which should keep the suspension moving freely while the brakes are applied.

BC2 pivot bushings: Rocky dumped ball bearing pivots in favor of a lighter weight and longer-lasting composite bushing system long ago and the 2015 Thunderbolt MSL features a new version called BC2. The smaller dropout pivots retain the original preloaded, conical ABC bushing system, but the larger, more highly stressed pivot points of the suspension's rocker link and swingarm pivot employ a sealed cylindrical composite bushing that reportedly, greatly extends the life and stiffness of the rear suspension. To keep the bushings squeak free (the only downside of bushings over ball bearings), Rocky integrated grease ports at every BC2 pivot location. Rocky says that replacing the IGUS-made BC2 bushings is an easy and inexpensive process, although extensive testing in laboratory and real-world envirnments has shown that few riders will every need to do so.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 2015
  If you are going to have a front derailleur, then this is the right one for the job. Rocky's direct-mount front derailleur boss is fixed to the swingarm to keep the mech' synced with the chain angle. Shimano Di2 automatically compensates for chain angle by moving the front cage left or right as the rear changer moves across the cassette.


Pipelock swingarm pivot: Rocky designed a large-diameter hollow axle to boost the stiffness of the Thunderbolt's main swingarm pivot. The "Pipelock" axle is fixed inside the carbon frame with an expanding collet. Pipelock allows the BC2-style bushings to be positioned in the swingarm, as far apart as possible, which should greatly minimize the possibility of wear-induced free play in the suspension. The Thunderbolt's swingarm pivot is offset to the left to add width to the pivot, while making room to clear a front derailleur or chainguide.

Press-fit bottom bracket There seems to be a lot of weeping and moaning among PB members about the recent popularity of press-in bottom bracket bearings. The reason for the change, is that a press-in type system is better suited to carbon construction. Carbon threads are weak and can be easily destroyed by an overzealous shop mechanic with a dull set of taps. The alternative is to mold threaded aluminum inserts into the carbon frame - which has proven to be costly, heavy, and somewhat unreliable as well. Rocky's choice of a full-width, 92-millimeter press-fit BB ensures perfect alignment with the frame, and optimizes power transfer, because the bearings are aligned with the carbon structure at its outermost edge.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 2015
  (Clockwise) Tuned for cross-country trail work, the Thunderbolt 799 MSL features a Fox 32 Float CTD 120-millimeter fork and a remote-lockout Float CTD shock, both Kashima coated. The WTB saddle is embellished with Rocky's signature maple leaf logo. Shimano XTR ICE Tec brakes - end of story. Foam grips are the rage for cross-country racers, and look how well Di2 shifters play with SRAM's remote dropper control. The right-side grip has the Fox shock control.


Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt MSL geometry 2015



Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC 2015


2015 Thunderbolt 790 MSL BC Edition

Rocky Mountain's proximity to some of the Pacific Northwest's most technical trails and the fact that most of the employees cut their teeth on them, spurred Rocky's designers to create to the BC edition of the Thunderbolt MSL - a more capable handling version, armed with a Spartan component ensemble and beefed up suspension. While the BC Edition shares exactly the same frame as the standard MSL, its geometry is about one degree slacker in all nine chassis settings, thanks to the addition of its longer-stroke, 130mm RockShox Pike fork. Most of the BC Thunderbolt's muscles sprout from its components, beginning with a one-by SRAM X01 drivetrain, powered by a Race Face Turbine crankset, and followed by a custom-made-for-Rocky, 27.5-inch, Stan's ZTR Flow wheelset that is mounted to Jumbo sized Maxxis Ardent EXO 2.4-inch tires. Except for its RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post, the cockpit is all Race Face, with stems shortened by ten millimeters across all five sizes and the addition of a Next SL, 760-millimeter-width handlebar. The BC edition of the Thunderbolt MSL is only available in one model and one color - and that's probably how it should be. MSRP is $6699.


Specifications
Release Date 2015
Price $6399
Travel 120mm
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch RT3
Fork RockShox Pike RCT3 27.5. 130mm
Headset Cane Creek Forty, tapered
Cassette Sram XG-1195 10-42T 11spd
Crankarms Race Face Turbine Cinch, 175mm 32T Direct Mount
Chainguide NA
Bottom Bracket Race Face Cinch 30mm BB92 Press Fit
Pedals NA
Rear Derailleur Sram X01 Type 2
Chain Sram PC-XX1 11spd
Front Derailleur NA
Shifter Pods Sram X01 Trigger 1x11spd
Handlebar Race Face Next SL, 35mm x 760mm
Stem Race Face Turbine 35mm clamp, 50-70mm
Grips Rocky Mountain lock on XC
Brakes Shimano XT Ice-Tec,180mm rotors
Wheelset Stan's ZTR Flow Tubeless Ready
Hubs Stan's 3.30 Disc
Spokes DT Swiss Competition
Rim Stan's ZTR Flow
Tires Maxxis Ardent EXO 27.5" x 2.4"
Seat WTB Silverado SLT Titanium
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth



Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC 2015
  (Clockwise) RockShox 130-millimeter-stroke Pike fork, topped by a 35-millimeter diameter, 760-millimeter wide Race Face Next handlebar. SRAM's X01 eleven speed drivetrain looks sharp alongside the Thunderbolt's Race Face Next crankset. Shimano XT ICE Tec brakes and rotors are top-of-class, and the BC Edition's shock is a custom-tuned RockShox Monarch RT3.


Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt MSL BC Edition geometry 2015



198 Comments

  • + 92
 Price of an actual rocky mountain.
  • + 38
 High end bike prices increase of 1'000$ every year! Not my salary unfortunately
  • + 4
 Unfortunately it is not salary of 99% of people who loves biking. If you want it, you have to be crazy to take mortgage or kill your grandparents or parents for legacy.
  • + 19
 No thank you.
If you think you need "The Thunderbolt 799 MSL with a whopping $11,499 MSRP" to win then this the wrong sport for you.
  • + 2
 I feel you. Except for killing anybody.
  • + 0
 Should have went to dental school, or better yet, gynacological school (aka medical school).
  • + 6
 every other model is way cheaper, even the one with a more expensive fork. I'm thinking this is essentially the price you pay for Di2 XTR. Though brand new, first run Stan's carbon rims probably aren't helping either.
  • + 8
 $11k is crazy but I mean, look at it. That is quite obviously one of the best builds money could buy. Aside from personal preference things like bar width, saddle, tires- what would you want to upgrade?
  • + 8
 I stopped reading when I saw a front derailleur. STOP IT SHIMANO.
  • + 3
 $11,499 - this is what happens when electronics start making their way onto already high end carbon fiber bikes...that msrp is a joke. if you want to spend that much money on a bicycle, just get into road biking. at least then your 'investment of a bicycle' won't devalue every time a piece of trail bites back or you go OTB.
  • + 0
 Talking about price, I'm not THAT impressed by a 25 lbs build that expensive.
  • + 0
 you could put carbon rims, carbon cranks and a 1x , that should put you down a few pounds, i wonder if they are tubeless like that, i know when you buy them new theyre tubed
  • + 1
 @groghunter where are the carbon rims? i see xtr
  • + 3
 Some new XTR wheels are carbon. I actually don't know if there is still an aluminium offering, Anyway in the description it's written Stan's carbon Valor. So for that expensive price and this heavy weight there are already carbon rims apparently.
  • + 1
 Indeed, it appears the bike in the photos isn't exactly what will show up in stores, at least in reference to the wheels. They're "Out of stock due to demand" on Stan's website, but reference, they retail for $1900(A point in their favor compared with ENVE) weigh 1350g in 29er, & aren't even listed yet on the Stan's website in 27.5, so I'd guess RM is still waiting on their first shipment.

Just for comparison, an ENVE 50/50 wheelset in comparable weight is half a mm narrower, 11g heavier, & costs $2718. they have one that beats it at 1289g with DT 180 hubs: it costs $3300.
  • + 26
 "$11,499 MSRP"
Are you having a Giraffe????
  • + 54
 A giraffe would probably be cheaper.
  • + 11
 Yup. Check Craig's List.
  • + 21
 Prices keep going up although carbon bikes have been made the same damn way by the same 2 places in China for like the last 10 years. An F'n mountain bike has the same MSRP as a new GSX-R750. I also like how $6k for a bike is now considered reasonable and affordable. Whatever you say bike industry.
  • + 24
 I'll agree that the $11k version is getting crazy expensive (few actually pay retail at this price point). Please understand however that many choose to put a priority on their bikes and less of a priority on other things.

In my experience it's the same people who say "wow, $6500 for a bike that's crazy" that are often the same ones that have rent/mortgages at 50+% of their income, lease cars for $600 per month, and spend $1000 per month at bars and restaurants. To me, that's crazy. I'll take my new carbon bike over any of the above...
  • + 3
 See my post in the thread above this one: every model without Di2 XTR is significantly cheaper. I don't think the frame is the killer here.
  • - 4
flag SlodownU (Aug 19, 2014 at 9:54) (Below Threshold)
 You got it backwards ryan83, those people that you describe are the ones that buy $11k bikes. People who put a priority on their bikes are a little smarter and know a little better than to spend that kind of money.
  • - 2
 > ryan83

Well some of use don't pay 50% of our income for rent/mortgage, spend maybe $300 on car payments but do spend $600-800 on food to feed the family and go out once in a while for a $100 dinner but were not stupid enough to spend $6500+ to enjoy biking. If you are competing or making money off your bike than $6500 is might be well spent on best of the class, at the end of the day mostwill be happy with a $2000 bike unless your social status requires you to ride a $6500 bike while you sling dirt and sweat on your bike.


This is no different than people spanding $8K+on a Leica digital camera body which is kill by features and image quality by a $700 m43 camera.
  • + 10
 Idk. I enjoy my $6500 bike more than my $3300 bike. But that's just me.

Not having kids and a GF/wife helps a lot too. lol
  • + 6
 Everyone talks about how expensive bikes are getting, but no one is talking about how you can get sweet full sus trail bikes like a Trance, Fluid or Precept for like 2 grand these days with perfectly acceptable suspension, drive trains and brakes.
  • - 2
 Go buy a $185 townie from the pawn shop and spend the rest of your money on weed.Whenever you ride get stoned first and you will think you are on a $11k bike.
You might not remember your own name but hey at least you are supporting your local dealer and not a bike company that builds bikes offshore.
  • + 5
 to @enduser and SlowdonU

I'm just trying keep things in perspective given the constant discussion about bike costs on this forum. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to spend $6k on a bike. I scrimp, save, cut corners, sell parts, get good deals, all so I can ride the best possible bike for the money. I put many hard miles on my mountain bikes the additional costs are worth it...to me.

Will you be happy on a 2k bike? Of course, there are plethora of great options at that level. Just do yourself a favor and don't test ride something in the 4k plus range. There is a real difference in weight, performance and durability at that level.
  • + 2
 Going to back ryan83 up here. While I don't have the pay of a dentist, biking is my absolute most favorite thing to do. And while I drool over a $12k bike (the same way that I also drool a bit over a super fancy sports car) I can admire it for what it is- the best of the best with no compromise given- even though I will never buy one. I currently own 2 $6k bikes because biking is my ultimate joy and I have organized my priorities accordingly. Sure riding a $2k bike is fun, but it causes more grief and headaches 6 months down the road because I have to fix and/or replace all the bits on it. I have no problem paying more when I get a more reliable and durable bike and that is definitely what you get when you by from the existing "mid-range" price bracket of bikes.
  • + 1
 The question's not whether you're able to afford it, the question is whether it's worth the money. I could buy a $6000 bike but why would I do that if I can go on Ebay or even Pinkbike Buy/Sell and build equally good bike for half of the price?
My colleague recently bought some new Yeti bike for €6500. I built my Rocky Mountain for about €2500. And when we met for the first time, his first reaction was "Wow, you have the new Corssmax SX wheelset?". How awkward does it have to be, to be impressed by a cheaper bike?

And same thing applies to this one, if you're not competing and don't have to have the newest technology each season, wait for a year and you'll buy it for not more than $7000 from EBay.
  • + 3
 The "worth" will be dependent on the user. Frankly, having a life-time frame warranty and a 1-year warranty on all parts is (for me) a very valuable thing. When you buy second-hand you don't get any warranty or service package whatsoever, which to me is quite a risk on things that be prone to breakage or failure.
  • + 2
 If it's too expensive, don't buy it. There's heaps of $1000 bikes out there, some of them pretty good.
  • + 2
 And when you have a warranty, what do you do? You have to send your bike away and wait till it's repaired, while I take the money I saved by buying used parts, I buy a new one and I can ride again. And I use the same strategy when buying everything else; mobile phone, computer hardware,...
Btw what's the point of having lifetime warranty on a bike if you know that after 4-6 years you'll buy a better one? (And even if you don't, it's going to be worth a fraction of its original price).

Have a look here:
2013 Specialized Enduro S-Works: $9000 www.pinkbike.com/news/First-Look-Specialized-S---Works-Enduro-29-S-E.html
2013 Specialized Enduro S-Works: $4599 www.ebay.com/itm/2013-SPECIALIZED-S-WORKS-ENDURO-CARBON-26-LARGE-L-Industry-Nine-Wheels-XX1-1x11-/281397877014?pt=US_Bicycles_Frames&hash=item41849ed916

That's 50% price decrease within one year! If you have $9000, you can buy two, one for riding and another one for spare parts if you break something on the first one.
  • + 4
 @extremmist has a valid point with used bikes although as I said, if you are smart you don't pay full retail for new bikes. I worked in bike shops for several years and once you cross the $5k-$6k mark most shops are willing to give steep discounts. Buying used you might get lucky and not have any issues, but there is significant risk involved. Depending on the rider mountain bikes get a lot of abuse!

Here's an anecdote that makes me never want to buy a used mountain bike again. About 4 months ago I sold my Jet 9 RDO (which I purchased used on eBay for $4200) for $3,000 to someone on Craigslist. I rode it for 2 seasons and it depreciated $1200. I was a little pissed that I didn't get more money but that's bikes for ya!

2 months later the guy I sold it too called me and said the frame cracked while he was on a ride. He asked me if I could warranty it but since I bought it used I was no help. He ended up getting a crash replacement (Niner is an awesome company) but still had to spend a pretty penny to the tune of $1000 for parts alone. I don't think he was mechanical so he probably also had to pay a shop to completely dissemble the frame/fork/drivetrain and build from sratch.

Looking at new-old stock RDO's right now he could have bought a brand new bike with a full warranty for about the same price. Just something to consider when buying used.
  • + 2
 I'm not saying an S-Works is remotely a good value, far from it. But mid-range models are very worth it in my opinion. My old shop gave out demo bikes to ride when a customer's bike was unrideable during a warranty/replacement scenario. And with a brand like Specialized, it meant being off your bike for about a week- they were very fast with getting replacement parts when needed. If your local shop does not do that with you (as car manufacturers also do) then I agree that you should be shopping elsewhere.

The other thing you actually have to be very careful with are counterfeit bikes on Ebay, especially with Specialized and other big brands. It sounds absolutely crazy but it's a very real thing that can lead to catastrophic failure, with no one to back you up.
www.bikeradar.com/news/article/fake-bike-kit-costing-industry-millions-a-year-37212
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARCT7Sxayn4
forums.mtbr.com/specialized/fake-specialized-s-works-stumpjumper-carbon-hardtail-frames-788259.html

Just a few examples from a quick Google search, but you get the idea. That would really suck to have that happen to you. But, it comes down with how comfortable you are with buying used equipment (not just bike stuff). Having worked retail and seen the shit that customers have to go through, there is a big piece of mind for yeah spending a bit more and not getting screwed with a non-warranty situation or worse yet one of these ridiculous counterfeit scenarios.
  • + 1
 The mid range products usually have the best price/performance ratio and that doesn't only apply to bikes, however I doubt you'll get a mid range bike with Crossmax SX wheelset and full Sram X0 groupset like I have on my used Rocky Mountain.
The Specialized was only an example (althoug a tempting one, for that price), I prefer smaller brands, ideally not made in Asia.
  • + 19
 PinkBike: "press-in type system is better suited to carbon construction". Maybe so, but it is still a pain in the ass to service, creak-prone setup, and that is why Santa Cruz and some other companies use threaded BB's on their carbon bikes. Pressfit: an engineer's wet dream and a mechanic's worst nightmare.
  • + 5
 How much more "costly" is it alleged for a threaded bottom bracket?. 20 dollars? 50 dollars? Seriously, that's an important detail. Without knowing, it reads like marketing BS.

Personally, I would prefer to spend that much to have a creak free bottom bracket that is easy to install and remove.

Also, what's this about molding an aluminum piece into carbon being unreliable? It would be great to see an article that went into this in detail!
  • + 7
 To be fair, pressfit probably IS stiffer and lighter than a threaded bb. But after working on several pressfit bb systems as a bike shop mechanic, I want nothing to do with them on my own bike. I am glad that some companies are sticking with the threaded system that has served us so well for a very long time.
  • + 3
 Ironically, all threaded bottom bracket bearings are press-in types - either into the frame, or into the threaded cups. The bearings can and do creak in the cups as well. With the correct tools, press-fit BBs are easy to install, and there is no need for facing the frame and chasing the threads - nor is there a possibility of cross-threading them. Now that frame makers are able to hold the necessary tolerances, pressing the bearings into an aluminum cup that then threads into the frame is redundant, so it is only a matter of time before threads dissappear from all performance bicycle frames. RIP
  • + 7
 True, bearings are pressed into threaded cups. Although the bearings/cups are sold as a single product and not really designed to be separated multiple times. The factory presses them in and they stay there for the life of the component. I'm betting that the tolerances on the bearing cups are better than those on all the various molds from various companies.

For those of us doing our own maintenance, perhaps someday we'll have bearing presses and pullers in our toolboxes. But until then, and until manufacturers get their frame tolerances up to the quality of bearing cup tolerances, I and many others will prefer threaded rather than press fit interfaces for the parts we service.

That "redundancy" as you call it, is exactly what some customers benefit from. For many it is a feature rather than a fault.
  • + 2
 Now that frame makers are able to hold tolerances? You mean Specialized ships bikes with a bottle of epoxy and won't warranty creaking anymore? Cervelo's entire 2013 line up was totally worthless and destroyed crank arms within a matter of 100's of miles? Trek bearings fall out after ~2000 miles and need their "upgrade" bearing so that you can ride the frame until its out of warranty or broken?

Pressfit is a joke. A joke on the consumer.
  • + 6
 Press Fit BB: high quality bearings living in a shitty plastic cup that has been loctited into a high end frame. I work as a product manager (outside the bike industry, but worked bike retail/service for 8 years) and I know cost-cutting when I see it. This is a way to improve the company's bill of materials and in doing so completely shorting the end user because the system is nowhere near as reliable or durable as its predecessor.

BSA Threaded External BB: high quality bearings that live in a metal cup that is perfectly threaded into the bike's matching threaded BB shell. The BB actually becomes linked to the bike in a very secure and well thought out way, rather than pressed in with some shitty red glue.
  • + 0
 BMX bikes have had pressfit bb for many years and did always wonder why threaded bb still exist, but bike manufacturers are doing it now to make more money on aftermarket parts, not because its any better
  • + 1
 bmx also isn't as plagued with creaking parts like xc or am bikes are. A creak is ok if you only put in a few pedal strokes here and there. Also, mashing up a mountain or riding through streams and mud tends to take creaking to the next level. Constant pedaling under heavy load produces creaks as well as makes those sounds pretty annoying.
  • + 14
 $11,000 mountain bike? Sure it would be nice to own one, but I can buy a brand new 2014 KTM 500 EXC for $10,000. The mountain bike will depreciate exponentially, while the motorcycle will still be worth something in five years.
  • + 5
 Never mind that, you can have a made to measure Ventana, Nicolai or Eriksen FS bike for that kind of money (or a Curtlo, BTR, 18, Swarf etc). A one off, hand made piece of artwork made just for you that'll last for years, or a piece of Taiwanese plastic that will be a creaky mess in eighteen months, what a difficult decision!
  • + 5
 You can get a Nissan micra, a brand new car, for less.
  • + 11
 I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure Cane Creek makes a headset above the Forty, shouldn't the $11000 bike have Cane Creek's top end headset? I'm pretty sure Sapim has better spokes available as well, either way it's a great looking bike and if I could afford it those soecs are far from being a deal breaker.
  • + 5
 Yep, the 110 series. But with an integrated headset like that one, it's easy to get hold of some upgraded CC bearings, either stainless or ceramic (the 40 headsets don't come with stainless bearings, annoyingly).
  • + 12
 So, $6K for the bike and $6k for Di2 is what I take from this article.
  • + 7
 I was thinking the same thing. You'd think that 11.5K would get you top-of-the-line everything.
  • + 3
 If you want top-of-the-line everything, this bike would cost $20K I think.
  • + 2
 $6K for the bike, $6K for Di2 & a carbon Stan's wheelset. All the other models come with alloy rims, I do believe. I'm sure those new to the market carbon Stan's wheelsets are going for a pretty penny.
  • - 1
 $11,000 for a bike that i still have to pedal up hills.....bike companies must be on crack.
  • + 1
 Maybe I'm just nitpicking now but wouldn't Enve Rims with DT Swiss hubs be nice for 11k? Anyways if you can pay 11k for a bike you can probably afford the other upgrades...
  • + 4
 no no you have it all wrong its 6k for the bike and 6k for the freakin foam grips....
  • + 12
 Hahahaha 11499 bucks. Ok, so two of those will be placed in Emirates and one in China I guess. Smile
  • + 8
 Didnt BMXs in the 80s have press fit bb cups??? Seems more like falling down the stairs than a step backwards ;-)

11,000k for a Rocky
OR...............
A DH rig for going down
And a ktm 300 for going up
A trail riding holiday
Plus change for a bucket of fried chicken and 8 cans of Special Brew

Sorry Rocky ill pass...........n plus the last Rocky I owned snapped. Pfft
  • + 3
 Most BMX frames have PF bbs even now, but your average BMX frame is a disposable item for throwing down the stairs until it breaks.
  • + 4
 Mountain bike frames are disposable too, why only last month on this very website did I read that after 3 years bikes have reached the end of there serviceable lives. Long live my 2002 Orange 222 and the 2000 shivers that adorn its front end.
  • + 9
 I don't care how much that bike is, those XTR cranks are hideous!! they look like they've been taken off a kids bike
  • + 11
 And OMG can you believe how the yellow clashes with the Kashima coating???! How am I supposed to coordinate my outfit with this bike?! LMAO.... silly folk hung up on how things look instead of how they perform...who gives a flying fack what the cranks look like if they work well?
  • + 3
 Should have Next SL cranks and ENVE wheelset for that price
  • + 2
 Considering Stan's history, & the reported problems with the newest ENVE wheelsets, I'll take a Stan's carbon wheelset over an ENVE one any day, even if they aren't proven yet.
  • + 8
 I love Rocky, I ride Rocky. But a boutique price point for an bike made in Taiwan. Its beginning to make me sad.
  • + 9
 the second version looks so much better and cheaper ...
  • + 5
 $11,499 for a bicycle? For this bicycle? You would have to be insane.....You can buy a great, high quality bike the equal to this for a third of the price, and their performance will be identical and determined only by your ability to ride.
  • + 6
 Another bike for the rich !!! Amazing to get a bike at this price as the crisis continues, poverty increases as unemployment!
  • + 4
 "Today, there is a burgeoning trend among the sport's top bike handlers to ride lighter, snappier-handling bikes with less travel on terrain that was once the exclusive domain of 160-millimeter all-mountain/enduro bikes"

Really? Sounds like something conjured up to give credence to a half hearted attempt at a new bike!
  • + 4
 Ya know, the compound word "thunderbolt" actually makes no sense. Thunder is the noise, lightning is the actual electrical bolt. Lightningbolt would make a lot more sense.

Also, $11500 is way too much for a 120mm travel XC bike, even if it does have electronic shifting.
  • + 3
 Uhhhh.... I kinda hesitate to ask, but how much of that $11.5k price tag is for the XTR Di-2? Even the carbon wheels are $1900 MSRP Call it 3k for the frame and 3k for the rest of the components, yet that still leaves you like $3500 short... Ummmm.....
  • + 3
 I was reading the first half and was thinking that it needed a beefier fork and then, boom, BC edition. After living in a Cumberland for a year this bike makes a lot of sense to me.
  • + 2
 I have to say, that BC edition looks good - really good. And I'm not going to complain about the high-end prices of MTBs because it is what it is...

That being said, looking at a NORCO Sight 7.2 (similar bike; similar spec) - it's $1000 less than the RM Thunder BC. AM I missing something??? RM has gotten really proud of their stuff recently. I tested an Instinct and Altitude in the Spring and really wanted to like them but hated that I had to lock out the rear suspension to do any real climbing - I'm a set it and ride guy...
  • + 7
 I believe you are referencing the Norco Sight 7.1 ( www.norco.com/bikes/mountain/trail/sight-carbon/sight-carbon-71 ) at $6300 CAD.

Here's where the $400 CAD is being used to increase the value on the Thunderbolt 790 MSL BC Edition:
- Carbon chainstay vs. aluminum chainstay
- Pike RCT3 vs. Revelation RLT
- Stan's Flow wheelset (23mm inner width, exceptional tubeless system, etc) vs. SunRingle Inferno 25 rims (20.5mm inner width, not tubeless compatible) and a Formula/DT Swiss 350 hub combo
- Race Face Turbine Cinch crankset vs. Sram X1 crankset
- WTB Silverado Titanium saddle vs. WTB Volt cromoly saddle
- XT brakes w. IceTec finned pads and IceTec rotors vs. Sram Elixir 7 Trail brakes
- Race Face Next SL carbon handlebar vs. Race Face Turbine bar

I would gather that the value on the Thunderbolt 790 MSL BC Edition is somewhere along the lines of "exceptional".
  • + 2
 Actually, no. I was referring to the '15 Norco Sight 7.2 (which is replacing the 7.1 since the LE will now be the 7.1). Retail is $5400 in the US vs. $6700 for the RM. Find more info here:

enduromag.com.au/site/bike-news/first-ride-the-2015-norco-sight-carbon

So with all due respect, your value rationale falls a bit short since the new NORCO 7.2 has Pike + Inline + Guide brakes. Wheels on RM are definitely better (although the SunRingle's on the '15 ar tubeless and frankly don't think Stan's are all that...) and the Norco does have an aluminum cockpit. Not convinced the RF Turbine crankset is that big of an upgrade over the X1 although I am a RF fan.

I don't own a Norco (considering the new 7.2) nor am I a fan boy. That being said, it's hard to argue bang for the buck which from my perspective, is much better than the RM.
  • + 2
 Ok, now that the 2015 Sight Carbon 7.2 is live on the Norco website, we can continue this debate.

To keep the conversation apples to apples, lets look at suggested CAD MSRPs. Norco's business approach in Australia might be very different to ours ( ie: buying market share).

Thunderbolt 790 MSL BC Edition $6700 vs. Norco Sight Carbon 7.2 $6425. The Norco is $275 cheaper, CAD to CAD. The Rocky is more but here are the upgrades:
- Full carbon frame (Di2 compatible) vs. alloy chainstay
- Pike RCT3 vs. RC
- Stan's Flow rims vs. Helix (Both tubeless but the Stan's is lighter and has a welded seam)
- Competition spokes with alloy nipples vs. champion spokes with brass nipples
- XO1 drivetrain vs. X1 drivetrain
- Turbine Cinch vs. X1 crankset
- WTB ti railed Silverado vs. SDG cromoly railed saddle
- XT Icetec brakes and rotors vs. Sram Guide RS brakes

The only place we lose out is on the rear shock. I agree the new CCDBI is a nice shock but I can vouch for the performance of the Monarch RT3 with the larger air volume Debonair can.

So once again, I can say that for the $6700 price tag, Rocky offers exceptional value.
  • + 2
 Why is everyone so fixated on the most expensive model. If you don't want to buy it don't buy it. Some people will buy it and they are stoked for all the high-end kit. Not to mention half of you don't even know what you're complaining about... "it only comes with an RP23" RP23 is no-longer the high-end shock. The shock is a CTD-A Factory Kashima rear shock, the highest end XC/Trail shock that fox makes.

We happen to live in an age of $12000 mountain bikes, $20000 road bikes, $300,000+ cars, multi-million dollar houses. We know that average people aren't buying these things and that's why Rocky has 3 other carbon models and 3 other aluminum models for everyone else.
  • + 2
 Can't believe all the negativity around the cost of new bikes. If mountain biking is your thing and you can afford to get the best then f*cking do it and enjoy !
People will gladly spend five times this much on a boat and use it three times a year and do nothing to better themselves, their health, or the planet in general. Same goes for street motorcycles , dirt bikes, etc.
How about dropping $2500 or more on golf clubs then paying every time you want to use them not to mention the yearly fees.
Everyone has their own interests, that's a good thing. I rode dirt bikes for years. Now I like mountain biking. ( Same fun, less money )
This bike is way beyond my means but I can easily justify spending $5000.00 on a 770 because it's what I love to do.
If you can afford it and it's your passion then I say go for it.
These are awesome bikes and need to be ridden to understand just how far the sport has come. If you're not into it, then go spend $200.00 on a bike at Walmart and stop being so f*cking negative!
  • + 5
 With a release date of 2105 for the BC Edition we've got a while to wait!
  • + 10
 At least enough time to save $6699 !
  • + 2
 Rocky says they will show up as early as Fall 2014
  • + 4
 So it should be bonus price of $699 for first milion customers.
  • + 0
 Fall in what country? Please say a month not a season. We are not all from the same country.
  • + 4
 bike costs are getting worse than healthcare and education combined. you can buy a car for 11K.
  • + 1
 SMOOTHLINK.

Interesting that the chain stay pivot on this bike is almost exactly in line with the axle (same as the new Transition Enduro bike.

Look at the previous generation Smooth Link and the pivot is considerably more above the rear axle that this. So it looks like Rocky's "above the axle" Smooth Link was an unwanted compromise to get around Specialized patents.

Now the Specialized patent has expired, Rocky is going FSR like everyone else.

Rocky Mountain Bikes Smoothbunk Suspension System.
  • + 1
 "Today, there is a burgeoning trend among the sport's top bike handlers to ride lighter, snappier-handling bikes with less travel on terrain that was once the exclusive domain of 160-millimeter all-mountain/enduro bikes".
Thank God. Now only loose the electronic silliness and go back to alu and we are golden
  • + 1
 Lose the rear suspension and go back to steel and we are golden.
  • + 1
 I think bikers who live in wetter countries like the UK. Tend to have to grease up there bbs and headsets more often than people who don't. Has anyone in uk noticed after the unseasonably dry summer everyones bikes seam to be creaking more than usual. Bring on the winter .
  • + 1
 The only time I ever rode a rocky mountain it had so many cables and gizmo's and adjustments and crap on it I never could make the bike work for me. Give me a set it and forget it frame without all the crap. You know, like gimme brakes and a rear derailuer and let me go ride. All this other crap is just that, crap.
  • - 1
 Yeah, it's pretty easy to take that stuff off.
  • - 2
 Yeah, CTD shocks, multiple shock positions, cables for CTD, CTD fork, another cable, electronic derailuer crap, adjustable tire pressure monitors on the handles bars, traction altering pedal adjusters, blah blah blah, sure, I can take it off, but I still have to pay for it up front.
  • + 4
 Over $11 grand,and comes with a RP23 shock?What a joke.The price "gouging" continues.
  • + 1
 Kinda disapointing for that price... When are they really going to do something to update their rear suspension? I'm no suspension expert however, this rear suspension still looks like something from the early 2000's.
  • + 1
 And frankly rides like it...
  • + 1
 Yeah it´s an expensive bike. Don´t b***h about it. Get something that suits your wallet and go ride. I won´t ever get something above 5K€. There is so much great affordable bikes around.
  • + 1
 I ignore the prices on these reviews. Instead I think about what direction the company is taking its xc chassis. Looks good. Maybe the low end version will be in my range some day.
  • + 1
 I go through a set of IGUS bushings per year on my 970 Element. Not what I would call more durable than bearings. I hope these grease ports will extend the life of the bushings a bit.
  • + 1
 Something wrong with the design, not the bushings. Turner has been putting these on their bikes for the last 15 years, and they usually last years.
  • + 1
 IGUS bushings do ok in tank tracks they are WAY more durable than bearings as anyone in industry knows. If they are failing its not their fault its the design of the bike that is the problem.
  • + 4
 That XTR crank looks like shit...
  • - 2
 That XTR canker looks like shit...
  • + 2
 I like the bushing idea with the grease ports. It's simplier, lighter, more durable and reliable. The only thing it lacks is my experience to be sure if this is true.
  • + 2
 It does have the other disadvantage of introducing drag into the the suspension action. It's why other brands have been trying to get bushings OUT of the shock eyelets for so long(Cane Creek with bearings in the CCDB, Specialized with custom rear shocks that use a bearing, & then later that wishbone that everybody has copied.)
  • + 0
 This isn't new technology. If you think that it affects the suspension action that much, go ride a Turner Burner or 5-Spot (if you can find one), both probably blow this bike away.
  • + 1
 I didn't know that Cane Creek Double Barrel is offered with bearings. This is good news. Now I know what to buy. In fact I understand your point. I have bushings in my fox shock. These are so often to be replaced. There are issues with friction. There is more surface to create friction in bushings, but this surface creates necessary support, what in this situation may create more rigid frame. The grease ports concentrate all of my hope to help it with the friction. Bearings are usually better because we don't have to change it at all. Still you can't really feel the difference in rigidity comparing to bushings, because you get used to your flexing bike. Most suspension pivots do no more than thirty degrees of a turn. Bushings show their disadvantages where the cycle is more like a hundred degrees or close. One end of my shock turns slightly around its eye. The original bushing there is still ok. We all throw stones on bushings but our knees have bushings with the slipperiest surface known to man. Pistons in car engine are supported with bushings, but there is sufficient lubrication any place where bushings are reliable so once again all hope goes to the grease ports and grease penetration inside them.
  • + 2
 I can understand, but at the same time: moving to a demo that got rid of only ONE bushing for a bearing was immediately noticeable.
  • + 1
 I changed a metal bushing into polimer bushing in shock eye and it gave me a whole lot of improvement in suspension response so I believe you too. It's never a question that can be solved with one answer. Bearings cause less drag and give less support, bushing result the other way round. Lets hope the grease ports work, but I still would not buy a bike like this untill tested and proven. I prefer old familiar technology over anxiety of unknown. Facing whatever on a new trail it is more important to know what you have than have something newer and better.
  • + 1
 OH, BTW, on that Fox shock: I replaced the regular bushings in mine with the polymer 5 piece ones they are using now, and they are quite good, highly recomended. & once you get the old style one out, you don't have to use tools to replace them anymore either.
  • + 1
 I know. I use a polymer bushing and a polished stainless steel tube. I regrease it from time to time, but it is not perfect. It still need to be replaced after one year. My friend replaced it with a needle bearing and it is just better. Suspension gets more sensitive and it need no replacement for four years now. The only problem is the shock eye. They make it so small that it is really difficult to fit a bearing there. I remember my friend drilled it larger a tiny bit to fit a bearing there. This way you can never go back to bushings and there can be problems with selling it.
  • + 1
 Indeed, the demo I had (an '05) had a similar flaw: in order to make the upper shock pivot bearing instead of bushing, they had Fox making them custom shocks that just had a hole the size of the bolt in place of the eyelet, with the bearings being in the frame. Bolt went through the bearings, into some washers, then though the shock mount. Good luck swapping out the shock, or using that shock on any other bike.
  • + 1
 That is a good idea. Stable bolt and bearings in the frame, but I think the bolt still can rotate inside the shock eye, doesn't it? Shock eye should be like a clamp or something, or axial tension of the bolt increased to squeeze the shock eye.
  • + 1
 technically it could, but in practice it wasn't a problem: the washers were very tight tolerance & were conically shaped(it made putting the shock back in after a spring change an absolute chore,) so the sideload from the tightness was focused into the inner bearing races. add a bolt that ran through the races, &compressed the races into the washers, & by extension, the eyelet area, & you've got a clamping mechanism that would require a significant amount of force to overcome, compared with moving a bearing. As you said, an increase in axial tension.

In practice, I froze up almost every bearing in that bike after a race(really muddy race, you essentially had no choice but to powerwash after each run,) & while some of the pivots started rotating on the bolts instead of the bearings, that set kept running on the bearings with no drama whatsoever.

I'd actually consider designing a bike that ran that way, but I'd make the following improvements:

1. I'd use a bolt the same diameter as a standard shock bushing, in order to allow any shock to work with it. Alternately, I'd design a spacer that could be used that would be driven in in place of the standard bushing.
2: I'd figure out some self centering mechanism for the washers. the conical shape of the washers, plus the tight tolerance, made getting the bolt back through a nightmare. it was even worse due to the fact that it was the eyelet that you have to remove from the bike to change spring rate.

I'm actually having some ideas on this based on spelling it out like this... need to get some of this written down.
  • + 1
 Written and drawn down. Keep a diary. Thanks so heart. I understand you perfectly except for those conical shaped spacers. So the space for the shock mounting, was it much wider than the shock eye? I see it the best way to have the shock eye in the middle, then some thin flat spacers the size of bearing races. Bolt thread of M8x1mm and a polished titanium tube to wrap the bolt and to fit the eye, specers and bearings. Hope it's clear.
  • + 1
 The conical shaped spacers were the same diameter as the bearing race on the outside, & wider at the shock eyelet. that way they increase the clamping force at the eyelet, while making sure the force was only transferred through the inner race at the bearing, instead of sideloading the seal.

The space between the bearings was a significant amount (prob 5mm on each side)wider than the shock eye, for two reasons: the bearings were pressed in from the outside, so the inner seat (if this is unclear, it's the stop the the outer race rests against when you've fully seated a bearing) for the bearings prevented them from being flush on the inside, & secondly, you need the bearings to be spaced away from the eyelet, because the eyelet has shoulders that flare our below the hole, & if it doesn't have that, it usually has a knob you want to turn. so unless you want to use super micro bearings, or interfere with a rebound knob, you need to space out from the eyelet a bit. Since shocks have different
  • + 1
 whoops. Since shocks have different knobs & configurations near the eyelets, you need to give things a bit of room if you're aiming to use any shock. In the case of the custom shock on the demo, it had shoulders below the eyelet to worry about, as well as the rebound knob. Even with the space they gave it, the rebound knob was a pain to access.
  • + 1
 I see it perfectly clear now so thank for the explanation. I still think it was unnecesary to have the conical shaped spacers to increase the clamping force. Given that there are cylindical spacers equal in diameter with the inner race, and a bolt to have enough axial tension, the clamp force would be of enough magnitude to have all the rotation transfered to the bearings. Afterall it rotates where it can the easiest to it does not really matter how strong you hold the eye provided that there is more drag in its bushing than on bearings. Usually there is more drag, so there should be no problem.

What is especially interesting is that you're talking about demo 2005, and spec has already presented a 2015 version and it's still equiped with eye bushings (or I am misinformed about the Ohlins shock). If I am speaking the truth now, new bikes are made worse just to keep a customer replacing bushings and spending money.
  • + 1
 So, thinking about it, the problem with washers the size you're talking about, especially 5mm deep, is that they'd be too easy to crush, or they'd be bigger than the inner race diameter, & possible to side load the bearings/seals.

Keep in mind, there's some serious drawbacks to the 2005 Demos, & even just that feature:

You had to pull the upper link off to get to the shock
you'll never be able to use another shock with that bike
the washers were an absolute pain in the ass to get realigned if you did take it off
all those links meant getting to any knobs on the shock was a nightmare
the forged front basket was prone to cracking
The main pivot collected mud, & ground it against the downtube
It's a fairly heavy bike
  • + 1
 I just get the impression that modern bikes follow some assumptions that are not necessarly best for most riders. I see bike designs that ignore dirt and mud collecting on shocks, stanchions and other vulnarable, still important parts. I can see bikes made lighter and lighter even if it means decreased durability, less strenght, more maintanance. I see bikes that are equiped with new solutions concerning features which nearly neverl cause problems, like cable shifting into wire shifting. I can see bikes offered with pricess of a new car and at the same time designed to last one season,only. The only thing I can deduce about it is bike producers who don't like bikes, nor riders. They just want to make money, and I don't get why there is not feedback mechanism among people involved in this topic. You cannot deny that whatever issues were about the old demo, the bearing shock pivot is just the better way to have it.
  • + 1
 I would generally agree, but it depends on your perspective.

From a performance perspective? absolutely. it was quite easy to feel the difference caused by the bearings.

From a maintenance perspective? absolute nightmare, & that's a very real concern for bikes that are designed to "last more than one season" as you put it. If you blow out the shock & can't replace it, that's a fairly big mark against longevity.

Similar situation: I'd love to own an Intense M3. Just from an appearance perspective, I think it's one of best looking bikes ever made, & it rides good without being quite so sluggish on flatter terrain like an M6 or M9. but getting one that actually works is a nightmare: they have problems with breaking the lower link, & Intense doesn't make replacement links anymore, so if you're bike is broken, you can no longer fix it.
  • + 1
 I'm seriously thinking about building my own bike, because I can't find a product that could fit my needs in variety of aspects. This though still brings some problems like how to test it after calculations and bulding a prototype. I recently did some deep investigation in rear suspensions desings existing and I came up with a conclusion that there is less than about 5% that rear suspension desings differ between. Generally whatever you have there in the rear it all works almost the same and the rest that we believe in like VPP, Horst, etc it's all marketing and commericals. There is no golden point of balance between chain pull, brake influence, suspension sensitivity, so they are all compromised. Generally all producers claim that there is no chain pull, no brake influence and excellent sensitivyty. I wonder why it is not questioned by a court defending customers laws. Regardless what is happening there, the future of suspension design lies in getting rid of chain as it is, but Sram and Shimano make to much money selling chains, to have the change possible. If you consider the shock bearings again, I am not telling that '05 demo design was perfect, but I am asking why they stopped using bearings at all. Producers don't want to sell a bike that is the best possible in this particular year, but they want to sell a bike that is good enough to have you spend money and return for a new one next year.
  • + 1
 So two things: they got away from that design because it was hard to work on, & the forged basket was prone to cracking, & the custom shock was a pain.

Second, they didn't actually go away from bearing in a lot of their bikes. that's the whole point of that wishbone they use now: because it's rigid at the shock eyelet, the rear shock pivot is actually at the ends of the wishbone, & those pivots are bearing.
  • + 1
 It should not matter if any shock eye pivot is rigid. Swingarm, links and all the levers should be rigid. Shock eyes should only take care about shock compressing and rebounding.
  • + 1
 you're, missing the point: the shock doesn't pivot at all at the eyelet on those bikes. the load transfers through the wishbone into the rear wishbone pivots, which are bearing.

The shock & wishbone are essentially one rigid piece.
  • + 1
 In my opinion shock and any lever like a wishbone should never be a rigid piece. Shock should not receive any lateral loads. There is the same story about majority of forks. There are oversized stanchions, that can hold side loads, but this is just a compromise. Two tubes sliding along each other should only handle axial loads. This way it would last forever and work way better. Consider the comparison of shock stanchion (usually about half an inch) and fork double stanchions usually 35 to 40mm. Even if it was 60 or 100mm, it would not mean there are no bending forces, which cause slides and seals to loose their shape dynamicly (together wich bike geo) and cause uneven friction, uneven damping. Take the best upside down fork you can buy at present times and test it on old stone surface. It would be a bike that dynamicly changes its wheelbase, headtube, trail etc. It is enough to have this due to frame or tires deformations. Cars have their suspension pivots flexible to secure comfort, but sport cars like wrc change it into metal bushings or bearings. The more rigid a chassis is the more control. A part like suspension damper can only control one direction of forces acting on it. If you allow there forces of different direction it is always compromised performance.
  • + 1
 You're assuming that this would create a lateral load: I'm not convinced that it would, with those pivots being bearings, & the angles at which the shock is positioned, I think the load will transfer to an axial load quite well. Your points on forks are correct from an engineering standpoint, though in practice, the problems due to fork deflection aren't that big of a problem, until you get to silly head angles. Moto found a long time ago that forks that have some allowance for deflection track better than forks that are too stiff.
  • + 1
 I just answered to your point about the shock helping with swingarm rigidity. Even if it is so inevitable, it should not. I don't understand why "forks that have some allowance for deflection track better than forks that are too stiff". In my opinion the more rigit it is the more control. Off course untill it comes to it limits. When a fork is about to break, it is always better to have it a bit flexible, but a reasonable design should assume that in most situations fork works far from its limits, so when it stays rigid in most situations is just better Maybe the allowance you are mentioning is to support sensitivity of sliding up and down under lateral loads.

We started this conversation comparing bushings and bearings. You claimed it is better to have bushings mounting shocks in latest bikes, which can increase rigidity. From my shoes, bushings offer more support provided that there is only slight fraction of angular movement and suficient lubrication. Otherwise bearings are just better. It is better to have two bearing on one wide pivot, situating them far from each other, than a pair of bushings next to each other. Any design that has a wishbone directly integrated with a shock imposes lateral load on the shock seals. This is wrong. I claim that the best way to have a shock mounted is with bearing on each end and no side loads anytime. There are motocycles designs concerning front suspension working on pivots rather than slides and stanchions and I am just studying to understand why these are so rare. The only reason I have found so far is their durability interrupting money transfers.
  • + 1
 I never claimed anything of the sort, I advocated for bearings instead of bushings. The amount of lateral force imparted to a shock + wishbone component is directly related to the angle of the suspension path compared with the shock path: the closer to 90 degrees, it is, the less lateral force imparted. I conjecture that Specialized has done a good enough job with their shock placement, that, combined with the improved transfer of lateral force to angular force provided by the reduced amount of binding provided by bearings, that there should be little lateral force imparted to the shock shaft.

Forks that allow wheel deflection absorb the sideways force instead of transmitting it to the rider, which means it doesn't change the direction of the heaviest component in the system, the rider. since the main mass of the system is still traveling in the same direction, the system as a whole will continue in that direction. if the fork, due to the deflection, is traveling at a different angle, it is overwhelmed by the larger mass, & will move back into the same direction as the main mass.

upshot: forks that have a limited amount of deflection allow the system as a whole to maintain a consistent trajectory, instead of transmitting force to the main mass, & introducing a trajectory change. there is a sweet spot of limited deflection over rough terrain that is advantage over a completely laterally rigid system.

They introduced some very stiff forks in moto during the '90s: riders went back to forks with a limited amount of flex because the stiffest ones affected their times poorly, due to the stiffness pushing them off of their lines.
  • + 1
 Please calm down. We are on the same side. We're just discussing points and exchanging info to push the progress. Two thinking heads is always more than one. I am not trying to prove you wrong, just exchanging info. I learn something from you and you learn something from me. There's no better way to speed up progress. I am just turning the globalisation to work for us all. Maybe there are people reading this too, so to have some furher perspective. I think we have just reached consensus as far as pivots are concerned. It is always better to have bearings instead of bushings. In some situations bushings can be better. The situations can be like a narrow axis of a pivot disabling a wide bearing placement. Bushing work good only when lubricated constantly.
  • + 1
 As for forks deformation, Mainly I had in mind longitudal deformation. Like in a situation of hitting some obstable and by this changing wheelbase / when fornt axle goes back and front. It is the main issue about "stanchion" forks. You're now talking about sideways deflection and I get your point. Surely it is a different aspect that I haven't thought about now. There is no way of having a 100% rigit bike, fork or anything, so it is always like this that everything flexes a bit and back to receive impacts, loads and isolate this from a rider. However in my opinion it is better to have suspension action and chassis rigidity separated. Impacts should be transfered on bearings, springs and damping, whereas travel or wheel trajectory should be controlled striclty by rigid swingarms, bearings, links. I mean that it is not good to have stanchions and seals resisting impacts that are not parallel to their main axis, because they bend and it cause tiny dynamic malfunctions to damping, travel and suspension in such. The only reason I can think of why "riders went back" to more flexible forks is that more rigid stachnions and seals interrupted with smoothness and damping, because of dynamicly increase friction and by the same e.g. compression damping. I question the rightness of stanchion design in forks receiving loads from different directions.
  • + 1
 You're considering the forces independently, which is valid from an engineering standpoint, in an ideal situation However in the real world, we're fairly close to the limits of what can be done with a telescoping hydraulic suspension, when it comes to treating longitudinal force differently from lateral force. Improvements to one will affect the other, at the current levels of stiffness.
  • + 1
 You are right, but my engineering point of view is telling me we have already reached limits of telescoping front suspension to meet our needs. Most rear suspension designs follow my point of view. All the forces from cornering and having a frame as a whole are managed by swingarm and variety of links. Damping is managed by shock only. If you take an Intense, Giant, Santa Cruz, you can remove shock and there will be lateral stiffness maintained in the frames. Telescopic stanchion suspension of front is only one of existing solutions for this, not even mentioning that they were all invented decades ago. There are only RS, Manitou, Marzocchi and Fox on the market that produce most of innovations. It is good to see dvo, but they are all still holding the layout of stanchions too tight in my opinion. The rest of existing designs for front suspension are difficult to adapt for serious mountain biking. There are more to be invented. I say it is high time to stop pretending stanchions are good enough and start thinking outside the box. Before that we should all ask ourselves if progress in technology should only serve earning money, or should be built best possible bikes for present times.
  • + 1
 Can anyone that has or has had a rocky mountain with this suspension set up tell me how it feels under braking? I'm interested because it seems so simple that it almost looks outdated.
  • + 2
 I've had one.
Braking is very good because like Specialized FSR you have a lot of feel for where exactly the back wheel is (feeling is not hidden by fancy linkage system). Disadvantage is pedaling and climbing... Legs feel like power is getting sapped from them. That's why Specialized had to develop the 'brain' and why I now ride a VPP bike!
  • + 1
 Thanks a lot!
  • + 3
 I concur. I recently demo'd the 2014 version of this bike, and was passing guys on bikes like the new Specialized Enduro (carbon fiber & everything) on the downhill section.. The suspension never seemed to bottom out, the handling was fantastic and it was incredibly responsive in braking and re-accelerating around corners.
  • + 1
 That BC Edition is so nice. Lovely color, too. Not often do you see a stock build and not have the desire to swap out any components at all. Nicely spec'd.
  • + 1
 I bet they could sell ten of the BC edition bikes for every one of the other ones. Yes, lots of us like to ride "trail" bikes with 120-130 mm travel, but that doesn't mean we want front derailleurs and 32mm forks.
  • + 3
 The price is a thunderbolt...for your bank account
  • + 2
 Hmmm Rocky Mountain or a new car... Think I'm going with a new car. That price is ridiculous!
  • + 3
 Cars are coffins.
  • + 2
 For 11k you'd think they'd be proud enough to post the actual weight, not just "under 25lbs" comment
  • + 4
 Its beautifulll
  • + 2
 I like how last year the Thunderbolt was introduced as a bang fer-yer buck fun little trail bike and now this.
  • + 2
 on paper bushes seem like such a good idea. but in the real world they suck donkey dick. absolute donkey dick
  • + 2
 How do you get Freeza rotors (centerlock only) on Stan's 3.30 hubs?
  • + 2
 They're 6 bolt, and there are 2 versions, the more finned badass looking one is centerlock only, and this in 6 bolt.
  • + 3
 Motivated^^^The bike in the photo has Shimano XTR carbon wheels, because Stan's Valor wheels were not available yet.
  • + 2
 Wasn't the first thunderbolt a titanium hard tail?
  • + 1
 The dude that buys that bike for $11k will get whipped on the trail by us guys with a $3k bike. Just saying.
  • + 1
 wouldnt trust first gen di2 espically with what happened to the first gen dure ace Di2
  • + 1
 I think that release date might be a tad out, it looks nice, but I hope they release it before 2105 Frown
  • + 1
 Rocky bikes just get better and better every year. (though it's sad they're not built on Annacis Island anymore)
  • + 2
 The price makes this year's Altitude 799 look like a great deal.
  • + 1
 too generic for that price
  • + 1
 This shit is depressing. 11k really!?
  • + 1
 Finally, a full suspension bike that roadies can ride with pride.
  • + 2
 huh?
  • + 1
 What a stupid price for a push bike.
  • + 0
 "the only downside of bushings over ball bearings"


You forgot increased friction ....
  • + 1
 looks great, cant wait to get one
  • - 3
 I've got an old trek 820 frame that I'm about to put a 130 pike on (I'm cutting the head tube off and welding a new one on), I'm putting some big meats on there and a 1x drivetrain. If I get enough interest I will start rounding up all the 820s I can find and selling them as badass retro 26er hard tail rally machines. I'm taking suggestions on the name because "820 tougher than it was cause everyone is doing it" seems a little long for the decals.
  • + 3
 Chunky Monkey I hope you don't end up with a lawsuit on your hands
  • + 3
 Maybe so, but as much as I hate that everyone is going for the same formula with these bikes I admit that it works and I would love to have a BC edition.
  • + 1
 More than 10K has become Normal ... F ck
  • - 3
 Fuck me every time we see a bike review every fucker on here whines about the top of the range price. If you can't afford it shut up or work harder. If some dude can afford it and enjoys spending his money on the most expensive model available good for him. The majority of people that earn big bucks work hard for it. Rant over.
  • + 1
 excuse me how Fxxx the much is it? is this guys sure of it???
  • + 1
 You gotta be F@*king kidding! $11500 for a bicycle?
  • + 1
 Love the BC edition.
  • + 1
 GREASEHOLES!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 ESI grips FTW!
  • + 0
 5 digit bike!!?? back in the days, everyone had fun with a 200$ bike...
  • + 1
 Yeah, and back in the day F1 was raced in (comparably) 100k cars, not 3 million.
  • + 2
 Also back in the day, those really having fun would break a few $200 bikes a year...
  • + 4
 Back in the days all people lived in South African caves.
  • + 5
 Also back back in the day - DINOSAUR
  • + 3
 Further back in the day, primordial soup.
  • + 2
 And my $439 Trek 830 sucked in comparison to my current whip.
  • + 2
 I had a Trek 930sx and I can't report any negative opinion about it. Lifetime waranty for the frame. Elastomers in the fork still work as bad as new. Shimano STX RC was bombproof, neutral geometry. It was heaven when I was about ten.
  • + 1
 and... can´t we be happy once again in a really good 4000$ bike? one day some bikes will be like buying a house... we have to pay for it all our lives!!!
  • + 1
 What, like cars? Boats? Almost anything else big we buy?
  • + 1
 What arguments are there left to make us spend more on bikes? Lighter? How much lighter can a bike become? It is a geometrical sequence graph so the further we go the smaller the differences are. Better? I don't follow electronic improvements of suspension and driveterrain. It is still your money and your mind. Think and spend it wisely. In my opinion producers try too hard to reinvent something that is already good and it gets more and more often like spoiling than improving. Customers are the only feedback because professionals will recommend anything they are told to. I am waiting for an alternative of a chain, because I am fed up with cleaning and lubricating it again and again.
  • - 3
 Laugh - A = Fugly, B = XTR egroupo Gay, C=$ ridiculous, oh and rear der cable placement on BC edition = FAIL! Sorry Rocky, Bullwinkle signing off !
  • - 3
 How come PB erased my previous comment? it wasn't rude/dirty/inappropriate one bit...
  • + 0
 Politics. Don't worry. I am watched all the time.
  • + 5
 It didn't get erased - it got downvoted. Click on the bottom of the page where it says "Below threshold threads are hidden".
Below threshold threads are hidden

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