Review: Rocky Mountain Altitude Alloy 30

Jul 3, 2019 at 15:05
by Richard Cunningham  



Rocky Mountain's Altitude Alloy 30 is going to make a lot of people happy. Many top-level riders out there can't afford a top-level bike to match their skillsets. The bustling used mountain bike marketplace bears witness to that. Ride the new Altitude 30, however, and you'll be tempted to forego the used pro-bike with the mystery history and start fresh with a needs-nothing trail machine, that looks sharp, sports contemporary numbers, and costs about the same money. Not convinced?

Start with just right suspension travel - 150 millimeters in the rear with a 160-millimeter-stroke fork splits the difference between a squishy enduro sled and a sprite handling, but technically compromised trail bike. Wheels are 27.5 inch,
Altitude Alloy 30
• 27.5" wheels
• Aluminum chassis, 150mm travel Horst-Link suspension design
• RockShox Yari RC160mm fork, Deluxe RT shock
• Ride 9, adjustable kinematics and geometry
• Needs nothing component selection
• XS through XL sizes
• Weight: 13.6kg / 30 lbs (medium size)
• $2,999 USD
• Contact: Rocky Mountain
spinning 35-millimeter aluminum rims and wide-format Maxxis 2.5-inch tires. The Altitude's component selection has up-scale name brand items where you need them and Rocky Mountain logos where you don't.

Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock

Most accomplished riders have well-defined parameters for their suspension kinematics and frame geometry. As delivered, the Altitude's handling and suspension strike a near-perfect, in my book, 60/40 compromise between technical and gravity skills (that's the 60-percent) and good pedaling dynamics. If you demand near-perfection, however, Rocky Mountain's "Ride 9" suspension chip offers knowledgeable riders eight alternative adjustments that can alter the shock's leverage rate, frame angles, and bottom bracket height. Not a suspension whiz? Rocky's Ride Nine landing page has easy to follow instructions and kinematic charts to ensure that you can find your way back home if you get lost in the science.

bigquotesGive this bike a twisty trail with unexpected drops and short punchy climbs, and it comes to life. Add tacky dirt and the Altitude 30 turns a downhill trail into a theme park ride. RC




Construction and Features

Rocky Mountain offers the Altitude in both carbon and aluminum. Our model 30 is the most affordable in the range and shares the same high-quality frame that Rocky specs' on its two more expensive siblings. The Altitude does not stray too far from Rocky's time-proven trail bike profile. The rocker-driven, top tube mounted shock and "Smoothlink" rear suspension, however, plays well with its ready-for-anything mission statement. There's plenty of room for a large water bottle and spares inside the front triangle, and the shock's climb-switch is readily accessible. The seat tube is kept short, with plenty of insertion length for long-stroke dropper posts

Rocky's depth of experience is also reflected in the frame's smaller details, like sound deadening chain protection on both the seat and chainstays, and bash protection on the down tube. There's "helicopter tape" on the underside of the down tube where the frame contacts tailgate shuttle pads, and while the low hanging cables and hoses that exit below the bottom bracket are questionable, they are also protected by shrouds. The rear caliper mount is dedicated to 180-millimeter rotors, and (unlike so many bikes these days) both axles are designed to use the same, 6 millimeter Allen key. Clearly, this is not Rocky's first rodeo.

Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock
Rocky adds anti-scratch tape to the underside of the down tube where it contacts tailgate shuttle pads.
Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock
The down tube bash guard is substantial. Low hanging cables, though.

Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock
Four-bar, Host-Link suspension helps create its consistent shock rate curves.

Construction is clean looking. Welds are neatly executed and all of the important bases are covered - things like maximized tire clearances for tires up to 2.6 inches, and a built-in upper chain guide attached to the swingarm that tracks the chain line. The Altitude's chassis is dedicated to one-by drivetrains, and it's nice to see that the swingarm pivots are widely spaced and that the right and left chainstays are symmetric - a stronger and simpler design that we are sure to see more of.

The Altitude's one questionable feature is its press-fit bottom bracket. I'm convinced that the press-fit concept has evolved to become bomb-proof reliable, and once you own the tools, removing and replacing press-fit BB's is stupid simple. I'm a fan, but there's no fighting popular opinion in the cycling industry - threads are in, press fit is sin.


Altitude Alloy 30 geometry
Altitude geometry with Ride Nine chip set in the middle position

Geometry & Sizing

Rocky offers the Altitude in five sizes, from extra-small with a 385-millimeter reach, through extra-large with a 484-millimeter reach. Our medium-sized review bike stretches out to 435-millimeters. Reaches are not long by present standards, but roomy enough to comfortably pedal out of the saddle, while allowing freedom to move fore and aft.

Rocky Mountain's claim to fame is the Altitude's Ride 9 adjustable geometry feature which is explained separately in this feature. Ride 9 alters the geometry and tunes the suspension kinematics. I liked the stock, number five position most: a 65.5-degree head tube angle, 74.5 seat tube angle, a modest, 7-millimeter bottom bracket drop, with short, 425-millimeter chain stays.

Of course, many Altitude owners are going to slam the geometry as long and low as the chips will allow, so I spent a couple of weeks with the bike configured in position one: which is a half-degree slacker (65° HA, 74°SA), with a significantly lower, 14-millimeter bottom bracket drop. Predictably, that makes the bike feel more stable and sharpens its cornering at speed, but incrementally so. The suspension kinematics, however, were significantly different, with the bike settling deeper into its travel at sag and a noticeably sharper ramp-up at the end-stroke. More on that later.

Adjustable Geometry Debate

I often argue that adjustable geometry and suspension kinematics are cop-outs that allow trepidacious bike brands to address controversial trends without making a commitment. Look no further than the present moment.

Traditional cross-country geometry has been thrown out the window. Trail bike head tube angles are slacker than World Cup DH bikes were four or five seasons earlier, and vanguard designers are touting seat tube angles that were once the exclusive domain of Triathletes. It should come as no surprise then that established brands, staffed by very accomplished old-school riders, would opt for a "hedge chip" - credibility insurance to cover their insistence that super slack and rider forward geometry is a fad, against the possibility that their brand would be left behind if the trend were embraced.

Essentially, only one of the options that a hedge chip offers is correct. Basically, it's an indication that its maker either lacked the knowledge or the will to nail down their bike's geometry, and a glamorous tool to foist that final decision upon customers who should be more concerned about riding than leverage rates.

bigquotesThe $3,000 Altitude Alloy 30 is exactly the right candidate for an adjustable chip, although I'd argue that, this late in the geometry game, two options would make much more sense than nine.

Affordable trail bikes, however, may benefit from some level of adjustability, because they must serve two distinctly different riders: The entry-level enthusiast who wants an all-purpose machine, and the accomplished bike-handler who simply can't afford a pro-level ride.

Adjustable chips allow the designer to sell a do-it-all trail bike that can still be sharpened up to satisfy the sport's top guns. The $3,000 Altitude Alloy 30 is exactly the right candidate for an adjustable chip, although I'd argue that, this late in the geometry game, two options would make much more sense than nine.
Rocky Mountain Ride Nine chip
About Ride 9

Rocky Mountain's nine-way adjustable suspension chip has been around for a while, but its relevance was rekindled recently by the upheaval created as the industry grappled with the with long, low, and slack trend. Rearranging two interlocking rectangular inserts located at the shock's lower pivot offers head tube angles from 65 degrees to 66.1, seat tube angles from 74 degrees to 75.1, and along with each selection, the bottom bracket height varies up to 15 millimeters. One degree of angular change may seem minimal, but there's more to this picture than first meets the eye.

Ride Nine graphic
Re-configuring the two rectangles creates nine suspension options.

The Ride 9 chip also changes the suspension's leverage rate curves, which gives knowledgeable owners the means to add or subtract end-stroke progressiveness, boost mid-stroke support, or alter the kinematics to favor a future coil-shock upgrade. Suspension rise ranges from 45.7% in the slackest position, to 22.8% in the steepest option. That's a lot to learn about, but Rocky Mountain's Ride Nine landing page offers easy to understand guidelines to help you get it right the first time.

Ride Nine suspension curves
Suspension rate curves: The slackest position 1 (top) offers more end-stroke progression. Neutral position 5 (center) and the steepest, position 9 (bottom) offer less progressive leverage rates.


Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock


Suspension Design

Suspension kinematics have evolved considerably over the past decade, and so have suspension tunes. We no longer need all those crazy reversing leverage rates that made bikes pedal better at the expense of suspension performance. Designers like those at Rocky Mountain are using smoother, more consistent leverage curves. Shaft speeds are more stable, which in turn, enhances damping performance. The long leverage arms created by the Altitude's four-bar Smoothlink rear suspension and rocker link do exactly that. This is one chassis that tracks the ground better than most 150-millimeter travel machines, and it responds crisply to damping and pressure adjustments.

Pedaling dynamics should be good in the Altitude's lower gear ranges. Rocky says they've boosted its anti-squat values and sketching over a profile image verifies that claim. My thumbnail suggests around 105 to 110 percent in the largest cog, which closely matches the better pedaling trail bikes I've ridden that also deliver the goods in the suspension department.

Speaking about suspension, I've become a fan of the RockShox Yari fork. I like the support it provides, both under power and when I press the bike in a corner - and it does this without feeling like someone replaced the air spring with a stack of air volume spacers when I'm pounding over a series of big ruts and rocks. The Deluxe RT shock, however, was fussy to get the rebound speed feeling right and, though it put on a good show, It would be the first major upgrade I'd suggest for an advanced rider.

Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock
Race Face Aeffect dropper seatpost.
Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock
Top guide integrated with the swingarm. Race Face Ride crankset.

Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock
Sunrace 11-46 cassette and SRAM NX shifting.

Standout Components

Kudos to Rocky Mountain for choosing large volume, 2.5-inch Maxxis tires - a Minion DHF WT up front and a fast-rolling Aggressor WT in the rear. I also liked the feel of its Sun Ringle Duroc 35 aluminum rims. Rocky invested most of the Altitude's budget on the important stuff, like wheels, tires, and suspension. I've already waxed on about the RockShox Yari RC fork, but have yet to mention the Race Face Affect dropper post, which performs way above its pay grade. I like the feel of its remote lever as well. Other highlights are its strong stopping Shimano MT500 brakes and good looking Race Face Ride crankset. The Altitude 30 is one of the better-looking budget trail bikes.

Specifications
Release Date 2019
Price $2999
Travel 150 R, 160 F
Rear Shock RockShox Deluxe RT
Fork RockShox Yari RC 160mm
Headset FSA
Cassette Sunrace 11 x 46
Crankarms Race Face Ride Cinch 32t steel chainring
Chainguide Rocky Mountain top guide
Bottom Bracket Press-fit
Pedals NA
Rear Derailleur SRAM NX 11 speed
Chain KMC X11
Front Derailleur NA
Shifter Pods SRAM NX 11 speed
Handlebar Rocky Mountain AM 780mm
Stem Rocky Mountain 35 AM
Grips Rocky Mountain lock-on
Brakes Shimano MT 500, 180mm rotors F&R
Wheelset Custom
Hubs Shimano MT 400 Centerlock
Spokes 2.0mm stainless steel
Rim Sun Ringle Duroc 35 aluminum
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF WT EXO 2.5" / Aggressor WT EXO 27.5"
Seat WTB Volt Race
Seatpost Race Face Aeffect dropper , 150mm stroke


Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock

bigquotesI've become a fan of the RockShox Yari fork. I like the support it provides, both under power and when I press the bike in a corner.






bigquotesI thought I was over 27.5-inch wheels, but this bike reminded me of why the stopwatch is so often the enemy of enjoyment.

Rocky Mountain's simple rear suspension requires little effort to set up. RockShox has markings on the Monarch shock to indicate the popular sag percentages. I chose 30 percent, which turned out to be a little high. I lowered it to 25 percent and that's where it sat for most of the review. The shock's low-speed rebound was difficult to get right. When I neared the sweet spot, one click in either direction seemed too fast or too slow. By contrast, the fork was almost perfect from the get-go. I chose 20 percent sag for the fork with low speed rebound six clicks out and three clicks in on the compression dial. That resulted in firm mid-stroke support, with enough bottom-out resistance to save the last 13 millimeters of its stroke to cover my mistakes.

I won't bother you with the Ride 9 part of this review until later, but to keep it simple, I left the chip in the standard number five "neutral" option to get used to the bike before slamming the geometry to the lowest and slackest, number one position for some comparison rides. As delivered, however, the Altitude felt as if I had owned it for a year. The 780-millimeter handlebar width was a bit wider than I choose these days but other than that, it was good from the first pedal stroke.

Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock


Climbing

Pointed uphill, Rocky's Altitude 30 is eager to get the job done. Weighing in at 30 pounds even, the medium-sized Altitude is on the lighter side of the affordable trail bike spectrum. Bolstered by good anti-squat values and a generous reach, it pedals quite well. Steady up-grades click away with efficient feeling pedal strokes and the acceptably steep (74.5-degrees) seat tube angle naturally weights the rear tire to assure traction is always there when you need it.

Scratching up technical steeps, the steering feels light and precise. I could work the front tire up off-cambers and around rocks with a light touch on the grips. Out back, the suspension provides generous support, but it never feels locked out or insensitive. Short chainstays and wide rubber ensured out-of-the-saddle efforts were not wasted by wheel-spin, so I could concentrate on my line and let the bike search for grip.

I found the shock's climbing lever to be useful and left it in the middle position when I knew I'd be climbing steadily for a period of time. There is plenty of support for pedaling without the aid, but I've been enjoying bikes with steeper seat tube angles. I used the low-speed compression lever to raise the ride height of the rear suspension, which increases the bike's effective seat tube angle for the uphills.

Descending

Most of my time aboard the Rocky Mountain took place in dry conditions. I did get one week of hero dirt before the Southwestern summer kicked in, which may have been my happiest moments aboard the Altitude. Give this bike a twisty trail with unexpected drops and short punchy climbs, and it comes to life. Add tacky dirt and the Altitude 30 turns a downhill trail into a theme park ride. I thought I was over 27.5-inch wheels, but this bike reminded me of why the stopwatch is so often the enemy of enjoyment.

Rocky's Altitude is a world apart from the slack and angry race bike designed to straighten every bend and chisel rock gardens into gravel - but you'll still want to push it hard on the downs. Pretend you are going to take it easy, but after you drop in, its just-right feel in the cockpit and balance of stability and responsive steering will have you braking late, charging corners and playing off features in short order.

I'm sure that my times would have dropped if the Altitude had 29-inch wheels, but the moral of this paragraph is that if you are always concentrating on things like wheel size, KOM's, and suspension kinematics while you are descending, you're not having a great time and your bike probably sucks. I'll take seamless communication between bike and rider over top speed and technology - that's what a good trail bike is all about.
Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock

Handling can be summed up as "direct and predictable," I wouldn't pick the Altitude 30 for a part-time bike park shredder. Its rear triangle will start to flex when you bash it into rough, high-speed berms and its shock can't handle continuous high-amplitude impacts. A true trail bike, the Rocky is happiest on fast-paced natural terrain and flow trails With its hard-pack Maxxis Aggressor rear tire, the tail end will drift predictably before the front tire breaks, which is a huge confidence builder at speed. Drifting and sliding, however, is not this bike's MO, it would rather carve the short line around corners. Pick your line and the Altitude will trace it. I found that its steering is a little faster and more responsive than I am comfortable with at top speed, but I never had any dramatic moments because of it.

The up-side of that is the Altitude can change direction at fast-paced trail speeds just by thinking about it, which makes charging down unfamiliar trails an enjoyable game. The front stays planted and rarely pushes when forced into a tight corner, but it is still light enough to snatch the front wheel off the ground for an unanticipated huck.

The Ride 9 Option

Up to this point, all of the riding impressions were reported with the Ride 9 chip in the number five, neutral position, which begs the question: "How much would slacking out the geometry improve the Altitude's downhill performance?" The short answer is, "a little."

Ride 9 in 1 position
Ride 9 geometry in the #1 low and slack position.

On paper, the number one position only reduces the head tube angle from 65.5 to 65 degrees, but an increase in the suspension's rising rate from 34.5 to 45.7 percent requires more sag which drops the head tube angle at ride height closer to 64.5 degrees. Positive effects are slight, but noticeable improvements in the bike's straight-line stability, less fork dive while braking and bashing down steep chutes, and a better feel when cornering at top speed.

Negatives are less available rear suspension travel because the pronounced end-stroke ramp-up requires more sag on one end and larger hits to achieve full travel on the other. The steering feels lazy at trail speeds, especially while climbing. Pedaling firmness is compromised and the bottom bracket becomes so low that I began to pick climbing trails specifically to avoid rock and root strikes.

To take full advantage of the Altitude in its low and slack mode, you'd probably need to upgrade to a coil shock. A linear spring would allow you to set the sag at 25 percent to adjust the ride height. It would reactivate the small-bump sensitivity, moderate the end-stroke ramp up to a useful value - and add another $800 to the bike's MSRP.

Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock


How does it compare?

Rocky Mountain's Altitude Alloy 30 compares well with Marin's Alpine Trail 7, both in price and performance. They both feature well-built aluminum frames with contemporary geometry. Both feature a 160-millimeter RockShox Yari RC fork and both have less than stellar shocks. Marin wins the high-speed handling award, but not without mention that you'll need to buy better tires to experience that benefit. Marin's Trail 7 also features 29-inch wheels, so it slots into current fashion and that also may explain its superior performance at speed.

Friends on bike
Marin Alpine Trail 7.
Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock
Rocky Mountain Altitude Alloy 30.

Rocky Mountain's Altitude spanks the Marin on the climbs and just about everywhere you'll be pedaling, and it's a lighter too, by almost three pounds. Both bikes feature mix and match drivetrains, with the wider range and less clunky shifting of the Marin's Shimano SLX/e*thirteen transmission edging out the Rocky Mountain's SRAM NX/Sunrace combo. Rocky Mountain's overall specifications, however, are a step above the Marin's and deliver a trail bike that an accomplished rider can enjoy without throwing another penny into. For the final weigh-in, The Marin's $2,749 vs. the Rocky's $2,999 MSRP, brings this duo to a tie finish. If you seek an affordable enduro bike and plan on hitting the bike park often, I'd choose the Marin. If you put in a lot of trail miles and live for technical, natural terrain, no question, the Rocky Mountain is the better option.


Technical Report

RockShox Suspension: Two thumbs up for the Yari RC fork. It's performance and range of adjustments straddle the space between the super stiff enduro bro setup, and the softer, more useful, trail setup that most riders should be running. One thumb down for the Monarch shock, though. Wheezing and notchy after three months of trail riding. Time for suspension makers to build a better performing option for this important price range.
Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock

Ride 9: Follow PB's comment section and you'd realize how small the percentage of riders are who comprehend the nuances of suspension and geometry well enough to take advantage of Ride 9's array of kinematic options. I support the concept of a flip-chip for any affordable bike, but geometry and suspension are pretty dialed these days. No trail bike should need more than two options. Nine different combinations, really?
Ride Nine graphic


Two Winners: I've been running Maxxis Aggressor WT tires for quite a while now and have become a fan. It's a fast-rolling rear tire that doesn't weigh a ton and grips well in dry conditions. Sun Ringle's aluminum Duroc 35 rims mount tubeless tires without tears, held up to a lot of beating, and still look new. Their low-profile extrusion has just enough give to deliver consistent traction without feeling wimpy while banging through boulder sections.
Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock



Riding a bike on a trail filled with dirt and the occasional rock


Pros

+ Efficient feel under power
+ Spot-on trail handling
+ Needs-nothing component spec
Cons

- Won't flourish at the bike park
- Ride 9 chip could be a negative in the wrong hands



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesRocky Mountain's decision to completely overhaul the Altitude with more contemporary numbers and an aggressive component spec' turned an arguably outdated design into a front-line contender in the now-exploding do-it-all trail bike category. How Rocky managed to cram all that goodness in the $2,999 USD Altitude Alloy 30 seems like magic to me, but this is exactly what the sport needs - up-to-the-moment performance bikes in a price range that was once a clearinghouse for outdated merchandise. Good work, Rocky. RC








194 Comments

  • 124 2
 „Follow PB's comment section and you'd realize how small the percentage of riders are who comprehend the nuances of suspension and geometry well enough to take advantage of Ride 9's array of kinematic options.“

Oh shit did somebody order medium roast

Other than that, it’s great to see more reviews of affordable bikes as compared to the 8k+ superbikes. Anything to get more people into the sport is welcome in my book.
  • 13 0
 weird, all cry out for a bike like this and yet there are 16 comments till now -the test of an 8k superbike will create this much comments in 10minutes.
  • 55 4
 To get people into the sport ?! I've been riding DH for 15 years and Enduro for 5 years now and I still wouldn't spend more than 3k€ on a new bike. Because you've been riding for years doesn't mean you want (or can) spend stupid amount of money in a bike (or 2, or 3). It's not like spending 4/5k€ makes you ride faster anyway, skills do that.
  • 31 1
 I'd look at this differently. If you've got little experience with and/or knowledge about the finer details of rear suspension and geometry, getting a bike with fixed geometry and suspension behavior is quite a commitment. Who are your idols, whose riding inspires you to pick up the bike and practice? Do you want to hop and pop like Chris Akrigg or do you enjoy to take the fastest line down like Greg Minnaar does? Or do you just not know yet but want the flexibility to tune your bike to your riding further down the line? I think there is nothing wrong with having that possibilty. And sure as low and slack is fashionable atm, maybe people would set it as such even if that isn't ideal for them. So what? Much better than that they buy a fixed-geometry low and slack bike and later on don't have the possibility to tone it down a little when they want that. It is a bit like a guitar. Give a young metal head (now or somewhere in the past thirty years) a guitar and amp and he or she will crank the lows, highs, gain and volume and turn the mids all the way down. Maybe downtune the guitar a little too. Have little fun, it does no harm. Later down the line they'll be a bit more subtle with the controls and explore the finer nuances. But that doesn't mean they can't move on with their old teen gear. It should be good enough. And just as well it doesn't mean they should waste their time with a minimalist three push-button amp that only has "jazz", "funk" and "metal" presets.

This bike looks fun Smile .
  • 5 0
 @Balgaroth: I never said that only people new to the sport are allowed to buy it. Well-specd allrounder bikes are amazing for everyone, I was just emphasizing that it is great for people who want to start biking, because the hilariously high bike prices these days are a hurdle for lots of beginners.
  • 9 6
 I thought ebikes were supposed to get more people in to the sport
  • 4 10
flag vinay (Jul 8, 2019 at 5:56) (Below Threshold)
 Oh shit, now I'm getting my dashboard junked up again with this pointless e-bike discussion. Thanks @wibblywobbly...

Now proposal. E-bike content was supposed to be censored for the North American audience. I'd recommend e-bike comments from the North American audience (especially in a non e-bike article) is getting censored too. Just to keep the place tidy. And for their own good, of course.
  • 11 0
 @wibblywobbly: let’s be honest e bikes are almost there own sport
  • 5 0
 Actually, I agree with this assessment whole heartedly. And I’m not pointing my fingers at you all, I’m looking straight in the mirror. I don’t want to monkey with anything except for maybe two settings — high and low. Nine? Forget it. Keep it simple.
  • 4 0
 @TheR: Yeah, but then again: what if all potential customers would need only two settings but all of them would prefer a different combination of the two? Part of making a bike not too expensive is to make it appeal to a wide audience. I don't think anyone at RM would have thought that any customer would use all nine settings. But just to have the possibility to keep the same bike for a long time and change settings as your riding style/skill evolves or when you occasionally ride very different terrain is nice. Even if you settle on a single setting for years after one week of experimentation, if that settings is just perfect for you then I see no harm. How much do these tiny chips even add to the price of the complete bike? Just a bit of CNC, a minute more assembly time. If it adds maybe 20 USD to the price then I still see no reason to complain.

As the adjustment seems to be an issue (good or bad) here, it would be interesting to see this one compared to the Rose Pikes Peak which also offers on the fly suspension adjustment. Limited to four settings, which may be suited to those who feel overwhelmed by having those nine settings.
  • 3 0
 @TheR: Nine sounds excessive, and it probably is for most, but it can be a useful feature more often than just "I want to tweak how my bike feels." I sell bikes to a wide variety of people who use them for a wide array of terrain. For example, I had a small lady who wanted an entry-level fully that would be fun on the local trails, that could occasionally be ridden on some Mid-West lift-access greens, and could be raced on double-track at the local Xterra triathlon. The Thunderbolt with Ride-9 was a perfect choice; we could tune her suspension to be a bit more linear for her light frame, and then show her how to set it up for the lift-access (slack), and race (steep).

This was a more extreme case, but it shows the potential of the feature. For most, I'll tell them it has adjustable geo, but they'll probably never touch it, because - as RC mentions - it works great in the neutral setting. However, it's the outliers that tend to benefit the most from Ride-9, not the size-mediums. It doesn't provide nine different options for every rider, it just gives a couple very useful options that can help cover every rider's needs.

edit: I'm basically echoing the sentiments @vinay gives above. He's spot on.
  • 3 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: That's because 90% of readers are riding $3k (or less) bikes and immediately want to jump down the proverbial throat of the $8k superbikes to justify why it's not worth $5k more than their bike.
  • 6 1
 @Balgaroth: I would have agreed with you 3 weeks ago, but I just (for the first time in my life) got a top build bike. It's considerably faster. The Grip 2 damper and DHX2 make a big difference.
  • 2 1
 @vinay: That's kind of like the RockShox vs Fox adjustability thing. RockShox would like you to think they've got most everything handled and even their fanciest stuff doesn't often have external high-speed adjustments (Charger 2.0 has HSC maybe?), where Fox has almost always had a 4-way adjustable damper available at the high end.
  • 4 13
 THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS IS WAY OVER BUDGET! THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS IS WAY OVER BUDGET! THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS IS WAY OVER BUDGET! THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS IS WAY OVER BUDGET!
  • 2 0
 @krattAtak:

THIS. So glad to see someone else say this. I’ve thought the same since I’ve seen them on the trail
  • 2 0
 @wibblywobbly: Wait, I thought plus-size tires were supposed to get more people in the sport...or is that combined with e-bikes?
  • 93 1
 And I don't think we need to capitalize the 't' in triathletes, it'll just inflate their self worth.
  • 9 2
 Underrated comment right here.
  • 9 1
 Yeah, they already have their capital letters on all the stupid oval triathlon stickers they have to have all over their car.
  • 1 15
flag pinnityafairy (Jul 8, 2019 at 13:38) (Below Threshold)
 Says the people that couldn't finish a triathlete event!
  • 2 0
 triaThlete. Better?
  • 1 0
 @Bflutz625: ha. Much better!
  • 69 1
 An ALLOY do-it-all trail bike weighing 30 lbs, with good components, adjustable geo, and costs less than 3 grand. Never thought I'd be able to mention all of that in one sentence. This really looks like a great deal.
  • 10 1
 Radon Swoop 8.0 buddy. I have one and ADORE it
  • 13 7
 Don´t forget jeffsy
  • 4 0
 Trek Remedy 8 would have been good to compare as well, since it also has 27.5" wheels...
  • 2 0
 And it rips! Have had my A70 for over 2 years now and still love it. So playful and fun.
  • 1 0
 There are a few of those from the direct to consumer brands, nukeproof or commencal for instance. But I agree that such a bike from a shop based big name company is rare.
  • 38 0
 I am 100% team SRAM but the one place Shimano still reigns is the low end. NX is garbage. Feels terrible. Looks and feels cheap. Doesn’t last. Heavy. SLX/XT 11 is the same price and a better choice on a bike in this price range/purpose
  • 7 0
 Totally this. NX is a huge let down. I would have listed that in the “cons” if I were reviewing the bike. Otherwise, seems like a great option for many.
  • 3 2
 @speed10: I hawe the last year wersion of RM Alloy30, and i think Nx is not that bad, had no probloms so far, it rides just fine, and i prefer it ower the xt and slx combo i hawe on Trek Xcaliber... i know not as bling, but i dont care, pluss Srams cage lock on Nx derailleur wins for me.
  • 6 0
 There is a level below NX now.
  • 6 0
 @vapidoscar: Yeah - if they think NX is a garbage let down - just wait till they see SX!
  • 5 0
 I am really curious to see next year OEM build. With xt 12v we'll see a lot of bike even in the upper market Shimano equipped. Where I live it's still easy see a lot of xt and rarely you can see an eagle. Maybe we are poor (for sure we are not American) but here Shimano never stop to reign mtb and road... I'd like to try SRAM things but when I will change my bike I'll have to check my wallet and between xt and nx.... You know it.
  • 2 0
 They did at least swap out the cassette.
  • 1 0
 Def not the same price (well maybe on CRC where they like to ignore Shimano's minimum pricing). SLX is _definitely_ better than NX in feel and looks, but also _definitely_ costs more.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: there are at least two italian online shop, and one online french shop where you can get Shimano things at really low price. I am pretty sure because I mounted my bikes by myself and got very decent spec for the money... I was never able to find an x01 (which in my opinion is comparable to xt) at a good price otherwise I would bought!
  • 2 0
 @just6979: CRC pricing is actually pretty relevant here, because those prices are closer to what the OEMs pay. Just because the retail is more doesn't mean the bike companies pay more when they spec it on a bike.
  • 24 0
 How does this weigh the same as many bikes double the price with lighter components, forks, wheels and frames?
  • 16 0
 you would need to spend at least 6k to get a santa cruz at 30lbs
  • 14 0
 Yeah I'm VERY dubious of this weight claim
  • 8 0
 Rocky makes comparatively light bikes across the lineup. Small wheels and medium frame help a lot.
  • 7 0
 Really, it comes down to 650b vs 29. Rubber weighs more than aluminum.
  • 7 0
 One part is that it's a 27.5 bike and RC rides a medium. It's running a non-piggyback shock and is using an 11sp drive train. It's rear triangle and rocker link are pretty streamlined and don't seem to need much extra material. Now, 30 pounds is still pretty good for this, but all those things chip away at the weight.
  • 3 0
 @ratedgg13: Another review site weighed it last year at 14.1 kg (so ~ 31.1 lbs). A bit heavier than this (not sure if there were any changes), but still pretty light given the component spec level.
  • 18 1
 @Dlakusta: BuT SaNtA CrUz HaS a LiFe TiMe WaRrANty So iT's A rEaLlY gOoD dEaL!
  • 3 0
 @MarcusBrody: i have the 2018 model, while the 19 model is reviewed here, and i think that the biggest difference is my bike came with a heavier dhr wt. Other than that, it’s the same frame, slightly different brakes and drivetrain.
  • 1 0
 @Elitecaleb: Cool. Well then I would certainly believe this bike sliding into the 30.X range. Thanks.
  • 2 1
 Yeah so at my local bike shop one of the reps brought by a Carbon Altitude model that was like $5500 or $4500 and it was so god damn light. The same comparable Bronson model was a little heavier. But the suspension design of the Bronson cannot go unnoticed. Pros and Cons to everything my friends.
  • 1 0
 @chillrider199: My old carbon altitude was a tank. Not light, but rode great.
  • 3 0
 @chillrider199: That comparison is a valid one. The Bronson has a "superior" linkage design, but they are also solid bikes that typically don't break often. The amount of Altitudes I've seen/heard about cracking at our shops is insane. RC is right when saying about the flex in the rear end and how it wouldn't be a great bike park bike. My Bronson feels great in the park (not as great as DH bike obviously, but for a 150mm bike). I'll take a bike that weighs a pound or two more, just for the peace of mind that it will last more than a season...
  • 22 2
 “Follow PB's comment section and you'd realize how small the percentage of riders are who comprehend the nuances of suspension”
Haha
  • 12 0
 My suspensions black with stealth decals bro
  • 23 2
 I go into 'rage wrench' mode when the fricken axle bolt Allen keys are different sizes!!! Why does this exist?????
  • 35 2
 Yeah so true - though not quite as annoying as some stems that have 5mm on steerer bolts and 4mm on the plate!
  • 2 0
 @chainspotting: bad aim, I meant to upvote that. Couldn't agree more.
  • 15 1
 Nothing better than having 4 and 5mm combo stem, some T25 for brakes, a nice 4mm on drivetrain, 3mm for dropper and some odd 2.5mm for grips. If you service an ebike you'll find even nicer 2mm for Bosch's screen
  • 11 0
 @vid1998: tool makers got to live too.
  • 2 1
 On a single item (like a stem), probably for weight or space minimizing (eg: 4 bolts on bar clamp can be smaller and lighter than 2 bolts on steerer clamp). On a whole bike? Different needs and different manufacturers. My trail bike Commencal Meta SX runs a Fox 36 (20mm axle) with 5mm head on the front and a RockShox Maxle also with 5mm head on the back. But my Trek all-road has 6mm heads on front and rear axles (from Robert Axle), though I could also get Maxles for both ends. And if I had a Fox 15QR fork and put a Fox bolt-on axle on there, it would be 6mm head and not match the rear...
  • 1 0
 @just6979: Come on, I can't remember which bike check it was, but having an hex 4 or 5mm for brakes to mount on the mount and the mount itself had torx. You don't need the whole spectre of bolts just for the sake of it
  • 1 0
 @vid1998: That's one tiny example and also "adapter": every brake adapter I've ever seen uses the same 5mm head as the brakes themselves. If the adapter had Torx, then someone screwed up. If you mean the T25 on some of SRAM's levers or matchmaker things, well that comes to my point: don't need the force of a 5mm bolt to hold the lever on the bars, might as well use a smaller bolt and save weight and space. And T25 is already there on brake rotors, and almost every multitool has a T25 on it!
  • 3 0
 Fasteners are chosen by engineers to match the torque spec for that location, and its more than just wasted weight at stake. A size too small for the application can lead to under-torqued and/or stripped bolts, and a size too large can lead to over-torqued and/or broken bolts and even broken parts from clamping too tight.

That said, I'm sure there are many places where there is overlap in what fasteners are appropriate and engineers haven't stepped back to see the bigger picture of wrenching before choosing
  • 26 10
 It is insane how much bikes cost now. The fact that we have people making payments on bikes like it is a car is ridiculous. $3000.00 should be to top end, not the low end ...
  • 11 4
 Agreed... Considering you can get something with an engine in it for that price. I was looking at new ATV's the other day that were cheaper than a lot of bikes. People scoff when you make these kinds of comparisons but goddamn it's getting ridiculous
  • 5 3
 Well, that 3000 bike will give you better performance than the top end bike of a few years ago, so why bother with the crazy priced bikes if you don't have the money?

And $3000 isn't really the low end of good bikes. Even sticking with full suspensions you can actually buy in a store, bikes like the Giant Stance and Marin Rift Zone are available under $2000 and that's not even looking at direct to consumer brands.
  • 10 1
 So when can we expect Darknut Bike Co. to start taking over the market with said top spec bikes at 3k?
  • 5 1
 @MarcusBrody: Nailed it!

Everyone else: That's how markets work! Enough people willing to spend $8,000 and obsess about grams and number of carbon bits and gear count and range that other people can and will keep charging $8,000, or more, for marginal gains. There are also enough people that only want to spend $1,500, and wouldn't know where to start counting grams, and will get actual gains just from getting out there right now instead of saving up for 4x the price and almost unnoticable gains at their experience level.
  • 3 2
 It's insane the stupid crap I have to read from public schoolers who were never given an Econ 101 section.
  • 17 3
 Wait, did 27.5 become inferior and all out bad at some point? I know 26 ain't dead but I doubt I would ever consider a 29 for anything other than a hardtail. Still, awesome bike, I just wish 3K USD did not translate to 3.3K Euro.
  • 4 0
 just get a new propain tyee al with gx for 2.8K Euro, which has similar suspension characteristics (despite looking different)
  • 10 2
 Uhm..ta-daa! your wish came true! 2672.00 euro
  • 8 4
 This bike is 4500CAD. At that price the components are lacking. Almost every component is on the lower end in their class. This bike should be closer to 2999-3499CAD.
  • 6 0
 @Ryan2949: Per their website, this bike is 3800 CAD?

And switching to the UK I see £2700?

Are you guys adding in tax?
  • 4 17
flag shaowin (Jul 8, 2019 at 8:11) (Below Threshold)
 @Ryan2949: but your money sucks, are they supposed to eat the cost of your weak dollar?
  • 5 0
 @jaredmh: Oh my, I definitely was looking at the 50 instead of the 30 LOL. My mistake!
  • 2 0
 Try one out. I used to think 27.5 was the way to go until I got my first 29er enduro bike a few weeks ago. My whole perspective has shifted.
  • 1 0
 @scary1: I also use XE, it's just that US products do not transfer to Europe directly with the accepted exchange rate, there is always an added extra tax. Reason why everyone in the US has a Go Pro and ride great MTB/BMX/MX bikes.
  • 3 0
 North American bikes are almost never a good deal in Europe. If you are looking for a deal, just buy one of the myriad of excellent domestic options like Commencal, Radon, Nukeproof, YT, Propain etc.
  • 2 0
 @skycripp: I demoed a Pivot with 27.5's
last Sunday. It was a fine bike but I will never own another one after riding a good 29er.
  • 1 0
 @Bozeman10: And I could say the exact same thing, but in reverse -- tried a bunch of hyped 29ers, couldn't see myself buying one.

Aren't choices still good? They make the Instinct if 29 is your thing.

Ultimately, I really appreciate what Specialized (on the SJ) and YT do when they realize there are fans of both wheel sizes and they just make a version of the same bike for both 27 and 29. It's a little extra engineering, sure, but I would think you would sell more bikes since you can cater to both preferences and not turn off people adamantly opposed to one size or the other.
  • 12 0
 While being neither a great rider nor very knowledgeable in suspension nuances, I've managed to set-up my ride-9 (older version) to benefit me well. Having separate settings for lighter vs heavier riders makes A LOT of sense, just make sure you consider your weight consists of anything you'll be carrying on your back while you're out there.
  • 12 0
 Good call on the heavier vs lighter rider setups. I'll take that into consideration in future reviews.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, sounds like a great idea to me, kinda wish I had switch on my Stumpjumper that would make it more progressive. Not something to change immediately, but can be used to adapt the bike to weight and riding style, especially useful on these garbage shocks with no tunning options other than air.
  • 2 0
 @RichardCunningham: One thing though, I've never used the settings for heavier riders so, objectively, the differences are hypothetical to me.
  • 12 0
 Commencal Meta TR 29 would be a great bike to add to these recent budget friendly reviews
  • 8 0
 "Time for suspension makers to build a better performing option for this important price range. " - Look at the McLeod. It will make a bit of noise (shim stacks do), but the damper is truly fantastic.
  • 4 0
 Exactly what I was thinking. Except I haven't noticed any noise from my Mcleod. I don't know why companies still spec these trashcan shocks, to match the fork maybe?
  • 7 1
 Rocky has a really cool suspensionlayout there, low AS in highspeed gears and 100% in climbing gears, this way you dont have kickback and yourself blocking the suspension on the downs but you are still able to pedal back up. progressioncurve is also good -just add a coilshock and done
  • 4 1
 check my page for my altitude - coil edition
  • 1 0
 @feathers54: oh splooooooooosh.
  • 2 0
 @feathers54: How are you finding that Marzocchi coil shock?
  • 8 0
 Interesting to see sunrace cassette specced on an oem bike, have been using them for a while now and personally rate them over sram cassettes
  • 5 0
 100%! Been using SunRace cassettes from 9 speed to 11 speed, and they're the best for the money (both performance and looks) and damn close the best overall.

The only (really a non-issue) issue I've ever had is that the first free sprocket (the upper 6-7 are on 2 alloy carriers) seems to always be one that I use a lot and it notches up my freehub and becomes a pain to remove the alloy carriers! Gotta get that steel freehub body on order!

(Would love to try Shimano 12sp though, sounds like it's actually the best ever, but I'm boycotting since they won't let Hope make a freehub which means I can't run it on my wheels, and needing new wheels for a new drivetrain is even worse than them implying you need a new crankset for a new drivetrain!).
  • 5 0
 After 3 months on the Altitude C50 I can offer the following comments on Ride-9:

It find it is really is 3 positions x 3 BB & 3 Shock firmness adjustments.

Steep - Medium - Slack
High - Medium - Lower
Stiff (sits higher until medium hits) - Default (\small hits get shock working). - Softer (squishy and compliant)

Primarily this means you don't need to add volume spacers to my DPX2 to adjust the shock. You can adjust the Ride-9 setting. It is also worth noting that the DPX2 compression switch works very well on this bike and further adapts the suspension curve while riding. I use it all the time. (mostly trail rides)

I run mine in the #9 position for pedally trails up and down trails and #3 or #1for lift riding.

Anyone can adjust the chips on the trail or in the parking lot so I disagree that it's too complex for most riders.
It's easy to experiment and riders find what they like.

I LOVE the system. Makes my previous Yeti seem like a 1 trick pony.

On a separate note, my bike came with a 34 front ring which is essentially useless for trail riding.
With the SRAM 11 x50t GX Eagle, only the top 3 gets map even close to a 1x10 drivetrain so the 12 speeds do not give you any extra gears. I suggest dropping to either a 32 (that's what I'm using now) or a 30. A 32t ring will give you one extra easier gear for low-end power. Using a 30 front ring gives you 2+ easier gears, and means that your active gears are mid way in the cassette where the spacig is closer between the cogs for more efficient changes. If you are pedalling a lot in XC mode, run the 30. (counterintuitive I know)

M.
  • 12 8
 „Follow PB's comment section and you'd realize how small the percentage of riders are who comprehend the nuances of suspension and geometry well enough to take advantage of Ride 9's array of kinematic options.“

Follow the PB reviews and you'd realize how little does the review to really describe the differences in bike handling and suspension performance between bike brands and suspension layouts. Especially Horst vs Single pivot produces bikes with completely different characteristics and typically a rider would prefer only one type of suspension layout.
What you give people is how you feel about the bike, what people want is info which would let them visualize how they would feel and here you fail miserably. So maybe instead of laughing at comment section you could try to give some scale of stiffness, comfort, handling etc.
  • 6 0
 I've been riding since 2000. I've had a bunch of different suspension designs. They have all been ace bikes. The suspension had only been part of the story. Also, I've never really read a description of how suspension works that mach my experiences.
  • 10 0
 Ah yes... I can sense the butt hurt.
  • 4 0
 If you are mainly riding backcountry with a lot of ups and downs on natural trails but you also travel to the bike park on a regular basis then the ability to adapt your bike setup makes a lot of sense. Given that this bike is aimed at people who are either new or don't have a tonne of cash to spend on multiple bikes then it's an even bigger plus.
  • 14 7
 This isnt even good value. My commencal came with a lyrik, the same shock, gx drivetrain, and guide rs brakes for 2300.
  • 3 2
 One is online and the other is from a brick and mortar store.
  • 3 1
 @NickBit: 700 dollars more for worse parts is too much to justify buying imo, even though you can get better service from the bike shop
  • 2 0
 @NickBit: true. Now give me a reason to care other than warranty readiness, which most often depends on manufacturer rather than seller attitude.
  • 7 0
 in Germany rocky is no good value at all brands like canyon, radon propain and yt are offering way better value for money
  • 2 0
 I plus voted you as you were going down, people do not like the truth
  • 2 0
 RM has never been the best value. I'd love to support my countrymen but my next bike will probably be a commencal as well.
  • 1 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: Aren't they pricier over there?
  • 2 0
 @DangerDavez: for less money you can support more than just your white collar countrymen and buy a made in Canada Devinci. Sadly the Troy is made in Taiwan. Bummer. The Jango, Spartan and Wilson are dope though
  • 1 0
 @Bflutz625: All the Devinci aluminum bikes are made in Canada. All the carbon bikes are made overseas, doesn't matter if it's a Troy, Wilson or Spartan.

I love my personal fleet of Devinci bikes, and up until about 2016 they were an excellent value, at least in Canada. However, their pricing has gone the way of Santa Cruz in recent years. I'm going to give a hard pass to the new Spartan when companies like YT give me 95% of the frame performance with significantly better components for 2/3 the price.
  • 1 0
 @cueTIP: I an aware that the carbon bikes are made overseas but for the Troy aluminum they had to move it's production overseas as well to keep up with demand. If you look at all the aluminum bikes except the Troy they say made in Canada. The Troy only says designed in Canada.
  • 3 0
 Full slack. Position 1. I tried Neutral and Position 3. For 3-4 rides each. Too twitchy at high speed cornering.

I have the Allow 70 with DPX2 and Fox 36 (1 extra volume spacer).

The most surprising thing in the bike... the Duroc rims.
  • 4 0
 Calling Ride9 a hedge against geometry changes in the last few years is pretty lame. Rocky has had Ride9 for many years, definitely before the phrase "long, low, and slack" was a thing.
  • 3 0
 Paraphrasing the cons: "system (Ride9) that would help in the park (set up slack and progressive), could be detrimental in the wrong hands (just like any suspension setting) even though there is a great resource for getting the settings right (Ride9 webpage that was linked a bunch)" So the cons basically cancel out.

Sure maybe the rear is a bit flexy and the shock might heat up under a real ripper, but you also praised the bike as being great for both newbs and top-level riders. So the fast rider swaps out the shock, and maybe the NX stuff and/or wheels eventually, and both of them just deal with the flexy rear because it's still better than we had 5 years ago and it didn't ruin anyone then.
  • 3 1
 Looks as solid as a bike as my 2001 Kona Chute was back in the day. QR20 Bombers, Hayes Mags, Race Face Cranks, XT drivetrain and a sweet alloy frame. If you break something on this bike when you upgrade it you won’t be breaking it again. Plus it’ll teach you how to change the oil in dampers to get the shocks right, perfect teenagers bike.
  • 2 0
 Thanks Rocky for proposing that beast in aluminium...
Would be one of my top choices if I had to replace my old 2008 Slayer SXC that still works... so well.
Looking forwards an alloy version of the latest Slayer, one day, but probably preferring that `do-it-all` kind of bike, considering that the Instinct is an excellent option too.

For now, my good old Slayer does the job, and don`t think I`m gonna break it on purpose just to buy another bike! Smile
  • 4 2
 Was this bike actually weighed? Or are you going on the manufacturers listed weight? With this build, I’d expect to see something closer to 35lbs than 30lbs, even on a Carbon Frame 30lbs would be wishful thinking. Maybe it doesn’t matter, but seems like you’d put it on a bike scale to confirm.
  • 7 0
 Well, since there is no NX Eagle anchor...I mean cassette... You need to adjust your expectations slightly. But still you pose a fair question.
  • 1 0
 Another review site weighed it last year at 14.1 kg (so 31.1 lbs). A bit heavier than this (not sure if there were any changes), but still pretty light given the component spec.
  • 14 0
 Weighed on my trusty Park Tool scale.
  • 2 0
 @RichardCunningham: Wow, I'm impressed. How the hell is it possible with those components used - I mean Yari, heavy cassette, even steel chainring, tires, NX, 495g rims, heavy hubs, 2.0 spokes, etc. Some kind of antimatter?
Anyway, let's put the weight factor on side, overall it is damn nice bike! Smile
  • 3 0
 @ziolek79: The internet says the Duroc 35 wheelset weighs 1860g. The Monarch is pretty light at around 200 something grams. And no pedals.
  • 1 0
 I am pretty sure my Alloy 70 Sram weighs 31.5lbs with pedals. Only thing new is SiXc Carbon bars and 32mm long stem.
  • 2 0
 Giving the suspension settings without spring pressure\weight is useless. And the clicks should be referenced to the recommended settings if available (eg: rebound based on psi), or maybe the default\middle setting.

Telling us the rebound clicks without knowing the spring pressure and without knowing how many clicks the manufacturers recommend for that pressure is just stupid.
  • 3 0
 The stop watch can be the enemy of enjoyment. That and my killer fast friends always wait for me at the bottom of the trail Smile
We'll put . Fast is not always a measure of enjoyment on a bike.
  • 1 0
 As for the "ride 9", After a year of trying 4 positions on my Instinct it's back to neutral where I can balance both ends easily. I had some concerns about the blind pivots but so far so good. The space between the swingarm and seat tube at the bb is just right for crunching on pebbles and crap so shove some foam. Has anyone tried an oval chainring with that guide?
  • 2 0
 Yep I've got a wolf tooth 32T. Works fine with the Spirit Guide.
  • 1 0
 Hey, anyone out there got feedback about a Fox Rhythm vs Yari? I have been less than impressed with RockShox recently.

At the low end of OEM pricing, I would figure something form Manitou or XFusion would get you better performance for the price, but gotta have those main brand logos on your bike if you want it to sell well.
  • 4 0
 Now that Yari has the Debonair, I love that fork personally. I think that addition was a real noticeable improvement. I thought the Yari felt better than the Rhythm 36. I don't know about the other 2.
  • 1 0
 @ICKYBOD: Thanks. I'm thinking of building up a 2nd budget bike for when friends/family are in town, plus I'm just curious on how well of a bike I can make on a low end budget.
  • 1 0
 I think the 9 positions could be useful. I am a total idiot and don't know anything about suspension but what I always do is set it up just like the manufacturer or tuner recommend then just make a couple small tweaks to better suit me after I ride it a couple times. So yeah, 9 would be too much if it didn't come with a guide, but 9 is doable for everyone if it comes with a guide or some sort of website where you can input your height, weight, riding style, etc. and get a really close starting point given to you.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the great review RC. It sounds like a DPX2 shock (and to a lesser extent a Fox 36 fork) would really improve the performance of this bike all round. That makes the alloy 70 a very attractive deal, considering it's likely to weigh even less than the alloy 30.
  • 1 0
 I LOVE my Altitude ride 9 setup in the STEEPest position for all around trail riding... Slightly longer reach, 66° HTA (65 feels too much like driving a bus on regular trails), and 75° STA.....
I just put in a slightly larger volume spacer to get it to not be so linear ????‍♂️
Then for park days I slap it in the slackest option... ????????
  • 1 0
 Im riding the 2018 Altitude A30 and its a pure fun Bike. Done Bikeholidays in Finale Ligure, Dolomites, Vinschgau and all the riding at home with this Bike. Had no issues yet. Cables below the bottom bracket are no problem too. Only changed the front chainring to 28teeth for the climbs. Great Bike for the money!
  • 2 0
 Bought this baby last week and took it on a 34km 1000+ m elevation trail (Seven Summits in Rossland BC) and absolutely loved it. This is is a huge upgrade coming from the Rocky Mountain Switch S1!
  • 1 0
 Would anyone be able to give me some advice please, relatively new to mtb, looking to purchase my first full suspension bike. Would anyone know how the Altitude A30 compares to the canyon spectral 6.0? Currently living in Europe and moving to Canada soon. Researching quite a bit however struggling to find a solution. Thinking post brexit cost too... Thanks for the help.
  • 3 0
 Thanks for another affordable bike review RC. Asking with The Privateer, this is my favorite PB content.
  • 2 0
 ... Along with The Privateer. Autocorrect owns me again.
  • 2 0
 > thumb down for the Monarch shock

It's Deluxe. Also, welcome to the world of under 5k bikes guys. That's one small step for a PB reviewer, one giant leap for mankind.
  • 4 0
 I have yet to meet a Rocky Mountain I didn’t like.
  • 3 0
 Great review. I love reading about bikes that I might actually buy instead of bikes I can't afford.
  • 2 0
 I can't see from the photo, are the rotors the useless 'resin pad only' junk that keep popping up on cheaper bikes?
A hidden but required upgrade.
  • 4 1
 Well, that bike makes sense
  • 3 0
 This review really emphasizes how overrated carbon fiber is.
  • 1 0
 The Rocky is 3lbs lighter for only $200 more? Geeze, that Marin is a still born, their project manager needs to do a better job.
  • 3 0
 More reviews on bikes in this price point!
  • 5 2
 Thumbs Up!
  • 1 1
 Frame looks good, so does geo numbers, relatively cheap...good stuff.

I wonder what's the bb height, it doesn't look low, somewhere just shy of 350mm?
  • 2 0
 with a 9mm drop in position 5 and Maxxis 2.5 wt tire, if I'm doing my math right (292+62)-9=345mm. I could be wrong.
  • 3 2
 What a rad bike!
I feel that 27.5" is superior to 29" in small & medium sizes for this type of riding/ size rider.
  • 2 4
 I dig Rocky Mountain bikes, and the 30 is a solid bike, but I can't get over the low hanging cables. It's petty I know, but to me it's just not a good place to have important components hanging from. It's what keeps me from buying a RM, or any bike that does this.
  • 4 0
 The bottom cables solution seems to be really well handled here. Against direct hits, they are protected by the chainring. From the photos on this article it can be seen they are protruding less than it. Against rocks that come flying out of the front wheel, the hydraulic hose is enveloped by a protective sleeve.
  • 1 4
 Exactly!! I'm sure it works fine but I won't buy a bike that has it.
  • 7 0
 i do not like it either but i already had a couple of bikes with similar routing and no issues whatsoever -its like the myth of certain linkages cracking your b*lls
  • 1 0
 In the late 90s and early 2000s, Pacific Northwest brands like Rocky, Kona and Brodie (as well as others) would proudly highlight in their marketing that their cables hung high on the bike. This would keep the cables out of danger; a design that was noticeably different than other California-based bike brands who kept their junk down low.

I am not sure when these same PNW companies started putting more of their cables below and around the bottom bracket. I always thought that up-high cables were a cool design choice.
  • 2 0
 I definitely get concern but I actually think its a nice way to route the cables. It seems like BB cable routing is often overlooked. All the frames I've had that route the cable over the top of the BB end up with the cable either rubbing part of the frame or sliding in and out of the routing features (causing wear on the frame or cable or both) because the length of the joint needs to change with the suspension movement. Running the cables under the BB allows for lots of cable slack for suspension movement without having to worry about the cables causing wear. I could imagine that in riding locations with lots of very point rocks it might create a potential for failures though.
  • 2 1
 Not really much more potential for failures: A rock bouncing up and demolishing a cable is really pretty damn rare. More likely to get a stick or branch in there and levering on the cables enough to do damage.

That said, the manufacturers who don't spec a bash on a design with under-BB routing are just Doing It Wrong.
  • 1 1
 @DavidGuerra: " Against direct hits, they are protected by the chainring." That should read "protected by the bashguard". Rocky definitely Did It Wrong by not adding one.
  • 5 0
 @Boych12: Have you ever seen them damaged by anything? Because I've seen much more cable damage at the bar or mech from sticks and branches than any kind of rock hit that might mess up those cables.
  • 2 0
 @gdharries: As suspension travel got longer, the cable flex dictated by those high routes got excessive, low routes don't have to deal with handling 100mm+ of movement between housing anchor points.

And they realized that the high-routing didn't actually help anything "protection"-wise, especially as housings went full length and then internal.
  • 2 0
 @just6979: If there is no bashguard, as there isn't here, the chainring is indeed effectively protecting the cables. Most brands don't even offer the bashguard as an option. One thing is for sure, if you are not running a bashguard, what should concern you is the chainring, not the cables!
  • 2 0
 No problem after 2 years of solid riding. This and the pressfit bottom brackets were a bit of a concern.

Now, I’m over it. Had 2 Santa Cruz bikes before...
  • 2 0
 OMG YES!!! Affordable bikes that are also capable...
  • 1 0
 My slayer has ride 4. 4 is plenty. 9 is like a rubics cube. Confusing as heck for someone new to the sport.
  • 1 0
 Nice bike, perfect for most riders, just sent my son in law a link to this article, thanks PB.
  • 3 1
 i dislike low hanging cables even more than a frame without a bittle mount
  • 2 0
 After 2 years of solid riding, no issue on the low hanging cables. I also have a OneUp lower bash guard.
  • 1 1
 This bike is missing a sprocket guard and the way the cabels hang under the bb is terrible. I would not buy this bike because those 2 reasons.
  • 1 0
 Geometry is really similar to the Evil Calling.
  • 1 0
 Frame reminds me of my first full suspension Kona Precept.
  • 1 0
 I know this is a common frame design, but this Altitude really does look extremely similar to the Precept:

www.bikemag.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/precept_150-2.jpg
  • 2 1
 @davemays: Horst link vs linkage driven single pivot.
  • 1 0
 @Trabes: Interesting to know! Plus the Altitude has the adjustable geo.
  • 1 0
 fantastic spec for the price. I'm a fan.
  • 2 1
 I hate cables under the bottom bracket.... Just my personal opinion.
  • 2 0
 After 2 years of solid riding, no issue on the low hanging cables. I also have a OneUp lower bash guard.
  • 1 0
 @clunchpowers I had some low cables like that and I cut my brake line on a rock. That was an expensive fix, and brake fluid got everywhere.

Some shrink wrap or cable shielding would protect them well enough but it's a band fix for sure. I don't like cables there either
  • 1 0
 Wow, look like my future bike purchase!!
  • 2 0
 Sunrace cassette yeah!
  • 1 0
 Get the new Norco Fluid. Nicer and cheaper
  • 1 1
 Love it, stupid plastic frames crack!
  • 1 0
 Top ride
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