Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition - Review

Dec 9, 2014 at 11:20
by Mike Kazimer  

Rocky Mountain's Thunderbolt is a recent addition to the Canadian company's lineup, with 120mm of travel and slacker geometry than what you'd find on a purebred XC machine. For 2015 Rocky has added several carbon framed options, including the BC Edition tested here, to complement the aluminum versions. The BC Edition was built with the premise that it's similar to how Rocky's employees, a bunch of hard charging mountain bikers themselves, would spec their own personal rides, and compared to the standard model, the BC Edition gets wider bars, a shorter stem, and a 130mm RockShox Pike up front. These changes push the bike even further into the trail bike category, broadening the scope of the terrain that the bike can comfortably take on. Available in sizes XS-XL, the Thunderbolt BC Edition retails for $6399 USD.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt
BC Edition Details

• Intended use: trail
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Rear wheel travel: 120mm
• Smoothwall Carbon frame
• Smoothlink suspension
• RockShox Pike RCT3 130mm fork
• Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 26.3 lb (size L w/o pedals)
• MSRP: $6399 USD

Frame Design

The Thunderbolt is an incredibly clean looking ride, with a purposeful yet graceful aesthetic that's achieved by the shaping of its carbon fiber frame. From the way the top tube curves over the rear shock to the contours of the headtube junction, it's clear that some serious time went into creating a frame that's easy on the eyes. The main frame and swingarm are both constructed from Rocky's Smoothwall technology, which relies on a rigid form rather than an air bladder during the carbon fiber layup process. According to Rocky, this allows for greater control over the amount of resin and fiber that is used while also decreasing the weight of the final product.

The majority of full suspension frames currently on the market rely on sealed cartridge bearings at most pivot locations, but the designers at Rocky Mountain have long been proponents of using bushings, citing their increased lifespan and lower weight as the main advantages when compared to ball bearings. Thanks to Rocky's new Pipelock main pivot, cartridge bearings have been completely eliminated from the Thunderbolt's pivot locations. The Pipelock uses an expanding collet housed inside the large diameter hollow axle to lock the axle into the frame while also applying even pressure to the bushings. A grease port is located on both sides of the axle for quick and easy maintenance.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition review
  The new Pipelock main pivot design let Rocky eliminate cartridge bearings from the frames' pivot locations, and grease ports allow for the bushings to easily be re-lubricated. Internal cable routing adds to the bike's refined look, with a screw on access plate located at the bottom of the down tube to simplify housing replacement.

As is becoming increasingly common, especially on carbon frames, internal routing is in place on the Thunderbolt - the rear derailleur housing and the line for the RockShox Reverb post run inside the downtube while the rear brake line is located outside the frame. A screw-on access plate is located on the downtube close to the BB92 bottom bracket to allow easy access to the internally routed housing, and it also makes the bike compatible with Shimano's Di2 electronic shifting system by creating a spot to mount the battery. For riders who are tired of schlepping around a hydration pack, or who want even more liquid carrying capacity, there's room for a full size water bottle to fit inside the front triangle, and another one can be carried on the underside of the downtube.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition review
  The Smookthlink suspension design controls the Thunderbolt's 120mm of travel, while the Ride-9 adjustable shock mount allows rider to tune the bike's geometry and suspension feel to their liking.

Suspension Layout

The Thunderbolt uses Rocky Mountain's Smoothlink suspension design, which places the chainstay pivot slightly above the rear axle. The intention behind this placement is to minimize any potential affects that chain tension has on the bike's suspension, allowing the shock to still respond well to impacts even in the lower climbing gears.

The bike's geometry and suspension feel can be altered using Rocky's Ride-9 shock mount system. By unscrewing a bolt and changing the position of the two inserts located at the shock's forward mounting point, riders can choose from a total of 9 different options, selecting everything from a steeper, more plush setup, to one with the slackest head angle and most progressive suspension feel. The range of head angles is between 66.5° to 68.2°, and the corresponding seat tube angle goes from 73.0° to 74.6°.

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 Edition review

The trails in Sedona, Arizona, are full of short, steep climbs that are followed by steep, chunky downhills, terrain that keeps you on your toes, with a constant barrage of natural puzzles lurking around each corner. It's a harsh landscape that rewards pinpoint precision, which made it an excellent testing ground for the Thunderbolt.

Climbing / Handling

The Thunderbolt's light weight gives it a boost when it comes to climbing, a trait that was especially appreciated on the long fire road grinds that began many of our desert rides. The fit was comfortable, aided by the wide bars and short stem, which made for an upright, rather than hunched over position. When it came time to tackle Sedona's technical uphill sections, the Thunderbolt wasn't as lively a climber as I'd anticipated. It's more like a marathon runner rather than a sprinter – it'll get the job done in good form, but its abilities didn't have me purposely seeking out tricky climbs the way a bike with more eager climbing manners would have. The amount of grip on hand was adequate, but compared to, say, Yeti's SB5c, there wasn't the ground clawing traction on tap that makes it easy to clamber up the ugliest pitches of crumbling sandstone around. It's possible that additional traction could have been gained by adjusting the rear shock position to get a less progressive shock setting, but that would have meant steepening the head angle, and if forced to choose I'd rather have better downhill than uphill performance. On less technical climbs, like those previously mentioned dirt road ascents, the Thunderbolt was an efficient climber, and even with the rear shock left fully open there was minimal undue rear suspension movement.

Cornering is where the Thunderbolt shines, and the tighter the turns the better. The 422mm chain stays made for effortless direction changes, and slaloming around the cactus and yucca plants that were waiting to punish poor line choices was no trouble at all thanks to the bike's crisp handling. Those short chain stays and the stiff frame made it easy to carve clean arcs through the dusty soil whenever necessary, without even a hint of wallowing or sloppiness from the rear end.

PB Test trip
  The Thunderbolt felt best diving in and out of Sedona's dusty corners.


The Thunderbolt has a very 'safe' feel on the descents, with precise, controlled manners that facilitated navigating the steepest and choppiest terrain in Sedona, but at the same time it didn't encourage throwing caution to the wind and blasting down the trail at full speed. After all, this is a trail bike, and as such it performs those duties without trouble, but it doesn't have the category-blurring downhill capabilities of something like Transition's Scout, a bike that has a similar amount of travel but much more DH oriented performance. It was on the slower, techier bits of trail that the Thunderbolt performed best, slicing and dicing its way down the stair steps of rock and around sharp, exposed turns. The back end is easy to pick up and pivot around, and if the Euro-nose pivot method of turning around switchbacks isn't in your repertoire, the Thunderbolt would be a good bike to learn it on.

PB Test trip
  Steep rolls didn't pose any problems for the Thunderbolt, as long as speeds are kept in check.

Our test bike was set up with the slackest head angle and most progressive rear shock setting, which gave the Monarch RT3 a very supportive feel, one that resisted bottoming out well no matter how flat (or slightly uphill) the landing, although it wasn't the most supple shock, and the trail chatter wasn't as muted as it could have been. It was on the longer, rougher sections of trail where multiple squared edged about that the Thunderbolt's limitations became most noticeable - this isn't a monster truck, and you'll need to choose your line wisely or suffer the bouncing and jarring that will result otherwise.

The Thunderbolt could also benefit from a chain slap protector – even with a clutch-equipped derailleur, the sound of metal against carbon echoed through the air far too often for my liking. An old tube and some electrical tape is the quickest garage mechanic fix, but a bike of this caliber deserves to come with a pre-installed option.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition review
  'BC Edition' means the Thunderbolt gets wider bars,a shorter stem, and a stouter fork. The Race Face crankset combined with the SRAM X01 drivetrain proved to be a solid performer.

Component Check

• BC Edition upgrades: I'm a fan of bike companies rolling out models that are inspired by the way their employees and team athletes spec their bikes. The resulting bikes are usually slightly different from the norm, often mirroring trends that have yet to completely make it to the mainstream – things like wide bars, short stems, and 1x drivetrains. With the BC Edition of the Thunderbolt, Rocky Mountain took a more conservative route for most of their choices, going with 760mm bars over the 785mm option, a Pike with 130mm of travel versus one with 140mm, and finally, choosing Maxxis Ardent tires over something meatier and more capable. Even though I would have liked to see them push the spec a little further past the norm, I understand settling on a middle ground that avoids alienating potential buyers, but the Ardents left me scratching my head. They might work well in the middle of summer, but conditions in BC tend to be sloppy more often than not – a tire with a more aggressive tread pattern, maybe something along the lines of a Maxxis Minion DHF seems like it would be a better 'BC Edition' choice.

• Race Face Turbine Cranks / SRAM X01 drivetrain: Race Face's narrow-wide ring worked perfectly with SRAM's 1x11 X01 cassette, derailleur, and shifter, and there were no dropped chains even without running any type of upper guide. We did need to increase the clutch tension on the rear derailleur after a couple of rides, but once adjusted there were no other issues.

• Race Face Next 35mm bars: The 35mm handlebar 'standard' is slowly spreading, and Race Face now offers a 35mm diameter version of their popular Next carbon bar. According to the Canadian company, going with the larger diameter actually allowed them to shave weight without sacrificing stiffness. On the trail, the bars were stiff without being too harsh, which is a plus when pounding over the ever-present red sandstone in Sedona. The sweep and rise both felt spot-on as well, and for many riders the 760mm width will be just right.

PB Test trip

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Thunderbolt is a well constructed bike that's perfectly capable of providing hours of enjoyment out on the trail, but it's a little bit on the vanilla side of the spectrum. It goes up, down, and around with minimal fuss, but it lacks that defining characteristic, the one that pushes it out in front of the other contenders competing for the top spot. So who is the Thunderbolt BC Edition for? It's for the rider that wants a little more from their trail bike, the rider who's looking for something less twitchy and a little more forgiving than a full-on XC rig, but who doesn't typically find themselves on harrowing, extremely technical trails. This is a bike that's happiest dipping and diving through the turns on slightly less challenging terrain, which, truth be told, probably describes a large portion of the riders out there. - Mike Kazimer

Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review.


  • 85 14
 Pinkbike is brainwashing us with those 120mm bikes! It's a threat to Enduro. Who would not buy a 160 EWS killer with 61 head angle for that money?
  • 20 8
 that's my opinion as well, from cost point of view but a trailbike with 120mm is quicker and more nimble and lighter which better for long back country rides
  • 78 8
 I was being sarcastic. I own a 120 bike myself
  • 18 14
  • 32 1
(Contains irony)
  • 11 2
 You forgot bunch of knee guards soft enough not to protect you at all and a full-face helmet with road helmet vents..... all of these would be enduro specific of course! Everything together would go for a price of an alloy frame only!!
p.s.: Waki, you must be funniest troll out there Big Grin
  • 6 2 You had a good point! Pink bike's conclusion, the bike is OK if you don't ride very hard. Enjoy your 120mm's of nar, bro.
  • 10 4
 No I don't ride very hard. I am scared of falling. No really, I am just affraid of getting in the way of all those blokes on 160 and DH bikes going balls out, full throttle. Once you have a big bike, you become a beast, just like that!
  • 18 2
 Big bike = big balls. Well known fact.
  • 9 3
 Patrick9-32 - yes, your post just brought a flashback from the past when some bros in my home town were hitting dirt jumps on Azonic eliminators with Monster forks.
  • 2 0
 you swedes and your "sarcasm"
  • 4 15
flag lumpys (Dec 15, 2014 at 9:02) (Below Threshold)
 Well it seems like you really understand the dynamics of the sport. Do you wear lycra while stroking your 120mm's around the parking lot?
  • 4 8
flag jaydawg69 (Dec 15, 2014 at 9:53) (Below Threshold)
  • 20 0
 Tbh most of the riders overkill when choosing a bike, 10 years ago anything with 130+ mm of travel was considered a freeride rig, today people are buying 150mm bikes to ride down a fire road (and yes, I own a Rocky Mountain Slayer and no, I don't need it and yes, I'd be able to ride the same trails with less travel Big Grin )
  • 1 3
 XDURO for the win.
  • 10 0
 For the new generation of overly manicured bike trails(I'm not a fan, but I can't stop it) that resemble an elongated pumptrack going down a mountain, I absolutely enjoy the lower travel bikes with slacker/lower geometry and bigger stanchions. I'd love terrain that is rockier, steeper, and filled with roots, but when that is not available, these low travel bikes are faster, snappier, and make longer travel bikes feel sluggish. I see so many 150-160mm travel bikes under newer riders and it's just way too much for this particular type of terrain.
  • 4 8
flag lumpys (Dec 15, 2014 at 14:23) (Below Threshold) Dude you need to move! Where I live and ride if you don't have minimally 150mm's under you, your in for a rough and unenjoyable ride. There is still old school trails out there, keep the legacy alive.
  • 5 0
 Less travel is more fun as long as your bike/body can handle the abuse and you got the skills to keep landing soft. Those x-pro's working for Rocky Mountain know what they are doing. Imagine the joy they get from riding those nimble short travel bikes faster than anyone else on a big bike.
  • 5 0
 @lumpys I see you're from the Shuswap. I thought your trails were beautifully smooth, well-made and nice. Certainly nothing though that demanded/required "minimally" 150 travel. Perhaps I missed gnar? Thunderbolt and even Element would be fine bikes for the Shuswap trails
  • 3 6 Old school rubber head, white lake sat. tower dh, jimmys thang, 36DD, big ed Kal park, KC,. There has been a lot of great work achieved by the local trail alliance to build fast flowy tourist type trails for sure.
  • 3 6 That reputation is probably why the Shuswaps technical trails are private and undisturbed.
  • 4 1
 @lumpys - I am not sure if I should move to BC because my bike is too small according to a random stranger on the internet. But well, i'd love to, it's just that if I ever move to a place with mountains hogher than 1000ft I will buy Enduro 29
  • 2 6
flag lumpys (Dec 15, 2014 at 16:01) (Below Threshold)
  • 2 1
 i get you waki. it's kinda like once you get a bmw you start driving like a jackass.
  • 1 2 Exactly. Because you can.
  • 6 1
 @cuban-b. Jack asses switched their favorite brand to Audi. In Europe It's official.
  • 5 0
 Small bike+big terrain= big balls
  • 2 0
 I've seen rated movies in which male actors had particularly big balls and a big ding dong to top that, I doubt if any of them ever sat on a mountain bike. Hence we may agree that such rampageous arguments are invalid.
  • 2 1
 Ron Jeremy can easily "ride" any terrain. He can tuck (give himself a bj) and roll (he's so round). So he wont be scared of doing anything rampageous. And his hairiness is also extra padding.
  • 2 0
 Waki what happened to your old flag by the way...
  • 1 0
 I am travelling around the globe searching for my mojo
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 It's not funny, Asian Twins stole my mojo!!!
  • 1 0
 Is that because the swell up after hitting the top tube of the big bike?
  • 25 2
 Correction, conditions in the lower mainland tend to be sloppy more often than not. Luckily, it's 'BC Edition' not 'Vancouver and Neighbouring Suburbs Edition, and for the rest of BC, Ardents are a pretty good choice.
  • 5 0
 In Kamloops, Ardents are a really good choice for a bike like this.
  • 5 1
 In the summer ,sure Ardents are great in dry dusty conditions, but they are horrible in the wet.
  • 3 0
 I run ardents on my enduro in scotish mud and they are great rarely have any problems. i have ridden them over the alps and in almost any condition. they allways do at least well to awesome considdering their rolling resistance. But to be fair i run them in 2.6 and the blocks are quite big then
  • 5 0
 Different soils, different parts of the world. They pack with mud and don't shed it in California, also no good on slipery rock and roots.
  • 2 1
 I run ardents front and rear and I have only had a few occations where I would have wanted a nobbier tire.
  • 2 0
 Mud tires have very small spikey knobs I wouldn't call Ardents spikey. They do roll very roll. Maxxis designed them for dry conditions. If you run them in the wet and like them? Not my experience but to each their own.
  • 3 0
 In my experience, Ardents are a pretty good choice in 80% of places.
  • 4 2
 Ardents are spec'ed only for weight reasons.
  • 1 0
 I run them in the wet and think they are ok because i can cope while beeing decently fast on the uphill. when the weather turns really nasty i change to barons or magic marrys but u will feel it on the ups and as i need to ride 10 km to the trails on tarmac/hardpack the tad less traction is well worth it

also the mud i ride is very wet and has little clay and sheds realy well from almost any tire.

just saying the are greate allroundres like @PAmtbiker said
  • 2 0
 Being familiar with the XC performance of the 2.25 Ardents, Rocky was careful to use a more aggressive all-around tire, the 2.4 Ardent, on the BC Edition. With the extra casing volume, larger knobs, and deeper tread depth, this tire is better suited to the variety of conditions it will see which still includes pavement and hardpack approaches.
  • 3 0
 Ardent 2.25 rear. High roller 2.4 front.
  • 1 0
 ^Prime combo.
  • 14 2

Despite its weight and short travel, we think this bike is not great at climbing.

Despite its geometry and BC edition parts, we think this bike is good, but not great at descending.
  • 13 0
 That is a work of art...the massaged carbon around the top tube, and upper shock mount is sublime....
  • 2 0
 Rear triangle looks really clean too...
  • 7 0
 That would've been my bike but the damn PF92 bottom bracket was a deal breaker. I loved my Element 26" but the creaking BB killed it for me. Threaded BBs please RM!!
  • 1 0
 Agree on the press fit bb. Do the bushing pivots stay quiet or are they going to be noise makers. Anybody with real 1st hand experience, please comment.
  • 1 0
 The bushings never gave a problem for me after ~3 rides a week for over a year. Once I did pull the linkage apart and clean it, just because. The bushings were in surprisingly good shape still.
  • 2 0
 I had a 2010 RM Altitude, great bike. Threaded BB. I had a 2012 Spesh Stumpjumper EVO great bike, PF BB sucked ass
  • 5 0
 Hey WFO922, I ride a Rocky Mountain Element, which has similar bushings and bottom bracket to the Thunderbolt, and I have never had a single creak from either. I'm pretty fussy about maintenance, but I also ride all through the BC winter (i.e., plenty of mud). I put a drop of WD40 in the pivots after a bike wash, and check the torque on the pivot bolts every few months, but otherwise do little else for pivot/BB maintenance. The bike is still ninja-quiet after two winters. Like maxlombardy, I found that the pivots seem to stay pretty clean inside, too. A friend of mine rides last year's Thunderbolt, and she literally does nothing in the way of maintenance, and her bike has also stayed creak-free.

Slightly off topic, but I've had warranty experience with a couple different companies, and Rocky Mountain was the best by far: quick service, responsive and they genuinely seemed to care about their customers. So, just wanted to mention that in case you are thinking about the Thunderbolt.

  • 1 0
 @wfo922 one of the quietest bikes I've ridden, no noise after a season of super dusty and super messy PacNW riding
  • 9 0
 Awesome Review! Interesting bike for all day riding and exploring. How do you feel about the descending prowess if the fork was extended to 140mm and had a burlier front tire?
  • 3 0
 I rode a T-bolt all season, and if good fortune hadn't put me in possession of longer travel bike a 140mm fork would've been my #1 upgrade (already was built up with burlier tires chain guard wide bars etc.) definitely still a very capable bike though, I took it way outside of its comfort zone including quite a few laps on pro level DH courses and it always handled everything better than expected. Just know how to pick the cleanest line and stick to it! can't wait to rebuild her sometime next season....
  • 1 0
 Awesome! Thanks for the feedback! A low slung bike that is capable and keeps the rider honest (which probably benefits everyone). This bike and the transition scout, the start of xduro?
  • 3 0
 Rocky Mountain BC edition Thunderbolt $6399

Transition Scout #1 Build Kit (X01 kit) $4899{ts_2014-12-16_16:10:50}-3340aecc43c0246a-8A115571-0BE7-A199-B36C5F08D8635F8A

Yeti SB5 "Race build" (2x10spd) $6299 Caution: If you think the ardent is slick, this bike comes with the IKON rear tire!

I'll take a scout please and I'll use the difference in price to buy a 140mm fork....oh wait, It already comes with one. Winning.
  • 7 0
 Maybe I'm way off but why take a "BC Edition" bike to the Arizona desert for testing? It was the same thing when you guys reviewed the Altitude Rally Edition. I mean come guys know these bikes are born and bread on the shore influenced by people who ride the steep and deep daily. How about you go rip the Sea to Sky corridor and tell us how it is..
  • 1 0
 My understanding is that they're taking these bikes out of their element to see how they handle different terrain so that the riders outside of the designer's pick of trails get a better understanding of how it rides. And all it is is different parts on the bike, the frame and characteristics are still the same, they just went ahead and did all of the upgrades I had to do when I bought my bike.
  • 3 0
 I've ridden a bit in BC and also in Sedona. Sedona is one of those rare creatures - american trails that are challenging both on the ups and down.
  • 1 1
 because you need to turn out a review at a certain deadline and that area of the world is too sloppy or snowy to consistently ride right now. most product testing goes down in Arizona, SoCal or Bend this time of year.
  • 13 4
 Murdered out! Looks good. You could murder out anything and it'll look halfway decent....cept an EllsworthWink
  • 8 2
 I like that bike travel has stopped being an analog for dong length. Having a long travel bike doesn't make you a badass. I found the sweet spot for me seems to be 140. More playful, still fast up and down.
  • 5 0
 Most people are riding bikes that are too slack and with too much travel for their own good. I see guys every weekend struggling through switchbacks and tech because they bought the hype. Unless the trail goes straight they're lost.
  • 4 0
 You can't believe how many 160mm bikes and carbon Bronsons are spoon fed to new, unsuspecting riders at my shop simply because "it's a Bronson." Then they go ride cross country trails with these energy sucking behemoths when a 5" travel bike would have made it easier to ride and have more fun.
  • 1 0
 I think most of us have to figure it out for ourselves. All my riding buddies back east were drinking the long travel coolaid, now most have moved on to enduroaid, but a few knew it all along and have just ridden what they needed.
I actually plan to race some few enduro races on my remedy, maybe as soon as next year. Think they'll throw me out for having too short a bike? Does it matter that I smashed my previous times on it and more fun doing it because my confidence was soaring? Turns out those pedally sections eat time, and those bumps weren't as big as they looked.
  • 9 1
 BC edition being tested in Arizona lol
  • 3 0
 I love what this bike represents. When I look at the numbers I see a lightweight, shorter travel Altitude...There is NOTHING vanilla about the Altitude, so not sure what to make of this review. Whenever I look at geometry numbers for a RM bike or ride one, one word comes to mind -fun! The only con I can find is the price..
  • 3 1
 I disagree with RM's position on bushings vs bearings. people complain about the slightest little bit of seal stiction on front suspension, rear suspension bushings cause the same thing in the rear. People rave about replacing the shock bushings with needle bearings for a reason, Cane Creek moved to norglides because they cause less stiction.
  • 1 0
 And people diss Specialized for using proprietary direct mount shocks without a rear shock bushing to reduce friction. You can't win. Idiots everywhere.
  • 1 0
 People diss Specialized because you can use a wishbone without making a proprietary shock eyelet, there was even a bike with it reviewed here a few weeks ago: the new Ibis Mojo HD3.
  • 1 0
 Similar system on the Kona. It's messier and adds eye to eye shock length which can be the difference between being able to run a bottle cage and not.
  • 1 0
 Everything's a trade-off. I'd take no bottle cage over no replacement shocks availiable in 5-6 years. Try getting a shock to fit older Demos with bearing rear shock pivots, for instance. It's a custom eyelet that nobody makes.
  • 1 0
 Thought they were just standard eyelets turned 90 degrees?

Hydration isn't a trade off, it's essential isn't it? Packs suck!

I would think with all the stupid standards we have to put up with a direct mount and normal eyelet shock option would be little trouble for manufacturers to produce.
Either way I would still take direct mount as to me it just makes sense in a functional sense.

Anyway you want to guess at the extra % friction from bushings?
  • 1 0
 The older demos have an plain eyelet the diameter of a M6 bolt, as all the pivot bearings are in the actual rear triangle. so good luck finding a shock with an M6 diameter eyelet.

All I know about the wishbone stuff is that it's proprietary, but I'm not sure how, never had one apart. you can't just buy an off the shelf shock for it, from what i've heard from people who've had problems.

It's funny how many people complain so much about packs, as I remember when everybody hated bottles, & were super stoked to be able to carry enough water for an all day ride. I don't have a problem with packs, they're ten times better than the first ones that replaced bottles, & I still want to carry more water than a bottle can hold.

I don't think the added friction during movement is a big deal, it's the initial resistance to movement, the "sticktion" that I think is the problem, & I could feel the difference in my old demo with one less bushing, so it's not insignificant.
  • 2 1
 Yep 6mm bolt but they had a solid aluminum puck with an offset (6mm) hole that could be rotated in the eyelet to change geometry. It was actually quite ingenious. Access to the rebound could be a problem and when I switched to a Vivid I had to remove the rebound know and adjust it via 2.5mm Allen key. The very old models did have the 6mm drilling in the eyelet but the geo is so outdated on those bikes they're literally unridable by modern standards anyway Smile

You can purchase Monarch's and Cane Creek shocks in direct mount now.

I agree packs have improved but if there are water stations during a ride or race I would always take a bottle.

I think it's friction and stiction and I think you're right, it's not insignificant especially if you're a lighter rider.
  • 1 0
 I rode one of those bikes until 2 years ago ('05 demo 8 ) & the geo is fine, if you're looking for a freeride bike. Which makes more sense for those of us who ride downhill in the woods, rather than at the park or at a race. It has the plain 6mm eyelet, & there's no way I could replace the shock today. There's other things you could complain about with that bike (weight, for one,) but it's geo has aged remarkably well compared with some of it's contemporaries.

You miss the point, when you point out that you can buy other shocks in the Specialized mount NOW. because I could have bought a replacement shock for my demo 10 years ago too. The problem is when specialized changes their shock mounting standard, yet again, sometime in the future, & the supply of shocks that will fit those bikes dries up, leaving those frames unusable, even though they're fine otherwise.

All because it MIGHT prevent running a bottle. I say might, because that mojo HD 3 seems to have space for 2 bottles just fine.
  • 4 0
 Given the range of settings the Ride-9 system offers it would be nice to see them test at least the two extremes and give some feedback on the performance give and takes.
  • 1 0
 For some people, it seems that anything greater than 67* HTA is simply unrideable. You'd think that on a 120mm bike this wouldn't be a huge issue, but apparently it is. I don't get it. It's an XC bike with a slightly longer fork thrown on it.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer -

"there were no dropped chains even without running any type of upper guide. We did need to increase the clutch tension on the rear derailleur after a couple of rides, but once adjusted there were no other issues."

What were the issues caused by the stock clutch tension on the der?
Is SRAM officially saying that you can adjust the clutch on their der's now?
  • 3 0
 The issue was that after a couple of rides the clutch seemed to have loosened up, which I noticed due to the increased chain slap noise. SRAM isn't officially saying that you can adjust the clutch, but it is possible. This article contains more information on the internals of a SRAM 1x11 derailleur:
  • 4 0
 Sweet. Got a 160 mm bike and if I had the money for another bike I'd chose something like this over a DH.
  • 1 0
 ça fait baver... un bike avec une telle géométrie, du sloping prononcé et un stack bas, de surcroît une taille XS en commercialisation, c'est du pain béni pour les bikers comme moi : petite taille (1.65m), entrejambe modeste... Avec un débattement de fourche réputé faible par rapport aux propositions du marché (120 mm) les autres bikes de marques différentes nous mettent généralement sur la défensive lorsqu'on est posté sur la selle (poste de pilotage haut, risque de casser les grelots avec un standover trop haut)... Chez Rocky Mountain, et notamment avec le Thunderbolt, les "petits" pilotes ont accès à un bike à leur taille sans grande discontinuité avec les habitudes de postures des rigides des années 90. Le Trek Fuel propose également une géométrie sympa légèrement plus haute que le Thunderbolt.
  • 1 0
 I would have liked to hear how the bike climbs and descends in a couple of the ride-9 settings, other than full-slack. I know those changes to the geometry make a big difference to the ride characteristics of the Altitude, and would assume that it would have a similar impact on the T-bolt. To me, this sounds like the ideal bike for someone who wants to do epic xc rides (maybe BC Bike Race, Chilcotins etc), but still be able to have fun on the North Shore trails. No bike is perfect for every person in every environment, but this one sure sounds good to me.
  • 4 0
 I would buy it. Looks good guys
  • 8 5
 Looks damn sexy. But for that price, I wouldn't expect a munter.
  • 4 0
 I hate bikes being pictured without pedals. Looks unfinished. Just saying.
  • 2 2
 its interesting that now that the FSR patent has expired the rear dropout is no longer below the rear pivot but horizontal with it. Check out the old design
  • 3 5
 You need to get your eyes checked, the pivot is still above the axle.
  • 4 2
 Yes it is above the axel, barely, I wouldn't tell people to get their eyes checked after looking at a 3"x 4" picture tho.
  • 2 0
 Looking back I agree a dusty bike shot without pedals is odd and incomplete. Not sure why they would go through the effort to remove them unless it's some endorsement issues.
  • 1 0
 People are definitely getting brainwashed. I ride a 100mm xcountry racer on almost every trail in SoCal that I ride on my 150mm rig. What's the difference? You tell me I can't tell the difference it's all the same to me.
  • 4 0
 Beautiful bike!
  • 1 0
 Yeah, RM nailed that paint job.
  • 10 8 seriously think that a minion DHF, a full on downhill tire, should be specced on a 120mm trail bike. Jesus, man.
  • 13 1
 Why not? The foldable version of the DHF is like 100g heavier than the stock tire and you get more aggressive tread. Sometimes I feel like downgrading travel could be appropriate on a lot of trails but I would never sacrifice grip.
  • 4 1
 I thought that too... I couldn't help but think that if that's what you want you should probably go for the Altitude BC edish.
  • 6 1
 I was referring to the tread pattern, not the casing. The DHF is available in a folding, trail bike worthy version. Just because a bike has less travel doesn't mean it needs less grip, and I was using the DHF as an example of an aggressive tread pattern, sticking with the brand of tire the bike is already specc'd with.
  • 1 6
flag LeDuke (Dec 15, 2014 at 7:08) (Below Threshold)
 That would be so, terribly, painfully slow. Jesus. It's a 130mm/120mm bike.
  • 9 0
 Jesus, guys. If minions on a trail bike is that much of a problem maybe your legs need an upgrade!
  • 4 0
 Both my trail bike and hardtail have minions front and back (3C EXO and 60a light casing, respectively). Great tires, good weight, and decent rolling.
  • 4 1
 @mnorris122 ... you're seriously commenting on tire choice? Really? And without even knowing the different versions of DHF, it seems?
  • 3 2
 Dear Lord, this is officially the first time I looked at 650 and thought by default 'hey, it is nice'. Killing the 26 with looks this is...
  • 4 2
 "BC Edition" = "You pay us for add parts that you like to see on stock bikes, plus stealth paint"
  • 2 0
 Looks fast sitting still. I have not been a rocky fan since the age of steel hardtails but this one is a beaut!
  • 2 0
 How did the plastic bushings feel compared to bearings?

Will they last longer than 12 months? Are they easy to replace?
  • 1 0
 They are very easy to replace. You need only a screwdriver Smile
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer How did the seat angle feel in the 66.5 degree head angle setting? Any issues with pedaling efficiency on steep climbs?
  • 1 0
 Pedaling efficiency sucks - the bike doesn't have pedals Wink
  • 1 0

You're comparing the Thunderbolt BC Edition and the Transition Scout in your review. Where do you think the Scout's better downhill performance stems from?
  • 1 0
 Does that monarch rt have a biggest can than normal And spec sheet says rct3 Confused
  • 2 1
 6300?! Where is the money going?! The frame? I'm sorry, but for over 6 grand I could apply that money to a better bike.
  • 2 0
 Right, someone else tell me why it's $6300 for a Chinese (sorry, Taiwanese) frame with unremarkable spec. Not that anyone in their right mind will pay the retail price for this. Thank you year end sales.
  • 1 0
 Yupp yupp!
  • 2 0
 Good that level I would expect carbon rims and maybe something better than XT brakes.
  • 3 1 beatiful..
  • 1 0
 Isn't it, cleanest lines I ever saw.
  • 1 1
 I want it! More color for me! I wonder why high level mtbs are often so dark... we don't need to be stealth fighters :-S
  • 1 0
 I just want to stare at that pipe lock pivot beautiful!
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
 Thunderbolt EVO?
  • 2 1
 Press fit bb and internal cable routing, not interested.
  • 1 0
 think I will get that , ideal bike for me
  • 1 0
 Grease ports at the pivots. Now thats a good idea. I like this bike.
  • 2 1
 Beautiful, I love it!
  • 2 3
 flat black how original
  • 9 1
 If you look closer, you'll see that the main colour is a dark blue, pantone 2189c, the decal kit is black, and the entire frame is clear coated with 50% matte.
  • 2 1
 Dark blue bordering on grey, nice choice. Looks slick boys.
  • 2 5
 120mm travel is toooooo short for an Enduro bike...
  • 2 5
 Or Jamis Parker
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