The Rocky Mountain Urge bp Rally Team has been spotted riding a new bike rather than the Slayer over the past few weekends, a bike that looks a lot like a revamped version of the all-around Altitude platform. The current production Altitude sports 150mm out back, but isn't in the same league as some other enduro race-capable bikes in the same travel bracket - Rocky even refers to its intended use as "aggressive trail." The unbadged prototype that the team racers have been aboard appears to have a longer, slacker stance to it, however, and that should bump up its capabilities.
Rocky Mountain reached out to me with some facts about the upcoming bike, which you can read below with some guesswork.
Rocky says that it's not a pint-sized Slayer
A downsized Slayer would be a fun rig but, according to Rocky Mountain, that isn't the case with the new bike. Then again, the 165mm-travel Slayer pedals so well that a mini version of it probably wouldn't be any better under power, so why bother? Instead, it's a safe bet that the new Altitude will be a much quicker handling, more nimble machine. ''It's not an enduro-specific bike; it occupies a different space in the lineup to the Slayer,'' Rocky Mountain's Brian Park said of the upcoming bike's designation. I think that 'enduro-lite' might be appropriate. Rocky hasn't hinted as to how much travel the new bike will have, but it'd make sense for it to stay somewhere around the 150mm that the current Altitude offers.
It's not a 29er
Big-wheeled all-mountain bikes like the Slash and the new Enduro 29 go through nasty terrain quicker than I go through a box of donuts, so I thought the prototype Altitude might sport 29'' wheels and a bit less travel than the Slayer. That combo would probably offer equal-ish capabilities with a different personality, but it isn't the case. ''The bike that’s being raced at the moment is not a 29er,'' Park explained, cutting my theory to shreds with a short sentence. Then again, he did say ''at the moment,'' didn't he? I don't own a crystal ball, so who knows if we'll see big wheels under Jesse and Remi in the future, but the new Altitude won't be rolling on them.
Ignore the coil-sprung shock - it's made for air
Coil-sprung suspension is making a comeback in the pro ranks, but air still makes the most sense for a lot of riders simply because it's easier to get the correct spring rate. So it's no surprise that the new Altitude is made for an air shock: ''The coil shock is something we’ve been playing with, but this bike is designed around air suspension,'' Park said of the Altitude. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't mount a coil-sprung shock, with Rocky's EWS team doing exactly that while at the first round of the French Enduro Series. Just don't expect the bike to come from Rocky with anything but an air shock.
It'll use Rocky's revamped Smoothlink suspension
The current production Altitude (pictured to the right with Jesse Melamed) features Rocky's last generation Smoothlink suspension where the axle pivot sits just slightly above the dropout but, much like the updated Smoothlink on the new Slayer, the new Altitude will see that arrangement flipped. Again, Rocky won't comment on suspension travel (although it's surely somewhere around 150mm) but if it's anything like the Slayer, it'll be a demon when the rider is on the gas. Rocky has also moved their Ride-9 geometry and suspension adjustment system from the forward shock mount to the rocker link, much like they've done with the new Element.