Riding Rocky Mountain's 2018 Altitude - First Ride

Apr 26, 2017 at 9:30
by Mike Levy  



The 2018 Altitude is completely new from its head tube to the rear axle, and Rocky Mountain says that the 150mm-travel bike—with a 160mm fork—is designed for "aggressive trail" riding, a catch-all phrase that will mean different things to different people. It will be an overly capable trail bike for some riders, but we've also seen it under Rocky's own team racers at Enduro World Series events, all of which makes the fresh Altitude's intentions a bit ambiguous. Is it an enduro bike, a long-legged trail bike, or an all-mountain monster? Or maybe all of the above?

In order to clear things up, I got my dirty hands on an Altitude Carbon 70 (in the intimidatingly named 'Raining Blood' color option), the $5,299 USD model that sits one step below the Gucci-spec Carbon 90 that comes with, well, more carbon bits and bobs.



2018 Altitude Details

• Intended use: trail / all-mountain / enduro
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Rear wheel travel: 150mm
• Fork travel: 160mm
• All-new carbon or alloy frames
• Ride-9 suspension/geo adjustment
• Revised Smoothlink suspesion
• Clearance for wide 26+ tires
• 1X drivetrain only
• Weight: 27lbs 14oz (Carbon 70, size large)
• Frame weight: 2,730-grams (claimed, incl. axle, guide, protection)
• Availability: mid-May (select models)
• MSRP: $2,899 - $6,999 USD
www.bikes.com
Rocky Mountain Altitude
The entry-level Altitude Alloy 30 goes for $2,899 USD and includes a 160mm-travel Yari, proper Maxxis rubber, and a Race Face Aeffect dropper post.


Carbon and Aluminum Options

Rocky is going to offer six complete Altitude builds, with the $6,999 USD Carbon 90 that has all the fancy things bolted to it (SRAM Eagle, high-end Fox suspension, etc...) sitting at the top of the food chain. At the other, more realistic end of the catalog sits the Alloy 30 for us plebs, a $2,899 USD bike with a RockShox Yari, a mixed SRAM NX/Race Face drivetrain and, notably, proper rubber in the form of Maxxis' DHF and DHR WT EXO tires. The frame ain't carbon, and it's obviously going to be heavier than the more expensive bikes, but the geometry is the same. All of the new Altitude models come with a 160mm-travel fork as well.


Rocky Mountain Altitude
For an extra $300 over the Alloy 30, the $3,199 USD Alloy 50 gets a Fox 36 Float EVOL Grip Performance fork and a mixed SLX/XT/Race Face drivetrain.
Rocky Mountain Altitude
The priciest aluminum Altitude is the Alloy 70 at $3,999 USD, which gets you a Fox 36 Float EVOL FIT4 fork and a nicer drivetrain.


Those of you who want to build up your own custom Altitude can do so by picking up the Carbon frameset for $2,749 USD. That's not far off what you'd pay for a complete Altitude Alloy 30 bike...
Rocky Mountain Altitude
You want carbon fiber? It starts with the Altitude Carbon 50 that goes for $4,099 USD. That also gets you a Fox 36 Float EVOL Grip Performance fork, an SLX/XT/Race Face drivetrain, and a Fox Transfer dropper post.

Rocky Mountain Altitude
The $5,299 USD Altitude Carbon 70 is what I'm riding right now, and it comes with a Fox 36 / Float DPS Performance suspension kit, a mostly XT drivetrain, and Stans Flow Mk3 rims.
Rocky Mountain Altitude
The king of the Altitudes is the Carbon 90 that sells for $6,999 USD, a price that gets you a SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain, carbon cranks, and Fox's Float EVOL FIT4 Factory fork and new DPS shock.






New Altitude vs Old Altitude

Rocky Mountain has been working their way through a re-design of their high-end models over the past few years, with the Maiden downhill bike being a new addition, and both the Slayer and the Element receiving a complete overhaul. We've already reviewed both the Maiden and the Slayer, and I'm in the middle of putting about six zillion miles on the fresh Element, but it's the older Altitude that I've always seen as most needing some attention.


2017 Rocky Mountain Altitude


I've always thought that the old Altitude (pictured above) was a bit ho-hum in how it rode; there wasn't much sense of personality, and it didn't really stand out to me in the way that made me excited, at least compared to the newer, fresher competition. The 2018 Altitude, however, seems to be an entirely different animal, even if its basic appearance is similar. Let's go over how the new and old bikes differ.


Rocky Mountain Altitude


Completely New Frame - The original Altitude debuted in 2013, and it's seen some minor updates along the way—a stiffer link, pivot changes, and a longer travel fork—but it was time for Rocky to start from scratch. So that's what they did, and while the basic lines certainly look similar from twenty feet back, the 2018 Altitude frame is all-new.

The new frame is made using Rocky's Smoothwall construction that sees rigid molds employed, presumably made out of foam rather air-filled bladders, a technique that they say makes for a lighter, stronger finished product. Then again, I feel like everyone says that, don't they? Of course, but I will admit that the Altitude frame is nicely finished in every possible way. It also takes a lot of cues from its big bro, the Slayer.


Rocky Mountain Altitude
Rocky Mountain Altitude


The BC2 bushing pivots and grease ports of the old Altitude have been replaced with sealed bearings all around, including at the lower shock mount, and blind pivots at the rear axle both look sharp and help with heel clearance. Cable routing is also very Slayer-esque, with large ports just aft of the head tube and an even larger exit port beneath the bottom bracket, the same place that you'll find just two ISCG 05 chain guide tabs rather than three, and a pint-sized proprietary guide that's bolted to the top of the bike's chainstay (again, just as on the Slayer). And speaking of drivetrains, the frame can readily accept Di2 if you're looking for a heavier and more expensive drivetrain for your bike. You can even run Di2 and Fox's Live suspension all at the same time if you prefer batteries and microchips over steel cables and shift housing.


Rocky Mountain Altitude
Rocky Mountain Altitude


Rocky's new bikes are also all about maximizing tire clearance, and the Altitude is no different. There's room to run massive meat—my Altitude Carbon 70 comes stock with Maxxis DHR 2.4'' WT tire out back and there's loads of clearance at both the chain and seat stays—and you can even fit a 26+ tire if you're stilling hoarding a pile of old Nokian Gazzaloddis along with every newspaper from the last fifteen years and a dozen feral cats.

Other notable points include a low seat mast that plays nice with long-travel dropper posts, Boost axle spacing and a Metric shock, and my personal favorite: the ability to fit a gigantic water bottle inside the front triangle, even when running a piggyback-style shock.

Rocky also says that the new frame is a whopping 25-percent stiffer laterally, which is a lot of percents, compared to the old bike, although the 2018 frame weighs about 100-grams more if you go by the claimed numbers. I doubt most Altitude owners will care about that, however.
Rocky Mountain Altitude


Geometry - Longer, lower, and slacker is the recipe of choice these days, especially for bikes intended for some saucy terrain as the new Altitude is. Looking at the large-sized model of old Rally Edition Altitude (w/ a 160mm-travel fork) and the new Altitude (also w/ a 160mm-travel fork), you'll find that the reach has grown from 427 - 444mm to 452 - 464mm and is now paired with a short, 35mm long stem. If that approach sounds familiar, it's because it's the same one that Rocky has applied to the 165mm-travel Slayer.


Rocky Mountain Altitude


The bike's adjustable head angle has also been drastically relaxed, going from 66.6 - 68.3 to 65 - 66.1 degrees. Yeah, you read that right, the new Altitude's steepest steering angle is nearly two full degrees slacker than its predecessor, and the slack mode is even slacker. It's also worth noting that the longer-travel and supposedly more capable Slayer is rocking a 64.75 - 65.85 degree head angle, which is just a smidge more relaxed than the fresh Altitude.

All of that adds up to a much longer wheelbase, of course, with the 2018 version sitting at 1,205mm, a 42mm increase compared to last year's model. More length, more slack, more lower... more better?



Rocky Mountain Altitude


Suspension - Both the new and old Altitude sport 150mm of rear wheel travel, but Rocky Mountain says that the new bike features increased anti-squat to improve pedaling performance. Basically, that means that load on the chain firms the suspension up slightly so the bike is more efficient. This was used to great effect of the Slayer, which is the best pedaling 165mm-travel bike that I've ever ridden, almost to a fault as it's not as forgiving as I expected.

Unlike the new Slayer, however, the Altitude's axle pivot is very close to being in-line with the bike's axle; the Slayer, on the other hand, sees the pivot sit well below the bike's axle. The Smoothlink name remains, though.

The other big change is the relocation of the Ride-9 adjustment system from the forward shock mount to the rocker link. Rocky Mountain says that this allows for "lighter, narrower packaging,'' and I'd have to say that it looks much cleaner as well, with the interlocking chips now nestled nearly invisibly into the link.

As you probably guessed, the system allows for nine different settings and the ability to largely tune the bike's geometry and suspension action separately. It's a neat design that packs a lot of range into a tidy package but, at least from what I've seen, a lot of riders tend to either leave it alone or set-and-forget.
Rocky Mountain Altitude




3 Altitude Questions With Rocky's Brian Park

Mike Levy - The new Altitude's geo and travel certainly make it look like it's more than just an "aggressive trail" rig, don't you think? What would you say to a guy who thinks this new bike is a mini-Slayer?

Brian Park - The reality of what’s possible with an aggressive trail bike has evolved over the years. It rides as much like a mini-Slayer as it does like a maxi-Thunderbolt. It’s super capable, but it’s still a 150mm, 5.45lb frame that pedals super well, so we feel that aggressive trail is a good way to describe what it does.

Levy - Why were you able to come out of the gate with an alloy Altitude but not an alloy Slayer?

Park - The new Altitude being an evolutionary project with an existing alloy model to iterate from made it possible to develop the alloy version at the same time as the carbon version, while the Slayer was a standalone, ground-up design. We’d have loved to come to market with an alloy Slayer at the same time, but we always need to prioritize our projects based on the market.

Levy - Will there be an over-forked Rally Edition w/ a 170mm fork?

Park - We did away with the Rally Edition this year, because a) all of the Altitude models use 160mm forks already, and b) the Slayer pedals so damn well. Anyone needing more than an Altitude is well served with the Slayer, even as an efficient EWS race bike. While it’s too early for us to speculate about future models, we are always working on new things.



Altitude vs Slayer on the Trail

In a perfect world, I'd have been on the new Altitude for the last month or two, but the world isn't perfect and I haven't been riding it for anywhere near that amount of time... yet. Instead, I picked up the new bike only last week, meaning that I've squeezed in just a handful of laps on Rocky's new mid-travel machine. That's not enough time for me to review it, but it's certainly enough for some early impressions and to compare it to a rig that I did spend months and months aboard: the longer-travel, more relaxed handling Slayer.


Rocky Mountain Altitude


The Slayer and Altitude may ''only'' differ by 15mm of rear suspension travel and by a bit in the geometry department, but the two bikes are drastically unalike on the trail. First, it feels as if the Altitude doesn't quite have the insanely impressive efficiency under power that the Slayer can brag about, an odd thing to say given that the Altitude is supposedly more trail-oriented. The Altitude doesn't pedal poorly, mind you, it's just that it moves forward a lot like you'd expect a 150mm-travel bike to do when the pedal-assist isn't used, which is just fine, and I'd happily earn my turns and spend five or six hours on it.

The Altitude is also more willing to please when you're not throwing yourself into a do-or-die situation; it's happy to tootle along and do as you ask of it. Those with courage not on an EWS level will probably enjoy life more on the Altitude than the Slayer, so be honest with yourself and choose with your brain rather than your heart. The Altitude isn't a small bike, however, but it still can dip and dive through corners easily compared to the Slayer, and this is highlighted more and more as the ground levels out from rubbing your ass on the rear tire to having to consciously think about carrying momentum.

That's all fine and dandy, but what happens when your ride does go from fun to fear? Those of us who don't possess EWS levels of courage still want to be on a bike that's more capable than we require, and I'd wager that while the new Altitude isn't a Slayer when shit gets real—although its rear suspension does feel more forgiving on small chatter—it's still going to be like rolling courage to nearly every rider out there.

That begs the question: would I buy a Slayer or an Altitude? Strangely, the Slayer seems to perform better under power, a trait that's usually high on my list of needs and wants, but I'd still choose the Altitude simply because it's easier to live with the majority of the time. The handling is slightly quicker, which equals more fun to me, but it isn't ever going to hold me back on any descent.

The two component standouts have to be the Maxxis WT rubber and the new Fox suspension. I've been using big rubber on wide rims for years now, but the DHF and DHR WT continue to blow my mind and, to be honest, I'm not even that much of a fan of these same tires in more conservative widths. But add some volume, subtract some air pressure, do it all on a wide-ish rim, and you'll be impressed by how forgiving these tires are in every possible way. They feel like they add suspension (they do, in a way), and while they roll about as quick as molasses flowing uphill, they're ideal for a bike like the new Altitude.
Rocky Mountain Altitude

The new Fox 36 Float EVOL FIT4 Performance Elite fork (and breath), with its three-position compression damper, makes a lot of sense for a bike that's meant to cover some ground but also leave the ground for long periods of time. The same goes for the Fox Float DPS EVOL Performance Elite shock that feels like a Float X2 to me, with its tune that seems to be spot-on for the bike—it doesn't gobble its stroke too quickly, and the three-position compression lever makes it easy to understand. I did notice an odd clunk from the shock when it was locked out during gravel road climbs, but everything seemed normal when it was in the other two compression settings.

So, what the hell is the Altitude for? A lot of stuff, I'd have to say, depending on what you're looking for in a bike. I had more fun on it than I did on the Slayer, simply because its handling better suits anyone who isn't a pro-level descender, but it pedals acceptably well rather than exceptionally well like the Slayer, which is odd. It's also more forgiving than the Slayer in the early stages of its travel because it has less anti-squat, and all of the above makes for a somewhat surprising combo of traits. One thing's for sure: the new Altitude has some personality to it. I'm also sure that the Altitude would make an ideal enduro race bike for a lot of people, more so than the Slayer, while also doing double-duty as a long-legged trail bike. Sorry, ''aggressive trail'' bike.


218 Comments

  • + 104
 Another Trailmountainduro bike Sick
  • + 13
 A massive one at that. I'd love to give this a whirl!
  • + 29
 The best color scheme and name out right now.
  • + 32
 @sevensixtwo: They need to make a completely blacked-out model and call it the Angel of Death.
  • + 13
 2017 and 2018 seem like they are going to be some record years for the mid travel bikes... 150 out back with 160 up front is perfect for someone who wants to ride anywhere with one rig.
  • + 8
 "Is it an enduro bike, a long-legged trail bike, or an all-mountain monster?"

Someone explain the difference?
  • + 5
 @robwhynot: it's a Giraffe!
  • + 4
 @robwhynot:

Enduro Bike - going up and going down the mountain, against the clock

All-Mountain Bike - going up and down the mountain

Trail Bike - going up and down the mountain, on the trail


Not sure there is a difference between the second two . . .
  • + 1
 @Waldon83:
for me it is like All-Mountain is the "big" category, in which the trail bikes are equipped with lesser travel and the enduro being the end of the range in terms of travel. Aggressive trail is in-between these.

I think this might explain some of the riding differences.
  • + 45
 water bottle , check
Aluminum frame option , check
Carbon frame option , check
model start at under $3k , check

hmmm a lot of checks , well done , fingers crossed they consider a 29er in a similar model
  • + 8
 It's called the instinct! It's only got 130mm travel, but I've got one and it handles the bike park just fine. Hopefully they'll re-vamp it as well.
  • + 1
 @bikekrieg: I've got the 2017 Instinct and it's awesome! They made all the 2017s have similar spec to the previous BC Editions. Great bike and an awesome value.
  • + 1
 I read a really lukewarm review on the Instinct, I think it was the bible of bike. I think RM makes some really nice riding bikes though and I'd be interested to try one out. I had a Thunderbolt BC edition and it was soooooo nice. Kind of want to get another.
  • + 2
 @maxlombardy: yeah i had a Thunderbolt too, have to admit i miss it, great, fun bike that you could throw around and punched way above its weight.
  • + 2
 @maxlombardy: I read that review as well. The instinct shines on super technical trails, both climbing and descending. I don't know if they really pushed it to their full potential.

I also think the bible of bike tests should be taken with a grain of salt... they only test the bikes for a few laps... which can't possibly give them a great idea of how a bike rides, given that it takes time and effort to dial in suspension and get used to the bike.
  • + 7
 @bikekrieg: It also seems like the last few years have been at somewhat tame trail areas. Nothing wrong with that and a lot of buyers probably live places with trails like that, but my sense (as a PNW rider) is they need to test on gnarlier terrain both up and down.
  • + 6
 @bikekrieg: It was probably one of their worst-done reviews I've ever seen. Honestly don't know why they even bothered.
  • + 1
 Hope they do make a 29er also.
  • + 2
 All this and the alloy models even look good this time around... Some of the previous alloy bikes looked like department store bikes..
  • + 2
 @bikekrieg: its in the works, and its incredible. shh, dont tell anyone.
  • + 1
 @swampy45: Can't wait to ride one! It's a great platform, and with some updated geo, it could be really amazing.
  • + 1
 @bikekrieg: whet generation is the Instinct , is it new this year ?? or a similar design to what they started with when it 1st was debut ? I hope they do one that resembles the 18 Altitude shared here , just little less travel and 29" wheels .
  • + 1
 @bikekrieg: oh yeah they sure did with the bc edition look sick!
  • + 24
 Rode the cheapest model of the previous version and geometry was fantastic for trail riding, to the point where terrible cheapest Fox suspension couldn't ruin the overall good experience (reminded me of CTD shit). A very balanced bike fitting the purpose.
  • + 4
 Frame geometry with Rocky Mountain always seem to be on point.
I just feel that you could get more quality components with other brands for the price tag (not that Rocky components sucks..)
Anyway can't wait to try this new Altitude and the Slayer ! Seems off the chart.
  • - 2
 @QuebecPoulin: price wise one can only hope their carbon matches the best sht of competition like S-Works or Yeti
  • + 2
 I have a 2016 Altitude and it's a great trail bike! I find that it took some adjusting with the shock and the stock part spec for me to get the most out of it, even though I bought the XT carbon version, but now that I have it set up my way it handles quite well. Always have to put it in descent mode, as the standard mode it comes with sucks for the steep but descent mode hardly makes a difference when climbing. I would love something more burly for the downhills still, but for what it is I can take it to the local shuttle trails in Revelstoke and rip it up (even hit a 50 footer on it), or I can take it to the xc trails and still feel good with it. I'd love to test the 2018 in case I decide to buy it or the Slayer
  • + 6
 I have a 2015 cheapo Altitude. At the time, I think it was one of the best sub-3k full-suspension bikes on the market. Last year I put a Pike on the front end and added a dropper. This year I put wider tubeless rims and a 1x11 drivetrain. As it stands right now, my 2015 is just as good as the new alloy 70, minus my rear shock but even that I really don't think is that bad. It gets the job done and it's certainly not holding me back.
  • + 4
 What I loved about the Altitude I rode, was the integrity and fantastic example that you can build a bike that feels almost as light as an XC bike in terms of handling, but still delivers on downs almost as well as a 160 bulldozer. it was just eager to climb and turn tight. Handling was quick yet it was easy to make it hold the line through a tricky climb section. Then it had no problems with me straight lining some rougher lines and even got me covered in a few Ooooh-fux. I bet it must be an absolute killer with decent fork and shock and a good set of wheels and not that heavy tyres. I would personally spec it with something like aggressor Exo or Hans Dampfs if a durable version ever existed.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: it is pretty sick when it's set up like that. I have float 34 factory up front which I haven't had to touch outside of general service because it's great. My float x in the back I just replaced a volume spacer for one 2 sizes bigger and the shock feels much better. It's a monster of a trail bike for what it is. Although I did make sure to spec it with big tires, 2.4 minions. Then added a chainguide/bashguard, carbon bars cause I wanted a different cockpit set up, And added a 34 tooth chainring. Depending on the trail and situation it handles the rough stuff better than my 2011 dh bike
  • + 18
 Besides the obvious improvements, I love that all models use the same color options, and you can buy the frame, in either color. I hate it when a manufacturer decides the frame color for you based upon your wallet size.

And as I scrutinized each detail with all seriousness, my favorite line in this article was a LOL moment: "the frame can readily accept Di2 if you're looking for a heavier and more expensive drivetrain for your bike",
  • + 17
 Pretty stoked by the mention of that new DPS rear shock. All blurred out on Rocky's website... looks like Fox Live valve has come at last! Curious to see how the Altitude pedals with a system like that...
  • - 2
 Though spec for the price is honestly very disappointing.
  • + 2
 Don't think so, live valve requires power source and I can't see any. It would actually make sense with Di2. On the other hand, would be nice surprise to see this thing on the market.
  • + 2
 Okay, they even mention live valve in the article. I'm not that sure anymore... Smile
  • - 24
flag Kramz (Apr 27, 2017 at 1:06) (Below Threshold)
 One thing that grinds my gears is the bottom bracket is always mounted below the chainstay. Often on newer bikes the axle is mounted higher than the chainstay as well. I don't want to be a dick, because the bikes seem pretty amazing, but I also don't want to pay 4000$, and bash my chain ring on every rock.
  • - 4
flag ratedgg13 (Apr 27, 2017 at 1:32) (Below Threshold)
 @Kramz: They at least offer a carbon downtube protector on this model - unlike literally every model other than the maiden. My endless hatemail about by the Slayer and Thunderbolt didn't have a downtube protector must have finally gotten through to them. That being said, I've never had issues smacking my bottom bracket on anything.
  • - 13
flag Kramz (Apr 27, 2017 at 1:51) (Below Threshold)
 @ratedgg13: Well in my opinion you pay 4000$, I've never had 4000$ in my life, and you should be riding a preeettttyyyy sweet bike. I'm not mad because I could probably never make my own bike that's better, but damn they should field every known f*ck in the entire universe.
  • - 12
flag Kramz (Apr 27, 2017 at 1:58) (Below Threshold)
 And it's simple geometry, you don't want your front chain ring anywhere near hitting the ground. A toddler could figure it out.
  • + 3
 @Kramz: Sure, I agree in concept, but I was just saying that in several years of riding their other bikes (including racing) that I've never had any issues with that so I don't think it's as much of a problem as it appears.
  • - 6
flag Kramz (Apr 27, 2017 at 3:15) (Below Threshold)
 @ratedgg13: Yeah, nothing's perfect I'll give you that. Being perfect really resonates with me, but done is done.
  • + 11
 @Kramz: Why do you think that where the chainstay is mounted has anything to do with the bottom bracket height? The BB on this bike isn't especially low.
  • - 10
flag Kramz (Apr 27, 2017 at 4:45) (Below Threshold)
 @AgrAde: Well as it goes into travel the front chain ring is being thrust into the ground. Like I said, nothing's perfect, and nobody's going to go make their own perfect bike anyway.
  • + 14
 @Kramz: So you would prefer to have a higher bottom bracket to get an extra bit of chainring clearance, even if it means a terrible centre of gravity and an overall much shittier bike? Or, learn to stop smashing into things with you chainring.
  • + 4
 @Kramz: Regardless of chainstay and pivot location the chain ring is going to travel towards the ground, it's an unavoidable result of having rear suspension.
  • + 3
 @ratedgg13: slayer does now come with downtime protector! funny you said that as i ordered a slayer and noticed that after but email rocky. no protector in pics on the site but it does now come with one!
  • + 2
 @gunslingger: I must really have bothered them! I even told them about how rockguardz makes custom ones for my thunderbolt and that they were clearly missing something!
  • - 4
flag Kramz (Apr 27, 2017 at 16:34) (Below Threshold)
 Well there's also the whole linkage argument, with basically all of it being unsprung mass, but that's none of my concern. Ride a rock for all I care.
  • + 6
 @Kramz: you literally know nothing about bikes
  • + 1
 @cliffdog: Sorry! Downvoted by accident!
  • + 1
 Oops! I upvoted this by accident!! @Kramz:
  • + 19
 I like it!
  • + 14
 Ordered mine today, a Carbon 70. Due in four weeks. Just a little excited....
  • + 10
 While I agree the colour scheme is not to my taste, the bike as a whole is super clean! Takes a lot of effort to create a clean, visually pleasing bike.
  • + 3
 have always thought altitudes were some of the cleanest, best looking bikes out there and this one looks even cleaner. A+ from this armchair warrior
  • + 12
 2018 bikes already!?!??!
  • + 2
 Seems they skipped a year.
  • - 1
 What? It's like cars. A lot of new cars are announced mid-year of the previous year.
  • + 1
 The future is available mid-May 2017!!
  • + 3
 2019 bikes will be out at I-Bike in Sept. No time to waste.
  • + 1
 Thanks to trump, the world's gonna end, they want to get as many bikes out as possible
  • + 3
 @piersgritten: North Korea Red special edition.
  • + 7
 @RockyMountainBicycles: Why the switch from bushings to sealed bearings? The 2014 Altitude review here on PB didn't have anything bad to say about the bushings...
  • + 33
 They didn't have anything bad to say about the Kronolog or Guides either.
  • + 3
 @bender-oz: Yeah, my Altitude did a lot of creaking...
  • + 2
 I've had nothing but good experience with my bushings on my thunderbolt. For the slayer, they claimed it made it slightly smoother making the suspension more active so I guess thats why?
  • + 13
 @ratedgg13: The single-sided bearing clevises also help us keep the rear triangle nice and narrow, even with boost spacing.
  • + 2
 So far I'm happy with replacing the Pipelock bushings with the newer bearing kit on Thunderbolt MSL.
  • + 8
 So you're telling me i can get everything i wanted in a Remedy... but from RM... and cheaper?? Sign me up.
  • + 3
 @terr0r86 and as an added bonus, the Altitude doesn't have "knock block"!
  • + 4
 Superb. Well done Rocky. This will likely be my next bike. Go figure I'm just a sucker for Rocky after all these great years on one.
Not a fan of the grey paint job though...bikes should be" BAM!! I'm here!!" not "excuse me, sorry, get I get through ...please listen to me..."
  • + 18
 Cheers! We're offering almost every model in several colours, so you should be able to get "BAM" no problem.
  • + 1
 The grey and red is easily my favourite, good that thereis options
  • + 7
 "More length, more slack, more lower... more better?

More better is not proper english. Try" More Gooder" next time.
  • + 2
 I was almost expecting him to say "Mo Better"
  • + 7
 No link to the amazing release video?

https://vimeo.com/214787268
  • + 4
 Looks wicked with on point geo! This shot to the top of my list, can't wait for more in depth reviews. Looks like those of us who run the rear brake on the left will also be able to do neat cable routing unlike a lot of other North American bikes.
  • + 4
 Bike weighs lbs and the frame is in grams..... I'm so confused! Please only use the metric system for all specs. If the yanks want the specs in their old system then let them convert it.
  • + 2
 Easy enough for you to convert to. Just sayin'
  • + 5
 @Jaylynx: there's more of us then yoouuuuuuuu lol
  • + 4
 I agree, it is ridiculous that we use this system for measuring. Metric is so easy, it just make sense but don't expect any changes with Capt. Tanning Bed now in the Whitehouse.
  • + 4
 Trump is banning metric.
  • + 1
 @johnnygolucky: I like to refer to him as Sergeant Tangerine
  • + 4
 @VtVolk: I believe he is banning Intelligence as well
  • + 3
 Its a really nice bike, wow they slacked it a lot and big top tube, no surprise, same chainstays as slayer. It begs the question, its so close to the Slayer in geo and travel, and comes in aluminum, is the idea to get people into Altitude and keep the Slayer all carbon and high priced as some sort of Porsche style marketing thing? I'm still bloody well waiting on an aluminum Slayer, they could have ordered up Aluminum Slayers as soon as the CAD was done, I bet they already proto-typed the whole thing in Aluminum, I don't like these marketing games, don't make me replace my Slayer with a non Slayer aluminum bike from someone like .....I can barley say it....Specialized, oh lordsy! save me from Myself Rocky!
  • + 1
 They claimed the linkage was hard to do in alloy right away
  • + 3
 This really takes away YT's competitive edge. Especially if talking about the Jeffsy 27. I'm looking at both low end models and what I would need to immediately upgrade on the Jeffsy 27 AL Two at $3199 plus shipping and taxes = around $3500 compared to the Rocky Altitude Alum 30 at $3699 again with taxes lets say $3900. The Jeffsy needs immediate upgrades including: 1x conversion, tubeless kit plus tubeless compatible tires, chainguide and shorter stem (for a size large it's spec'd with 60mm stem). Pound for pound the Altitude has a better spec (minion tires TR, chainguide, 1x, shock upgrade) The one weakpoint being the brakes trail brakes vs. the guide R's. That said, both bikes have new geo, metric rear shocks and fun ride characteristics. The current wait time for my Jeffsy order is May 17th and Rocky is said to be shipping to stores in mid may as well. The good thing about YT is you don't have to pay until it's ready to ship but if I can find the Altitude 30 in stores before then i'm gonna take it.
  • + 3
 I'm the lucky mo-fo who won the RM Altitude 750 MSL last year as park of the Sea-to-Sky Adventure grand prize. I must say that I'm absolutely loving it! It's an amazing bike that I'll be enjoying for years to come. Thanks again Pinkbike and Rocky Mountain! #lovetheride
  • + 6
 Any news on 2018 Instincts?
  • + 5
 Any news on a 2018 Instinct? I love my Instinct, would like to update in the future.
  • + 3
 "The BC2 bushing pivots and grease ports "

Which worked fine for owners that actually took a grease gun to the things...for the lazy/incompetent ones on the other hand... Wink
  • + 6
 Good looking bike and also nice prices....
  • + 2
 I love my 2014 altitude, I was thinking of upgrading in the next year or two and I was pretty confident I wanted a Instinct, but now this new altitude is catching my attention, I don't know that to get now, but that's a good problem to have Smile
  • + 2
 Damn, that bike looks sexy. I'm still loving my 2015 alu Altitude and I would consider it anything but 'ho-hum', but I also don't get the chance to review all of the competition each year. I really like the looks of the new Alloy 70. Unless you have 5k to spend, I'd take that any day over a similarly price carbon frame with a lower end build kit.
  • + 1
 Looks absolutely incredible, just bought my first high end full suspension trail bike last year (2016 Altitude Rally edition) has been an awesome bike. Been putting it through its paces and plan on riding it until she's well worn out.
  • + 1
 Nice bike! One knit-pick would be that the 66.6 - 68.3 HA from the old Altitude, was correct with a 150mm fork. If we're comparing apples to apples, the 160mm fork would bring that to around 66.1 - 67.8, and so they relaxed the new HA by around 1.5 degrees... But yeah, those are definitely some better numbers.
  • + 1
 I ordered a 790. Already thinking of changing up a few things, like maybe a Pike Dual Air up front. I am also a bit leery of the Fox Transfer post. Will also swap to a 32t chainring. Other than that, good to go. I hope the guide brakes have been sorted out as well...
  • + 1
 I was hoping for a 29er! i guess not yet.... I love my slayer, it really is a mini maiden, so maybe a mini slayer isnt a bad term for the alti? I could see for longer more up and down rides, "aggressive trail" the altitude would be a great fit! whoop whoop and you cant go wrong with that top tube graphic!!! Wink
  • + 1
 way, way way back - maybe 1989 we were racing handbuilt steel rocky altitiudes with a whopping 80mm of front travel in a rockshocks mag 21. One of the sweetest handling bikes I've ever had. They were almost the same paintjob. Think the light blue was green, but somebody's been diving into the old design book . . .
  • + 1
 I've still got one of those green/red Altitudes - still a sweet ride! The reds are similar, but the new "Billy Ocean" blue is nothing like the green on the old bike.

c1.staticflickr.com/8/7106/7516945690_e552e58265_b.jpg
  • + 2
 That would be our product director Alex. Always nice to give a modern nod to our heritage.
  • + 1
 Sounds like I would be selling my 2014 Rally Edition if the colourway wasn't so terrible. Out of the new Rockies only the Element and Slayer have good colour combos, everything else just have an odd mix. Would love to seem a black on black or purple version. The extra real-estate in the front triangle is much needed, got some pretty good scratches on my frame from the piggyback hitting my water bottle.
  • + 3
 Wow. Love the graphics. Love the geo. Love the spec. Love the price. Love the weight. 28lb 150mm bike for $5200? That's spot on.
  • + 2
 I'm ready to pull the trigger on a new bike, since my 2003 Slayer has reached the end of its life. Now I just need to decide whether I go with the Pipeline 750 or Altitude Carbon 50...
  • + 1
 I just test rode the 70 Carbon a few days ago. I'm between a medium and a large (5'-10"), and rode a large. I'm used to a med Process 134 w/ a 160 pike. YMMV but that being said... the higher standover was noticeable on the Rocky. The cockpit seemed a little stretched for me so I would have gone with a shorter stem (looked like a 50 or 60mm). Otherwise the fit was fine on the downs.

This was my first ride on a slacked out AM-rig and I definitely noticed it on the climbs. My first impression was that the front end seemed to wander a bit on the real tight steep technical switchbacks. Most "aggressive trail" bikes will do this but this was harder to correct at the bars, I guess. Again the shorter stem would help here. The 1x12 (34x10/50) Eagle drivetrain had the same range (if not slightly more) and gear ratio as the 2x10 (24/34-11/36) on my Process, but some reason it still felt more sluggish pedaling up. I'll chalk this up to a week of not getting on a bike and riding an 11% grade from the get-go. Otherwise, no bobbing or feeling of inefficiency when you're cranking away.

Downhill this bike is an absolute slugger. With the 2.5 WT Minion DHF & DHR II tires, it has seemingly endless grip. The fork was a little stiff at first (after setting sag with the tech), bouncing off roots & rocks, so without changing the preload (no means of doing so measurably) or the rebound, I softened both compression damping dials. I like a softer ride in general, but this totally transformed the bike for me. Hitting roots or other features mid-corner didn't throw me off line. It screamed faster faster over whoops and pump harder on the dips. I got more aggressive with my lean angle as the ride went on, building confidence in spades. In a bike park you would have limitless grip, and techy terrain the grip affords you more line choices. Having the 2.5's is one thing, making them work is another. This bike is more of the latter.

Full disclosure - I had a 2004 Slayer 50 so I wanted to love the Altitude. Demo one and ride off into the sunset. You will enjoy it.
  • + 1
 Why are the head tube and stack so long. I was looking at a medium slayer because I liked the reach compared to the small but the head tube length and stack put me off. It would make me feel dwarfed. Iam in between a small and medium.
  • + 1
 That just goes to show how individual sizing and geometry is for each person. The high stack height is what really sold me on the Slayer when I test rode and XL. Mind you I'm at the opposite end of the size spectrum, 6'3" with a really long inseam. The Slayer is the first bike I ever got on that just felt right from the get go size wise, normally I run a 35mm rise bar and another 25mm of spacers to get the bars up high enough for me.
  • + 4
 If you're between a small and a medium on our last Altitude, you're likely a small on the new one. The new Altitude in the Neutral RIDE-9 setting has 5mm more stack and 8mm more reach than a small Bronson, 1mm more stack and 9mm more reach than a small SB6. In fact, we have 8mm less stack and only 1mm less reach than a MEDIUM Stumpjumper 650b.

We definitely have grown our stack-height on trail and enduro bikes in recent years because we believe that slightly taller front ends are a nice match for our suspension performance and descending. Did you take a medium Slayer for a spin? If you were going off numbers alone, keep in mind that the stack grows slightly in the slackest settings. Same goes for Altitude.

Bike fit is super subjective, so no worries if taller headtubes just don't work for you, but we'd hate for you to dismiss either bike based on the highest published stack number in the slackest position, rather than the neutral number.

Cheers!
  • + 3
 @RockyMountainBicycles SICK! I've got a 2014 Altitude and I love it! This could very well be my next bike..... now where did I put that credit card?.........
  • + 5
 PB infomercial.
  • + 2
 They call it 'embedded advertising' when the ads or 'press releases' blend in so well you can't tell it's not an article. Hooray modern advertising schemes.
  • + 1
 RMB - is there actually a pivot at the chainstay at the rear axel? I don't see any bolts running through. Nice to have a picture of the set up view from the hub center to see the workings
  • + 1
 It's a blind-tapped threaded aluminum insert in the carbon of the seatstay.. bearing seat is in the chainstay.
  • + 3
 So much bike porn here, Rocky had to censor the rear shock on their website
  • + 1
 Am i the only one who wishes Pinkbike had a test track for bike reviews similar to Dirt? Hell I'd even settle for an average strava (err Trailforks) time down a particular trail or two
  • + 1
 Wow, this looks very interesting, I'm in the market for a new bike next year and this seems to be what I'm looking for, can't wait to try this, the Slayer and see what Giant has in store for the new Reign
  • + 3
 Great looking bike, although I would have a difficulty choosing between this one or the Slayer.
  • + 1
 Spectacular ... reminds me "looks wise" of the VP Free from years ago. Definitely at the TOP of the list for the next bike. Only two things standing in the way ... money and wife LOL. Great job Rocky !!
  • + 3
 Thank you Rocky Mountain Bikes for building a decent spec'd bike at a reasonable price... might try to pick one up soon
  • + 1
 Can't wait to see a new Thunderbolt with nice wide stays and 26+ clearance... Please pretty please with maple-syrup-coated maple leaves on top??
  • + 3
 What is that colour scheme? Mint and merlot? Very hard on the eyes.
  • + 14
 We've been calling the blue "Billy Ocean" and the burgundy "Raining Blood".

Every model of Altitude is available in a more traditional black/red/grey colour scheme as well, with the exception of the Alloy 50 model, which is only available in black/red.
  • + 10
 @RockyMountainBicycles: Absolutely stunning choice of colors. Nice work!
  • + 2
 @RockyMountainBicycles: I'll take dibbs on that one fernrob doesn't like!
  • + 3
 @RockyMountainBicycles: Absolutely adore this Billy Ocean & Raining Blood combo. Classy.
  • + 2
 @RockyMountainBicycles: incredible color scheme. Nice work.
  • + 1
 I'm sure lot's of people love the colours RMB uses the last few years but gawdy comes to mind. I've been wanting to get back on a Rocky for several years but the colour schemes would make me feel like I'm dating an ugly woman who is good in bed.
  • + 0
 @RockyMountainBicycles: It definitely looks better on your website than it does on the above PB outdoor shots.
  • + 2
 @Gibbersticks: In the long run, performance trumps looks, at least in my world
  • + 1
 @Gibbersticks: As long as she cooks.
  • + 1
 @RockyMountainBicycles:
Sweet ride. But guys!!!!! You have a model called the SLAYER. You put the paint scheme called "Raining blood" on a a bike that is not the SLAYER.

D'oh!
  • + 1
 What's going on with the big ring on the cassette? It looks like it's milled from a solid disc or something. Is that a thing?
  • + 3
 Hmm yep, this still isn't Claudios course preview :-@
  • + 1
 Yea I dig the bike but the color scheme hasn't caught up to my liking yet, maybe in person the bike looks boss none the less well done Rocky.
  • + 2
 Anyone know what a Raceface Aeffect Dropper Post is? Can't find any info on this... Budget Raceface dropper?
  • + 1
 looks good, decent spec for the price, seems to ride well, now to wait for it's price to double when it enters the UK, as i'd ride the crap out of that thing,
  • + 3
 No more bushings. All is right in the world.
  • - 1
 Am I the only person that doesn't think it's totally lame that Rocky Mountain and pink bike don't post weights for the alloy versions of the new altitude ? YT is straight up and lists all their bike weights on their website. If you're going to tell me that the question of listing weights didn't come up for the management at Rocky at some Friday afternoon meeting , I'm calling total bullshit. Be transparent, comprehensive and clear. Pretty f*ckng simple........ Really.
  • + 1
 That black / grey/ red colour scheme is just perfect. It echoes the old rockys (though not as sweet as the hand powder coated white and black maple leafs). I'm a huge fan.
  • + 1
 hmmm....not sure on the 27.5 wheels....its a nice looking bike but i think i would have to skip this as i feel that wheel size is gonna be obsoleted soon.
  • + 2
 i think it's great that RM is offering models in ALU at "reasonable" prices and spec. way to go
  • + 2
 Someone at RM is obviously a Slayer fan. Raining Blood ~== Reign In Blood (sick album).
  • + 1
 I had the opportunity to demo the aluminum Altitude 70 this week. I was impressed. It really suits my terrain and style of riding.
  • + 1
 Update : just got my hands on a used Altitude A70. So far only two rides but I love it. So fast and lively. It gets airborne so easily. Also plenty stable, especially on fast sweepers.
  • + 2
 Anyone know the Canadian prices on the 2 aluminum versions?
  • + 3
 Alloy 70 - $4999
Alloy 50 - $3999
Alloy 30 - $3699
  • + 2
 That is a good looking bike.
  • + 0
 "The original Altitude debuted in 2013"

Hmmm...I know I had an Altitude from 2009. Perhaps the Altitude was fully redesigned (i.e. gen 2) for the first time in 2013?
  • + 1
 That's right.. first really hammer-capable Altitude was the 2013 Altitude gen 2 bike, redesigned for a single new-at-the-time 27.5" wheelsize
  • + 2
 I had an Altitude back in the mid 90s!
  • + 1
 @gdharries: I was talking about dual suspension Altitudes Wink But yeah.. you're right.. RMB had all the cool names for hardtails back then
  • + 2
 Everyone ok with it having a PF BB? No big deal to me.
  • + 2
 Come on Rocky, now revamp the Instinct with 155mm travel and 29er wheels!
  • + 1
 Yeah I can add a RM fully to my old hammer race hand built hardtsil that is still going strong
  • + 2
 Enduro bike = mini dh trail riding
Am trail bike = enduro trail riding
  • + 1
 Rocky you can show the new Fox shock now:
www.mondraker.com/es/en/2017-e-crusher-rr
  • + 1
 Page not found. I guess they can't.
  • + 2
 RM - When will there be a revisited Instinct ?
  • + 3
 Affect dropper post eh?
  • + 2
 I'd like a Patrol vs Altitude review.
  • + 1
 Interesting bike. Clean and simple. Colors are meh, but that's not that important. So, framesets are carbon only?
  • + 1
 It seems the direct buy brands pricing is trickling down to a lot of brands these days. I'm diggin it.
  • + 1
 Intended use: 3 differnet categories=lets drop all this silly stuff.
  • + 2
 #26aintdead
  • + 1
 I'm holding out for the 29er version.....
  • + 1
 820mm stand over on the small?!!
  • + 19
 The new Altitude actually has significantly lower standover than the previous generation. The number appears higher than our competitors because we've changed the way we measure standover to reflect reality. We now measure 200mm in front of the bottom bracket, instead of some shady measurement from an extended seatpost.
  • + 3
 @RockyMountainBicycles: Anyways, this is really an issue. My girlfriend has 72cm inseam length at 160cm height, how is she supposed to ride the XS version of a bike like this?

Generally, we tried a dozen of different manufacturers in 2015, only Santa Cruz, Cube and Liteville offered a decent amount of clearance to the top tube.

Scenario is: Ladies getting more into biking. Ladies are smaller on average. XS ladies are quite common. Top tubes are increasingly high with 650B/29". Newbies jump off the saddle to the front (on/over top tube) a lot = Ouch. Ladies don't feel confident on the bike, knowing the hurt. Less confident rider = Jumping off the saddle more often. Again ouch.
  • + 2
 @Tamasz: check out a Liv lust advanced in xs
  • + 1
 @RockyMountainBicycles: I've enjoyed test riding several models of your bicycles. I've never purchased one because I thought there was never enough standover clearance on your top tubes. Bikes I ended up buying instead of Rockies where a jackal and a Kona Process
  • + 0
 @properp: Turned down by her due to the look and stinky-pinky. But would work, true.
  • + 1
 @Tamasz: Kona's Process line has really low stand over. They also have pretty short seat tubes (to the extent that people with long legs/short torsos don't do so well - they have to upsize to get enough seat tube even with the new longer droppers, but then the reach gets too long for them) - meaning people with shorter legs can get the seat way slammed on the descents. That might be an option - current Process are still very good bikes, and there's a new generation in the works for next year.
  • + 2
 @Tamasz: I dare say if you head to your local Rocky dealer and try one out for her, you'll both be pleasantly surprised. Geometry measurements are complex, and rely on a number of factors including- as RMB alluded to- customer perceptions. It's easy to fudge a number that looks good on paper when measuring frames; giving customers the straight goods about fit (as RMB have) is more worthwhile long-term.
  • + 1
 @Tamasz: xs process murdered out then.
  • + 5
 Just something to consider @Tamasz: we just have to educate people who to get on and off bikes by leaning them to one side. The lowest standover points are hidden under nose of saddle anyways, and all frames connect at steer tube of fork, essentially at the same height. Standover is a bit of a myth in this regard and I feel we don't need to focus on it so much.

When was the last time you actually got off your pedals (and saddle) while on the trails and stood over the top tube?

DB@EB
  • + 2
 @endlessbiking: For intermediate and advanced riders, standover is NOT about getting on/off, though. For people with really short legs, the top tube gets in the way when leaning the bike into turns, and a taller seat tube means you can't get the seatpost as far down as you might like. I have plenty of clearance (on my 111, the 150mm dropper could insert a bit more - to the point where I'm tempted to get a longer one when this one dies) - but I still appreciate that the top tube is an inch or two lower than other bikes I've tested.
  • + 2
 @Tamasz: I am hearing this as well out on the trails. Ladies are shredding... and they can't find good frames that fit. It's a shame really.
  • + 2
 @RockyMountainBicycles: any chance of a re-designed instinct coming out?! I need to know wether to hold off buying a fuel EX and get a more updated geo-rocky instead. ( Need an XXL )

Even a minor hint will save me second guessing my descion for the next few years if you release it right after I buy my bike.
  • + 2
 @RockyMountainBicycles: Can't Wait for the new Thunderbolt with nice wide stays for WT/ 26+ clearance... Please pretty please with maple-syrup-coated Maple Leaves on top?? Love that Thunderbolt!
  • + 1
 @Tamasz: She's getting off her bike incorrectly - have you not pointed that out to her? I ride an XL bike in most manufacturers and I hit my gonads on a size M if I get off falling forwards on a bike.
  • + 1
 @lennskii: Of course, but in more-or-less emergencies she sometimes forgot that and hopped to the front. Dry training helped a bit. But the pain has been memorized. Smile
  • + 1
 Is there a hole in the top tube for a damper / shock remote?
  • + 2
 Speed hole ;-)
  • + 1
 @nprace: So does that mean yes or no? jo oder nei? Wink
  • + 1
 Yes, it is!
  • + 2
 @trygvesande: it looks ike it wont be necessery after all with Fox Live Valve coming!! Yehaaa
  • + 1
 Very much looking forward to the Element review
  • + 1
 I have an old gazzaloddi jr. tire!! Take my money rocky mountain!!
  • + 1
 This does not look like a trek
  • + 2
 Now I want a rocky
  • + 1
 another new and I haven't got any yet!
  • + 0
 Cables under the bottom bracket. Facepalm. No sale. I'll go with the Salyer instead.
  • + 0
 Second that.
  • + 1
 Light blue and maroon definitely not my choice
  • + 1
 looks mint!!
  • + 3
 Looks like blueberry Cherry vomit
  • + 1
 @properp: bin your brown cherries man!
  • + 3
 @m9lee: the bike of dark cherry and blueberry farmers
  • + 0
 mmm... boost not mentioned
  • + 3
 ... "Boost axle spacing and a Metric shock" it's all there
  • + 1
 @Nicksen: thanks...!!
  • + 0
 Should have been made a 29er!
  • + 0
 ouch, this tiny 27,5 wheels? It´s so terrible out of date !!!!
  • - 2
 WTF is with those colours, whoever came up with those must be colour blind!!!
  • + 3
 A little bit 80's ski sweaterish.........I kind of like it......
  • + 4
 I love the colors. Simple, bold, clean. Love it, @RockyMountainBicycles stunning bikes.
  • - 2
 @nwarren: Would you be saying that id it wasn't a Canadian company???
Maybe that's why the prices are low because less thought went into the colour choices!!!
  • + 0
 Zesty?
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