Rocky Mountain's Carbon DH Bike
It's been four years since Rocky Mountain began working on a replacement for their Flatline, a downhill bike was certainly capable of going quick in a straight line over ground that looks more like a boulder field than a race track, but also one that was a bit chubby and didn't offer the agility of some of the competition. The prototype that will eventually replace the Flatline has been spotted a handful of times now, including at last year's Red Bull Rampage event, where some close-up photos showed much of the aluminum bike's details
But then it all went quiet. The bike wasn't seen after Rampage, and Rocky Mountain wasn't too keen on telling anyone when the new machine would break cover, if it would be similar to Gully's 26'' wheeled bike, a completely new design, or something carbon. Turns out that it's something carbon, and that it might possibly fit both 26'' and 27.5'' wheels.
The prototype shown here is being raced at the Leogang World Cup and sports very similar lines to the rig that Gulevich rode at Rampage, but the aluminum front triangle has been abandoned in favour of a carbon fiber version, no doubt to shave weight and increase strength. Rocky Mountain has also used carbon for the bike's entire rear end, including the massive rocker link that also appears to be carbon fiber.
Rocky divulged that there were over twenty different rideable prototypes that came out of their own machine shop in Vancouver, Canada, and that they have been experimenting with four distinct takes on everything from wheel paths, geometry, rate curves, pivot designs and other technical points: ''We've worked hard to improve pedalling and square-edge performance, among other things,
'' they said last year about the aluminum bike that Gully was competing aboard. ''We've also been honing in on pretty progressive geometry, and working on some developments around braking - allowing you to brake less and later
,'' which is something that's going to have the ears of any racer perking up for more info.
And what about some fresh information on the carbon bike? Rocky Mountain's Brian Park did admit that the carbon machine pictured here isn't quite what we'll see make production, and also that it's far from just a carbon version of what we saw last year. That's all he was willing to say, but comparing the two bikes does reveal some interesting differences. The massively tall lower headset cup that was on Gully's 26'' wheeled bike isn't present on the carbon bike that sports 27.5'' wheels, which makes it pretty obvious that Gully's rig was actually a geometry test mule to dial things in before Rocky committed to a new mould for the carbon fiber model. That tall headset spacer, along with the multiple axle positions and a variation of their Ride-9 geometry adjustment system, also points towards Rocky likely going with a design that would allow consumers to run 26'' or 27.5'' wheels on the production bike, which is something that will likely win over a lot of riders and racers.
Another notable difference between Gully's bike and the carbon version is the pivot design, which appears to be much more refined than what we saw last year. ''The pivots are dramatically different from what was on Gully's bike at Rampage,
'' said Park when questioned about the obvious changes, although he stopped short of saying if the latest version still employs their ABC bushing system.
Exact geometry, weight, and travel numbers are still a guess at this point, but stay tuned for an exclusive look at Rocky Mountain's new downhill bike in the near future where we'll be going behind the scenes to get the story on the new bike.