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Trail and Enduro Bikes

Rocky Mountain Altitude Review

Mini Slayer cuts a fine dash

It’s a name that carries good vintage and ridden by some mighty fine riders including Thomas Vanderham and Carson Storch, but a brand that has been a suspicious stranger on the uk shores for many years.

We rode the Rocky Mountain Maiden in Whistler last year and loved every minute and look forward to the day we can do a comparative test with other downhill bikes. This, the Altitude is a trail bike. In fact, Rocky themselves say this while the Slayer is Enduro. We say ride both to see which one you fancy because there’s probably not much in it. This is certainly something we’ll be doing.

Sizing on these bikes is up to date. For example the reach on the extra large 165/170mm Slayer is 482-470 while the Altitude at 150/160mm travel is 479mm. Head angle on the bike is around 65 degrees depending on where you place the chips (those fiddly things that get lost in the mud and are pretty much redundant as soon as you’ve slotting them into the lowest and slackest) which change the geometry. In fact there’s nine configurations and guess what its called Ride-9, with a trademark naturally. Anyhow the head angle on Altitude is about the same as the Slayer. In other words it’s a mini- Slayer.

The bike comes in alloy or carbon versions. Rocky say they have “the worlds most sophisticated carbon processes to deliver industry leading stiffness-to-weight, ride quality and durability.” This comes across as certainly being a little less than shy and pretty handy at marketing.

We rode the industry leading Altitude 50 which drops in at a penny short of four grand featuring the carbon front end and alloy rear end.

Suspension

Fox 36 Evol GRIP performance is a pretty budget fork but delivers an excellent ride quality, the rear Float DPS EVOL isn’t too bad either. The adjustable geometry creates a different suspension rate depending on each setting. Full slack at 45.7% and full steep at 22.8%.

Componentry Evaluation

Shimano SLX brakes, Rocky’s own 780mm bar, Race Face 35mm stem and the SLX/XT shifting mix is all hard to fault and certainly doesn’t score this bike down over the more expensive C70 or C90 series. Maxxis Minion tyres and Fox Transfer post and Race Face crankset back them all up. Not much more to say here other than bang on.

Fatigue/Feeling

Out of the gate the Fox 36 has instant engagement with terrain with a typical ngst, ngst, ngst making a great beat out of the terrain, sucking up the hits, holding the front end of the bike in shape well. In the corners the bike has good balance – in the flatter stuff at least – and among complex root systems the bike dances through effectively.

As a size extra large the Altitude could do a with a shade more room but it’s certainly bearable. This is something bourne out on longer enduro style stages, and here aided buy the way in which it yields to hits, the Altitude is a pretty tractable bike which in turn leads to low levels of body fatigue.

Limitations

The only downside the Altitude is slightly weak rear shock which tends to have the front wheel mesmerised when exiting deep corners as the rear sinks all too easily causing the front end to wander. I’d be looking to work on this area of the bike and for sure it would be pretty easy to remedy. There is a slight clatter as a result of this too but the bike is generally a silent one apart from this.

Verdict

Like it. But I’m still looking forward to riding the Slayer so that’s my only reservation. Its an increasingly tricky decision that riders are having to make 150mm or 165mm? That doesn’t take anything away from this bike however as it’s a super capable bike that will tackle most terrain.

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