Words & photos: Dave Arthur
Eurobike proved a good place to see some proper bike exotica, and ticking the box was this Rocky Mountain Element 999 RSL dripping in the latest Shimano XTR Di2 groupset. Okay, so the Element isn’t a brand new bike – it was first introduced a year ago – but in this build it was one of the most stunning bikes on display.
The Element is Rocky Mountain’s 29er. The name Element has been around for ages, first introduced in 1996, so it really is a staple of the Canadian company’s range. It’s continued to be updated though, last getting a major makeover last year, being their first carbon fibre 29er.
The Element provides 100mm (4in) of suspension travel via their own SmoothLink suspension design. SmoothLink aligns the lower link in a position parallel to the average chain torque line in an effort to isolate chain tension from the suspension, to reduce pedal bob. ABC pivots use angular-contact polymer bushings, which they reckon are lighter than regular bearings.
“SmoothLink suspension stays supple yet supportive through a wider range of gears than conventional single pivot or other four-bar suspension configurations,” says Rocky Mountain.
The frame is manufactured using ‘smoothwall’ carbon fibre with a tapered head tube up front, a press-fit bottom bracket down below and internal cable routing, including for the dropper post. Rocky Mountain wouldn’t comment on the complete weight, but we’d expect it to be well under 22lb.
This range-topping 999 RSL is fitted with Fox Kashima forks and shock, with a handlebar-mounted control for both dampers. A Shimano XTR Di2 groupset with handlebar-mounted display unit so you can keep track of battery life and what gear you’re in, with a 2×11 drivetrain. A Stan’s Valor carbon fibre tubeless wheel set with Maxxis Ikon tyres completes the impressive package.
Looks like the ideal Sunday trail blasting and cross-country bike for the rider who likes to rip up the hills as quickly as coming down them.
And the cost? £6,999. Better start saving…