Ride up, ride down, ride up, ride down, ride all day long. With its first in its category Straight-Up geometry and patented SmoothLink suspension system, Altitude is a super efficient climber and a wicked descender. Put this bike in your quiver and you might find it's the only one you ever pull out to ride.
Frame: FORM C13 Hi Mod Carbon Smoothwall Monocoque Front Triangle. FORM 7005 Series Custom Hydroformed Rear Triangle. ABC Pivots. Tapered Head Tube. Press Fit BB. Internal Cable Routing. ISCG05 Tabs. Adjustable StraightUp Geometry + Suspension Rate
Fork: Fox 34 Float 150 FIT CTD 650b
Rear Shock: Fox Float Remote CTD Custom Trail Valved
Tires (RR/FR): Schwalbe Nobby Nic Folding 650b x 2.35
Strengths: Full carbon frame
Ride 9 adjustable geometry
Nicely spec'd stock - Shimano XT, Rock Shox Dropper Post, etc.
Mountain bikes and the trails we ride them on have been evolving. I wanted my newest bike to excel in the terrain (Bend, OR & Sandy Ridge, OR) that I ride most frequently and to complement the other rides in my quiver.
I found the perfect bike in the Rocky Mountain Altitude 770 MSL!
During bike shop parking lot test rides and the 5 mile road ride home after purchasing the Altitude, the bike definitely felt foreign. Long travel, slack angles, short stems and wide bars are all unfamiliar territory for me and unlike the feel of any other bike in my garage.
But I knew not to judge until the bike received some proper thrashing on the terrain it was intended for. Just one day after purchase I was zipping around the fabulous trails of Bend, OR with a huge grin on my face feeling oh so satisfied with my selection of the Altitude as my newest bike.
Two days and 35 miles of Bend, OR trail riding revealed the Altitude to be a stable, agile and fast machine. All the foreign geometry/set-up feelings I experienced during early test rides melted away the second the bike touched dirt. The Altitude worked equally well on Bend's smooth, XC trails (like Phil's) as it did on the more technical, downhill-y trails (like Tiddlywinks).
I normally ride Bend's trails on my Gary Fisher Ferrous 29er hardtail. The Altitude felt faster, smoother and more flickable than my Gary Fisher. And, probably most importantly, my body felt less sore and abused when riding the Altitude vs. the Gary Fisher over similar trails and distances.
There ARE lots of "things" on the cockpit of the Altitude. It's a little cluttered on the handlebar. But I quickly grew to appreciate the CTD rear shock switch that comes standard and used it quite frequently during the weekend. Only dropped my seatpost during playtime on the jumps at The Lair inside Phil's complex.
I really appreciate the simplicity and flexibility of the adjustable ride 9 system on this bike. Although I didn't use it on my maiden weekend (left the bike in stock neutral set-up), I certainly intend to make full use of it anytime the ride situation dictates. Doing the full North Fork, Flagline, etc. etc. epic loop in Bend is on my ride list and I would anticipate setting ride 9 to "steep" for the 5 mile extended climb up North Fork, then adjusting back to neutral or slack angles for the remainder of the ride back down. I like knowing I can set up the bike with angles similar to the other bikes (Santa Cruz Solo and Bronson, Pivot Mach 6) I had on my short list before selecting the Rocky Mountain.
Strengths: Going up or down rough and rowdy terrain in a hurry
Weaknesses: Nobby Nics wear out FAST!
Went from a Tallboy Carbon XC. Miss the light weight, but not that much. Replaced stock wheels with Stans Arch EX and now feeling much better on climbs. Loving the neutral setting with higher bottom bracket and not banging cranks on rock gardens. Have yet to mess with Ride 9. Not even close to going over the bars and believe that's due to the Fox 34 and slacker head tube angle. I was skeptical about all the gizmos on the bar (CTD lever on right, Reverb dropper on left) but now find myself using the CTD continuously and loving the Reverb for steep drops and roll ins. 2 x 10 Race Face Turbine crankset is flawless and easy on the eyes. Traded out the bar for a EC70 so I could get through trees without hooking. If I was in more open terrain, would have stuck with Turbine but not minding loosing the 100 grms. either. All in all, I'm one happy camper.
Strengths: Wow is this fun. Coming from a light, 3.5" travel XC rig I was skeptical and a bit worried that 6" or travel and a bigger bike would overwhelm me. After about six rides, I cannot remember what it was like to ride anything else. I am still dialing it in on the shock, fork, but I have played with the ride 9 a few times as well. Did a long climb in the full out "climb" set-up (setting 2) and then changed in the parking lot--it takes about two minutes--and set it to full "descend" mode (setting 6). Right away I could feel the difference. I was noticeably lower (bottom bracket dropped a full 20mm) and noticed the bigger front wheel looming more. In climb mode it handles a technical climb very well, rolling smoothly and reacting quickly. Descending in full climb mode is a bit choppy and I could tell I was not getting everything out of the bike. Climbing in descend mode was, predictably, a bit sluggish--but not as bad as I would have thought. But descending, wow. I am waaaay more confident, able to fly through rock gardens, corner with confidence, and drop anything that my talent will allow without hesitating. This bike covers my flaws and mishaps with aplomb. I will be playing with the ride-9 some more to find a balance between climb and descend that fits me best, likely tilted toward descend because the short chainstays facilitate climbing quite well in even descending mode.
The 650b/27.5 wheels are noticeably smoother than my old 26". This could be psychological as well, but I do not hesitate to roll over rather than go around many obstacles. I have not ridden a 29er off road, so no comparisons there, but the other day I swapped with a riding partner so he could feel it and riding his 26er felt small, almost childish for a bit until I readjusted.
The stock build is superb, with the clutch-drive derailleur living up to its billing, 2x10 keeping me honest, and the reverb post coming in handy already and offering no issues. Loving it all.
Weaknesses: Price. You wouldn't believe what my wife thinks it cost vs. what I paid . . . I guess for carbon and a top build, this is becoming standard, but still it is enough to make me overly nervous about it.
Not too sure of the Sun Ringle wheels yet--first experience. No issues; just wondering if there's something better I should aim for. I had to add rime tape to set it up tubeless (not really an issue, but thought it would come ready out of the box).
I am 42 but am getting in the best riding shape of my life--partly because I just bought a bike that would be wasted if I didn't. So I am riding better in general because of fitness, but this bike is changing things for me as well. The "straight-up" geometry is certainly straight up, and with a short stem I am looking at more of the (larger) front wheel than I am used to, but as I noted when I changed back to a 26" for a short climb and descent it felt weird going back. I used to ride a Turner Burner, and I kept saying how that bike made me a better rider. This Altitude does not climb quite like that Turner--no bike I have ever ridden does--but I do feel like it is making me an even better rider because I can climb AND descend, corner, jump, drop, and flat out play far more than I could before. It's fun all over again.