Rocky Mountain is a semi- custom bike manufacturer,That is based (and builds bikes) out of Vancouver, British Columbia. SinceThey are not pumping out hundreds ofThousands of bikes a year,They are ableToTakeTheir Time and ensureThat every Rocky Mountain isThe best it can be. With World Cup wins, countless championships, and victories at every major international stage raceTo its credit, not many other bikes have a resume quite likeThe Vertex.The Vertex 990 RSL is a race ready bike. The FORM
Strengths: OMG the frame! A load of vertical compliance, incredibly laterally stiff, handling so precise it can be ridden while asleep.
Great value for money!
Weaknesses: Comes with a 0 degree stem which made the setup on my (17') a little difficult. Not a huge fan of the DT swiss rims, they are a solid product but not particularly stiff for the relatively hefty weight of them.
Love at first ride! I spent an hour or so on a demo 970RSL and in that time my mountain biking world completely changed. I'm not unfamiliar at all to 29rs, having ridden and raced both full suspension and hardtail bikes from Trek, Cannondale, Giant, Specialized and Niner. But this bike is an epiphany, a religious experience, like winning the lottery while losing your virginity. Sure it doesn't feel twenty-niner'y like say a Trek Superfly, and unlike a Niner rip 9 it isn't much like a Sofa. It just goes FAST, mind blowingly fast. Compared to a Cannondale flash ultimate this feels like it has twice the vertical compliance, it feel twice as stiff, and it handles twice as well. The 'unusually' slack headtube angle as matched to very short wheelbase is like the Rosetta stone of 29r geometry, the ceiling of my personal bike handling ability got blown right off.... In some ways at first I hated this bike because it left me feeling like a terrible rider, no matter what I did the bike just had no limits and I am (still) slowing IT down.
Bike Setup: 2012 Vertex 990 RSL 17'. XX rear derailleur, XX shifters, 8 degree Easton EA90 (white) stem, Stans Crest 29r rims (white), DT swiss Aerolite spokes, DT swiss 240 fifteen front hub (the factory hub is a heavier multi-fit axle version of the 240). ODI Ruffians.... The rest is all factory. 19lb 6 ounces.
Weaknesses: Loss of "monster truck" feel found on most 29er bikes.
I first rode this bike as a demo, and instantly fell in love. I was riding a Niner Air 9, and I have to say this bike feels different than any other 29er hardtail I have ridden. The shorter chain stays and overall wheel base make this feel more like a 26" bike. The flattened seat stays, and 27.2mm post, do an amazing job of damping out the bumps and providing vertical compliance. The 15mm front axle combined with the 12 x142 rear and BB92 bracket make this bike uber stiff laterally. It does not waver while blasting through rock gardens, and rockets out of turns. I am a pro mtb racer in CO, and I cannot imagine riding anything else. However, part of the appeal of 29ers is the feeling of being able to roll over everything. The longer wheel base and lower bottom bracket found on other bikes probably appeal to a wider audience. But if you plan on racing this is the ticket.
Strengths: this is an update to a previous review. everything I said earlier still stands. the update comes after my first race on the bike
I used this bike in a race I have done for 5-6 years now and wanted to update on how it handled in a race situation and the differences I experienced. On the same course I was able to take almost 4 mins off of my best time for the same number of laps. I have not been riding more, not been focusing on training more, in fact....I have had more travel for work and expected the times to be the same or worse. My lap times were more consistent and I felt no problems (body wise) from the hardtail over a 3 hr race with 1733m of climbing. I am very impressed with the bike and find it hard to dispute the benefits of the 29 inch wheels
a Cross Country Rider
from Bracebridge, ON, CAN
Date Reviewed: April 9, 2012
Weaknesses: NONE SO FAR
This is the first 29er I have owned. I am normally a full suspension 26" rider. I just got off of a 2011 Scott Spark RC, to give you an idea of my other ride. This is also my first hardtail, and trust what you have read about a 29er hardtail being a sweet ride I have rode other 29ers, and been disappointed with the lazy steering. NOT this bike. It took no time at all to become accustomed to the Vertex 990. This thing feels every bit as agile (or better) than my 26" bikes. Rocky Mountain has worked magic with this bike. I can't wait to try the Element.
Weights without pedals;
As purchased (XO) 21.1 pounds
Set up with SramXX 20.8 pounds
SramXX and ENVE carbon tubulars with Tufo tires 18.6lbs
from kamlooops, BC Canada
Date Reviewed: March 11, 2012
Strengths: light, great geometry, looks great,
Weaknesses: none that I can tell
I am really surprised by this bike. I had no real expectations as it is my first 29. the best thing about the bike is that it took no time to feel right. after an hour it felt great and after 3 it felt better. I am quite blown away by how comfortable it is. it really does do all of the things that they say about 29ers. I can't recommend it enough. it is not sluggish, it does not take time to get up to speed, it is just a really good hardtail bike. I wouldn't say I am a convert yet, but I am a believer. I still really like a 26 fully, but the 26 HT is not something I'll invest in again
Strengths: All round package, the frame is probably the greatest strength it is light strong and ridiculously agile. Dt swiss 240 hubs stock, full X0 group and sweet easton bars and components
Weaknesses: With the compact frame, I know three riders that have had to swap to a longer seatpost, due to the stock 350mm being too short. The DT swiss rims seem soft.
This an amazing bike it is light quick and Rocky Mountain have nailed the geometry because if you are a doubter of 29ers nimbleness as a race bike ned to throw a leg over one of these racing machines. It's ability to get through tight switchback corners will have you giggling with the ease that this bike gets around.
This is one sweet bike do yourself a favour and get on the 29er wagon with one of these babies.
I'm currently riding a 2012 Element 970 18.5" size and I'm very happy with the fit. I'm 6'0" tall.
I have the opportunity to get a 2012 Vertex RSL 990 frame. The frame on offer is large size, with a HTT length of 615mm.
This is longer than the Element 970 HTT at 605mm....would the large Vertex ... Read More »
A couple of weeks after returning from the Trans Rockies (TR) race I noticed a crack on the top on my left chainstay. The mechanic, Andrew, working on my bike during the TR was the mechanic for Jon Firth and Stefan Widmer (Rocky Mountain racers). I think Andrew would have noticed the crack. I hav ... Read More »