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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I've like RM for a long time and own a '98 Element Race that I rode for 6 years before the front triangle had to go back to the manufacturer. I've liked RM's quality back then and liked the Element for some things and did not like it in other ways. In other words, it had some strengths but some serious weaknesses as well.

Can anyone tell me the differences between the new versus the old other than materials used on the frame and it's weight. If any rider has experience with older Elements and newer ones, that'd be great.
 

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I had a 2000 Instinct which had the same frame as the 2000 Element. The major differences in the 2007/2008 Element included a major increase in the diameter of the main pivot axle to 12mm and the use of large bearings to support the pivot intsead of bushings. The chainstay/swingarm was beefed up quite a bit in the past couple of years to stiffen up the rear triangle. They added bearings at the 3D link to seatstay pivot. The carbon seatstays are much stiffer than the aluminium seatstays.

They've increased the travel to 4" and they're using a Fox RP23 to get better pedal performance.

And of course they are disc brake ready.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The '98 Element was adequately stiff, and in fact, I felt it was stiffer than my Ti hardtail at the time. It handled slow speed switchbacks and slow speed technical moves well because I felt it had a lower center of gravity and maybe a short wheelbase. The frame was also tough-as-nails, the suspension was supple and plush (yes, plush for a short travel bike) and lasted the longest out of any other bike I've owned. What I didn't like was it's inferior stability at higher speeds and also, despite numerous tire changes in attempt to remedy the problem, it had a tendency to wash out, with both tires at the same time, in high speed sharp turns. No other mountain bike I've owned--all 7 of them--did that. I suspect that the bike was a bit too small for me, but I'm not sure. I'm 5'8" riding a size 16.5.

Mainly because of the high-speed handling, I was reluctant to purchase another Element even though I liked the other aspects of the bike. I wonder if anyone had similar experience with the new models.

I felt the older bushings were durable. I never had to change them, although the bolt connecting the shock to the suspension linkage would break on me about 2 times each year.
 

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The all-Fox equipped Elements are very nicely balanced in handling, the F100 front and RP23 rear a good combo and the Element handles very much like the Vertex hardtail at speed. You'd have to ride one to know if it behaves differently than your previous Element.

Usually washing out at both ends at once indicates an absolute limit of traction, maybe you're just traveling faster into the sharp corners on the Element than the other bikes.

I certainly find my Vertex is very neutral but fast in handling and you can be carrying much more speed than you think, but you're not aware of it till you try to brake.

If your old Element had a SID fork they were pretty flexy, I was very happy to put a 32mm stanchion F80RLT on my Instinct and get rid of the SID I had on it. You could ride one handed through baby head rocks with the Fox instead of wrestling with the bars.
 

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I switched from the 2004 Element 50 to 2007 Element 70.
I was blown away by how much stiffer the new frame is.
The biggest difference that I noticed was the front end. The new tubing shape makes for really precise steering. For me this made it possible to ride a 4 inch cross country bike in some really technical terrain and with tons of confidence.

Regarding the size issue I would stay with as 16.5 if I were you. In 2007 Rocky increased the length of the toptube on the 16.5 which makes it fit guys our size really well. The 2004 Element 50 was an 18 but I now ride the 16.5 and it is perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I had a Marzocchi Z3 light on the front of my Element, a coil fork with a stiff crown and a good sensitivity to small bumps, but too easy to bottom out. Three years ago, RM replaced the original frame's front triangle, but I felt the paint was less asthetically beautiful compared to the electric green of the '98 Element Race. I do like the looks of the new Elements and see how many improvements have been made in the past 10 years.

One notable difference is that the older chainstays had less of a bend at the portion near the main pivot near the bottom bracket. In other words, the chainstay was more "straight" from the bottom bracket pivot to the dropout. Now in the newer ones, I see there is much more of an angle, and I'm assuming that it's there to utilize the torque of the chainline to bring the rear suspension back to neutral to reduce pedal bob. Is that true?
 

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The swingarm shaping is more about front derailleur cage clearance with the greater travel and more chain slap clearance, and also about making it stiffer at the CNC'd yoke at the front of the swingarm. Dropping the front of the chaintays allows for a taller yok and chainstay profile without whacking the derailleur cage. The pivot points are actually in pretty much the same place so the actual swingarm lever is pretty much unchanged. It's optimized for reduced bob in the middle ring chain position at the front (pivot lines up with the middle ring).
 
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