Rocky Mountain Altitude 750 MSL Review

 

Mountain Bike Vermont recently stepped into Stowe’s Skier Shop, A.K.A. Bike Stowe to visit local mechanical wizard Dave Clifford. While chatting Dave up he introduced us to a shiny new toy in his inventory, the Rocky Mountain Altitude. The Altitude is Rocky’s take on the 650b and Dave informed us that it was a great bike and in high demand.  We knew it wouldn’t be available long so without hesitating we convinced MTBVT staff writer Jim Deshler to “invest” in his very own Altitude.

Within a couple weeks of purchase we were off to Highland Mountain Bike Park to put Jimmy’s pristine steed to the test. Before the day was done he had run laps on even the more progressive DH trails. Here are Jimmy’s thoughts on the bike after giving it a proper rooting on varied terrain.

 

Words & Photos by Jim Deshler

Overview: Rocky Mountain Bikes of Vancouver, British Columbia, has been building killer bikes for over 30 years.  For 2013 they have taken an old favorite, the Altitude, and crafted a beautiful 650b bike. 650b’s have claimed the middle road of tire diameter, landing between 26 inch and 29 inch tires at the 27.5 inch mark. Many bikers are agreeing that this provides the best of both worlds: quick turns as well as top pedaling speed on both the up and the down.  When I heard about the new 650b’s on the market I decided to stop in to test ride a demo at The Skier Shop in Stowe.  Dave and Jon, the mechanics at the shop, quickly set me up with the Rocky Mountain 750 MSL.  After one lap on the local trails I knew this bike was for me.

Features:

  • Fox Shocks – 150 mm of front and rear travel.

  • Ride-9 Adjustable Geometry – Allows riders to customize geometry and suspension rate to their specific riding style and weight.  With 9 possible geometry configurations it’s possible to fine-tune this bike to your liking.

  • Rocky Mountain’s Patented Smooth-link Suspension – Delivers active bump absorption without compromising pedal efficiency.

  • Carbon Construction – Provides an ideal stiffness-to-weight ratio as well as long lasting frame durability.

  • Internal Cable Routing – Keeps things tidy while staying service friendly.  Internal routing for rear shock remote cables, your dropper seat post and more.

Ride-9 adjustable geometry hardware lives at the upper shock pivot

The new 750 MSL is a solid uphill climbing machine delivering that little extra roll you sometimes need when pedaling through loose rocks or slippery roots.  Of course, the fun really begins when it’s time to start heading down. The FOX Shocks provide a plush descent through rocky single-track. Whether floating through a jagged rock garden, effortlessly landing a big air or stomping a 10’ drop, the Altitude is there for you like a true friend.

Rocky Mountain’s fully adjustable Ride-9-System offers nine different geometry and chassis settings that allow you to fine-tune the Altitude to your riding style and weight.  This patent pending system allows you to adjust the head angle (66.6°-68.3°) and seat angle (73.6°-75.3°) of your bike.  It’s not necessarily an adjustment you’d make trailside, but being able to decide these angles when building your Altitude will allow you to get the most out of this amazing trail bike.

The rear shock is adjustable without missing a beat. A click of the thumb and the FOX Float Remote CTD shock goes from climb to trail with your eyes still focused on what lies ahead. Another flick of the thumb puts the rear shock into descend mode.

Having the option to adjust your seat post height from climb to descend, or anywhere in between, without having to stop and get off your bike to flip the quick release is a necessity; the Rock Shox Reverb seat dropper post that comes stock with the 750 Altitude MSL allows you this option without missing a beat.

Pros:  This bike dominates on both the climb and the downhill.  With a top of the line SRAM component build, fully adjustable angles and the extra oomph of bigger wheels, this bike will allow you to have a one bike quiver, it really can do it all. Based on the way the Rocky Mountain 750 MSL rides, it seems the 650b wheel size may be here to stay.

Cons:  Honestly, it’s hard to find much of anything to complain about. Looking at the specs and pricing throughout all the companies now making a 650b bike, the price tags are a bit shocking (although that seems to be the case with any mountain bike these days).  Also, you might find yourself going a bit faster than is comfortable; is that a bad thing?

Who Should Ride This: This bike is aimed at a recently defined category of pedaler: the “Trail Rider”.  Everyone loves to point it downhill, but as we all know ‘you gotta get up to get down’.  Being able to conserve energy and pedal efficiently on the ascents and still feel confident your bike will perform on the downhill is priceless…well almost.


Specs:

  • Price: The 750 MSL runs about $ 4,500.00

Geometry

Size

XS

S

M

L

XL

Head Length

Head Angle

66.6° – 68.3°

66.6° – 68.3°

66.6° – 68.3°

66.6° – 68.3°

66.6° – 68.3°

Seat Angle

73.6° – 75.3°

73.6° – 75.3°

73.6° – 75.3°

73.6° – 75.3°

73.6° – 75.3°

Seat Tube length

381

419

457

483

521

Horiz. Toptube Length

540

565

585

605

630

Headtube Length

100

110

120

130

145

Chainstay Length

428

428

428

428

428

BB Drop

-10 to +10

-10 to +10

-10 to +10

-10 to +10

-10 to +10

Wheelbase

1095

734

1142

1163

1189

Front-Centre

1120

Standover Height

734

734

734

734


Verdict: This bike is ideal for my style of riding.  I like to go fast on the descent, but always hated pushing a heavy downhill bike up the steep sections of trail.  The trails in Vermont wind through the woods, following the contours of the forest.  Often a ride includes a bit of everything; up a steep double track road, down a tight single track with berms, rock gardens, river crossings and log rides, and carefully balancing through a batch of downhill water bars.  The Rocky Mountain 750MSL is confidence inspiring no matter the terrain.

Rating:

Innovation: 2/2
Function: 2/2
Aesthetics: 2/2
Features: 2/2
Quality/Price: 1/2

Overall Rating: 9/10 – I wanted to give it a ten, but knowing that 650b’s are new to the scene I can only assume the future versions of this bike will only get better from here on out.

Photo: Thibault – Location: Highland Mountain Bike Park


Pros:

  • Just about everything is adjustable on the fly, no more stopping multiple times to adjust seat post height or suspension settings.

  • Confidently climb steep, technical trails while still feeling solid opening it up on the downhills.  The best of both worlds!

  • Lightweight.

    Thanks to the Skier Shop and Dave Clifford for the superb customer service and for getting Jimmy to rolling… and smiling ear to ear. Thanks to Highland Mountain for hospitality at your “testing grounds”.

Cons:

  • Price – Hey, you get what you pay for.  The components on this bike are sick!  I’m proud to own a bike that’s worth more than my car…

 


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