BIKERUMOR.com 2009 SEA OTTER CLASSIC COVERAGE: Rocky Mountain Bicycles had two new prototype 29ers on display, the Altitude 29 full suspension (above) and the Vertex 29 hardtail (next post). Ã‚Â Both are aluminum frame mountain bikes and will share some of the same spec, including the new Shimano 36 tooth cassette; wheels built with Shimano XT hubs/DT Swiss Spokes/Stans ZTR 29er rims; Continental tires and Easton cockpits with a WTB saddle.
Both of them also feature a new Rocky Mountain design that has a direct-mount front derailleur design. Ã‚Â This allows them to build any shape seat tube, and in these bikes’ cases, they went with a graduated round to rectangle design that provides solid lateral stiffness at the bottom bracket.
This 29er uses some innovative geometry to make it handle more like a 26″ wheeled mountain bike, which has me excited. Ã‚Â Hit ‘more’ for details on the geometry, specs and some other neat frame features…
As indicated by the sticker on the top tube, this was still a prototype. Ã‚Â But according to their rep, both their designers and forum groupies are pretty excited about the geometry, and I am too. Ã‚Â Here’s why: Ã‚Â They use a hydroformed seat tube to flare out to a rectangular shape at the bottom. Ã‚Â It’s also shaped in a nice arc to allow a shorter chainstay of 17.8″. Ã‚Â That’s pretty short for a 120mm travel 29er, and it gives the Altitude a short wheelbase.
Couple that with a 76Ã‚Âº seat angle that sags to an effective 74.5Ã‚Âº angle when you’re sitting on it, and it makes puts the rider in a more powerful position rather than the typical slack angles and set back seating positions on longer travel bikes.
They also kept the cockpit (ie. top tube length) to a normal measurement. Ã‚Â Unlike a lot of 29ers, it won’t stretch you out so much. Ã‚Â The end result is it should feel more like a small bike and handle the tight ‘n’ twisties more like a 26″ bike, but give you the rolling benefits of a 29er. Ã‚Â If your trails are like mine, which include roots and tight, technical trails, as well as some fast flowing sections, this sounds like a perfect blend: 26″ XC performance, 29er rolling and All-Mountain travel. Ã‚Â Put it all together and you get what RM calls “Straight Up Geometry.” I can’t wait to ride one!
The design uses a direct mount front derailleur, which gives them total freedom of design for the seat tube.
Nice, simple graphics stand out on the matte black frame. Ã‚Â The fork uses a tapered 1.5″ to 1-1/8″ steerer tube. Ã‚Â The top tube and down tube, while shaped into squares at the headtube juncture, are not hydroformed. Ã‚Â The rep explained that they’re cold worked, which yields lighter tubing that’s just as strong.
Rocky Mountain hand builds their wheels in-house. Ã‚Â These will roll on Continental Mountain King 2.2 29″ rubber.
Availability is pegged for September or October 2009 with an estimated price of $4,400.