Rocky Mountain is rolling out a cadre of new XC racer 29ers, both hardtail and suspension. We’ve shown a good bit of the full suspension alloy Element 970/950/930 here, and they wouldn’t let us weigh the Interbike models because they weren’t quite production spec, so we’re just running down the Vertex 990 Rsl hardtail here.
The Vertex Rsl 29ers will come in two models, the 990 and 970, both with the same frame built using their SmoothWall construction that sculpts the inside tube walls via an inner mold. RM says this reduces excess resin, removes stress risers and lowers weight.
The frame gets a revised RTC (Race Tuned Compact) geometry with shorter chainstays and top tube with a slacker 70.25º head tube. At a glance, that seems like an odd combo, but RM says it’s very maneuverable and responsive.
A raised seat tube allows for a lower, flatter top tube-to-seatstay area for better standover clearance and perhaps a bit more rear end compliance. Combined with a slightly taller bottom bracket, it creates a very compact looking frame. Rocky Mountain is so convinced that this 29er creates the ultimate race bike that they’re no longer doing a high end carbon 26″ Vertex race bike.
The internal cable routing for both derailleurs is pretty clean looking with an exit point that should make maintenance fairly easy. The bike uses a 142×12 rear thru axle and BB92 bottom bracket with asymmetrical chainstays.
The 990 Rsl is available as a frame only or complete bike with SRAM X0, Rockshox SID 29, DT Swiss XR400 tubeless ready wheelset, Easton cockpit and Maxxis Ikon tires. All that and it comes in at 21lbs 4oz: