Over the last couple years the 27.5 shorter-travel (115-130mm) platform has been blurring the lines between XC and Trail categories. Rocky Mountain’s Thurnderbolt is designed to handle the rowdy side of XC riding, and is a capable setup for almost everything shy of Enduro racing.
The aluminum frame has four available build specs, and I took the 2nd tier 750 ($3,300) on extended rides at NEMBAfest. Vermont’s flowy Kingdom Trails and the efficient Thunderbolt were a perfect match, allowing me to ride all day in comfort, climb without pedal-bob, and hit downhills knowing I’d brought a gun to the gunfight. OK, the well-manicured Kingdom Trails are more of a BB-gun gunfight, but trails like Troll Stroll and Sidewinder thoroughly used all 5” of travel and could have shot my eye out.