Doesn’t that make you want to get out and ride?
As Rocky Mountain states, “Cross country means more now.” Most riders are looking for a bike that is as efficient as possible, but doesn’t give up any fun on the downhills. After revitalizing one of the longest running full suspension platforms around with the carbon Element RSL and MSL, Rocky Mountain has now taken that same design and integrated it into 26 and 29 inch wheeled versions in aluminum. The result is two bike that Rocky Mountain feels will change the alloy cross country mountain bike game, with bikes that are as capable as they are fun to ride.
To learn more about the two new Elements, jump past the break!
While both bikes feature the new SmoothLink suspension system, the 26″ version receives 120mm of travel, while the 29er gets slightly less, at 95mm. Geometry wise, the 26 inch element AL remains the same geo as the carbon Element MSL, meaning a slightly longer top tube and more relaxed head angle for what Rocky’s riders saw as the perfect race geometry. Meanwhile, the 29 inch Element gets the new RTC (race tuned compact) 29er geometry which features short chainstays, and a shorter top tube to try and mimic the feel of a 26 inch bike.
Last year, Rocky Mountain introduced ABC pivots for the carbon Element range, and the same ABC technology has made it into the aluminum version as well. ABC stands for Angular Bushing Concept, which means that instead of bearings for the suspension pivot points, the Element utilizes a multi piece angular bushing that will not bind at the specified torque. As long as a bushing doesn’t bind and offers free movement, they tend to be better than bearings because they are lighter, generally more durable, and laterally stiffer. When Rocky went to the ABCs on the carbon Element, they dropped 120 grams, yet claim to have improved stiffness by 105%! Easier to service, lighter, stiffer, more durable, what’s not to like?
Spec wise, the two Elements feature just about every modern feature you could think about. The only feature that is different between the 26 and the 29, is the fact that only the 29 inch Element receives a 142 x 12 rear axle. Not sure why the 26 inch version doesn’t get it as well, but that’s the way it is. Both bikes use a BB92 pressfit bottom bracket for the stiffest DT/ST/CS junctions possible, a tapered head tube, internal cable routing , and an E-type direct mount front derailleur. The E-type front derailleur seems to just use the top section of derailleur, and bolts right into the swingarm instead of being pinched by the bottom bracket. This means the front derailleur is free to move with the swing arm offering precise shifting no mater where you are in the travel. It only seems to be an issue if you are at a Shimano press camp and the correct derailleur has to be FedExed in to the resort, only FedEx sends it to South Tahoe instead of Northstar, right Dre? (he ended up getting it in time for our second ride of the week). A few other clever touches include a rubber seat collar sleeve to prevent water from entering the seat tube in heavy rain, a custom anti chain drop plate molded onto the front derailleur, cable guides for dropper posts, and an integrated sag indicator built right into the suspension link.