Check out all of our Project 24.2 posts here!

If anyone had told me a couple of months ago that our Project 24.2 bike was going to come in lighter than my 29er single speed, without any scary light parts, I wouldn’t have believed it.  But it has.

How does 22.8lb sound for a full suspension bike sound?  With pedals, 4 scoops of Stan’s sealant, a chainstay protector, and a bottle cage?  Do-able, right?  What if it was a 19in frame, had trail wheels, and 120mm travel at each end?  Not too shabby- and it’s not even done yet.  Hit the jump for the details

Unfortunately- thanks to an unusual amount of snow- it’s been impossible to really open the Rocky up and see what it can do.  We’re waiting on the ’12 XT/XTR drivetrain, which should shave a few grams off of the 9s XT/XTR/SL-K parts I pinched from another bike (in time for this week’s Specialized Body Geometry Fit).  The Element MSL is an instantly comfortable bike, without any odd handling quirks and extremely confident in dicey conditions.  The light build has had me in the big ring more than I could have expected- I can’t wait for clearer trails.  Here are some highlights:

The Rocky Mountain Element MSL has a lovely carbon fiber linkage with slick built-in sag meter
2012 Specialized Fast Trak: now with added Control. They're plenty big on the wide, light Roval Control Trail SL wheelset.
Ergon's GA1 Leichtbau grip provides a bit more security for technical condtions- and a bit less weight for all conditions.
And on the other side of those grips... Magura's surprisingly powerful, admirably light MT6 discs. Hey-how did we end up on the beach?
Ritchey's WCS carbon-wrapped C260 stem is surprisingly stiff and holds the matching WCS Carbon Low Rizer bars plenty tight. Check the unique 3-bolt steerer clamp.
I quickly made friends with the Specialized Henge Expert saddle- the most comfortable mountain saddle I've tried in ages. Ritchey's 1-bolt WCS seatpost features the easiest setup of any superlight design I've used lately.
Pinched from my own bike: a 120mm Rock Shox SID XX with a 15mm thru axle. Light, supple, and stiff.
Not bad looking at all...
Hydrapak's Wooly Mammoth bottle keeps my GU Brew from freezing on 20-degree mornings thanks to honest-to-goodness Primaloft insulation. How 'bout those frame graphics?



  1. Rich,

    The Rovals come with end caps to work with both 135mm and 142mm dropout standards. At 1,270g (actual) and $1,650, they seem like the wheels to beat…


  2. Very nice bike, but with 2.0 tires, and a sid fork, to me its a real stretch to call this an enduro bike. More like a longish-travel race bike.

    Anybody who has to pay for his/her own equipment is going to run extra tire pressure to protect those pricey rims, sacrificing traction on most trails. With alu rims you can chance the occasional flat spot without too many tears.

  3. Marc,
    You’re one brave man; carbon rims, carbon seat post, carbon stem, carbon handlebar, carbon cranks.
    I would be scared to ride with all this carbon on technical stuff w/ all this carbon.
    29er w/ 120 mm travel? Seems like overkill.
    Please update us on how it rides.

  4. MTB,

    Though I’d love to think of myself as brave, I don’t know that the term applies here. Carbon rims have been holding up very well under aggressive riding for the past couple of years. These are Roval’s ‘trail’ model, so a bit sturdier than a race-only rim and they’ve been fine in terrain that this bike will probably never see. Carbon bars have proved themselves sturdier and longer-lasting than aluminum versions for the same intended use. Ditto for seatposts and the carbon cranks came off of my 5.5in all mountain bike- they’re not especially light, but they don’t keep me up at night…


    You’re right- in some areas 2.2s and 160/180mm rotors would be the ticket. Those two changes wouldn’t push the weight much higher, though…


  5. Beautiful build Marc, I’m a little jealous.

    If MTB and Dave read this, I have been riding some serious trail rides with almost all-carbon bikes and components and had no problems (I’m over 200lbs. with pack on), not to mention I have just for the fun of it- broken carbon components with a hand sledge and they are quite strong. Dave, those new Fast Traks in the 2.0 are a pretty good size tire and even more substantial when mounted to a trail rim.

    Good luck in Old Pueblo

  6. Given that manufacturers keep upping travel this would be considered enduro in 2001, not 2011. Enduro bikes have 160-180mm of travel. This is just standard trail bike. My C’dale Prophet (140mm) is now considered a trail bike and it used to be all mountain. So when I saw sub 23lb enduro I was shocked. Not anymore. S-Works Enduro is not even close 🙂

  7. Agree. Calling this bike enduro is like calling a cross bike a mountain bike. 660mm wide bar? 2.0 tires? 120mm? Sid fork? I’m guessing you meant trail bike. Yes there are way too many categories, but let’s call it what it is.

  8. @Igor & Rich,

    I’m talking enduro in the moto sense (rather than the Specialized sense)- big, long point-point races. The BC Bike Race comes to mind, as do a lot of the techy races that EFTA used to run in New England. Look at Downeville- if guys are winning on 100mm 29ers, than 150mm f&r isn’t needed.


    It ended up under the car somewhere… But every gram counts.


    Really? We’re among the very few who weigh bikes as ridden: with pedals, sealant, and accessories (you know, as ridden). I could pull that stuff off for a misleading headline number, but what’s the point? There are very few 5in travel bikes around coming in ready to ride at ~23lb in a large.

  9. Marc,

    I won’t give you any $&*t about whether or not 120mm is sufficient in today’s world of AM riding. 😉

    What I would like you to comment on is the geometry of the bike. I know that Rocky markets that geometry as “Straight Up”. Could you comment on what this bike rides like versus a conventional geometry bike ?


  10. Why’d you pick those grips? Have you tried them before? I honestly don’t have any good experience with my Ergon brand grips. I get numb hands with straight grips, the way I ride my rough trails with a lot of terrain pumping, and that looks to have the least ergo shaping of any ergo grip I’ve had my hands on.

  11. To add to Marc’s reply, the BC race was won on a short travel trail bike, notably with a hardtail in the top ranks (Bulls Tirone). The TransProvence has quite a lot of folks going with 5″ travel too. The MegaAvalance… that’s another story. A 160mm bike would fit that one better.

  12. Really though sub-23 lbs isn’t very crazy for any bike, even a 120mm full suspension. I’ve seen Nomad Carbons built at 24 lbs while maintaining 6 inches of travel front and rear. As a mechanic in a high end bike shop I’m always thinking of ways to make bikes lighter. Little things here and there. With enough money I could easily build that same Rocky Mountain bike you have right there up into a 20 lb bike.

  13. It seems like everyone has a different idea as to what ‘light’ is when it comes to bikes and what each category means. When my riding buddies talk about enduro rides/events, we are talking about really long trail rides/events and not, as Marc pointed out, the Specialized Enduro meaning. I have never heard of enduro used to mean long travel bikes, but maybe in other parts of the country it is. I have to agree with Marc about the weight though. That is extremely light for a 120mm (front & back) full-suss with everything on it- ready to ride. I have also worked at a high-end bike shop and it is amazing how weight increases on some of the superlight builds from the time they get built on the shop floor to after they get one or two rides in. Yes, many people can make a bike “crazy light” but I rarely see them work well that way. For those of you who really care, a frame weight in the mid to high 4lb range (w/shock) tells you all you need to know, as everything else on a bike can be changed.

  14. Gotta agree with Marc and Charlie, in the numerous years Ive been into mountain biking, Enduro always meant long multi day or multi stage rides or races! They even have Enduro world championships in Europe if I’m not mistaken. They all ride light pimpin trail bikes in those events. I’d say this Rocky is a light pimpin trail bike!

What do you think?