A tale of two sizes
A short while ago we had a chance to test ride the 2010 Rocky Mountain Altitude 29, with much success and enjoyment. As the market for 29ers is growing in BC, many people ask the difference between rolling on traditional or big wheels. For that reason we took a ride on the 26″ version of the Altitude to make a comparison.
2010 Rocky Mountain Altitude 70 26″
Heralding from BC and with a strong racing pedigree in Rocky Mountain’s history, they have approached their all mountain and cross country bikes with a flair for mountain goat climbing ability. Straight Up Geometry and Smooth Link platform suspension provide a nimble, solid bike which will let you climb all day without fade (well at least the bike won’t fade, you might).
Beginning in 2010, and continuing into 2011, this suspension formula is being promoted through the line to include the Element, Altitude and Slayer bike lines. Already people are biting at the order book for next year’s Slayer, a 6 inch version of the Altitude with a more slack front end.
For riders looking to ride a few xc races in the Island Cup, enjoy climbs to some of our Cumberland and other Vancouver Island trails, and like a lighter build, the Altitude makes a great pick.
On the Trails
Here’s a short vid of my test ride on the 26″ wheel Rocky Mountain Altitude 70.
Each bike has similarities and differences. Travel on the 29″ is approx 4 inches to the 26″ 5 inches. Seat angle is maintained while the 70.5 head angle on the 29 keeps the wheelbase closer to the 69 degrees on the 26″.
Both bikes climb exceptionally well with the 29″ wheels providing a bit more roll over uneven ground which can help maintain speed. The larger wheelbase also helps keep the climbing traction sweet spot larger which helps on those short steep seated climbs.
When the trails became tight, the 26″ showed it’s benefit for nimble movements. Not to say the 29 wasn’t an adept trail bike, but like riding a larger motor bike or driving a larger truck, it can take a bit of time to learn the subtle differences of big wheels.
Rocky Mountain has done a great job on both bikes and in the end it will come down to personal preference and your choice of trails.
The Altitude series comes in both alloy and carbon forms with build kits ranging from the SLX build Altitude 10 to the XTR, Crossmax equiped 90 RSL. Prices range from $2699 to $7500 with the Altitude 70 coming in at $4599 and stock weight of 28.5lbs.
|Frame||RMB FORM 7005 Alu, Hydroformed Seattube, Alu Seatstay / Chainstay|
|Fork||FOX 32 Float RL FIT|
|Front Travel||140mm, Lockout / Rebound / 15mm Axle|
|Rear Shock||FOX Float RP23 Custom Valved|
|Head Set||FSA Orbit MX|
|Stem||Race Face Deus 6° 70-90-100mm|
|Handlebar||Race Face Deus Low Rise 660mm x Ø31.8mm|
|Brakes||Formula R1 Hydraulic Disc 180mm|
|Brake Levers||Formula R1|
|Shifters||Shimano XT Rapid Fire 9spd|
|Gearing (FR)||Shimano XT Direct Mount|
|Gearing (RR)||Shimano XTR|
|Cranks & Chainrings||Race Face Deus 170-175mm 44/32/22T|
|Bottom Bracket||Race Face Deus XC X-Type|
|Hubs (FR)||DT Swiss 370 15mm Axle|
|Hubs (RR)||DT Swiss 370|
|Cassette||Shimano XT-9 11-34T|
|Spokes||DT Swiss Competition|
|Rims||Stans ZTR Arch Tubeless Ready|
|Tires (RR/FR)||Continental Mountain King 26|
|Seat Post||Race Face Deus XC 30.9mm|