First Ride: 2018 Rocky Mountain Altitude

When we first unboxed Rocky Mountain's newest rig, the Altitude, the first thing that came to mind was "150mm of trail-gobbling goodness." Slotting in just under Rocky Mountain’s Slayer, in terms of travel, the new Altitude is designated as an aggressive trail bike and it looks as though Rocky has built in the numbers to back that up. With an adjustable head angle which ranges from a slack, to still pretty slack in the steepest setting, Rocky has tweaked the geometry of the Altitude to be longer, slacker, and lower - three of our favorite words. Other updates include higher anti-squat values to improve pedaling performance, increased overall progression and support at the sag point, Boost and Metric spacing, and a claimed increase of 25% more lateral stiffness thanks to the bike’s one-piece seat stay and updated carbon layup.

Highlights

  • 160mm front, 150mm rear travel
  • 27.5” Wide Trail and 26+ compatible
  • Bearings at all pivots, including lower shock mount
  • Increased anti-squat
  • Blind pivots maximize heel clearance
  • Lighter, tooled rear axle
  • Improved cable management with larger head tube ports, full shift housing, large downtube access port, and internal shift and brake housing within the front triangle
  • Future-proofed to be compatible with Di2, FOX Live, and a dropper post simultaneously
  • Seat tube lengths have been adjusted to accommodate longer dropper posts at maximum insertion
  • Chainstay and downtube protectors (downtube protectors unavailable on first shipment but will be delivered to the shop where the bike was purchased as soon as available)
  • Integrated “Spirit Guide” chainguide with 2-bolt ISCG05
  • 1x only
  • Lower standover height
  • Significantly stiffer thanks to one-piece seat stay, new envelope, and updated layup (25% more lateral stiffness)
  • Modern parts compatibility (Boost spacing, Metric shock lengths, post-mount 180mm brakes, etc.)
  • All sizes fit a water bottle in front triangle, even with a reservoir shock
  • Sizes: XS-XL
  • Weight: Frame and shock: 5.45lbs (2,470g), size medium
  • Select models and sizes available from May 15th


Geometry

Even the best looking bike can be ruined by poor geometry, but thankfully Rocky Mountain has put together a good set of numbers for the new Altitude. Utilizing their RIDE-9 adjustable geometry, which allows riders to fine-tune their geometry and suspension with a whopping nine different configurations, the Altitude’s head angle ranges from 65 degrees to 66.1 degrees, bottom bracket drop ranges from 13mm to -1mm, and for the size large frame we rode, the reach can be set between 452mm and 464mm. For a better idea of the bike’s bottom bracket height, we measured our test bike’s bb while setup in the Neutral position to 13.75 inches (349.25mm) with Maxxis 27.5x2.4” WT tires.

That said, a bike with a total of nine possible geometry settings can be a bit overwhelming, and as such, we did our First Ride with the bike setup in the Neutral position only. For our long-term test, we’ll experiment with the RIDE-9 feature more.

On The Trail

Setting off on our maiden ride, it was apparent how well this bike pedaled. Leaving the FOX Float wide-open for anything but paved climbs yielded a bike that still has some give to help smooth out the trail but doesn’t rob you of any effort when it comes time to put down the power. At 458mm, the reach of the Altitude is long enough to be instantly comfortable for our 6’1” mostly-torso tester, even with a nice and short 50mm stem. Overall, we’re impressed with the climbing prowess and overall comfort of the Altitude.

While we haven’t had the opportunity to ride the Altitude on flatter, tamer trails (oh darn), we did get it out on some steeper, more downhill-oriented trails we could see a DH bike dropping in on. And, we have to say, the geometry of the Altitude might just out-ride a few of the components found on the Carbon 70 model we were riding. If you’re going to push this bike super hard, you’re going to want a reservoir shock like they spec on the Carbon 90 build, but we still got along fine with the FOX Float in-line shock found on the Carbon 70 kit. The geometry of this bike really begs to be ridden hard, and we found ourselves pushing heavily into corners and charging heels-down in the steeps. While the trails we rode were void of any chunky rock sections, we’ll be putting the bike through its paces back on our home trails which definitely have their fair share of the rough stuff.

Even with our limited time aboard the bike, we’re comfortable saying Rocky Mountain built quite the ripper with the new Altitude.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Even with our limited time aboard the bike, we’re comfortable saying Rocky Mountain built quite the ripper with the new Altitude. With geometry often found on 160mm bikes and bigger, we found ourselves forgetting we were on a trail bike the moment the wheels pointed downhill. Paired with a stacked list of cool features like their highly adjustable RIDE-9 geometry, integrated chain retention, and an internal cable management system that rides silent, we’re looking forward to spending more time aboard the Altitude during our long-term test. Stay tuned.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Build Kits

Altitude Carbon 90

  • Highlights include a FOX 36 Float Factory fork, a full SRAM 1x12 drivetrain with Eagle XO1 shifting, Maxxis Minion WT tires, a FOX Transfer dropper post.
  • MSRP: $6,999 USD

Altitude Carbon 70

  • Highlights include a FOX 36 Float Performance Elite fork, a Shimano 1x11 XT drivetrain and brakes, DT Swiss hubs and a FOX Transfer Performance Elite dropper post.
  • MSRP: $5,299 USD

Altitude Carbon 50

  • Highlights include a FOX 36 / Float DPS Performance suspension, a Shimano drivetrain with a mix of XT and SLX, Race Face Aeffect Cinch cranks, and a FOX Transfer Performance Elite dropper.
  • MSRP: $4,099 USD

Altitude Carbon Frameset

  • Highlights include Rocky Mountain’s Smoothwall carbon, Shimano Di2 integration and Boost 148mm dropouts.
  • MSRP: $2,749 USD

Altitude Alloy 70

  • Highlights include FOX Performance Elite suspension, a Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, Maxxis Minion WT tires, and a FOX Transfer Performance Elite dropper post.
  • MSRP: $3,999 USD

Altitude Alloy 50

  • Highlights include a FOX 30 / Float DPS Performance suspension, a Shimano 1x11 drivetrain, Race Face Aeffect Cinch cranks, and a FOX Transfer Performance Elite dropper post.
  • MSRP: $3,199 USD

Altitude Alloy 30

  • Highlights include full RockShox suspension, Race Face Aeffect Cinch cranks and Aeffect dropper post, and a SRAM NX drivetrain.
  • MSRP: $2,899 USD

For more information, visit www.bikes.com

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