Rocky Mountain Altitude
Specialized wanted all their bikes turned in by 3:30 on Tuesday which I thought was kind of weird until I got back and they practically had their huge tent/canopy taken down and all their bikes packed. Apparently Interbike was hosting an outdoor demo area called The Paddock at the new host hotel in Las Vegas The Mandalay Bay and everyone had to get tents torn down and moved that night. I got walking around the expo area looking for my final ride and after checking with SRAM for the Norco Sight, GT for the Sensor, and Devinci for the Troy I started to resign myself to the fact that I’d ridden my last bike of the day.
But when I passed the Rocky Mountain tent I noticed their guys were still standing around and it looked like most of their bikes were still out so I asked if they were still checking out bikes. The guy acted a little puzzled but after asking his buddy they determined that they were still in business. Cool, I wasn’t going to tell them anything about the whole Paddock at Mandalay Bay thing and spoil my shot at snagging a 150mm travel, 27.5” carbon Altitude. Nosiree.
They got me set up in short order and I was off to find some energy to make it up the hill (and down) one more time. Just as they got pedals on I noticed the new Thunderbolt (their new 125mm 27.5 Solo competition) sitting there too and about changed my mind but didn’t. Maybe at Outerbike I’ll get the chance to put the Thunderbolt through its paces. I liked the understated all flat black minimal decals look of the Altitude and it immediately felt comfortable to me. Sizing was good with a somewhat upright position and pedaling was efficient and smooth. Do you see a theme emerging here? Bike companies have got this pedaling thing figured out. Everything else is in the details of geometry and suspension action in the rough. RM seems to have this figured out pretty well too.
As luck would have it the shuttle truck was sitting waiting patiently for me to load for the last run up the hill. I took the RM down the same Boy Scout to West Leg route (minus the Caldera Loop) that I’d taken the Pivot on because I wanted to compare them back to back. Given the route I didn’t get to do any extended climbs but there are several short punchy climbs on West leg and over the saddle to Mother to get a feel for climbing and I have no complaints here. The Altitude crawled up and over steps and boulders nicely and didn’t lose traction on looser climbs.
Descending was equally competent. The frame handled the rough stuff without deflecting or feeling flexy and the suspension action was stable and controlled. I would rate it equal to the Bronson and a tick behind the Mach 6. Nothing wrong with this bike at all and I suspect the price point is several hundred less than either of those two.
There are so many good options out there this year. Can’t wait for Outerbike!
These beefy Continental Trail King tires on stiff Stans ARCH EX rims really added to the overall good handling and bombablity of this bike.
I thought tire clearance was a little tight with this set up, but unless it was muddy I’d opt for these meats every time and sacrifice the clearance.
One thing the Altitude offers that the other contenders I rode don’t is adjustable geometry. By switching this box around you can adjust head angle and bb height. I didn’t mess with it but it’s nice to have the option. It makes a very versatile bike even more so.
It also had a handle bar remote for Climb, Trail, and Descend mode for the shock. I never touched this leaving it in “Descend” mode the whole ride, but that might come in handy for some I suppose.