2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt debuts

Increased rear travel and lower shock rate curve among key highlights

27.5 News

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

Rocky Mountain has unveiled the latest version of its popular Thunderbolt trail bike, which officially launched to the MTB world today. Key changes to the new carbon frame are an increase in rear travel to 130mm, plus increases to stiffness, and a lowering of the shock rate curve. Rocky also rolled out a 140mm rear travel version, dubbed Thunderbolt BC Edition, which comes with wide bars, big tires, stiff wheels, and more capable suspension. Both Rocky Mountain bikes boast the wide range of RIDE-9 adjustments, allowing the rider to dial in the ride based on the terrain they want to tackle. All photos and images are courtesy Rocky Mountain.

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

Technical Details
  • Increased anti-squat for better pedaling efficiency
  • Size Specific Tune ensures that riders of all sizes get the appropriate rear shock tune
  • 27.5 Wide Trail and 26+ compatible
  • Max tire clearance is 27.5 x 2.5 and 26 x 2.8 (3.0 with low profile knobs)
  • Bearings at all pivots, including at the lower shock mount (still compatible with aftermarket shocks)
  • Blind pivots maximize rider heel clearance at the chainstay
  • Lighter, tooled rear axle, with an updated axle nut for a more intuitive assembly
  • Improved cable management including large head tube and down tube access ports, full-length shift housing, and internally routed shift housing and brake lines the front triangle housing
  • 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
  • Integrated “Spirit Guide” chainguide with 2-bolt ISCG05
  • BC Edition uses a longer stroke shock to yield 140mm of travel
  • 1x optimized design with wider main pivot
  • Lower standover height
  • Stiffer thanks to one-piece seat stays, new envelope, and updated layup
  • Modern parts compatibility (boost spacing, metric shock lengths, post-mount 180mm brakes)
  • All sizes fit a water bottle in the front triangle with any reservoir shock currently on the market
  • Sizes: XS-XL
Geometry Chart for the Slackest Ride 9 Position

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

Claimed Weights
  • Frame & shock: 5.06lb (2300g), size Medium
  • Protectors, chainguide, & axle: 0.57lb (260g)
  • Complete frameset: 5.63lb (2560g)
  • Thunderbolt Carbon 90 BC frameset: 2.56kg (5.63lbs), size Medium
  • Thunderbolt Carbon 90 BC: 12.57kg (27.7lbs), size Large
  • Thunderbolt Carbon 70: 11.80kg (26.0lbs), size Large
  • Thunderbolt Carbon 50: 12.26kg (27.0lbs), size Large
  • Thunderbolt Carbon 30: 12.34kg (27.4lbs), size Large
Next generation features

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

Updates across the platform include features like tooled axles, single-sided bearing pivots, integrated “Spirit Guide” chainguide, and metric shock compatibility.

Updated RIDE-9

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

Rocky’s RIDE-9 system provides a wide range of geometry and suspension adjustability; it has been moved into the link for lighter, narrower packaging. This adjustment system allows riders to quickly fine-tune their geometry and suspension with a pair of Allen keys. Nine configurations are possible thanks to two interlocking chips.

Progressive geometry

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

To add control and descending capability, they have increased reach, slackened the headtube angle, and lowered the bottom bracket. They also slightly lengthened the chainstays to improve climbing traction and used a moderately steep seat tube for further climbing performance.

Thunderbolt Carbon 90 BC Edition Highlights ($5999)

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

With a long stroke shock that provides 140mm of rear travel, Rocky kitted out the Thunderbolt BC Edition with wide bars, big tires, ultra-stiff wheels, and more capable suspension. With a wide range of RIDE-9 adjustments for whatever terrain you want to tackle, its more aggressive nature is perfect for all-day trail adventures.

  • Travel: 140mm/140mm
  • Full Smoothwall carbon frame
  • Longer travel Fox 36 / Float DPS Performance Elite suspension
  • Wide range SRAM 12spd drivetrain
  • DT Swiss rear hub
  • Fox Transfer dropper post
  • All-new frame
  • Integrated chainguide
  • Fox 36 / Float DPS Performance Elite suspension
  • SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain
  • SRAM Guide RS brakes
  • Fox Transfer post
Thunderbolt Carbon BC Edition Frameset Highlights ($2599)

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

  • Full Smoothwall carbon frame
  • Fox Float DPS Factory suspension
  • BC Edition 140mm suspension spec.
  • Shimano Di2 integration
  • Fox LIVE integration
  • Boost 148mm dropouts
  • All-new frame
  • BC Edition 140mm travel
  • Integrated chainguide
Thunderbolt Carbon 70 Highlights ($5399)

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

  • Travel: 130mm / 130mm
  • Full Smoothwall carbon frame
  • Fox 34/Float DPS Performance Elite suspension
  • Wide range SRAM 12spd drivetrain
  • DT Swiss rear hub
  • Fox dropper post
  • All-new frame
  • Integrated chainguide
  • SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain
  • DT Swiss 370 rear hub
  • Fox Transfer post
Thunderbolt Carbon 50 Highlights ($4499)

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

  • Travel: 130mm / 130mm
  • Full Smoothwall carbon frame
  • Fox 34/Float DPS Performance Elite suspension
  • Wide range SRAM 12spd drivetrain
  • DT Swiss rear hub
  • Fox dropper post
  • All-new frame
  • Integrated chainguide
  • SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain
  • SRAM Level TL brakes
  • DT Swiss 370 rear hub
  • Fox Transfer post
Thunderbolt Carbon 30 Highlights ($3499)

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

Rocky flattened out the rate curve to directly increase the amount of usable travel, while maintaining mid-stroke support and making small-bump performance even more sensitive. Higher anti-squat values improve pedaling efficiency.

  • Travel: 130mm / 130mm
  • Full Smoothwall carbon frame
  • Full RockShox suspension package
  • SRAM 1×11 drivetrain
  • Race Face crankset
  • All-new frame
  • Carbon rear triangle
  • Integrated chainguide
  • Improved suspension performance

2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

To learn more visit www.bikes.com.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)


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  • JC says:

    Another miss by Rocky in the pricing/spec dept.
    For us Canucks lowly 30 series $4649 CAD (+ taxes) so > $5K to join the club.
    No dropper & lower end suspension.
    BCed frameset $3999 CAD pre-tax. Ouch.
    Hopefully these models will be available in ALU at some point !

  • JC says:

    Correction –

    BCed frameset $3399 CAD pre-tax. Ouch.

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