The man piloting this bike is smiling. This is not an isolated incident. Photo by Tyler Frasca.
This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–http://reviews.mtbr.com/category/enduro-compare-o-2014
If we gave out a Chuck Norris award in our Enduro Compare-O, the 2014 Rocky Mountain Altitude MSL 770 Rally Edition would win by a tractor pull. Though the fearsome Norco Range gives it a run for the money, the edge would still go to this mega-adjustable, heavy-duty piece of carbon Canadian bike burliness. In fact, we may just have to install some gold-dipped Truck Nutz on this bad boy because it deserves to have its virility—its cojones—on display for all to see.
Informed by the man who envisioned the enduro race format—Frenchman Fred Glo—the Altitude MSL bleeds enduro blue. Big 2.4-inch wide tires, ultra-wide 785mm handlebars, a gigantic 1×10 drivetrain made for pedaling at high speed, and a crazy adjustable shock mount system that can alter the bike’s bottom bracket height by as much as an inch, and tilt the head tube angle from slack to even slacker.
Photo by Tyler Frasca.
Flows Downhill Like Maple Syrup
Clearly with its big gearing, big shock—a Fox Float-X CTD—and burly build, Rocky was going for a bike with great downhill acumen, something they certainly achieved according to our test crew.
“This bike gave me a huge grin for the DH,” said one reviewer. “The suspension was so thick and satisfying that I just wanted to boost everything.”
To-a-man the downhilling feedback was complimentary. But as you might expect, there was another side to the coin.
“When looking downhill, it’s a point and smile bike,” said another reviewer. “But when you go uphill, it leaves you dreaming about the next DH.”
For the record, that’s two different riders who independently said the bike made them smile—a fact that says to us Rocky Mountain is doing things right.
Photo by Tyler Frasca.
Climbs like Canadian Bacon
Indeed what comes down must go up, and uphilling is not the Rocky’s strong suit. In fact the Altitude MSL 770 had a slightly different smile associated with it during ascents. A sort-of pain grimace/anticipation smile that said “this is eff-ing killing me, but I can’t wait to head back down.”
Like a few of the other bikes in our test, the Altitude MSL 770 came with a remote-adjusted suspension system, giving access to Fox’s CTD—Climb, Trail, Descend—modes from the handlebar. And, as we learned, it was a necessity on the Rocky Mountain. In order to get the suspension suitably plush for the downhill we ran sag in the 35-40-percent range, then relied on the platform settings to firm things up for climbing and rolling terrain.
“Without lock out, this bike was the most bobbish of all the bikes,” commented one reviewer. “Locked out, it worked well, though a bit more of a grind for climbing.”
And while clocking in at just over 30-pounds, the weight—while substantial—was only part of the equation for one rider.
“OK, 30-pounds…I can deal with that, you just lock it out and spin in most cases,” he said. “But between the 34-tooth chainring and 27.5-inch wheels, my knees where crying ‘Uncle!’”