Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt
This is RM’s new short travel 27.5 built for speed and fun. It sounds like RM was reading my mind when it built the Thunderbolt…. or at least when they wrote the ad copy for its description. “When XC gets rowdy, the agile and playful Thunderbolt shines. Standing on 120mm of travel and equipped with 27.5” wheels, the Thunderbolt delivers a great mix of intuitive XC capabilities and pure playful trail fun.” That’s pretty much just what I’ve been looking for.
But did it live up to the ad copy and my expectations? You bet! This was one of the few bikes I rode where the tech got the suspension almost perfectly set for me right out of the tent. It felt surprisingly plush for a 120mm bike and you can tell the AM/FR/DH guys at RM like Thomas Vanderham had a lot to say about how it felt. It wasn’t sloppy feeling or sluggish though. It accelerated smartly while standing without much lost energy and ramped up nicely at the limits of travel without bottoming.
Weaving in and out of boulders and popping over rocks was intuitive and fun. I finally just dropped the seat post an inch or two and just left it there preferring to have it out of the way for attacking the rowdier stuff and railing the corners, then just standing for the small punchy climbs that accentuated the trail I took it on as the dropper post was inexplicably deleted from the option menu . The short chain stays combined with a longish top tube combined to make for easy manualing and excellent cornering, yet still maintained good steadiness and unflappability on the rougher descents.
Despite not being carbon, the Thunderbolt still felt quite light and fairly stiff. It’s like the DH rider’s XC bike. I liked it. It’s definitely up there on my short travel Chili complement list.
I loved the lime green ano accents against the black frame. Very cool.
X-King mounted on ZTR Crest rims were light, stiff, and fast rolling. Grip was pretty good but I had to be a little more judicious in how I leaned them into corners as the trails were starting to dry out and loosen up by this late in the day.
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