The Altitude’s drivetrain is almost all Shimano except for Race Face Deus cranks and BB. Shifters and rear derailleur are XT while the front derailleur is SLX. Pedals are Shimano.
Gearing is a very low 12-36. For 29er rookies like myself it was explained that the low gearing helps offset the fact that you’re powering a pretty big wheel around trails.
Wheels are Stans ZTR Arch 29 on Wheeltech hubs; a nice touch as this can be easily converted to tubeless (although I ran tubes).
Supplied stem was a 90mm Easton which I swapped out for a 70mm FSA. This is paired with a custom-for-Rocky Easton aluminium flat bar with 9 degrees sweep – meant to put a rider in the same riding position that they would be in on a 26″ Altitude as compared to the taller Altitude 29er. Brakes are Formula R1 with 180mm rotors.
Closeup of the bottom bracket area. Bashguard is the sole modification to the drivetrain.
The Altitude’s frame is a fetching anodized black with clean under the top tube cable routing (no routing under the BB to get trapped with mud). Welds are clean. The sloping top tube with bend in the middle lends a lot of clearance for standover. The rear chain stays can easily accomodate a 2.4″ Nevegal.
Head tube and seat tube angles are 70.5 and 76 degrees per the Straight Up geometry. Don’t scoff gentle readers and keep an open mind. I’ve ridden steeper, more technical terrain then most on a conventional Altitude. Initially I was skeptical about the geometry thinking that angles would be too steep, but it works. I’ll talk more about this (if I haven’t already gone on enough about this ad nauseum in previous reviews) in the follow up more comprehensive ride report.
Geometry and dimensions
At least some people in the Rocky design team have substantial experience riding big wheels in technical terrain lending credence to Rocky’s boast that the “our new 29ers are … suited to the technical trails at our doorstep “. You can see this attention to detail in how Rocky Mountain has tweaked design details (particularly frame dimensions) so that the ride compartment of the Altitude 29er mimics the conventional Altitude so that the 29er retains Rocky’s nimble, singletrack-biased feel and characteristics. Consider the following dimensions for equivalent Medium sized frames (all in millimetres) and note the following reasoning per Rocky:
- The chainstay is relatively short to promote better handling
- The seat tube is also relatively short to compensate for the bigger wheels putting the rider higher.
- Note that the wheelbases of the Altitude big and little wheeled bikes are almost identical despite the wheelsize difference (I wouldn’t have made that sharp turn on the cantilevered wooden bridge in the Pipeline video without some hopping if the wheelbase was longer).
|Altitude 29er||Altitude 26er|
|Seat tube length||406.4||457|
|Horiz. top tube length||580||575|
Another thing you will note is that the headtube is pretty short for that size of bike. According to Rocky, this was done (a) to save weight; (b) to help the rider get a bit lower to offset the bigger wheels; and (c) give the rider more options to customize options (ie you can add headtube height by adding spacers but you can’t subtract height – at least without access to welding equipment. One will also note a bent seat tube. It means you can’t get jam the seatpost really low (a downside) but it means more rear tire clearance (definite upside).
These are trivial vignetttes perhaps but it reflects the kind of thought Rocky put into this bike.
Rear of the Altitude 29er. Note that the waterbottle cage clears the rear shock comfortably.
Chainstay assembly pictured with 2.1 Maxxis Crossmark tire. I fit a 2.4 Kenda Nevegal in there with room to spare
The list price for the Altitude 29er is $ 3999 Can ($ 3999US). More details on the Altitude 29er, including detailed specifications and geometry can be found on the Rocky site.