Rocky Mountain Bicycles (RMB) will be resurrecting a venerable name from history when they release the Altitude in 2009. A marked departure from the racing-light steel hardtails that formerly bore the name Altitude, this new Altitude is described as a trail bike that keeps its wheels on the ground for “epic cross country”.
RMB provided me with a prototype Altitude aluminium 50 frame for review. The Altitude is slated to replace the ETS-X in the category which RMB calls XC Marathon and what other manufacturers loosely refer to as “all-mountain”. It will be produced in an aluminium version and in a (lighter, higher-end spec and more expensive) carbon version. As the Altitude is further refined to a production frame with a production spec, some details of this review may be redundant (I’ll highlight those details further in the review) so I urge the readers to also check the RMB website which should be considered to be authoritative.
I’ll note at the outset that I am reviewing the frame and NOT the components. My bike was built with a heavier-then-stock package for riding the Downieville downhill course. Although it is difficult to separate the bike from its parts, I will do my level best to confine my remarks to the performance of the frame. Because there is currently a paucity of information about the Altitude, I will be excerpting from a RMB presentation about this bike in lieu of my standard practise of directing readers to a website. I’ll then present my general impressions about this frame’s performance.
South Chilcotin ~ photo Mark Rowe