Rocky Mountain releases thoroughly updated Element 29er XC race bike

Refined geometry for evolving race tracks

29er Cross Country News
The Element is still breed for XC racing, but is now more capable than ever.

The Element is still breed for XC racing, but is now more capable than ever.

The Element has been Rocky Mountain’s premiere XC race bike for two decades. To stay on the cutting edge, the frame has gradually transitioned from aluminum to carbon and the wheels have grown from 26” to 29”. Along the way, suspension, geometry, and components have also improved.

These significant advancements on the hardware side have enabled modern race courses to evolve. Today’s World Cup XC events are held on tracks that are gnarlier than downhill stages from fifteen years ago. To continue pushing the pace, Rocky completely revised this beloved XC platform.

Modern XC race courses are gnarlier than ever, so the Element has taken some cues from current trail bike geo.

Modern XC race courses are gnarlier than ever, so the Element has taken some cues from current trail bike geo.

While the Element still sports the 29” wheels and 100mm of rear travel you’ve come to expect, it’s now paired with a longer 120mm travel fork. On the geometry front, the reach has been increased slightly to accommodate a shorter stem/wider handlebar without sacrificing pedaling position. The seat tube angle has been steepened and the rear center received a nip tuck.

While die-hard XC racers may lament these changes, they’re critical for meeting the demanding nature of current race tracks. According to product director Alex Cogger, “People used to show up to the BC Bike Race expecting to grind fire roads all day, only to walk the descents and snap their made-for-the-scale bikes in half. XC racing has evolved and bikes that can’t handle the real world have no business on the course.”

The Ride 9 system allows for easy adjustments to geometry and suspension.

The Ride 9 system allows for easy adjustments to geometry and suspension.

For those who desire more XC-oriented handling, the geometry can be customized using the frames integrated Ride 9 system. This set of dual rotating chips can help tune the suspension to be more linear or progressive, as well as changing the head tube angle by one degree.

This beautiful T.O. (Team Only)  paint scheme is available aftermarket, but adds 30g to the final weight.

This beautiful T.O. (Team Only) paint scheme is available aftermarket, but adds 30g to the final weight.

The frame weighs 2250 grams (size medium, w/ shock hardware) and is available in five different sizes. It has full internal cable routing options for a 2x, dropper post, and lockout. It’s also compatible with Di2 and has mounting options for Fox’s yet-to-be-released electronic Live Valve system. Our two favorite features? The frame has room for 2 water bottles inside the front triangle AND can accommodate up to a 2.35” tire.

The Element 999 RSL is Rocky's top tier build.

The Element 999 RSL is Rocky’s top tier build.

The new Element will be available at several different price points, plus a frame only option. The top of the line model is the 999 RL. Notable equipment spec on this bike includes a SRAM Eagle drivetrain, Stan’s carbon wheels, and a Rockshox dropper.

Wide bars, big tires, and the high end suspension? Yes, please.

Wide bars, big tires, and the high end suspension? Yes, please.

Just below that model sits the Element 990 BC Edition. Rocky’s BC models are built with wider bars, bigger tires, and premium suspension. While this build kit is not ideal for the XC purist, we’ve found these models are the most fun when pointed downhill.

The Element is compatible with 2x drivetrains, but Rocky only spec's one model with this style of drivetrain.

The Element is compatible with 2x drivetrains, but Rocky only spec’s one model with this style of drivetrain.

At the mid-range, Rocky offers the Element 970 RSL. This is an XT level build that comes with Fox’s new black stanchioned suspension and a Reverb. Below that is the 950 RSL with a 1x SLX kit and regular post. The most affordable model is the 930 RSL, which has a 2x SLX drivetrain and Rockshox suspension.

Pricing is yet TBD, but we’ll update with more info as we receive it.

For more info, visit www.bikes.com

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

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