Compare-O First Look: Rocky Mountain Altitude MSL 770 Rally Edition

27.5 Enduro Enduro Compare-O 2014

This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–

How enduro is the new Rocky Mountain Altitude MSL 770 Rally Edition? Well it takes some endurance to read such a long model name, so that’s pretty enduro. It’s also liveried in both de facto official enduro colors—neon blue and neon green. Then there’s the word “rally” in the name, which evokes visions of Sébastien Loeb, Petter Solberg and Colin McRae rock-spitting modified sports cars across the tarmac, gravel, ice and snow of European backroads on the World Rally Championship circuit.

Actually, we’re told rally is a reference to an early form of enduro pioneered by French linchpin Fred Glo, the discipline’s first race organizer. Whatever the case, its safe to say this bike overflows with enduroness.

To meet the need, Rocky took the frame of their Altitude 790 trail bike and spec’d it with a heavy-duty parts mix that would stand up to the rigors of European-style enduro racing. Its massive 2.4-inch-wide Continental Trail King tires not only give the 770 a monster truck swagger, but makes this 27.5er pretty close to a 28er. The big wheels require some big leverage, and Rocky employs a broad 785mm Race Face Turbine handlebar to help steer the ship.

Rocky has gone to great lengths to make their Altitude platform tunable, and the 770 includes a chip system called Ride-9 that allows riders nine shock mounting options to tune the geometry, shock rate and general attitude of the bike to their preferences and trail conditions. Though it appears a bit tedious, the system offers great latitude in setup for riders who like to engage in such rituals.

In theory we like the ability to change shock mounting options using Rocky’s Ride-9 system. The fact that the rebound adjustor on the Fox Float X gets buried is a bummer.

While in general we’re big fans of Fox’s Float X rear shock, accessing the rebound adjustor on the bell-end can be difficult. This issue is magnified on the Altitude by its thick downtube shock mounting tabs, which obscure the adjustor even more. You can get at it with a long thin screwdriver, but it looks like on-trail adjustments will be cumbersome.

Sweet graphics and hidden cables add to the 770’s aesthetic appeal.

Functionality aside, the frameset itself is a sight to behold—flat black with bright accents and internal cable routing. Its carbon front triangle/alloy rear end mix sits at a slack 66.2 degree head angle with the seat tube at a hair over 72 degrees, though these numbers change with the different chip configurations.

While the inclusion of a remote shock lockout—as well as a respectable sub-30-pound curb weight—would indicate the 770 is intended to go up as well as down, the gearing looks like it was selected with high-speed DH smashing in mind. It uses a 1×10—not 11—drivetrain with a 12-36 cassette in the rear, and a largish 34-tooth front chainring. Combined with big wheels, the gearing may be a little too tall on some of the steeper inclines…that sound you hear is our test riders’ knees moaning in pain.

In keeping with the 770’s aggro theme and eclectic parts mix is the inclusion of an e*13 TRS+ chainguide along with the SRAM X9 Type-2 clutch-style rear derailleur—a setup that virtually guarantees the chain will stay put through the roughest terrain. Equally ready to hammer is the Fox 34 Float CTD 160mm front boinger with Kashima coating, and a pair of four-piston Avid Elixir 9 Trail Hydraulic Discs with 180mm rotors. A pair of Stan’s ZTR Flow EX tubeless-ready rims—with custom-matched blue graphics no less—laced to a SRAM X9 hubset has us hoping for a stout, stiff wheel build. A nads-approved RockShox Reverb Stealth is wisely spec’d to keep the undercarriage clear.

Rocky Mountain demonstrated their attention to aesthetic detail by color matching saddle and rim graphics to the frame. A nice touch.

Despite the concerns about accessing the rebound adjustor and the tall gearing, there’s something about the 770 that has us all salivating.

2014 Rocky Mountain Altitude MSL 770 Rally Edition
  • Weight: 29.76 lbs.(size large)
  • Wheel size: 27.5 inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Rear Suspension: Fox Float X Remote Kashima CTD Custom Trail Valved 150mm
  • Front Suspension: FOX 34 Float Kashima Fit CTD 160mm
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X9 1×10; 34t chainring, 12-36 cassette
  • Brakes: Avid Elixir 9 Trail Hydraulic Disc 180mm
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • Wheelset: Stan’s ZTR Flow EX tubeless-ready rims, SRAM x9 hubs
  • Tires: Continental Mountain King Folding 2.4-inches wide
  • Bars: Race Face Turbine 785mm
  • Stem: Thompson 60mm
  • Bottom bracket type: Race Face Press Fit Team XC
  • Head tube angle: 66.2 degrees
  • Seat tube angle: 73.2 degrees
  • Chainstay length: 16.85 inches
  • Bottom bracket height: XX inches
  • Bike MRSP: $5599
  • Frame MSRP: n/a

For more information visit

Read our Bottom Line Evaluation of the Rocky Mountain Altitude MSL 770 Rally Edition here.

This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry that landed him at his current gig with Santa Cruz bicycles. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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