Rocky Mountain Altitude 29er- 2010 – First look

29er Pro Reviews


Rocky Mountain Altitude 29er- 2010 – First look


On the eve of Rocky Mountain Bicycles 29th year of existence, it launched its 29er platform using the Altitude full-suspension and the Vertex hardtail bikes as the canvas on which to paint art. I’ve previously reviewed the Altitude frameset with an emphasis on outlining its suspension and straight-up geometry characteristics so it made sense for me to leverage that familiarity by trying the Altitude 29er.

This “First Looks” article serves as an introduction to the Altitude 29er; a future article and further follow-ups will canvass the bike’s performance and long-term durability.

DISCLOSURE – although I am wearing a 15 year old Rocky Mountain vest I am neither sponsored nor paid by Rocky in connection with or relative to this review. This bike is loaned to me for review purposes.

Altitude 29er on Pipeline trail in North Vancouver



Rocky has had a well deserved reputation for putting together quality bicycles with a feel best described as nimble. The bottom line is that Rocky’s handle well.

In 2008, Rocky Mountain replaced the ETS-X in the all-mountain category with the Altitude platform. The Altitude can be thought of as a all-mountain bike for those who prefer to keep their wheels on the ground as opposed to the Slayer Super XC bikes which I described as a pocket downhill bike in my review. I had found the conventional 26″ wheeled Altitude to be a best-in-class climber and a singletrack knife.

The Altitude 29er is an Altitude with several frame and component tweaks for 29″ wheels. More on this below.

Rocky Mountain Altitude 29er



The Rocky Mountain Altitude 29er weighs 30lbs in the size Medium tested. It has 120mm/115mm of travel front and rear (4.7″ front , 4.5″ rear).

Suspension is familiar. Front suspension is an air Fox 32 F29 RL FIT with a 15mm QR and 120mm of travel. Rear suspension is a custom-valved Fox Float RP23.

Front view. I swapped the stock stem for a 70mm FSA stem and got the bars a bit lower by putting one space above the stem.

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About the author: Lee Lau

Lee Lau calls North Vancouver and Whistler BC home. He's had over 15 years experience riding bikes mainly in western North America and in Europe. Unlike many people who learned to ride bikes on North Shore trails, he actually enjoys riding (and sometimes bushwhacking) uphill.

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  • Noah says:

    The bars look rolled forward a lot, I just built 4 of these last night and found that the bar seemed best when it was on the -1 line in the middle of the “E” on the stem’s face clamp. Also, did you cross the ft. & r. der cables? They came kinda funky from the factory and I redid them….

  • leel says:

    Hey there Noah. I’ll try your suggestion. The bars were actually at the -2 line so they were rolled back.

  • Maple says:


    Any chance of doing a comparison ride vs the 26er Altitude? A side by side….

    And let us know how the ride up to Pipeline was.

    I’m seeing a lot of 29er’s in my US rides, but other than Scott and Drew locally, not a lot of confidence for riding the local trails from the stores, would be nice to know just how gnarly you would take this bike… Pipeline definitely seemed like a good choice as a good middle of the road trail….

  • LeeL says:


    That’s a good idea. I’ll get a demo Altitude & try it. I figure Ladies will be about the high end of technical trails to try the bike – lets face it; the Altitude is a xc-biased All Mountain bike so taking it down A-Line would be pushing its envelope.

  • Amir says:


    After riding a 29er here on the Shore, would you buy one?

    I’m talking in general terms here, comparing a 26″ vs. 29″ and not the Rocky you reviewed. I mostly ride the valley trails in and around Whistler, a bit in Pemberton and Squamish. From talking to a few of the LBS employees who’ve thrown a leg over a 29er, the consensus seems to be that it’s not ‘made’ for our trails here… better suited for less technical, fast desert style riding.

    I’d like to get your opinion as i’m (loosely) considering a Tallboy.


  • LeeL says:


    Let me put it back to you. Why would you want the Tallboy? Good deal, want to try something different etc?

    I can’t really answer your question – I’ve had a grand total of five rides on the Altitude – not really a good sample for anything but the most superficial of impressions and hardly anything on which I’d base a substantive review.

    Also I have zero experience with the Tallboy. I don’t even know its spec or geometry. I could pop off some generalities about 29ers but there’s lots of information in the FAQ in the 29er forum

    Let’s face it, there’s some fast and flowy in Whistler and particularly Squamish but you have to go further north to the Chilcotin to find fast, rangy singletrack. So you should buy a bike that does well in the hyper-technical trails of the Sea-to-Sky corridor; remember that Whistler, Squamish, Pemberton, Vancouver xc and all-mountain trails are considered downhill/freeride in many other parts of the world so we’re not exactly a representative market for which most bikes are designed.

  • Amir says:


    I already own a Blur LT carbon for riding Whistler/Squamish/Pemby. A bike which if find perfectly suited for these trails.
    The Tallboy would be an addition, used mostly for racing/competing. Why a Tallboy? I’m already a very satisfied Santa Cruz owner and see no reason to switch brands.

    Let me rephrase my question. Do you find it more difficult/easier/the same so far on our trails here compared to what you’re used to?

  • LeeL says:


    So far, based on my five ride experience (all on easier Shore trails), I’ve found it basically the same

  • Noah says:

    My buddy Seb (who guides in Whistler) really took to the Tallboy, he shreds it.

  • Bruce says:

    Just bought one on Sunday. Rode it once and liked what I felt. Though, I will have to see over time.

  • Calvin says:

    Love the video. Sweet riding!

  • andrew says:

    Great video! Did you get any pedal strikes? How high is the BB? Thanks

  • leel says:


    The BB height is in the specs from the RMB website – check out the link. I didn’t get any strikes but haven’t tested it out on really technical terrain as yet.

  • LeeL says:

    Here’s another video. Rode Kill Me Thrill Me April 23 2010. Tight twisty trees with some flowy sections ending with rock slabs. A fun ride with lots of variety

  • Simon says:

    Looks very sweet. Could well be my next bike.
    To me this is in the same (trail) bike class as Spes Stumpjumper FSR 29, GF Rumblefish, Intense Tracer, Turner Sultan and Niner RIP9 from the looks, geometry and longish travel. Comments on this comparison?

    However, I get the impression from the riding position that it is a bit more racey than the others. Would you consider racing it in marathon events and the likes?

  • LeeL says:


    This is my first 29er. I’d be lying if I tried to make comparisons. It’s very plush as set up. If I was to consider racing it in marathon events I’d probably stiffen up the suspension. The bars are actually decently high also so to make it better for climbing I’d probably take the one spacer out from below the stem (it’s a flat bar with lots of sweep so it looks “racy”. To compare, my RMB Element is a lot more racy in terms of geometry

  • LeeL says:

    Pemberton – April 24, 2010 – We rode up Happy Trail then over to Cream Puff. I was on the RMB Altitude 29er. Sharon was on the Norco Vixa. I love this trail – can’t seem to get enough of it

  • leel says:

    Here’s another video – D’arcy the designer/engineer from RMB came out for a ride on a more technical trail in North Vancouver

  • LeeL says:

    Ladies Only – North Vancouver

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