Rocky Mountain Pipeline plus bike review

27.5+ rig dumbs down the trail — and that's a good thing

27.5 All Mountain Trail Plus
Rocky Mountain Pipeline 770 MSL Action Ethan Heywood

Send it! Photo by Aaron Klein @assklein

On the Trail

If you’ve made it this far, you know I wasn’t a believer in plus sized tires before I started this review. As I mentioned, every complaint you’ve read or heard about plus tires is true. The tires are extremely sensitive to air pressure, have a tendency to blow up, and are not precise. Any one of those demerits would normally be a deal breaker, but then there are the benefits.

The massive tires make everything easier. It’s like hopping on a full suspension bike for the first time after only riding hardtails. You could pick lines, but you don’t have too. When things get technical, there’s no better performance enhancer.

It may sound ridiculous, but Rocky Mountain’s product video (posted above) perfectly encapsulates the Pipeline. This bike dumbs down trail. It instills the sort of reckless confidence you sometimes feel riding a super slack enduro rig, except you can turn around and pedal up just about anything. It’s not until you try riding your old 29er or 27.5 bike that you realize just how much those plus sized tires let you get away with.

Under hard cornering, the Pipeline does suffer from frame flex which results in mild oversteer. While that might sound like a complaint, we felt that it was actually advantageous in some situations. The one area, in particular, was tight corners. Plus tires have so much traction they can be hard to break free, so that little flex helped get the bike to swing around switchbacks.

Rocky Mountain Pipeline Wade Simmons

After blowing through several tires during testing, I started to wonder how many tires did Wade go through on this video shoot.

If there’s a downside to this lifestyle, it’s the pile of trashed tires the Pipeline has left in its wake. The problem is that standard tires aren’t tough enough. That’s changing rapidly, but that extra durability comes with a weight penalty that’s noticeable when climbing or making last minute line adjustments.

Rocky Mountain Pipeline 770 MSL 2016 Full Suspension Plus Bike

Enjoy crazy traction? Improved stability? Maybe plus bikes are for you.

Bottom Line

There’s this perception that plus bikes are best suited for beginners, but that’s an oversimplification. There are a number of places where a plus bike can offer even professional level riders an advantage. If you fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, you’ll love the big tires ability to truck up and down the most technical trails.

So should you buy this bike? Well, if you’re looking for a playful trail bike that can be ridden in any condition, the Pipeline is worth your consideration.

To learn more about the bike, check out our interview with the product team here. And for more info, visit www.bikes.com.


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  • Bob says:

    “There’s this perception, perpetuated by cycling media, that plus bikes are best suited for beginners” (FTFY)

    I keep reading statements like this on the web and in magazines. Standard 2.8 “plus” tires (like the Rekons in this review) typically measure out to 2.66″ wide and are apparently for beginners only. Yet the industry is falling all over themselves with excitement about new wide track tires that measure 2.6″ and totally shread the trails. Um, okay.

  • BlackBean says:

    Right on Bob!

    I’ve ridden some terrible plus bikes. I definitely find I don’t like the 3 inch tires on 27.5 rims. 2.8 definitely works much better for me. That being said, I own a Trek Stache 9 with 29 inch rims and 3.0 tires and I LOVE them. Maybe it’s just the tire weight and compound.

    I think plus bikes is ideally suited for most of the terrain the East Coast. I’m far from the best or fittest rider out there, but I’m sufficiently capable to ride anything on offer on a HT 29er. And have been for years. But. I got a Trek Stache and HOLY COW. You just feel safer and can go harder. And then for the first time in over a decade a actually tired a plus-sized FS bike with trail geometry/travel. Did I say HOLY COW! Just so much faster and feeling more confident, especially when it’s much wetter. I’m closing in on 50 and I’m past the point where I need to feel like a hero. I will always ride my 29er HT in the more mellow parks and rail trails, but when it gets rockier and it’s wet, the plus bike is the go-to tool.

  • Dale says:

    I read a another review on this bike and they said it was the Rocky Mountain Sherpa with more travel and cost…

  • Ralph says:

    Dale – then that was not a very good review…

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