News: Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt MSL Carbon Announced for 2015

Thunderbolt goes carbon and gets the aggressive XC treatment

27.5 Cross Country

2015 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt MSL

Rocky Mountain has been making great bikes for many years and their reputation and availability has been growing in the US. The enduro oriented Altitude was one of our tester’s favorites in the Mtbr Enduro Compare-o. We also covered other Rocky Mountain bikes like the Instinct and their Sherpa fatbike. But just announced is the 2015 version of the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt, with 120mm of travel, now in carbon.

2015 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 799 MSL

Rocky Mountain has gone all in with 27.5 for 2015 like many other companies and the Thunderbolt MSL is an XC bike that is oriented towards the more aggressive XC rider. How do they achieve this? By designing it with shorter chainstays (422mm) , a longer top tube and burlier components. The 2015 Thunderbolt MSL carbon still features interlocking Ride 9 chip inserts for adjustable geometry.

2015 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt MSL

But, Rocky Mountain didn’t stop there. They also redesigned their main pivot with something they call Pipelock that uses bushings instead of bearings in an effort to increase efficiency, stiffness and decrease weight. Pipelock also uses a military grade, hard-anodized collet that expands radially to create a wide and rigid pivot stance. New grease ports in key locations also help ease maintenance.

For the carbon frame itself, Rocky Mountain uses what they call Smoothwall carbon in an effort to be light and durable while providing a quality carbon ride. They also use a rigid mold systems (something we’re seeing a lot more these days) vs. traditional air bladders.

We look forward to getting a test rig in to find out just how capable and fun the 2015 Thunderbolt MSL is. Stay tuned.

Continue to Page 2 for the official press release, specs and full photo gallery »

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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