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FIRST LOOK

2018 Rocky Mountain Altitude Carbon 70

Words Pete Roggeman
Photos Dave Smith
Date Jun 14, 2017

For several years, the Altitude stood alone at the top of their heap as the longest travel trail bike in Rocky Mountain's lineup. The Slayer was on sabbatical for a little while, so if you wanted an aggressive Rocky, you ran the 150mm platform, whether you raced Enduro or Fro-rode on trails. Despite the success of the Enduro race team - and they have been very successful - there was room for growth, especially for the company that invented freeride, (and never thought there was a need to trademark it, but someone else sure did).

The Slayer came back in late 2016, paving the way for the Altitude to settle back into its status as a litmus test for the Trail Bike category. The new version is no exception, with one exception: it has bucked the recent trend of bikes that allow you to run them either in 29er or in 27 plus format. Rocky splits the difference somewhat by outfitting every one of the new carbon and alloy models with 27.5 x 2.5" Wide Trail tires and wide rims. The 2017 Trek Remedy is another 150mm Trail bike that now comes only in 27.5. Unlike the Remedy, the 2018 Altitude is also compatible with 26 Plus. We haven't seen a whole lot of wheels and tires in the short 'n thick size yet, but if you're in the mood, the Altitude will dim the lights and drop the needle for you.

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All 2018 Altitude frame sizes can accommodate a water bottle - even if you run a reservoir shock. Or, if you prefer, a Bomber of Bridge Brewing's North Shore Pale Ale.

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So far we've had nothing but good experiences with Fox's Performance Elite line of forks and shocks. What you lose in Kashima gold, you gain in slippery looking black.

Key Design Notes

Wheel size and platform philosophy aside, the new Altitude is an all new frame design with some cues from the new Slayer. It retains Rocky's clever Ride-9 geometry and suspension tuning system, but it has moved to the link mount to make it lighter and narrower. It also gets the distinctive blind pivots on the chainstays that improve heel clearance and look incredibly clean. Also significant: the switch to bearings at all pivot points, which we'll be seeing on all Rockys in the future.

The Altitude was designed to be stiffer than its predecessor, with extra anti-squat, better small bump compliance, and with some nice-to-haves like seat tube lengths designed to accommodate long dropper posts and extra standover. A few more: Boost hub spacing, Metric shock sizing, 1x only, and the aforementioned Wide Trail tire compatibility. Lastly, geometry has been LSL'd (Longer, Slacker, Lower).

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The blind pivots on the chain stays are so clean you barely notice them - unless you know what to look for. They're one of my favourite design features on this frame. Besides the colour scheme: Billy Ocean Raining Blood. Yes.

Technical Details

Here is a complete list of the technical details for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Altitude.
  • Increased anti-squat for better pedaling efficiency
  • 27.5” Wide Trail and 26+ compatible
  • Bearings at all pivots, including at lower shock mount (compatible with aftermarket shocks as well)
  • Blind pivots maximize heel clearance
  • Lighter, tooled rear axle
  • Improved cable management: large headtube ports, full shift housing, large downtube access port, and internal shift and brake housing within the front triangle.
  • Future-proofed to be compatible with Di2, Fox Live, and a dropper post simultaneously
  • Seat-tube lengths have been adjusted to accommodate longer dropper posts at maximum insertion
  • Chainstay and downtube protectors
  • Integrated “Spirit Guide” chainguide, with 2-bolt ISCG05
  • 1x only
  • Lower standover height
  • Significantly stiffer thanks to one-piece seat stay, new envelope, and updated layup (Rocky claims 25% more lateral stiffness)
  • Modern parts compatibility (boost spacing, metric shock lengths, post-mount 180mm brakes, etc.)
  • All sizes fit a water bottle in front triangle, even with a reservoir shock
  • Sizes: XS-XL
  • Weight:
    • Frame & shock: 5.45lb (2470g), size Medium
    • Protectors, chainguide, & axle: 0.57lb (260g)
    • Altitude Carbon 90 & Carbon 70 complete: 28.4lb (12.88kg), size Medium
2018 Altitude Geo Chart
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Shimano XT running gear and stopping gear, including an 11-46 rear cassette. Proper stuff.

2018 Rocky Mountain Altitude Carbon 70 specs

Spec for our 2018 Altitude Carbon 70, which comes in at $6,499 CAD or $5,299 USD, and is one step down from the $8,699 CAD / $6999 USD Carbon 90.

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Like a dog trying to choose between a T-Bone and a bucket full of balls. Dave Smith kept his drooling problem at bay while he shot the beautiful new Altitude in a brewery. 

Pricing

Altitude Carbon 90: $6999 USD, $8699 CAD

Altitude Carbon Frameset: $2749 USD, $3499 CAD

Altitude Carbon 70: $5299 USD, $6499 CAD

Altitude Carbon 50: $4099 USD, $4999 CAD

Altitude Alloy 70: $3999 USD, $4999 CAD

Altitude Alloy 50: $3199 USD, $3999 CAD

Altitude Alloy 30: $2899 USD, $3699 CAD

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I flick ze switch for climbing on fire road or pavement, but otherwise have left it open, and have been impressed with the Altitude's trail side manners.

After a few rides on the Altitude, no surprises - and I didn't expect any. The added reach means a Large finally fits me, with a respectable front center of 452mm, there's plenty of room up front without making it feel like a stretched-out race-hungry bike. This is still a trail bike with a trail bike's playfulness, but it's also stiff and stable with a predictable temperament. This is just a First Look so I won't dive into riding impressions too much, but the pedaling position and performance of the Altitude so far are checking out very nicely, and I haven't yet nosed into a steep section or thrown it around a berm that didn't feel great. I have yet to do too much suspension or Ride-9 tweaking, and that combined with more rides for familiarity will add a lot more ride impressions to the pending review. Until then, enjoy some more of Dave Smith's tasty photos, shot on location at one of North Van's favourite brewers and post-ride watering holes: Bridge Brewing Co.

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The Altitude is ready for Di2, Fox Live, and cables and wires for everything.

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Ride-9 has been moved to the link.

Comments

jan
+1
Jan  - June 14, 2017, 1:57 a.m.

Extra beefy downtube protectors, great colour scheme, attractive design (them pivots!), faultless build spec, properly long reach, steeep STA...>!?@

... annd a press fit bb. 

Shut it down, we almost had 'er.

Reply

shoreboy
+2
Shoreboy  - June 14, 2017, 8:18 a.m.

Pressfit BB are not the 'dealbreaker' they used to be.  Done properly, and with a well designed BB, they are a non-issue for the majority of bikes.

Reply

Brumos73
+1
Brumos73  - June 14, 2017, 9:53 a.m.

Until the time comes to replace it.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1
Pete Roggeman  - June 14, 2017, 11:26 a.m.

We're seeing fewer bikes with creaky PF BB's than ones without problems, but they still creep up. One thing about a bike that has a review period of 2-3 months instead of 6 or more, is that things like that don't often pop up right away. We can't long term test every bike, obviously, but we also don't publish reviews of bikes that were only ridden 10 times. The Remedy I referenced above has been with us for almost a year now and while I've certainly ridden other bikes as well over that period, I've ridden it the most and that bike is still as quiet as it was on day one.

Anyway, I think you're right that it isn't as bad as it used to be, but it's still an issue for sure.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - June 14, 2017, 11:29 a.m.

Just for a PF BB? Ironically, my threaded BB creaks like a mofo right now. Gotta get it serviced, again.

Reply

rnayel
+1
RNAYEL  - June 14, 2017, 1:53 p.m.

Mine was creaking like crazy (Race Face Cinch threaded to Knolly Endorphin), at Andrew Major's recommendation, I removed it and applied some anti-seize, no more creaking.  Ends up that the grease that I'd originally applied was too thin and I was getting metal on metal contact of the worst kind.   The anti-seize (from Lordco) is thick and goopy.

Reply

denomerdano
0
Denomerdano  - June 14, 2017, 5:36 a.m.

So is it REALLY a 

Goat-Head-Salmon on the light side of the mountains of the head badge?

Reply

slimshady76
+1
Luix  - June 14, 2017, 6:25 a.m.

No Minecraft shock on this one? Bummer!

Reply

Brumos73
+1
Brumos73  - June 14, 2017, 9:56 a.m.

Rocky makes some the most beautiful looking bikes that ride really well, but the QC needs some serious attention. Too many accounts of owners with frame issues and having to wait far too long for replacements.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2
Pete Roggeman  - June 14, 2017, 11:23 a.m.

I haven't heard about any more of those kinds of stories than with other brands - and there are a lot of RMs being ridden around here, obviously. What experience have you had? Knowledge of a shop's customers with problems, friends...?

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - June 14, 2017, 11:42 a.m.

Define "far too long". 

To assume RM will will have dozens of replacement parts for all kinds of frames, in all sizes, in the last few years ready to ship at a moment's notice is pretty unrealistic.  My buddy had to wait less than five days for a 2YO frame and another had to wait 3 weeks for a 3YO frame. 

Yeah, waiting for a replacement sucks but it's not like you simply need a new derailleur cable. Besides, warranty follow up by RM through the LBS on the breakage a) weeds out the BS JRA stories and b) should improves the design for the next frame iteration.

Reply

sospeedy
0
sospeedy  - June 15, 2017, 3:54 a.m.

I have had nothing but great service and QC from Rocky, so have not had the experience you refer to.

Reply

StinkinRutBeer
+1
StinkinRutBeer  - June 14, 2017, 12:18 p.m.

Beers and a bike? That's a match!

Reply

mathias-felix
+1
Mathias Felix  - June 15, 2017, 2:54 a.m.

What a beauty of a bike! I'm looking forward for a more detailed review. @Pete A head to head comparison with the new Remedy would be nice! I think they're playing in the same league (even in relation to the price) and both of them are in top of my wish list for a new ride.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - June 15, 2017, 5:37 p.m.

Hi Mathias,

The link in the article is to my long term review of the Remedy, so you can read all about it there. I will probably reference that bike in this review, however we don't do shootout style reviews because they presume that there is a 'best' whereas the truth nowadays is that different bikes suit different riders, and we feel it's our job as reviewers to help you make that choice, not 'tell' you which one to buy.

Reply

bogey
0
Bogey  - June 16, 2017, 12:58 p.m.

Awesome looking bike! I'm close to pulling the trigger on a frameset to build up but really want a 29er version. Thanks to RMB for doing a solid XL size for us tall guys too. Also, thanks for a proper steep seat angle and not one that only pretends to be steep. 

Pete, one typo to fix though: you mention "front center" but really mean "reach".

Reply

Davidf
0
Davidf  - July 8, 2017, 2:47 p.m.

@Pete if you had a chance to ride the new Rocky Mountain Slayer, how would you compare the suspension plushness between the two bikes? Is Altitude plush like the Slayer only with little less travel?

Thanks!

David

Reply

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