IMG_0865
Review

Rocky Mountain Element 70

Words Mike Ferrentino
Date Aug 19, 2022
Reading time

Slacking Off In LycraLand

A few months ago when I wrote up these first impressions of the Rocky Mountain Element 70, I was expecting to come back with some sort of informed long term view of the bike’s validity as both an XC race rig and a lightweight modern trail bike. Now, with some decent miles, a few component changes, and a bunch of very diverse terrain under the wheels, I feel like I have a handle on the Element’s trail identity. As for the XC race bike aspect, I just don’t really know. So, where does that leave me?

Confused, but sort of in love. That’s where.

A Brief Recap

Initially, I was drawn to test the Element because of how ridiculously long and slack it is. This is not a very traditional XC bike by any stretch of the imagination. And man, speaking of stretching, Rocky went nuts on this one. I initially was agog at the length of the wheelbase, citing it as 1231mm and pointing out that is INCHES longer between the axles than any of the comparable competition (Kona Hei Hei, Transition Spur, Specialized Epic Evo). Turns out the geo chart I was reading from was glitchy and listed the wheelbase as 1231mm for every iteration of the RIDE4 flip-chip. When I finally put the tape on our size Large test rig, in the slackest setting the wheelbase netted out at 1245mm. And, thanks to the 10mm spacer at the bottom of the headtube, the head angle was actually 64.5 degrees.

For the sake of comparison, there really isn’t anything in XC land that is close. A Yeti SB130 LR is close, but even that is steeper (by half a degree) and shorter (by 12mm), and a whole galaxy more all-mountain-ish in its intent. In the world of XC bikes, the Element stands out like one of those freakishly tall kids from your middle school class photos, the kid who is at least a foot taller than anyone else. Sure, he can dunk like crazy for a 12 year old, but how is he at dodgeball?

schultz copy

Rather than subject you all to more imagery of me looking like a garden gnome trying to hump a football, here's a pic of Sam Schultz getting radder than I ever will... Totally an XC bike, right?

So, Does It XCel at XC?

I cannot really answer that. I did not enter a single race. I’m old, the weather is unbearably hot and dusty, and my wattage seems to have gone missing. As such, you can feel free to dismiss any observations I may make with regard to the Element’s XC bona fides as pure speculation. But here goes anyway.

It feels long and slack. Duh. We already knew that. In the steepest RIDE4 setting the Element will still push the front tire on corner entry and uphill switchbacks will feel mighty cramped and the overall length will feel – for lack of a better word – lazy. But, erratic front wheel slides aside, putting a clock on things revealed some startling results. Doing exactly the same loops as I have on my somewhat lighter and less rangy Specialized Epic Evo, I could have sworn that the Evo was the faster bike in terms of getting from point A to point B. Turns out that I was faster almost everywhere on the Element, except for a few rides where I was feeling completely dead. A little faster on timed climbs, about neck and neck on twisty mid-pace singletrack, and a bunch faster going down anything open and rough. I was faster, even as I was cursing the front for plowing to the outside of every blown out sandy corner I could find in Fort Ord.

It is fast, it pedals beautifully (albeit a bit less lively feeling than the flexstay crowd), it has beautiful seated climbing ergonomics, and it really comes alive when you are going fast enough to scare yourself. But, in the pure crucible of XC racing, there are bikes that “feel” sharper. They may not be any faster by the stopwatch, but those perceptions will vary greatly between riders and terrain.

I think that for XC racers who really want to bite down on the pain stick, the rangy wheelbase and the relaxed head angle may feel a bit weird. And that may impact their thinking, which in turn may make them feel slow, and then it’s that whole slippery slope of perceptions and self-doubt and the psychology of performance. More progressive XC racers will probably love the way this bike handles, even though the stock tires will strike fear deep in their veins. Older, errr, more “conservative” racers will probably struggle with the different-ness of the Rocky’s handling.

Just for the sake of clarity, all the above observations are made assuming that the RIDE4 puck is in its steepest setting. All other geometry settings, in an XC sense, will only exacerbate the pushy front, super long, sort of languid feelings that this bike can engender.

In spite of those decidedly non-XC vibes, I fell in love.

IMG_0037

Admittedly, I had to change a few things to feel the love. But they were small changes...

Trail: The Element In Its Element

After the first week of riding on the Element, cursing every blown corner apex, I binned the stock Maxxis Rekon 2.4s, and replaced them with a set of Specialized Butcher Grid Trail 2.3s, T9 compound up front and a T7 compound rear. This single act added about a half-pound of weight to the bike but was otherwise a transformative experience. Sure, the new meats didn’t roll quite as fast as the old tires, but suddenly there was traction galore and the front end no longer felt like it was betraying me at every corner entrance.

I liked it so much that I started futzing around with the RIDE4 chip, and slammed everything as slack as possible. In this setting, the bike felt completely unflappable, and very UN-XC. Fast, flowy trails were a joy, and as the level of chunk increased the suspension did a surprisingly capable job of keeping things pointed down the trail. The geometry is such that, just as with the tires, it is pretty easy to ride straight through the limits of the suspension. Unlike with the tires, though, this doesn’t feel nearly as dire. Both ends give up their last bit of travel with a polite, almost gentle “poonk”, and the chassis maintains composure although it does begin to generate a hint of twang and flex once you’ve gone and done something a little too stupid. Maybe something more expensive would work better, but the Fox 34 Performance Elite fork with FIT4 damper worked well enough in conjunction with the DPS Performance Elite shock that I couldn’t really fault it. Overall, the suspension felt balanced and competent, but at some point the chassis will let you just run straight off the end of the short travel gangplank.

The slackest setting was a revelation, and helped define the limits of the suspension at speed. It also helped me figure out some of my own riding preferences, and after a few days strugglefighting the bike and smashing my pedals into the rocks on a series of no-flow, mid-tech, mash and jam trails, I came to the realization that maybe this setting is best reserved for hauling ass in wide open terrain. I reined things in and swapped between the two middle settings before finally settling on the second steepest. This was my Goldilocks RIDE4 position. With the headtube spacer, I still had a battleship stable 65-degree head angle, the bottom bracket height was much more manageable, and the bike felt incredibly neutral in its cornering.

It may be a bit short on travel for people who want to jump a ton or who are on regular diet of super burly chunk, but the Element hit so many high notes for me in terms of what I personally want in a trail bike – light weight, superb climbing and pedaling behavior, stable enough to do dumb things at speed – that I began to seriously reassess my expectations about what to look for in a general-duty trail bike.

Changes And Details

Aside from the tires, there were a few changes made to the Element during our time together. Since I am an avowed weight weenie, and since I do not ride in conditions that destroy wheels, and since I had put some beefy tires on the bike, and since I had an Epic Evo in the barn with some really light wheels on it, I swapped out the stock Element WTB/RaceFace wheels with a set of Roval Control SLs. And poached the Specialized Power saddle as well, because it doesn’t hurt my taint and probably weighs less than the WTB Silverado that came on the Element. At the end of the day, with these bits and pieces, the Element weighed 26 pounds, 12 ounces with a set of XTR Trail pedals. For a solid XC build with no hidden carbon fiber bars or unobtanium cranks, that’ll do nicely for me.

Aside from a couple pivot hardware checks early on, everything held together well and didn’t make any bad noises. The finish across the board on the bike was impressively clean and sensible. I mentioned the hose routing in the first look, but everything from the cleanliness of the RIDE4 hardware to the clean way Rocky does the Horst pivot at the rear axle was just classy. It is a very easy bike to live with.

Yeah, But Seriously, Would You Keep It?

For me, the way I ride, where I live, my preferred diet of high alpine riding, and my personal aesthetics, I would absolutely keep this bike and ride it happily almost anywhere. Almost. It’s obviously way underbuilt for the winch and plummet crowd, and would probably self-destruct if you decided to try and hit the big lines at the bike park, but it’s not designed for that. It’s supposed to be an XC bike. Except it’s an XC bike that is so much fun to ride in so many more places than an XC course that it is almost criminal to pigeonhole it as such. The Rocky Mountain Element is an exceptional light duty trail bike – if you are the kind of rider who does not automatically dismiss any fork smaller than a Fox 36 as “too wimpy”, if you prefer going long to going big, then this is a bike that is seriously worth looking into. For me, I’d plunk down the 6819 USD asking price in a heartbeat, slap on some meatier tires, and ride off into the sunset, laughing maniacally.

Related Stories

Trending on NSMB

Comments

kperras
Kenneth Perras
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+16 Andrew Major bishopsmike Mike Ferrentino DanL Grif ElBrendo dolface taprider Peter kaku PowellRiviera Andy Eunson Jerry Willows Peter Appleton Suns_PSD Tjaard Breeuwer

The new Element, and any modern DownCountry bike, exists along a very fine line of capability when the trail points down. The (excellent if I do say so myself) geometry is cashing cheques the 120mm travel can't always handle when things get really rough, and there will be instances where the rider forgets that. The reason why we don't want more travel, and thus increase the capability of the Element, is that one would quickly lose sight of the end goal for this bike (lightweight, efficient, comfortable, long distance, capable in a wide range of wheels-on-the-ground type riding) and we'd end up building a completely different bike. "Proper" 2.5 tires for example would kill the character of the Element. My middle ground for around here is a set of ~900g 2.3 Minion DHF + DHR tires. Given the dry conditions, I'm currently enjoying a new Forekaster on the back for fast rolling speeds.

We don't actively participate in XCO anymore, and XCM for us consists of multi-day events like BCBR which this bike is very much tailored to. BCBR is all about high quality, technical singletrack and this type of ride profile, covering 40+km in a few hours, blindly but confidently and with minimal fatigue, is exactly what we built the new Element for.

Locally on the North Shore, it can be quite hard to make good use of an Element but I certainly do. My current builds alternate between a Fox DPS + 140mm 34 GRIP2 or a Rock Shox SIDLuxe (or Deluxe) + 140mm Pike. The added travel up front is more suited to the steeper descents around here, and although this affects the climbing position a touch, the trade off is worth it. A 7th + Expresso lap is a good example of where I prefer to ride my Element over an Instinct or Altitude. With Trail and Enduro bikes now weighing in at 32-35lbs, a 26lb Element feels like rocket ship.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+5 Mike Ferrentino MTBrent ElBrendo Peter hardtailhersh

Thanks for weighing in, Ken. For anyone reading this but not aware, Ken is the MTB Product Manager at Rocky, so that insight is right from the horse's mouth.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+11 Cr4w Mike Ferrentino DanL Joseph Crabtree Chad K finbarr Timer hardtailhersh Kos Suns_PSD amsfante Tjaard Breeuwer PowellRiviera

Once you start overforking this too much.. you want bigger brakes. and bigger tires, and then you need a bigger shock... and you've bought the wrong bike. 

Keep component changes within a reasonable distance of the OE spec, remember wtf you're riding and that its not a Slayer, and you'll have fun. Its a different kind of fun than blindly smashing everything, but its great. 

I do want to try that new Forekaster.

Reply

jan
Jan
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I did all those things....except overforking it ... and it's exactly the right bike ;)

+ forekasters incoming apres dust season

Reply

lamar454
Peter Appleton
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+7 Kenneth Perras kcy4130 Raymond Epstein rg-nw letsgethurt Tjaard Breeuwer Pete Roggeman

Overforking is why we all started mountainbiking anyways ;-)

Reply

taprider
taprider
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

what would the head angle with a regular fork?

110 degrees of something

looks like very little trail on that set up, must have been weird

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thank you sir, I really appreciated this.

Had a .243 with a Super T, then Shiver, and an original mullet setup

Good Times

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 MTBrent finbarr hardtailhersh Tjaard Breeuwer

Not to blow too much smoke up your ass, Ken, but you guys hit a really nice balance with this one. Geometry and spec all work well together, and even when you start cashing those overdrawn cheques the Element retains a surprising degree of composure while letting you know in very clear terms that you are overdoing things...

Reply

agleck7
Agleck7
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Kos jgoon

How are your 2.3 minions 740 grams? That’s similar to the old forekaster. Claimed weight for 2.3 dhf is over 1000.

Reply

kperras
Kenneth Perras
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Tjaard Breeuwer Andrew Major

My apologies as I completely mis-remembered the weights. I have a pair of EXO 3CT 2.3 DHF and DHR tires on the scale in front of me right now and they are 950g and 870g respectively.

Reply

agleck7
Agleck7
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

No worries! Wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing out on a unicorn haha

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
Tjaard Breeuwer
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Suns_PSD

New Onza Ibex

Not quite into 750g unicorn territory, but the Onza Ibex in soft compound comes pretty close in a recent Bike (Germany) Magazine tire test.

They rated it equal to a Butcher T9 in cornering and braking traction (which itself was near the top of the Trail bike tires for grip). But, weight for the 2.4 Ibex was 852g vs 982g for the Butcher(grid casing).

And even more impressively, in the drum rolling resistance test it had 19W of rolling resistance vs 42W for the Butcher! (And most other grippy tires were similar to that)

For comparison, that is similar to what they measured for a Nobby Nic in Speedgrip compound, and identical to a Recon Race in Dual compound!

The ‘no free lunch’ comes in the form of reduced pinch- and puncture-protection.

So, either add an insert, or run it front only, but it is certainly an interesting option for this sort of bike, especially if your trails have deep, loose dust or wet.

Reply

Suns_PSD
Suns_PSD
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

That's pretty interesting.

I need to subscribe to that German mag just because their scientific approach to bike parts feeds my Asperger's. 

Did they narrow down a fast rolling rear tire option? Although 19 watts even in the rear is amazing!

PS. Do all Germans have Asperger's too?

stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Suns_PSD

I love watching German YouTube bike reviews as it's so informal and real - not some ex-pro bombing down a bike park at a skill level few of us can achieve. But riders riding slowly, having fun, occasionally falling off, or doing a skinny for the heck of it. 

It's these small details that reflect what most of us do on bikes and I'd like to know more about what a bike is like to live with and how it handles, slower technical situations, or how it feels in the hands of a less skilled rider.

Kendall-Weed did a great review of the Mondraker Foxy recently where he smashed it round the trails, then handed it to an average rider and compared notes. The video is called 'REAL world riders try the enormous Mondraker Super Foxy R'. Can we have more reviews like that please? A bike like this comes alive in the hands of a skilled rider but for me it will feel like a barge and I won't enjoy it at all.

Oops went off on a tangent there!

tehllama42
Tehllama42
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I genuinely do appreciate this - as my 2014 Instinct starts to go long in the tooth, at its current 127mm rear travel, the lack of daylight between those two started to seem potentially problematic for me justifying having something with only slightly more travel, but I'm realizing that I already am running DH/Exo+ tires on it, and using it as the precise winch/bomb use case that the beefier trail bike role is intended to tolerate (especially at my 111kg riding mass).
The exact trend Cooper was describing is real - once I am running a 35mm fork, I want to put a 150mm air shaft in it, and I already need the bigger brakes, and since I'm taking the penalty of heavy tire casings because I ride through cacti instead of over them, it starts to make a lot of sense.
I'm just so glad the adjustability is really there on the bike to let that happen.

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Sounds about perfect,

I’m looking for an Element frame right now to compliment the new BigRig.

Was thinking a 140 fork up front (Lyrik in my case) would be the perfect ticket.

Can I ask about the 10mm spacer that seems to be on the fork, why? When? For what now?

This would be a great coaching bike for me, comfy enough to ride all day, but still be able to ride all day….

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Andy Eunson Dave Smith Mike Ferrentino Mammal Andrew Major Joseph Crabtree

is it wrong to fantasize about a build with a 140mm 36 & maybe some exo+ assegai / dissectors?

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+11 taprider Perry Schebel Mike Ferrentino Joseph Crabtree Andrew Major finbarr Lu Kz Agleck7 Chad K Timer Suns_PSD

Yes.

Reply

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0 Andrew Major Joseph Crabtree

I’ve got a question in the spirit of min/maxing- would the weight of an DB coil inline be worth it? Not to push it too far away from a downcountry bike, of course, but kinda in the same vein as replacing rekons with butchers?

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+5 Joseph Crabtree Flatted-again JVP Cooper Quinn Timer

As a guess, I'd say you'd be adding a pound of weight up high, gaining some off the top suppleness possibly along with some pedal bob, and I have no idea how things would behave toward bottom out. I wouldn't consider it a worthwhile indulgence - it feels a bit antithetical to me, given the design of the bike and its intent. I know, that makes my tire choice seem hypocritical.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
5 months, 2 weeks ago
-4 JVP kcy4130 rg-nw Cr4w

Why would a coil spring add pedal bob? As long as sag ends up close, it's not like a coil magically changes the kinematics.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+5 Taiki Cooper Quinn Andrew Major Kos rg-nw

A coil is generally softer/more responsive off the top than an air shock thanks in part to lower stiction. And that generally makes most bikes more susceptible to some degree of bob because of the large, unevenly balanced, rotating pieces of meat that are turning the cranks. Nothing to do with kinematics.

joseph-crabtree
Joseph Crabtree
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Cooper Quinn Kos JVP

Less stiction = more bob.

DaveSmith
Dave Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Perry Schebel Andrew Major Joseph Crabtree

I have likewise considered a Tech-C build with 140mm Pike Ultimate up front and swap out those wheels with WR1 Revives clad w/ Exo minion F and a Dissector out back.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Perry - Sign me up for a big cuppa wrong then.

Seriously though you could still flip it back to a more XC rig but a slightly burlier build (maybe not quite Assegai burly) would bridge the gap between a HT and aggressive FS bikes. Filling the gap between my 140HT and 140 Murmur - both built burly.

This is the type of bike I could see myself riding in a few years as I get older - more XC, less DH but still able to get down all the DH trails albeit slower.

Reply

tehllama42
Tehllama42
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

If so, I don't want to be right... 
Except that part of the major appeal is that slightly insane weight you can achieve, and tagging along an extra 3lb can reduce how extremely that works towards the end goal, but if you want the capability that rubber provides, then it's a total hit.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

My Murmur is 38lb on a good day.  Anything low 30s is positively light weight for me

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Don’t let anyone (looking at you Cooper Quinn) crush your dreams, 

I have the same similar fantasy…

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I'm not to tell you how to live your life.

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Tell that to Perry’s comment!

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I said "you". 

Perry is a different story.

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Cooper Quinn

i can accept this. 

do forecasters come in maxxgrip?

mikesee
mikesee
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Mike Ferrentino Hbar Suns_PSD Tjaard Breeuwer

Top pic looks like the fun bit of Silver Creek, just before you start Rainbow.

Stopped riding there ~15 years ago because it was crowded with filthy, furry outtatowners.  Like me...

This bike pertains to my interests.  If it could fit 29 x 3" tires I'd already own it.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Hbar

Good eye, that's the spot. I was the filthy, furry outtatowner. If I had to pigeonhole the bike, I'd say it's an awesome Monarch Crest bike, since Monarch doesn't demand too much of the suspension and has plenty of spots where you can let the bike just roll out and haul the mail. Vitamin B, however, definitely shows up the limitations in a hurry...

Reply

mikesee
mikesee
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0 taprider rg-nw

Moment of silence for Vitamin B having been outed.  It was sooooo good, for so long.  On the first spring that it was legal, on our first lap up/down it, as we sessioned one of the funkier, jankier bits we were caught by a group of endurbros that saw fit to turn their noses up at 'the line' (because, in one of their words, it was 'gross') and then they proceeded to kick/stomp/create a monstrosity of a huck that entirely skipped one fine example of what made that trail so unique.

Fuckers.

Haven't been back since.

Reply

Suns_PSD
Suns_PSD
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Perry Schebel taprider Justin White

The problem with every one of these DC bikes (and for that matter most AM bikes) is that the size Larges all have these 430-436mm chainstays combined with long slack front ends and as a result they all have front ends that understeer & push.

My L Spur is pretty darn good (and very similar geo to the Element) and it certainly doesn't push like a 490mm reach/ 160mm front travel/ 65' hta bike would on 435mm chainstays, however the problem is still notably there. Furthermore it really requires an uber sticky (read slow rolling) front tire to try and combat this lack of chassis balance.

Please , pretty f*cking please, build balanced bikes with chainstays lengths that better match the long front centers.

This bike would be in my garage, if only it rocked a 441-445mm CS length on the size L.

Yours truly, XXX.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

So, then we're talking about a 1255m wheelbase, or thereabouts. I get what you are saying, and I tend to agree with the big-pictureness of it, but I suspect there would be some detrimental things that may crop up on the responsiveness front, or the flexy frame front, or the "why can't I wheelie my 445mm chainstay, 77 degree seat angled bike" front. I dunno. My Falconer hardtail has long chainstays, and I notice that the front sticks surprisingly well compared to similar geo bikes with shorter stays, so I agree with your premise. But I'm not certain the solution is that easy...

Reply

Suns_PSD
Suns_PSD
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino Tjaard Breeuwer taprider

You don't pick the WB, the WB picks you.  

Seriously,  build the geo and whatever the WB is to fit and work right,  it's what the WB is.  6 mm isn't going to make a hill of beans space wise going thru trees,  the bikes are 7' long from one end of the tread to the other afterall,  but to make a bike handle correctly 6mm of extra CS length can be critical.

If you are really concerned with WB, steepen the hta a smidge. That kills 2 birds with one stone.  Makes the bike shorter AND requires less CS length to remain balanced. 

This is the first bike I've ever wanted to test,  with a +1 headset adjust.

Reply

taprider
taprider
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
just6979
Justin White
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Suns_PSD taprider

There are already detrimental things with the teeny tiny chainstays: lack of front-end grip being the biggest. Pretty sure you need that to have "responsiveness". Sure, a longer wheelbase turns a bit slower, but if a shorter wheelbase from just short chainstays means the front wheel pushes, well guess what, it's also going to turn a bit slower in that case, as well as having slower steering.*

After all the talk, that you often agreed with, of not trying to make a bike do something it's not designed for, and you're worried about popping easy wheelies on an XC/DC bike? It's not a trials bike or a DJ bike, isn't being able to steer and turn more important than wheelies for a bike like this?

*(I see steering and turning as different: steering lets you dodge things, turning lets you change direction of the whole bike. Steering is done with handlebar inputs, and turning is done with leaning [and counter-steering to adjust the lean]. Obviously there is overlap, but at a high level of abstraction it kinda makes sense.)

Reply

balldontlie
Ryan Donnelly
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Tjaard Breeuwer

I've had mine for about 2 months now, C30 build, I swapped the brakes only so far, and I absolutely love it. What sold it for me was how insanely efficient it feels, while still being extremely fun downhill. I'd have to agree with the review, in that it especially feels better at higher speeds. But as for XC, I've also had the best few races i've ever had on it, including a local win, so I'm overall very impressed.

Reply

Speeder1
Speeder1
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Tjaard Breeuwer

The Element looks awesome! Just picked up a Top Fuel with the Fox 34 at 130 up front. Put a DHF 2.5 exo up front. I agree it won't smash trail like a big bike, nor is that its intention, but it corners very very well. The slack geo and short travel on this class of bike brings to mind a 29er slalom bike. The bike gets through the tight turns really well and is super fun to ride in that terrian.

Reply

admihai3
admi hai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Is that the normal way Rocky delivers them? Their (and other reviewer's) geo charts do not show a 64.5 HTA.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Suns_PSD Tjaard Breeuwer Andrew Major

I made mention of this in a couple other replies, and heard the following back from Ken Perras:

"The tall headset spacer was definitely a covid parts supply issue. We received the incorrect headsets and if we chose to wait to get the correct ones, the bikes would have been delayed by several months. This also affected a bunch of other 2022 models, not just the Element. So we decided to ship the bikes as is. 2023 and 2024 models will ship with the regular, 2.9mm tall, lower headset cup.

The extra stack height doesn't hurt the Element for some riders, but others will find it a but disruptive to the bike's handling. I can say for certain that the extra A-C stack wasn't helping you with that front end pushing around."

As noted elsewhere, the 64.5 number is what I measured in the slackest setting versus a claimed 65 degree head angle. My measuring was in no way hard science accurate - I used my iphone inclinometer, it was zeroed on the floor, and gave the reading of 64.5 (well, 25.5 if we're going full pedantic) on the fork stanchion. The general rule of thumb is an inch of fork nets about a degree of head angle change, so I'm willing to say that the headset spacer is worth about a half a degree. These are small numbers, and people fudge way more with fork swaps all the time, but the point I was trying to make was that this bike is already way out there on the edge of what defines XC bikes, and the headset spacer furthers that out there-ness. I also think this bike is awesome, in case that was not readily apparent.

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Swap spacer for 140mm fork, 

Have cake, eat it too

Reply

stewart-spooner
Stewart Spooner
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

As someone to whom going long has definitely become more of a priority than going big , I'm always curious if one of these "down-country" bikes could replace my V2 Bronson as my do it all bike. I demoed an Element 70 recently, which predictably climbed like a rocket ship, and was lively and fun on moderate terrain, but even at my moderate (mature rider) speeds it ranged between awkward and just survivable when the trail got steep and technical. Perhaps a mullet version with beefier rubber?

Reply

alexdi
Alex D
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Mike Ferrentino Joseph Crabtree Hbar Timer

Or a different bike entirely with more travel and a stiffer frame. I'd argue that the Element is the limit of what you can expect from an XC chassis. Bigger knobs won't change the character of it.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+5 DanL Joseph Crabtree Timer 4Runner1 Tjaard Breeuwer

You're asking too much of a smaller rear wheel and bigger rubber. An XC bike isn't gonna replace a Bronson. 

These new short travel bikes are awesome, but if they were true all mountain bike replacements, it wouldn't be saying much for modern all mountain bikes. 

Gotta keep expectations reasonable and remember there's always going to be a difference between a 120mm bike and a 150 as there is between a 150 and a 170.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+7 Andrew Major Dogl0rd DanL Peter Cy Whitling mikesee thedevilwearsrapha

They aren't "do it all" bikes, they're "do a lot more than you might think" bikes.

Reply

tehllama42
Tehllama42
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Ken absolutely nailed it above, with the notion that the geometry gives you a blank check, but 120mm of travel out back is still only 120mm of travel.

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
Tjaard Breeuwer
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Ain’t no replacement for displacement!

Reply

chacou
chacou
5 months, 3 weeks ago
0

"For me, the way I ride, where I live, my preferred diet of high alpine riding, and my personal aesthetics, I would absolutely keep this bike and ride it happily almost anywhere. Almost. It’s obviously way underbuilt for the winch and plummet crowd..."

You might really like a Guerilla Gravity Trailpistol

Reply

UFO
UFO
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I really like this bike, I think it'll be perfect for me to finally move off my hardtails. I just realized (again) how expensive bikes are these days, I'd be looking at the most basic Alloy 10 trim (at 33.9 lbs) and basically swap all the parts over from my hardtail and transfer the Rocky's parts onto the hardtail. I think I can get the alloy build to near 30-31 lbs with my own build. But that pressfit bb, even in aluminum trim uggggh.

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 taprider

PF bb is an opportunity to press in an offset bb, let’s you play with cs length, SA angle, bb height, or leave it stock….

Silver lining and all that

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Exactly

Reply

kos
Kos
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Geo seems crazy to me for a bike like this, but it has a 10 mm spacer below the headtube?

Is that the normal way Rocky delivers them? Their (and other reviewer's) geo charts do not show a 64.5 HTA.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Kos Suns_PSD

You know, I meant to follow up with Ken about that a couple months ago after getting a sorta vague "some have them and some don't" answer from Dre, but I didn't. I'll do that now and see what I can find out. The geo charts, I suspect, are based around no spacer beneath the head tube. My measurements were done with a "super accurate" iphone inclinometer and are therefore a bit suspect. But the floor was reading 0 degrees, and the rest of the numbers seemed to fall in line, so I stand by what I measured. Also, per the geo charts, the wheelbase on the Element somehow miraculously stays the same even as head angles and bottom brackets are changing with each different RIDE4 setting. So, ummm, yeah. Let me get back to you on some of this...

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I had a good think about this - it stuck in my head for whatever reason - and I believe the wheelbase can stay the same or close enough not to bother measuring. The axle path has to be just right. (Vertical?)

My 2018 Altitude's geo chart has the wheelbase changing just 2mm between positions 1 and 9.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 cheapondirt Blofeld Tjaard Breeuwer

Maybe so, but when I put the tape between the axles on the Element's slackest setting, it measured out to something like 1245mm, which is a centimeter and a half longer than stated. But I don't trust my own tape anymore than I do someone else's spreadsheet, so...

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

Measured up my new BigRig, WB stated 1256, actual measured was 1265 in medium, 

Stated HA was 63 in high position, is actually 62.3ish…..there’s a margin for error on these things, there has to be.  The marketing, etc has to be completed months before the bikes actually deliver, so there’s gonna be some slack in the system.  

Don’t think to hard on them numbers, you’ll get caught up in them

Reply

Blofeld
Blofeld
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Tape measure mistrust aside, thanks for trying to quantify the numbers before discussing! There is definitely too much millimetre and gram splitting of values that only exist in html tables.

Reply

stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

This seems like the perfect bike for me.. until I saw what an entry level version cost and what it came with. Rockshox Judy and Tektro brakes for AU$4,000? Also working against it is the weight - only a few hundred grams less than a Canyon Spectral 125 which comes with a Rockshox 35 Gold and Maxxis Minion tyres, and is rated to ride Enduro trails (suspension travel notwithstanding)!

Why are bikes like this so heavy?

Reply

joseph-crabtree
Joseph Crabtree
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

This is one of the lightest frame weights in it's category. If you don't like the heft of the cheaper version I would suggest that revise your expectations on the cost vs weight of bikes. You can't have it all.

Reply

stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Maybe for the carbon frame but how much does the aluminium frame weigh?

The Recon Gold fork weighs 1800g, and the rims are WTB Light. Something doesn't add up.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Just because something says "light" doesn't mean it is... That rear wheel alone weighs 1257 grams or thereabouts, according to the googles. So, that'd put wheel weight alone at over 2000 grams. Count on the alloy frame being about 1000 grams heavier than the carbon one, given the alloy-carbon weight differences that many other brands show. Those 2.4 Rekons roll fast, but they are over 900 grams apiece. Deore cassette weighs 120g more than an XT cassette. And that little brick of  Comet crankset weighs a chunky 856 grams, about 300-400 heavier than most premium bits. So, there's about 2.5kg of price point flab accounted for...

Reply

stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Amazing, thanks Mike :)

Still, a 15.5kg XC bike..

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Steven Hambleton

if it's any consolation, I'm testing a Kona hardtail that weighs about that much...

stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

"if it's any consolation, I'm testing a Kona hardtail that weighs about that much..."

My XL Ragley Big Al weighs around 14.5kg and that has Nukeproof Horizon v2 wheels and a Zeron coil fork./ Now that thing is built solidly!

Reply

admihai3
admi hai
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

The Recon Gold fork weighs 1800g, and the rims are WTB Light. Something doesn't add up.

install vidmate

get-mobdroapk.com

Reply

just6979
Justin White
5 months, 3 weeks ago
-2 Tjaard Breeuwer Cr4w Taiki mrbrett

"but how is he at dodgeball?"

If he's got big hands, could be brutal at snatching at seemingly out of reach throws and knocking people out with pure defensive catches. That was always my favorite way to make outs, the sneaky catch. I won a Grade 3 (me) vs Grade 4 game by deflecting a throw with the ball I holding, and then letting the next throw knock my own ball away as I was catching the same thrown ball for the final out. Top 5 greatest day of my first 9 years.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
5 months, 3 weeks ago
+15 kcy4130 Perry Schebel Mike Ferrentino Mammal Pete Roggeman Cr4w bishopsmike Metacomet Taiki mrbrett Spencer Nelson 4Runner1 jgoon Suns_PSD Tjaard Breeuwer

Reply

just6979
Justin White
5 months, 2 weeks ago
-1 Cr4w

You guys can be such a shitty little clique sometimes. Trying to show appreciation for Mike's little dodgeball joke with an anecdote gets downvotes, while a simple copy-paste shitpost meme  gets a dozen+ upvotes? I guess you're saying that's an appropriate response here? Fine.

Reply

taprider
taprider
5 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
5 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Is this how we learn that taprider is Cooper's burner account?

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.