Just got my first ride in on the new 27″ (that’s what I’m calling’ it) aka 650b wheel size. Rode the boss man’s Full Carbon Rocky Mountain Altitude 790 MSL, Rocky Mountain’s flagship bike for this new wheel size. Sam has his set up with SRAM’s new XX1 group, so I got to check it out too.
First climb up into the forest I noticed it wasn’t a 29er. It did climb over the rough stuff better than a 26er, but not quite like a 29er does. I could solidly tell that this wheel size was in between the other two
With the Fox CTD Remote on the rear shock, switching modes was easy. I only used the Climb mode on the road, with the fork locked out. Climbing off-road on the Trail setting was perfect, and worked well in the flats. Switching to descend mode opened up the capabilities of this bike fully. Using all 150mm of the travel bombing down the Black Mountain Trail was awesome. The bike had a stable, yet playful feel. I could tell the slightly larger wheel size was rolling over the junk better, but it didn’t stop me from tossing the bike around just like it was a 26er. Gaps were easier to reach than on my 29er, yet I didn’t feel like I had given up any traction.
The SRAM XX1 drivetrain worked flawlessly. Even without any sort of chain guide up front, the chain never dropped. The XX1 Type 2 derailleur’s extra tension made sure of that. With such a wide range of gears on one shifter, I was always to be able to get the gear I needed in just a shift or two. Switching from steep ups to downhills did require quite a few clicks, but didn’t seem to be a problem. I did notice increased ground clearance courtesy of the 30 tooth ring Sam had installed. The low gear on this bike is the same as on my 24/32 Shimano chainring setup, with the same high gear as well. Which means the only things missing are the front shifter and the front derailleur, the worst functioning part of any bicycle!
The setup on this particular bike makes it hard not to like it. A Rock Shox Revelation fork and Reverb Stealth post, full carbon MSL frame, SRAM XX1 group, and 27″ Industry Nine wheels leave nothing to be desired. The Stealth Reverb does away with the annoying “what’s that hose hitting” feeling, and keeps the look of the bike clean. The lateral stiffness on those I-9 wheels is already something I love. At 150 mm with 27″ wheels this bike feels plusher and lighter than many 160mm+ bikes I’ve ridden. And, it climbs much better than all of them! If all mountain riding is your style this could just be the “One Bike!”
Demos are arriving in one week. So come on down and check out what’s new in mountain bikes for yourself.
You can learn more about these bikes on Rocky Mountain’s Altitude specific website: altitude.bikes.com/
Have fun out there ! – Jimi