This review is difficult to write because I do not know where to start with the paradigm we see with this bike. Five years ago, the idea of riding on a carbon fiber frame off the road seemed insane. Good for the road but not difficult for the route. Now the idea is over. For 2012, many companies are offering carbon fiber mountain bikes in rigid and fully suspension with both 26 and 29 inch wheels. The first of these amazing new bikes I was able to test is the Rocky Mountain 29 “Vertex 970 RSL. Full Car 29” er with new geometry and sexy style.
The engineering that came into this framework is quite impressive. They combine a conical head tube with a 15 mm front axle to tighten the front. The BF86 pressfit lower bracket is interlocked with a 142mm rear hub and a 12mm axle to improve power transmission at the crankshaft and rear. Adjust the tires without pipes and it will not be a problem not to release quickly because there will be almost no apartment.
Aside from the technology in the frame, another big story is the new 29-inch geometry Rocky Mountain has encountered. The complaint about the 29-inch is that they are slow-moving on narrow, winding roads. With the changes made to Vertex, this is a thing of the past. To mimic the touch of a 26-inch wheel, they raised the lower bracket, shortened the chains, and used a more displacement fork to achieve a balanced package that works fast on tight routes but still expects stability. It has 29-inch wheels. I’ve been 29 since 2001 and this is the best big bike I’ve ever ridden.
The test track was in the Albion Hills Protected Area, home to the 24-hour race in Ontario. If you go there, you will get acquainted with rolling hills and single-screw turns. The Vertex 970 was like a road bike on a two-seater. Pick up the hammer and go. All this power goes to the rear wheel. When you enter a single song, it just dances. I’ve been on 29-inch wheels so much that I do not realize the English body is a little extra that it has to be cut into pieces until it is gone. I over-guided the first few turns but once I got used to scheduling it. I felt like I was cutting in the woods. One of my first good bikes was the Rocky Mountain Blizzard 20 years ago. It reminds me of the feeling I was riding. Definitely one step up from the current 29-inch hard tail in the store. For 2012, Rocky put on his gloves and went out to fight.
The 970 has SRAM X9 brakes and formula. The driving system is a 2X10 system that you will see much more in 2012. Lighter weight, better handling and cleaner chain line are all advantages of this system. The drive train worked flawlessly but I’m not quite sure how well the front is moving, as I did all my rounds in the big ring. As I often did when I was running out of gear, I just stopped until I thought I was going down.
As anyone who reads my comments knows that I am honest in my comments and I try to present the good with the bad so that you can get a real picture of the bike so that you can make an informed decision when choosing your new bike. With Vertex, it’s hard not to look like a pro boy, but trust me, if he was driving like a bus, I’ll tell you. The only complaint I have is that I have complaints with almost every bike, because nothing comes with my favorite saddle and it does not come out of the box. In terms of handling, ride quality, weight and rigidity are close to the magic I have ever ridden. Light and stiff. Smooth and excellent performance. The only sign is the price, but there is no such thing as a free lunch.