Cycling News

Long-term review: Rocky Mountain Element

Long-term review: Rocky Mountain Element

When Rocky Mountain released the new-look Element, the revised cross country bike firmly straddled the line between XC and trail bikes. The Canadian brand has, for a long time, positioned the Element as a more aggressive and more capable vision of what a cross country bike can be. It frequently nudges up against the line between XC and trail. But, with 120-mm rear travel and a 130-mm fork, the new Element clearly thumbs its nose at convention, even compared to modern race bikes.

Challenging convention is great. It’s often disruptive designs that end up pushing the industry forward as a whole. If the design works, that is. So, how does the XC-plus Element handle out in the real world? Well, after nearly a year of riding on the new Rocky Mountain Element all across B.C. for this review, we’re really enjoying this new idea of what XC can mean.

2022/2023 Rocky Mountain Element

Rocky Mountain is up front that it aims to get the best of both worlds with the Element. The bike is intended to climb like a cross country bike and descend like a trail bike. That is an ambitious goal but Rocky uses smart design to get there.

A simplified Ride-4 system, based off Rocky Mountain’s existing Ride-9 chip system, allows riders to adjust geometry and suspension progression to push the Element more toward its XC lineage or trail ambitions. Crucially, Ride-4 doesn’t just change geometry angels. It tunes the 120 mm of rear wheel travel to be more supportive and efficient in the “steep” setting or calmer and more forgiving when set to “slack,” along with matching changes to the bike’s geometry. Set up with a 130-mm fork, Rocky gives the Element more freedom to take on technical challenges than the already-capable previous generations of its XC bike.

Rocky Mountain Element C70 review bike
Rocky Mountain Element sports a very Canadiana paint scheme under that (removable) label sticker

The Element’s carbon fibre frame uses thin tubing, designed to keep weight down and add some compliance for a comfortable ride (alloy frames are available, as well). There is room for two full water bottles on the downtube, and substantial rubber frame protection deflects rocks and trail debris. 29″ wheels keep the Element rolling efficiently, with the XS size…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…