Rocky Mountain Element 950RSL

By Justin Walker 4 April 2014
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Whether your ride is short or long, this bike will stay strong for the duration.

The Rocky Mountain Element 950RSL has landed in the Walker shed, only a couple of days before deadline (thanks to my tardiness) but more than worth the wait. Adventure Brands (RM Aus distributors) did a top job getting it to Sydney and Greg, from Chain Reaction Bicycle Company, Cronulla, produced a perfect job on the tools to get it trail-ready.

The plan is to use the 950RSL for a series of mountain bike marathon events – the 3 Ring Circus in NSW, the Kowalski Classic in the ACT, and some other shorter events – as a lead into me racing one of Australia’s toughest MTB marathons – the 100km Kona Odyssey, in Victoria’s Otways, in February next year.

It will be a big journey over a number of months, mostly for the rider (that’d be me) who needs to get back into proper “outdoor/bike fitness” asap, before he can no longer lift himself off the office chair! The other half of this riding/racing partnership – the Rocky Mountain 950RSL itself – is more than capable as is.

The frame – FORM C13 carbon front matched to a 7005 alloy rear triangle – is, after a quick backyard runch test, uber-tight with zero flex.

That big bunch of cables looks messy in the photo but it’s not; the over-abundance of cables is due to fitment of the Fox CTD remote lockout, which adjusts the rear’s Fox Float and the front’s Float 29 (100mm) forks. The remote lever looks large-ish, but doesn’t encroach on hand-space on the bar.

The rest of the spec list is a mix of mid-range Shimano 3×10 drivetrain (SLX shifters, front derailleur; XT rear derailleur) and brakes (SLX 180mm disc), sweet Race Face Turbine cranks/chainrings/BB, and Sunringle hoops shod with Continental rubber (X-King 2.2 up front; RaceKing 2.2 on the rear) and fitted with DT Swiss Straight Pull spokes, and Wheeltech hubs front and rear. Rocky Mountain’s seat post and saddle (XC Light) keep the rider comfortable.

This is my first 29er dual-suspension bike and is a size Large, but doesn’t feel like it; A low standover height, short top tube and compact chainstay length bely the perception of unwieldy 29ers.

The 950RSL is primarily a race bike – and it looks fast, just standing still – but, with RM’s North Shore, BC, Canada heritage evident in the frame geo, and Fox’s CTD suspension, I reckon it will definitely be fast, but also highly chuckable on the trails.

I have only had time to snap a quick photo before deadline, so the next few weeks will see a bedding-in period for rider and bike; the bike is ready to go; the rider is not – for a couple of weeks, anyway, thanks to a back injury. The first test will be the 3 Ring Circus, in the NSW Southern Highlands. Roll up, roll up!

RRP $4799