RockyMountain pitch the Altitude mainly as a cross-country/marathon racing bike, but with 140mm of travel it’s likely to see some all-mountain action too. It’s a fairly unconventional machine, and not just in appearance.
Ride and handling: Agile, and a surprise climbing champ, but short cockpit won't suit all
Initial impressions of the Altitude are dominated by RockyMountain’s “Straight Up” geometry – so-called because that's how you sit. This isn’t the only bike to adopt a combination of relaxed head angle and steep seat angle, but at 76-degrees the seat angle is very steep indeed.
RockyMountain say it’s “bio-mechanically correct” for “maximum horsepower” – we’re not sure about that, although it does feel a bit like riding a horse. It’s certainly highly effective on steep, nadgery climbs, but it’s less compelling on longer, shallower grinds, with a short cockpit making it hard to stretch out and get comfy.
Once you’ve stood up for the descent, at which stage the seat position is irrelevant, it’s all about the relationship between pedals and bars, which is perfectly conventional. The four-bar rear suspension is supple and lets the back wheel happily chug over rocks and steps, but it's a little soft under aggressive pedalling.
Frame: Distinctive swoopy looks and neutral suspension
The Altitude has a fairly distinctive look, with a markedly pot-bellied down tube and swooping top tube. Lots of bikes have curvy tubes these days, but the Rocky is more exaggerated than most.
To accommodate the super-steep seat angle there’s a direct-mount front mech, but Rocky haven’t adopted other currently in-vogue frame features – both bottom bracket and head tube are conventional rather than oversized or tapered.
At the back is the company’s SmoothLink four-bar linkage suspension layout, with a chainstay pivot in an FSR patent-dodging position slightly higher than the rear axle.
Equipment: Lowly specification for the price, but it's all reliable stuff
RockyMountain bikes have always tended towards the premium side, and the Altitude is no exception. There’s not the level of equipment that you’d get from a bigger manufacturer with more buying power.
Suspension parts are from Fox, but the fork is a basic Float R with a conventional quick-release skewer rather than a stiffer through-axle. Transmission mixes SRAM X-5 shifters and X-9 rear mech, while Avid Juicy 3 brakes do the stopping.
Shimano Deore hubs are another obvious cost-saver, but you do get a bunch of kit from fellow Canadians Race Face, including the chainset, bar, stem and seatpost.