Rocky Mountain Blizzard 853 £649

After reading the background info on the Blizzard, we were disappointed to find that the weight of our test frame was more than the 4.4lb advertised. The manufacturer's stated weights are often for the smallest model,but nearly a pound is a big difference.

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

After reading the background info on the Blizzard, we were disappointed to find that the weight of our test frame was quite a bit more than the 4.4lb advertised. Okay, weight isn't the whole issue and manufacturer's stated weights are often for the smallest model, but nearly a pound is a big difference. We've tested 853 frames that weigh close to 4lb.

Still, the big selling point of Reynolds 853 tubing is toughness, as it air-hardens after construction. And the big selling point of the Blizzard is its heritage and ride quality. It's 20 years since Rocky Mountain built the first steel Blizzard. It's still being hand-built in Canada and the ride is still superb. It feels as stiff, as precise and as lively as the best alu frames, but with the extra comfort and resilience of steel. Okay, so the weight isn't a highlight, but this is a bang up-to-date frame that takes a 100mm travel fork and handles long or fast XC rides as well as any steel frame we've tested.

RM's experience really shines through. It's one of those frames that owners quickly develop emotional links to. It's eminently adaptable, with rack and mudguard mounts as well as all the usual brake and bottle accoutrements, and it's extremely well-built, in a simple no fuss kind of way.

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