First look: Rocky Mountain Vertex 50 RSL

By Gary Boulanger, US editor | Wednesday, July 1, 2009 8.10pm

The US$3,049 Rocky Mountain Vertex 50 RSL carbon hardtail is a 24.3-lb cross-country bike aimed at the higher end of the mid-range.

Carbon hardtails are popping up everywhere these days, and the Canadian company realizes an affordably-priced and well-specced carbon hardtail may be enticing enough for the current crowd of riders on the fence about which full suspension platform to dive into, especially one with Shimano SLX on the menu.

Frame

The carbon monocoque frame is the heart of the Vertex 50, and our Large (17.8-inch) sample has semi-aggressive 71/73-degree head/seat angles with 42.5cm/16.73-in) chainstays, ideal for climbing in the saddle. The 60cm horizontal top tube  length is ideal for roadies who feel comfortable a bit more stretched out in the cockpit.

Equipment

Steering and suspension duties are performed with a Fox 3 F100RL 100mm travel suspension fork with lockout and rebound, essential for climbing. Shimano's highly-rated and newer SLX group provides the drivetrain, with a Race Face Evolve XC-X-Type 175mm 44/32/22-tooth crankset and Crankbrothers Smarty clipless pedals. Rear shifting is handled by a Shimano XT LP rear derailleur.

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For the cockpit, Easton provides its EA50 flip-flop stem with 31.8mm clamp and EA50 low-rise 635mm-wide bars.

Mavic CrossRide disc wheels and Hutchinson Python tyres provide the flow, while Formula Oro K24 hydraulic disc brakes keep everything under control. An Easton EA50 seatpost is topped off with a WTB Silverado Race SL saddle.

Time will tell if dirt lovers will add a lightweight carbon hardtail to their stable, or if full suspension is too good to pass up for most people. There's certainly a benefit to pedaling a sub-25-lb mountain bike up over hill and dale, and with the right amount of bike skill, many riders may not need the heavier, technology-laden full sussers after all. 

We're also excited to put the Shimano SLX through its paces. BikeRadar will have a complete test review of the Vertex 50 in the coming months.

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