The Shimano M315 brakes work okay but they are certainly a little underwhelming. The resulting geometry doesn’t feel exaggerated, and the ride quality makes for a bike that’s poppy and responsive, but still manageable at slow speeds and easy to maneuver around tight turns and switchbacks. Francesco Mazza, 21/08/2018 . Studio Photos: Anthony Smith; Action Photos: Margus Riga. This wheel and tire combo is not made for serious trail riding, although they can handle light duty use on smooth trails just fine and roll quite fast in the right conditions. Even in the slackest setting there are no signs of compromise and it is happy being a mile-muncher. Subscribe to BIKE’s Newsletter to receive stories like this straight to your inbox. $3,999.00. With the 27.5 wheel size on the Thunderbolt, we realize that it’s important to fit shorter riders whether they are adults or teens; we don’t want to exclude these riders based on stature. They all felt okay and I enjoyed them, but definitely loved the Thunderbolt models. It features the same amount of travel as the Thunderbolt and similar spec through the range. The time and cost investment really happens on the production side, from adding SKUs to assembling these bikes with size-specific components. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Thunderbolt Parts for the Thunderbolt Filter Filter Axles Bearing Kits Complete Service Kits Frame Protection Hangers Hardware Maintenance Kits Parts Reaper RIDE-4 & RIDE-9 Chips Modern bikes typically use thru-axles both front and rear, as well as wider rims that work better with modern width tires. The rear shock felt surprisingly smooth and plush in comparison, a testament to Rocky Mountain's Smoothlink suspension design. Rocky Mountain 2021 Thunderbolt Alloy 30 27.5" MTB Satellite/Black Dog/Volcano . Entry-level Shimano MT500 brakes slow the bike and a Shimano SLX shifter and cassette, along with an XT derailleur, make up the drivetrain. To those rims they mounted Maxxis Ardent 2.25" tires both front and back that provide very little climbing or cornering traction. Check out the rest of the Short-Travel 27.5 class, Short Travel 27.5 Bible of Bike Tests 2019, Bible Review: Ibis Mojo Deore XT | $6,900, Revel Bikes Introduces the Ranger Brunch Ride Edition. Rocky Mountain was at the forefront of freeride back when riders like Brett Tippie, Wade Simmons, and Richie Schley made the case that race results weren’t all that mattered in a “resume”. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Testers had little confidence in this model, and being nervous about the bike you're riding isn't exactly our definition of fun. Rocky Mountain Bikes arguably helped shape the way we ride mountain bikes today and the Thunderbolt is a prime example of their roots growing stronger. Thanks to a combination of the ‘up-forked’ 140mm Fox 34 Float and Rocky Mountain’s Ride-9geometry adjustment the front wheel sits confidently well out in front … This is one of the few bikes in the test that’s offered in full size range: XS to XL. Press Fit BB. We tested it primarily in the neutral position which we found to be a good middle ground with a measured head tube angle of 66.9 degrees and a seat tube angle of 74.7 degrees. Standouts include the Race Face ARC 25 wheels mated to Maxxis Minion DHR 2.3-inch tires, Shimano XT two-piston brakes and the Fox Float DPS EVOL Performance Elite shock and fork. One of the first things we noted about this year’s Thunderbolt is that its DNA hasn’t radically changed from when we last saw it four years ago. Price: N/A. View and share reviews, comments and questions on mountain bikes. Like the Instinct and Altitude, the new Thunderbolt has been tidied up with an all-new frame that boasts an updated linkage, complete with hidden chainstay pivots. You can have fun on this bike, but you've really got to dial it back. The Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain shifts well and provides ample range for all but the steepest of climbs. The overall frame design and geometry are capable of handling much more than the parts attached to it can. They don't offer the best traction on steep and loose sections of climbing but they zip up smooth and firm trail surfaces with ease. Got feedback? Let us know! Rocky Mountain has just introduced the Thunderbolt, a 120mm, 650b full-suspension model with geometry that blurs the lines between cross-country racer and trail bike. The handlebar, stem, and saddle are all great, the lack of a dropper post, however, is a real let down. The Thunderbolt Alloy 10 is best suited to the light-duty mountain biker who does not push the limits. The handlebar at 7… How can we improve GearLab? Rocky Mountain has spec'd a RockShox Recon Silver 120mm fork with non-boost spacing up front. At $5,400, the value is on par with what you’d expect spec-wise for a bike at this pricepoint, and the entry-level for the Thunderbolt is a very attainable $2,000. Rocky Mountain has remade the Thunderbolt for 2018, increasing the rear wheel travel in the standard Thunderbolt model from 120mm to 130mm. Price: N/A. The Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain performs flawlessly, we just prefer the range provided by the 11 and 12-speed options. Compare forks, shocks, wheels and other components on current and past MTB’s. The Thunderbolt seems like it would be perfect for 29-inch wheels. If you're looking for an entry-level mountain to occasionally ride trails on, this could be a good option. The Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain is nothing to write home about either, but we can't complain about its crisp and precise shifting performance. My younger brother needs a bike so I'm giving my old one and actually jumping in and grabbing a new one. Thank you for signing up. Rocky Mountain has unveiled the latest version of its popular Thunderbolt trail bike, which officially launched to the MTB world today. It does not inspire any confidence. All trademarks property of their respective owners Again, the limits of this bike are a result of its components. The Thunderbolt Alloy 10 is an affordable mid-travel mountain bike that clearly has potential but is held back from greatness by a poor component specification. The Thunderbolt’s smaller wheels didn’t stunt its climbing performance on a ledgy, technical course that seemed far better suited to 29ers. It's spec'd with WTB SX19 rims with a 19mm internal rim width that aren't tubeless compatible and are attached to the bike with old-school quick release skewers. The changes Rocky Mountain did make to the Thunderbolt are subtle, but effective. Assuming riding smooth trails at low to moderate speeds is what you're into then you might have a blast on this bike. Rocky Mountain is now offering the Thunderbolt in an Alloy version, therefore with an aluminum frame, adopting some of the features already present on the Thunderbolt Carbon. The Thunderbolt A50 has an aluminum rear and front triangle, with an aluminum Rocky Mountain OEM cockpit, aluminum Sun Ringle rims, and DT Swiss 370 hubs. The new Thunderbolt features 130mm of travel both front and rear, and the BC Edition adds a long stroke shock and a longer-travel fork to the Thunderbolt frame for 140mm of travel on both ends. It handles relatively well, with a lightweight and nimble feel and a highly adjustable geometry that hits the modern trail bike sweet spot. The 2.25" Maxxis Ardent tires are narrow and don't provide much traction with their low profile tread design, plus they can't be setup tubeless. Rocky Mountain 2020 Instinct Carbon 70 BC Edition Mountain Bike Black/Rusty Cage . But the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt has stayed surprisingly true to its original intentions, and fairly close to its original geometry. Rocky Mountain's adjustable geometry system is known as Ride 9 and allows the user to choose between 9 different geometry positions from slack to steep that change the head and seat tube angles by about a full degree. Predictable for a short-travel 27.5-inch bike—efficient without much mid-travel stroke to cause wallowing. We hate to sound like a broken record, but again the components on this bike are its main limiting factor on descents. Rocky Mountain’s New Thunderbolt. Quick and nimble, the Thunderbolt is total livewire. The lack of a dropper seat post is also disappointing when you descend on this bike, as you need to stop to raise and lower the saddle by hand. Initially bred as a 120mm, 27.5inch trail centre slayer, the latest iteration is an altogether different beast. Other bikes in this price range come with much better forks and dropper seatposts. It has potential, but you'll have to spend more for a higher-end version of the Thunderbolt to find it... GearLab is reader-supported. The funny thing is I get this comment often, and the answer always surprises: we already have this bike in the line and it’s the Instinct! Bike Magazine has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services. Most bike models change so drastically in the span of four years that comparing generations that far apart is akin to pitting a penny farthing against a modern DH sled. Stem Rocky Mountain 35 CNC; Handlebar Race Face Turbine R 780mm; Grips Rocky Mountain Lock On XC; Brakes Shimano XT Ice Tec / Shimano RT86 180mm / Shimano RT86 180mm; Rocky Mountain AM, 780mm width, 9° backsweep, 5° upsweep, 31.8mm clamp diameter, 25mm rise Stem: Rocky Mountain 31.8 AM, 5° rise, 40mm length, 31.8mm bar clamp Grips: Rocky Mountain Light, lock-on Brakes: Shimano MT4100, 2-piston, resin pads, Shimano RT54 180mm rotors Brake Levers: Shimano MT4100 Drivetrain: 1x Shifters: Shimano Deore, 12-speed Was $9,199.00 $8,299.99. Add to Basket. It rolls fast and has a nice middle of the road geometry that provides a comfortable seated pedaling position and responsive handling. They also spec'd very narrow, by today's standards, WTB SX19 rims that can't be set up tubeless. This bike has both a speed and trail difficulty limit due to its super-budget components. 5'7" and a small felt way to small and a medium feels at the very limit of what I can sit in. The narrow and flexy wheels with skinny tires dramatically hold this bike back, as does the flimsy fork and lack of a dropper seat post. The cockpit setup is one of this bike's high points, up front anyway. Specs, reviews & prices for the 2019 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Alloy 10. When you click on links to buy products we may earn money to support, Performance held back by components, no dropper post. The alloy 30 build is easily our top pick for 2021. The modern Thunderbolt name has been in Rocky Mountain's catalog since 2014 (but, as a few clever Pinkers have pointed out, goes as far back as 1989) when it was introduced as a … The wheels and tires on the Thunderbolt are another low point of this build. Rocky Mountain has been on a bit of a bike updating spree over the last couple of years, and their fresh Thunderbolt is the latest platform to get a complete makeover. It’s playful, easy to ride and encourages you to take extra-credit lines, without being so long and slack that if you aren’t on-point all the time, you’re losing control. Geometry, travel, suspension—technology moves so fast that these aspects of a bike rarely remain unchanged year-to-year, much less over multiple years. 2017 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 750 (aluminum) I'm an average to possibly below-average mountain biker; can't bunny hop for beans nor can I manual for more than a heartbeat. Out of stock. What is it about this bike’s design that works so well, and has allowed its identity to stay so consistent? This is the least trail worthy bike in this test, due to its poor component specification, and we would recommend several other models before this, some of which cost less. The moderately steep 74.7-degree seat tube angle puts the rider nicely above the bottom bracket for solid power transfer while the moderate length 466mm reach doesn't make you feel cramped or too stretched out. Bike Magazine. The components on this bike are really what hold it back. By signing up you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. To me, the Thunderbolt is a bike that never questions what kind of ride it can perform on; it just does the job and does it well. Rocky Mountain 2020 Slayer Carbon 70 29" Mountain Bike Black/Touch of Grey . Key changes to the new carbon frame are an increase in rear travel to 130mm, plus increases to stiffness, and a lowering of the shock rate curve. In fact, our testers did have a little fun descending on this bike on some smoother and mellower trails and at moderate speeds. If you aren't an aggressive rider and you're looking for a full suspension mountain bike that you'll only ride occasionally then this may be a good option for you. In contrast to the Thunderbolt Alloy 10's mediocre downhill performance, testers found it to perform relatively well on the climbs. The suspension is relatively supportive and provides good climbing traction on trails, plus the rear shock has a lockout switch that is useful for extended periods of dirt road or paved climbing. For 2020, the ThunderboltAlloy 10 model sees some major changes including bumping the travel to 140mm front and rear, more aggressive tires, a dropper seat post, and a minor price increase to $2,099. We expect this bike to perform better than the 2019 model we tested. Rocky … Overtime pack. If you prefer to let it rip and maybe you want to blast through a chunky rock garden every once in a while then you'll find this bike's limitations quickly which may result in having a bad time. If you're looking for an all-around bike that you'll occasionally use to go mountain biking on some smooth trails at a mellow pace, this could be a good option for you. If someone is looking for a capable, do-it-all trail bike, then all they need to do is decide which wheel size they want to roll without thinking about geo or spec. All photos courtesy of Rocky Mountain. Outside of smooth and mellow trails, the limits of the Thunderbolt were quickly and easily reached. The same skinny tires that don't provide confident cornering traction on the descents help to give this bike very little rolling resistance. Photo Credit: Anthony Smith; Action Photos, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window). Its climbing abilities are far greater than it's descending prowess. The head angle has been slackened by a not quite a degree, the seat angle steepened by about a half-degree and the reach is about a centimeter longer. It’s an added bit of versatility and fine-tuning that some riders may appreciate, and some may find overwhelming. All this comes in under $3,400. It has all the right angles, the build just can't keep pace. Sure we prefer 11 and 12-speed drivetrains, but the Deore 10 speed works well enough. The last time we saw the Thunderbolt, at the 2015 Bible in Central Oregon, it ranked as one of the favorites, with testers lauding it for pushing the boundaries of XC. As mentioned above, both wheels are secured by quick release skewers that we're no longer used to seeing on bikes intended for real mountain biking. The changes Rocky Mountain did make to the Thunderbolt are subtle, but effective. When you're looking for something right in between, The follow-up to the most underrated bike of 2018, Subscribe to our free newsletter and stay up-to-date with the latest from Testers did feel that at high speeds the Thunderbolt could feel twitchy, not having the benefit of an extra-long wheelbase, and one tester noted that its four-bar suspension platform isn’t as sophisticated as some of its competitors, but overall there are very few flies in the Thunderbolt’s ointment. Our Carbon 70 model, which falls at the higher end of the Thunderbolt offerings—the alloy 10 starts at $2,000 and the most expensive, carbon 90, goes for $6,000—has a spec package that’s on par with a bike at its price level. Material on GearLab is copyrighted. These wheels are flexy and felt like they might fold underneath you if you cornered too hard or landed wrong off a small rock drop. The Thunderbolt, like most other Rockys, has the Ride-9 system, a little flip-… The Thunderbolt shows even more speed when pedaling along on flowing, rolling trails. There are no signs of it being twitchy or nervous which is a testimony to its sorted geometry and component spec. We also question the use of a non-boost spacing fork and the fact that the wheel is attached with an old school quick release skewer. At least they put a quick release seat post clamp on there, so adjusting your saddle height is a little easier than it could be otherwise. The Thunderbolt A50 also gets a Fox rear shock and a Fox 34 Float Performance fork with a Grip damper. If you want to ride aggressively at all we suggest looking elsewhere. Its climbing prowess is predictable for a short-travel bike—efficient without much mid-stroke to cause wallowing. Geometry: Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt. Our short-travel loop was particularly well-suited for a 29er, with ledgy climbs and slow-speed tech descents on which the rollover qualities of a larger wheel diameter were beneficial. 2019 Orange Crush Comp Bike. Skinny tires with a low profile tread help this bike to scoot up smooth climbs with ease. The carbon frame is lightweight and highly durable and comes with Rocky Mountain's RIDE-9 adjustment system so you can further adjust geometry and … We've become accustomed to dropper seat posts, even on bikes in this price range, and it's disappointing to ride a bike without one. We flatted the front tire almost instantly. Are you looking for a new mountain bike that costs $2500... the world's most carefully tested and objective gear reviews. At $1,999 we have a really hard time calling the Thunderbolt Alloy 10 a good value. If you're on a serious budget and you want a bike that can rip we suggest out Best Buy Award winner, the Giant Trance 3, which costs the same as the Thunderbolt. Whether it’s powering up technical climbs or popping off every trail feature in sight, its 27.5” wheels and 140mm of rear travel makes this bike ready and capable for when you’re feeling creative with line choice. We didn't find the Thunderbolt to be a good value. My local dealer is selling some Rocky Mountain bikes and they let me try out a few bikes (Altitude 730, Thunderbolt 750 MSL and 730, and the Vertex). The build of the Thunderbolt Allot 10 that we tested is easily the least impressive of all the models in this test and the primary reason that this bike performed so poorly compared to the competition. With its 67-degree headtube angle, 75-degree seat tube angle (in the neutral-geometry setting) and 463-millimeter reach (size large), it’s almost conservative by today’s standards. Five years after its 2014 release, the Thunderbolt continues to be offered in five frame sizes from XS to XL, making it one of the few trail bikes that truly offers a fit for riders of all shapes and heights. The bike's geometry also plays a role in how it handles, with a moderate length wheelbase, short chainstays, and a 66.9-degree head tube angle that help to keep you on line and handle sharp uphill switchbacks with ease and confidence. They can handle the lower speed limit of this bike, but they are far from powerful. The head angle has been slackened by a not quite a degree, the seat angle steepened by about a half-degree and the reach is about a centimeter longer. Why has Rocky resisted re-tooling the Thunderbolt as a 29er, and any plans to change that in the future? I … The only difference is the wheel size. Hit some single track and the Thunderbolt comes alive. Since then, Rocky Mountain has tweaked the travel and geometry, but it hasn’t been radically overhauled, and unlike some bikes in the same category, it’s not attempting to moonlight as a more aggressive bike. While the 27.5inch wheels remain, for 2018 the BC edition of the Thunderbolt sees an increase in rear travel, up 20mm to 140mm. “This is just a fun, levelheaded trail bike,” said one tester. RIDE-9 adjustments; the Thunderbolt has quite a few options for geometry, including a longer travel option if you go the “BC” route. The non-boost RockShox Recon Silver fork has 120 mm of travel, but it's flexy, hard to tune, and generally feels like a pogo stick in compression and extension. Riding bikes is inherently fun and you can certainly have a good time riding the Thunderbolt Alloy 10 as long as you stay within its limits. The Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Carbon 50 Bike is quick and nimble with 27.5" wheels and 140mm of travel on the front and the rear. Phone: 01803 558885 Email: Post: Unit A3, Westfield Business Park, Long Road, Paignton, TQ4 7AU, United Kingdom Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Now in Aluminum. Arguably the most fun bike in the Rocky Mountain Range, the Thunderbolt sports 140mm travel out back with 150mm up front. 0. Smooth mellow terrain and infrequent trail rides are fine on the Thunderbolt Alloy 10, although this bike's limits are easily reached. This bike has a geometry and frame design that looks great on paper and probably performs very well in a higher-end build. Internal Cable Routing. Our goal was to make a lightweight trail bike that could pull in riders from both the XC and “All-Mountain” (that category has shifted several times since then) crowds towards a do-it-all Trail platform. And that’s OK, testers unanimously agreed. The Thunderbolt has been a mainstay in the Rocky Mountain stable since its inception in 2014. As such, we do need to make much more of an investment to design and produce the extra-small front triangle in carbon and alloy. Both bikes were built with the same intention in mind. This is a 140mm front and rear “long travel” edition, dedicated precisely to the concept of rather aggressive trail riding typical of that area. When we saw a Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt that retailed for right around $2000 we thought that it could potentially give some of the other bikes in this review a run for their money. Price: $2099.00. It’s meant to be a quick-mannered bike that has a little bit extra capability at minimal weight increase to handle a wide variety of riding, from longer rides far from home to short outings at the local trail network. All rights reserved. Hestler works for Rocky Mountain and I was testing the company’s new Thunderbolt, a 120mm trail bike with 27.5 wheels. Unfortunately, due to the very unimpressive component specification that comes attached to this version of the Thunderbolt this bike is seriously under-gunned and is the least trail worthy model in this review. But the Thunderbolt’s 27.5-inch wheels somehow didn’t feel like a sacrifice as it powered through the rocky terrain, holding its momentum on the most energy-sapping bits. This fork is somewhat flimsy and you can feel it flex, plus it has a somewhat sticky and pogo stick-like feel to it. We all rode the bike in its neutral position, although Rocky’s RIDE-9 allows for nine different settings, changing the leverage curve and geometry depending on how you position the flip chips. They did a fine job choosing the comfortable WTB Volt saddle, but sadly it's mounted to a rigid seat post. One of my favorite bikes of the last few years is the Thunderbolt’s 29er counterpart, the 2018 Instinct. RIDE-9 Adjustable Geometry + Suspension Rate The Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt walks the line of lightweight trail slayer, with progressive suspension to soak up those big hits. View More: Mountain Bikes Rocky Mountain Rocky Mountain Mountain Bikes Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 2020 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt. 2-Bolt ISCG05 Tabs. Copyright © A360 Media LLC 2021. “Go ahead, lead the way,” he said politely when we turned to head down. Direction changes come at breakneck speeds if you so wish. “They say all marriages are made in heaven, but so are thunder and lightning.”-Clint Eastwood I put gloves to grips on the full-wide 800mm Chromag BZA carbon handlebar and take a couple of heartbeats to contemplate our custom spec’d Thunderbolt’s front-center. News . Regardless, it’s there to use if you want, or you can set it and forget if you aren’t the tinkering type. Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt: The Wrap Up. Additionally, the sales figures are typically lower for this size than the rest, so we are making a conscious commitment to having more riders fitting our bikes, even if the business end of it doesn’t quite line up. The Alloy 10 has 120mm of front wheel and 130mm of rear wheel travel. 2019 Orange Crush RS Bike. Full Sealed Cartridge Bearings. The 760mm wide handlebar is a reasonable width and it's paired with a short stem and comfortable lock-on grips. The frame design and geometry look agreeable and it seems like it could be an awesome budget friendly mid-travel trail bike. Despite the many low-grade components on the Thunderbolt Alloy 10 we could tell that this bike could be a blast to ride downhill. We pushed the Thunderbolt well past its limits while testing, we don't recommend trying this on this model. Specifications: Thunderbolt Alloy 10 Frame SMOOTHWALL Carbon. When combined with our massive 672 Wh Powerplay battery, you have over 1000 Wh to drain before it's time to rest. The idea behind the Thunderbolt has stayed the same since its inception as the Element MSL back in 2010. Huge selection of mountain bikes from brands such as Trek, Specialized, Giant, Santa Cruz, Norco and more. The RockShox Recon fork doesn't have boost-spacing and feels flexy and pogo-sticky in its travel. One tester noted that it performed well with the Fox Float DPS Performance shock in the open setting while climbing, but another preferred the extra firmness provided by the shock’s ‘pedal’ mode on extended climbs. How do you achieve that from a design standpoint, and what kind of additional investment is required to offer five frame sizes, in aluminum and carbon to boot? It also has 130 millimeters of travel, front and rear, whereas the previous iteration had 120 millimeters (except for the BC Edition, which sported 130 millimeters of front travel; now the BC Edition has 140 front and rear). If you're a very easy going mountain biker who rides occasionally on smoother trails at low to moderate speeds then this may be a good option. Cables run internally and there’s room for both a bottle cage and 27.5 x 2.5-inch tires. The travel is 130mm at both wheels for the Thunderbolt Carbon model but Rocky Mountain also offers a BC Edition version, where BC is obviously for British Columbia.

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