This Winter we tested the $3,349 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Alloy 50 trail bike. For an entry level spec’d bike we were quickly impressed with the attention to detail, and features the frame sported. Video review below.
Details & Specs
• 27.5″ wheels
• 130mm travel front and rear
• Boost hub spacing
•RIDE-9™ Adjustable Geometry + Suspension Rate
• Aluminum front and rear triangle
• Press Fit BB
• Sealed cartridge bearing pivots
• XS, S, M (tested), L, XL sizes
The bike is fairly well refined, with a Race Face Crankset, and direct mount ring, internal cable routing, built in down tube protection, and light weight chain guide.
Fox handles the damping, with a 130mm 34 Performance Float up front, with the new Fit Grip2 damper.
In the rear of the bike is the 130mm Fox Float DPS EVOL Performance shock.
Shimano’s MT500 baseline brakes certainly aren’t anything to rave about, but for a 3k bike, they functioned well.
Rocky’s House brand 760mm cockpit felt a bit narrow, but as to be expected on a base tier bike, these parts will hold their own until the consumer is ready to upgrade.
DT Swiss hubs provide relatively good engagement, and the Shimano SLX 11-46t cassette reliably gets you up the hill, albeit not with nearly the same range as a 12 speed drivetrain.
With a reach (on our size medium) of 441mm, the bike felt a bit small, and not the most spacious, we perhaps would feel more at home on a large. Our tester is 5’10” and 145 Lbs. A 425mm rear center keeps the bike playful and snappy, these measurements are with the bike in the neutral setting, but there are nine total geometry adjustments, making this bike extremely well rounded and ready to adapt to its surroundings. In its medium setting, the bike features a fairly neutral 21mm bottom bracket drop, keep in mind in the slack setting the bb can drop to 28mm for more aggressive terrain.
On the Trail
The Thunderbolt is a noticeably well-rounded bike, capable of punching up climbs and feeling controlled in descents. We found the bike to feel a little overwhelmed in serious rocky sections, but hey it’s a 130mm entry level bike, so it’s to be expected. The bikes four bar suspension design keeps things predictable, and caters to a ride feel that is easy to get acquainted with.
If you’re looking to get into the sport, or upgrade the old rusty hardtail in your garage, the Thunderbolt Alloy 50 may be one of the most reliable and investment worthy, entry level trail bikes on the market.
More info at: http://www.bikes.com