Rocky Mountain Bicycles Altitude Carbon 50 2017 Mountain Bike Review

Rocky Mountain Bicycles Altitude Carbon 50 2017

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

Rocky Mountain Bicycles 134,183

At A Glance

Rocky Mountain seems to be having a bit of an overhaul at the moment, with new bikes hitting the trails all over the place. The new Slayer, launched last year, has been snapped up so quickly they are exceptionally hard to get hold of. I count myself lucky to have even touched a Slayer, let alone ride one!

Buy Enduro Bikes on

Whilst the dust was settling from one launch another one explodes, this time with the updated Altitude. Having not received a 2017 update, the Altitude was conspicuous by its absence and was ripe for a re-jig.

Sitting into the range one notch below the Slayer, it's a 150mm rear, 160mm front 'Aggressive Trail' bike according to Rocky. Lacking the sheer depth of travel from its larger cousin, the Altitude wants to be more of an all-rounder.

The frame has come up to date with some fresh numbers and moves towards a longer, lower, slacker design which, although isn't ground-breaking, is now current. Large sized frames receive a 458mm reach, a 65.6 head angle and a 7mm bottom bracket drop. In other news, Rocky Mountain has done away with bushings and the whole system now runs on bearings which is great to see.

Those hawk-eyed readers will have noticed some blurry features on the press release that supported the launch, and even now the upper models on their website still have the rear shock defocussed. Only Fox can put an end to this when they finally announce their Fox Live Valve system which will no doubt feature electrical wizardry to control damping on their suspension. It's also rumoured to be linked to the dropper post, but let's wait and see.

Three carbon and three alloy models give a healthy spread of prices and finishing components from Fox and RockShox, Shimano and SRAM. Our model is the Carbon 50, which provides a balanced spec including Fox Performance Elite suspension, a Fox Transfer dropper and a Shimano mix of SLX and XT handling transmission and braking.

Cost savings are visible in the own-brand front hub, bars, stem and grips, but overall things are in the right places, especially the short stem and wide bar combo. The tyres must also get a mention for being bold, and strapping some 2.5/2.4 Maxxis Minions to the wheels for top-level traction.

On The Trail

The Altitude has aspirations beyond just plummeting, and in order to justify its place in the Rocky Mountain line-up it needs to be happy in multiple directions. The new longer and slacker style has to marry up with some climbing capabilities to keep it in this so-called 'Aggressive Trail' Category.

Having spent time recently on the Rocky Mountain Pipeline, it was great to get some of the things I felt were missing. Immediately the roomier top tube feels modern and comforting as longer reach bikes now feel 'normal', and Rocky is now in the game. The other noticeable feel straight away was more suppleness in the rear travel from the bearings, allowing a greater sensitivity in the first part of the travel.

Set up is straightforward, pressures are set and the suspension has limited knob twiddling potential so you're good to go. The only extra tuning to be done is in the geometry. With the Ride9 system now shifted to the rear shock mount it is more subtle, but still allows the same amount of tweaking. For me, there was very little decision, and having tried neutral, I went full slack and didn't look back. A long travel bike like this deserves numbers to match, and a slacker head angle and lower bottom bracket is the way to go. The only aspect I didn't want to change was the seat angle, but this is part of the deal, so I just slammed it forwards on the rails and things felt spot on.

Now, the Altitude is a bike that hides its suspension well, aesthetically it is a clean and sleek looking bike, but more than that, it rides with the energy and efficiency of a shorter travel bike. Shod with 2.5-inch rubber, the Altitude was never going to gain height like a rocket, but it never felt sluggish, and the traction from those tyres was immense. The idea of rounded Plus tyres giving more traction is getting old, if you want grip, get massive knobbly tyres, and with Minions now available as 2.6, this is where real grip can be found.

So, the altitude impressed with its climbing tenacity if not velocity, however a bike like this really wants to show you some skills at speed. Stiffness was apparent and it was happy to take some power and oblige with a rapid turn of speed although too much power and tyre rub was possible on the rear brake hose, suggesting there was some flex after all, but a better-secured brake hose put paid to that happening again.

The Performance suspension doesn't have the softness or lightness of touch off the top like the Factory versions, but provides plenty of composed support through the turns and happily eats up nasty ground casually. The big fork and big tyres working perfectly in rough terrain, confident and predictable.

Full on descending was where a real character emerged, combining the oceans of grip with a playful, rowdy feel that encouraged the most entertaining line rather than the fastest. Even when speeds dropped for dangerously technical corners, the energy was still there to hop a wheel or endo round. Never a dull moment! Bunny hops and wheelies all round, no straight line racer moves for the Altitude.

The components gave a good mix, with some stand out parts such as the tyres, and the Transfer dropper (although a 170mm drop would be nice). The wheels were a little lacking, probably the source of the flex, and the rims took some battle scars despite the heavyweight rubber protection. A mention must go out to the chain guide, or 'Spirit Guide', which is truly a lovely, understated piece of kit, going quietly unnoticed whilst keeping the chain in check.


It's hard to define trail bikes, and Rocky Mountains ‘Aggressive Trail’ category serves the Altitude well. They have hidden a long travel trail bike, capable of enduro duties, into an easy-to-ride, playful package. For so many of us riders, the Altitude represents what we do week in, week out; ride bikes for whoops and giggles.

Buy Enduro Bikes on

Do you enjoy reading IMB Magazine, using our App and website? We now need your support to keep IMB going. Support IMB from as little as £2 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you!

Support IMB

This review was in Issue 48 of IMB.

For more information visit Rocky Mountain Bicycles


Enduro Bikes - 2017
Enduro Bikes - 2017
Enduro Bikes - 2017
Enduro Bikes - 2017
Enduro Bikes - 2017
Enduro Bikes - 2017
Enduro Bikes - 2019
Enduro Bikes - 2019


By Rocky Mountain Bicycles

Mountain Bike Reviews - Rocky Mountain Bicycles Altitude Carbon 70 2019
Mountain Bike Reviews - Rocky Mountain Bicycles Altitude Carbon 70 2019
Rocky Mountain Bicycles Altitude Carbon 70

The last few years has been a good journey for Rocky Mountain Bikes, and with the Altitude undergoing a progressive facelift their ‘aggressive trail’ bike has been well received around the globe. With the Slayer filling the big, hard-hitting enduro category, the Altitude is free to concentrate on being a long travel trail bike, or shorter travel enduro machine. It…

By Ewen Turner
Ewen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.

Tried this? What did you think?


Subscribe it's Free!

Win a Fresh IMB Organic Hoody and T-Shirt this issue in our FREE subscriber prize draw.

By subscribing you will not only be first to read the mag but automatically entered into the prize draw every issue!

Draw closes on Sat 20th Apr, 2019
First name is required.

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy

Subscribe Another
Fresh IMB Organic Hoody and T-Shirt

Issue 56 Sat 16th Feb, 2019

Fresh IMB Organic Hoody and T-Shirt


Issue 55 Fri 19th Oct, 2018

GoPro Hero 6 Black Action Camera


Issue 54 Mon 20th Aug, 2018

A Load of Protection Gear From SixSixOne


Issue 53 Wed 27th Jun, 2018

GoPro Hero 6 Black Action Camera


Issue 52 Mon 30th Apr, 2018

A Whole Bunch of Goodies from DMR Bikes


Issue 51 Fri 23rd Feb, 2018

Exposure Joystick M12 Legendary Bike Light


Issue 50 Thu 21st Dec, 2017

Protective Gear From Bluegrass Eagle


Issue 49 Wed 25th Oct, 2017

Complete Riding Outfit From Cube


Issue 48 Sat 19th Aug, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 47 Sun 20th Aug, 2017

Complete Riding Outfit from Vaude


Issue 46 Mon 17th Apr, 2017

Rinsekit Black Pressurised Portable Washer


Issue 45 Wed 15th Feb, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 44 Fri 16th Dec, 2016

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 43 Thu 20th Oct, 2016

GoPro Hero 4 Session Camera


Issue 42 Mon 22nd Aug, 2016

Range of Top Riding Kit From Dainese


Issue 41 Sat 20th Aug, 2016

Set of LTR Boost Forks From Lauf


Issue 40 Mon 20th Jun, 2016

Some Fantastic Riding Gear From Fox


Issue 39 Fri 19th Feb, 2016

Set of Riding Gear from LEATT


Issue 38 Thu 17th Dec, 2015

Complete Night riding Setup from Exposure Lights


Issue 37 Fri 23rd Oct, 2015

Complete Riding Package From ION


Issue 36 Mon 24th Aug, 2015

One of Three Osprey Escapist Packs

Dan, Joe and Edgar

Issue 35 Thu 18th Jun, 2015

Complete Riding Kit from Endura


Issue 34 Sat 18th Apr, 2015

Pair of Adidas Evil Eye Evo Glasses


Issue 33 Tue 17th Feb, 2015

GoPro Hero4 Silver Edition


Issue 32 Thu 18th Dec, 2014

Load of Riding Gear from Cube


Issue 31 Fri 17th Oct, 2014

Sweet Set Up from Deity Components


Issue 30 Mon 18th Aug, 2014

661 Recon Helmet, Gloves and T-Shirt


Issue 29 Thu 26th Jun, 2014

Set of DMR Accessories


Issue 28 Wed 16th Apr, 2014

Set of X-Fusion Sweep RL2 160mm 27.5 Forks!


Issue 27 Fri 14th Feb, 2014

Complete Set of Riding Kit from IXS


Issue 26 Mon 16th Dec, 2013

Bontrager Rhythm Elite TLR Disc Wheelset


Issue 25 Wed 16th Oct, 2013

Reflex Mk2 and a Diablo Mk5 Light from Exposure


Issue 24 Mon 19th Aug, 2013

Pedros Apprentice Tool Kit


Issue 23 Mon 17th Jun, 2013

Superstar Components Wheels and Pedals


Issue 22 Tue 16th Apr, 2013

Brand New iPad Mini


Issue 21 Fri 15th Feb, 2013

Go Pro 3 and Goodies From One Industries


Issue 20 Sun 16th Dec, 2012

Box Full of Goodies From Cube


Issue 19 Tue 16th Oct, 2012

Complete O'neal Riding Kit


Issue 18 Wed 15th Aug, 2012

Osprey Raptor 14 Pack and Swann HD Freestyle Camera


  1. The Promotion is organised by IMB and the participating brand stated on the subscribe page. You are providing your information to IMB, not the participating brand. The information you provide will only be used for the purpose of facilitating the Promotion and notifying you when new issues of our totally free magazine are released. We will never sell or supply your details to any 3rd parties.
  2. You can opt out of any future emails by clicking the unsubscribe link within the footer of the email at any time.
  3. The winner will be notified by email shortly after the closing date shown. Previous winners will not be eligible to win again until at least three new Promotions have run.
  4. Winners must reply to our email within two weeks or a new winner will be drawn. Please check all spam folders to avoid loosing out.
  5. Participants only need to enter once in order to be eligible for all future prize draws.

Share - Rocky Mountain Bicycles Altitude Carbon 50 2017