Am I missing out?
After having my Blizzard stolen back in 2000 I hadn't had an opportunity to ride a Rocky Mountain until I got a Vertex 70 frame a month ago. Since I got it I've been blown away by the handling & the comfort. It feels loads more comfortable than my trusty Explosif and my Tomac Ti hardtail.
My question is would a Blizzard be more comfortable again than the Vertex or am I just trading lifetime of the frame for less weight?
I know the accepted rule is that Steel or Ti is more comfortable than Alu but I'm beginning to question this. I've had an Alu frame that was noticably more rigid (a Zaskar) and a Ti hardtail (Airborne Lancaster) that was pretty comfy.
I've got a 2000 Vertex (mostly equal in spec to the current 70 frame) and a 20th anniversary Blizzard. The thing I love about the Vertex is that there's so little flex, when you hammer it all seems to make it to the wheels. It can be a butt buster on rough trails, but at least you can get a fairly big tire carcass on the Vertex. I've had a Nokian NBX 2.3 and Conti Vertical Pro 2.3 on it and that helps soften the ride.
The Blizzard won't accept big carcass tires. I tried a Nevegal 2.1 and there was less than 0.1" clearance to the drive side chain stay (centered in the seat stays so it looks like they cheat the chainstay in a bit to provide crank/gear clearance. I can fit a Nokian NBX 2.1 no problem. So the steel frame may a bit less harsh itself, but you can't run bigger rubber to take the edge off.
The Vertex frame is also about 1 pound lighter than the Blizzard. They're both beautiful bikes, my Vertex is my weight weenie bike.
Comparing the built weight of the 19.5" Blizzard and 19.5" Vertex was interesting. The Blizzard tips the scales at 26.7 pounds and the Vertex at 22.8 pounds. The Blizzard has Avid mechanical discs, Mavic 317/Hope XC wheels, XT shifting components, the Magura Ronin fork and a RF SYStem.The Vertex has Avid Ultimate V-brakes, Mavix Crossmax XL wheels, XTR shifting components and a Fox 80RLT. Everything is identical or very similar in weight. And there's that whopping 3.9 pounds of weight difference.