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Thread: Rocky Element

  1. #1
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    Rocky Element

    Has anyone been riding the Rocky Element for Racing ? I would like to hear comments as to weather I should drive a distance to test ride one or Stick with purchasing an Epic

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    db9
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    As a long time owner of a Element Race (99 model - with many updates - 20.5" @24.5 lbs ) I have to say its like a hard tail and not very plush - it will bob if your out of the saddle and REALLY hammering
    BUT if you think of it as a hardtail and air the rear shock a bit higher - it will take the edge off and climb really nice (at least for me) and a great all round ride.
    But then if you can test one - drive and ride as only you can tell if it rides the way you want - and compare to the Epic.
    Now I ride my Jet 29er and the Element is ridden by my son.

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    Quote Originally Posted by db9 View Post
    As a long time owner of a Element Race (99 model - with many updates - 20.5" @24.5 lbs ) I have to say its like a hard tail and not very plush - it will bob if your out of the saddle and REALLY hammering
    BUT if you think of it as a hardtail and air the rear shock a bit higher - it will take the edge off and climb really nice (at least for me) and a great all round ride.
    But then if you can test one - drive and ride as only you can tell if it rides the way you want - and compare to the Epic.
    Now I ride my Jet 29er and the Element is ridden by my son.
    OP ; are you looking at a used / older Element, or a current generation new Element? Good comments from actual experience above, but the suspension design is now different, and the basic shock technology has come a long way also since '99.

    In many ways the Epic and Element will be in a comparable category together i.e. light, nimble, XC rigs both of which would be right at home on XC race courses. Deciding factors for you may be fit, specific characteristics you are looking for in ride feel, and whether you have a relationship (or can establish one) with a local dealer who carries either the RM or Specy lines.

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    this guy...

    ccaddy on this forum bought one this summer, you could send him a PM. Probably lots of info and opinions in the RM forum too. Here is a ccaddy thread link...
    My Element 950 mods

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    I demoed the Element 950. It was very smooth over rough terrain, and incredibly stiff (not flexy) all around. The geometry also lead to fantastically sharp handling for a 29" wheeled fs bike. I think the Epic is a little more race focused with the brain giving slightly better peddling efficiency. I have not tried the most recent Epic models though.
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    I have had both the 3D link version(2008) of the element and I have been riding the new smoothlink version this summer. In past years I have been racing both o-cups and 8 hour races. The biggest thing I found with the element when I first started riding it was the low BB clearance, it took me a little while to learn how to peddle the bike and not clip the peddles off of rocks and stumps. Once I got over that the bike was amazingly fast and nimble. I really like the handling of the bikes because of the low bottom bracket and the shorter top tube. They climb great and if you stay on top of your bike and like to be aggressive they are very capable of descending.

    I find my new element to be a little more responsive and easier to handle mostly because it is the carbon model. it is also the RSL so the shorter travel bike, I love it.
    Rocky Element
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    I am looking at the new 2013 29er Element and a new 2012 Epic 29er. The only problem is to try the Rocky I need to drive to London no dealers where I am at. I am coming off a 26" Carbon XC Blur and will be racing after a 2 yr off racing but still riding. Love the Blur but it is time to move on

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    db9
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    I can understand your dilemma, If you have the time, make the drive if you think you will be asking yourself 'what if'. If not, then pick what you can get and supported local.
    The other thing is you are moving from 26" to 29" - different 'feel' as well.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenndy View Post
    Has anyone been riding the Rocky Element for Racing ? I would like to hear comments as to weather I should drive a distance to test ride one or Stick with purchasing an Epic
    if you have cash for Epic - it is an easy decision. Rocky Element is a great bike and it can be used for racing - by all means. Epic is just in the league of it's own. Depending on how you setup the suspension - it can be used for racing and trail riding. Brain technology is working excellent now that all the bugs are out. I have 2011 Epic and it is the best full suspension racing bike I have ever owned and the closest squishy thing to a hardtail... I can't speak more highly of this bike.

  10. #10
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    low bottom bracket is a good comment

    and all racing 29ers have the same "problem" - low bottom bracket...

    i ate it big on at least one occasion when I clipped the low root at speed - pedalling through the sweeping corner...

    something that has to be considered and adjusted to, but it is just another piece of the learning curve....

    Quote Originally Posted by jrastories View Post
    I have had both the 3D link version(2008) of the element and I have been riding the new smoothlink version this summer. In past years I have been racing both o-cups and 8 hour races. The biggest thing I found with the element when I first started riding it was the low BB clearance, it took me a little while to learn how to peddle the bike and not clip the peddles off of rocks and stumps. Once I got over that the bike was amazingly fast and nimble. I really like the handling of the bikes because of the low bottom bracket and the shorter top tube. They climb great and if you stay on top of your bike and like to be aggressive they are very capable of descending.

    I find my new element to be a little more responsive and easier to handle mostly because it is the carbon model. it is also the RSL so the shorter travel bike, I love it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    if you have cash for Epic - it is an easy decision. Rocky Element is a great bike and it can be used for racing - by all means. Epic is just in the league of it's own. Depending on how you setup the suspension - it can be used for racing and trail riding. Brain technology is working excellent now that all the bugs are out. I have 2011 Epic and it is the best full suspension racing bike I have ever owned and the closest squishy thing to a hardtail... I can't speak more highly of this bike.
    ^^^^Nailed it on all counts. I have ridden both...and the Epic is my favorite for all the reasons Osokolo mentions. It is meant for racing but the brain tech on the fork and shock give you the flexibility for various XC trail rides. My current ride is the Epic.

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    Cash is the issue and this is making it hard I was also Considering the Giant Anthem and the Salsa Spearfish

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenndy View Post
    Cash is the issue and this is making it hard I was also Considering the Giant Anthem and the Salsa Spearfish
    if cash is the issue - do not look at the Epic. However, there are few 2012 Epic's to be had at a good deal - if you can find a deal at around 8-8.5G for a new one - it's a good deal. I'd never pay the full retail for it, though it is hard to argue that it is not worth it.

    Look around - check Spesh dealers for any left over stock. Also - check some classifieds...

    Giant is the best value for the money. Can't go wrong there. Just be careful so that you do not experience "what if" or "i should have" syndrome, now that Epic is on your list...

    Another bike that, I personally, would take a hard look at is Niner Jet 9 RDO. Niner is a solid company and back them up with a great warranty. Their bikes look awesome and are top notch quality built. CVA suspension may be the thing, from what I am hearing. The price tag, although lower than the Epic, is still pretty high.... There are at least two shops north of the big smoke, and one in the city, that carry it, and guys that run them are good people and also frequent this forum. Some of them don't just sell them - they also ride them...

    Niner Dealers? - Mtbr Forums

    Good luck with your decision... Enjoy the process...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    and all racing 29ers have the same "problem" - low bottom bracket...

    i ate it big on at least one occasion when I clipped the low root at speed - pedalling through the sweeping corner...

    something that has to be considered and adjusted to, but it is just another piece of the learning curve....
    I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I have not had as many pedal strikes with my Tallboy in a few weeks as I had in several years with the 26er. Are really low bottom brackets common to all 29er's? I am aware of it now and adjusting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by secret agent View Post
    I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I have not had as many pedal strikes with my Tallboy in a few weeks as I had in several years with the 26er. Are really low bottom brackets common to all 29er's? I am aware of it now and adjusting.
    Low BB height is all dependent on the bike now. In the past 29ers would have more BB clearance because of the wheel size but they would have a greater BB drop (drop from the axle line) to make them feel more stable. But now companies have played around with and tweeked geometry so that 29ers dont feel so tall.

    With the new 29er version of the element I dont remember there being much issue with BB height only on the 26 version.

    Back to the OP all the bikes have sound suspension designs and can be bought or built to a great build. I think the most importanant thing comes down to geometry and fit. So I would say to make it for a test ride on the bikes you are really interested in. From l can see of the numbers heres what I see, the element with a lower BB, shorter top tube, and wheel base the bike is going to be a bit more nimble (to handle in tight single track and tech sections) and it will climb better without as much moving around on the bike to find that sweet spot for traction. The spech with a little more BB clearance and longer wheel base and shorter seat tube will be very stable at speed and lots of control on long swoopy corners as well as on descents. I hope this info and opinion will help you, I am a little biased towards RM but I tried to be fair to the spech it is a good bike but I would put the RM with the edge because I love Rocky and there is little details that they put into their bikes to make the ride quality that much better.
    Rocky Element
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    Go test ride the bikes. No one has the same riding style, preferences, and body measurements so what works great for one person won't necessarily be loved by someone else.

    Lots of people love the Epic, several of my friends own them and love them but every time I ride one I feel like I'm one sneeze away from a crash. For various reasons the geometry & handling of the bike just doesn't agree with me. Same thing with the Giant Anthem, lots of people love them and ride'em well, but every time I try one I feel incredibly awkward on the darn thing.

    For me, Rocky, Norco, and Kona just feel right and work well with my riding style, but again, just because it works for me doesn't mean it'll work for someone else. I like the Element a heck of a lot more since it's the closest to a 26er of all the 29ers I've ridden, plus it has Rocky's secret sauce for handling, it just feels right. But again, what I like may not be what you want, so you should still ride the bikes for yourself.

  17. #17
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    I have a 2011 Rocky Mountain Element Team RSL. Hands down the best mountain bike I've ever ridden. Stiff torsionaly. Stiff headtube... which means the front end is predictable and tracks perfect. Although my is a 26" wheel bike, I think the build quality, attention to detail and engineering to get the bike to ride the way it does should translate to a good 29" based Element.

  18. #18
    ups and downs
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    And switching from a Blur XC to the new Element will be a huge difference in terms of lower pedal kickback and chain growth, you'll wonder how you put up with your bike apparently fighting back all the time.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

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    All have great feed back, The Epic is out due to cost. Since we have no Shop carrying Rocky , The Rep is going to set up a demo for me. Still looking at the Giant but waiting for a demo

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenndy View Post
    All have great feed back, The Epic is out due to cost. Since we have no Shop carrying Rocky , The Rep is going to set up a demo for me. Still looking at the Giant but waiting for a demo
    Good plan to take your time and use the off season to make sure you get a proper chance to evaluate options with demo rides, etc. A demo ride - even for a couple of hours - doesn't necessarily tell the whole story since it often takes time to understand how to use a given bike's ride characteristics to their full potential, and also to set up suspension properly. However, even a limited demo ride is way better than no demo at all, and if you're lucky you may just get on a ride and shortly after think to yourself, "This feels like the one".

  21. #21
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    given your short list

    i'd go with rocky mountain...

    andrew is a great guy to deal with for a demo...

    Quote Originally Posted by jenndy View Post
    All have great feed back, The Epic is out due to cost. Since we have no Shop carrying Rocky , The Rep is going to set up a demo for me. Still looking at the Giant but waiting for a demo

  22. #22
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    As a '11 Giant Anthem X 29er owner, I'll just chime in to say that I love it. The ride really suits me. Plus, being price sensitive, I just couldn't beat it. I was able to get a bike, and upgrade to some blingy new Easton Haven wheels (the only real weak part of the build I bought) all for less then comparably spec'd bikes. After a season and a half, I'm still very pleased.

    Giant always seems to have undisclosed factory offers going to its dealers, so the dealers have lots of room to work. Press a little and you'd be amazed at the deal you can get.

    Of course, if the bike doesn't fit you or your style, then the "deal" won't seem so great. However, if it is a match, you'll laughing all the way to the bank... or more realistically... to upgrades

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