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  1. #1
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    Element 970 handling vs 970 BC edition

    Hi all,

    Just looking for input, I will be ordering a 970 or a 970 BC edition shortly. I am coming of a 09 spech stumpy fsr (26'') with a 100/120/140 mm fork travel option. It is set to 120mm 99% of the time. I am an ex motocross racer so I like fast descends. I ride mostly XC/trail single track. I have been riding a lot this summer and gotten in better physical shape. I am actually starting to prefer uphills to downhills but still like to go fast downhill.

    I had the chance to demo a streched out M size(I am 6'2'' tall so we lenghtened the stem and maxed out the seat post height) BC edition for two days. I was really impressed with the 26'' like handling of the bike. Body positioning was really important given my height but even with the undersized frame I was thrilled with the handling going downhill, cornering and uphills. I curiously never even tried the fork in the 95mm setting I only ran it in the 120mm setting as I wasn't even really interested in a short travel bike at first since coming of a stumpy. But after the demo bike got sent back to Rocky, I just couldn't get it out of my mind and now I'm wondering if the more XC oriented 970 rsl would be a better bike for me. Wouldn't 100mm of front travel and 29'' wheels be comparable to my 120mm fork travel on 26'' inch wheels. This would provide me with a better climbing bike and be as able descending as my present bike. Or am I completely off track here? I do prefer the upgraded components and the double ring of the 970rsl vs the bc edition, on the other hand I do want an adjustable post and maybe the possible 120mm travel up front??? I guess my real question is: is the 970 abilities somewhat comparable to the BC edition or does it feel completely different?

    Thanks any opinions welcome

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michaud View Post
    Hi all,

    Just looking for input, I will be ordering a 970 or a 970 BC edition shortly. I am coming of a 09 spech stumpy fsr (26'') with a 100/120/140 mm fork travel option. It is set to 120mm 99% of the time. I am an ex motocross racer so I like fast descends. I ride mostly XC/trail single track. I have been riding a lot this summer and gotten in better physical shape. I am actually starting to prefer uphills to downhills but still like to go fast downhill.

    I had the chance to demo a streched out M size(I am 6'2'' tall so we lenghtened the stem and maxed out the seat post height) BC edition for two days. I was really impressed with the 26'' like handling of the bike. Body positioning was really important given my height but even with the undersized frame I was thrilled with the handling going downhill, cornering and uphills. I curiously never even tried the fork in the 95mm setting I only ran it in the 120mm setting as I wasn't even really interested in a short travel bike at first since coming of a stumpy. But after the demo bike got sent back to Rocky, I just couldn't get it out of my mind and now I'm wondering if the more XC oriented 970 rsl would be a better bike for me. Wouldn't 100mm of front travel and 29'' wheels be comparable to my 120mm fork travel on 26'' inch wheels. This would provide me with a better climbing bike and be as able descending as my present bike. Or am I completely off track here? I do prefer the upgraded components and the double ring of the 970rsl vs the bc edition, on the other hand I do want an adjustable post and maybe the possible 120mm travel up front??? I guess my real question is: is the 970 abilities somewhat comparable to the BC edition or does it feel completely different?

    Thanks any opinions welcome
    I demo'd the 950 before buying the 970 BC. I really enjoy the Talas on the BC simply because I can change the whole feel of the bike with a couple switch flips. The 950 felt like a twitchy race bike on the descents with the 100 fork. The BC feels like a sluggish sled climbing in 120. The solution? The BC with the fork in 100 for the climbs and 120 for the descents. Depending on the descent I'll put the rear shock in 'D' rather than 'T' but I've learned that with the fork in 'D' it moves through the travel too quickly.
    I didn't really answer your question but... The Element platform really benefits from the adjustable travel. I'm very happy with my BC choice. (Oh, and every ride on it so far has been everything Pisgah National Forest can swing at a bike. Rocks, roots, switchbacks, 2000' 2 mile descents, you know, mountain biking.) edit* Oh, and also, check out a Large. I'm 5'8" and am on a Medium. At 6" taller than me I'd think you'd have to be shaped like a T-Rex to properly fit a Medium.
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  3. #3
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    The BC edition really was developed from the factory team's experience in events like the BC Bike Race and riding on similar trails on the West Coast. In some sections those trails are swoopy loamy singletrack and in some areas on the same trails they are sketchy rock face descents or they involve ladder bridges and other TTF's that call out for a slacker head angle with that longer travel fork.

    If the trails you ride are less erratic in their makeup then you might find that the 970 RSL is a better choice.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    If the trails you ride are less erratic in their makeup then you might find that the 970 RSL is a better choice.
    Yeah. What he said.
    You can please some people sometimes but you can't please all the people all the time.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pisgahproductions View Post
    I demo'd the 950 before buying the 970 BC. I really enjoy the Talas on the BC simply because I can change the whole feel of the bike with a couple switch flips. The 950 felt like a twitchy race bike on the descents with the 100 fork. The BC feels like a sluggish sled climbing in 120. The solution? The BC with the fork in 100 for the climbs and 120 for the descents. Depending on the descent I'll put the rear shock in 'D' rather than 'T' but I've learned that with the fork in 'D' it moves through the travel too quickly.
    I didn't really answer your question but... The Element platform really benefits from the adjustable travel. I'm very happy with my BC choice. (Oh, and every ride on it so far has been everything Pisgah National Forest can swing at a bike. Rocks, roots, switchbacks, 2000' 2 mile descents, you know, mountain biking.) edit* Oh, and also, check out a Large. I'm 5'8" and am on a Medium. At 6" taller than me I'd think you'd have to be shaped like a T-Rex to properly fit a Medium.
    Thank you vert much for the info, it's pretty much what I wanted to know. If the 20 mm difference in travel on an adequate sized bike made a big difference, as I don't like twichy bikes on descents I believe I will opt for the possible 120mm travel instead of the 100 mm travel only. And Lol at the T-Rex, the M size was the only size available for demo but I'm actually looking at ordering a XL. I guess it would be the most appropriate for 6'2''. Thanks again!!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    The BC edition really was developed from the factory team's experience in events like the BC Bike Race and riding on similar trails on the West Coast. In some sections those trails are swoopy loamy singletrack and in some areas on the same trails they are sketchy rock face descents or they involve ladder bridges and other TTF's that call out for a slacker head angle with that longer travel fork.

    If the trails you ride are less erratic in their makeup then you might find that the 970 RSL is a better choice.

    Hmmm?? now I might be confused again, I wouldn't say they're erratic but fairly technical, rocks, roots, swithbacks, small jumps but I like to bomb down+++. Like I said I've recently also developed a taste for climbing also. So Ideally I'm looking for a great climber that can also take the abuse descending. Which would you say better fit's this description? 970 rsl or 970 rsl BC?

    Thanks again for the good input

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    Sounds like your trails encompass a wide range of technical features like BC trails, it sounds like a BC Edition would be worth considering. That 1 degree slacker headangle and a 10mm higher BB would be useful on the technical descents and rock crawling.

    I have both a 26" MSL (120mm) and RSL (100mm) Element and they have completely different personalities, but it is much easier to ride the 120mm bike on smooth trails than it is to ride the RSL on steep and technical trails.
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    Thanks Rockyuphill, I believe I pretty much made my decision on the BC ed.

    What is your opinion on the sram shifters, I found the shifting not to be as precise and user friendly as the shimano groups. This is only based on the two demo rides I had on the BC. I believe the gears were well adjusted. It's just that I had a couple of ghost shifts and I somehow got my thumb nick the rear shifter a couple of times causing unwanted shifting which never hapens on my present slx rapid fire. Just a matter of getting used to or is this common with Sram shifters?
    Also do you think one could remove the bc's large front sprocket or is this a bad Idea? I never use the small or large sprocket on my stumpy, I was maybe even thinking of going 1X10 or at least 2X10. What would be the best way of doing this just replace the large ring with a bash guard or...?

    Thanks again, I appreciate the input

  9. #9
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    I couldn't ever give up the multi-gear up and down shift that XTR shifters provide. I much prefer Shimano to SRAM.

    You could replace the Race Face Turbine 42T big ring with a standard Race Face 104mm BCD bash ring and adjust the high limit screw to prevent the shifter from getting there.
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    sounds like a good plan, for the 42T to bash guard. And switch the sram to shimano xtr sounds good!

    thanks again

  11. #11
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    If you are falling in love with climbing then go with the 970 RSL. I have a 950 and it's weakest link is climbing (not that it's a bad climber...just not what it does best). I raced one of the roughest MTB courses in CA (Tahoe-Sierra 100) and dialing the fork to 120 on the downhills was more than enough with the big wheels.

    I also prefer Shimano over SRAM...but I'm stuck with the stock SRAM drivetrain until it wears out and I have the money to buy a Shimano group. I love my 950, but I would love it even more dressed with Shimano.

  12. #12
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    The 970 RSL BC Edition has a Fox TALAS fork adjustable from 90-120mm
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    Yeah (on the adjustable fork)...but isn't the BC gonna be heavier, have 3x10 gearing, feel slower uphill? I was just thinking the 970 RSL is gonna pedal better without giving up too much to the BC on the downhills?

    I ran most of my tough race in the 95mm fork setting...I think 100mm on the fork will be fine.

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    That's pretty much my question. The 970 is much better equiped in my opinion but I'am worried that the 100mm travel will hurt my downhill control. Plus the BC comes equipped with a dropper post which I need in the single tracks around here. Hard decision, mediocre components with good travel or mediocre travel with good equipment. I'm just wondering how much would the 100mm travel up front handicap aggressive descent speed (bcause the 970 is limited to 100mm travel up front).
    Thanks again

  15. #15
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    just get more travel, nobody ever wishes they had less. it's not going to kill you on the climbs. if it does then you're doing it wrong, and you need to get better at riding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donkeykong0 View Post
    just get more travel, nobody ever wishes they had less. it's not going to kill you on the climbs. if it does then you're doing it wrong, and you need to get better at riding.
    Yeah I agree but the bike that has more travel(120mm/95mm) (BC edition) which I would buy because it has more travel is full sram equiped and three rings up front. The bike (970 rsl) that has less travel(100mm) is full shimano and two rings up front. I'm not worried that the 120 mm is going to be to much but I am asking if 100mm front travel on the element 970 rsl is enough for agressive descending b cause I would rather have shimano than sram.

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    I don't think 20mm is enough travel to be a deal breaker...100 or 120 are both considered short travel IMO. I'm just saying...100 with 29er wheels feels like more than 100 on the trail.

    I think more travel = slacker head tube angle and taller stack height which can cause the front end to wander on steep/punchy climbs. This can be overcome with body position and technique, but it's nicer to NOT have to resort to these tricks when climbing.

    If you think you need the dropper seatpost, then maybe you need a bike with more travel, slacker angles, and a 3x10. My trails don't call for that...but I can dial my fork to 120 when necessary. I never feel like my 95mm of rear travel is not enough (but my trails are probably more tame than yours).

    I'd rather go with less travel, 2x10, lighter weight, Shimano components, and a bike that is set-up to favor more pedaling and less downhill burl. It depends on how much time you're going to spend pedaling versus bombing downhill...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michaud View Post
    Yeah I agree but the bike that has more travel(120mm/95mm) (BC edition) which I would buy because it has more travel is full sram equiped and three rings up front. The bike (970 rsl) that has less travel(100mm) is full shimano and two rings up front. I'm not worried that the 120 mm is going to be to much but I am asking if 100mm front travel on the element 970 rsl is enough for agressive descending b cause I would rather have shimano than sram.
    don't buy a frame based on its components, they can always be switched out easily. you're really paying for the geometry and suspension, wheels maybe, the rest is custom to your liking. just sell the sram stuff and switch to shimano for minimal cost.

    also I'd rather have a 3x crank because you can swap the big ring for bash guard easily. the dedicated 2x10 doesn't have a good solution for that yet, if you want to run a bash (I always recommend one) then think about that.

    given your reasoning I would definitely get the BC.

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    Thanks guys,

    Good input, a couple of steps closer to making a decision, just wish I could demo the 100mm front travel comp. to 120mm. Would make the decision a lot easier. Anyway, I checking for cost of mods to the BC ed for the sram/shimano swap and 3rd/bash guard replacement. Still considering the 970rsl but leaning toward the bc edition.

  20. #20
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    The other option is buy a 999 RSL frame only and just build the bike up to your own spec. That gets you the carbon rear triangle (BC Edition comes with alloy rear triangle), a Fox rear shock and the ability to spec it out any way you want. Then you can put a travel adjustable fork on the bike and cover off both scenarios.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    The other option is buy a 999 RSL frame only and just build the bike up to your own spec. That gets you the carbon rear triangle (BC Edition comes with alloy rear triangle), a Fox rear shock and the ability to spec it out any way you want. Then you can put a travel adjustable fork on the bike and cover off both scenarios.
    yeah but that'll probably get me well over the price range of the 970rsl or bc edition. Buying a bike in parts is usually a lot more $$$

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michaud View Post
    yeah but that'll probably get me well over the price range of the 970rsl or bc edition. Buying a bike in parts is usually a lot more $$$
    Yep, but it would be exactly like you want from the start. But likely $1000 premium.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    The other option is buy a 999 RSL frame only and just build the bike up to your own spec. That gets you the carbon rear triangle (BC Edition comes with alloy rear triangle), a Fox rear shock and the ability to spec it out any way you want. Then you can put a travel adjustable fork on the bike and cover off both scenarios.
    This is exactly what I am doing. Building a bike up from scratch can be done within your budget but you have to be patient and methodical about doing it. If time is not on your side, you wont get the parts for the price you can afford. I've been gathering parts for almost a year. I'll end up with a mix of high end used and new closeout parts. I'm on track to build up a 999rsl with a Kashima Talas shock and xt/xtr parts and crest wheels for close to 4500. I'll try to post up a build thread once all is finalized early next year.

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    Regarding buying the BC edition and stripping it, selling the stock parts, and replacing it with Shimano...

    In my experience, that is easier said than done. Strip it, photos, post it, manage posting, maybe pay for ad and losing 9% of selling price (ebay...but not craigslist). You have to find a buyer, hope you get close to the price you're asking, and make the deal in person or ship it out...and on...and on...

    And...you are going to pay more for Shimano (versus SRAM)...no doubt.

    IMO...decide on the model you want and stick with it...especially if you are on a budget. If you have a lot of money sitting around buy the frame and build it (but accumulating parts for a year doesn't appeal to me).

  25. #25
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    Buy the Element 970 RSL.
    Buy a dropper post.
    Buy a Fox Talas 90-120mm fork. The frame is identical to the BC edition so it can handle this fork without any warranty issues etc.
    This is everything that you want and the only thing you need to sell is the fork.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPHcross View Post
    Buy the Element 970 RSL.
    Buy a dropper post.
    Buy a Fox Talas 90-120mm fork. The frame is identical to the BC edition so it can handle this fork without any warranty issues etc.
    This is everything that you want and the only thing you need to sell is the fork.
    Yeah my lbc is checking which option is better for me, great bike shop! I will figure it out when I see the numbers I guess. This modifying of the 970 rsl sounds good but imagine how many cables are implicated in this, remote shock, dropper post plus all the rest... But it is possibly still the best option. I will give you an update of what is the final verdict soon. In the mean time other coments r welcome

    Thanks

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    If a new element were in my budget this year, I'd easily buy the 970 RSL over the BC edition for marathon XC racing and technical BC trails. I'd just start riding it and see how you like it in it's stock form. You get a carbon rear (BC is only carbon front and aluminum rear), all Shimano components and can add a Rockshox stealth dropper post if you decide to (BC edition for some reason has the Rockshox post with external cable). If you really decided you needed more travel in front, I'm sure Suspensionwerx or another suspension tuning outfit could add 20mm of travel to the stock fork (I haven't checked this myself).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetness View Post
    If a new element were in my budget this year, I'd easily buy the 970 RSL over the BC edition for marathon XC racing and technical BC trails. I'd just start riding it and see how you like it in it's stock form. You get a carbon rear (BC is only carbon front and aluminum rear), all Shimano components and can add a Rockshox stealth dropper post if you decide to (BC edition for some reason has the Rockshox post with external cable). If you really decided you needed more travel in front, I'm sure Suspensionwerx or another suspension tuning outfit could add 20mm of travel to the stock fork (I haven't checked this myself).
    If I were to swap or modify the 970rsl fork, I'm not quite sure as to what happens to the remote, can the rear shock be adjusted manually without remote, would I have to remove the remote or maybe just the front cable I guess. As previously stated there would be some serious cable and hardware clutter on and from the bars with a dropper post added?? Will be getting the numbers today to compare the two bike mods.

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    Well here it is guys, I just ordered my future ride, my lbc agreed to give me a great price on the bc edition and switch it from Sram to full XT for a couple of extra bucks which is really my Ideal bike without busting the bank. As it turns out my lbc said it would be easier to sell the sram parts than the rsl fork and to a lesser cost to me, so I'm very happy about getting this bike since it was my first choice. All that is left is to ride out the snow with my old bike and studs and wait for the bc edition and nicer weather.

    Thanks for the input everybody

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    Sounds like a reasonable solution.
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    Element 970 handling vs 970 BC edition

    Curious to know how much extra you had to spend on the change to "full xt" ,-does this mean brakes and gears? With this change: weight?

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    I only swapped the gears, shifters, rear shimano xt plus (with stiffening clutch action) drailleur, rear cassette. I will have it weighted tomorrow. Hard to say how much exactly for the swap (I believe they sold me the parts for cost price) b cause the shop gave me an excellent price on the bike, plus labor and kept the sram.

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    Thanks, got much the same speculations on the BC model vs the 970 model, speculating on the benefit of having 120mm travel up front versus the weight/components advantage,- my use will be 80-90% XC, would like to hear input regarding how much the 95-120 mm option in reality means...

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    I debated a long time between the two but I finally chose the BC edition and am very happy with my decision, no more doubt in my mind. As previously stated, I had the chance to try the BC ed in a smaller size (too small for me) but it was enough to convince me
    of the, in my opinion, superior handling of this bike. And the 120 mm fork is a great part of this. just by holding the bars and switching from 120 to 100 it is easy to feel like you're holding on to two different bikes. I based my opinion on trail testing it mostly in the 120 position. And then if you want the racier feeling, well bring it down to 100. Just read every possible mtb magazines review on the bc ed and you will only find praise. As for the 970 rsl, imo it is also a great bike, but I don't like the large fox remote lever and from what I have seen in the bc handling, it wouldn't even be necessary, I would probably take it off the 970. So we're left with the components sram vs shimano. This is a matter of personal preference and I happen to like shimano more and the weight difference if there is any is well worth it to me. As for weight, mostly from the reverb (having ridden with one for the past two years, I would of added to the 970), fork (superior high speed, ruff handling of the 120 is also well worth it). All in all it is a little bit heavier but it can easily be trimmed down with some carbon upgrades, tubeless,... But not really necessary as it does not feel heavy at all. I, like you, ride mostly XC/trail, love to climb but also like to be aggressive in fast and tech sections. Hope it helps


    Quote Originally Posted by kaplanjoe View Post
    Thanks, got much the same speculations on the BC model vs the 970 model, speculating on the benefit of having 120mm travel up front versus the weight/components advantage,- my use will be 80-90% XC, would like to hear input regarding how much the 95-120 mm option in reality means...

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    Finally got the BC model- many thanks for all the good advice- The XL size is perfect. What a beautiful and nimble bike! Really enjoy the 120 mm option.

    So far stayed with the stock build and parts. Regarding the DT 1.6 wheels: Any advice for tubeless conversion - should one go for a DT or other kinds of kits? Which tires are you replacing the stock 2.2 XKing with?

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    My 970RSL, also with DT 1.6 wheels, came with the DT tubeless rim strips installed and the valves in the 'extras' baggy. The DT rim strips are a translucent red.

    So far I've tried Ardent 2.25" LUST tires on these wheels. They set up tubeless easily and securely. Havent' tried my tubeless-ready Schwalbes yet, but will do soon.

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    Can an internal dropper post be used on the 2013 950 RSL element?

  38. #38
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    In 2013 the RSL frame had internal cable routing that ran out just in front of the shock for a shock remote or for an external seatpost cable/hose, no internal seatpost routing
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Element 970 handling vs 970 BC edition-2013-element_bc_side.jpg  

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    So I have another question, on the 950RSL I want to change out the crankset to shimano 2x10 xt, would I need to change the bottom bracket and front Der or would both of them work with the new crankset?

  40. #40
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    Race Face and Shimano use identical BB size spec, you'd only have to change the BB if it had a SRAM crankset installed.
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    That is awesome. What about the front Der. Would I just have to adjust the limit screws so it wont fall off or do I need a new one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by squibbtp View Post
    Can an internal dropper post be used on the 2013 950 RSL element?
    Although the Reverb post on the BC edition wasn't a stealth version, RMB lists stealth-routing under the specs for the 2013 RSL Element frames.

    I've never run a dropper on my 970RSL, but the ports and opening in the frame by the bottom bracket indicate that stealth routing should work.

  43. #43
    Cactus Cuddler
    Reputation: tehllama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squibbtp View Post
    Can an internal dropper post be used on the 2013 950 RSL element?
    It can; although oddly I just ran external since that seemed easier for me to maintain (and was a cheaper dropper with more travel). [I run the KS Lev instead of the LevIIntegra on my Instinct950 alloy]. I think that external routing was originally intended for a control cable to run to the rear shock from the handlebars, it works fine for my dropper post, at least something to consider.

    I saw no reason to change to the XT crank (especially on a 950 equivalent setup); even though the shop had issues with the RF cogs up front, that's a rather light setup and works quite well to be honest. It's more of a case that for the cost you could be upgrading stuff that affects ride more (I love the inferno rims, but they're a bit burlier than need be, same with tires).

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