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  1. #1
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    New to Rocky and Lovin Our Rides! Element 950 and 970, best season so far!

    My wife and I are first time Rocky Mountain owners, having purchased a 950 and 970 after Rocky and 3 Ring Cycles in San Anselmo, CA hosted a demo day at China Camp State Park at the beginning of this season. Seriously, it's changed our riding and we're having more fun in this awesome sport than ever before. I owe this to 3 Ring Cycles, the best bike shop in Marin and northern California, to Rocky Mountain, the best bikes on the planet and to my awesome wife and riding partner!

    And since I know there are many of us who geek out on this stuff, attached are a few pix and here is a list of our upgrades:

    950
    - Custom Wheel Build by Brad at 3 Ring, including:
    - WTB Frequency i19 Team Rims, DT Swiss Comp Spokes, e*Thirteen TRS+ hubs (the loudest, most evil sounding hubs you'll ever hear)
    - Tubeless WTB Bronson 2.2 front, WTB Wolverine 2.2 rear
    - Selle Italia Deva Seat
    - Crank Brothers Cobalt Grips (red)
    - Rock Shox Reverb Dropper Post

    970
    - Custom 1500 gram (660g front/840g rear) Wheel Build by Brad at 3 Ring, including:
    - WTB Frequency i19 Team Rims, DT Swiss Comp Spokes, Chris King ISO hubs (Gold)
    - Tubeless WTB Bronson 2.2 front, WTB Wolverine 2.2 rear
    - Crank Brothers Cobalt Grips (gold of course)
    - Fox D.O.S.S. dropper post


    So, hello to the Rocky contingent out there and to the Rocky PM - awesome job. But I still hate you for not launching carbon in 2012 as I'll be lusting after it for the next 6 years before I can purchase another bike!

    I know there have been several posts already about the 950 and 970, but please feel free to shoot me a note with any questions about our experiences.

    Cheers!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New to Rocky and Lovin Our Rides!  Element 950 and 970, best season so far!-dsc00723_lores.jpg  

    New to Rocky and Lovin Our Rides!  Element 950 and 970, best season so far!-dsc00503lowres.jpg  

    New to Rocky and Lovin Our Rides!  Element 950 and 970, best season so far!-img_1575_lores.jpg  


  2. #2
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    Nice rigs - thanks for posting!

    How do you like the DOSS vs. the Reverb?

  3. #3
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    Thats the 970's shock on your 950 .
    Is that something else you swapped ?

  4. #4
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    Regarding DOSS vs. Reverb...

    Wasn't really in the market for a dropper until we spent last week riding in Bend, OR and everyone we ran into spoke highly of them... DESPITE the cost and added weight. We've only had two rides on them, but we're now fans.

    As for pros and cons, the DOSS's pros/cons are probably directly counter to the Reverb (price aside). For those looking for infinite adjustability, go with the Hydraulic Reverb. For those who like the three settings (Climb, Trail, Descend), then the DOSS. Frankly, we first opted for the Reverb (because of the infinite adjust) and they only had one of them at the bike store. They had the D.O.S.S., but I wasn't about to spend $430 on it... The bike shop struck me a great deal, so I decided to give it a try.

    The Reverb has absolutely no play (yet) while the DOSS does have a little when at the fully extended climb position. I don't think this is a bad thing, it probably contributes to the smoothness. I would guess that Fox 'over engineered' their product to try to counter all of the past reliability issues with droppers. In doing research, they get pretty slammed for their price point. I got mine for $325 all in, so it's a little easier to swallow, which is the same I paid for the Reverb as well.

    If I had to pick one, I would probably go with the Reverb for the type of riding in Norther California where the difference in optimal climbing seat height and "trail" is less than what most droppers have as preset. That said, I could see where the presets can come in handy. As for style, I go with the Fox. Reviews also seem to give the Fox controller a hard time, but I think it works well and fits on the bar with the rest of the cockpit quite well. When not mounted, it does look a bit unwieldy. Hope that helps...

    In regards to the shock, you spotted it :-) Hawk eyes!

    As an aside, I also got to demo the Carbon Vertex recently (wow) as well as the 999 RSL. Rocky has a some nice stuff going. Can't wait to demo their new Altitudes when the come by Northern California.

    Thanks for the greetings.

  5. #5
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    One more point on the DOSS... I mentioned that it's smooth. Well, it is, but at the same time when you're not on the bike you can set the saddle on descend or trail position and quite literally launch a rock (or other fun object) several feet in the air.

    My recommendation: check the PSI and don't have the bike shop set it to maximum (if you ever want to reproduce). But in all seriousness, it's smooth out on the trail. It just becomes quite the sideshow off the trail...

  6. #6
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    How does the Wolverine 2.2 fit in the back...seat stays and front derailleur? I know things can get tight back there...

  7. #7
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    Wolverine 2.2 fits totally fine in the back. I haven't hit mud yet, but I suspect it should be fine. Of course, for mud, I'd guess the WTB Moto 1.9 is a better "winter" tire.

    Both tires are the TCS version and both my wife and I were super thankful we changed out the tires before going on our week long trip to bend. The Bronson up front has allowed both of us to ride a lot more aggressively and confidently. The Wolverine seems to also hook up better, but I definitely feel the benefits of the Bronson substantially over the Wolverine.

    Up until this point, I've always gone after weight savings, but these tires, along with the dropper, has allowed both of us to ride faster. Seems counter to the obvious, but absolutely love tubeless and the more aggressive tread. And absolutely love the dropper. Makes flying down windy stuff (not just technical) much more fun and confident.

    So much for targeting 25ish... my 970 is now a hair over 28, yet somehow I'm faster than ever...

  8. #8
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    I have a basically stock 970 and at first l thought l would have noticed the weight penalty over my previous ride... NOPE not once, the geometry & suspension design of the element just allows the bike to work perfectly. It definitely doesn't ride like other bikes I have ridden of similar weight, all I have to do is sell it to make way for the 999. As their arrival is real soon to he shores of Australia. Can't wait

    quiggs

  9. #9
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    I also bought an Element 950 from Brad and Lindsay (3 Ring Cycles). He also built me a WTB i23/e*thirteen wheelset. My 950 weighs 28.0 pounds with a Nano TCS on the back and a Specialized "The Captain" 2.0 on the front. It can go down to 27.5 with wimpy XC tires. Only modification left would be a lighter crank when the stock crank wears out. You're right...28 pounds doesn't feel that heavy in "real" MTB terrain. You can feel 28 pounds on the long climbs. No biggie...I'm not a racer.

  10. #10
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    @quiggs1974 - Very much agree. Completed that Mt. Tam Dirt Fondo yesterday, 46+ miles, 7,100 feet of climbing and I never really thought about the weight. But I certainly was all smiles when tearing down the descents with the dropper post now in tow... my god. Unbelievable what having a dropper will enable one to do. True game changer.

    I got to ride the 999, but only for a couple of miles (since I had a big ride the next day and I was demoing the vertex too) and it was a 17" (I'm 5'6" and am a bit of a tweener, but ride the 15.5" and find it much more flickable). I was a bit stretched out, but I can feel the benefits of the carbon in both the 999 and vertex 970 that I demoed. The Vertex would be such an awesome light weight machine, very impressive. If you are able to get into a 999, go for it!

    @historeeteacher - I really like the 3 Ring folks. Brad and Lindsay are one of the few 'mom and pop' shops left up here with Mikes Bikes everywhere.

    That's pretty good for the 950 and the 120mm fork up front (I definitely envy my wife sometimes... especially when we went down Edgridge grade this weekend). Those e*thirteen hubs are pretty sweet. I would have had the same wheels built w/ i19 (I'm only 135 pounds), but didn't want to have the exact same build as my wife. So, went for more engagement and the Chris King, after debating on the i9s for a brief moment. The e*thirteens are loud. If you haven't already, you should probably bring your wheels back to 3 Ring for a good once over. The rear bearings seated upon the break in period and needed a little adjustment/tightening.

    It's interesting to see folks scrub off the weight, but I'm starting to think that the maximum potential of our bikes are more on the trail side of things. Check out the Bronson 2.2 when you're done with The Captain (if you're curious for even more plushness). We've been quite impressed with their capability both in Marin and Bend, OR.

    I think the Vertex is the way to go for light weight racing... For a hard tail, it was super plush. I want one!

  11. #11
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    I agree...3 Ring is a great shop.

    Unfortunately, it sounds like both of us have had some "issues" with the e*thirteen hubs. I took delivery of my wheelset on Aug. 30 and have had the rear hub adjusted twice, without success and shipped off twice. My rear wheel is currently on it's way back to the Bay Area...this time directly to e*thirteen.

    The good news is, I'm fairly certain that e*thirteen will remedy the situation. Their customer service has been great so far. I should have the wheel back in working order by the end of the week.

    I love the WTB i23 Frequency rims. They might be a little heavy, but I'm a little heavy (210 lbs. geared up). I checked with Brad, WTB, and the Rocky Mountain demo truck guy...they all agreed the i23 was the best rim for me (performance and durability).

    You are correct...the 950 is a short travel full suspension XC bike that leans toward the trail riding side of things. Just what I wanted...I love my bike!

  12. #12
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    You can't go wrong with DT Swiss 240S hubs. Easy to service, reliable as all get out, and easy to change over to other axle configurations when necessary. I wouldn't even consider another hub set for a custom wheel build these days.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  13. #13
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    Oh...regarding the Bronson: I have two of them (TCS and Race). I use the Bronson for more aggressive rides (like Downieville). I will usually go with the TCS set-up tubeless (BTW...what a sweet bead fit with the Frequency rim!). I am torn on races...a Race with a tube saved my butt on my last race in the Sierras when I got an "almost-sidewall-tear." I didn't notice until after the race...it would have flatted if I was running tubeless.

    I looked around for a long time and thought I would try The Captain up front. It's lighter than the Bronson, wide for a 2.0, has a fast rolling center line tread, and aggressive-enough intermediate/side knobs to grab in the loose stuff.

  14. #14
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    Second the 240s recommendation. I mounted ArchEx w//240 hubs on my Element 950 and it came out to just 26lbs with aggressive tubeless-ready tires (Nobby Nic Snakeskin). Swapping in 1x10 saves close to 0.5 kg and has been great on my 950 ever since I picked it up in March. Handles the northshore xc very very well in 120mm mode and in OakridgeMBO the 100mm travel mode was brilliant for the quick turns on Middlefork etc.....
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  15. #15
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    Njnets23, I'm pretty fortunate to get great support from the Australian RM distributors, Adventure Brands. To be able to have a Vertex 990, and soon to arrive element 999, the vertex is a great bike and everytime someone asks me what is it like to ride, I give it to them to ride and the look on their face when they get back is priceless. They can't believe a 29er can not feel big and barge like in it's handling it is the best bike I have ever ridden,until then Element 999 arrives then I may have to reassess that statement.

    Quiggs

  16. #16
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    Islander - sounds like a sweet set up. I have some friends/colleagues up in BC and they all seem to also like the 240s. Might have to find another bike / excuse to set those up. I was torn on whether or not to upgrade the wheel set that came with my 970 - they did have DT Swiss hubs/rims/spokes, but wanted stiffer and better engagement than what was stock.

    Quiggs - That is awesome. Couldn't imagine a much better stable than a Vertex 990 and an Element 990... maybe an altitude to go along with them. It's hard not to like what Rocky Mountain is doing right now. Alas, no further bike purchases for me until we get past a kitchen remodel - and who knows how long before my wife and I are able to save enough to tackle that. Given we just got the 2012 models... "first world problems!"

    In the end, it's about getting out to ride and enabling friends to ride as well!

  17. #17
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    The 240S hubs can be fitted with the 36T star ratchet for 10 deg engagement, as easily as greasing the freehub. You just tug on the cassette and the freehub/cassette pops off, apply a dab of star ratchet grease and pop them back together. When you need to change sealed bearings, you pop the cassette off, tap the axle to knock one bearing out and tap the other bearing out from the other side, tap the new bearings back in and you're done. You can rebuild a hub in minutes. And you can change things around and swap them between 135x10 or 142x12 setups easily (for the 2010+ plus hubs). They're a good investment because they are so easily repairable and so easy to adapt to new standards.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  18. #18
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    Rockyuphill, these were the hubs that came stock. Is the 350 upgradeable or since it says 'Star Ratchet' it's already the higher engagement version? ... does that make sense?

    Hubs (FR) DT Swiss 370 15mm Axle
    Hubs (RR) DT Swiss 350 Star Ratchet Freehub 12 x 142mm E Thru
    Rims DT Swiss x470

    I love the new wheelset and the engagement on the CK, but I definitely plan to keep the stock set around. They just seemed to have too much play before engaging. I had come off the Crank Brothers Cobalts (26), which were super light, stiff and engaged quickly.

  19. #19
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    The standard 240S/350 Star Ratchet was 18T, the upgrade is the 36T star ratchet. I think all the 190 hubs come with the 36T ratchet. The 350 hubs also use the same 18T Star Ratchet system (20 degree engagement). The service manuals list the same 18T Star ratchet as standard for both the 240 and 350 hubs. (PN HCDXXX00N1167S )

    Here's the 36T upgrade.

    DT Swiss Star Superlight Ratchet Kit | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  20. #20
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    Thank you. Very good to know.

  21. #21
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    New Saddle, Fresh Wash, Bike Porn...

    Clean, ride, get dirty, repeat...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New to Rocky and Lovin Our Rides!  Element 950 and 970, best season so far!-dsc01035_lores.jpg  

    New to Rocky and Lovin Our Rides!  Element 950 and 970, best season so far!-dsc01036_lores.jpg  

    New to Rocky and Lovin Our Rides!  Element 950 and 970, best season so far!-dsc01039_lores.jpg  

    New to Rocky and Lovin Our Rides!  Element 950 and 970, best season so far!-dsc01045_lores.jpg  

    New to Rocky and Lovin Our Rides!  Element 950 and 970, best season so far!-dsc01046_lores.jpg  


  22. #22
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    Hey there njnets23, just wondering what frame sizes you have the photos there and what height you and your wife are.
    I'm looking at RM bikes but can't demo and I'm just trying to get a feel for how low I can get the bars in relation to the saddle height.
    I'm 5'5 and would ride the small frame 29ers. I noticed on your wifes bike (I assume hers it red and wite?) the saddle and bars are about level and yours the saddle is higher than bars... and looks like you're both still running some spacers there under your stems.

    Anyone else with small frame experience in the element or vertex please give feedback too.

  23. #23
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    Hi. My bike is actually the 970 (red frame), which is the Small/15.5" frame. I'm 5'6" and well-proportioned - neither long legs or long torso. I'm a bit of tweener, but the small is definitely the correct frame / set up for me. There are times I look at my wife's bike or wonder if things might be too tight on my bike, but when I swapped out a 90mm stem for the 75mm (?) I think came with the bike, I reverted back to the original stem. Also, I demoed 17" Vertex and a 999 after I already purchased my bike (because they didn't have 15.5" available for demo) and while I can manage on those bikes, I definitely have more control on the smaller size.

    My wife is taller - 5"8+, close to 5'9", but not quite and she is riding the 17". She has long legs. At 5'5", I'd definitely recommend the 15.5".

    Hope this helps.

  24. #24
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    Also, please note that the photo where I have my 970 leaning up against the tree... the dropper post is at the trail (middle) position.

  25. #25
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    Still loving our rides, even in the mud

    Not that it's well-pictured here, but added an Enve Carbon bar which was a xmas present from the wife. Has a nice feel to it.

    It's been a while, so I thought I'd share an update, which feels timely given the large assortment of lust-worthy new bikes out there, including the new carbon element frames. A carbon element would be sweet, as would be a Vertex or a new Altitude. But the important thing is not to forget to be thankful of what we have vs. lusting for other things that we might want. And I (we) are super glad to have pulled the trigger when we did. Even if it's nice to dream about a full stable!

    If you're considering between aluminum and carbon, aluminum is pretty darn awesome too.

    Cheers & Happy Riding in 2013!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New to Rocky and Lovin Our Rides!  Element 950 and 970, best season so far!-dsc03024_lores.jpg  


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