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  1. #1
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    Questions about 970 RSL, 999 RSL & 970 BC in XL or 2XL size

    I am in the process of looking for a stiff (laterally) full suspension 29er for general trail riding and some XC races (do Leadville every few years and the Breck 100). I am leaning towards the getting a 970RSL in size XXL(I am 6 4 with really long arms). I have been really disappointed with the lateral flex in my xxl tallboy and finally sold the bike. Therefore, I am thinking about getting a 970 RSL and I will add a 120mm Fox fork, Reverb dropper post and my Enve AM 29er wheels. Basically a full carbon version of the of 970 BC version with Enve wheels it what I would be building.

    I am trying to build a relatively light, stiff bike that can still climb and descend well and handle the Chunk of Fruita and Moab (where I ride a fair bit). I am also looking at the Pivot Mach 429 Carbon, but I think the frame is more than 2 pounds heavier than the 970 RSL. However, lack of lateral flex is my primary goal with this bike.

    When you get to an XXL size frame things can get really noodlie, so curious how the 970 compares.

    So I have the following questions:
    1. Has anybody ridden an XL or XXL version of the 970 RSL, 999 RSL or 970 BC and how is the lateral stiffness? How does it compare to other bikes?
    2. How does your 970 RSL, 999 RSL or 970 BC handle chunk and rocks? Do you find the suspension tune beats you pretty badly or does it have a fairly linear almost bottomless feel?
    3. How well do these bikes climb? In T or C mode does this bike seem quick and efficient?
    4. What are your nits with the bike?
    5. How would you compare 970 RSL over a Pivot Mach 429 Carbon?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuckingfuts2 View Post

    So I have the following questions:
    1. Has anybody ridden an XL or XXL version of the 970 RSL, 999 RSL or 970 BC and how is the lateral stiffness? How does it compare to other bikes?
    I have an XL 970RSL. I'm 6'2.5" and 170lb. So far I've mainly ridden the Element with studded tires (it's winter here). The trails are very rocky, but given the conditions I haven't really pushed the bike.

    The Element replaced an XL Anthem X 29er as my XC bike. I'd used fthe Anthem for two seasons and lots of XC races, 2 week-long stage races, as well as weeks in Moab, Fruita, Vermont.

    My impression is that the Element is considerablly stiffer laterally than the Anthem, at both the headtube and chainstays/bottom bracket.

    I've also ridden SB-95's and Satoris quite a lot. The Element doesn't feel 't quite as stiff as the SB-95.. but the SB-95 frame weighs at least 3lbs more. The Element is remarkably close.


    Quote Originally Posted by nuckingfuts2 View Post
    2. How does your 970 RSL, 999 RSL or 970 BC handle chunk and rocks? Do you find the suspension tune beats you pretty badly or does it have a fairly linear almost bottomless feel?
    The Element isn't particularly plush,or at least I haven't yet found a plush tune that works for me. It is firm, dialed, efficient. The Anthem, for example, could be set up to be plusher, especially for chatter. The downside of the Anthem was some-mid stroke wallow that could be annoying.

    Quote Originally Posted by nuckingfuts2 View Post
    3. How well do these bikes climb? In T or C mode does this bike seem quick and efficient?
    T and C both feel super efficient. T is fine for pretty much all climbing; the only time I switch to C is when I'm on a road.

    Things I really like about the Element, compared to my other bikes:

    - the relatively short chainstays are great. It's easier to manual the Element than any other 29er I've ridden. This is a nimble bike.
    - lots of standover
    - stiffness. Standing up and rolling a big gear in C mode, the Element feels almost like hardtail. Love it.
    - the suspension is 'poppy'. It easy to get the bike into the air when you want to, and it feels good there.
    - Essentially NO pedal kickback, even in the granny. Minilink designs such as maestro, VPP and DW link have a lot of chaingrowth through suspension travel, and hence kickback. It doesn't bother some people, but it does bother me.
    - the bike is eerily quiet when pounding through rocks. Part of that is the clutch derailleur, but I think the cable routing and construction are factors too.

    With a stiff set of wide carbon hoops and a 120mm fork, I'd rally the Element pretty much anywhere. The pro reviews that have described it as a race-bike that can get gnarly under the right rider are spot on..

    Quote Originally Posted by nuckingfuts2 View Post
    4. What are your nits with the bike?
    None. Well, maybe the bottom bracket could be slightly higher... but I think the pedal strikes I'm experiening now are because my Nokian studs are low profile tires and so lower the bike compared to typical 2.25" tires.

    Quote Originally Posted by nuckingfuts2 View Post
    5. How would you compare 970 RSL over a Pivot Mach 429 Carbon?
    Don't have more than 30" on a 429, so no idea.

  3. #3
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    Thank you! This is great info and a great review. Sounds like it is a really playful bike for a 29er. I really like the fact that there is almost no pedal feedback.

    Based on your feedback, it also sounds like with Carbon hoops and 120mm fork, it would do well in Moab and Fruita, which is good. I have spent some time on pure XC bikes in that part of the world and it isnt the best experience. Long travel trail bikes tend to better there, so its good to hear this bike can do double duty.

    Thanks again for the info!!

  4. #4
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    TwoWheelMan: can you confirm the 970's hanger is same or different than this one ?

    I know RMB had discussed a 2nd 142mm hanger SKU for the shadow+ mount std, but wasn't sure it became reality. The RMB web-store doesn't show one, so wondered if the 970 just got the regular hanger.

    Am about to move to clutch deraileur and wondered if this hanger swap is an option on my 950...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by islander View Post
    TwoWheelMan: can you confirm the 970's hanger is same or different than this one ?

    I know RMB had discussed a 2nd 142mm hanger SKU for the shadow+ mount std, but wasn't sure it became reality. The RMB web-store doesn't show one, so wondered if the 970 just got the regular hanger.

    Am about to move to clutch deraileur and wondered if this hanger swap is an option on my 950...
    My 970 RSL's hanger looks roughly similar -- same overall shape and axle and bolt position, at least when eyeballed -- but it has different shaping on the inside face. It's not flat like the one shown in the link.

    I can take a pic and post if useful. Let me know.

  6. #6
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    Questions about 970 RSL, 999 RSL & 970 BC in XL or 2XL size

    I'm after the direct mount hanger shown in this pic. Element 970 has it? Questions about 970 RSL, 999 RSL & 970 BC in XL or 2XL size-imageuploadedbytapatalk1360862146.150720.jpg

  7. #7
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    Questions about 970 RSL, 999 RSL & 970 BC in XL or 2XL size-imag1121.jpgMy 970 RSL has a regular hanger, not direct mount...

    Pictured...

  8. #8
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    Seems like RMB is not alone - 2013 Anthems are also missing the DM shimano hangers. Seems like the 2012 hype and rumours were wrong. Wonder what is holding this back - did RMB take 2nd look and decide the claimed benefits weren't there? Drawbacks? New TallboyLTs are reported to have em, so was good enough for SC (and they were too conservative to try PF bb's).

    RMB_PM to give us the goods?

  9. #9
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    I have had both the xxl Tallboy and the xxl 950 Element. If you had the Enve wheels on the Tallboy, I doubt you will see much difference moving to the Element. I honestly found the two to ride very similar to one another. The biggest improvement was the Element had a thru axle front and rear which I did not have on the Tallboy (but is standard on more recent incarnations). I'm on a Tallboy LTc now and it is definitely stiffer but not what you are looking based on what you wrote. Have you looked at the Pivot 429 carbon?

  10. #10
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    If you are looking for stiff and capable bike, get out and demo a 429 Carbon, just so you have a full comparison.

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