Rocky Mountain Vertex - additional info-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2017

    Rocky Mountain Vertex - additional info

    I'm in touch with Rocky as I build a frameset of theirs and figured I'd ask about their Vertex 20" as its a nice airfork hardtail.

    The specs missing that I was interested in was:
    1- Crank Length - they are 140mm
    2- Weight - 23.4lbs

    I like Rocky a lot and have enjoyed their support so far. I also really like their kids bikes as cheaper alternatives to Spawn here is what I like and don't like.

    1- You can buy them from your local dealer! They are NA based and pretty easy to work with directly.
    2- Colors are great, especially 24"
    3- Air fork is nice
    4- Geo seems really nice, though I haven't dug really deep there. I really like the 68d HTA on our Spawn YJ 20"
    5- Spec is decent aside from a couple spots
    6- Weight is competitive
    7- Tires are decent 2.1in on 20"
    8- 28t chainring! love this! Wish our Spawn came with this instead of 30t
    9- All Shimano components mostly. Including the hubs too.

    1- Cassette is 11-32 9sp. You'll want an 11-36 at least. About 28$ shipped to fix this I think.
    2- Cranks are too long at 140mm. To replace them with Spawn 127mm cranks is about 60$.
    3- Seat looks silly big.I'd have to see it in person to see if its good enough.

    Overall most all of the other bikes in this category have the same issues but not all of these advantages.

    Compared to the Orbea 20 MX Disk (160$ cheaper but no airfork).
    1- Orbea has 127mm cranks but they are a 5 arm spider (bmx style I think) and i'm not sure how much smaller the chainring can go. It's WAY to big out of the box at 34t...doubtful it can go down to 28t which is going to suck for climbing. Very odd. Vertex has wrong sized cranks but has right chainring and can swap the cranks easily enough.

    2- 11-34 cassette isn't bad on Orbea (assuming chainring can be fixed) but its only 8sp listed at least. I don't like that. 10sp is ideal imo. Vertex is 9sp tho the cassette is only 11-32 (not good enough)

    3- Handlebars are wider on Vertex by 40mm which is nice (can always cut them)

    4- Geometry, the Rocky wins here for sure as its more modern. Similar to Spawns YJ, which we have LOVED so far.

    Overall, for the 160$ I think you get a better value of bike with more dealer support in North America. Specifically the increase in 9sp and the Air fork and geometry. Both have some flaws you'd have to correct but I'd rather have to fix the Vertex stuff as its easier. I like that the newer Suntour XCM air is showing up more and more on the sub-1k$ bikes. I love that the Orbea is a rigid too (great for many/most kids), its just odd that the gearing stuff is so goofy even tho its not exactly cheap.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Svinyard, thanks for gathering this data!

    I really had my eye on the spawn, but given my child's current shred level, our relatively mellow local trails, and my wife's steep resistance to spending that much on a kids bike, the RM is a solid compromise.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Thank you @svinyard for posting this info. I was seriously considering the Vertex 20" for my 5 1/2 year old. However if you plan to do any upgrades it is not such a good deal anymore:

    1. First the tires are actually 1.9 on the 20" model, according to the Vertex web page and the Schwalbe site, there is no 2.1 in 20":
    Vertex Youth | Rocky Mountain Bicycles

    2. The price after tax for me is actually $757, once you add:
    a. $28 to replace the cassette with 11-36
    b. $75 shipped to replace the cranks with the Spawn 127 mm
    sub-totals to $860. If you want to get the Maxtion 2.20 tire that is another $85 shipped thus the cost of the bike and upgrades is $945. The Yama Jama is $1,090 shipped, in my mind there is no way I can justify going with the Vertex, here is why...

    I got my son earlier this year a Stampete Sprinter 16 thinking that I will not pay $380 for the Yoji only for one season. However, I already paid $250 bike + $38 riser bar + $10 alloy brake handles + $44 on real off road tires + $18 pedals I am at $360, I should have bought the Yoji and I am not making this mistake again.


  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Lol brother, I also bought the Sprinter 16". Now we own the Yoji 16" and a Yama Jama 20" and the Sprinter is hanging in the garage to be loaned out or sold. I agree with everything you just said, hence why the Yama Jama is actually a really, really good value. Especially considering the SRAM GX is pretty damn nice... It's a decent step up from their NX. We've loved ours and it just works well despite taking SO many crashes. Drop that cash, it's worth every cent if you kid is pushing it or wants too. The fork alone on the Yama is unreal. Note that you'll spend another 50$ or so to get it shipped fyi plus tax etc. if your state requires.

    I do still like the vertex as a decent 20" bike tho for the price. Wish the tires were bigger as you pointed out but a very nice bike.


  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    I was still going back and forth between the Orbea MX 20 Disk, Vertex 20 and Yama Jama 20 but I am pretty much decided on the Yama Jama now. I was comparing the geometry between the three and Yama Jama wins hands down against the Vertex and the Orbea MX 20 has too many negatives regarding gearing, chainring and components in general.

    Orbea MX 20 Disk | Vertex 20 | Yama Jama
    Chain stays: 343 | 360 | 340
    Wheelbase: 830 | 882 | 869
    HTA: 70 | 68 | 68
    TTL 445 | 460 | 450

    The only negative with the Yama Jama is that I will not be able to get good resale value in my area (Houston, Texas) once my son has outgrown it. Oh well, we spent thousands on stupid toys without any resale value, what is another thousand At least he'll get ~3 years out of it if we get it now at 5 1/2 years old.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Just thought I'd add some notes that might be relevant, we purchased a Vertex 20 a couple of months ago for a 4.5 year old. He was previously on a 16" Spawn Banshee which was just a touch too small.
    I ended up taking the cranks of the Spawn and putting them on the rocky, also cutting down the handlebars, which were way to wide. These modifications helped a lot.
    The bike fits him pretty well now, maybe just a touch to big, but he's managing fine.
    The air forks are working out great, they seem really active for him. The bigger wheels are rolling over roots and rocks way nicer. Gears are a huge improvement for going up hills.
    We are about 50/50 trail and pavement, and it's doing well on both. Beefier tires would be nice for trail but then there would be more weight too.
    We were lucky to have the options to buy Spawn Yama Jama, Norco Charger 2.1, and Rocky Mountain Vertex all in LBS. For me the Yama Jama was just too much more money, the Norco and Rocky were similarly priced and specced, but the rocky had a nicer paint job.
    The Orbea wasn't available anywhere locally to me or online as far as I could find, but would have been a contender. But the fork on the Rocky is working out surprisingly well.

    Oh yeah and regarding gears, just remember the smaller wheels adds up to an easier gear ratio, so although rocking 32T or whatever on the front of a kids bike might seem crazy, it's pretty different final gear ratio for an adult on 29" wheels.

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