Element still relevant in May 2018?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Element still relevant in May 2018?

    I know everyone wants more travel these days but for me racing XC (for the t-shirt, nothing else) on a 130/120 trail bike I'm itching for something more efficient, so I'm looking at the Element with it's 120/100 Should be a bit more capable than a pure XC bike but more efficient and a bit lighter than my 28.5lbs trail bike.
    However reading any forum you want, I could not find any mention of the Element, people just talk about the new shiny things: the upcoming Trek 120/100, SC Blur, Pivot 429, Intense Spider, the Yeti SB100, anything but the Rocky Element. Rocky seems to be the first to provide the capable xc/ trail bike (launched in 2016), is the Element still relevant today with the 2019 bike being announced already?
    I have the option to buy a 2017 T. O. frame, and I would be looking to build it with the new 34 SC fork. As far as I know there are no changes for the 2018 aside from colors. Never owned a Rocky, I would appreciate everyone's opinion. Thx
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  2. #2
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    Nobody has responded so I thought I'd weigh in.

    I've been thinking about the exact same thing and am looking at an Element with a Fox 34 as well.

    I've test rode one and it felt really good. I rode both a large and a medium and found for me the medium felt better. With the large I found the front wheel wanted to lift more when climbing steeper stuff.

    Personally I'm not sure if the current crop of long and slack bikes have taken it too far. I have an old hardtail I use to ride which has been over-forked which has slackened it out (I measured it with my phone to be 67.5). I feel that it doesn't feel great climbing but not sure if that's the weight, the slack seat angle or the slack head angle.

    I haven't been able to demo a Sniper or Blur to compare it to so don't have much detail that way either.
    Last edited by SideSwip; 04-30-2018 at 04:40 AM.

  3. #3
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    hey there, I did hop on a Large in the parking lot and it felt too long, even though I got used to it quickly. Medium - I can make it work, I am 5'10", and generally like the shorter bike as I can move around freely.
    All these new bikes - first they are getting expensive, very expensive. Not that I would end up much cheaper buying the parts retail, but at least I would end up withe what I want.
    Looked at a frame this weekend, it seems to be well done, made in Taiwan (aren't them all?). No down tube protection at all, weight is 2250g or 2280g for the T.O. frames.
    Chainstay protector was coming off on this one, but it is a 3M like mastic tape keeping it attached.
    With the remote disconnected the rear shock stays open in case you decide to not use the remote. Shock is installed with teflon bushings and it's not metric.
    Like the cable management at the headtube, you can install cables whichever way you want it. Trek is similar, Yeti/ Specialized are horrible that way, you have two slots on left side, one on right. And that's it, no way to run moto style cleanly for instance.
    Don't like the cable routing for the shifter around the cranks, or the brake hose if it enters the caliper on the outside/ exterior. You end up with an exposed brake hose.

    Still hope to hear from some Element owners. Thx
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  4. #4
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    I'm about 5' 9". Sounds like we are similar sizes. I felt much more comfortable on the medium Element. Makes me wonder about these frames with long reach.

  5. #5
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    Elements come with frame protection, in the small parts box. It appears it was not installed on that bike you were on. And CS protector has been improved since that mastic version.
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  6. #6
    ccm
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    The newer (2018) XXC bikes have slacker head angles. But for all the benefits of the slack head angle for higher speeds and manufactured trails, you lose for slower speeds and more natural trails. The Element is already stable enough with 69 degree head angle for BC North Shore trails (a longer front centre on a slacker bike might make skinnies and sharp corners harder)

    3M rock guard clear tape can be used for downtube protection

    Cable and hose stops on the chain stays work better for SRAM than Shimano, but by using zip ties on chain stay, you can reroute the derailleur cable to work better with Shimano and hold chain stay protector on better. Shimano brake hose still will be on outside of seat stay, but I have not had any trouble with that for over a year. You could wrap the hose in 3M tape at the most vulnerable point for extra protection (but I have found that un-neccessary)

    I have been very happy with my 2017 Element TO. I built up from frame only so that it better suits me for BC XC Marathons and bikepack racing. Such as by using 2x11 Shimano to clean the toughest most technical climbs (and having an extra low gear to recover between technical features) and still having a high enough gear for long easy descents with a tail wind while bikepack racing (pedaling easy at 60 cadence and 100 watts is still way faster and more comfortable than just coasting) (I would still prefer even more gear range).

    The geometry of the new Element is great. I'm able to descend steeper more technical rock features than my old 26" 140/120 Element because of better roll over.

    I used my bike for a year before attaching the rear shock remote. Only attached the rear when I got a remote for the front fork (would have preferred manual switch on both, but it was about $400 cheaper to just get a front remote with splitter for the rear).

  7. #7
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    I ended up picking one up recently. Biggest problem seems to be even finding them in the US. RM, you've got a sweet bike - send more of them south! I've got a little under 10 rides on a pretty good mix of Colorado front range and western trails with enough technical climbing and a few chainring scraping descents to have a basic feel of it. Was looking at everything with 120-130 front and 100-120 rear with the goal of a fun every day front range trail bike that could be raced XC. Was also thinking about Ripley, SB4.5 and possibly waiting for the SB100 and a few others.

    Some initial thoughts: I put the chip in full slack from the start and plan on trying a few laps in the neutral and steep position soon as a reference point but am guessing one of the 3 slackest positions will probably be my go-to for the trails I like. I could see rolling/flatter terrain favoring a steeper position but haven't tried them yet. The bike feels pretty plush for 100mm but I'm not noticing any pedal bounce seated and you have to really work to approach the end of travel - you notice the shock progression in a good way. Out of the saddle climbing tech stuff it's just ridiculous - I'm not even slipping a tire on things I had no business even trying to get up on a few other bikes. Full slack is definitely a lowish BB though you get used to it pretty quickly and it feels absolutely planted at speed as a positive. The XL size fits a regular plus a large bottle in the triangle and surprisingly has a 3rd set of bolts in the "yeti bottle" position - a plus though it's not worth using for me. Another plus for me is rear tire clearance. I have a 2.3" on now and there is still a lot of clearance - enough to fit anything you'd want that would be sane for the bike.

    I think I'll be playing around with the geometry, shock pressures and a few component swaps for a while but for me it seems long and slack enough without getting into ridiculous territory - I still like to climb everything I descend which I think is the point of an XC bike, so given that, it's hard to think of any reinventions of geometry or suspension that are going to make this outdated any time soon. So far it's been a seriously great bike. I don't think you could go wrong with it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMB-PM View Post
    Elements come with frame protection, in the small parts box. It appears it was not installed on that bike you were on. And CS protector has been improved since that mastic version.
    Thanks for chiming in. Can that new CS protector be installed on this 2017 frame? I will also ask the LBS about the frame protection.
    One more question I have is about the main pivot bolt, the one that changed to a solid from the hollow. Can that be ordered as a warranty part from the get-go? Don't want to end up stranded if that was discovered to be a weak link. Thank you
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  9. #9
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    Thanks @ccm and @chuck D for the valuable info. I am looking for an efficient, light-ish climber since the trails in South Western Ontario are nothing compared to Colorado or West Coast trails. I would be building from the frame up and in the first phase I would probably use it with my existing FOX 34 at 130mm.
    That if I go with the Element, have to decide by the end of the week. Back to talk to the accountant...
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  10. #10
    ccm
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    definitely order the solid pivot bolt
    you don't want to be paranoid for such as easy fix

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mevnet View Post
    .
    However reading any forum you want, I could not find any mention of the Element, people just talk about the new shiny things: the upcoming Trek 120/100, SC Blur, Pivot 429, Intense Spider, the Yeti SB100, anything but the Rocky Element. Rocky seems to be the first to provide the capable xc/ trail bike (launched in 2016), is the Element still relevant today with the 2019 bike being announced already?
    I have the option to buy a 2017 T. O. frame, and I would be looking to build it with the new 34 SC fork. As far as I know there are no changes for the 2018 aside from colors. Never owned a Rocky, I would appreciate everyone's opinion. Thx
    I demoed one last year in the burlier BC Edition they were offering. I thought it was an amazing bike and I had been in a position to buy it, I would have. It struck me as a race worthy bike that could handle long singletrack days, confident descending with no sacrifices made in climbing prowess. I think this bike would be just what you (and most other XC racers) are asking for. The reason you might not be hearing much about it now, is that design it came out at the end of 2016, I think. So newer bikes have just pushed it down the totem pole a bit.

    Just out of curiosity, where have you been hearing news of a 120/100 Trek? If Trek is releasing something like that, I personally, would buy that bike in a second just because my preferred LBS is a Trek only dealer. If I were to go Rocky, I'd have to drive an hour just to get to a dealer...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinShoes View Post
    Just out of curiosity, where have you been hearing news of a 120/100 Trek? If Trek is releasing something like that, I personally, would buy that bike in a second just because my preferred LBS is a Trek only dealer. If I were to go Rocky, I'd have to drive an hour just to get to a dealer...
    I read about it in a Trek forum, people already putting money down for the mystery bike.
    As for the Element, I am convinced it would be a rad bike, also a rare find on the trails. I don't see that many around, if you call Rocky as a customer you're directed to a voice mail, etc. Also dealers seem to struggle to find info, waiting for days for an answer from them. I don't know...
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  13. #13
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    I picked up a RM70C in December and have around 900 Arizona trail miles on it. I have not seen any new bikes out that I would consider an upgrade. The RM fits 2 water bottles. With a oneupe EDC pump and a tube strap, I don't need to carry a pack. So far I have raced the MBAA series and the cactus cup this winter. It is light enough for racing (using a XC wheelset) and capable on black diamond trails using 2.4/2.35 tires on i30 wheels. Very comfortable bike for longer rides (typically put in 25-35m rides in Sedona, flagstaff, and BCT).

    Items that have developed that could be expected from just about any bike:
    -I started to get a creak from the headset. It looks like the FSA is not sealed. I ended repacking the bearings when I flushed the fluid in the front fork. I might upgrade to a wolftooth headset if this becomes routine.
    -Paint; the rocky AZ chunk kicks up a lot of rocks. If you ride in this type of environment, don't expect the paint to stay pristine.
    -Dropper; the stock seat clamp caused a pressure point on the fox dropper and caused it to bind up on return. Switching to a thomson seat clamp better distributed the clamp force and resolved the issue.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Element still relevant in May 2018?-rm70c.jpg  


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mevnet View Post
    Thanks @ccm and @chuck D for the valuable info. I am looking for an efficient, light-ish climber since the trails in South Western Ontario are nothing compared to Colorado or West Coast trails. I would be building from the frame up and in the first phase I would probably use it with my existing FOX 34 at 130mm.
    That if I go with the Element, have to decide by the end of the week. Back to talk to the accountant...
    What did you decide in the end? For what it's worth, I'm building up a second Element from a frameset so my wife and I can ride together. I think the Element strikes a nice balance between XC and Trail and matches the terrain that I have easy access to.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mevnet View Post
    I know everyone wants more travel these days but for me racing XC (for the t-shirt, nothing else) on a 130/120 trail bike I'm itching for something more efficient, so I'm looking at the Element with it's 120/100 Should be a bit more capable than a pure XC bike but more efficient and a bit lighter than my 28.5lbs trail bike.
    However reading any forum you want, I could not find any mention of the Element, people just talk about the new shiny things: the upcoming Trek 120/100, SC Blur, Pivot 429, Intense Spider, the Yeti SB100, anything but the Rocky Element. Rocky seems to be the first to provide the capable xc/ trail bike (launched in 2016), is the Element still relevant today with the 2019 bike being announced already?
    I have the option to buy a 2017 T. O. frame, and I would be looking to build it with the new 34 SC fork. As far as I know there are no changes for the 2018 aside from colors. Never owned a Rocky, I would appreciate everyone's opinion. Thx
    I owned the 2017 BC Edition, so thought I would chime in with my experience. I have since sold it to buy an 18 Instinct BC Edition to race some Enduro with and to generally get rowdy on.

    I found the Element BC to be far more capable than any other 'XC' bike I have ever own, which have been a 14 Vertex, 13 Element 970. Have also owned an Evil The Following. I took it down some very steep trails it was likely not designed for with relative comfort, and if my trails were technical, you like to climb fast and crush KOM's, and raced the odd xc it would serve as the perfect 'one bike'. It was an ideal stage race bike (Singletrack 6 in the BC Kootenays, which was basically a timed point to point enduro - very steep and tech). Very fast, an efficient climber, and descended very well. My times on technical descents were slightly slower than the Evil, but miles faster than on the previous version Element. Such a different bike they could have re-named it in my opinion. Ran it in the neutral setting for the ST6 with Forekaster front, Ardent Race rear and the rest stock. I also loved the seat tube angle for climbing, something I hated about the Evil.

    I think the reason you don't hear much about it is that Rocky fly's under the radar and is not a 'cool guy' brand like Yeti or Santa Cruz. 100% would buy the Element BC again if going back to stage racing/marathons in the burly terrain of the rocky mountains of Canada.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by survivalofthefattest View Post
    I owned the 2017 BC Edition, so thought I would chime in with my experience. I have since sold it to buy an 18 Instinct BC Edition to race some Enduro with and to generally get rowdy on.
    .....
    I think the reason you don't hear much about it is that Rocky fly's under the radar and is not a 'cool guy' brand like Yeti or Santa Cruz. 100% would buy the Element BC again if going back to stage racing/marathons in the burly terrain of the rocky mountains of Canada.
    Great info thanks a lot. How did you find the sizing? The 590 TT for the Medium is pretty much what I have on the Smuggler, so kind of tight/ cramped. If I go large, the Head tube length becomes too long, etc.

    @n00bMTBer have not decided yet, I have a few options each with it's drawback, Trek Top Fuel and SB100 are the other 2 I'm considering.
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  17. #17
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    I'm too tired to write a long response here, but I don't think the Element is any less relevant than any of these other bikes that other brands are starting to pump out....the truth is the Rocky Mountain beat many of the big brands to the punch with a great bike more than 2 years before others got on that train. I have yet to see any other bike out there that offers as much versitility (XC racing to trail) in such an attractive package....and with 2 bottle cages! The fact is that the Element still competes and then some...its just that its not the 'newest thing'....

    I have a friend who works at a dealer that sells both Rocky and Trek .... after telling people how awesome the Elements were he was having a hard time selling Trek Top Fuels because they seemed obselete before they left the shopfloor. Who wants a brand new top of the line XC bike with old-school geometry and so little versitility?

  18. #18
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    I tested a 2018 Element and I loved it. It felt more laterally stiff under pedaling than other full suspension bikes I've tried and it felt very fast and confident downhill. However, I bought a 2018 Vertex instead because it feels faster for XC length racing. Without rear suspension, you have to work a little harder on the downhills, but with a dropper post on the hardtail, it's hard to see where the Element would make up much time on the courses I race in Utah. I could see where the extra weight of the Element could pay for itself on longer rides (50 miles or more) though.

  19. #19
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    With the somewhat lack of support locally, zero possibility to try one as they don't really bring them to any event and talk about that main pivot failing from multiple sources I decided to go in a different directions. Only place where I saw quite a few was the local XC race last Saturday. Thank you all for the great input and happy trails!
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    Out of curiousity -- did your SB100 get the Switch Infinity creak yet that I've been hearing about?

    I've got a 2016 aluminum Hei Hei and I've had my eye on a carbon Element for a while now since my neighborhood shop started carrying Rocky in addition to Kona.

  21. #21
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    So far so good but not enough riding obviously. I will report back.
    Element - can't go wrong with it, but it's a bit more racy whereas the SB100 is a bit more trail oriented. Very capable though!
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  22. #22
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    I think you hear less about the Element because if you're not racing, you can pick up a longer travel bike that still climbs almost as well as the Element, weighs about the same or close and is much more forgiving and plush on the descents compared with a 100mm Element.

  23. #23
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    quick chime in on this bike. I recently bought an 2018 Element Carbon 70 and absolutely love it. i was coming from a tallboy3 and to me the element feels very similar to my old TBv1 or v2. In other words it rips up the climbs and descends very good. I also have a Ripley LS and i am finding that the more i ride the element the more i like it for its purpose - which is a very capable XC bike. I have raced it a few times and it is perfect for rougher courses - which pretty much means most XC races in BC. all in all i am very surprised as to how much i like this bike. Its the perfect BC bike race bike or perfect bike for someone who rides XC but also likes to have fun on the downs. FYI i am 6'1" and the XL fits me like a glove.....

  24. #24
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    We need new frame colors though...

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    Adding my piece in here too. Picked up a 2018 Element Carbon C50 in February and have raced my entire season on that bike, absolutely love it. It climbs incredibly well, and absolutely rips the descents. Originally was going to swap the Fox 34 out for a 32, yet was talked out of it.(34 Stepcast fixes this whole part, which I believe are stocked on the 2019 Element) Yes, there is a weight penalty, but for the added stiffness while flying over rough terrain and especially through rock gardens, the extra 20 mil of travel is well worth it. At many races people have asked me about the bike, simply because they have never heard of it. I would think this is the main reason why you don't see too many of them out on the trail. I've seen this asked in other places, but the weight out of the box(w/ pedals) was 25.9. Also, being 5' 9", the Medium fits me perfectly. Overall, this bike is an absolute quiver for me, so great that I would be happy as can be only riding Elements for the rest of my life.
    Such a sick bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by HopHeadEVENTS View Post
    We need new frame colors though...
    If you have an LBS that is a Rocky dealer, go ask to see the 2019 catalog, new colors and they look amazing, especially the C90.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mevnet View Post
    No down tube protection at all, weight is 2250g or 2280g for the T.O. frames.
    Just curious, where did these weights come from? Is 2280 for a Large Element T.O. frame?
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