World Cup-ready Rocky Mountain 970 RSL: A high-performance XC hardtail with top-tier components and adjustable geometry.
Rocky Mountain 970 RSL – World Cup-Ready
Rocky Mountain’s Element line of 29er XC hardtails is now World Cup-ready, and the US$7,999 970 RSL comes complete with SRAM XX drivetrain components, Monarch XX suspension and DT Swiss wheels. Race Face supplies the cranks, bars and stem.
The frame is constructed from Rocky Mountain’s proprietary SmoothWall Form C13 Hi Mod carbon. It incorporates a Ride 9 adjustable geometry and tooled axles for weight savings.
Rocky Mountain designed the Element 970 RSL to ride and feel like a traditional XC race bike. It uses the same Smoothlink suspension system found on their longer-legged models, but optimized for shorter travel and a more cross-country focus.
The frame is built using their proprietary “Smoothwall” process that allows them to control the carbon layup at a very detailed level. This results in a strong, stiff and lightweight frame.
The frame features internal cable routing for mechanical and Di2 drivetrains, plus a press fit bottom bracket and a thru axle rear. It’s also spec’d with a Fox 32 CTD Remote Performance Elite front fork and Float DPX Remote performance shock.
The $5,199 USD 970 BC Edition takes Rocky Mountain’s Element 29 RSL bloodline and mixes it with a trail-going attitude. The result is a bike that’s ready to tackle marathon races, all-day trails, and the occasional Enduro event. It packs an adjustable-travel FOX 32 TALAS 29 120 FIT CTD fork up front, which adds 20mm of travel over the standard Elements and slackens geometry, along with a RockShox Reverb dropper post and triple chainring Race Face Turbine cranks.
One step down from the premium 999 RSL, this build uses the same carbon frame with XC-race geometry. Shimano SLX and XT components and a Race Face triple crankset round out the build.
Rocky Mountain made the 970 RSL with a proprietary carbon molding process. This includes a net-molded head tube that accepts bearings directly, as well as an all-carbon press-fit BB-92 bottom bracket. It also features a carbon drive-side chain stay that protects against rocks and other debris.
The Element 970RSL is pitched as a cross-country come marathon/endurance bike, and it does this pretty well. There’s even a BC Edition with 120mm of fork travel and a dropper seatpost, making it an ideal Enduro bike. This model features a full Shimano drivetrain, as well as suspension parts from Race Face and Stan’s.
Rocky Mountain has made a name for itself in the crucible of World Cup racing. Their Element 29 RSL builds on this heritage with a light, stiff carbon frame that is ready for the trail.
The Element frame is based around their SmoothLink suspension design. This uses bushings instead of traditional bearings and Rocky claims it is significantly stiffer than other systems. A 142x12mm rear thru-axle, internal derailleur and Fox CTD shock remote cable routing all add to the Element’s clean appearance.
Rocky also spec’d a high bottom bracket on this frame to reorient the rider further over the rear wheel. This helps with manuals and wheelies, as well as providing more clearance for larger tires.
This bike is designed for XC racing and comes with light, high-performance components. Its frame is a carbon monocoque and features Rocky Mountain’s proprietary C13 Hi-Mod construction with internal molds and a smooth inner surface they call Smoothwall.
The frame uses the company’s SmoothLink suspension design, which is tuned to offer a progressive rise rate and minimize pedal-induced suspension movement. It also aligns the lower linkage parallel to the average chain torque line, reducing friction and eliminating chain growth.
Up front, this Element has a 120mm travel Fox 32 Float 29 CTD remote fork that tracks precisely and smoothly over rough trails. It’s paired with a 1×10 Shimano XT drivetrain and Race Face components.
The Element B.C. Edition is a dedicated cross-country race rig that wants nothing more than to float down epic B.C. trail sections with its front tire in the air.
Rocky Mountain developed the geometry with XC racing in mind, but they also designed the suspension platform to work well for aggressive trail riders and long-haul backcountry adventures. The carbon frame weighs a claimed 26.5 pounds for a medium-sized model and has room for two bottle cages.
It also uses their SmoothLink suspension design that they say reduces pedal-induced suspension movement and offers good progression. It comes equipped with a Fox Float DPS remote Performance Elite shock and a RockShox Monarch RL fork.