The first round of the 2017 Enduro World Series kicked off over the weekend in Rotorua, New Zealand, and as the first official race of the season, it was an opportunity for new riders, new teams and new bikes to be put through the ringer in some of the most challenging conditions seen in the EWS.
For the more eagle-eyed, it’s also an opportunity to spot new bikes and prototypes being put to the test. Sometimes in a shroud of secrecy, and sometimes in plain sight – like this one.
The screengrab is taken from one of Cedric Gracia’s video logs from the weekend’s racing, and it shows Jesse Melamed – one of the riders on the Rocky Mountain Urge BP team – riding what appears to be the new Rocky Mountain Altitude.
Why the Altitude? Well it’s clearly not a Slayer, because the new Slayer features a vertically mounted shock for a start. The Altitude is the next model down from the Slayer in terms of suspension travel, and it has typically been the bike of choice for the enduro race team. However, the Altitude has mysteriously been missing from the Rocky Mountain website for some time now, and that would suggest a new model is on its way very soon. Could this be it?
There are a few clues hidden in this crappy screen grab that can draw us to several conclusions. Firstly, the bike that Melamed is popping a wheelie on is made from carbon fibre. That’s a very good sign that a frame is close to production – most prototyping is done with alloy test mules, which Rocky Mountain manufacturers in house in its Canadian R&D centre. Carbon moulds are extremely expensive and require a significant amount of investment to commit to. Therefore, you’re not exactly going to be experimenting with suspension designs and geometry with a carbon mould.
The other points we can establish include a top-tube mounted shock, just like the current (or previous?) Altitude model, and that makes it different to the bigger travel Slayer. Zooming in on the pic, it also becomes apparent that Melamed’s frame doesn’t feature the Ride9 geometry design, but perhaps a geometry chip is hidden in the swing link at the other end of the shock?
Aside from that, there’s not a whole lot else that can be confirmed. The frame features updated internal cable routing, with a bolt-on port in place of the previous Altitude’s separate molded cable holes. Melamed’s bike is running a Fox 36 fork up front, so we’re guessing the Altitude will have about 150-160mm of travel, and like 150mm of travel out back.
Can you spot anything else going on with this new Rocky Mountain model? Check out the original video and let us know below!