Following on from the release of the Instinct Alloy 50 BC Edition earlier in the month, Rocky Mountain has revealed the launch of another all alloy bike in the form of the new Thunderbolt.
This 2019 version of the Thunderbolt rolls on 27.5in wheels with an all-new alloy frame and 130mm of suspension travel front and rear which is 10mm more rear end movement than the current alloy Thunderbolt has on offer.
Rocky Mountain is claiming a stiffer frame for 2019 despite the increase in travel, plus the ability to set geometry up how you like through the Ride 9 suspension adjustment chip located in the Smoothlink shock link.
Ride 9 isn’t a new feature, but for 2019 Rocky Mountain’s designers have managed to shrink the system down a little and fit it into a lighter and narrower package.
The four-bar suspension system has been tuned to offer an efficient pedalling platform while giving the bike a supple start, with playful and progressive ramp up towards the end of the stroke.
Interestingly, Rocky Mountain offers its bikes with a Size Specific shock tune meaning that larger frames should have a rear shock tuned specifically for larger riders. It’s a pretty obvious feature to have, but it’s surprising that even today some manufacturers spec the same shock and tune across the board regardless of rider size.
As we saw with the Instinct Alloy BC bike, the new Thunderbolt gets single sided bearings, an integrated “Spirit Guide” chain guide, metric shock compatibility and tooled axles to save a little extra weight.
The alloy bike will be available in sizes XS-XL with reach measurements ranging from 385mm – 495mm, depending on the size of the bike and what setting the Ride 9 system is set in. This being more of an XC bike the head angle isn’t super steep at 66.4º in the slack setting moving up to 67.6º in the steep position.
Seat tube angle is also affected by the Ride 9 system, measuring 74.4º in slack, 75º in neutral and 75.6º in steep.
Other worthy details include compatibility with standard 27.5in wheels or 26+, improved cable routing, a 1x optimised design and a low standover height. There’s also good news for those of you who like to have a bottle cage as all sizes have room even with a piggyback shock.
Rocky Mountain is offering the Thunderbolt in a couple of builds with the basic Thunderbolt Alloy 10 coming with a mix of Sunrace, Shimano and WTB parts, all the way up to the Thunderbolt Alloy 50 with Fox suspension, a mix of XT and SLX parts and RaceFace finishing kit.
We’ve only been sent through the U.S and Canadian pricing of the Thunderbolt Alloy, which ranges from $2,449 CAD / $1,999 USD for the Alloy to $3,999 CAD / $3,499 USD for the Alloy 50.
Although Rocky Mountain is marketing the Thunderbolt as a 130mm travel XC bike, the numbers suggest that it would make a pretty good UK trail bike, one that could go toe to toe with the ever-popular Whyte T-130 whether this is the case or not remains to be seen, but which 130mm travel bike would you choose?