The fall in Utah has been excellent this year, lingering on with weekend after weekend providing excellent biking weather. I had 4 weekends in a row of epic rides including the crest, mid mountain trail, Spiro and the canyons. Always lusting after a new bike, I had been eyeing the Rocky Mountain Altitude 50 for quite some time. I test rode the 2009 last year but ended up getting a Slayer since it was cheaper at the time. After seeing the 2010 model online and waiting for the price to drop for months, my chance finally came. Not only did the price drop but a free gift (bike light) was included. Due to a rainy weekend(the nice fall weather has officially ended), I had a chance to take the maiden voyage. Lucky for me, I have work in the Moab area this week allowing the chance to test ride my new steed post work. I chose to ride Sovereign because I know the area and like the style of riding. Weather wasnt great, cold and windy but at least the sun was out and it wasn't raining.
I will compare the Altitude to my previous bike, a Rocky Mountain Slayer 50, which I have enjoyed but felt was a little too heavy (especially for the PCP2P race). The Altitude has geometry which puts the rider in a more forward position than the Slayer, allowing easier climbing and less front end looseness. The Altitude climbing skills weren't really put to the test at Sovereign since no big climbs exist but the few short spurts felt easier. A few climbs even left me thinking, why did I get out of the saddle for that? I was concerned with the low bottom bracket hitting rocks but never managed to catch the frame on any rocks, though the end of my crank-arms took quite a beating. As mentioned, less weight was the primary driver for my new purchase and I gotta say the 3-4 pounds is very noticeable. There were a few times I went to pull the bike over an obstacle and almost went over the bars cause the bike followed me with so little effort. I immediately disliked the location of the rear shock, as switching from climbing to downhill mode is difficult to change on the fly. In addition, something feels quite different in steering between the two bikes, a few more rides may help me understand that. Perhaps the best thing about my new ride is the color. My last two bikes have been puke green while the Altitude sports a shiny white frame with nice blue accents. One ride on a bike isnt enough to give a full report but I'm pretty happy with my purchase at this point.