The first week of November brought really warm temperatures allowing further testing of my new bike. Even better is that I got to ride my usual route, dry creek to shoreline to bobsled, allowing easy comparison of my recent purchase to last years Rocky Mountain SXC 50. I'm about to get used to the steering change and it feels good now. Another hurdle I'm working to overcome is the difference in the down-shifting setup between the SRAM and Shimano.
The biggest difference between these bikes aside from weight is the frame geometry and rider position. The Altitude frame puts the rider closer to the front and lower to the ground, allowing more efficient and easier uphill pedaling. I love the feel of climbing with less effort and easier steering. The SXC rider position left me constantly fighting the front wheels desire to wander when riding uphill. On a positive note for the SXC, I felt more confident descending when further back, especially when things get technical.
I've mentioned it before but can't say enough about the weight difference. The Altitude has about 4 pounds less weight and I can feel it, pushing the bike through the flats with ease. I'm also noticing the ability to pull the bike off the ground and over obstacles with less work. The loss of some travel with the Altitude is somewhat noticeable when descending bobsled but still gets the job done. A ride like Porcupine rim in Moab will feel different but still tolerable for the weight loss. All in all, this bike rocks but being faster on the uphill means a longer wait for my friends at the top. Time to find faster friends or start riding with weights.