Well, I have had Rochas Martinez, Ricky Martin, the Rocket Martian...whatever you want to call him (the Rocky Mountain or RM) for almost two weeks now, and have spent a bit more time on him.
He is super fun, super fast, and very very light.
Having sent some time doing short, fast stuff on him, as well as long, arduous fireroad-y stuff, I thought I would write some notes about what the custom Rocky Mountain Vertex build with MY13 Lefty Carbon and SRAM XX1 is like to ride. I am focussing on the lows; mainly, the low weight and front end (really, not a low-light at all!).
1. Low weight = inadvertent tail whips
This bike is seriously light. The specialized was light. The Flash XO 26" was light. My Scandium Niner SS is also light.
But this is a whole new level.
While previously much of the weight of my bikes was centered around the BB and rear, a super light frame, 1x11 front chainring set up (no front derailleur) and light wheelset definitely makes a discernible difference on the trail.
I am one that likes to launch off stuff (granted, stuff which is not massive), and riding the RM is no exception. The difference when popping off stuff, being in the air, and landing however, is quite different. When popping off stuff and while in the air your body weight position is far more crucial. The low weight of the rear end in addition to a lower, more nimble front means that should you get a bit ragged on the way off a drop, you can often find yourself styling it up with a bit of an unplanned tail whip.
Problem being when you don't want to be a 'whipping and you aren't in the air long enough/skilled enough at these things to get yourself landing straight.
I haven't died yet, or even crashed, but there are some landings I am well and truly ballsing up. Let's say it's a bit sideways sometimes.
2. Low front end = getting used to fast fireroad descents
When you have a bike for a while you learn all about it; how hard you can push it into corners, how large a rock or root has to be to just tractor over it when you're 95km into an epic ride, and how screamingly fast you can go down the fast fireroad descents around Brisbane.
While my last bike and SS have their sweet spots which are pretty confidence inspiring and a bit scary fast sometimes, the more nimble front end and lighter set up of RM has meant that as yet, the sweet spot hasn't yet been reached. Despite it's rugged big wheelio's, I haven't felt the confidence to 'let it go' and pin it down fast fireroad descents as yet. Will report back when I have a good solid ride where I don't feel like death and it's not raining.
3. Low weight = power down. NOW!
One of the first things I noticed on the bike, which was definitely tested well at the 3Plus3 and around local trails, was the scary-fast acceleration of the bike.
I guess I can put a lot of it down to the low weight of the bike, once again, but the short chain-stays and low-weight wheel and tyre set-up also add to the playful feel of the bike and makes it feel like a rocket-ship when accelerating up steep climbs or punching it out on the fireroad...when the legs are willing!
I would go as far as to say this bike feels as feathery and responsive on an incline as the 26" Cannondale Flash (which featured carbon lefty and an X0 2x9 set-up, so it was pretty airy in the weight department too!).
Well, there's a few notes on the bike from the early stages of owning and racing the RM. I can't wait to hit up some bigger races as my fitness gradually increases. Let's hope it's increasing anyway!