Announcing the Reaper and Growler
We're fired up to launch two new bikes: the Reaper and the Growler! The Reaper is a pint-sized full suspension shredder that can be converted from 24" wheels to 26" wheels, while the Growler is an ultra-capable plus hardtail that's both playful and intuitive. Get all the details below.
- Intended Use: Youth Trail
- Front Travel: 120mm
- Rear Travel: 130mm
- Wheel Size: 24” / 26”
The Reaper provides the same aggressive trail performance found in our Thunderbolt and Altitude full suspension bikes in a smaller package for young rippers. It can tear up singletrack, smash technical descents, and slay bike park laps all day long. And, because we know that kids grow (and have younger siblings), the Reaper is easily convertible from 24” wheels to 26” wheels and vice versa. Don't fear the Reaper.
"The Reaper is the most fun and lightest full suspension bike I've ever ridden. It's good for everything! I can sometimes pass my dad on the trails and I'm even riding A-Line in the bike park!" —Dane Jewett, 10 Years Old
- Intended Use: Trail
- Front Travel: 120mm
- Wheel Size: 27.5+
The Growler takes full advantage of high volume 27.5+ tires and next generation trail geometry for a capable, confident ride. More traction makes short work of scrabbly climbs, more forgiveness helps hold aggressive lines, and intuitive handling keeps the ride playful. Cheers, eh!
Mountains as Far as the Eye Can See
Mountains, mountains, mountains. As far as the eye can see. We are definitely in the Alps…
Words by Remi Gauvin, photos by Matt Wragg
La Thuile 2016 will go down as the most descending in 4 days I have done to date. In those days we descended 15,000m, wore through brake pads, and made a short career of tires. We also had a lot of fun.
La Thuile is on the French-Italian border near the famous mountaineering towns of Chamonix and Courmayeur. Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe, loomed over most of the stages throughout the weekend, but the weather played nice.
Stages were almost all accessed by lift with the exception of stage one. This meant that while our legs were fresh at the start of each stage, the long steep runs were punishing on the rest of our bodies. Riders were complaining that their arms were dead by the end of each run. All stages were physical in their own way and each one had a solid dose of climbing. The energy we saved on the transfers was more than spent on the stages.
Stage 1 started across the valley from the ski resort, and was the one stage without chairlift access. We climbed Col San Carlo and then up into the alpine, 900 meters above La Thuile. The stage started with some typical tight European switchbacks before passing through grass fields and dropping into the woods below. Alex Cure and Andreane both finished 4th on this stage.
For Stage 2 we headed back to the lift and made our ascent to the start. This stage started in the alpine, flagged though rough rocks and gorse bushes, only burned in by the countless riders who were sent to ride through it. Next we cut through a farmers cattle field—in practice we'd encountered a herd of stubborn cattle here, and they could not give a damn if there was a bike race happening where they wanted to graze. Then, finally ending on an old access road that zig-zagged across the bottom of the hill. Andreane finished a career best 2nd place on this stage and Florian took 3rd in the men’s field.
Stage 3 was one of the fastest stages of the weekend, but also one of the longest, with a brutal climb at the bottom. Fast rock faces and high speed corners in the alpine, twisty woods in the middle, followed by some of the best steeps of the race. Just when you thought it might be all over the course turned a sharp right and sent us onto a gravel road pointing right back up the hill. During the race the crowds screamed at you to pedal, while your legs screamed at you to stop. Stage 3 one of the best of the weekend, but it was also one of the worst of the weekend.
A night off to reflect on the days racing went by quickly. Soon we were back on the top of the mountain about to drop into Stage 4—one of the longest and most physical stages of the race. It seemed that it was always just slightly flatter than you wanted. A gravel road climb in the middle of the stage had me seeing red into the next section, and hanging on by a thread by the end of the stage. Andreane showed her fitness once again and backed up her first day with another 2nd place.
Stage 5, although not extremely physical, was very technical. Steep off camber sections meant that you had to be precise and patient in during the stage in order to shine.
The final stage of the weekend stage had a mixture of the highlights of every stage of the race. Tight switch backs, technical off cambers, steep chutes and a solid climb in the middle of the stage. The bottom was lined with spectators as you entered the finish area. It was a great stage to finish the weekend on.
Florian Nicolaï said that although he was happy with his 5th place result, he didn’t perform his best in a few of the stages and it cost him. Nevertheless, his consistant performance bumped him up into 3rd place in the Overall category.
Jesse also felt that his 13th didn’t reflect his pace this weekend and a few mistakes on Stage 5 knocked him back in the overall. After injury troubles the last few rounds, it's great to see him smashing stages again.
Andreane was of course over the moon with her result. 3rd place in her first real race of the season!
Once again the team as a whole performed spectacularly. We were the number one team on the weekend and added 100 points to extend our lead in the Team Overall. Andreane finished a career-best 3rd, while Florian finished 5th in the men’s. Alex finished 11th, Jesse 13th and I finished 23rd. Seb also took 2nd place in U21, keeping pace in his season-long battle with Adrien Dailly.
Next stop, Aspen!
— Remi Gauvin
Fresh Threads on the Web Store
We've got lots of fresh threads available in our Web Store. From technical apparel to new lifestyle and heritage pieces, we've got great gear to to fly the flag—including a collaboration with Race Face!
Even better, you can use the code SUMMER10 at checkout for 10% off all apparel. Valid till the end of August. See you on the trails!
Riders: Kevin Calhoun & Justin Roy || Vaea Verbeeck
Photographer: Margus Riga || Margus Riga
Locations: Vernon, BC || Pemberton, BC
Be in Your Element
Intended Use: XC
Front Travel: 120mm
Rear Travel: 100mm
Wheel Size: 29”
This is the result of over two decades at the front of the pack. The new Element features more efficient suspension performance, refined marathon geometry, Ride-9™ adjustability, and room for two bottles inside the front triangle. The smallest details were examined in search of point-n-shoot rigidity and unrivalled speed.
“This new Element is a full-on XC marathon weapon, but with the confidence of a trail bike” says product director Alex Cogger. “People used to show up to BC Bike Race expecting to grind fire roads all day, only to walk the descents and snap their made-for-the-scale bikes in half. XC racing has evolved, and bikes that can’t handle the real world have no business on the course.”
- Full Smoothwall™ carbon frame weighs 2250g (size Medium, including shock and hardware. Two-tone paint on T.O. frame adds 30g)
- Ride-9™ adjustability chip moved into the link, saving weight and bulk
- All sizes fit two water bottles inside the front triangle
- Future-proofed to run Di2, Fox Live, and a dropper post concurrently
- Frame available with special edition Team Only paint job
- Cartridge bearing pivots with simplified hardware
- Single-sided chainstay pivots for a narrower rear triangle—eliminates heel rub, even with Boost spacing
- Fits standard, widely available 6.5x1.5 shocks
- 2x compatible
- Clearance for 29x2.35 tires
- Full-length internal shift, dropper post, and lockout routing, plus internal brake routing in the front triangle
- Oversized headtube and downtube ports for ease of cable routing
- New derailleur hanger design reduces hardware complexity
- Lightweight bolt-on axle saves 35g compared to a traditional Boost axle
- PressFit BB92 bottom bracket, ZS44 | ZS56 headset
- Post-mount 160mm rear brake
- Max 1x chainring size is 38t with SRAM, 36t with Race Face
- Max 2x chainring size is a full size 28t/40t
- Sizing: S/M/L/XL/XXL
We tuned our four-bar Smoothlink™ suspension to increase the anti-squat values and maximize pedaling performance without sacrificing the traditional Rocky Mountain ride feel. It’s supple off the top and features good progression to avoid bottoming. We focused on mid-stroke support to keep more travel available, and lowered the shock leverage ratio for better suspension performance and adjustments.
Party up front, business in the back. The new Element was designed around a longer 120mm fork because it’s nice to have a bit more forgiveness four hours into a hammerfest. The result is a bike that pedals like a rocketship, but doesn’t get hung up or turn skittish when things get technical.
The new Element received a substantial geometry update, while retaining the confidence and handling that people loved about the previous generation. It’s slacker to keep things stable when you’re seeing stars four hours in, but uses a longer fork offset to keep steering dynamics precise.
We’ve shortened the rear centre, lengthened the reach slightly, and steepened the seat-tube angle—allowing for shorter stems and wider bars without sacrificing a powerful pedaling position. The bike hasn’t been stretched into downhill sled territory, but we’re offering an XXL size for those that need longer reach.
With the increased demands of modern XC courses and stage races, our Ride-9™ adjustment system allows riders to fine-tune the Element’s geometry and suspension. In adapting the system from our trail bikes, we moved it from the forward shock mount into the link—reducing weight and bulk. The headtube angle can be adjusted from 69° to 70° and the suspension rate can be tuned for an XC race feel or a more aggressive trail feel. For multi-day stage racing, marathon racing, and real world XC, this makes it easy to dial in the perfect balance of snappy, confident, and responsive.
- The Ride-9™ system allows riders to adjust geometry and suspension to specific riding styles and terrain. Nine configurations are possible thanks to two interlocking chip inserts.
- Smoothwall™ carbon uses one of the world’s most sophisticated carbon processes to build frames with industry leading stiffness-to-weight, ride quality, and durability. By using rigid internal molds, we are able to perfect the shape of the internal features and eliminate excess materials. We use different types of carbon in specific frame areas to maximize stiffness and impact resistance while minimizing overall weight.
- Smoothlink™ suspension stays supple yet supportive through a wider range of gears than conventional single pivot or other four-bar suspension configurations. This patented system reduces both pedal-bob and bottom-outs, while allowing us to fine tune variables like braking and climbing traction across a wide range of intended uses.
- Size Specific Tune™ ensures that riders of all sizes get the right balance of small-bump compliance, mid-stroke support, and end-stroke progressiveness. Our design team does custom shock tunes based on real world field testing, and adjusts each tune for every specific frame size, from S to XXL.
Element 999 RSL // Element T.O. Frame
Element 990 RSL BC Edition (Colour 1 & Colour 2)
Element 970 RSL (Colour 1 & Colour 2) **2x versions available in some markets**
Available late 2016. Pricing to be announced.
Introducing the Pipeline
The confidence of plus-sized tires in raw, technical terrain is now available in an aggressive trail chassis. The new Pipeline plows through greasy roots and square-edged chunder with authority, while providing near limitless traction on rocky, slippery climbs.
- Wheel Size: 27.5+
- Intended Use: Aggressive Trail
- Front Travel: 150mm
- Rear Travel: 130mm
“Early on in testing I realized I could take the ‘stupid lines’ on our local North Shore trails and the big tires would just flow straight through them,” said product manager Ken Perras. “The more technical a line, the more I felt like I was cheating.”
- Smoothwall carbon front triangle, FORM alloy rear triangle
- Fits up to 27.5x3.25 tires
- 1x specific
- Lightweight bolt-on axles save 50g per bike compared to a Maxle
- BC2™ pivots feature grease ports for easy maintenance
- Stealth dropper post equipped
- Internal cable routing
- PressFit BB92 bottom bracket, IS42/IS52 headset, Boost axle spacing
- Sizing: S/M/L/XL
The Pipeline is based on our much-loved Instinct platform. Like the Instinct, the Pipeline is stable and balanced, with a massive range of adjustments available thanks to RIDE-9. A neutral bottom bracket drop and plus-specific fork offset contribute to an intuitive ride feel with excellent steering dynamics.
Riders attacking technical, choppy terrain will immediately feel the benefits of high-volume plus tires. Their large contact patch and lower pressures improve traction, mud shedding, and small-bump compliance for more on-trail confidence.
- RIDE-9™ — The RIDE-9™ system allows riders to adjust geometry and suspension rates to specific riding styles, terrain, and rider weights. Nine configurations are possible thanks to two interlocking chip inserts that move on two separate axes.
- SMOOTHWALL™ CARBON — Smoothwall™ carbon uses one of the world’s most sophisticated carbon processes to build frames with industry leading stiffness-to-weight, ride quality, and durability. By using rigid internal molds, we are able to perfect the shape of the internal features and eliminate excess materials. We use different types of carbon in specific frame areas to maximize stiffness and impact resistance while minimizing overall weight.
- FORM™ ALLOY — FORM™ alloy tubesets are engineered for specific purposes within each frame, ensuring optimized strength, weight, and ride quality. FORM™ tubesets use premium materials to meet our strict requirements.
- SMOOTHLINK™ SUSPENSION — Smoothlink™ suspension stays supple yet supportive through a wider range of gears than conventional single pivot or other four-bar suspension configurations. This patented system reduces both pedal-bob and bottom-outs, while allowing us to fine tune variables like braking and climbing traction across a wide range of intended uses.
- BC2™ PIVOTS — BC2™ pivots are lighter and stiffer than conventional bearing pivots. Unlike other bushings, our patented system uses a hardened alloy insert that bottoms out to control the contact of the bushing surfaces, reducing the preload that causes stiction and binding. BC2™ Pivots also feature grease ports for effortless maintenance.
Maiden World Cup Wins Downhill Bike of the Year
We're beyond stoked to announce that Decline Magazine has chosen the Maiden World Cup as their 2016 Downhill Bike of the Year! We're honoured, and would like to thank all the engineers, product managers, riders, and everyone else involved in the design of the Maiden. Congrats as well to Carson Storch for nabbing the cover!
"With almost four years of development behind it, the Maiden absolutely blew away our riders from the first run."
Read the full article on declinemagazine.com. On newsstands now.
Video: Carson Storch in Barcelona
"This trip to Barcelona was all about the experience. New year, new bike, and a new destination. It was amazing to get the opportunity to go be engulfed in such a crazy scene, and I can't thank all of the locals enough for having us. Pure fun! The Spanish lifestyle is legit. Special thanks to Andreu, Hector, La Poma staff, and the Llorett locals!" — Carson Storch
Win a Maiden with Bar Drag Bounty 4
- Upload your best turn video to Instagram
- Tag @vitalmtb, @rockymountainbicycles and #bardragbounty
- That's it. You're entered and could win a Rocky Mountain Maiden Park!
Contest runs March 1 through March 31. Vital MTB and Rocky Mountain team riders will pick the final winner, announced by Vital on April 3. Contest open worldwide, where local regulations allow.
Best of luck!
2016 Rocky Mountain Backgrounds
Working for the weekend? Tired of staring at a screen? Well quit scrolling through endless cat memes and clean up your desktop, because we've put together a selection of our favourite images as wallpapers for your computer, mobile, or tablet.
Getting Fat in Gstaad: Snow Bike Fest 2016
The Swiss Mountains of Gstaad had more than enough snow to make the second edition of Snow Bike Festival a great success. Also responsible for the famous Cape Epic Race organization in South Africa, Herman Coertze’s team made everyone feel like a pro.
Photo by Dirk Belling.
Close to 100 riders came to race and enjoy their fat bikes at the three-day stage race. We had a big contingent of international Rocky Mountain riders, from the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Canada. Our very own Brett Tippie flew all the way from Vancouver, BC to be the event's official Director of Good Times.
Photo by Dirk Belling.
Despite all the fun, the Rocky Mountain riders brought home some top level results. Hielke Elferink from the Netherlands won all the stages and the women's overall on her Blizzard, taking home a massive 6 kg Toblerone for her efforts. Johann Tschopp from Switzerland took the KOM and second place overall on the men’s podium. Congrats both of you!
For more info visit Snow Bike Festival on Facebook.