Women in Cy­cling

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by Tif­fany Baker

Women’s Ini­tia­tives

Mar­i­anne Shelawa Ad­ven­ture

When it comes to moun­tain bike com­pa­nies, you can’t get much more Cana­dian than Rocky Moun­tain Bi­cy­cles, and when it comes to pro­duc­ing a bike that har­nesses the in­cred­i­bly var­ied ter­rain along BC’s west coast you would be hard­pressed to outdo Rocky’s El­e­ment 990 RSL BC Edi­tion. How do we know? Well, af­ter a week of BC Bike Race com­pe­ti­tion on Rocky’s lat­est edi­tion of the El­e­ment, we have some pretty amaz­ing mem­o­ries and some solid tire-on-trail ev­i­dence.

As one of the orig­i­nal pi­o­neers of the moun­tain bike move­ment, Rocky has been fine-tun­ing and per­fect­ing its off-road of­fer­ings for more than 30 years, in­clud­ing their El­e­ment line, which was in­tro­duced as the El­e­ment Race back in 2000. Both Rocky and the tech­nol­ogy we en­joy to­day have come in­cred­i­bly far since then and this year’s El­e­ment 990 RSL BC Edi­tion high­lights the ben­e­fits of such progress.

De­signed specif­i­cally with the BC Bike Race ter­rain in mind, the El­e­ment 990 RSL BC Edi­tion pro­vides an ex­cel­lent marathon stage race bike that bal­ances cross-coun­try fi­nesse with the abil­ity to tame the oc­ca­sional A-Line temp­ta­tion.

For 2017, Rocky has re­fined the BC Edi­tion’s main fea­tures, such as the geom­e­try and sus­pen­sion per­for­mance, and “sweated over the small stuff” such as rigid­ity, han­dling and the abil­ity to carry enough wa­ter bot­tles on board to sur­vive a marathon stage. The DNA of this 29er ma­chine is car­bon, in the form of a Smooth­wall Car­bon C13 frame with fully sealed car­tridge bear­ings, a press fit BB, in­ter­nal ca­ble rout­ing and RIDE-9 ad­justable geom­e­try and sus­pen­sion rate. The RIDE-9 ad­just­ment sys­tem al­lows you to dial in your head and seat tube an­gles us­ing allen keys to nine pos­si­ble con­fig­u­ra­tions, cus­tomiz­ing the ride to your spe­cific sweet spot. Once we had our po­si­tion set, we ran the con­fig­u­ra­tion through­out the en­tire seven days with­out a change or a sec­ond thought. The same can be said for the sus­pen­sion sys­tem, which we di­aled in on day one of our ride.

Up front, the El­e­ment BC Edi­tion is equipped with a Rock­Shox Pike RCT3 120mm fork and bal­ances out with a Rock­Shox Monarch RT3 100mm rear shock. The four-bar Smooth­link sus­pen­sion sys­tem han­dled ev­ery form of trail con­di­tion we en­coun­tered along the BC Bike Race route. Whether we were on the edge of the sad­dle pow­er­ing up steep, loose gravel grades, flow­ing through roller­coaster-like berms, speed­ing along root-rough­ened sin­gle track or drop­ping off an A-line plunge, we never felt out of our el­e­ment… on this El­e­ment.

Shred­ding the rugged North Shore trails and tech­ni­cal ter­rain that is of­fered up dur­ing the Squamish and Whistler stages of the BC Bike Race was sec­ond na­ture to the El­e­ment 990 RSL, its first na­ture be­ing that of a cross-coun­try race ma­chine. But, un­like XC rigs of the past, of­fer­ing 100mm or less of travel on skinny rub­ber, this BC ver­sion of the El­e­ment boasts some back-coun­try bonuses, such as 120mm of travel, a Rock­Shox Re­verb Stealth 30.9mm drop­per seat­post, a Race Face SixC 800mm bar, and meaty Maxxis DHR II 29 x 2.3 / Min­ion SS 29 x 2.3 EXO TR tires. All per­formed in­cred­i­bly well to keep us in con­trol and in line when the de­scents got gnarly, and sans the odd bar-wedge is­sues on some nar­row bridges and through tight tree lines, we didn’t have an is­sue and wouldn’t change a thing.

The El­e­ment 990 RSL BC Edi­tion also fea­tures a solid driv­e­train with Shi­mano at the heart. The XTR shifters and rear de­railleur, along with the XT 11-46T, of­fered a 1x11 sys­tem that pro­vided us with all the ra­tios we needed over the week. While the ter­rain var­ied in the ex­treme from 14% climbs to high-speed gravel-road de­scents, we never found our­selves search­ing for more gears – more legs maybe, but not more gears! The Shi­mano XT brake levers and 180mm brakes also sup­plied plenty of two-fin­ger con­trol and lived up to the needs of seven days in the sad­dle with­out an is­sue.

While we’re sure some may ar­gue there are plenty of bikes on the mar­ket that would be bet­ter suited, specif­i­cally, to han­dle the steep climbs or rugged de­scents you en­counter on cour­ses such as the BC Bike Race, few would be as ca­pa­ble of tack­ling all con­di­tions with such bal­ance as the El­e­ment 990 RSL BC Edi­tion.

THE BIKE $7,199 Price: Weight: 13.2 KG Com­po­nents: Shi­mano, Race Face, WTB, Stan’s rims. Frame/Fork: Shock: Car­bon C13 with Rock­Shox Pike RCT3 and Monarch RT3 shock. Geom­e­try: Head­tube 69-70° Seat-tube 74.5-75.5° Sizes: S, M (tested), L,...

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