New Rocky Mountain Element Blurs Lines Between XC and Trail Bike

The new Rocky Mountain Element gets 120mm of rear travel for racing aggressive tracks or just having more fun in the forest.
Photos: Margus Riga / Rocky Mountain

It’s been about four years since Rocky Mountain’s Element was last updated and in that time, cross-country bikes have changed a lot, and so has the new Element. Dedicated XC athletes still need a quick and agile steed to navigate courses where power matters, but demand for short travel bikes has largely shifted to something that is easy to pedal and fun to ride everywhere.

The new Rocky Mountain Element appears to be growing toward the latter, as a BC-XC bike. The Element now grows into 120mm of rear travel with a 130mm fork, which looks just shy of what a 29er version of their retired Thunderbolt could have been.

The Element will come in sizes XS-XL, with the XS being a 27.5er and the rest getting 29-inch wheels.

Rocky Mountain again utilizes a Horst Link suspension layout in the Element and has revised the kinematics. Rocky Mountain is known for building very active beginning strokes in their suspension rates, and they say with the new Element that they have increased the anti-squat for better acceleration, but tried to keep a solid amount of support. The end-stroke progression has also been reduced to use all of the travel more easily.

Rocky Mountain is using the Ride-4 geometry adjustment system on the new Element, rather than Ride-9 like other models. The bike also gets stock frame protection, and sizes S-XL can fit two bottles in the frame; one small and one large bottle on size smalls and two large bottles on sizes M-XL.

The Element can use chainrings between 30-36T, max tire clearance in the frame is 2.6″, and the bike has been slacked out enough to call for a reduced offset fork.

On a medium with 29″ wheels in the neutral setting, the Element has a 65.5° HTA, a 76.5° STA, a 420mm seat tube length, 435mm chainstays (across sizes), a 455mm reach, and a 1,202mm wheelbase.

There are several different builds for the Element including both alloy and full carbon frame options. The entry-level Alloy 10 model comes with a RockShox Judy Silver fork with a Deluxe Select shock, Tektro HD-M275 brakes, and a Rocky Mountain Toonie dropper post. The price for this build is $2,559.

The top level C90 build includes a full carbon frame, Fox Factory suspension, Shimano XTR 2-piston brakes and an XTR drivetrain, Maxxis Rekon tires, and Rocky Mountain 26XC carbon rims with a DT Swiss 350 rear hub. Price on this model is $9,589.

For more information, check out the Rocky Mountain website.