Rocky Mountain Vertex 970 RSL 2017
Giant Bikes - Rocky Mountain
Rocky Mountain Vertex 970 RSL 
The Vertex 970 RSL is perfect for the racer or high-end enthusiast. It’s a lesson in perfectly engineered carbon fibre - comfortable, efficient and delivering superb control. We go through why the Vertex will suitable for you and the key upgrades over the 950 RSL.
Rocky’s Smoothwall Carbon C13 is one of the best in the industry. We don’t say that lightly, because carbon is really easy to market, because after all you can’t see the inside of a carbon frame, or the quality of manufacture (unless you slice the frame in half). The best carbon frames have the best finish – on the inside of the frame. This means no wrinkles, no voids, no excess resin or glue and no sharp transitions in wall thickness or radii. And no fibres sticking out either. That’s a lot of work. We’ve seen some beautiful finishes from the outside, and ugly as sin from the inside.
So to eliminate all this, the boffins at Rocky Mountain use a process called Smoothwall. A rigid internal mould helps compact the fibres down into their respective layers. This squeezes all the excess resin out and ensures that wall thicknesses are smooth, with gentle radii at the bends. We’re sure there’s more to it, but we’ve explained it in the most basic form possible. Rocky don’t let out trade secrets easily, after all.
But Rocky Mountain takes it a step further. Each size frame is individually layered and has a specific mould. This means no matter how tall you are, you’re not put a disadvantage – larger riders don’t put up with excessive flex and smaller riders don’t need to ride a frame that’s too stiff.
For the higher-end enthusiast, the Vertex 970 RSL comes with 2 key upgrades over the 950 RSL; the Fox 32 Step Cast Performance and Shimano XT-XTR components.
Fox introduced a cross-country specific fork last season and called it Step Cast (SC). It’s the lightest XC suspension fork that Fox has ever made – without compromising performance. Fox call it Step Cast because there is a step moulded at the bottom of the fork legs.
The Performance level sits directly under the Factory fork – you don’t get the gold Kashima coating – but the internals are much the same. A closed bath damper prevents mixing of the oil and air chambers. This is good because when these two mix, the suspension feels really harsh – like it’s locked out. A closed unit also ensures your seals last a bit longer too.
A new air spring ensures that small bumps feel like...nothing. The larger negative air spring is responsible for this. For riders who are really pedantic about setup, the new air spring allows you to use volume spacers for the positive air chamber. This means you can run your pressures lower (for better small bump sensitivity) and not bottom out easily.
The Vertex 970 RSL uses a mainly XT group set with an XTR rear derailleur. It’s a thing of beauty. But we also know from experience that XT and XTR are going to work flawlessly.
The 970 RSL rolls on a SunRingle SRC rear hub, which not only delivers crazy fast power, but also ensures maximum durability from the rear hub with the use of 4 sealed bearings to support the rear axle instead of the normal two.
SunRingle Helix 25 rims are fantastic all-rounders. They use a double wall profile and are further reinforced with eyelets for strength. The Helix 25 rim is 21mm wide internally and 25mm wide externally; meeting current trends for wide cross-country rims. These can also be setup as tubeless.
Maxxis Ikons are one of the best all round cross country tyres. They are perfect for a range of hardpack, loose over hardpack and wet conditions. Produce from the Maxxis’ 3C Maxx Speed compound, they use 3 different rubber compounds – soft on the shoulders, intermediate and hard in the centre for minimal rolling resistance – specifically designed for grip and to tread life.
Warranty on the frame is 5 years from Rocky Mountain, 2 years from Shimano and 1 year on all else. You also receive 2 free services that are valid within 12 months of purchase.
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