ENDURO Long Term Test | Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition
Rip up the trails in British Columbia just once in your life – that has to the the dream of every biker. One that will be denied to long term tester Andi for a while yet, but he still considers himself pretty lucky. After all he can hammer the brand new
Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition over the trails for a whole season – at least that should bring a bit of Canadian flair to his world.
The Thunderbolt BC has already earned a Design & Innovation Award 2015 and we were so impressed with the 12,00 kg light carbon rocket that we definitely wanted to know how it fares under long term use. The spec ticks every box (and that’s a good thing as € 6,500 is no chicken feed): tight SRAM X01 gears, rock-solid Shimano XT brakes, reliable RockShox Reverb Stealth (125 mm stroke) and light weight Race Face parts. In contrast to its siblings the BC Edition Thunderbolt is more geared up for hard trail use and therefore comes with a RockShox Pike, ZTR Flow EX wheels with more robust tyres, a wider carbon bar (760 mm) and shorter stem (50 mm) from the Race Face 35 range.
“I can’t wait to see how the BC2 Pivot and PIPELOCK system function long term as they are constructed exclusively with bushings fitted with grease nipples. Is this the recipe for long term durability?” says Andi.
Thanks to the so-called RIDE9 shock mount the geometry of the Thunderbolt BC can be adjusted in 3 minutes from race-rocket (68.2°/74.6°) to trail-hunter (66.5°/73.0°) whilst also optimising the spring rate of the rear shock to the rider weight. “In time I’m definitely going to work through all of the adjustments, the first test laps with both extremes have made me very curious – you can really feel the differences straight away!”
With a height of 1.78 m Andi chose the medium frame size in order to make best use of the maneuverability and agility (422 mm chainstays!). “That’s pretty much the limit though, from 1.80 m you should definitely look at the next size up. Very good: Rocky Mountain offer the Thunderbolt in 5 sizes from XS–XL. So there should be the right frame for everyone.”
The Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition is just the right bike for Andi: “I ride 30 km to work every day but that’s also one of the reasons I can’t go biking so much during the week. With the Thunderbolt commuting is going to get a lot more fun. I’ll be quick and efficient but can also try out any trail I want. At the weekend I love exploring different regions so that means a ride can be up to 70–80 km – but I still want to have fun on the trails and try out sections. But with more travel long rides somehow get pretty unpleasant so 130/120 mm is perfect. And full speed trail-sessions with my friends will still be no problem thanks to the BC spec. The bike is going to be hounded at least 200 off-road km every week from now on. Anything else will be a spontaneous decision but I’m sure there’ll be some Alpine action too. The main aim for the season is: as many kilometres as possible in any type of terrain I find in front of my tyres.”
Born: 1985 | Biking since: 2002 | Height: 178 cm | Weight: 70 kg | Job: Media Designer | @Strava
Words: Andreas Maschke Photos: Klaus Kneist