Now, this is a really cool mountain bike. But is it right for you? Let me ask you this. Have ever ridden down a trail and not felt confident and in control, or just plain crashed? Or do you feel like you’ve out ridden your current bike and you’re ready for the next step?
If the answer is ‘Yes’ then the Thunderbolt might just be the best bike you’ve ever bought.
The Thunderbolt is a bike I’ve spent some time on, and although it’s not the fastest Rocky or one with the most suspension travel, it is by a large margin, the most fun bike I’ve ridden.
Within the ‘bolt there’s a certain playful character/efficiency/responsiveness that makes riding it easy and it’s adaptable natures means you can ride it on all intermediate level trails and (if you’re a good bike handler) even single black diamond trails and still have an enjoyable experience.
The Thunderbolt Alloy 30 is your perfect progression bike. It will make you a faster, more confident rider.
Rocky invests a huge amount of resources into ensuring their aluminum frames are best in class. In the case of the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Alloy 30, there have also been updates in suspension kinematics and behaviour to deliver a smoother and more efficient ride.
This updated frame uses sealed bearing pivots and a double row of bearings at the lower shock mount. They’ve done this to zero down on maintenance time, improve the Thunderbolt’s small bump compliance and reduce stiction in the rear shock. Like Rocky’s upper end products, the Thunderbolt Alloy also gets concealed bearing pivots on the chainstay for cleaner aesthetics.
An integrated down tube protector also ensures protection against rocks and impacts. All the cables are hidden within the front triangle. Both rear brake and rear derailleur cables have been exposed to ensure easy maintenance for mechanical work.
130mm of rear wheel travel is paired to a 130mm fork, the Rock Shox Sektor RL. The Thunderbolt runs 27.5 inch wheels but can also accommodate the rarely seen 26-inch Plus size.
At its heart is Ride 9. It’s the most distinguishing part of all Rocky’s and I’ll go through why it’s a seriously good feature that everyone will benefit from.
The Alloy 30 will be available in medium, large and extra large frame sizes. For proper sizing, please visit us in store or check out Rocky Mountain’s sizing chart.
Rocky has essentially made the Thunderbolt a much more capable trail bike than its predecessors. Suspension travel has changed from 120mm to 130mm front and rear. The bike has become slacker, longer in the top tube and more stable than previous generation bikes.
At its core is Ride 9.
This is one of the main reasons why you should buy the Thunderbolt Alloy 30. Let me explain.
Most bike brands will have you fixed into a geometry and suspension they assume is going to be right for you. But you’re going to have to make compromises and make up for the shortcomings of the bike isn’t good at.
What this means, is that the either the bike won’t climb efficiently or descend with confidence.
With Ride 9, this is not the case. You have the option of choosing any one of the 9 positions on offer. To change from one position to the next takes a couple of minutes and requires a 4mm and 5mm allen key.
And every position is completely different. The position you choose will depend on what trail you’re riding and how you ride. Out of the 9 positions, I’m going to briefly explain the 3 most common; Slack, Neutral and Steep.
When you know the descent is going to be scary and you’re crazy enough to attempt it anyway. In Slack, the Thunderbolt’s centre of gravity is at its lowest point. All the angles slacken out, and deliver a ride that is incredibly grounded and stable. Perfect for when lots of speed and gravity are involved.
It also changes the behaviour of the rear shock and adds progression to its damping. This means you don’t bottom and use all your travel landing jumps and drop-offs. It also gives the bike a bottomless feel, like you’ve got way more than 130mm of travel under you.
This is the most average position in the spectrum. It falls directly between the Slack and Steep modes. Use this for when the trails are equally steep, up and down.
Use this mode if you want to make pedalling and climbing up stuff easy as possible. It raises the centre of gravity of the Thunderbolt, and steepens all the important angles putting you in the most efficient climbing position.
Unlike the Slack mode, Steep makes the rear shock more linear. A linear shock behaviour results in the best climbing traction.
If you want a mode between Neutral and Slack, or Neutral and Steep there is more than one available.
The new 2019 Sektor RL is the best Sektor we’ve seen to date. It’s made from a combination of Magnesium and Aluminum and at its heart ises the new DebonAir spring. What on Earth does this mean?
It’s gonna be light, firstly. And with DebonAir handling all the impacts, it’s also going to stay glued to the trail. DebonAir is what put RockShox on the radar of mountain bikers years ago because it completely transformed how the fork performed over rough trails.
This new generation DebonAir takes it a step further. A larger negative air
spring delivers a smoother response to impacts in the first 25% of the fork’s movement.
Both the front and rear shock feature adjustments such as air pressure, rebound and lockout. Further tuning can be done through the use of volume spacers, which we can go through with you during setup.
Gear shifting and drive train parts are made up from Shimano super-reliable SLX groupset. The SLX family is third from the top and for amateur to intermediate riders is more than acceptable. At this level, gear shift quality is not an issue. Replacement parts are cost-effective too.
MT500 brakes deliver 30% more powerful braking performance with better modulation than Shimano’s entry level brake system. Shimano have always been the benchmark for quality and reliability, and the MT500 are no different.
Rocky has also used Shimano Deore level hubs for front and rear wheels. Typically at this price point we only see home-brand hubs, so it’s great to see that Shimano parts are being used in critical areas of the bike.
|Frame||FORM™ Alloy. Full Sealed Cartridge Bearings. Press Fit BB. Internal Cable Routing. 2-Bolt ISCG05 Tabs. RIDE-9™ Adjustable Geometry + Suspension Rate|
|Fork||RockShox Sektor RL, 130mm travel|
|Shock||RockShox Deluxe RT, 130mm rear wheel travel|
|Handlebar||Rocky Mountain AM, 760mm, 31.8mm|
|Stem||Rocky Mountain AM|
|Seatpost||Rocky Mountain SL 30.9mm|
|Saddle||WTB Volt Race|
|Shifters||Shimano SLX, 11 speed|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano SLX|
|Brakes||Shimano MT500, Shimano RT54 rotors, 180mm|
|Brake Levers||Shimano MT500 hydraulic disc|
|Cassette||Shimano SLX, 11T-46T, 11 speed|
|Crankset||Race Face Ride, Cinch, 32T Steel|
|Bottom Bracket||Race Face BB92 24mm|
|Hubs||Fr: Shimano M6010 Boost 15mm. Rr: Shimano M6010 Boost 148mm|
|Spokes||2.0 Stainless steel, 14g|
|Tyres||Fr: Maxxis Minion DHR II Folding 27.5 x 2.3, Rr: Maxxis Minion DHR II Folding 27.5 x 2.3|