The mountain biking industry has long been searching for the perfect balance between climbing efficiency and descending capability. While advances in bike geometry and componentry have narrowed the gap between cross-country and trail bikes more than ever before, they each come with their compromises. Trail bikes sacrifice all-out climbing efficiency with slacker head tube angles, heavier tires, and more aggressive geometry. In contrast, cross-country bikes lack the suspension and geometry needed to descend at the limit in comfort. Our latest Select build is our attempt at bridging this gap in an uncompromising approach that genuinely offers the best of both categories.
When looking for which frame to center this build around, one quickly stood out: the Rocky Mountain Element. With 120mm rear travel and aggressive geometry, the Element is as capable a descender as an all-mountain bike while still falling in the cross-country/short travel category, even in its stock configuration. With the few custom upgrades we’ve sprinkled in, this build is the ideal do-it-all all-bike for a hard-charging rider who wants a superior climbing shred-machine. The head-tube angle can be adjusted up to a full degree depending on rider preference thanks to a 4-position flip-chip.
By outfitting the Element’s 120mm travel frame with Rockshox’s Lyrik fork, we’ve pushed the limits of the bike’s capabilities while maintaining its singletrack-shredding geometry and lively characteristics. Equipped with Rockshox’s latest Charger Damper and Buttercup technology, this 140mm fork is up to tackle any descent without bogging down the front end weight of the bike. We’ve seriously beefed up the ground-tracking nature of the Elements rear suspension with a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate.
The Sram Level Silver Stealth 4-piston brake system integrates SRAM’s all-new lever assembly plus a four-piston caliper, delivering an exceptional power-to-weight ratio. It boasts the stopping power typically associated with trail bikes while maintaining a weight suitable for XC racing. The redesigned lever has an ultra-close profile to the bar for minimalist hose routing while providing a clean, tidy cockpit. Adjusting the lever’s reach is simple with SRAM’s tool-free system, provisioning swift, hassle-free adjustments. This braking system will provide ample confidence and control on everything from meandering single track to steep, skid-inducing chutes, with a 200mm HS2 rotor up front and a 180mm rotor in the rear.
Beefing up the suspension and brakes on this bike would be pointless if we didn’t outfit it with a wheelset capable of the demands of high-speed rock-riddled descents. Handcrafted here at Fanatik, these wheels will retain their perfectly true profile for many rides to come. Onyx’s silent Vesper hubs are laced to Race Face Arc 30 rims, providing a solid wheelset that can tackle the rigors of aggressive mountain biking. Aside from their flawless functionality and suburb durability, this wheelset has another trick: it’s dead silent. Onyx’s patented sprang clutch eliminates the typical buzz of a pawl-driven hub, allowing for uninhibited feedback of tires on dirt.
SRAM’s GX Transmission drivetrain is the latest drivetrain technology on the market, making it an easy choice for this Select build. Designed to shift incredibly well under load, it is a perfect addition to this ultra-aggressive short-travel machine, allowing the rider to shift gears no matter the situation. Whether you’re climbing steep hills or charging technical descents, GX Transmission ensures seamless shifts, allowing you to maintain momentum while focusing on the next obstacle ahead.
The cockpit of this unique build is tailored to the best of both disciplines. The pairing of a Deity Speedway 35 carbon handlebar and a Deity Copperhead 35mm stem provides a comfortable yet aggressive riding position in a compliant, lightweight package. Deity’s vibration-damping Supracush grips mute out any harsh vibrations, limiting hand fatigue for the duration of a ride.
The Rocky Mountain Element, enhanced with our hand-selected upgrades, is the ultimate do-it-all bike for an aggressive rider who demands the best of both worlds. Its efficient suspensions and high-tech drivetrain allow it to climb like a cross-country bike, while its aftermarket suspension and custom wheelset enable it to descend like a trail bike. Whether you are tackling endless singletrack or lapping flat-out descents, this Select build is up to the task. It’s time to stop compromising and hop aboard a bike that can perform regardless of terrain.