Modern mountain bikes look very different from their predecessors.
But appearances aside, just how different are they? Do they ride that differently? And have they actually got better?
I pitted two mountain bikes in a head-to-head test to find out.
Both bikes are Rocky Mountain Elements – the brand’s full-suspension cross-country/trail bike.
The first Element is a silver and black model from 2005 and was provided courtesy of my dad.
The second is a 2022-spec model, but it shares an identical frame with the latest 2023 bike.
They’re also the same ‘70’ version. While the spec is, of course, very different, the two bikes sit at roughly equivalent points in the brand’s overall model hierarchy.But just how different are they? In this head-to-head test, I compare the frame design, geometry and specs before pitting the two head to head out on the trail. How much have mountain bike frames changed in nearly 20 years? My dad bought his Rocky Mountain Element (left) in 2005.My dad bought his Rocky Mountain Element 70 back in 2005. He still rides the bike to this day.It’s very much a product of its time, with an aluminium frame , 26in wheels and geometry that is best described as old-school.Without even diving into the geometry charts, it’s visually obvious how much shorter and smaller it is than the much newer bike.The frame tubes were made by Easton, but unlike its famous square-profiled RAD tubing of the time, the Element was made from 7005 Ultralite Taperwall aluminium round tubes.Compared to modern trail […]