130mm trail bike with 2.8in Plus tyres - €5,600
Dumbing down the Shore. That’s the bold claim behind the new Rocky Mountain Pipeline.
Those with long memories will recall the original 1998 Pipeline. A four inch travel freeride bike that was ridden down precipitous scree slopes and bucked off North Shore ladder bridges by Wade Simmons, Richie Schley and Brett Tippie.
The new bike aims to inspire similar carefree antics with the integration of the latest 2.8 Plus tyres to 130mm trail bike chassis.
A Plus tyre Instinct
Except that it’s not really a new bike at all, it’s Rocky’s 29er platform – the Instinct – adapted to take Plus tyres. To do this Rocky has adopted Boost hub spacing front and rear and given up any option to run a front mech. These factors allied to its slender stays means that the Pipeline will actually accommodate up to 3.25in tyres.
It gets a carbon main triangle mated to an alloy rear end and Rocky Mountain’s familiar four bar suspension platform with its Ride9 tuning system. This interlocking shock mount chip lets you choose between nine different settings so you can play with the geometry and progressively of the suspension depending on your preference.
Bushings not bearings
Love it or loathe it the Pipeline’s back end pivots on bushings instead of bearings. On the plus side this saves weight but friction can be a problem in the long run and in our experience the suspension just isn’t as supple as a result.
Fortunately for the Pipeline the big Maxxis Rekon tyres do such a good job of increasing grip and ironic out the bumps that you don’t notice this anymore.
The long seat tube makes it difficult to size up too. Indeed at a 180cm tall ideally we’d ride the XL frame but this would be impossible without running a short drop seat post.
The top of the range 770 MSL ridden here gets Fox suspension front and rear and a Shimano XT 1×11 drivetrain for €5,600. While there’s a more affordable option at €4,000 with a RockShox Yari fork and a Monarch shock.