Rock Machine is not a name that we'd come across before, but the price tag is certainly eye-catching. We jump onboard to see if it's got the performance to back up the price.

Product Overview

Rock Machine Blizzard 50-297


  • You’re guaranteed not to clip a pedal riding this bike, the amount of BB clearance is extreme. Great tyre choice. Great value (if the geometry was improved).


  • The BB is way too high and the seat tube is too tall and too slack.


Rock Machine Blizzard 50-297 first ride review


Price as reviewed:


The Rock Machine Blizzard 50-297 has the price to compete with any of the best enduro bikes on the market, but does it deliver on the trails?

Need to know

  • Mullet enduro bike with 160mm of travel front and rear
  • DVO suspension including a Diamond D3 fork and Jade R coil-sprung rear shock
  • Soft compound WTB Vigilante front tyre pairs with a fast-rolling WTB Trail Boss rear tyre
  • Three frame sizes all with size-specific dropper posts and shock springs
Rock Machine Blizzard

The Rock Machine uses a twin-link suspension design with a further linkage driving the shock

MBR doesn’t normally give brand rundowns but I’m going to here, because the Rock Machine is new to the UK so very little is known about it. Mention the name and most people will likely think of a heavy metal festival, venture onto the company website however and you’ll see it’s a bike brand based in the Czech Republic.

Rock Machine Blizzard

DVO Jade R coil shock only gets adjustable rebound damping and the stock spring rate was too firm for our 87kg test rider

It has a vast range including e-bikes, where all of the analogue full suspension bikes come with the Blizzard moniker, which is a little confusing. To make things clearer the two XC marathon bikes carry the XCR tag, the three trail bikes have TRL added and the enduro bikes are just called Blizzard. The creatively named 50-297 here is the entry-level option in the three strong enduro range, where the bikes are all mullets with coil sprung rear shock and 160mm of travel front and rear.

Rock Machine Blizzard

DVO fork gets 35mm chassis and adjustable compression and rebound damping

The bike is built around a 6061 series aluminium chassis – the tubes have a little bit of profiling for stiffness and all the cables are internally routing. It uses a twin-link suspension design and all in, it’s a tidy bike. At 16.36kg (36.07lb) for the complete build however, it’s pretty weighty. Which is to be expected, given the price point.

Rock Machine Blizzard

The seat tube on the XL is overlong at 500mm, especially considering the reach is tiny at 450mm. On most modern XL enduro bikes these numbers are swapped round.

And while the frame looks a little ordinary even at this money, Rock Machine has fitted a couple of jewels in the DVO suspension components. The Diamond D3 fork is an OE only product, which means you can’t buy it aftermarket, but it does get a beefy 35mm chassis and a closed cartridge damper with low-speed compression and rebound adjustment.

Rock Machine Blizzard

At the rear there’s a Jade R Coil shock, which again is an OE option, and it only has external rebound adjustment. To accommodate different rider weights, Rock Machine fits different rate springs across the three frame sizes – 400, 450 and 500lb on the medium, large and extra-large respectively. The 500lb spring on our XL test bike was a little too firm for me, even at 87kg, so I struggled to get all of the travel. As such, the rear suspension didn’t feel as plush or compliant as I’d expect from a coil-sprung 160mm bike. Still, it’s a good indication that Rock Machine has got good ballpark spring rates for the frame sizes, and most XL riders will be heavier than me.

Rock Machine Blizzard

The bars could be a bit wider and the shape was weird

Drivetrain and brake components are from the mid-range Shimano Deore stable. The four-piston disc brakes took several hard gallops to bed in, but they have a nice light lever feel backed up with plenty of stopping power. Shifting is only 11-speed and, while it didn’t have the smoothness of Shimano’s XT or XTR drivetrains, I didn’t really notice the lack of a 12th gear when hoofing around because the cassette still offers a massive 11-51t range. To keep the chain corralled the frame comes with a mini chain device fitted.

Rock Machine Blizzard

DVO fork is a decent performer for the price

As for the rest of the finishing kit, the in-house branded components are functional but the 760mm handlebar (I’d like 20mm wider) had a bit of a goofy profile with virtually zero up-sweep. To get it to feel okay I ended up rotating it quite far forward, which also made the bike feel longer, which is no bad thing. A comfy WTB Volt saddle straddled the One1 dropper post, which again is a generic design. Rock Machine has done the right thing though and fitted size-specific dropper posts across the three frame sizes – 150mm on the medium and large and a 170mm on the XL.

Rock Machine Blizzard

Quality WTB tyres are fitted to the mixed wheel sizes: 29in up front and 27.5in out back

The WTB Vigilante and Trail Boss tyres are good tyres and Rock Machine has gone with a ‘High Grip’ option on the front and a ‘Quick Rolling’ one on the rear. Front end grip is tenacious and when you step on the gas or unwind out of a corner the bike retains a little bit of urgency thanks to the harder compound on the rear. That harder rubber on the rear tyre is also going to last a bit longer.

Rock Machine Blizzard

The sky-scraping BB height might work for super rocky trails, but Rock Machine could easily drop it 30mm without causing excessive pedal strikes

How it rides

Rock Machine describes the Blizzard 50-297 as having ‘Advanced geometry, which makes it quick and nimble, easy to manage the transfer, and uphill stages.’ If you take this statement at face value, it seems clear that the 377mm bottom bracket height, which is 25-30mm taller than most 160mm travel bikes, is totally deliberate. So if it’s not a mistake, why is it so high?

Rock Machine Blizzard

Old skool geo and retro styling makes the Rock Machine somewhat outdated compared to the latest crop of enduro shredders

Well a high BB has advantages, the main one being you’re unlikely to catch a pedal, especially if you’re riding a technical uphill and want to stay on the gas. In that regard this bike does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a rock eating monster masher. And if things get too rugged the high stance also makes the Blizzard 50-297 more maneuverable, so you’re able to pick your way quickly around the stuff you can’t ride over.

Rock Machine Blizzard

Changing geometry is free, so if Rock Machine could update the Blizzard and keep the price, it would be onto a winner

The flip side of such a lofty BB is that it doesn’t help when you want to lower your centre of gravity when carving singletrack or rolling into a steep descent. So I found myself hunkering down more than normal on the Rock Machine to make it feel more stable. The problem then, is the Blizzard 50-297 is also pretty short in the reach, even for an XL size, so trying to get the balance right wasn’t easy. The high BB also pushes the saddle up relative to the handlebar and, when you factor in the tall seat mast, it felt like I was riding around with my head in the clouds. Nothing new there, then.


And while every bike company has its own take on geometry and handling, it would be a boring place if they didn’t, Rock Machine is a little out on its own with this one, especially given that seat angle is too slack and the chainstays too short to make effective use of the elevated BB height on the climbs. The shape is exactly as the company intended though, because most of my measurements tally with those on the website. And I’m not convinced an overly high BB is a good idea even when riding somewhere notoriously rocky like the Lake District. In fact, we’ve criticised plenty of bikes where the BB was only 10mm too high, and the Rock Machine is triple that. In creating the Blizzard 50–297 Rock Machine has put together a well-specced if weighty 160mm travel enduro bike. It’s blown most of the budget on the bits that matter too, like the suspension and tyres so that’s definitely a plus point.  Some aspects of the geometry clearly miss the mark though.


Frame:6061 aluminium, 160mm travel
Shock:DVO Jade R Coil, 500lb spring
Fork:DVO Diamond D3, 160mm travel
Wheels:Shimano MT400 hubs, WTB ST i29 rims, WTB Vigilante TCS High Grip 29 x 2.5in / Trail Boss TCS Fast Rolling 27.5 x 2.6in tyres
Drivetrain:Shimano Deore 32t chainset, Shimano Deore derailleur and 11sp shifter, Deore 11-51t cassette
Brakes:Shimano Deore 4-piston, 180/180mm rotors
Components:One1 760mm bar, One1 TDS 45mm stem, One1 170mm post, WTB Volt Sport saddle
Sizes:M, L, XL
Weight:16.36kg (36.07lb)
Size ridden:XL
Rider height:5ft 10in
Head angle:64.2º
Seat angle:66º
Effective seat angle:72.5º
BB height:377mm
Front centre:805mm
Down tube:722mm
Seat tube:500mm
Top tube:630mm