Rocky Mountain Solo : Margus Riga

Rider: Sam Schultz / Photo: Margus Riga / Location: Missoula to Arizona, USA

Rocky Mountain Bicycles have jumped into the gravel game with the new Solo line of bikes, the Vancouver brand’s own unique take on what it thinks the adventure / gravel category is capable of. The gravel road bike is still a relatively new type of bike, covering a wide range of potential uses from gravel racing to off-road touring. Given the Rocky Mountain’s long history in mountain biking, it’s not surprising that the Solo pushes toward the “capable” side of the gravel bike category.

Canadian Cycling Magazine is reviewing the Solo 70, so scroll down for first impressions of Rocky Mountain’s new gravel / adventure bike.

Rider: Sam Schultz / Photo: Margus Riga / Location: Missoula to Arizona, USA

Rider: Sam Schultz / Photo: Margus Riga / Location: Missoula to Arizona, USA

Two models of the Solo will be available, the 70 and 50, and both feature aluminum frames with carbon forks, massive tire clearance, dropper post routing and mounts for multiple racks and bags. A dropped driveside stay easily allows clearance for 700 x 40c tires, with the option to run 650b x 2.2 opening up the Solo to an even wider range of possible uses. Mounting bosses on both fork legs and rear rack compatibility add to three bottle mounts on the frame, giving options to load the Solo up with everything you need to survive the night outdoors. 12 x 142 mm thru axles make sure the Solo handles confidently even when it’s fully loaded and off road.

Rider: Sam Schultz / Photo: Margus Riga / Location: Missoula to Arizona, USA

Rider: Sam Schultz / Photo: Margus Riga / Location: Missoula to Arizona, USA

Clearly stating Rocky’s intention that the Solo should inspire adventures that involve a fair dose of fun riding, there’s internal routing and clearance for a full length dropper post on both the 70 and 50. Frames feature internal cable and brake routing, are 1 x 11 specific and have 425 mm chainstays. Rocky Mountain claims a weight of 9.5 kg for the Solo 70 and 10 kg for the Solo 50.

Rider: Sam Schultz / Photo: Margus Riga / Location: Missoula to Arizona, USA

Rider: Sam Schultz / Photo: Margus Riga / Location: Missoula to Arizona, USA

Watch Rocky Mountain’s launch video for the Solo, following former Olympic mountain biker Sam Shultz, his van and his dog, Pancho from Montana to Arizona’s dry Sonora Desert, then read some first impressions of the Solo 70 below.

Photo: Margus Riga / Location: Missoula to Arizona, USA

Rocky Mountain Solo 70: First Impressions

With clearance for some sizeable rubber and the option for dropper post routing, Rocky Mountain has made a bike that is very capable and, as became clear quite quickly while riding the Solo 70, very fun. The first ride on the Solo included pavement, rough gravel roads, winding gravel paths, and some mellow mountain bike trails. The more I pushed the Solo on each of these, the more fun the bike became.

Rocky spec’s the Solo 70 with a SRAM Force drivetrain, including a 10-42 11-speed cassette and a 1x40t chainring upfront, hydraulic brakes, and Maxxis’s unfortunately named but great performing Ravager 40c tubeless ready tires. Out of the box, this is a set up that’s very at home the minute the pavement ends. The wide range SRAM cassette made steeper gravel grades work with the 1-by system, and the Maxxis tires rolled fast off road, while giving an impressive amount of traction and confidence cornering on gravel and on trails.

The Solo’s geometry was comfortable on pavement, and confidence inspiring off road. Even on mellower trails, the Solo 70 felt at home, which is a good attribute for a bike designed for the unpredictability of off road adventures and touring, where you can never be entirely certain what conditions you’ll run into.

It will be interesting to see how the Solo 70’s personality changes with the wide range of tire options Rocky Mountain has made its gravel / adventure bike compatible with. First impressions reveal the Solo as a bike that invites you to push its capabilities as much as your capable doing so, but a longer test will show how it handles in a wider range of riding conditions.

Photo: Margus Riga / Location: Missoula to Arizona, USA

Solo 70
Alloy frame
SRAM Force 1x drivetrain
Dropper post ready
Fits 700 x 40c and 650b x 2.20 tires, tubeless ready
$3,450 CAD

Photo: Margus Riga / Location: Missoula to Arizona, USA

Solo 50
Alloy frame
SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain
Dropper post ready
Fits 700 x 40c and 650b x 2.20 tires, tubeless ready
$2,650 CAD

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