Rip up the trails in British Columbia just once in your life – that has to the the dream of every biker. One that will be denied to long term tester Andi for a while yet, but he still considers himself pretty lucky. After all he can hammer the brand new
Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition over the trails for a whole season – at least that should bring a bit of Canadian flair to his world.

Wendig, leicht, agil – aber auch stabil? Das Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition wird ab sofort eine ganze Saison über die Trails gejagt.
Maneuverable, light, agile – but also strong? As of now the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition will be getting hammered over the trails for a whole season.

The Thunderbolt BC has already earned a Design & Innovation Award 2015 and we were so impressed with the 12,00 kg light carbon rocket that we definitely wanted to know how it fares under long term use. The spec ticks every box (and that’s a good thing as € 6,500 is no chicken feed): tight SRAM X01 gears, rock-solid Shimano XT brakes, reliable RockShox Reverb Stealth (125 mm stroke) and light weight Race Face parts. In contrast to its siblings the BC Edition Thunderbolt is more geared up for hard trail use and therefore comes with a RockShox Pike, ZTR Flow EX wheels with more robust tyres, a wider carbon bar (760 mm) and shorter stem (50 mm) from the Race Face 35 range.

“I can’t wait to see how the BC2 Pivot and PIPELOCK system function long term as they are constructed exclusively with bushings fitted with grease nipples. Is this the recipe for long term durability?” says Andi.

Das 2015er Thunderbolt BC verfügt ausschließlich über Gleitlager, die dank Schmiernippeln sorgenfreie Dauerhaltbarkeit bieten sollen.
The 2015 Thunderbolt BC is built exclusively with bushings which thanks to external grease nipples are said to offer maximum durability.
Die RockShox Pike SoloAir bietet eine hohe Steifigkeit, hervorragende Dämpfung und mit mit 130 mm auch genug Federweg für grobe Trails. Schön: Custom Decals für Gabel und Felgen, passend zum schicken Stealth-Design des Rahmens.
The RockShox Pike SoloAir offers high rigidity, exceptional damping and with 130 mm enough travel for rough trails. Nice: custom decals for both fork and rims, a perfect match for the stealth-design of the frame.
Die Shimano XT-Bremsen mit 180 mm Scheiben vorn und hinten haben sich schon häufig bewährt. Optisch hätten wir uns zwar eine Postmount-Aufnahme gewünscht, aber für die Dauerhaltbarkeit ist die IS-Aufnahme sicherlich besser, da sich hier kein Gewinde direkt im Rahmen befindet.
Shimano XT brakes with 180 mm rotors front and rear have proven themselves time and time again. Visually we’d have preferred a Postmount but in terms of long term strength the IS system is certainly better as there are no threads in the frame.
Grease Port auch am PIPELOCK genannten Hauptlager. Wer möchte, könnte hier auch noch einen Umwerfer montieren. Aber das 32er Kettenblatt auf der Race Face Turbine Cinch Kurbel …
Even the PIPELOCK titled main pivot is fitted with grease ports. Those who wish can fit a front mech. But the 32 tooth chainring on the Race Face Turbine Cinch cranks …
… bietet zusammen mit der 10-42er X01-Kassette eine vollkommmen ausreichende Übersetzungsbandbreite. Der provisorische Kettenstrebenschutz wird noch einer schickeren und dezenteren Variante weichen.
… combined with the 10–42 X01-cassette provides more than enough gear ratios. The temporary chainstay protector will be binned for a more subtle and stylish version.

Thanks to the so-called RIDE9 shock mount the geometry of the Thunderbolt BC can be adjusted in 3 minutes from race-rocket (68.2°/74.6°) to trail-hunter (66.5°/73.0°) whilst also optimising the spring rate of the rear shock to the rider weight. “In time I’m definitely going to work through all of the adjustments, the first test laps with both extremes have made me very curious – you can really feel the differences straight away!”

Flacher, steiler, Anpassung auf schwerere bzw. leichtere Fahrer – das RIDE9 System bietet zusammen mit dem Monarch DebonAir RT3 vielfältigste Einstellmöglichkeiten. Praktisch: unterschiedlich große Schraubenköpfe (4er und 5er Inbus) erfordern kein doppeltes Werkzeug.
Slacker, steeper, adapt to heavier or lighter riders – the RIDE9 System paired with the Monarch DebonAir RT3 offer a vast range of tuning adjustments. Handy: different size bolt heads (4 and 5mm hex key) mean you don’t need two sets of tools.

With a height of 1.78 m Andi chose the medium frame size in order to make best use of the maneuverability and agility (422 mm chainstays!). “That’s pretty much the limit though, from 1.80 m you should definitely look at the next size up. Very good: Rocky Mountain offer the Thunderbolt in 5 sizes from XS–XL. So there should be the right frame for everyone.”

Kurz, breit und schön: das Race Face Cockpit.
Short, wide and stylish: the Race Face cockpit.
Win/Win: Die 2,40” breiten Maxxis Ardent mit EXO Sidewall passen gut zum Bike und zählen außerdem zu meinen Lieblingsreifen. In näherer Zeit werden sie auf Tubeless umgebaut.
Win/Win: The 2.40” wide Maxxis Ardent with EXO sidewalls really fit in with the bike and are also amongst my favourite tyres. I will do a tubeless conversion pretty soon.
Hat nicht jeder: Das Rocky Thunderbolt BC Edition bietet Platz für gleich zwei Flaschenhalter. Für dauerhafte Schönheit bekommt das Unterrohr auf jeden Fall noch eine Schutzfolie verpasst.
Not everyone can offer that: the Rocky Thunderbolt BC Edition has space for two bottle cages. To keep the down tube looking good it’s definitely going to get a protective decal soon.
Kritischer Blick: Das Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt ist definitiv ein heißes Geschoss, aber wie wird es den Dauertest überstehen?
Critical look: the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC is definitely one hot machine but will it survive the long term test?

The Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition is just the right bike for Andi: “I ride 30 km to work every day but that’s also one of the reasons I can’t go biking so much during the week. With the Thunderbolt commuting is going to get a lot more fun. I’ll be quick and efficient but can also try out any trail I want. At the weekend I love exploring different regions so that means a ride can be up to 70–80 km – but I still want to have fun on the trails and try out sections. But with more travel long rides somehow get pretty unpleasant so 130/120 mm is perfect. And full speed trail-sessions with my friends will still be no problem thanks to the BC spec. The bike is going to be hounded at least 200 off-road km every week from now on. Anything else will be a spontaneous decision but I’m sure there’ll be some Alpine action too. The main aim for the season is: as many kilometres as possible in any type of terrain I find in front of my tyres.”

Born: 1985 | Biking since: 2002 | Height: 178 cm | Weight: 70 kg | Job: Media Designer | @Strava

Words: Andreas Maschke Photos: Klaus Kneist

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of ENDURO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality mountain bike journalism. Click here to learn more.