The Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition 2021 enters the “Best Enduro Bike of 2022” group test as the defending champion. With its sophisticated RIDE9 system, which allows you to fine-tune the geometry and suspension kinematics, as well as its high-quality spec, the Canadian bruiser looks promising on the paper. But can it continue to impress our test crew with its all-round qualities and prevail against the competition for a second year running?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike of 2022 – 11 models in review

Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition | 170/160 mm (f/r)
14.3 kg in size L | € 9,900 | Manufacturer’s website

The Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition 2021 is the veteran in our “Best enduro bike of 2022” group test and the only bike that’s already been around for a whole season. But there’s a reason why it’s running for the title again: after kicking butt and securing victory in last year’s group test, the Altitude C90 gets the chance to defend its title against the hottest bikes of 2022. The Altitude rolls on 29” wheels and combines 170 mm travel at the front with 160 mm at the rear. Rocky Mountain’s proven RIDE9 system in the shock mount allows you to adjust the geometry and leverage ratio in… drum roll… you guessed it, nine different settings. Additionally, you can change the chainstay length with the position of the flip chip in the dropouts and flipping the proprietary two-position brake mount, without the need of additional parts. The Altitude shares the same frame platform as its little brother, the Instinct. It features a bottle cage mount, seat and chainstay protectors, a big TPU plate on the down tube as well as an additional shuttle guard. However, it has to make do without a tool strap mount. Moreover, a small fender on the seat tube protects the rear from mud and grit. All cables are neatly routed inside the frame and securely clamped at the ports.

Top notch – The spec of the Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition 2021

At € 9,900, the 14.5 kg Altitude C90 Rally Edition is the flagship model in Rocky Mountain’s Altitude range and also one of the most expensive bikes in this test. However, the bling spec puts the eye-watering price into perspective. Like most manufacturers in this test, Rocky Mountain rely on FOX Factory suspension consisting of a 38 fork with a GRIP2 damper, paired with a Float X2 shock. This setup offers countless adjustments and ensures top performance. Shifting is taken care of by a high-end 12-speed Shimano XTR drivetrain while Shimano XTR four-piston stoppers with 200 mm ICE-TECH rotors front and rear do stopping duties. A OneUp Components chain guide and bash guard prevents the chain from falling off and protects the chainset against nasty impacts.

That’s all, folks!
Unfortunately, the dropper post can’t be inserted completely into the frame of the C90. This is annoying and significantly restricts freedom of movement on the bike.
Not stock
The MAXXIS tires on our test bikes came in the puncture-prone EXO+ casing. Luckily, the production bike will feature more robust tires with the DoubleDown casing.
Bashing the competition
The Altitude is one of the few bikes in this test to come with a bash guard as standard. This protects the chainring and chain against nasty impacts.

Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition

€ 9,900


Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory 160 mm
Seatpost Race Face Turbine R 170 mm
Brakes Shimano XTR 4-Kolben 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 1x12
Stem Race Face Turbine R 40 mm
Handlebar Race Face Next R 780 mm
Wheelset Race Face Turbine R 29
Tires MAXXIS ASSEGAI/Minion DHR II 2.5/2.4

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 14.3 kg

Specific Features

flip chip

What do you fancy today, sir?
The flip chip in the dropouts allows you to adjust the chainstay length of the Altitude. This has a big effect on the handling of the bike. We highly recommend playing around with the different settings! ;)
Lump of steel
The remote of the dropper post is stiff and requires strong fingers. Together with the dropper itself, it’s the only flaw in the otherwise excellent spec of the Altitude.

The Canadian brand relies on a RaceFace R alloy wheelset shod in MAXXIS tires. Our test bikes came with an ASSEGAI at the front and Minion DHR tires, both in the puncture-prone EXO+ casing. At the front, the soft MaxxGrip rubber compound ensures excellent traction. Luckily, the production bike will be equipped with the more robust DoubleDown casing and a CushCore tire insert as standard. Fellow Canadians and (almost) neighbours RaceFace also supply the 780 mm Next R carbon bars and 170 mm Turbine R dropper post. Unfortunately, the handlebars are overly stiff and can quickly lead to arm pump on rough descents. On top of that, the dropper post can’t be inserted completely into the frame and its remote is very stiff, requiring a lot of force to actuate. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do justice to the otherwise excellent spec of the Altitude.

Easily and comfortably
Uphill, the Altitude won’t earn you any KOMs but it happily chugs its way to the trailhead.

Variable – The geometry of the Rocky Mountain Altitude

The Rocky Mountain Altitude is available in four sizes, S–XL, catering to riders between 155 and 198 cm tall. Frame size S rolls on smaller 27.5” wheels while all others come with big 29” wheels. At 445 mm in size L, the seat tube is rather long and doesn’t allow you to push the dropper post all the way into the frame, making it hard to choose the size based on your desired reach. This is made all the more difficult by the short reach, which at 478 mm in size L makes the Altitude one of the shortest bikes in the entire test field. The RIDE9 system lets you adjust the head and seat tube angle as well as the progression of the suspension. We recommend starting off in the lower and more progressive setting and playing around with the chainstay length (438 mm or 449 mm), as this has the greatest influence on the behaviour and handling of the bike.

The chainstay length of the Altitude C90 can be adjusted using a flip chip. This influences handling enormously – we recommend playing around with the different settings.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 380 mm 420 mm 445 mm 480 mm
Top tube 579 mm 610 mm 639 mm 672 mm
Head tube 100 mm 95 mm 110 mm 125 mm
Head angle 64.8° 64.8° 64.8° 64.8°
Seat angle 75.8° 75.8° 75.8° 75.8°
Chainstays 427-438 mm 437-448 mm 437-448 mm 437-448 mm
BB Drop 15 mm 29 mm 30 mm 30 mm
Wheelbase 1,171 mm 1,217 mm 1,249 mm 1,285 mm
Reach 428 mm 453 mm 478 mm 508 mm
Stack 598 mm 622 mm 635 mm 649 mm
Helmet Smith Forefront 2 Rapha | Glasses NAKED HAWK | Jersey ROCDAY RANGER Green
Pants Troy Lee Designs Skyline | Shoes ION Rascal | Socks Fox Flexair

The all-round wizard – The Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition 2021 on the trail

The pedalling position on the Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 is comfortable but gets a little rear-heavy uphill. That said, the raised tail of the saddle helps actively load the front. Like the GT Force, the Altitude won’t earn you any KOMs on the climbs, giving you a good workout on your way to the trailhead instead.

The Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition 2021 is incredibly smooth and intuitive. Together with the excellent suspension, the superb handling makes it a great all-rounder.

All-round wizard
The Altitude is agile, smooth and intuitive and has excellent suspension.

Downhill, the character of the Altitude changes radically depending on the chainstay length you’re running. In the long setting, the handling is super-intuitive and balanced, while in the short setting, it’s retains that balance but becomes more lively and nimble. The capable suspension generates tons of traction and still offers plenty of support and reserves, gobbling up even big impacts without losing its composure and allowing the Altitude to keep up with the top dogs in this test, the Orbea Rallon and Simplon Rapcon. It feels at home both on fast, rough, bike park-like tracks and technical winding trails, proving to be a superb all-rounder. Despite its strong performance on all types of trails, the Altitude has to cede defeat to the Orbea and Simplon, which are even more agile and playful. With its excellent all-round qualities and intuitive handling on different types of terrain, the Rocky Mountain Altitude shows once again what it’s made of and why it deserved to win last year’s group test. However, in this year’s test, it was confronted with a couple of very tough opponents, which are more capable uphill and more agile.

Tuning tip: upgrade the dropper and remote

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use










The Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition 2021 entered our “Best enduro bike of 2022” group test as the defending champion, proving once again what it’s made of and convincing our test crew with its variable geometry, adjustable kinematics and coherent spec. On the trail, it impressed with excellent all-round qualities and super intuitive handling in all situations. Unfortunately, this time around it wasn’t quite enough to secure victory in our group test.


  • adjustable chainstay length has pronounced effect on handling
  • excellent suspension
  • superb all-round qualities on all trails


  • long seat tube and short insertion depth
  • no storage compartment or tool strap mounts

You can find out more about at

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike of 2022 – 11 models in review

All bikes in test: Cannondale Jekyll 1 (Click for review) | Canyon Torque CF 8 (Click for review) | GT Force Carbon PRO LE (Click for review) | Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory (Click for review) | Orbea Rallon M-Team (Click for review) | Pivot Firebird Pro XT/XTR – Air (Click for review) | Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition | Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS (Click for review) | SIMPLON Rapcon 170/165 (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL (Click for review) | YT CAPRA UNCAGED 6 (Click for review)

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Words: Peter Walker Photos: Peter Walker

About the author

Peter Walker

As editor-in-chief, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!