Rocky Mountain Solo 50 test: With the Solo, mountain bike legend Rocky Mountain has a solid, traily gravel bike in its range that, with its many attachment options, is particularly suitable for touring riders - but it could also do more.
Mountain bikers sit up and take notice at Rocky Mountain. The Canadian company is no longer an insider tip, but has not let itself be thrown off course by its growing popularity and continues to offer fairly straightforward, uncompromisingly functional mountain bikes in different categories. At some point, a gravel bike was a logical step, although there is still only one model in the range with two different equipment variants - the Rocky Mountain Solo 50 or 30.
The Solo 30 with SRAM Apex and wide, extra strong handlebars, as well as the Rocky Mountain Solo 50 presented here are not high-flying carbon bikes, but rather down-to-earth and again very function-oriented - and tend to be aimed at mountain bikers.
Rocky Mountain Solo 50 – 650B wheels also possible
What defines the Solo 50? Under the brand-typical two-tone paintwork is a no-frills aluminum frame with some beautifully smoothed weld seams, two openings on the down tube for cables and cables and various attachment options. Three bottle holders, fenders, fork mounts and probably a luggage rack can be mounted; the typical threads on the top tube are missing.
The official tire clearance of 622-40 is tight, although the fork and rear triangle should apparently also accommodate wider tires. Of course, things get interesting when you take the 650B option: Then 2.2 inch wide tires fit in, which corresponds to a full 55 mm.
The Solo has already taken a big step in the direction of MTB and can tackle rough, rocky and rooty passages that a bike with typical 28-inch tires would have to capitulate to. It's almost a shame that Rocky Mountain doesn't offer a 650B version right away, which could set the Solo apart even more from the competition.
Solid GRX equipment
The frame geometry is also noticeably geared towards mountain bikes, with a slack steering angle and long top tube - a typical trail geometry that includes the short stem, which contributes to a compact, comfortable sitting position.
It is striking that Rocky Mountain has installed a 15 mm thru-axle on the fork, which in turn is typical for MTBs. The test bike is fitted with Shimano GRX600 STIs, which are usually paired with GRX 400 calipers, and an 810 rear derailleur - all-around good stuff. With a 11-42 cassette and 40 chainring, the range of gear ratios is large, although not as MTB-like as the SRAM Eagle with a 10-52 chainring. The 30.9 aluminum seat post is quite hard; the size, which is unusual for a drop bar bike, is explained by the compatibility of the frame with a retractable seat post.
As far as riding characteristics are concerned, the bike, which is not exactly light, is balanced and not very lively, so in its present form it is more suitable for relaxed tours, whether with or without luggage. If Rocky Mountain were to fully exploit the potential of the frame, the result would be a much more off-road capable bike that would be closer to the origins of the brand.