Rocky Mountain Solo C70 SRAM test: The first carbon gravel bike from the MTB cult brand is tailored to off-road adventures and bikepacking tours with plenty of tire clearance and numerous mounting options. Comfort is not neglected either.
The MTB specialists are accelerating in the gravel segment: After the Solo was the only aluminum model in the model range for many years, a carbon version has now been introduced. At the same time, the aluminum wheel has been extensively revised. It now looks much more modern, has more mounting options and a modified geometry in detail, which is also the basis for the new Rocky Mountain Solo C70.
More compact sitting position and more tire clearance
What remains is the typical silhouette with a clearly sloping top tube, which makes the Solo appear quite compact. The head tube has become shorter across all frame sizes, while the stack has grown by a few millimeters. This can be explained by a longer fork, thanks to which 50 mm wide tires can now be ridden instead of 40 mm like on the old aluminum bike. With 650B wheels, tire clearance has increased from 2.2 to 2.25 inches.
The steering and seat angles have remained unchanged, as has the length of the chainstays. The Solo thus retains its balanced character, although the carbon version appears to be quite agile and handy. The changes to the sitting posture and tire clearance are intended to make the off-roader more suitable for trail and bikepacking. The inspiration for this was the “DownCountry” mountain bike element from 2016, which was more geared towards long tours - and so the gravel bike is also intended to enable comfortable cycling adventures on demanding terrain.
Rocky Mountain Solo C70 – More mounting options
For this purpose, the Solo was also given additional mounting points: On the carbon model as well as on the new aluminum bike, a small bag can now be attached to the front of the top tube; There are three threaded holes under the top tube for a frame bag. There is now a third bottle cage screw on the down tube. And there is something else that should make the Solo Carbon particularly suitable for long distances: the seat tube is significantly flattened in the lower area, which should ensure greater elasticity.
Can you feel that? The Rocky Mountain definitely looks comfortable, with a high-quality carbon support mounted, which is extended far out due to the short seat tube and flexes properly. The bike is already very comfortable to ride; Wider tires than the 40 WTB Venture on the test bike would provide a further plus in terms of comfort. With a finely profiled tread plus shoulder studs, this is a typical gravel all-rounder. Of course, a wider tire that is more tailored to trails would also fit well with the flat aluminum rims of the Easton wheelset with an internal width of 24 mm.
XPLR is good, but Eagle might be better
Rocky Mountain uses the SRAM Rival AXS on the Solo Carbon, but in the XPLR version with a 42 chainring and 10-44 cassette. You get along very well with the extremely well-functioning components, although you can ask yourself whether the AXS Eagle would be an even better fit for the bike, as it offers significantly easier mountain climbing. The Easton handlebars with moderately angled arches are very pleasing: 16° “flare” results in a good compromise between handling on terrain and the usability of the shift brake levers, which are simply too flat on some more angled handlebars.
At almost exactly nine kilos without pedals, the Solo Carbon is a good average weight; The price is comparatively high at 5.100 euros and is certainly due to the excellent reputation that the company enjoys among mountain bike fans. They're not the only ones who will enjoy the new carbon gravel, which greatly meets their needs.