AM RMAltitude Vorsprunged | L-Bicycled | DVO | Shimongrel'd


Likes Dirt
Hi guys,

Have been on here a while, and have always wanted to share with others my bike journey... but haven't gotten the courage to do it till now (I Hope!)

I've always enjoyed reading about other people's builds, and had an opportunity a few years back (almost 10 years! geewiz time flies!) when I had my dream build. However, an accident at Buller in 2007(?) meant 1- I was left with chronic neck and back issues, 2- had a brain fart and sold the dream bike (on farkin no less!) and replaced it with a lavendar XC whip (whole other story there). I have only just got back on the bike after a little over 2 years and it's the best thing I've done for myself in a while.

So after lots of physio, especially in the last 6 months, and a generous mate who gave me lots of parts and encouragement I'd like to share with you my 2 month crash course back into cycling! - The original plan was to get fit, and build a new bike up over the year.

For those who couldn't care less and are here for pictures, I picked this up yesterday... and have some plans :peace: for this. HUGE thanks to iRide Bikes for sourcing this Small 2014 Rocky Mountain Altitude, props to Ross for taking me seriously even when I looked like one of those daydreaming tyre kicker types :Banane35:

Frame - 2014 Rocky Mountain Altitude 770MSL [SMALL]
Rear shock - 2015 DVO Diamond
Front shock/fork - 2014 Fox 34 CTD with Vorsprung TLA upgrade
Handlebars - Renthal FatbarLite Carbon
Stem - Straitline Pinch Clamp 35mm
Headset - Canecreek
Grips - Stock lock-on style grips
Barcaps - Straitline Blue
Saddle - Selle Italia Flite Ti
Seatpost - RS Reverb Stealth
Seatpost Clamp - Straitline Blue 34.9
Front brake - XTR M9000/Saint Calipre w/ 180mm RT86 rotors
Rear brake - XTR M9000/Saint Calipre w/ 180mm RT86 rotors
Cranks - Raceface Turbine 2014
Chainguide - MRP AMG
Chain - Shimano HG900-11
Pedals - XT Trail pedals (2013 version)
Rear derailleur - XTR M9000-GS
Front shifter - XTR ML9000
Cassette - XTR M9000 11-40T
Front hub - DT Swiss 240s 32h
Rear hub -DT Swiss 240s 32h
Front rim - Light-Bicycle 35mm AM rims
Rear rim - Light-Bicycle 35mm AM rims
Tyres - Minion DHR 2.3 front (ordered DHF and received DHR lol) + High Roller II 2.3/Minion SS 2.3 rear

Plus lots of blue stuff...
- cable ends
- FSA transparent headset spacers
- K-Edge enduro Garmin mount
- RF crank boots
- Carbocage chainring bolts

Updated 15/10/2015
heaps more on page 5

Updated 28/06/2015... more in second post.

Stock with Candy Pedals - I've always used flats/SPD's, but my mate has me thinking about getting this bike under 11.5kg... I'm thinking 12-12.5kg target is more realistic?

The X9 will be going. Going to a 1x11 because I'm not hard enough :) and shimongrel because I like that stuff more. Having said that geewiz these new bits have come a long way! Always liked the idea of the 1:1 activation and active cable release of SRAM, but I'm one of those people who liked the XTR top-normal derailleurs.

Ross even had it tubeless ready for me... that's quality service! Really liking the wider rims/tyre profile, but not so much the X9 hubs. Nothing wrong, just miss that snappy engagement of my Hopes and CKs. Wheels might get an upgrade, but farther down the track. The weakest link in this equation is me.

I like the utility of the dropper post, but I'm a little unsure about the play in the post. Only one way to find out! Is there a dropper out there that is near play free?

I'm really liking the remote for the Float X, but a little disappointed in hopw tricky it is to get to the rebound adjuster... also I'm not sure why there isn't independant high and low speed adjustments for the Fox 34's up front? Leave and forget fork?

Always loved e.13 kit! and this is so silent... and the finish on the Raceface gear is nice, can't comment on stiffness... been too long, but they feel good. Love how these Turbines remind me of the old school LP's... if only these were red!
I've read up that with a clutch derailleur and the narrow wide ring, there's no need for a chainguide... true? I'm actually contemplating getting a bashguard because I'm a hack!

I read up that not many people rate these brake levers, I kinda like the ergonomics... but still need to properly bed those rotors and pads in to tell whether or not the fuss is true... but light than XT and 4 pot? They feel pretty good to me so far :)

I've yet to play with this Ride9 chip... but it's probably the thing that sold me on this bike. Being a lighter and smaller guy... I've always found air shocks were a little harsh if I wanted to access it's bottom out potentials, or I just blew through them too easily. Currently still set in the default position, but reading up I think I'll be shift it up and forwards... so I can run higher pressures for my weight, and slacken out the bike a little more. Anyone have some experience to share?

Anyway that's enough from me!
More updates/stories to come :) back to work for me!

12/03/2015: I'll post specs once I do some changes. So specs are no different to that listed.

22/03/2015: Upgraded to 11 speed XTR drivetrain, ESI grips, old saddle... so spec's up!

07/05/2015: Updated specs to reflect lots of blue parts, and I found the ESI chunky grips too fat with gloves, so stock lock-on style grips went back on. Once these wear out, I'll be getting a set of ODI Ruffians.

28/06/2015: Vorsprung TLA & Corset upgrade. Switched to XT Trail pedals.

15/10/2015: New Light-bicycle wheels, new brakes, tyre changes - full update on page 5

8/12/2015: DVO Diamonds & updated Flite Ti
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Likes Dirt
Updated pictures...

This is how it looks now (30/06/2015) with lots of blue bits!

Thought I'd try and stay with the Canadian theme... and I've always liked and used Straitline bits... 35mm Stem which I found in the bargain bin at iRide :) The turbine stem was too long, and the rise/drop just didn't feel right for my short arms.
The stem actually takes up less room on the steerer than the Turbine stem, so for a while I was running an assortment of materials as spacers... so when I was $7 short on free shipping, a pack of 10 FSA polycarbonate spacers went in the cart!
I have red Straitline bar ends, got them for my birthday many many moons ago... loved them, so when I found blue ones... they're more than looks too, the tapered profile gives you a tactile feel of where the end of the bars are. I'm just not sure how they will go with carbon bars (on their way!) since they are secured by a grub screw.
The stock seatpost clamp didn't cover the intended carbon clamp area, looked really messy, so when I found a straitline clamp it went on too. I was a little worried I'd have to disconnect the dropper post to install the seatpost clamp, but a small pry bar did the trick!
I know I'm unfit as, but just in case I thought I'd get a heart rate monitor... the stock Garmin mount just didn't make much sense for me, since it's inevitable that I will run into lots of immovable objects and have many a stack. I was really hoping that Pro Billet Mount had their steerer mount in blue, but no luck there :( so found the lovely people at Avantiplus North Brisbane via Bike Exchange, who got a K-Edge Gravity Cap mount in the post ASAP. It ended up at the wrong address - my fault - but luckily not many people have much use for it... got a call, they dropped it in my letterbox and I dropped a box of $5 chocolates in theirs.

I'm kinda old school and weird... like I actually liked Shimano's top-normal system... The first thing I did was swap out the SRAM stuff (I've nothing against SRAM, run it on other bikes in the past and have been super happy). Plus ever since I got my first mechanic-hand-me-down XTR shifter about a decade ago, I've never regretted having to save up to go XTR. Have to say though the SRAM cassettes (XO/XX) look amazing, but I had that thought well after the EURO took a bit of a dip... so a care package from the Germans was received. I've found XT to be plenty good, but with a XTR shifter it's just a delight to ride. I forgot to take a picture of the inside of the cassette, but looks pretty.

While I'm on Shimano stuff, I switched to XT trail pedals. I was running Candy 1 - such good value, and so light. But I picked up a pair of new (old superceded) shoes to replace my pearlescent white commuting shoes, and new cleats were like almost half the price of a set of pedals!!! I had been looking for a set of flat pedals (still love those old school Shimano DX flats, with longer pins), but when XT 11 speed was announced and I saw the updated pair was twice the price, I had a brain fart and ordered a set of these.
Which is better? honestly, I think both are great... the feel in engagement is definitely different, didn't take long to get used to both, didn't have accidental unclipping, or issues finding the cleat. But I do like the added contact of the XT trails, gives me a little more foot control that I like with flats... love the feel of the pedal under the arch of my feet, and feel the shoe wrap around... but I've set these up now that they are slightly behind the ball of my foot. So far so good.
Oh, also realised the stock ring was just a standard ring, not a narrow-wide... so that was sourced and old ring went on the frankenbike. More blue bits too! I got the wrong size chainring bolts, 5mm instead of the 8mm ones. So I'm just running the fronts of these blue Carbocade bolts, with 8mm nuts. Blue loctite too ;)
The blue crank boot is because I'm a hack!

Oh, talking about being a hack, thanks JONO for pointing out the MRP AMG guide. Love it... Was tempted to go the carbon version, but couldn't justify the price when I can't even see the bling... and let's be honest, it's not going to make any difference to me.

This Flite is about 12 years old, and still going... cushion is still soft. Still one of the comfiest saddle's I've used. I'm sure there are better saddles, that would be even more comfortable, but kinda hard to tell without putting in some k's and hours. So sticking with this for now.

It took a while for me to commit, but I did it. I think the issue has been I'm only 60kgs, and it just feels like these forks are designed for the average person, who's heavier. TLA upgrade and Corset was installed at Tekin - thanks Brad! The plan was to get the TLA, after trying a few things... and because I'm not really having issues with the rear, although I do use the full travel easily but without noticing bottom out during riding, I was going to stage the upgrades so I could tell the difference between each, and for fun. First was to get a damper rebuild/tune for the shock, then play around with volume reducers, then maybe get a corset/EVOL can. But turns out there was a volume reducer installed already, and the damper was working great. So when I went to pick up my bike it came with a corset installed :) which was an awesome surprise. What made it even better was I didn't have any real expectations partly because from reading up what Steve posted (, which mentions progressive designs would benefit the least, and partly because I'm pretty happy with how my Float X is performing. But the difference blew me away... I'm still tweaking it, but I'm running 25psi more (I'm told +30PSI is what it's designed for?) and I'm not blowing through the entire travel anymore, but it is so plush! worlds different. Coil like? I'm not a great judge since it's been a while since I've ridden coil shocks, but I've noticed that there is less pedal bob too.
I'm also running the ride-9 chip in position 5 - slacker, and allowing me to run higher pressure. I might switch it to the slackest position now I'm running the corset. WARNING EDIT: Do not run it in Position 5 with the corset, because the can will not clear the linakge. On page 5 I explain which settings are suitable, for this model anyway.

I also switched back to the stock grips, after using ESI Chunky's... love their feel, but the chunky's were too fat and possibly causing my wrist pain. I still get it a little, so I'm thinking it could be the geometry of the bars. I'm running 50mm, no rise stem, and Protapers on the frankenbike without any issues. So new bars are on their way :)
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XC Enthusiast
Thats how you photograph a bike for PYR!!! Excellent photos my good man.

Nice rig too, but you got a lot of work (read expense) to get a 160mm AM rig to under 11.5kg (with pedals). Even under 12Kg will be a struggle.

Get out and ride it.... weight means very little when you're out enjoying the bike for what it is!


Likes Dirt
Get out and ride it.... weight means very little when you're out enjoying the bike for what it is!
I have to spread the love here today, great statement JT! Have weight my bike yesterday the first time since I have it, 5 months now, and couldnt have cared less what the scale said. It gets me up and brings me down faster, what else would I want it to do ;-)


Likes Dirt
I recently went from a UK carbon hard tail to a RM dually and gained weight.
Having MUCH more fun on the trails though!

Nice bike too.


Likes Dirt
Thanks guys!

Thats how you photograph a bike for PYR!!! Excellent photos my good man.

Nice rig too, but you got a lot of work (read expense) to get a 160mm AM rig to under 11.5kg (with pedals). Even under 12Kg will be a struggle.

Get out and ride it.... weight means very little when you're out enjoying the bike for what it is!
I'm in love with this post, great work mate! Also this is a very nice bike.
Yeah, agreed... I used to do everything/commute/DH/AM with a 14-16kg (depending on tyre choice) Transition Bottlerocket. Weakest link is still me.

The weight saving targets are more for fun... this is a mini project bike so besides tricking it out more, the weight is something I could register as the bike progresses... plus lighter is better for small people like me. I haven't weighed this bike, but should be around the 13-13.5kg mark...
XTR drivetrain on it's way... and ESI grips awaiting to be installed... these should drop 150g or so?

I could drop 500-700g just off the wheelset. 150g if I remove the guide, or go to a lighter Gamut guide and drop 70g. 120g+ going to carbon bars. More with some mini i-LINKs???

Oh, one thing I don't understand are all these torx screws now in use... kinda annoying now I have to have torx drivers as well as my hex drivers to work on my bike.

Just spent an entire hour rotating my tyres to get the latex to fill gaps... so while I was at it flipped the ride9 chip to the slackest (farthest forward) position. Won't get a chance to ride it for a while though :(
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Likes Dirt
Dont have any torx screws on my bike, must be a sram thing. Annoying but the better screws in the end anyway.

P.S. Dont worry about the play of your dropper, thats normal and you wont notice it when riding. Thomson have the least play as far as I know but as long as it doesnt get excessive as I said dont worry and drop the shit out of it.
Best way of getting the sealant to properly work is to ride that thing ;-)


Likes Dirt
Dont have any torx screws on my bike, must be a sram thing. Annoying but the better screws in the end anyway.

P.S. Dont worry about the play of your dropper, thats normal and you wont notice it when riding. Thomson have the least play as far as I know but as long as it doesnt get excessive as I said dont worry and drop the shit out of it.
Best way of getting the sealant to properly work is to ride that thing ;-)
Never had issues with hex screws. I find there is more play in torx screws, which lead to them rounding out. Yeah definitely a SRAM thing... I think I've damaged the screws in my dropper post. I couldn't tell what they were, but they looked like 4mm hex... and it worked fine. Also in my brakes... I'm going to replace them. But can't seem to find exact pitch of the threads for their bolts. Any ideas?

Yeah, had a job photographing an adventure race today... took the bike out there Friday to scout then kitted up and rode it around to keep up/get ahead of teams. Brakes almost bedded in, but you're right about the sealant! Not losing so much air now.
Didn't notice the play in the dropper post at all, and found I used it once... will need to take it out on some trails to know I guess.

Love it man
:) cheers dude

EDIT: just gave it a quick wipe down... and one of the o-rings in the linkage arm broke/came out. Looked on their website... $40 for 12?!!!
20mm ID, W:1.25mm nitrile... is all they show in their tech manual. Bought 100x 20mm ID, W:1.5mm for about $20 off amazon. Closest I could find, will see whether they will work!
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Likes Bikes and Dirt
One if mine has too... I'm hitting the dealer up for warranty though.. And my headtube badge coming off slightly at the sides


Likes Dirt
One if mine has too... I'm hitting the dealer up for warranty though.. And my headtube badge coming off slightly at the sides
Yeah I'll talk to Ross about it... but in the meantime I ordered these

$20 delivered... 100 seals. might be a little on the wide side, but it's the closest I could find. I'll let you know how I go.

Also for full parts lists ... in 2013 Tech Manual... for the altitude I think it's the same 2013-2015... RMB_Tech Manual - Jan 9.pdf


Likes Dirt
did some fiddling... first ride on this thing (technically second, I used it to scout the course day before), was used on the job getting around an adventure race run by Engineers Without Borders.

ESI grips installed... a little fat, but heard that they will mold to your hands... and... next up to go to 1x11 for a bigger rear ring and some bling!

ESI grips by Gallant Lee, on Flickr
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Likes Dirt
XTR bits came! been sitting there in their (very pretty boxes) for a few days... been hectic with work.

Whacked them on around 2am in the morning... and had a mini-nightmare (due to tiredness and poor light) with the internal routing... didn't realise that you can pull the cable guide plugs out at the bottom of the frame (doh!).

But just need some more time to fit the chain. A few very quick snaps before I head off to another job :)

Bit of a cluster f*ck of cables... some cable management coming. Anyone have ideas? or neat ways to keep the cockpit neater?

Didn't realise how much carbon there is! the photos don't do this justice... next time I strip the bike for a clean I'll take some close-ups.


Likes Dirt
Nah no chain guide on my instinct, had two chain drops off the top derailleur pulley but that's it. I put that down to a world chain.
world chain?

I think I'll keep my chainguide for now... 160g of security. Just need to find some washers to fix the rubbing.

But of more concern is the Fox 34's are impossible to setup.
I'm no expert, but I've setup enough forks in the past. In short I need them retuned, or new forks :(

Looks like another visit to the Parts 'n Stuff section!