Rusty’s Rocky Mountain Vertex 970 RSL Monster Cross / Drop Bar MTB

Rocky Mountain Vertex 970 RSL Monster Cross Bike

A little about Rocky Mountain, courtesy of Wikipedia:

“Rocky Mountain Bicycles had its beginnings in a Vancouver bike store in 1978, when two men began modifying Nishiki road bikes by adding wider tires, straight handlebars and internal five-speed gears. Their aim was to create a bicycle that could be ridden and raced on the technical trails of the West Coast. Rocky Mountain Bicycles Ltd. was officially incorporated in 1981, with Grayson Bain serving as president until 1997. In 1982, working with frame designer Tom Ritchey, the company introduced its first production mountain bike – the “Sherpa”.

RockyMountain2015-1Having expanded sales beyond Vancouver in 1984, Rocky Mountain began shipping bikes internationally in 1989. The company expanded rapidly during the 1990s, enlarging its production facilities to meet growing demand in the United States and elsewhere. Rocky Mountain was acquired by Procycle Group in 1997 but continues to operate independently. Read more about Rocky Mountain HERE.

RockyMountain2015-4What began as a 2014 Rocky Mountain Vertex 970 RSL carbon hardtail mountain bike, is now living life as a Monster Cross conversion, with tyre clearance for at least 2.2″.  While the “Monster Cross” purists may argue this is just an MTB with drop bars, we beg to differ.  Think of this bike as a machine that can tackle any endurance CX or Ultra CX course thrown at it, which in the opinion of Gravel Cyclist, makes it a Monster Cross bike.

Rusty’s bike pays homage to his wife Pam, a five year breast cancer survivor.

Rusty’s Rocky Mountain Vertex 970 RSL Monster Cross / Drop Bar MTB

RockyMountain2015-3Frame: Rocky Mountain Vertex 970 RSL, smoothwall carbon with tapered headtube, press fit bottom bracket, internal cable routing and thru axle rear.
Fork: Niner RDO tapered fork with 15mm thru axle.
Headset: Cane Creek, 1 1/8″ to 1 1/2″
Seatpost: Thomson Elite X2 Road.
Saddle: Fizik Arione.
Wheelset: Industry Nine Trail 24 Hole.
Tyres: Clement X’Plor MSO 700c x 40mm configured tubeless with sealant.
Stem: Niner RDO.
Shifters: Shimano Ultegra 6700 10 speed.
Derailleurs: Shimano XTR bottom pull front, Shimano Ultegra 6700 Medium cage rear.
Crankset: Shimano XTR M985, 175mm, 44/30 chainrings.
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Press Fit.
Pedals: Shimano XT M740.
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 12-25 10 speed.
Brakes: TRP Spyre SL.
Bottle Cages: Rav-X.

Apologies for any errors or omissions in the bike’s specifications.

Additional Photos

Rocky Mountain WebsiteRocky Mountain Facebook Page


  1. Avatar Todd S.

    “can tackle any endurance CX or Ultra CX course thrown at it”

    …as long as it’s not UCI sanctioned. 34c remember?

    Regardless of semantics, this is a rigid, hard tail mountain bike with drop bars and brifters. Gravel grinder, I’ll buy that, cross race… not ideal. How do you effectively shoulder a 17″ mountain bike frame? You better master hopping barriers. 2x up front? For this much investment a cross bike for racing will be 1×10 or 1×11. See the Fezzari Fore CX 5.0, one of the absolute best stock CX rigs available for this kinda money.

    • JOM JOM

      Endurance CX / Ultra CX races aren’t sanctioned, and no license is required. Your points about cross racing are spot on, but this bike was never built for that genre, nor any of the Monster CX bikes featured elsewhere on the blog. I can speak from personal experience this type of frame is impossible to shoulder. This became rapidly apparent when I was forced to drag my rig up a .1 mile, 48% hike-a-bike grade at last year’s Iron Cross. Not fun!

  2. Regardless of the setup, my understanding that if shod with 34C tires this would be totally allowed in any sanctioned CX race, even a UCI one. But I may be totally wrong.

    • JOM JOM

      Raymond, you are correct.

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