Mountain Bike Action Bike Test: Rocky Mountain Growler 50 Trail Bike

 

 

the limits, stand up to a wide variety of trail terrain and hold up during lengthy days pedaling with the crew. The frame geometry is what we call “enduro hardtail” geometry. Essentially, this idea is to have modern full-suspension-bike enduro geometry incorporated into a hardtail design.

CLIMBING

Make no mistake, just because it says “hardtail” doesn’t mean it’s a lightweight cross-country machine. With a weight of 34 pounds, it would not be our first pick to achieve a personal record up our local fire road climbs. As mentioned, we did try to save some weight by swapping to a lighter carbon wheelset. We were not expecting the heavy, long and slacked-out Growler to deliver; however, it was comfortable while remaining efficient. It did well in smoother sections of climbs as opposed to tight rough areas. The 2.6-inch tire width allowed us to run lower pressure and increase compliance on an already stiff frame.

THE FLOW

So how does an enduro hardtail rip when bombing descents? The Growler flat out shreds when going downhill. The bike remained very stable, and we were able to move quicker than expected through rock gardens. Even in the big hits the components all held up very well. Given the length of the bike, we did have trouble in the tighter berms/switchback sections.

Overall, it is still very obvious you are riding a hardtail and not a plush enduro rig, but the Growler maintained speed and composure even on the most demanding trail features.

MODS AND UPGRADES

The Growler 50 build we rode was a superb mix of affordable components paired with desirable modern mountain bike features. Out of the box, we would change a few things to help minimize weight. Number one: get rid of the tubes and set up the WTB combo tubeless.

This will save weight and allow you to run lower air pressure for increased traction. We could see some riders going all out and trying to make this bike as light as possible with carbon upgrades to enhance their trail experience, but, honestly, it is refreshing to ride such a capable machine out of the box at this price point.

BOTTOM LINE

We really loved that Rocky designed the Growler to provide an enduro-inspired downhill experience packed into a hardtail. Riders looking for this will appreciate a mountain bike with a price tag of less than $2000 that is packed with modern conveniences and components. On multiple weekend trail days, we rode the Growler instead of a tricked-out full-suspension bike that cost more than twice as much because the design added some unexpected spice to our trails. Rocky Mountain set out to create a reliably capable hardtail, and they nailed it!

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