Rocky Mountain Maiden World Cup
Bike Park Beauty
Words by Drew Rohde
Photos by Matt Palmer & Drew Rohde
Rocky Mountain’s Maiden World Cup, the flying grape, as we affectionately call it, is the second Maiden we’ve tested in the last two consecutive years. After a stellar time aboard the 2016 test bike, equipped with BOS suspension, we expected more of the same from our 2017 World Cup model, with a Fox Factory spec being the only real change. Boasting a completely carbon fiber frame, 200mm of four-bar travel and versatile adjustability, the Maiden has all the key ingredients to make it a top-notch descender.
Rocky offers three complete Maiden builds, starting at $4,399 for the Maiden Park and topping out at $6,999 for the World Cup. A World Cup frame is also available for $3,549.
Our World Cup test bike comes spec’d with Shimano Saint drivetrain and brakes with Race Face Atlas cranks and BB. As we mentioned above, our last Maiden came with BOS Suspension and we absolutely loved it. This year our bike had Fox Factory 40 and DHX dampers, front and rear. We preferred the bike with the more compliant BOS squishers but imagine plenty of consumers will be happy with the Fox stuff.
Frame technologies are bountiful in the Rocky Mountain lineup: Smoothwall Carbon, Pipelock Pivots, Press Fit BB107, Ride-4 adjustable geometry and 27.5/26-inch wheel compatibility are just a few found on the Maiden.
Smoothwall carbon uses a sophisticated carbon layup processes that maximizes stiffness-to-weight, ride quality and durability. The process eliminates excess resin and fibers by using rigid internal molds instead of air bladders. Rocky Mountain also uses different types of carbon in specific frame areas to maximize stiffness and impact resistance.
Rocky Mountain’s Pipelock collets expand radially and lock into the frame. If you look at their oversized rocker link, you’ll note that the huge bearings are actually the same size used in BB30 bottom brackets. By creating the widest and most rigid pivot stance possible, frame stiffness and durability are maximized.
Smoothlink Suspension is Rocky’s patented four-bar design, which differs slightly from others on the market. Rocky places the rear pivot in front of and slightly above the rear axle. The claims state this placement helps the design perform better in a wider range of gears while balancing support and sensitivity.
Having a great experience on the ‘16 Maiden we expected nothing less from the ‘17. The only difference was the beautiful purple paint and the Fox suspension. Surprisingly, the bikes rode significantly different.
With all the structural design features aimed at stiffness and durability, the Maiden is amongst the stiffest bikes we’ve ever ridden. We believe the stiff frame combined with the Fox 40 chassis worked together to make our riders skittish on loose, rough trails in southern California’s dry terrain.
However, the traits that make it hard to handle in the marbly desert are exactly what make it one of the best park bikes on the market. Overall stiffness is unmatched aboard the Fox 40-equipped Maiden. This makes handling big, G-inducing berms and mega-compressions a matter of strength and commitment. No noodling or flex to be found here. Late corners, slapping turns and landing sideways into take offs are all areas the bike excels. It begs to be abused.
Geometry on the Maiden further aids its park-ability. Whether you’re running the 26-in wheel headset cup or the stock 27.5 setting, the head tube angle can be adjusted from 63.2- to 64 degree in 26-inch mode and 63- to 63.8 degrees in 27.5.
The short, 17.1-in (435mm) chainstays also help make the bike handle like a dream on trails that aren’t World Cup track replicas, AKA the majority of trails riders tend to have in their hometown. Have you ever ridden a DH bike that felt like a tank and didn’t quite do what you wanted it on the local track? The limousine length World Cup bikes are intended to be stable and handle the steepest and fastest terrain in the world, which comes at the expense of agility and playfulness on more commonly found terrain.
Scroll right to see the geometry changes in each of the Ride 4 positions.
After our time aboard the Maiden, we believe two types of riders may not be the ideal candidates for this bike. If you live for racing the clock and spend most of your time pinned on the fastest, steepest trails you can find, the Maiden may not be the ideal tool for you. Likewise, if you live in the southwest or an area that is hardpack and rough with lots of loose rocks, the frame’s stiffness may hinder your confidence and lead to struggles in the hunt for traction.
Who is the Maiden built for? In our opinion it’s for riders who live in areas with soft, grippy soil beneath them. Riders who love sending big jumps, pumping rollers and snapping corners. It is also great for riders who don’t have the steepest terrain or have tracks with lots of twisty, tight turns. Compared to flat-out DH race bikes, the Maiden is a bit shorter, both front and rear. The snappier, smaller feel matched with the high-riding suspension makes this bike insanely maneuverable in a way most DH bikes are not.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Stiffness is the double-edged sword the Maiden lives and dies by. This is a bike that you could either love or not depending on your riding terrain. It is one of the best bike park DH bikes we’ve ridden and loves to link up quick turns. The shorter rear end and high ride height make it fun on trails where other DH race sleds feel sluggish. If you spend your time training, racing or riding dry, loose and rocky trails in the desert, the stiffness could leave you feeling hesitant.
Rocky Mountain is offering a brutishly durable and reliable carbon fiber DH bike that fits a niche other brands aren’t catering to. The majority of riders aren’t lapping World Cup level trails and subsequently these race replicas aren’t always the best bikes for the masses. While the Maiden was not our favorite out-and-out DH bike, we cannot deny that it did its job very well in the terrain it was designed to slay.
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Weight: 36.18 lbs