Our friends at Rocky Mountain Bicycles have a new fat bike called the Blizzard Carbon 50 that I’ve been lucky enough to put some miles on here in the big whiskey recently. The Blizzard was announced in August last year. I’m here to tell you that this bike was well worth the wait. The waiting gave me plenty of time to think about the geometry of this fat bike compared to traditional 26″ fat bike geometry and all of the other new 27.5 fat bike models that were released recently. The Blizzard is not your father’s Oldsmobile.
I feel like I’ve been telling anyone that I talk to, that this new test bike is really something special. In the latest episode of the Danger Gnome Podcast, I mentioned the Blizzard a couple of times. Here’s some of what I said.
That Blizzard is blowing my mind…Yikes! It rips up singletrack and it’s just a super pleasure to ride at speed. A Fantastic feeling bike. Super-fun to ride and it seems to get (you) there faster!Danger Gnome
The Blizzard really has turned a page for me regarding progressive geometry. I’m still flipped out by how fast you can rip singletrack on this bike. It has me jumping off features that I would previously ride around and setting new PRs on every segment that I regularly ride. That means that the Rocky Mountain Blizzard is the fastest bike that I’ve ever ridden at trails like Kettle, Camrock, and Levis. Not just the fastest fat bike…the fastest mountain bike. And not just on downhill segments. One of the first trails where I noticed the difference was an Orange Loop at the Southern Kettles. There’s plenty of climbing on that loop. The 66/73.5-degree head/seat tube angles coupled with a dropper post put me in the sweet spot on the bike. The bike feels more fun to ride and it’s hard to argue with the fact that the quantifiable data collected by my trusty Wahoo Elemnt shows that it’s also faster.
The Blizzard comes with 27.5×4.5 Cake Eaters as a good fat bike should come with the fattest set of sneakers made. However, for summer field testing we chose to slim those tires down to some 27.5 x 4 tires that we had around. It was easier to just swap wheels on the front, but the new twelve-speed Shimano driver (in the rear) meant that I couldn’t just swap the rear wheel, So I set the stock Mulefut wheel up tubeless with a Maxxis Minion FBF. The front tire is a Bontrager Hodag.
So full disclosure, the bike was ridden for most of the testing, as you see in the picture above. The other thing that is probably important to mention is that we tested a size medium. I’m an inch shy of six feet, so I’m right in between a medium and a large on most fat bikes. I can generally ride either size. The new twelve-speed Shimano drive train that was mentioned above worked fabulously. The bike comes spec’d with good stuff like the XT Brakes and Drivetrain. It has a nice RaceFace Crank and DT Swiss Hubs. Check out the full build below. The stock build with a pair of RF Chester pedals came in at thirty-two pounds even.
- Frame – Rocky Mountain Smoothwall Carbon. 100mm BSA BB. Zero Stack Tapered Headtube. Fully Guided Internal Cable Routing. Dropper Post Compatible. 197mm Dropouts. Sram UDH Compatible
- Fork – Rocky Mountain Carbon Fat
- Headset – FSA Orbit NO.57E | Sealed 36°x45° Bearings | 30.2mm x 41mm x 7.1mm Upper | 40mm x 51.8mm x 7.5mm Lower | 1.5″ Crown Race
- Stem – Rocky Mountain 35 AM | 5° Rise | All Sizes = 40m
- Handlebar – Rocky Mountain AM | 780mm Width | 25mm Rise | 9° Backsweep | 5° Upsweep | 35 Clamp
- Grips – Ergon GE10 EVO Lock On
- Brakes – Shimano MT4120 4 Piston | Resin Pads | F: Shimano RT56 180mm | R: Shimano RT56 180mm
- Shifters – Shimano XT
- Rear Derailleur – Shimano XT
- Cranks & Chainring – Race Face Aeffect Cinch | 30T | 24mm Spindle | Crankarm Length: SM-MD = 170mm | LG – XL = 175mm
- Bottom Bracket – Race Face BSA 100 24mm
- Cassette – Shimano SLX 10-51T
- Chain – Shimano M6100
- Front Hub – Rocky Mountain Sealed 150 x 15mm
- Rear Hub – DT Swiss 350 197mm | 36T Star-Ratchet
- Spokes – 2.0 Stainless
- Rims – Sun Mulefüt 80 | 32H | Tubeless Ready – Tape | Valves Incl
- Tires – F: Terrene Cake Eater Fast Rolling Tubeless Studdable 27.5 x 4.5 | R: Terrene Cake Eater Fast Rolling Tubeless Studdable 27.5 x 4.5
- Seatpost – Rocky Mountain Toonie Drop Alloy | 30.9mm
- Saddle – Rocky Mountain 148 Cromo
I mounted an Old Man Mountain Divide Fat rack onto the rear rack mounts onto the Blizzard and did an overnight bikepacking trip to see if this new progressive geometry platform had the kind of versatility that’s important to me (and maybe you) in a fat-mountain-bike. I did just the one trip, but the Blizzard handled it with no problems. I’m still working out my bikepacking set-up for bikes with a dropper. It’s hard to get a perfectly dialed set-up on a demo bike but I think this was a pretty damn fine first shot at it.
I’m so stoked about the Blizzard as a summer mountain bike, that I’m going to mount a suspension fork and see if that makes this thing even faster! Since this field test took place during the spring of this year, I’m also pretty curious about how this bike will handle snow. I imagine that it’ll be great on the groomed, but I would need to ride a Blizzard in various snow conditions to be sure. A Blizzard in a blizzard, if you will.
If I had to give this bike a score on the old flaming danger scale of one to five it would be somewhere in the 4.8* out of 5 range. But that score has an asterisk because I haven’t ridden the Blizzard in the snow yet. I love this thing in the dirt. It’s a total ripper!