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Bob's 'bolt: Our Bike Guru's Take on the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt C30

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Here at CDC, we've got two valuable things going for us; first, we have access to some killer brands and bikes, including Rocky Mountain. Second, we've got experienced riders who really know how to put a bike through its paces. From Bryan's 188 mile SledgeHamr to Bob's shreds right here in West Michigan, we're able to ride what we like, and let you know what you need to get on. This week, Bob's much-anticipated review of the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt. It's a longer-travel-than-you're-used-to full suspension bike that Bob made even more rowdy. See his impressions, and make sure you come check one out for yourself. 

I’ve had the pleasure to ride the 2018 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt for the past few months. I’m riding the Carbon 30 model with the NX drivetrain, RockShox Recon fork and Deluxe rear shock.

I put a 2018 Manitou Mattoc Pro 140mm travel fork on the front to slacken it out just a touch and also gave me the ability to get some time on this new product. Manitou has really stepped up their game and are giving other suspension manufacturers a run for their money. And at a pricepoint that is substantially less than most other comparable forks.

My first impression of the Thunderbolt is, on paper, everything that I’ve been looking for in a full squish bike the past 5 years. The geometry is a little slacked out in the front end for stability when hauling ass. The rear features a pretty short rear chainstay length at 426mm to make the bike quick and nimble when ducking through the trees.  Riding places like Maple Hill and the Richmond flow trail was super fun on this bike. They target this bike as an XC/trail bike, but it would be more than adequate to ride almost everywhere.

First ride
My first ride on the Thunderbolt was at the Wahlfield Trail, just north of Grand Rapids. There are quite a few spots with off cambers, technical spots swerving through trees, a small flow trail, and a lot of pedaling. The bike rode all of those things extremely well. My recommendation is to air the shock to your body weight and add 20psi for initial sag setting. It puts you at about 20-25% sag and works well for the terrain around here. I did also notice that once I started riding the bike, I never touched the lockout functions on the fork or shock. This is something that I was pretty used to doing on the other bikes I’ve ridden. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is awesome not having to worry about hitting the lockout lever on climbs and descents.

Most full suspension Rocky Mountain bikes come with the Ride-9 linkage adjustment to fine tune the geometry. This is an awesome feature to fine tune the bike to the terrain you’re wanting to ride. It’s a feature that goes along with fine-tuning the suspension. Once we get the sag and suspension tuned, we can adjust the Ride-9 chip to tweak the geometry to better suit your riding style and the terrain you ride. That’s pretty awesome.

It’s a quick little bike through the woods, and when it's pointed downhill, it's very stable at speed. Especially for it's gemetry and travel, it still feels like a very efficient bike to pedal, no matter what speed. Pedal bob was far less than many other mid travel full suspension bikes I’ve ridden in the past. Those include the Cannondale Trigger, Scott Genius, GT Sanction, Norco Optic, and YT Jeffsy. That is probably very important to people in our area, where you're going to pedal plenty. 

Since getting the bike, I’ve taken it to most of the trails around the area including Merrell, CSA, CSGA, Yankee Springs, Maple Hill/Markin Glen 4 times, and the Richmond flow trail every Wednesday. This bike rides extremely well at all these trails. You can pedal like crazy to keep up with your Strava times or hike a bike and rip the downhill sections repeatedly, all with a smile on your face. I can’t pinpoint the one thing that I like on the bike. I think it’s the fact that you can ride any of those trails, and have a really good time. I never thought about things I’d want to change on it, other than the bars.

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Bob's Suspension Clinic

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Outside and into the wild! If you loved our winter-long tech and suspension clinics, wait until you actually get to ride bikes at one! On July 12, we're taking the tech talk outside to help more of our customers understand their suspension. Whether you're on a hard tail or full-squish, we want to make sure your ride is dialed in. We'll go over how to make adjustments to both forks and shock, how each adjustments change your ride, and what to look for after a ride to make the right changes. 

You'll be able to hit the pump track as many times as you want, and we'll give you some points. If you're looking to really get things right, it's a great time to book your ShockWiz and suspension service so you can get more information from a longer ride at your favorite trail. 

Suspension clinic is totally free, totally laid-back, and it's going to be a lot of fun, too. 

It's also going to be a really good time to check out the new Norco line-up! We're really excited to offer some hand-picked models and specs that really suit how we like to ride here in West Michigan. Think longer travel, slacker geometries, and tough components that we know hold up really well. 

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Ride It. Love It. Buy It.

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We are finally escaping the 00s. It took a while, but it's happening. 

For too long, mountain bikers were convinced that a hardtail 29er was the only bike for Michigan trails. Sure, we don't have 2,000 foot climbs and the accompanying descent to look forward to. But what we do have is a dozen or so trails that offer a diverse range of terrain, elevation and needs, and more and more riders are realizing that there is more out there than a hardtail with 2.25" tires. 

Don't get us wrong, hardtrails rock. But we live in a time when brands like Kona and Rocky Mountain are making bikes that suit how more and more people ride, and that isn't always in a cross-country race. Full suspension, longer travel, smaller-wheeled and wider-tired bikes open up a different riding experience that puts the focus on fun, on big days, or just going a little but further than you're used to. 

Our demo fleet is hand-picked to help you find a bike that's just a little different than the one you've always ridden. From the XC or all-day ready Kona Hei Hei, the plus-tired Big Honzo, or the longer travel Thunderbolt and Pipeline, trying something new is as simple as picking a trail and see what suspension and volume can do for. 

Maybe the best way to hop in for a demo is by joining us at Dirt Church this Sunday, June 17. We'll have coffee at the shop at 9, then bust out to Richmond to ride no later than 10:15. You put your name on any of the bikes for Sunday right by filling out the demo reservation form here

Get signed up, try something new, and take advantage of our trade-in program this summer. There's tons of time to ride, and some great places to do it, too. 

 

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Dirt Church: Your June Schedule of Services

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We had a blast this past weekend at Maple Hills, so we're going to keep doing the Lord's Work right here in Grand Rapids. 

After a break for Memorial Day and the following weekend, you'll have two chances to join us in praising the gods of dirt, the saints of singletrack, with two new venues to give thanks and praise. First up, join us on June 10 at Wahlfield Trail. It'll work the same as we've just done for Maple Hills; meet at the shop for coffee and breakfast around 8:30, then get rolling around 9:15 to 9:30. We'll work out carpools and caravans, or you can plan to meet us at the trailhead around 10:15. 

These Dirt Church rides are a great chance to try something new, too. We have a selection of Kona and Rocky Mountain bikes to demo, but you do need to call ahead to reserve the bikes. We won't demo any unscheduled bikes on Sundays, because we're trying to keep things laid back and fun. We'll bring the bike to the trailhead for you and even get the pedals, seat height, and suspension dialed in; when you're done, we'll take care of it for you! 

Our demo fleet includes:

Kona Hei Hei
Kona Big Honzo
Kona Process 153

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt
Rocky Mountain Pipeline

Our second Dirt Church for the month of June will come a week later. We're heading to Richmond Park on June 17, with the same free bike demos, breakfast, and more grilling while we spend the day riding! If there's a little something you'd like specifically, bring it, but we'll have the traditional barbecue fare on offer. 

Sundays are for preserving a sense of reverence, and there's no reverence quite like that of riding bikes in the woods with friends. 

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Trade In, Trade Up at CDC

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New year, new season, new bike. 

At Central District, we like all bikes. Like most people, new ones are especially cool. There's nothing wrong with sticking by an old faithful friend who has shared some great times with you, but there's also a point where it's best to let that friend fly the coop. This spring, we're making it very easy to trade in and trade up. 

Stop by the shop for an on-the-spot quote from Bicycle Blue Book. Your trade-in gets you credit toward any bike in the shop, including other used bikes that might be bouncing around! Of course, with so many sweet 2018s from Rocky Mountain and Kona, you'll likely hop onto something shiny, 1x, and squishy. 

Make sure you join us this Sunday, May 6 for the Ultimate Demo Day at Wahlfield Trail. Our pals at Village Bike and Fitness will also be on hand, giving you a ton of options on test rides from some of our favorite brands. Bring your bike and we'll give you a trade-in quote while you're testing riding, so you know you've got a bit of credit already leaning toward your new bike. 

Rocky Mountain will have these bikes:

2018 THUNDERBOLT C70
2018 ALTITUDE C70
2018 INSTINCT C70
2018 PIPELINE C70
2018 ELEMENT C70
2018 SLAYER C70
REAPER 24, and more!

Kona's Demo Fleet for Sunday includes:

Process 153 AL/DL 29
Process 153 CR 27.5
Satori DL
Hei Hei Trail CR
Honzo AL/DL

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Mitch's True Grit Test Ride: Taco-Level Goodness from Lauf

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First and foremost, allow me to introduce myself, I am Mitchell. I’m
essentially The Stig of CDC, powered by tacos, fueled by Hamm's, and
always searching for that velcro gravel. I've been around the shop for
a couple of years, racing, riding, and participating in general tomfoolery
. You'll see me around hosting shop rides, in a taco coma, or
searching out hobo trails around town.  I’ll be making some blog posts
here and there concerning stuff going in, out, and around CDC.

A little over a month ago we had the pleasure of announcing that CDC
is now one of three shops in the US to be a premium Lauf Dealer.
Currently, we have one of their first full bike build kits, the True
Grit. This thing comes dressed to the nines: Laug Grit SL fork (30mm
travel),  SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain and brakes, fancy carbon (frame,
bars, seatpost),  and American Classic rims paired with some tubeless
Maxxis Rambler 40c's.

This bike is legit, but not too legit to quit, because this bike does
not want to quit.

I was fortunate enough to hold this bike in my possession for an
extended and damp weekend. I tried to vary the terrain I rode as to
get a solid and diverse reading on how this thing handled.

First things first, before I put on any of my own accessories, aka
snack bags, lights, and bottle cage, this thing came in at an amazing
18.2lbs. This thing flicks up and down berms, bends around trees, and
blasts pass that guy on gravel you’ve been trying to beat on Strava.

While riding around town the Grit SL fork and tubeless Ramblers soaked
up anything and everything from potholes, curbs, loose gravel, and
downed squirrels. That 30mm of travel really cushioned out the ride
way more than I expected, and with that, it was time to turn to the
gravel.

The first bit of gravel I hit was fairly level and compact, nothing
too wild or out of the ordinary to slow you down but maybe a stray
rock here or there. You could still tell you were on gravel, but
this seriously smooth things out. Even zipping around corners of loose
gravel felt way safer with that front wheel forced down more on the
ground due to the progressive travel of the fork.

Shockingly, I only noticed any bob in the fork while I was out of the
saddle pedaling hard. It was not substantial by any means nor do I
think I took away much energy I was putting out. This is the only
downside of the fork to me, no lockout like a traditional suspension
fork.

While I found this bike and fork to perform amazing on pavement and
well graded gravel, the real test as going to be found on washboard
gravel and seasonal roads/two tracks.

I had some hesitation going into the washboard based on some other
reviews I had previously read and watched, but I found the Grit SL to
really smooth the road out. Granted, it was not as smooth as silk, but
it was a much smoother ride than the carbon fork on my single speed
gravel bike.  On seasonal and two track roads, this thing really
excelled and proved it by allowing me to carry such control and speed.
The bike begs you to push it fast and take some risks you might not
normally. Go off a drop at speed, roll down that steep hill, own the
off camber, blast through the rock garden like you built it.

Pair this bike with some more cushed-out 650b road plus tires and holy
guacamole, this will be one heck of a go anywhere, do anything bike.

Have a gravel bike you already love? Then just buy the fork! It may
pack a little more weight than your everyday carbon fork but you will
lust after the forgiveness this fork offers you from hitting roots and
ruts at speed.

Nate, if you are reading, I’m sorry, but I will not be returning this
demo. I really like how it looks hanging by my front door.

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Making Room For 2018: Closeout and Demo Sale!

It's 2018 already! New models are shipping right now, and we've got give the new arrivals a bit of elbow room heading into a busy August and autumn. That's pretty rad news for you; it means we have a number of closeouts on Rocky Mountain, plus a few lingering demo Konas including the impossible-to-find Hei Hei! 

Rocky Mountain closeouts include some of our favorite bikes, including the Thunderbolt 730, a race-ready full suspension rig that's still plenty of fun, too. Don't miss the Growler, either; it's one of our favorite plus bikes out there. For more on each of these models, get a hold of us or check out Rocky Mountain's site to compare and contrast. 

2016 Instinct 950 $1,700.00

2016 Thunderbolt 730 L $1,400.00

2017 Thunderbolt 710 M $1,600.00

2017 Thunderbolt 730 M $1,800.00

2017 Thunderbolt 730 S $1,800.00

2017 Growler 730 S $700.00

2017 Growler 740 S $900.00

2017 Soul 700 M $450.00

2017 Soul 710 S $500.00

2017 Soul 700 S $450.00

2017 Soul 710 S $500.00

2017 Soul 700 S $450.00

2017 Soul 700 M $450.00

2017 vertex 930 M $1,100.00

2017 Vertex 950 M $1,300.00

2017 Vertex 950 L $1,300.00

2017 Instinct 930 msl L $2,600.00

2017 Instinct 950 XL $2,000.00

2017 Instinct 950 XL $2,000.00

All Konas Are Demos!

2017 Big KahunaKona M $999.00

2017 Big KahunaKona L $999.00

2017 Big KahunaKona XL $999.00

2017 Jake the SnakeKona 51 Green $1,100.00

2017 Private JakeKona54/Pink$1,500.00

2016 HeiHeiKona LG $1,600.00

2016 HeiHEiKona M $1,600.00

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Rocky Mountain and Demo Bikes Sale Starts Tuesday!

The Tuesday after Memorial Day Weekend can be a bit of a buzzkill. After three days of fun in the sun (on a bike), it's back to the grind. Well we've got a few things to make it a TON better.  First, all Rocky Mountain bikes are 15% off! But that ain't it. We're trimming our demo fleet, which means you get a SWEET deal on 2015, 2016 and 2017 demo bikes. 

Get yourself up to 40% off retail on hot demo rigs from Kona and Rocky Mountain. You already know how much we DIG the Hei Hei  and you can grab one for a nice deal. These bikes are in great shape and are carefully tuned-up to make sure it'll feel like new, even if they aren't actually new. 

Below is a list of the bikes up for grabs. Stop by to check the bikes out for yourself! 

2015 Kona Hei Hei. 18"

2016 Kona Hei Hei. M

2016 Kona Hei Hei L

2017. Rocky Mountain Blizzard-10. L

2016 Rocky Mountain Altitude 930 L

2016. Rocky Mountain Instinct 930 M

2016 Rocky Mountain Instinct 950 M

2016 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 920 L

15% off ALL Rocky Mountain bikes, and up to 40% off on demos....Tuesday is going to be a darn good day! And yep, we're closed Monday to go shred, too! 

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Rocky Mountain Demo Weekend UPDATED

Do you like Christmas? Easter? Halloween? The Daytona 500? For bike nuts, a demo day is all of those things wrapped into one, dunked in chocolates and sprinkled with carbon fiber. 

We've got a literal truckload full of awesome. The demo truck is packed with the latest Rocky Mountain rigs for you to enjoy. Test the line-up and see if the bike you've been lusting over lives up to the hype. Here in West Michigan, we're really lucky to have so many trails to ride, and we're making the most of the terrain at Cannonsburg for some thorough testing. 

Due to the copious amounts of rain in the forecast for the weekend, we've moved the demo to Friday from 3-? When will it end? When it's too dark, when you're too tired, or when we're out of beer. Whichever comes first. 

Weather permitting, we'll head back out Saturday from 10-3, but please check with us for official word on the Saturday demo.

You'll need a helmet, pedals, and a form of ID, then you're off on the bike that tickles your fancy. Rocky Mountain's demo truck is currently stocked and loaded with the following bikes:

-Thunderbolt 790 MSL BC

-Element 990 RSL

-Pipeline 750 MSL

-Instinct 990 BC

Stay up to date on all things Demo Weekend here on our Facebook page

Want to check out the demo bikes and the rest of the Rocky Mountain line-up? Here you go! Let us know if you have any questions. 

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