2016 Rocky Mountain Maiden Park
Size Tested: Large
- Drivetrain: Shimano Zee / Deore, Raceface Chester
- Brakes: Shimano Deore
- Wheels: Wheeltech
- Fork: X-Fusion RV1 HLC (Stock), Rockshox Boxxer RC (tested)
- Rear Shock: X-Fusion Vector Coil (Stock), Fox Van RC (tested)
- Wheels: 27.5′′
Travel: 200 mm Front and Rear
Blister’s Measured Weight: 38.2 lbs, without pedals
Reviewer: 5’9”, 155 lbs.
Test Location: Whistler, BC
Test Duration: 2 Days
In one of the worst kept secrets in the world of DH bikes, Rocky Mountain has been working on the Maiden for about four years. Now it’s finally available, and we spent some time on one courtesy of Summit Sports in Whistler.
The Maiden frame is only available in carbon, but there are a few different build kit options. The bike we rode was essentially the Maiden Park, although it was outfitted with a Rockshox Boxxer RC fork and a Fox Van RC rear shock rather than the stock options from X-Fusion.
The Maiden is designed to take either 26” or 27.5” wheels, and our version was running 27.5. While I prefer the bigger wheels in most situations, the option to run either wheel size is certainly attractive, particularly for people who might be building the bike from the frame up.
The Maiden Park comes with an assortment of build options meant to keep the price tag in check, although the $3999 carbon frame means the Maiden still isn’t the most budget-friendly bike on the market.
Instead of the Rockshox and Fox options that were on our test bike, the Maiden Park comes stock with X-Fusion suspension — an RV1 HLR fork, and a Vector Coil rear shock. While I haven’t spent a ton of time on X-Fusion products, they’re generally well regarded and offer a lot of bang for the buck. If nothing else, the RV1 is a bit more adjustable than the Boxxer RC I rode.
Most of the Maiden Park’s components are Raceface (Chester and Respond) and Shimano Zee. While not particularly light, these parts function well and hold up to abuse.
The low point of the build kit are the brakes; while Shimano Deore brakes work well, the single-piston calipers are a bit under-gunned for true DH use.
The Maiden Park’s wheels are a semi-generic wheelset from Wheeltech, with tubeless compatible rims made by Sun-Ringle. They’re not the flashiest hoops at the bike park, but they work fine. On the upside, those wheels are shod with Maxxis DHRII Supertacky tires, which are some of my favorite all-around DH tires out there.
Frame Geometry and Fit
The Maiden employs Rocky Mountain’s “Ride 4” system, which allows for four positions of geometry adjustment that can also tweak the leverage ratio of the rear suspension. I rode the bike in the low position, but I could have changed the Ride 4 chip to make the bike taller, as well as slightly tweaking how progressive or linear the rear suspension felt. The geometry numbers also change a bit depending on whether you’re running 26” or 27.5” wheels, but since I was running 27.5’s, I’ll limit this discussion to that wheel size.
Fit on the Maiden is on the small side; the Large I rode has a reach of 428-436 mm, depending on the Ride 4 position. Switching between a Large Trek Session 9.9, a Large Devinci Wilson, and the Large Maiden, the Maiden felt the smallest (even though, by the numbers, the reach on the Session is smaller).
In the low position, the Maiden has a 63° head angle, which is slack, but not extreme by modern DH-bike standards. For the most part, the rest of the Maiden’s numbers are fairly middle of the road.
The exception to that middle-of-the-road statement are the Maiden’s chainstays, which are quite short at 425 mm. Those short stays really define the ride characteristics of the Maiden, but I’ll get into that a bit more below.
The Maiden is a decidedly stout frame. The short chainstays combined with a full carbon rear end and large, wide pivots make for a bike that didn’t flex much. It’s also worth noting that the Maiden runs on sealed bearings in the pivots rather than the bushings found on many of Rocky Mountain’s shorter travel bikes. Generally speaking, I think that’s a good thing; the bearings tend to last longer, they’re easier to maintain, and they provide a smoother suspension feel at the beginning of the travel.
The general suspension layout of the Maiden is similar to most of Rocky Mountain’s bikes, and uses their “Smoothlink” design. It’s somewhat similar in layout to a horst link / FSR link bike (i.e. Specialized Demo, YT Tues), except that the pivot near the rear axle is located above the axle, rather than below it.
Depending on what gear combination you’re in, pedaling forces will affect the suspension differently. Basically, the relationship of the angle of the chain to the angle of the suspension pivots will affect pedaling efficiency, but those angles change (1) as you shift gears, and (2) as the suspension compresses. The idea behind the Smoothlink design is to keep those angles and the relationship between them optimal in a wide range of gears.
In a practical sense, the Smoothlink design seems to work well on trail bikes, but pedaling efficiency is a bit less of a concern on a DH bike. Rocky Mountain is clearly aware of this, because the Maiden definitely prioritizes an active suspension over pedaling efficiency.
The Maiden’s suspension is also fairly progressive — the leverage ratio falls fairly consistently throughout the bike’s travel. While it’s not the most progressive bike out there, it’s quite a bit more progressive than something like a Specialized Demo.
The frame also employs some relatively minor features that are nice touches — Di2 shifting compatibility, integrated fork bumpers, clean internal cable routing, and integrated rubber guards to protect the downtube from rock strikes and the stays from chain slap.
NEXT: The Ride, Bottom Line