I was recently given the opportunity to take out a Rocky Mountain Blizzard fat bike for a real ride around my home trails of Turkey Point. The bike was one of the rental fleet owned by Elevation Mountain Bike Camps and Coaching who operates a mountain bike coaching / guides / rental business based in Turkey Point and were kind enough to lend me the bike for a morning of riding and testing while my personal fat bike is down. They are also the local Rocky Mountain dealer.
The bike is a 2016 model Blizzard 30. It features a Shimano Deore 10 speed drivetrain with Shimano m396 brakes. The wheels are Sun Ringle hubs and rims shod with Vee Rubber Bulldozer 4.7" tires. The Race Face Affect crank is a quality touch and the build is rounded out with Rocky Mountain branded post, bar, and stem.
Out of the gate I was a little concerned about the low gearing. The drivetrain is a 1 x 10 with a Shimano 11-36 cassette but paired to a 24 tooth narrow-wide chainring. The low gearing proved to be a non-issue and I even appreciated the low gearing while grunting up snowy climbs. I forgot that you move a but slower in snow.
The bike handled very well but with a little bit of self steer, which could have been tire selection or the fact that I'm use to running 780mm bars and the Blizzard has 740mm bars. The Vee Rubber Bulldozers do have a reputation for self steer on harder surfaces if you read around the internet, but on snow they seemed okay. The geometry is a happy medium, giving it a stable footing and still being able to carve singletrack nicely, while not being too aggressive like some of the more recent modern trail bikes. It feels good putting on the gas or just plodding along, the choice is yours. I do feel that this bike would benefit greatly with a wider handlebar, giving it less self steer and increased control in loose snow.
One small peeve I had was that the Q factor is unnecessarily wide. Looking at the crank / chainstay clearance and doing some rough estimating on the side of the trail, I'm sure that you could run the narrower cranks (made for 170mm rear ends) without interference. To put it into perspective, I though my Fatboy Q factor was wide, this is wider. Definitely better options out there for cranks.
Braking and shifting were all as can be expected from the solid Shimano Deore group. The hubs and wheels gave me no grief. The Vee Rubber tires worked well enough, light years ahead of the old Mission fat bike tires from years ago. I liked the tires but would run something different myself, but this is more personal preference than shortcomings by Rocky Mountain.
So, for a quick summary:
In conclusion, if I owned this bike I would be supremely happy as long as I switched out to wider bars and a narrower crankset. It feels at home on singletrack and would no doubt make a perfect four season bike for trail riding, bikepacking, and some off road exploration. I wish I owned one.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.