Of the 25 1986-1997 Rocky’s I own; one stands above them all. It was the summer of 1992. I was 17, working at a small shop in Salem, Ontario called Salem Cyclery. I may have been responsible for running up Rocky’s 1-800 bills as I loved chatting with the guys out there any chance I could. Always so patient and friendly.
I was invited to a dealer ride and preview in Hockley Valley of the 93 Rocky’s and fell instantly in love with the 1993 Altitude. Everything about it was amazing. After drooling on the catalogue page daily, it was time to order one and damned if they weren’t instantly sold out. I was bummed about it until talking with Peter, our Rocky rep, and he mentioned there was a small run of Thunderbolts that had been built to ease the sold-out Altitude pain. He suggested I wouldn’t regret it, and he was right. Opted for the Deore XT one as the full Race Face/XTR kit was a little more than I could handle (Stupid me, I changed out to Race Face/XTR within the year). I waited at the door of the shop for it daily until finally UPS sauntered up to the door with a box! I excitedly opened to discover it was the wheels and parts... Frame/fork were in a second box that showed up a week later as a cruel joke. Carefully, I built her up from scratch. One of the few
Rocky’s that came as a scratch build. It came with the matching fillet brazed fork which never made the bike sadly as I was a Rock Shox man by that time. There it was, in all its fillet brazed glory. I was in love from the first. So nimble, lively. Climbing wasn’t nearly the chore it used to be. Perhaps partially mental, but it was clear this was a bike I would never part with. It saw many hours with friends, solo, at races and punishing enduros over the years. It had a couple of repairs at Rocky (thus the paint change from Light Blue metallic to Altitude Turquoise.) It still hangs proudly, dressed in 95% of the parts it had in 1996.
Only regret I have was the original fork sat on my bench for years unused until someone begged me to sell to them as they had broken their Thunderbolt fork. I wrestled with the idea and opted to let go as at least it would help someone out. I have since heard that that Thunderbolt had broke and ended up at Rocky headquarters as a display bike... (apparently Rocky’s longest standing warranty claim) so if you’re up for an arm wrestle for her back someday Rocky, let me know. Happy Anniversary.
- Lucas Longman