Review: 2021 Rocky Mountain Instinct Carbon 90

Mar 9, 2021
by Mike Kazimer  
When Rocky Mountain debuted the new Altitude last September, one of the features that might have flown under the radar was a replaceable forward shock mount. That feature allowed Rocky to take the same frame, equip it with a shorter shock, and turn their enduro race machine into something more trail-oriented.

The result is the new Instinct, which has 140mm of rear travel that's paired with a 150mm fork. Where its burlier sibling is aimed at riders searching for enduro glory, the Instinct is more about longer pedal-fests rather than charging blindly into steep, chunky trails. It's available with either a carbon or aluminum frame in a wide range of build kits – you can take a look at the complete lineup here.
Instinct Carbon 90 Details

• Wheel size: 29" S-XL / 27.5" XS & S
• Travel: 140mm (r) / 150mm fork
• 65.1 - 66.2 degree head angle
• 437 or 448mm chainstays
• Carbon frame
• Actual weight: 29.5 lb / 13.4 kg (size L w/o pedals)
• Price: $9,399 USD. Frame and shock: $3,549.
bikes.com


Not only does the Instinct borrow the Altitude's frame, it also replaces the Thunderbolt in Rocky's lineup. That bike had 140mm of travel and 27.5” wheels, so Rocky decided to consolidate things and offer the Instinct with different wheel sizes depending on the frame size. That means sizes small thru XL roll on 29” wheels, and there's also a 27.5” option for small and extra-small sizes.

The bike I've been riding sits one notch from the top of the line, which gives it a hefty price tag of $9,399 USD. All of that dough gets you a Fox Factory level 36 Fit 4 fork and DPX2 shock, Shimano XTR 12-speed drivetrain and brakes, Race Face Next R carbon cranks and handlebar, and their ARC 31 carbon rims laced to DT Swiss hubs. Maxxis takes care of the tires with a Minion DHF / DHRII combo, both with EXO+ casings. All that adds up to a total weight of 29.5 pounds for a size large without pedals.


bigquotesIt will deliver a good time on twisty, more moderate trails, and in those situations it's an easy bike to pick up and place where you want it, dissecting that terrain like a scalpel rather than a sledgehammer. Mike Kazimer




Rocky Mountain Instinct review
Construction and Features

The Instinct 90's frame is carbon from tip to tail, other than the aluminum rocker link that houses the Ride-9 geometry adjust feature. A flip chip at the chainstays allows for 10mm of adjustment (just don't forget to flip the brake mount around while you're at it). In addition, the bike is compatible with SRAM's Universal Derailleur Hanger in the longer setting in case a spare is needed in a pinch.

The internal cable routing is fully guided to make installation hassle-free, and the ports in the head tube make it possible to easily run brakes moto-style.

Nearly the entire downtube is protected with rubber pads, and there's a chainstay protector with wave-like mounds molded into it to keep any noise to a minimum. Other features include a pressfit bottom bracket, ISCG-05 tabs, and plenty of room for a water bottle.

Rocky Mountain Instinct review
A different shock mount and shock size allowed Rocky to use the same frame for the Altitude and Instinct.
Rocky Mountain Instinct review


Rocky Mountain Instinct review
The chainstay length can be altered by 10mm...
Rocky Mountain Instinct review
...and there are nine different suspension / geometry options.


Rocky Mountain Instinct review


Geometry & Sizing

Putting a shorter travel fork on a frame steepens the head and seat angle, and increase the reach, which is evident when comparing the numbers of the Instinct vs the Altitude.

In the slackest setting, Instinct has a 65.1-degree head angle, a 76.7 degree seat angle, and a 481mm reach for a size large. Those numbers can be changed by using the flip chips at the rear shock mount – it's possible to give the Instinct up to a 66.2 degree head angle and 493 mm reach if for some reason you wanted to try out the longer and steeper route.


Rocky Mountain Instinct review

Suspension Design

The Instinct uses Rocky's Smoothlink suspension design, with a progressive leverage ratio that allows the bike to work with either air or coil shocks. The Ride-9 geometry adjust feature also alters the suspension, for better or worse, which means the position of the chip can be used to increase or decrease how progressive the suspension is. Personally, I'd rather see these traits de-coupled – it'd be nice to be able to adjust the head angle without affecting the suspension, and vice versa, something that could be accomplished with a swappable headset cup.

Compared to the previous model, the Instinct's anti-squat has been increased slightly, and it now sits around 90% at sag before dropping off as the bike goes through its travel.


Rocky Mountain Instinct review



Specifications
Price $9399
Travel 140mm
Rear Shock Fox Float DPX2 Factor
Fork Fox 36 Float EVOL FIT4 Factory Series 150mm
Headset FSA Orbit NO.57E
Cassette Shimano XTR 12s 10-51T
Crankarms Race Face Next R Cinch
Chainguide OneUp Top Guide
Bottom Bracket Race Face BB92 30mm
Rear Derailleur Shimano XTR
Chain Shimano XTR
Shifter Pods Shimano XTR
Handlebar Race Face
Stem Rocky Mountain 35 CNC
Grips Ergon GE1 EVO Lock On
Brakes Shimano XTR Trail 4 Piston
Hubs DT Swiss 350 Boost 148mm / Rocky Mountain Sealed Boost 15mm
Spokes DT Swiss Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0
Rim Race Face ARC Carbon 31
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 / Minion DHR II 2.4 MaxxTerra EXO+
Seat WTB Volt Race 142
Seatpost Race Face Turbine R (by Fox) Dropper 30.9mm




Rocky Mountain Instinct review







Test Bike Setup

Getting the Instinct up and running didn't require too much fussing around, other than swapping a volume spacer in the shock after a few rides. I ran 84 psi in the Fox 36 with two volume spacers installed. The Fit4 damper in this fork has a three position lever, but I never felt the need to use it. I'm not really a fan of having different fork settings for climbs and descents, since it's one more thing to accidentally forget to change.

I started with the DPX2 shock in its stock configuration, which has a .4” volume spacer, and later swapped that out for a .2” volume spacer in order to reduce the end stroke ramp up slightly. That's in line with what I ended up doing on the Float X2 found on the Altitude in order to ensure I could use all the travel when necessary. 215 psi put me right at 30% sag.

Testing took place in the Bellingham, Washington, area over the last two months, with conditions ranging from perfect dirt and mild temps to very cold, windy, and frozen.





Me.
Mike Kazimer
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Age: 38
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Inseam: 33" / 84cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mikekazimer


Rocky Mountain Instinct review

Climbing

The Instinct has all the traits that a good trail bike should have when climbing. It's quick, calm, and never felt like a handful no matter how tight or awkward the turns. There's a snappiness to its handling that I didn't anticipate – I'd expected it to have more of a watered-down enduro bike feel considering its pedigree, which isn't the case at all. That's with it in the slackest position, too. I started there and never found any reason to deviate from that geometry setting, since any climbs I didn't clean certainly weren't the fault of the head angle, and I'd rather have a more confident descender than a twitchier climber.

We're still seeing seat tube angles get steeper and steeper, especially on longer travel bikes, a trend that I'm a fan of, within reason. On the Instinct, that 76-degree seat angle (and 70.3-degree actual) created a comfortable position for long days in the saddle without putting too much pressure on my hands, or making it feel like I was too cramped.

As far as efficiency goes, I didn't have any qualms running the shock fully open for most rides, occasionally using the middle compression setting for longer fire roads and spinning to the trailhead. Even in the fully open position the Instinct rides higher in its travel – it's only when you're really mashing on the pedals that any extra suspension motion can be detected.


Rocky Mountain Instinct review

Descending

After spending so much time on the Altitude last fall I feel like I binged on dessert first, and forgot to leave room for the main course. In other words, I wasn't as enamored with the Instinct as I was with the Altitude. The reduced travel and steeper angles of the Instinct altered its on-trail personality more than I'd expected, and rather than feeling like a mini-enduro bike it feels like a trail bike with a capital T.

It will deliver a good time on twisty, more moderate trails, and in those situations it's an easy bike to pick up and place where you want it, dissecting that terrain like a scalpel rather than a sledgehammer. Its limits start to show up at higher speeds and when the hits get bigger – those were situations when I found myself missing the extra travel and bottomless feel delivered by the Float X2 on the Altitude. I tried both chainstay positions, and after going back and forth a few times I ended up settling on the shorter position, since it seemed to align better with the bike's quick and snappy manners.

The FIT4-equipped 36 and the stiff carbon wheels also come into play in that chunkier terrain, delivering more feedback and a slightly jarring ride at times. It was in those situations that I found myself wondering how the coil-shock spec'd version of this bike would behave. I have a hunch that would have been more in line with my appetite for traction and big hit composure, although beefing up an Instinct does seem slightly counterproductive given the existence of the Altitude. As much as I have a soft spot for short-travel shredders, sometimes it's better to start off with the right tool for the job.

At the end of the day, the Instinct doesn't set the world on fire with its descending prowess, but it's also able to get down most trails without putting up much of a fuss – just don't expect it to completely erase every single obstacle.


Rocky Mountain Instinct review
Rocky Mountain Instinct
Vitus Escarpe 2021 review
Vitus Escarpe CRX 29

How does it compare?

A couple months ago I reviewed the Vitus Escarpe, and it just so happen that that bike has nearly identical geometry numbers to the Instinct. The Vitus has a 65-degree head angle, 480mm reach, and 440mm chainstays, while the Instinct has a 65.1-degree head angle, 438mm chainstays, and a 481mm reach.

There is a 3-pound weight difference between the two (the Instinct is lighter) that shouldn't be entirely overlooked, but at the end of the day I preferred the Vitus' suspension package – the GRIP2 36 and the super-supple DPS shock – and felt more comfortable on it when things got steep and slippery. The Escarpe had a way of making obstacles melt underneath it, with more traction and an overall plusher ride than the Instinct.

Along with the weight difference there's also a price difference of over $5,000 thanks to Vitus' consumer-direct sales model. Keep in mind that it's not an entirely even comparison – the Vitus has an XT drivetrain and brakes with aluminum wheels, while the Rocky has full XTR and carbon everything, but it's still worth mentioning.

Rocky Mountain Instinct review
Rocky Mountain Instinct review

Technical Report

Shimano XTR brakes: I've started to put a small strip of mastic tape directly on the caliper under the Shimano's finned brake pads in order to reduce any pad related rattling. It's a recommended step even before hitting the trail. I wouldn't have minded a 200mm front rotor on this bike either. Sure, it would add a few grams, but I'm willing to take that penalty for more braking power.

Fox 36 Fit 4 damper: I wish there were at least a couple models in the Instinct lineup with Fox's GRIP2 damper instead of the FIT4. Along with having more adjustability, I prefer the GRIP2 damper's feel on rougher trails, where it seems to stick to the ground better, and transmits less unwanted feedback to the rider.

Shimano XTR drivetrain: I may have some gripes about Shimano's current brakes, but I do really, really like their current drivetrain offerings. The XTR shifting was flawless, as it should be, even in grim, muddy conditions.


Rocky Mountain Instinct review



Pros

+ Feels quick and efficient, especially when climbing
+ Adjustable chainstay length and a wide range of sizes


Cons

- It's no mini-enduro bike in this configuration, despite sharing a frame with the Altitude
- Expensive, even compared to non-consumer direct brands


Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Instinct is a trail bike through and through, the type that could work well for riders whose idea of a good time is a dawn to dusk mission with lots of pedaling. Big days in the Chilcotins, epics in the Colorado high country, those are the type of situation where it would shine brightest. However, there are limits to its capabilities, and the configuration reviewed here can feel a bit harsh when faced with rougher terrain and bigger hits. There's also the price to contend with, but luckily Rocky does offer wide range of models, include more reasonably priced aluminum options. Mike Kazimer









287 Comments

  • 294 3
 How the hell does a $9400 bike not come with the Grip2? Rocky Mountains instinct is clearly wrong on this one...
  • 75 3
 comes with 350 hubs too.
  • 88 1
 @mtb-scotland: any model below 8500$ gets 370s hahaha
  • 5 1
 @zombiejack33: ripping the pish with that one.
  • 39 0
 Yes why is the fit4 damper still around if the Grip2 was supposed to be such a revolutionary upgrade?
  • 58 2
 @rwjones4: Because you can lockout the fork which no one outside of xc hardtails does nowadays anyway.
  • 3 14
flag GilesSTurner (Mar 9, 2021 at 3:23) (Below Threshold)
 @zyoungson: Surely it can't be much more work to have one over-arching lockout somewhere in the damper? It really isn't that hard to produce.
  • 9 0
 @zombiejack33: Yeah, RM are really skimping on the wheels. Got the Altitude C50 at a nice discount and the bike overall is great. But that rear wheel and 370 hub will be replaced asap
  • 41 2
 And hey! Let's share the frame among other models, but still charge $3500 US for frame only.
  • 43 0
 Rocky Mountain consistently seems to be missing the mark when it comes to their build spec and value. It's too bad because everything I've read suggests their frames are sweet.
  • 55 41
 Only going to get worse. All of these companies know they are going to sell 100% of their bikes this year with zero discounting due to demand so they are all getting greedy. 500-1000$ price increases easy and spec lowered to increase profit.

Yes, they are all trying to screw you. And they can and will. And when all these new people quit you can bet they won’t lower prices.

The contempt the bike companies have for their customers is unmatched except for maybe BMW and Porsche.
  • 7 5
 @wibblywobbly: I know there's supply shortages, but is there really high demand for S9k bikes? I agree that they're price gouging on lower end models as well. It just seems like there's way higher demand for low end to mid range bikes than normal but not necessarily a huge amount more demand for ridiculously high priced bikes. I could be wrong, that's just the impression I get.
  • 56 6
 @wibblywobbly: From seeing the OE component price increases, a lot of brands won't be making more money even with higher RRPs. Material & production cost increases for their own brand parts, combined with the 5-15% increase in component prices, combined with massively increased shipping costs mean it's a pretty bad time to be trying to spec an affordable bike (or indeed be a customer trying to get an affordable bike). That's before you even get into the issues that a lot of brands are having with insanely long lead times and stock availability. There have been plenty of articles posted on here talking about - for example - SRAM having over 400 day lead times for some drivetrain components where they'd normally be 30-40.

I'm sure some brands will be squeezing out a little extra profit where they can, but for the most part these increases aren't because they just wanted to make an extra 5-10% from each bike sale. The whole industry is pretty screwed at the moment - it'll be interesting to see how many brands and retailers make it out of 2021.
  • 26 1
 @CleanZine: What you say is true. But the fact remains that lots of other companies, even non direct to consumer companies, are offering similarly speced bikes for far less money. Something still doesn't add up with the value of rocky.
  • 12 14
 FIT4 keeps the weight down versus GRIP2. I have the previous generation Instinct and the FIT4 is good spec choice. After all, quoting Kaz, the Instinct is for "Big days in the Chilcotins, epics in the Colorado high country". Not so much for banging out shuttle laps or podiuming your local EWS feeder.
  • 15 18
 @CleanZine: What you said isn’t wrong. But it’s not the whole story.

All the people working from home are making more money than ever. They can’t go on vacation or eat out so they have no problem dropping big bucks on a bike.

Who knows how long these people stick around riding once things open up again. The bike companies are taking advantage of the boom and couldn’t care less about the people who have been loyal customers.

Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.
  • 16 0
 @zombiejack33: i'm now laughing in EVIL with my Hydra hubs on a gx build
  • 9 0
 @zombiejack33: Giant does the same thing, terrible engagement 3 pawl hubs on super expensive bikes. Unacceptable.
  • 1 1
 @mtb-scotland: well you get a 350 rear hub, not front
  • 9 1
 Apparently the GRIP2 won't actually fit in the Step cast forks. so regardless of specs, Fox has to keep FIT4 around in at least the variants that fit in the 32 and 34. (just as another reason why you still see it around.)
  • 10 1
 @wibblywobbly: Moutain biking is an enthusiast sport. No one NEEDS a new bike, people just want one. As long as the consumers are willing to pay the supplier will continue to do this to their customers. Santa Cruz just sent a letter to their customers saying they are increasing prices as well. Boutique brands eventually will get a reality check when the consumer finally figures out whats going on.
  • 30 3
 The value on this bike is pure garbage. Call it $10k and you get; Fit4 fork, DT 350 hubs (not even 240, come on!), Race Face rims, Race Face cranks, a WTB Race spec saddle which comes with CroMoly rails, Race Face branded dropper (yes I know it's made by Fox, at that price you should get an actual Fox)...

Fuuuuuuuuuk that.
  • 9 1
 @mtb-scotland:
That's just the rear, $9400 gets you a house brand front hub
  • 9 1
 @Lastpikd: Same people spending this kind of money on bikes must be the same ones bidding $50k+ over asking price on homes in my area. A few other bike companies have increased prices as well.
  • 5 0
 I won't argue about it being on a step cast...

But why bother with the fit 4 in a 36? Every fit 4 I've ridden has been super harsh and has no place being on a bike with a 36. I demod a pivot with a 130 34 in the fit4. My 140 grip1 felt so much better. Same with my buddies 36 and a fit 4... Trash...
  • 3 1
 The 370 really is that bad. Speaking from experience on a high spec 2018 altitude. It was unreliable and out of place on an otherwise great build. @zombiejack33:
  • 1 0
 @wibblywobbly: well said!
  • 15 2
 How the hell does a $9400 bike not come with a 450cc four-stroke engine?
  • 11 1
 @kcy4130: You're right on. Specialized is selling the Stumpjumper EVO Pro for 7500. The only difference between that and the RM is X01 Eagle/Codes and Roval wheels. Literally everything else is similar down to the wheels (just swap out Roval carbon rims for the Race Face). When you're losing the spec/price game to the big red S, you done messed up.
  • 2 1
 embarrassing spec for the money, especially in CAD$.
  • 1 0
 @kcy4130: It's not so much 'high demand' on its own, it's the supply/demand ratio. The bike industry, as with many other consumer goods industries, is suffering from restricted supply due to manufacturing shutdowns and subsequent backlogs in SE Asia, meaning that supply/demand ratio is jacked.

They will sell every single one at full price (wholesale), and those that want one may complain about the price, but they'll still buy it (likely having to pre-order it), because they're 'lucky' to get it.
  • 1 0
 @kcy4130: Totally - all the different brands are in different positions in terms of the cost of producing bikes (i.e. small brands will pay substantially more for OE parts and their own manufactured goods than a big brand), the cost of shipping (larger volume can generally get you discounts) and so on, but they will naturally have different ideas of what constitutes a fair margin. Some brands don't seem to offer particularly great value compared to others, but my point was more that this isn't simply a case of price gouging as @wibblywobbly was implying. There are a lot of things kicking in at once that are having a materiel impact on the cost of producing bikes, and it's not possible for brands (more so for brands with distributors rather than direct to consumer) to simply absorb those increases. It's worth noting that those direct to consumer brands will be making around 15-20% more at least on a comparatively priced bike than brands using a distribution/dealer model, so they've got much more wiggle room. Of the brands using the distribution/dealer model, the bigger ones will usually have extra margin to play with compared to the smaller brands using that model too.

As before, no doubt they aren't slitting their own throats with their pricing and will be looking to make some profit, but it isn't as simple as saying that cycling in general is having a boom right now and therefore they can charge what they want.

I think it's likely that some brands are over-forecasting bikes under the idea that the boom from the initial lockdown periods of 2020 will carry through to those same new riders to the sport buying new bikes in 2021, but I don't really see that happening. No doubt some of them will, but there's no way it'll be that kind of peak. With how long lead times are and how far out brands are having to order future stock of bikes, it could well be that 2022 is a great year for riders looking to get a good deal on a bike - those brands over-forecasting now will wind up with quite a bit of surplus stock they can't get rid of.

I doubt that prices will go back down to what they were in 2018/19, but with inflation that's never going to happen anyway. Using the Bank of England's calculator, a bike that cost £3000 in 2018 would cost £3123~ now, for context.
  • 125 2
 Rocky saves boatload of cash by reusi g Altitude frame and passes savings on to consumers. Oh wait.
  • 14 15
 In fact yes, they pass it on *the* consumers - all their managers need to buy Porches, yachts and nice houses.
  • 87 3
 @lkubica: It's vancouver, No-one is buying a nice house on a bike industry salary.
  • 10 1
 My naive hope is that they’d pay their racers more. Jesse said he could get more money elsewhere but loves the team.
  • 8 0
 This is no different than what they did with the previous gen Instinct and Instinct BC (which has since merged with the Altitude). Same front and rear triangle with a different link and shock gives 140/140 or 155/160 bikes. The cost and time of tooling, and validating carbon layup... I would be disappointed if they made two nearly identical front triangles for those bikes, frankly. Or do things have to be different for the sake of being different??
  • 6 0
 So why not get an Altitude with a DPX shock and 150mm fork, and just stuff it full of all the volume spacers you can? It will sag less and ride like a shorter stroke shock most of the time, and you'll only ever use the full 160mm of travel on drops to flat.
  • 61 0
 Never thought Specialized would be the bike industry's good guys, but I'd love someone from Rockey Mountain's marketing team to put one of these side-by-side with a Stumpjumper EVO Expert and explain to me, "Here's why you should spend an extra $4,500 on our bike."

I'll bet about halfway through, their pants would catch on fire.
  • 18 0
 Lol came here to say that too.

RM: "We saved a BUNCH of money by re-using frame molds!"
Customer: "Great! How much is the bike?!"
RM: "$9,400 complete, $3550 frame only!"

I don't need to write out the Customer response to that.
  • 7 0
 @atourgates: specialized changed a lot over the years, now they are a great value brand
  • 3 2
 well if both the altitude and the instinct both preform well on their own for what each are designed, why couldn't someone buy one or the other and buy extra suspension to allow them to have two bikes in one? seems being able to set up your bike to be either a trail bike or an enduro bike with switching of a shock, fork, and shock mount can save the customer a TON of money versus buying two bikes. the price is kinda high for the bike but this is just the first bike to be released with the full weight of covid supply and demand issues Inflation, and new import fees that have been put on these bikes now needs to be considered. i would bet the price on this will be on par with every other bike comparable that comes out this summer
  • 3 1
 @rumblefish255: This. shock mount, shock and air shaft for fork. So much hate in the comments here. I see two bikes for the price of 1.1
  • 2 0
 @atourgates: I know that if a brand were to price their frame/shock option below the stratosphere I would be way more inclined to buy something from them.

$3500 for any bike frame and shock seems insane when you can get a decent entire bike for the same or less.
  • 3 4
 @rumblefish255: Its not so simple. I'd also want different tire/wheel setups, plus who knows what else. Weight doesn't matter for enduro, but I think it matters for trail. So dropping the travel on your fox 38 for "trail" mode will be quite heavy, and probably overly stiff since forks get stiffer as you shorten the axle to crown length.
  • 3 0
 @rumblefish255: Ya, It's a bummer that the Helm Coil can't go up to 170mm or else that'd make it easy! You'd just need the 2nd shock and shock mount. Not a quick change, but something you could do while servicing your fork.
  • 4 0
 @lkubica: @lkubica: No one at Rocky is buying a Porsche AND a yacht AND a nice house... Not even Simmons or Gully. Clearly you haven't seen the cost of living in Vancouver. You can choose two, but not all three... or at least so I'm told.
  • 1 0
 @atourgates: Too bloody right. I bought my first Stumpy Evo (complete bike) brand new for less money than the cost of the RM frame only option. This RM pricing is just plain stupid.
  • 5 0
 @bigmike9699: Then they should move. Honestly, if the cost of living in Vancouver is preventing them from bringing out decently priced bikes, they should move their headquarters.
  • 5 1
 @Mikevdv: On bike industry salary in Vancouver you're pulling tricks on East Hastings just to pay rent on your 100 square foot apartment... and the sole reason you work in the bike industry is because it's the cheapest way to replace all your bikes that keep getting stolen.
  • 7 0
 @RickRossovich: Well hold on, that's not exactly what I said...is it? Rocky isn't the biggest bike maker in the world, I would say it's pretty understandable that I would be able to get more at another company that is larger. Rocky treats me well, plus I get to stay at a brand that I love with all my friends!
  • 89 2
 10k and a FIT4 damper??
  • 16 0
 AND they're using the same frame as the altitude so they're saving on the cost of molds.
  • 11 0
 The price is equivalent to €7900.

For €4400 the Hugene comes with the Grip 2 factory and the same shock plus a GX Eagle drivetrain. Granted, the wheelset is Propain’s own brand but I can live with that and I feel much better about paying that figure for a trail bike given that I’m knocking on for 50 and not riding half as much as I should.
  • 13 1
 @rustiegrizwold: I think this is quite easily one of the worst value bikes I've seen in ages!
  • 85 12
 Rocky Mountain and their over priced bland looking bikes.
  • 30 10
 100% agree. They have the worst colour schemes and styling AND the prices have always been terrible for what you get. Kona is the same way as well. I'll yawn and pass!
  • 70 2
 @StumpHumper45: No, come on now. Intense has the worst color schemes.
  • 8 0
 @TheR: Id say yes. But Id rather see worst of neon colors on a bike that makes it look exciting rather than the boring schemes Rocky does.
  • 8 0
 @chillrider199: For Intense, it’s not so much the neon, which in principle I like. It’s how they put it all together. Rocky had a good thing going with the colors about 2-3 years ago. They had the cool yellow/blue slayer (and a red one, I think). The blue and maroon Altitude. I guess these aren’t horrible, but not the most exciting pain jobs.
  • 22 1
 Their overpriced bikes are beautiful, I don't know what you're talking about.
  • 3 0
 @TheR: I have the blue and maroon altitude aluminum frame. It's so ugly in person that I painted over the maroon. I think the carbon one had more maroon and looked better, but with only maroon accents it's fairly terrible.
  • 4 2
 @TheR: heard they did 2021colors as a collab with Stevie Wonders
  • 1 0
 @TheR: True true. I have not seen it. But at least Intense has paint that will not corroding away.
  • 2 1
 @AndrewHornor: Really? All good, man, but I saw it in person and kind of liked it. Different strokes.

@usedbikestuff: Yep, I think that every time I look at an Intense monstrosity. It’s too bad, too, because they make nice bikes.
  • 6 0
 I have a 2018 Altitude and must object (of course). The turquoise-dark red paint scheme from that year still makes for one of the most beautiful bikes out there.
  • 3 1
 @StumpHumper45: Don't forget broken chainstays. I would love to rock a rocky, but nope... They consistently miss the mark year over year (aesthetic, build, price and reliability).
  • 4 1
 @spencerbrawn: Oh yeah... AND local LBS is still waiting on RM bikes from August. Be wary of putting deposits down on them as well.
  • 1 1
 @StumpHumper45: deposit, lol. No one has anything. Straight swindling customers.
  • 2 1
 The 27.5 wheeled Altitudes were beautiful. Almost bought one on looks alone. The new Instinct looks boring, though.
  • 1 4
 Its not really the colors that are bland... they are actually trying to spice it up with the multi color schemes. Its the frame design, the tube shapes, the rear triangle, the shock placement and angle. Rockys are just not good looking bikes. Considering the unattractiveness, and the low end components, I just don't see how they attempt to price themselves with other high end manufacturers.
  • 2 0
 @StumpHumper45: thats interesting, my LBS said Rocky is one of the only ones delivering. They have revived most of their RMs but said Norco and Giant shit the bed.
  • 2 0
 @StumpHumper45: I see new RM all over my LBS, Santa Cruz and even Trek are missing but not Rocky's...
  • 53 0
 and everyone talks shit about Yeti and their high prices...
  • 6 0
 Exactly. I mean I’d ride a RM but these prices are absurd.
  • 5 0
 I would rather have a SB130 T2 lunch ride and save 2k. Price is crazy for that Rocky.
  • 33 0
 “and the ports in the head tube make it possible to easily run brakes moto-style”
Thanks for this @mikekazimer A little mention about brake routing in each review would be much appreciated by some of us. Cheers
  • 7 1
 Agreed, people born and raised on the North American continent may never even think about this, but for a large amount of the english speaking mtb world this is a bit of an issue.
  • 29 7
 @AyJayDoubleyou: Isn't it just really England and Aussies? I've seen Kiwi bikes set up both ways.

It seems that having the steering wheel on the wrong side, coupled with the backwards roads skews your opinion.

What can I say though, as someone from the USA, we still measure stuff using dims garnered from misc body parts and archaic shaky navigational standards.

Excuse me while I go eat 3/4 pound of charred animal flesh I harvested with my automatic weapon after walking a mile, up hill, in the snow, shoeless.
  • 6 6
 @AyJayDoubleyou: If you just rode with the brakes on the proper gentlemanly sides it wouldn't be a problem.
  • 6 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: around a third of the world drive on the left, so need the brakes the other way round, including big bike markets in Asia like Japan and a lot of Southern Africa.

Of course, it wouldn't be an issue if bike manufacturers gave the public what they want and made bikes with external routing!
  • 4 0
 Agreed. I’ll never buy a bike without a Moto routining option.
  • 8 1
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: I've never seen American style brakes in NZ.
  • 2 3
 @PhillipJ: see it lots, pretty large chunk of riding population learned to ride while on their OE in Canada.
  • 2 0
 @PhillipJ: 'American'? I know France & Belgium use the same setup as 'American', Canada too. I think it's really British related, UK, Aus, NZ....I believe Italy and would guess Japan follow the 'moto' layout also.

Based on this the Americans followed Frances lead:

www.renehersecycles.com/which-hand-for-which-brake
  • 7 1
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: I really don't understand the 'Merican, French, whatever way.

I like to know that if I'm going to grab a fistful of brake to nose-wheelie a landing on my mtb or moto then it is the same hand. Call me simple, but it makes sense.

What exactly is the benefit of the other way around?

Now I'm going to eat my half-kilo of charred kangaroo that I harvested with my boomerang.
  • 4 1
 @bonfire: Lol - 'pretty large chunk'
Most of New Zealand's riding population didn't learn to ride bikes overseas you muppet
  • 4 2
 @PhillipJ: "American style" haha Wink . Literally the whole right-side-of-the-road-driving world sets their bicycle brakes like that. This is mainly a UK/Oz/NZ problem - that's 3 (three) countries.

Yes, other countries drive on the left but have you ever seen these comments here from e.g. Japanese riders? In terms of mtb market size it really is a very limited issue. No idea how they set commuter bikes up in Japan or if it's ever been a problem on those.

And no, it doesn't seem to bother motorcyclists in mainland Europe that their pushbikes don't have the front brake on the same side as their motos. Plus, coming from mainland and living in the UK I still set my brakes up the continental way and it never caused me any difficulties while riding on the left side in traffic.
  • 3 2
 I learned to ride a hand brake on a motorcycle before I ever had one on a bicycle, and I can say with complete confidence I've never mentally switched it up mid-ride. But I am left-handed, and left-handed people are mentally more adaptable and generally smarter, so maybe it's that.
  • 3 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: and better looking, with bigger junk too. It's science.
  • 1 0
 In short people have a preference and around 80% of bikes have to run continental or you’re compromising on routing.

Hence racist routing.
  • 1 1
 @jclnv:It's more bias than racism.
  • 2 1
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: It only effects people of colonial Anglo Saxon heritage. Disgusting racism.
  • 1 0
 @o-man: worked in bike shops and events for 5 years here after moving from Canada. Would say about a 3rd of my customers have them setup my way. So chill.
  • 32 0
 My Current bike is a rocky and was really competitively priced but they seem to have moved their pricing inline with boutique brands and as much is I like my current bike I wouldn’t pay the current pricing
  • 8 1
 I remember an Instinct C50 with ballpark the same parts ran like $5500 CAD only about two years ago, now it's 7k for a 2mm thicker fork on each side. That's not keeping up with a 2% Canadian inflation rate.
  • 3 0
 @j-t-g: same with my altitude c50 was around 5000$ liked the bike but now way overpriced I got a custom made druid everything carbon for a bit over the price of the new carbon 50 instinct.
  • 22 1
 "It's no mini-enduro bike in this configuration, despite sharing a frame with the Altitude"
Do you mean it's literally the same frame with a different paintjob and upper shock link?
  • 10 0
 mtb-news.de says it is the same frame just with a different upper shock link that is screwed to the frame and can possibly be changed to turn it into the Enduro version with a X2 shock. Also, they had the bike with a Grip2 fork.
  • 4 0
 It's got a different stroke-length shock, with most likely also a very different tune. I'm not surprised that it feels very different.
  • 3 0
 @mtb-journal: the Altitude framset is $300 more haha. I guess that X2 shock is $300 more than the DPX2?
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: It actually is quite close to that. The DPX2 is very much Fox's value shock designed to compete directly with the really low price points possible in the Super Deluxe chassis. With independent HS adjusted on the FX2 that shock is a good chunk more expensive than even the highest level SDLX which uses a very simple damper design.
  • 19 0
 @callumreynolds, yes it is - I mention that in the second sentence of the review. Wink
  • 11 2
 @mikekazimer: so you did. I just look at the pictures
  • 6 0
 he was elected to lead, not to read
  • 19 1
 I recently sold my 2018 RM Instinct C70, really nice bike, light and quick but not a good value. Now RM is completely uncompetitive in value. These prices are crazy high for what you get, and the 370 hubs shouldn't even be on a bike at half the price of these bikes.
I don't know how RM is going to sell these bikes at this price (OK, maybe in Covid times they can) I hope they do well but they need to get there prices under control to offer a competitive value.
  • 7 1
 Agreed. The 370 hub is garbage. I blew the drive ring in mine after 60 hours use. Luckily the warranty process was rock solid with Rocky Mountain. Sounds like a lot of problems with the 370 hub last year. They were going to upgrade me to a 350 hub, but couldn't get stock from DT. Rocky let the shop handle it and they rebuilt my wheel with a hub that they had in stock. All in all I got a Hope Pro 4 hub rebuilt instead of having to wait for an eternity for a 350 hub to show up.

As for the durability of the frame, it's been rock solid. TBH I like the idea of running a bigger front fork (160) with a 50 dollar air shaft and then you could swap the shock out for a longer stroke and get a 155mm bike for shuttle laps. 1000 bucks is a helluva lot cheaper than 2 bikes.
  • 18 0
 So they amortized most of the costs of using carbon fiber (R&D and mold-making and layup-design and frame-testing) across two full models, and they still come up with some of the most expensive builds around. Excellent work!
  • 2 0
 Those enduro race teams have to be funded by the consumer one way or another
  • 1 0
 Hey bud, some of this would be depreciated (the molds).
  • 2 0
 Sad to say that you'll be seeing lots more price increases across all brands over the next year. This RM is just one of the first.
  • 2 0
 @WheelNut: It is already happening. My wife bought an Orbea Occam H20 at the beginning of COVID and the same bike is 10% more now. However, RM's prices have always been out of wack.
  • 16 0
 @mikekazimer , this is a really well done review! I like how you have links posted to compare bikes and to see more photos. More importantly, I like how you are honest about the bike. (assuming you are trying to send the impression of "meh") I hope next time I am bike shopping I have reviews like this to help guide me in my decision.
  • 4 0
 Thanks @Dtwillow, glad you enjoyed it.
  • 4 0
 Your review of his review is very well done as well. You clearly highlight all the great parts of the review clearly and concisely. 5/5
  • 14 1
 Although I do agree that bikes are really expensive, I also think that we as consumers are getting greedy as well. So many people will not settle until their bike has a certain level of specced parts (that most of us don't need or can't take fully advantage of), on top of that we want these bikes to be lighter, more capable and we want to keep up with the last new tech. And to justify all these needs we just want those bikes to be cheaper so it doesn't look like we are the snobs of our own beloved sport, but we are.... and I am one of them. But I feel like recognizing that you are the one that is overspending is key, if nobody would care about carbon or fancy parts, brand would stop speccing them on so many models and their would be more likely more choice in the more affordable part of their lineup. With technologies improving, the component brands are filling up all the gaps in between wat used to be consumer and Pro level parts and because of that we end ourselves in higher price categories, but you don't have to... And what lot's of people call crappy parts and whatever BS, they are actually pretty amazing compared to years ago, stop comparing it to what the pros ride. And also stop calling Ferrari to ask if they make their cars less expensive, just because you want one .... your little sedan is just fine and will last a long time if you take care for it.
  • 14 4
 Can't really ever go wrong with a Rocky, can you. I mean this in the good and in the not so great way.

I'm sure that it is gonna be a versatile and true do-it-all bike. A solid and decent option in every regard, as you come to expect from Rocky. But honestly it just seems a bit bland. This would have been an exciting package two years ago. We've got so many of these do-it-all bikes nowadays that making just another one doesn't really cut it if you want to stand out. Like so many other brands, they essentially made yet another Norco Optic, but two years late.

On the other hand: Great! Another model in a long line of very good all-mountian bikes to choose from. What a time to be alive!

But like all Rocky Mountain bikes, it is very expensive for what you're getting.
  • 8 3
 I feel like this bike’s trying to compete with the Ripmo AF and its ilk. Honestly, I’m not sure how favorable a comparison that is. I’ve ridden a Ripmo, and at least in my mind, the reviews aren’t exaggerating when they call it mind-blowing. Everything I’ve read about this new Rocky has just been lukewarm. Could be a nice bike, but I’m not sure why I’d buy it if I can get a Ripmo AF with a much better spec for the same price that’ll pedal better and descend just as well.
  • 2 0
 You need to realize that where this bikes geo and style sits, is really as far as the bikes in our current industry can really go. They updated the clearly outdated frames from the last couple years and now join the rest of the brands in this modern design. Really, you could say the same exact thing you said about any of the bikes out right now.
  • 4 0
 @smith06840: I went from a 2018 RM Instinct C70 to a 2021 Ripmo AF GX build. Both good bikes, but the Ripmo AF descends on another level, but RM was quicker on the pedals b/c it was a lot lighter but the Rimpo AF still pedals very well. With these new 2021 prices the RM bikes are totally uncompetitive in my opinion. Too bad b/c they are nice bikes.
  • 17 9
 @smith06840: maybe because a ripmo looks shit?
  • 17 5
 @mackay66: The Ripmo really is an ugly bike.
  • 3 0
 @mackay66: lmao I can't get over the ripmo's looks either. Just looks so bloated haha. I know it's not the best idea but I need to love the look and color of my bike.
  • 14 1
 Rocky Mountain way over prices their bikes for the components they use. Come on
  • 27 14
 No excuse for press fit BB
  • 20 24
flag hi-dr-nick (Mar 9, 2021 at 5:42) (Below Threshold)
 If you're still hung up on complaining about pressfit BB, you need to wake up. haha
  • 6 1
 Getting a threaded pressfit BB from the likes of Wheels mfg is an easy fix, if you ever have problems
  • 1 1
 No excuse. They call it a feature.
  • 1 0
 @JorisSneagle: superb option
  • 2 1
 Have to agree on this one.
  • 7 3
 Not really a negative. Press fit is fine if you know how to change them and the frame tolerances are good. Problem is it puts off a lot of people due to bad fit of either the bottom bracket or the frame. Check out hambini's take. Having said that though, I would personally steer toward a threaded BB frame just to make life easier. But the customers of this bike won't be doing their own wrenching, they will be far too busy whitening teeth or offering botox injections to pay for their new carbon whip.
  • 2 0
 youtu.be/3l6EcBg9EPA

Nothing wrong with press fit. Like anything else it's on how well it's done.
  • 24 15
 Anyone here actually consider the price may be high because it came out after every other 2021 model bike and Rocky Mountain may be try trying to future proof their pricing a bit? (As someone who knows the pricing of allot of brands for 2022 since I own a shop that has already placed 2022 orders, get ready for 15-20% increases across the board!!!!) If you don’t think bikes across the board are not abt to skyrocket than stop fooling yourself!
Also they say it’s bad that the bike doesn’t feel like a “mini enduro bike” like it’s bad thing. Where was that advertised at all by rocky. Also I think the fact you can buy an extra shock, fork, and shock mount you can get two bikes for one was way under looked. Seems pinkbike is still butthurt they forgot to tighten their axle on their Slayer a while back and still sh—g on whatever Rocky does for revenge.
  • 10 4
 I imagine they are also desperate to recoup the costs of the massive recall of frames last year.
  • 6 2
 "Future proof their pricing"... As in, over-charge because there's currently a shortage of bikes. Great. Meanwhile, the past year has included numerous examples of bikes with good spec at super reasonable prices.
  • 1 0
 It's an all mountain bike, you're right.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the heads up on price increases. If there were any bikes available, I’d buy this year!

Can’t wait to see what the next generation of Yeti’s cost
  • 10 1
 Wonder how this compares to the new Switchblade or Trance. I don't think every bike has a to be a Bellingham/Squamish "trail bike" which is often just an enduro bike that pedals ok (aka the Altitude). Bike geo has kind of stabilized and 150/140 bike with 65d HTA that pedals well is SUPER versatile. Knocking a trail bike for being a trail bike seems...weak.
  • 6 0
 Seems the issue is that these guys have squeezed out the All Mountain category, it's either a trail bike or enduro with nothing in between.
  • 2 0
 @Tinshield: 65d HTA with a hell of a lot of reach...I'd guess it'd do just fine/OK as an all mountain bike for most places outside of the truly gnarly locations. Its such a nebulous designation these days. That's the thing tho, an All Mountain bike for B-Ham and Squamish...is the Altitude plain and simple. Likely with the shorter chainstays.. There are guys that want a shorter travel version of that but I wouldn't fault rocky for skipping that any more than Pivot/Ibis skipping it. I think at this point we are on the margins more than messing around with flawed bikes.
  • 9 0
 Besides lowering the price, I'm not familiar enough with Rocky Mountain's to know what they could have done better to improve the Instinct.

IMO overall @mikekazimer impression was "shrug." And I appreciate honest reviews.

I'd prefer a the better value of Vitus or Commencal over RM. But supply issues are still present last time I checked.
  • 11 0
 A bike that is only 27.5 in XS and S does not replace the Thunderbolt. Sadly, another 27.5 bike bites the dust. Frown
  • 2 0
 I really lucked out getting mine. so depressing.
  • 12 0
 bloody hell rocky $10k with a fit4 damper..
  • 7 0
 I immediately clicked on "Compare to all other All Mountain/Enduro/XC" link. This is awesome, I've never seen it in an article before, love this feature! I'm always doing a comparison in my head anyway, awesome to have objective spec comparisons one click away. Cooooool!!!
  • 10 3
 Some things to consider apart from the price component, which is a to each their own thing. If you want to pay the same for a Yeti or Santa Cruz, then some will find the Rocky in the same caliber, some not. A lot comes down to preference of brand when considering some aspects of value.

We all know @mikekazimer rides in Bellingham and loves a "enduro" category bike for making the most out of the best terrain that Bellingham has to offer, and really if you lived there, that's what you would do too. Also, with the Fit4 fork spec, it does impact the fork's performance for hard riding, but is lighter, and when trying to create separation between categories, especially when most of the frame components are the same, that provides some difference.
Having ridden this bike for many months already, through the BC Kootenays, on Vancouver Island in Cumberland, Nanaimo, Duncan, Victoria, and Sooke, the North Shore. I would argue that this bike is very capable and a great all-around bike. I had the choice between the Instinct and Altitude and being based on the Island I knew that unless I was riding Nanaimo or Prevost all the time, I just wouldn't need the capability of the Altitude all the time.
I have ridden the Altitude and its an amazing machine, and does really mute the smaller stuff so that you can focus on the bigger stuff, and handles hits great. But, that's not what everyone's riding all the time.
I would argue that sure, the Instinct would be a great bike for the Chilcotins, but it's much more capable than being pegged as a bike for big pedals with mild descents. Not every bike needs to be a mini-enduro bike, otherwise why have categories? Enduro, Medium-Enduro, Small-Enduro, Mini-Enduro?
This is a capable all-mountain bike for mountain biking.
  • 9 0
 Sure, I like enduro bikes, but I'm also a big fan of shorter travel bikes that can hold their own in the techy stuff. My personal bike last year was an Optic, and that's definitely not an enduro machine. The tricky thing with the all-mountain / aggressive trail category is that bikes like the Instinct run the risk of being a jack of all trades, master of none. It is versatile like you mentioned, it's just there wasn't any one particular aspect of it that really floored me.
  • 9 2
 @mikekazimer: "The tricky thing with the all-mountain / aggressive trail category is that bikes like the Instinct run the risk of being a jack of all trades, master of none."

Isn't that the point? Jack of all trades, bike of all terrains/mountains. DHs bikes go down fastest, enduro bikes go down fast but can still get up, XC bikes go up fastest, downcountry bikes go up fast and still go down reasonably, and trail/AM bikes do everything.

I don't see how being decent at everything ever be a bad thing for a trail/all-mountain/mid-travel bike... goes up good but not best, goes down good but not best. if you _need_ better or best performance for any one specific job, you get a different tool.
  • 6 0
 @just6979: His point is there are jack of all trade bikes that simply jack of all trade better than the Instinct
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I hear you, but also @just6979 has a point as well. I don't think the Fit4 fork helps the case, but you have to ride what you're given.
  • 7 6
 @onestuntwonder Great you travelled all over BC. We currently have travel advisories in place to not travel out of our local regions here in BC. I am sorry but your post lacks self awareness and is a bit of kick in the nutz to the rest of us in BC who have not been able to see family in months due to adhering to travel restrictions. Thanks for not doing your part.
  • 1 0
 @riklassen: This was during the Summer when restrictions were relaxed, and we were in a small group camping and staying out of towns.
  • 9 0
 www.devinci.com/en/bikes/mountain/troy-carb-xt12s-ltd-full-sand

I know which CAD brand I would be supporting if I were buying a new bike.
  • 2 0
 That’s my bike! :-)
  • 5 0
 Man wtf happened to this brand? I remember back in the day RM not only had some of the sexiest looking rides but they were pushing the envelope for aesthetics but also for overall engineering and design. Now they just look like more run of the mill Trek/Specialized bikes
  • 13 0
 Have you seen new specialized bikes? they look nothing like this and are way better value
  • 2 0
 @arrowheadrush: Ya I actually do like the new aesthetic, but I meant to point out more so that RM used to have very unique designs including their pivots and linkage, now they look like Intense bikes with different paint schemes. Actually in hindsight I was thinking of intense carbines but couldn't place it
  • 2 0
 @arrowheadrush: Seriously. I bought my last Specialized a year ago, and didn't think I'd be buying another.

Now, with the value and performance they deliver with the Stumpy and Enduro - it's hard to make a case for anything else.
  • 3 1
 @atourgates: Im generally a "support the little guy" shopper, but when i ordered a new bike in the fall, the new Stumpy just kept rising to the top of my list. It arrived just over a week ago and man, what a bike. The frame is an absolute thing of beauty. It really makes this rocky look boring in comparison.
  • 2 3
 @arrowheadrush: a-symmetrical grossness though. o.c.d. says NO specialized.
  • 1 0
 @arrowheadrush: specialized has been killing it lately. Great bikes and great prices.
  • 4 0
 I wonder what makes the bike perform so bad in the review, apart from the price. The geo looks good on paper so it must be in the suspension characteristics? I would like to see a comparison on the suspension graphs with a Stumpjumper, Commencal and Hightower. All bikes with even less extreme or similar geo but way beter reviews.
  • 3 0
 I'd like to try this new Instinct and compare it to my last gen Instinct. I've ridden current bikes from Marin and Trek, and I've noticed that Rocky's suspension design just makes for a more lively bike. It doesn't feel as damped as the other brands, so it didn't have as much of a track the ground feeling the other bikes did, yet it pops off little hips and jumps better. So I can see what Kazimer means when the trails are more gnarly. However, I have taken it down some pretty rowdy stuff and it felt confident enough.
  • 2 0
 @jaywindh: yup. agree. they ride like a bike should. not like a dirtbike that we hate but yet wish our bikes felt like.
  • 7 0
 This does not replace the Thunderbolt no matter what the rep told you.
  • 8 1
 So true. Or replaces it only in the sense that they replaced a pretty interesting bike with a unique character with the bicycle equivalent of a bowl of oatmeal.
  • 2 0
 @KennyWatson: can't pry my 2019 Thunderbolt A50 from my cold dead hands. hope to ride it as long as possible. end game bike for me.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer can you please share a photo (or several) about what you do with the tape and the brake calliper, I just can't seem to imagine how you describe it?
  • 2 0
 I'm also curious about this @mikekazimer
  • 1 0
 @Nerra: Same same.
  • 1 0
 @wideopennewzealand, you can see the strip of tape under the pads in this photo: www.pinkbike.com/photo/19356357. I cut a thin strip, just a few millimeters wide, and stick it directly to the caliper.
  • 1 0
 Oooooh that is not what I was picturing. Very interesting though
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: thanks for the photo! And this is to stop them rattling? I can't say I've ever noticed them making a noise but maybe I'm used to it.

edit: just went to my bike in the garage and wiggled them and I now I can see how they rattle. Gonna try this trick!
  • 3 0
 The XL Instinct (Slack setting) has some geo that is virtually identical to the XL Optic:

RM / Norco

HTA: 65.1 / 65

STA: 76.1 / 76

Reach: 511 / 510

Wheelbase: 1277 / 1275
  • 6 0
 When your friend let's you copy their homework but makes you change it a little
  • 2 5
 @j-t-g: I think the Norco Optic is a newer design? If so, maybe they copied Rocky Mountain.
  • 8 0
 How could it possibly be newer than this morning lol?

Optic was hitting reviews fall 2019. Here we are a year and a half later with this thing.
  • 1 1
 @j-t-g: From the article, I assumed this frame was copied from another model:

"Not only does the Instinct borrow the Altitude's frame...."
  • 5 1
 It doesn't really look special, it's below 10K, surely that means it is good value?
  • 4 0
 3500 US bucks for a frame is ludicrous that is like $4,400.00 Canadian hard earned bucks. How bout selling an aluminum frame for us non-dentists out there.
  • 1 0
 Seems like the new Stumpy is a natural competitor for this. By the reviews, stumpy is a slightly better pedaler while the Instinct is a bit better on the descents. Oe you could get an Altitude and a short stroke shock, which seems to be the move tbh.
  • 8 5
 I like your reviews a lot but please review more affordable $3k bikes and less $10k bikes.
Who buys these super expensive bikes anyways?
  • 4 0
 “ the ports in the head tube make it possible to easily run brakes moto-style.”

Thank you Rocky Mountain.
  • 1 0
 Instead of numerous geo settings, wouldn’t a lighter
trail specific frame be better? Sounds like they sell so few units of the frame, so they have to sell it across 2 bike models, instead of creating the perfect frame for each segment? With all those adjustments, why don’t they also create 2 new women specific bikes, then they could have 4 models to amortise their pricey tooling costs!
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer Interesting that the S and XS have 27.5 wheels. What does that do to the geometry? Do Rocky make any changes on those sizes to compensate for the lower BB? And so *if* someone wanted to run say a size M with 27.5 wheels would it work? What about mullet? I know you’re 29 for life but your preference aside, what do you think about Instinct with 27.5?
  • 1 0
 Not mullet as far as I know but on my prev. gen instinct, the manual says that if you run 27.5, you had to run a different sized lower headset cup to adjust for the geo to make it the same.
  • 1 0
 My previous six mountain bikes in the past decade were all Rocky Mountains. Altitudes, Thunderbolts, and most recently Instincts. I’ve defended the brand through geometry changes, spec changes, etc. etc. I just sold my 2020 Instinct C70 and am looking forward to picking up a 2021 (fill in the blank) of whatever bike I can find that’s not a Rocky. This is a textbook case of how to drive away loyal customers by screwing them with a crap spec at a ridiculous price.
  • 1 0
 Even in not direct to consumer brands you can spend almost $3000 less and get better components. If I ever were fortunate enough to even have that amount to spend on a bike I’d definitely do Santa Cruz over this at least you get what you pay for.
  • 1 0
 I think that these days mountain bikes especialy trail and enduro are very cheap its almost a bargain Like this influencers on youtube says What A Great Time To Be A MountainBiker! We all should say big thank you to our bike industry for making that wonderful affordable bikes for us With complety new suspension designs that was invented long time ago in1990 but there are now repacked with modern marketing tools and only because of this old suspension design are now new.
  • 3 0
 Haha. Everyone is an expert. From geometry to overseas shipping cost, everyone on here knows. This bike looks great and Kevin Calhoun is hot AF.
  • 1 0
 Although media and reviewers aren't fans of the multiple frame geo settings, The Ride9 makes sense for customers who ride varying terrain/trails. For Canada, you can have the instinct to ride the mellower trails found in Ontario/Quebec, and with the ability to change chainstay length/suspension/geo and swap in a different fork, shock, and shock mount, have a bike ready for BC. Basically have 2 bikes for the price of 1 + $1500 for the extra parts. I much rather have the ride9 in a steep setting in Ontario with the lack of descending and in the steep position for BC/Bike parks. All the in-between settings are for personal preference for Shock feel.
  • 5 0
 Meh
  • 1 0
 RM product managers in shambles after reading this review and comments...

(except it's still COVID-19 industry cycle so any frameset they can slap a build kit on will sell out)
  • 21 22
 Nice! I wonder what part of this will break first tho eg. chainstay vs headtube vs rear axle. Also when you eventually recall the bike will replacement be the 'cheap grey' like last time or some other colour? Roughly 4000$ isn't bad for the lowest end model, I'm sure people will love the ride with this one!
  • 25 13
 Every friggin bike brand has bikes that break, get over it already.
  • 14 0
 @hi-dr-nick: But usually if your bike breaks within a year they'll at least get you a front triangle that's the same colour as your rear triangle.
  • 6 20
flag aharms (Mar 9, 2021 at 8:35) (Below Threshold)
 You seem mad because the paint didn't match on a free front triangle. Paint shops exist if it really matters that much. At least they back their products with an extremely solid warranty. Recalls cost companies a TON of money. No company that wants to survive would knowingly release a frame that was prone to failure because it could get people hurt and burn up any profits. We're paying for sophisticated engineering and development, not just a fancy piece of plastic. It's why bikes similar to cheap knockoffs cost so much more - actual brands pay for the development and price accordingly, then shady manufacturers steal the blueprints without doing any of the actual work, sell at rock bottom prices, and make massive profits.
  • 17 3
 @aharms: Why the hell should someone buy a bike, have it out of service for 2/6 months owned, get a replacement that has no resale value (cause no one wants a bike that looks like shit), then be expected to paint it on their own dime. If we are "paying for sophisticated engineering and development" then why does rocky always seem to have recalls and well known issues with their products? I could give a shit less about how much they spend on this or that, at the end of the day their frames suck, and how they handled the recalls compared to other bike companies is pathetic.
  • 19 3
 @aharms: Rocky's warranty is not up to par compared to most bike brands out there. 1-5 year warranty (depending on the part of the frame...) might have been ok 10-15 years ago, but everyone is adopting lifetime warranty nowadays (as they should, bikes are more durable than ever). The way they go about recalls is also just not acceptable. I would call it the BARE minimum. When the carbon Wilsons were recalled, Devinci sent everyone an alloy front triangle free of charge right away as they couldn't manufacture the carbon ones fast enough. Once the carbon FTs were good to go, they sent those out too (and surprise surprise, in the same colour). They are another small brand, and they took a massive hit doing it that way, but they did it the right way and kept customers happy. I would be LIVID if I spent more than $4k on a bike, and within a year it looked like a franken bike. I'm surprised Rocky doesn't seek to drastically change their frames to make them stronger/ less prone to failure in order to lessen these kinds of blows. It might actually save them $$ and integrity in the long run.
  • 2 0
 I'm with you man. 2018 ugly recall bike owner here. Not going to bother selling it at a crazy loss anytime soon. Still bitter but glad I've got a bike. On the plus side I don't give a shit about scratches anymore.
  • 2 0
 @mikecito: 100% Honestly had they just paint matched I wouldn't have an issue (even if it was a longer wait time). I genuinely liked the bike and how it rode, even more so than this new one as seen at the local shop today. Cant deny looks are important to bike owners and effort should have been put into that too.
  • 2 1
 @aharms: I sold software for basically testing the structural integrity of anything. It was the most premium software that was modelled specifically for use with non linear forces. Let me tell you how cheap the bike industry is and they just sort of scrape by with what they have and use a safety factor.
  • 1 0
 For FEA analysis
  • 4 1
 So all this is, is literally an Altitude with less travel?
  • 4 0
 Crazy money
  • 2 0
 love my 2020 instinct a50 bc edition. best bike ive owned. looking like altitude is the one to get now
  • 3 0
 Got the A50 on the way! I think it aluminum version is good value
  • 4 5
 Observation that I haven't yet seen pointed out (and I have to add / agree that non-240 hubs, and a FIT 4 damper shouldn't even be in the same room with a $9400 price tag): given superior dual-link suspension designs like the DW-Link (Ibis, Pivot); Switch Infinity (Yeti); Sine (Arktos); and version 5 VPP designs (SC), (and I'm sure I'm missing some other excellent ones), how could you EVER justify spending north of $5K (let alone north of $9K (!!!)) on a dated, long-superceded, shock platform dependent Horst-Link bike?

Answer: you either have military grade brand-loyalty (which I get and totally respect, because #greatmemories), or you are just clinically insane
  • 7 1
 nothing wrong with horst link. it's not outdated. It just does not WOW your eyeballs like some fancy made up hard to clean complicated "link". materialism at it's finest. horst link can be tuned all day long.
  • 2 0
 Wow for $1600 more that the frame & shock price, I got me a brand new Commencal Meta TR 29 Signature.
  • 1 0
 Yep, aluminum is a great deal. Doesn't mean that carbon doesn't have a place for those who enjoy it.
  • 2 0
 Why are bike companies not listing BB height, that’s one of the main things I look at.
  • 1 2
 Nice bike, but I am left struggling, why should someone go out an buy this bike? I see no USP? Considering the price it is just an overpriced bike that does not bring anything to the table. Bikes are ok, but in no way justifying their prices. Quality of the frames are ok, but not top notch. And so on...

I tried preordering a 2020 Slayer from a local dealer(Munich!) a in early fall 2019. I asked what the "real" price was, because obviously, the sticker prices for all models were unrealistic. No discounts where given and I left. I have not seen any bikes on the trail either, which leaves me wondering what they are doing in Europe at all.

As a consumer it frustrates me that another subpar offer comes along, because it does not push the market forward in any way or form. It is just another mediocre product - At launch!
  • 1 0
 Good point.... go try and order one.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer how does it compare against the Norco Sight? My GF is on a 2014 Bronson and we are looking at the Norco Sight or the Instinct
  • 1 0
 The amount of hate on RM on Pinkbike is what makes me keep wanting to buy these bikes, also they make fantastic bikes that beat out anything I've tried in the 'fun' category.
  • 2 0
 The paintjob is inspired by commencal ?!
  • 1 0
 Question for the Canadians: is it cheaper to buy Rocky Mountain in Canada or over the border in USA?
  • 17 0
 Nope , best value for canadian right now is devinci , norco or commencal I would say
  • 4 1
 @Elgaucher: Norco for sure
  • 7 16
flag hi-dr-nick (Mar 9, 2021 at 5:41) (Below Threshold)
 @Elgaucher: norco is just as bad. What the hell are you guys talking about
  • 12 0
 @hi-dr-nick: You're not canadian...
  • 2 1
 @hi-dr-nick: not sure how norco is for you but here you can build your range on their site and pretty much decide where you want to invest the bulk of your money
  • 8 1
 @hi-dr-nick: says the American with a yeti...
  • 2 0
 @Elgaucher: alloy, Lyrik Ultimate build, Deore xt slx is the best. bang build
  • 4 0
 @Elgaucher: Giant used to be one of the best deals as well. I can't speak to the current bikes, I went devinci this spring. Django spec to price is super competitive vs RM. My 14' instinct 950 was $3200 which is now over 5k. Considering I dont have many original parts left on it I don't know how the value compares to the new 50 alloy.
  • 3 0
 @Elgaucher: while you can decide where to spend the bulk of your money with the Norco custom build program, going that route is much more expensive than going with one of their pre-spec'd bikes. I put together a "budget spec" alloy Sight that included fox suspension, and the final price was ridiculous.
  • 1 0
 @mammal: Agreed just to compare I put together something like the A50 on the Norco site and it was pretty close in price.
  • 1 0
 @hi-dr-nick: Not even close compared to Rocky. They are way cheaper.
  • 3 1
 Looks great. Price is what it is...COVID maybe.
  • 3 1
 Where’s the test of the C50 or A70 bikes
  • 3 1
 I see plastic.. Lots of it!!
  • 2 0
 Room for a 32"x2.6" wheel?!
  • 3 5
 I never thought 10 years ago my 33 pound all mountain bike was an OK weight. We are so accepting of mid 30 pound bikes for trail riding I am completely confused.
I am seeing a plethora of various brands flogging a 33 pound anchor that rides incredible on any DH or flow trail but struggles getting up to speed or to the top of the trail. This one bike for all is a total pile of crap.
Riding bikes is 60+% uphill or against the wind I can not ride a 33 pound bike all day or even half the day.
Then there is Kaz's revue of the 10,000 dollar bike not the 3500 base model they will sell like hot cakes. Don't get me wrong he is my favourite reviewer of bikes but this needs attention after all we need info on the base models not the ones that are indestructible.
  • 4 0
 I think somewhere along the line the industry probably realized the warranty claims were unsustainable? We used to break a lot of 25 lbs bikes year ago. I do think the new breed of bikes are stronger, more efficient and the suspension is just more supportive. I know I am definitely riding alot faster today than I was in 2000 both up and down. My all mountian is about 30-31 lbs and no issue riding epics with it. I have a lighter trail bike but wheel weight is about the same so I can't really say one is easier than the other.
  • 4 0
 because people noticed that they’d rather have a bike that is more fun on the downs and breaks less than one that only slightly lessens the suffering on the climbs and breaks down more often
  • 1 0
 @Upduro: Trail bikes getting heavier and e-bikes getting lighter. :-)
  • 2 0
 @Tinshield: that is so true there are under 40 pound EEEEEEEH bikes and now we have a 35 pound trail bike
  • 1 2
 @Tinshield: My Superlight, Nomad, Mojo, Bandit and my Trance are all 30 lbs and under none broke and all are mid late 2000. I did break 3 GT XCR1000 team issue frames in under 6 months of soft riding in early 2000 but that is it. I still ride the Bandit, Mojo and Nomad and the rest were sold.
  • 1 1
 @Upduro: Tell that to Rocky who had a massive recall this past year how was that for riding your virtual bike.
  • 1 0
 @madmon: I never broke much back then but people around me did. We had some pretty light bikes back then. Tacoed wheels were pretty common too. :-)
  • 1 0
 My instinct tells me this will sell well. Why the f%$^ can't fox match their own Kashima from the fork to the shock!?!???!
  • 2 0
 Retail prices in the bike industry are so ridiculous these days.
  • 2 0
 For 14,000 $ CAD you can get a KTM 890 Adventure
  • 1 0
 I'm no suspension expert but rising anti-squat? Interesting idea...
  • 4 0
 You're looking at the graph wrong. The dotted line is the anti-squat and the solid line is the leverage ratio.
  • 1 0
 @borlowski90: Oh so I am, cheers
  • 3 3
 twenty6 everyday, better used my money travelling to every good trails in the world than to spend my money on new bike.
  • 2 2
 Bikes are sure becoming pretty greedy these days sure miss them old school days that were pretty humble
  • 7 0
 I just googled a 2003 Rocky Mountain RM7: MSRP was 3200 bucks USD, Jr. T pro, Deore LX. that in today's dollars is 4300 USD. So I don't remember these "Humble old school days".....Good bikes were always expensive man.
  • 3 0
 piece of shit A-Line was over 3 grand OUCH in 2007... my A50 thunderbolt was $2995 pre covid.
  • 1 0
 Rocky Mountain high... prices
  • 1 0
 My Escarpe should arrive this week. Thanks PB for mitigating some FOMO.
  • 1 0
 I love the bone grey pain job on this thing! I'll take one!
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer any comparison to the Transition Scout/Sentinel?
  • 1 0
 Stoked to be seeing more down country bikes.
  • 1 0
 Damn it, I wanted a video!! Sorry, not sorry.
  • 11 11
 Order placed! Take my money ???? ????
  • 4 4
 Imagine buying a rocky mountain
  • 8 2
 I don't have to imagine it. I bought a 2020 C90 Slayer and love it. Best bike I've ever ridden.
  • 3 0
 you'll get there. mine is sick.
  • 2 0
 Imagine trashing an entire brand because of a less than perfect bike release. New altitude is fire, this bike is okay not great. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose.
  • 1 1
 such a killer deal for riding your bike
  • 2 3
 How do you get 9 positions with a 4 positions chip and 2 chainstay length?
  • 5 0
 Ride-9 chip gives you 9 different positions. And with the flipchip on the chainstay, you actually get 18 different positions.
  • 3 0
 from the looks of it, the square has another small square inside it. I can't be bothered to do the math but I guess there are 9 different combinations for how these 2 fit
  • 2 0
 Maybe that's a typo - there's 2 pieces to the ride9 thing meaning you can have 9 positions depending on the orientation of each.
  • 4 7
 HTA and STA combo isn't suit for this kind of bike. This is a no for me. My XC is slacker than this enduro/trail bike.
  • 9 0
 I agree that it's disappointingly reserved with its geo. But what XC bike do you have that's slacker than 66??
  • 6 0
 An XC bike with a 65* HTA? I’m calling BS.

I think the geo numbers are spot on for this bike, but the cost and the build spec on the other hand... no thanks.
  • 7 0
 @bemery: Yeah that's a f*cked up XC bike
  • 1 0
 @Peally: yep he's a liar.
  • 2 4
 This isn't a pedal all day high country bike at 30lb+ IMO
  • 1 0
 That's fairly light by todays weight standards.
  • 2 1
 I mean, I've got a 30 lber that I take out for 5k ish vert days on the regular. It's really not that bad. Not setting any records but forsure doesn't stop you from having a good time over a lengthy ride.
  • 1 0
 2020 carbon 50 was 30lbs, frame weight has gone up unsurprisingly. why make a trail bike heavier than the previous model is beyond me but i suspect it's to do with money
  • 2 0
 @Tinshield: unfortunately thats the truth. Thankfully i've got a 21lb xc bike and 27lb trail bike
  • 1 0
 @COBRI: I keep saying I’m going to build a light XC bike but then the trails are so nasty around here I’m not sure I’d reach for it much.
  • 2 5
 Want
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