Rocky Mountain Instinct Carbon 90 BC Edition - Review

Oct 23, 2017
by Mike Levy  

Thanks to ever-evolving geometry and components, the hottest bike category in our little world has to be the one with big wheels and big travel. Rocky Mountain's new 140mm-travel Instinct range, just released this past August, doesn't quite have the suspension to be considered a long-travel 29er, but there is one model of Instinct that does: the super-sized Carbon 90 BC Edition that sports 155mm out back and 160mm up front. The frame is (mostly) the same as the other Instinct models, but the $5,899 USD bike's geometry is more laid back and the burlier spec reflects the bike's burlier capabilities.

Long-travel 29ers are, in a way, the most ambiguous category of mountain bike; there are some that are out-and-out EWS race rigs, whereas others have more gentle intentions as long-legged trail bikes. Let's find out where Rocky's big wheeled, big travel Instinct fits into that picture.

Instinct Carbon 90 BC Edition Details

• Intended use: aggressive trail / enduro
• Rear wheel travel: 155mm
• Wheel size: 29''
• Compatible with 27.5+ setup
• 160mm-travel Fox 36
• Boost hub spacing
• Non-adjustable suspension and geo
• Di2, Fox Live, dropper post-friendly
• Weight: 29lbs 11oz
• MSRP: $5,899 USD

Old Instinct VS New Instinct

The 2018 Instinct frame, while sporting the same general appearance as its predecessor, is an all-new thing from head tube to rear axle. And, starting at that head tube, it's home to the same type of cable entry ports that are used on the other new designs that Rocky has released recently. Rather than the small ports found on the old version, there are large caps that cover the openings, and while there aren't any internal hose guides, the large port on the underside of the down tube makes dealing with them pretty simple.
2017 Rocky Mountain Instinct
The old Instinct might look kinda similar, but the 2018 version is an all-new animal.

And speaking of things going inside of the Instinct frame, it can take a Di2 battery, the controls for Fox's Live Valve suspension (which has yet to be officially released), and an internally dropper routed post - all at the same time. Much more important, in my mind anyway, is that it can fit a large-sized water bottle inside the front triangle, even with the piggy-back shock.

Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
Large entry and exit ports (left) make maintenance easy. The Instinct uses the same small, bolt-on guide (right) that's found on the Slayer and Altitude.

The Instinct (and the Pipeline frame, which is the same thing) receives many of the same features found on Rocky's other recent arrivals, including those clean looking single-sided blind pivots, Boost hub spacing, metric shock sizing, and the clever Spirit Guide that bolts onto the top of the drive-side chainstay.

For those who want the extra protection that a full-sized guide provides, there are also two - not three - ISCG 05 tabs around the PressFit bottom bracket shell.

Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
Want to run 27.5+ wheels and tires on your Instinct? All you need to do is push in the tall lower headset cup (and buy the wheels and tires, of course).

Slacker, Longer Geometry

Well, they're not going to make steeper and shorter, are they? No, of course not. The 2018 Instinct has a longer reach, more relaxed head tube angle, and the bottom bracket is also closer to the deck. The rear-ends have been tightened up as well, and the steep seat tube angle that Rocky has been putting to use for longer than most other brands is still found on the latest Instinct.

Rocky Mountain Instinct Carbon 90 BC Edition

The new large-sized BC Edition Instinct has a reach of 454mm, which is a whopping 47mm longer than last year's version. The new bike's seat tube angle has also gotten a few degrees steeper, helping to hide a lot of that increased reach when you're on the saddle. All of the 2018 Instinct models are slacker than the old model, but the BC Edition, with its longer suspension travel and different shock link, takes it to a 65.9-degree head angle.

For comparison's sake, the old bike went from 66.6 - 68.2 degrees (depending on the setting) and the new, non-BC Edition Instincts can all be adjusted to sit between 66 - 67 degrees.

Rocky Mountain Altitude
Rocky Mountain Instinct
With similar angles and travel, choosing between the Altitude (left) and BC Edition Instinct might come down to what wheel size you prefer.

Given that they have similar amounts of travel but are different in wheel size, we should probably talk about how the Instinct Carbon 90 BC Edition 29er compares to the new 27.5'' wheeled Altitude. With a head angle that can be adjusted between 65 - 66.1 degrees, the Altitude can be set up to feel a bit more relaxed when things get steep or hairy, but the lengths of both bikes are within a handful of millimeters of each other. Both machines have similar intentions, travel, and close-ish geometry, so it really comes down to which wheel size you prefer. I'd chose the big wheels all day, every day, but we'll dive into more of the Altitude VS Instinct Carbon 90 BC Edition talk later on in this review.

Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
With 155mm of rear wheel travel, the BC Edition Instinct has 15mm over the standard Instinct, and a piggy back DPX2 twin-tube shock instead of the inline shocks used on the normal models.

Suspension Design

The Carbon 90 BC Edition has 155mm of rear wheel travel, which is 15mm more than the standard, non-BC-ified Instinct, and it's delivered by Rocky Mountain's latest version of their Smoothlink suspension layout. Just like on the new Altitude, the Instinct sees its geometry and suspension-adjusting Ride-9 chip moved from the forward shock mount to the rocker link, but the notable thing here is that Rocky Mountain has ditched it all together on the Carbon 90 BC Edition. Instead, there's the non-adjustable Ride-1 (my term, not Rocky's) rocker link that's different than what's found on the 140mm-travel Instincts, and a Fox DPX2 twin-tube shock.

Remember those bushing pivots that Rocky used to use? They were light and actually proved to last quite awhile, at least in my experience, but some riders found them to be a bit temperamental. They're gone for 2018, though, with bearings all around on the new Instinct.

Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
Rocky is usually all about offering a ton of suspension and geometry adjustments, but the BC Edition Instinct features a simpler, non-adjustable system instead.

Rocky says that they've also tweaked the kinematics compared to the old bike to supply more progression and sag, something that should allow riders to run a bit softer spring rate for more forgiveness at the top of the stroke. There's also good news for pedal hounds: Rocky claims that the anti-squat number has gone up ''dramatically to improve pedaling efficiency,'' which I believe after spending a ton of time on the new Element, Slayer, and Altitude, all of which get up and go when you ask them to.

Release Date 2018
Price $5899
Travel 155
Rear Shock Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite
Fork Fox 36 Float EVOL FIT4 Performance Elite 160mm
Headset FSA Orbit
Cassette Sram XG-1275 10-50T
Crankarms Sram Stylo 7k Eagle 32T
Chainguide Spirit Guide
Bottom Bracket Sram GXP BB92
Rear Derailleur Sram GX Eagle
Chain Sram GX Eagle
Shifter Pods Sram GX Eagle
Handlebar Race Face Turbine R 780mm
Stem Rocky Mountain 35 CNC DH
Grips Rocky Mountain Lock On XC
Brakes Sram Code R
Hubs Rocky Mountain Sealed Boost 15mm / DT Swiss 370 Boost 148mm
Spokes WTB 1.8-1.6
Rim Stans Flow MK3 Tubeless Ready - Tape / Valves Incl
Tires Maxxis 29 DHF 2.5 EXO Maxx Terra 3C TR / Maxxis 29 DHRII 2.4 WT EXO Maxx Terra 3C TR
Seat WTB Silverado Race
Seatpost Fox Transfer Performance Elite 150mm / 30.9mm

Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore


I'd wager that the large majority of us who ride 150mm and longer-travel bikes have relatively low expectations when it comes to climbing performance. I mean, you're not rocking all that suspension, and probably a set of solid wheels shod with big meat, with a KOM hunting or dab-free type of attitude, are you? Nah, when I'm on a slack-ish, enduro-inspired machine, I'm reasonably happy if it doesn't feel like I'm in a bouncy castle while I pedal it up the mountain. Your mindset, along with your expectations, change it suit the bike's travel bracket and intentions.

The Carbon 90 BC Edition's main intention is not to crush the climbs, but it does a surprisingly apt job of doing exactly that regardless.

Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
Even those who don't enjoy the climbs will appreciate the Instinct's ascending abilities. You can thank those big wheels and efficient suspension for that.

The main reason for the BC-inspired bike's unforeseen ascending abilities is how it feels when you're on the power, which is firmer and more energetic than I'd expect a bike like this to behave. Then again, Rocky did say that there's more anti-squat on this new Instinct compared to the previous version, and their other new bikes also pedal like they're late for dinner. The Fox DPX2 shock does have a blue cheater switch that's completely uncalled for unless you're on a smooth road, which is nice because I can't stand having to reach for buttons or levers when I'm riding. I just want to get on the damn bike and go, and I can do exactly that on the 155mm-travel Instinct.

Traction is also served up in all-you-can-eat form, likely for the same reason that the Instinct pedals so well (anti-squat), and the solid Maxxis rubber can be aired down low to help your cause even more. Then there's the bike's short head tube that, when combined with rear suspension that doesn't wallow in its travel (even at 35-percent sag or more) when you're on a wall of a steep pitch, gives you have a 155mm-travel bike that doesn't handle like a 155mm-travel bike on tricky climbs. Neato.

It's only at the extreme of the climbing spectrum, the real tech or when you're really hurting your legs and lungs, that the BC Edition feels like it's giving something up to a 140mm-travel machine. No PRs were taken on the Instinct, despite some solid efforts, and it's when your brain switches its focus to keeping air moving into and out of your lungs at the expense of coordination and motor skills that it starts to feel like it really does have 155mm of travel. That switching point comes much later on the Instinct than it does on the Altitude, however, so while the latter can get up a mountain just fine, the Instinct Carbon 90 BC Edition Details trumps it in every possible way when it comes to climbing.
Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
Yes, any all-mountain bike can climb most things if the rider has enough skill, but the Instinct will call on less of that skill when you're facing a real test of fitness and handling.

I'm not the kinda guy who's okay with a bike giving up much in the way of ascending abilities in exchange for descending potential - I want it all - and if you're like me, you'll be happy with the balance that Rocky has nailed with the Carbon 90 BC Edition. Sure, I realize that we're often guilty of giving the ol' ''good enough'' verdict to many of the latest long-travel all-mountain bikes when it comes to climbing, which is fine and dandy in a lot of cases, but this Rocky is as good a climber as a 155mm-travel bike would ever need to be.


If you're the kinda guy who's okay with sacrificing some bike on the ups to have more bike on downs, you might expect the BC Edition, impressive climber that it is, to leave you wanting a bit more oomph on those descents. And while this long-travel Instinct does give up a bit in terms of suppleness and composure compared to the Altitude on truly scary terrain, it's probably the better all-around choice of a descender for a lot of mountain bikers.

Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
This thing ain't no enduro racer, and Rocky doesn't call it one, either. It's less forgiving than the Altitude, but also far more nimble.

Just as Rocky says, this Instinct is much more "aggressive trail monster" than enduro sled, but what it lacks in the Altitude-esque oomph it makes up for with a liveliness that the more supple Altitude can't match. The green and orange Instinct is in its element when it's ridden in a darty, amusing way, and while it can definitely go through things - it has 155mm out back, remember - the fast, fun way to get down the hill on the Instinct is to think a bit outside the box. The bike's steering is on the quick side of things, relatively speaking, and it can rail any and all turns fluently, unlike some beasts of the same feather that require work to zip in and out of tight bends. No, you don't need to try hard to make it do whatever you want, be it a natural gap that others don't see or a sneaky inside line.

In fact, for a bike with this much travel, it's remarkably good-natured on ground that doesn't call for this much travel, and that fact is what really separates it from the more forgiving Altitude. It's a case of what you value the most, really - if a rider or racer prefers a ground-tracking, supple bike, then it has to be the Altitude. But those who want something a bit more all-around, a bit more poppy, are surely best off on the long-travel Instinct.

Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
I'd wager that this style of long-travel trail bike would better suit a lot of riders who are currently on slacker, bigger beasts.

Then again, it's for the same reasons that the Instinct doesn't feel as planted and stable as the Altitude on fast and rough, or very steep, sections of trail. It's here that the back of the Instinct is noticeably less active and can skip around a bit more than you might expect a 155mm-travel bike to do. Even at over 35-percent sag (a number possible because the Instinct pedals so damn well and doesn't wallow) it leans more towards a sporty, fleet-footed ride instead of all-out compliance like the Altitude, Slash, or new Process 153. Then again, the BC-efied Instinct can turn circles around those three when fast direction changes or some pedal-power are called for, and I'm even going to say that it's more fun to ride in 95-percent of places.
bigquotesThis thing can rail any and all turns fluently, unlike some beasts of the same feather that require work to zip in and out of tight bends.

The Instinct's travel is well-managed at the other end of the spectrum, with hard impacts only causing a few soft bottoming moments, even when running more than 35-percent sag. There's really no excuse for any bike to be clanging off the end of its travel these days, and the BC-bred Instinct certainly doesn't do any clanging.

So, BC Edition Instinct VS the Altitude... which one is best where? Both machines can be ridden anywhere, of course, and both suit rowdy trails just fine, but the Instinct would be my hands-down pick if I wanted to pedal to the gnarly stuff, didn't do many (or any) enduro races, and prefer a bike that sits on the playful side of the all-mountain fence. But I'd no doubt choose the Altitude if my trails made me nervous, I raced some enduro events, or couldn't remember the last time I rode without kneepads and goggles on.
Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
It's when things get wet and really pointy or rough that the Instinct starts to give up ground to more forgiving bikes.

Component Check

• Fox Float DPX2 Shock: Weirdly, the DPX2 shock on the Instinct felt best when its rebound dial was backed either completely out or only turned in by a single click, and it returned relatively quickly at those settings. Not too quickly, mind you, but it's odd to need to have the red dial turned so far out, and a lighter rider (and therefore a softer spring rate) might find it to rebound too slowly.

Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition review test Photo by James Lissimore
Oddly, the Instinct's DPX2 shock (left) felt best when its rebound was set to full-fast. The Code Rs aren't SRAM's top-tier offering, but they offer great feeling and loads of power.

• Code R Brakes: Big wheels and this much travel deserve a set of four-piston brakes, so it's good to see Rocky spec a set of the new Code R stoppers on their BC Instinct. Much like the pricier (and more adjustable) RSC model that Kazimer recently reviewed, the Rs don't lack in power and feel.

• Stan's Flow MK3 Rims: Yet another test bike with Stan's Flow MK3 rims, and for good reason: these aluminum hoops are reasonable weight-wise, tubeless easy, and do a pretty good job of staying straight and round. They're the smart, if not sexy, rim choice. A spoke did break on the rear wheel, likely from some trail debris, but that can happen to any wheel.

Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesWith class-leading climbing performance, and the ability to tackle anything you point it down, the Instinct Carbon 90 BC Edition lives up to its name. No, it's not an enduro bike, despite its travel, and Rocky doesn't pitch it as one either - look at the Altitude if that's what you're after. That said, this thing is quite the package for someone who wants an all-arounder that's more capable than a trail bike but more pedal-able than a true enduro monster. Mike Levy

About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 36 • Height: 5'10” • Inseam: 33" • Weight: 165lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None • Instagram: killed_by_death
Mike Levy spent most of the 90s and early 2000s racing downhill bikes and building ill-considered jumps in the woods of British Columbia before realizing that bikes could also be pedaled for hours on end to get to some pretty cool places. These days he spends most of his time doing exactly that, preferring to ride test bikes way out in the local hills rather than any bike park. Over ten years as a professional mechanic before making the move to Pinkbike means that his enthusiasm for two wheels extends beyond simply riding on them, and his appreciation for all things technical is an attribute that meshes nicely with his role of Technical Editor at Pinkbike.


  • 71 2
 No suspension compression vid makes me sad Frown
  • 30 31
 No treats, pets or walks makes me sad. I can understand your sadness for I am a dog and we are quite empathetic despite our outwardly dopey appearance and generally mild demeanor.
  • 7 2
 @IamTheDogEzra: this is a bike website
  • 7 2
 @me2menow: Ezra is a welcome addition to the pinkbike comments... Let dogs be dogs!
  • 5 0
 @IamTheDogEzra: I thought wow thats a weird comment, went to check his page. he genuinely pretends he is a dog in every comment page.
  • 48 13
 They work on fixing the issues with their chainstays always snapping?
  • 21 1
 You'll likely get downvoted, but I've seen in person 4 snapped Altitude chainstays (1 carbon, 3 aluminum) in the last couple seasons. Definitely enough to make you wonder...
  • 6 5
 Im a big rided and road an 2016 bc 990 instinct pretty damn hard, drops and hits whatever, it held together perfectly. No issues at all. Ypu must be talking about a lot of their oldef versions of this bike!!
  • 6 1
 @MTBrent: I cracked one chainstay on my 2014 Instinct 970. It was warrantied quickly and I was riding again in a couple of days. Love that bike!
  • 7 2
 @MTBrent: I snapped one on a 2014 Altitude literally just riding along. And at the time I weighed about 140lbs, chainstay sheared off right at the weld. Rocky took their sweet time with the warranty as well, took about a month to get the issue sorted, which sucked right in the middle of prime riding season (this was in June/Jully).
  • 9 1
 Solid question. I cracked 3 instinct chainstays myself. Warranty process was moderated, but would be improved if they did'nt keep telling me 'we have never seen this happen before'
  • 31 0
 As a bike shop owner who carries Rocky Mountain I can say they are good with warranty, when the time comes if it is needed. And yes all companies have runs of product that don't hold up the way it should in the real world. However the truly good companies can be found by how they handle the situation. For example I had a customer who was extremely overweight break a part of his Rocky Mountain frame. Rocky Mountain contacted me before their customer reached out to me and said "we have a customer in your area with a problem. Can you help us help him?" (He had bought the bike from a shop that had gone out of business). I said sure what does he need? They said "he needs his bike taken care of by this weekend for a race. Can you instal the part by this weekend if we have the part sent overnight?" The timing worked out and that's exactly what we were able to do. From that moment on I decided that Rocky Mountain was going to be the main brand in my shop. Yes there are stories of warranties taking months but 9/10 that is the shop dragging their feet with submitting photos and all the paper work that goes along with a warranty not any fault of Rocky Mountain. Now to get back on subject I can say this Instinct is by far the best full suspension trail 29er I have EVER ridden, and in the top few of the funest bikes I ever rode period!
  • 10 0
 @rumblefish255: It's refreshing to read a balanced opinion based on broader real world knowledge.
  • 2 0
 @rumblefish255: Good stuff. I'll add that those instances I mentioned, although a letdown, were handled really well by RM and the local shop and it didn't deter them from buying another RM. I'll also add that my 2013 Altitude has been stellar, and is still going strong. I think I'll be going 29er next time around, and this new Instinct is high on the list.
  • 1 2
 @MTBrent: it's true, carbon cracks haha it's a scam!
  • 22 2
 Appreciate the thorough (and funny) review, I've been looking at this and the Hightower LT as the next bike. Would you care to comment on a comparison between that and either the standard Instinct with a 150 mm fork thrown on, or a BC edition Instinct as reviewed @mikelevy? Thanks.
  • 5 0
 Same here! Would love a comparison between the hightower
  • 16 7
 Heres a tip for you lazy f*cks ; read the review of the hightower LT and then compare it with this one. BAM, magical.
  • 7 4
 @mollow: if you can find a review of the HT LT that's even half as thorough as this article, rather than a "first ride impression" like EVERYONE else has produced so far, let me know and I'll hook you up with a sticker. If you're lucky, it'll read "I'm that Joey that sends it harder in the PB comment section than anywhere else".
  • 1 0
 @mollow: UPDATE: Vital just posted an equally thorough review, and I am one happy camper. Smile,3/Santa-Cruz/Hightower-LT-CC-XX1-29-Reserve,18996#product-reviews/2923
  • 15 1
 Been riding my BC edition hard since Friday morning. In love with it. My first 29er after 27.5 longer travel enduro sleds. Turns way faster than I though a 29 could and climbs so well that I have a lot more legs left under me for the down.
  • 2 4
 Hello... on the FOX-shocks is a 4 digit-code. Can you please to indicate ? (Sorry for my bad english)
  • 2 4
 Hello... on the FOX DPX2 is a 4digit code. Can you tais please me indicate ? Sorry for my bad english
  • 9 0
 If the BC edition can "turn circles around those three when fast direction changes or some pedal-power are called for" and can "rail any and all turns fluently, unlike some beasts of the same feather that require work to zip in and out of tight bends" I could see it being a popular choice for more skiled riders who don't have a fleet of bikes, but want an all around that they can race as well.
  • 4 0
 I ride a Process 111. Love that bike; loved the Smuggler I demoed (but wouldn't have been able to get my hands reasonably soon at the time because XLs were backordered for a while). Like the idea of a capable short travel 29er - burly enough, but still fun when you're not pinned on gnarly trails but instead just going riding, and reasonable on the climbs. Perhaps this latest crop of 29ers (Process 153 29, Sentinel, this Rocky) have figured out how to keep the versatility and all-around fun, just add a bit of squish and burliness? That, right there, would be a welcome development in the evolution of the one-bike-to-do-most-things...
  • 1 1
 @g-42: Hey man, how tall are you if you don't mind me asking...I'm just over 6',5" and am close to ordering the Instinct Carbon 70 but am hesitant because they don't make it in XXL. Thanks!
  • 2 0
 @COnovicerider: I'm only 6'1", but with relatively short legs/long torso. XL in Smuggler and 111 felt right; L felt cramped. Dude - 6'5" must make it really hard to find a bike that fits, I feel for you.
  • 3 1
 @COnovicerider: just bend down a bit
  • 1 0
 @g-42: thanks, man. It's tough but not impossible to find XXL bikes. Trek and Santa Cruz are a couple of brands that make 23" frames. Happy riding.
  • 3 0
 @COnovicerider: just get a Nicolai geometron 29er, you won't have any trouble getting one that fits
  • 1 0
 @adamsemmens: sweet. Thanks, man.
  • 1 0
 @COnovicerider: bend down a bit, make yer sen smaller.
  • 15 6
 Been waiting for Pinkbike to review this bike - thank you! But... am a bit disappointed you chose the BC edition. 5 out of 6 models are not BC edition, and most people will surely be buying the 140/140 models. Is this you guys or is it Rocky that chooses? Would be great if you could do cheaper models as well as top end, as I don't know if I should ignore this review, and how much it relates to the other models. Cheers,
  • 18 5
 says the guy..... not from BC.
  • 5 0
 Agreed--wish the reviewed that standard issue.
  • 15 0
 Here's the review of the standard edition: "this thing rips downhill! The 140mm travel feels very confidence-inspiring. And you know what, I was expecting to compromise on the climbing abilities, but it eats up rooty singletrail uphill sections, leaving you plenty of energy for the descents"
  • 6 0
 have my Instinct C70 2018 for three weeks now and went one weekend to a long adventure ride consisting of 60km per day and 2.000m of ascending and the next weekend to the bike park with WC stage! It handled both really really well. It can be climb but it is a really stable bike on descends and doesn't need so much travel to go through the rough tracks.
  • 2 1
 @mh731: yaaaass, that's it!
  • 1 6
flag Smirnoff1964 (Nov 21, 2017 at 12:55) (Below Threshold)
 Hello... on the FOX DPX2 is a 4digit code. Can you tais please me indicate ? Sorry for my bad english
  • 1 6
flag Smirnoff1964 (Nov 21, 2017 at 13:04) (Below Threshold)
 @Stenimir: Hello... on the FOX is a 4digit code. Can you tais please me indicate ? Sorry for my bad english
  • 1 6
flag Smirnoff1964 (Nov 21, 2017 at 13:05) (Below Threshold)
 Hello... on the FOX DPX2 is a 4digit code. Can you tais please me indicate ? Sorry for my bad english
  • 1 7
flag Smirnoff1964 (Nov 21, 2017 at 13:09) (Below Threshold)
 @Stenimir: Hello... on the FOX Shok is a 4digit code. Can you tais please me indicate ? Sorry for my bad english
  • 7 0
 Can anyone show some photos of those blind pivots from the inside (ugly side? Wink ) when they are assembled and disassembled? It seems to be one of the most unique features on @RockyMountainBicycles these days, but there is very little discussion...and no photos from what i’ve seen. I am very interested in a new Slayer but am quite concerned about the durability of these things. Are they glued in? I mean, anchoring a highly stressed pivot woth lots of side loading with only support on one side of a carbon stay doesn’t seem a recipe for longevity....
  • 1 0

There's a good rendering in the tech manual (pg 11) the threads are bonded into the seatstay. Everyone I've talked to on slayers has had no problems. As long as the threaded piece has a fairly large bonded area it should be solid.
  • 1 0
 @tomcat: thanks. That rendering gives an idea of how it is put together. This is about the only thing keeping me off one of these. Just this past weekend, my buds metal pedal seat in his carbon crank came loose after the bonding gave out. past experiences with Rocky warranty support was really good, so im comfident they would stand behind it IF something were to happen.
  • 5 0
 I rode a BC edition in Park City a couple of weeks ago. I found this review to be spot on. I was really impressed with the bike and often forgot that I was on 29" wheels. It was quick to pop off roots and rocks, but still rolled over stuff. I agree that it's more of a fun trail bike than an enduro race bike, but I don't think you'd have issue racing it either.
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy as someone who races enduros in North Carolina and at other places like Windrock, but who has to has to train in the Midwest and goes to a few flatter enduro races there, is the new HD4, this bike, or the Altitude the best option?

FYI, I rode the HD4 for two days in Brevard, and thought it was the best do-everything-well bike I've ever ridden. I never got bogged down on the climbs, thought it jumped unbelievably well for its race bike-type geo, and never felt like I ran out of bike on descents.
  • 4 0
 My 2 cents: I own a 2017 Instinct 970, and had a 2018 Altitude this summer for 5 weeks. Was going to sell the Instinct, but sold the Altitude instead! Altitude is a beast downhill. Amazing. But it pedalled A LOT slower than the Instinct. So slow I could not even keep riding buddies in sight - not even close. No trouble on the Instinct, which does not descend as well. BUT, the 2018 Instinct should be the best of both worlds, if they solved the rear suspension harshness.
  • 1 0
 @dajibb: thanks for the info!
  • 2 0
 Love my 2018 altitude it's a beast downhill and I have no problem climbing with it at all even on slacks mode with a 35mm stem,on really steep section front wheel lift a bit but alway in control. Between the instinct bc edition and altitude I think they will ride similar it's all about wheel size you prefer at this point.
  • 7 0
 Thats surprising - I've ridden quite a few bikes and nothing has impressed me in the pedalling department as much as the altitude did. I ride an intense that retailed at quite a few thousand higher than the C70 altitude back home in Australia and the altitude runs rings around it. Not only downhill, but especially uphill. The traction and acceleration are next level. I was making it up tech climbs that I physically have not been able to do on my intense, no matter how many shots I had at them. If the instinct is even better uphill, it must be an absolute monster under power.
  • 4 0
 @howie286: I totally agree
  • 5 0
 Great review. Surprised there's no Ride-9 for this version, though. Just FYI there's a typo on the bottom photo. Should be Code's, not Guide's.
  • 1 8
flag SpruceRipper (Oct 23, 2017 at 9:29) (Below Threshold)
 There is ride-9 on this bike it is now located in the link, instead of the top tube.
  • 3 0
 @SpruceRipper: Really? Am I misinterpreting this sentence? "Just like on the new Altitude, the Instinct sees its geometry and suspension-adjusting Ride-9 chip moved from the forward shock mount to the rocker link, but the notable thing here is that Rocky Mountain has ditched it all together on the Carbon 90 BC Edition. Instead, there's the non-adjustable Ride-1 (my term, not Rocky's) rocker link that's different than what's found on the 140mm-travel Instincts, and a Fox DPX2 twin-tube shock. "
  • 3 1
 Whoops sorry, there is a ride-9 in the non-bc edition. The link is different for the bc edition, with a fixed position in the link to allow for the bigger shock.
  • 2 0
 @SpruceRipper: Right, I thought so. So the position is fixed as a slacked out version, and you can't change the geo to make it slightly steeper. But if you're buying the BC version, why would you be looking to do that anyways...
  • 7 0
 Hi @gbeaks33,

The BC Edition Link uses the same forging as the link found on the 140mm Instinct, and you are correct that it has a fixed position instead of Ride-9. The BC Edition Link is fixed at 155mm, to prevent potential tire rub on the seat tube when running higher volume 29" tires.
  • 2 0
 @RockyMountainBicycles: Cool thanks for the explanation! I'll look forward to a demo day in my area next spring!
  • 1 0
 @RockyMountainBicycles: so if one wanted to create their own BC edition by getting a longer fork and longer stroke shock thats all that would be needed? Just set regular ride 9 to slackest setting?
  • 7 2
 Why wouldn't I bring my dab-free attitude to a big bike? Maybe I want to clear the whole trail up and down clean and actually crush the descent.
  • 1 0
 I hope you're not pipedreaming...
  • 6 0
 Sure is a lot of comparisons to the Altitude, why not compare it to similar bikes, like other long travel 29ers?
  • 1 1
 I think theyll let you make the comparison instead of making one bike look bad. I think the last 2 paragraphs before the component check say alot.
  • 9 6
 Not one mention of the relatively high BB on the BC edition? That's a serious downside of turning a frame designed for 140 mm into a 155 mm travel bike. The BB is roughly 1/2" higher on this bike than most of its peers and no mention of it. I suspect that plays partly into why it may be a better trail bike and lesser enduro sled.
  • 31 11
 haf an inch, OMG, how can it even go down a hill at all!
  • 11 3
 @jamesbrant: In case you hadn't checked, that's fairly significant in a world where mm are perceptible. There's pros and cons to the higher BB
  • 7 0
 @tcmtnbikr: says he ran over 35mm sag bet that helped
  • 7 0
 @wonnacott: Think he meant 35% sag
  • 3 0
 @SonofBovril: ha that's what I meant Little extra sag helps bb hight
  • 2 1
 And coincidentally it also has more than a half inch of suspension travel over the non bc edition so once your at full bottom out the bc edition has a lower bottom bracket
  • 8 1
 If you’ve been riding a bike with a slammed bb for a while I’d recommend trying a higher one. I think with so many other attributes keeping our bikes stable and planted these days a higher BB helps retain a bit of liveliness and manouvreability and yes, you can still corner. 29er BBs don’t need to be as low as they are anyway (imo nor do any others but particularly 29ers).
  • 35 1
 Hi @tcmtnbikr,

Our Instinct vs. Instinct BC edition bottom bracket heights are actually quite comparable.

The Instinct, our 140mm travel, bike, run with 30% sag (recommended) has a 299mm bottom bracket height While our Instinct BC Edition has 155mm travel bike, and when run with 35% sag (recommended) has a 298mm bottom bracket height.
  • 32 1
 @RockyMountainBicycles: Sounds like marketing mumbo jumbo. I'll need to verify that in person. Please ship 1 of each model my way (alternatively, shipping me to your HQ will also work).
  • 3 12
flag tcmtnbikr (Oct 23, 2017 at 14:38) (Below Threshold)
 @RockyMountainBicycles: No argument sagged BB comes out close to the same for Instinct/Instinct BC but my point still holds. The Instinct BC BB height is approx 1/2" higher than similar peers (HT LT, Carbine, Rallon, E29). Like I said, there are pros and cons.
  • 2 0
 @tcmtnbikr: It does looks to be on the high side -- but not out of this world. BB drop is comparable (within a couple mm) of the Enduro 29, Pole Evolink and Trek Slash.
  • 2 0
 @RockyMountainBicycles: dammit guys, that mm is material, think before you execute a design next time!
  • 6 1
 I wish BB's were a bit higher. I smack my cranks all the time, and a pedal strike during an enduro stage can cause serious injury, or just put you out of contention like Rude in Aspen. The potential time lost and possible injury due to a pedal strike while racing is not worth whatever minuscule amount of time you save with a lower BB.
  • 1 3
These 30% and 35% sag are for the Fork or for the shock ? Can you given the 4 digit code for the setting of the BC Edition (DPX 2) in Size M ?
  • 4 1
 I don't really understand why the reviewer thinks the Instinct suspension feels that much different than the Altitude, which is essentially the same frame design and uses the same shock and has pretty much the same travel. Perhaps there might a few percentage points difference in progressiveness in the linkage, but could it be that the only real difference is the shock tune?
  • 8 2
 Please make an aluminum BC Edition again and I will buy one!
  • 2 4
 There's no much C-B in hi-po aluminum frames. For that much, people tend to buy carbon.
  • 1 0
 @SeaJay: cost benefit and high performance
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the comprehensive review, Mike! RM designed the bike to be compatible with a coil shock, and I've already seen a picture or two floating around the internet of people running those on the bike. I'd definitely be interested in whether or not that makes a noticeable difference in settling the bike down in the rough stuff...
  • 3 1
 I like it. Mid (ish) travel 29ers are the perfect sweet spot for these bikes. I'll never be KOM nor win any race so a bike that can maximize my fun climbing as well as descending has my attention. I've demoed this bike in MOAB, Sedona and a few other spots with no issues. My only complaint is I like me some Kashima coating vs the elite black coating.
  • 3 0
 Nearly every bike review I've read in the past year states "you wouldn't expect it to climb well, but it does." While I enjoy reading reviews, they all seem almost identical.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy I'm assuming you were on the large? Based on your comments about the rebound do you think the overall tune on the shock might have been too damped? Wondering if this is part of the reason for the bike feeling less plush than the altitude (esp on high speed compression side)?

Not sure if you have the tune info but Rocky is generally good about providing info on the tunes they use.
  • 5 2
 looking for a 29er with 100mm travel and a head angle slacker than your nans tw*t, lower than her t*ts and longer than her long term health issues. any ideas?
  • 1 0
 The Banshee Phantom is the shortest travel modern geo 29er I can think of. It has 105mm travel in the rear.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy Sorry if I missedi in the article, but what size did you ride? And how was the fit? I'm also standing at 5'10", looking at this bike, but can't decide between a medium and a large.
  • 1 0
 You're 100% a size large in the new Instinct.
  • 1 0
 The stock tune of the DPX2 shock seems to be damped far too much in the rebound circuit. They are coming stock on the Ibis bikes as well as Transition, and they all can't really be set up very well for a fast rider under 150 pounds.
  • 2 0
 I've added both regular and BC Edition Instincts to the database, if anyone wants to do side-by-side comparison...
  • 1 0
 Hey Mike @mikelevy -I just tested a 2018 Slayer 90 back to back with my 2014 Altitude 770 Rally Edition and I kid you not for the same heart rate the Slayer was a half a minute quicker on a 1300ft 40 climb. I just renovated my Altitude and it is as new again so that was a shock. Downhill of course the Slayer is in another class. Unbelievable pedalling efficiency on the Slayer. And now we have RM and you testing the Instinct BC vs Altitude 90 and the Instinct is distinctly (!) faster it seems pretty much everywhere... Now all 3 bikes are pretty expensive if I want the good shock/fork and build so I'd rather not make a mistake. I will keep the 770 as a spare so based on your experience can you rank the bikes uphill and downhill (fairly gnarly but not bike park) and give me a couple of your thoughts please?
  • 2 1
 Now that the 2020 Optic has been released (and won PinkBike Bike of the Year) - how would people compare the Optic and the Instinct? BC or non-BC edition. Non-BC is the one I've been looking at. Looking for ride impressions from people who've ridden both. Which is more supple off the top? Bigger hits? Better at rock gardens? Better climber? Descender?

6ft, 165lbs. Not an aggressive rider, no big jumps. Steep technical riding on BC North Shore, Squamish and Interior BC (Vernon, Kelowna)
  • 3 3
 @mikelevy Great review, sounds like the prefect all around bike although I'm not a Rocky fan. My riding style is identical to yours (ie. like the climbs, hate riding with a pack, prefer a short travel 29er, etc). Here's hoping you'll be reviewing the 2018 Scott Genius 900 because that bike ticks all the boxes for me and I'd love to hear your take on it.
  • 1 0
 you didn't think they were going to make them heavier and stronger did you? how else do you expect RM to win the weight battles? one ounce over 30 pounds and the internet would crash due to the uproar.
  • 4 0
 How would you compare it to the original geometry (67.5 HTA) Enduro 29er?
  • 2 0
 Same thought. While the original enduro isn't "slack enough" by todays standards, i still wonder how many people can take advantage of the new agressive 29er geometries. You have to be crazy fast.
  • 2 1
 @SickEdit: Anything over 66.5 terrifies me now! I think depending on terrain, it's something everyone can benefit from.
  • 2 1
 So and when can we finally read that full on 2018 Altitude Review?

Really hard to belive that the Altitude with less travel and smaller wheels is more potent/stable on the downhills...
  • 1 0
 I asked this in a different post and @mikelevy responded that there won't be a full review of the Altitude, only his first impression article. although the comparisons to the Instinct are good, I would love to see a longer term review though, too.
To answer your other question, the Altitude is pretty damn potent on the downhills. Not as potent as a 165/170mm bike (I rode a Capra before), but amazing for a very pedal friendly 150mm trail bike
  • 2 0
 @Nicksen: no Altitude review?! This is rubbish ... plus I remember him stating a review is coming. He cant write the Altitude is a beast in this article and just leave us with that (not overly positiv) first impression review alone...
  • 1 0
 @Foxy87: He told me in another thread that a long term review is coming, I hope that's not changed. Between the Slayer, Altitude and Instinct BC, it's all very close.
  • 2 0
 I just want to hear more about the kona 153 29er!, whens the full review out!

(doesnt really matter as mines on order & hopefully be here in a few weeks)
  • 2 0
 RM Instinct BC Edition vs Yetti 5.5. Thoughts anyone? I think I'm between these 2 bikes for my next purchase but I haven't ridden either yet.
  • 2 0
 I'm not sure you can go wrong with either the Instinct BC, Yetti 5.5, Carbine, or Hightower LT for a long legged 29er Trail/Enduro bike. They are all so good
  • 2 0
 "well, they're not going to make it steeper and shorter are the?" ha. hahahahaha!!
  • 2 1
 This bike has almost everything I want... only lack chainstay & downtube protector... everything else is spot on. Also, georgeous bike like every RM.
  • 2 0
 The instinct frames will include downtube and chainstay protectors. They just were not ready in time for the first shipment!
  • 4 0
 The early sample that Pinkbike received was sent without protectors but rest assured that the new Instinct comes with protectors on the seatstay, chainstay, and downtube.
  • 3 0
 @kperras: and that might just push the weight over the limit, the Eurobros are gonna lose their shit.
  • 2 0
 @kperras: ah sh*t... now I have to buy the damn buy... take my money RM ... !
  • 6 2
 This review confuses me.
  • 2 0
 It's very similar to the Mega 290! Which is not a bad thing at all! Might be my new frame!
  • 2 0
 @RockyMountainBicycles or anyone else. Can you post the shock length/stroke for the BC and regular versions?
  • 1 0
 Did you ever find out what shock lengths these both use? I'm guessing a 230x60 and 230x65 but have been unable to confirm.
  • 1 0
 @Zaff: The non bc (140mm travel) uses a 210 x 55 shock. For the BC edition they are using a 216x63 (8.5 x 2.5). Apparantly the BC edition fixed mount on the rocker link is just the middle ride 9 position, so it would be easy to BCify a regular instinct.
  • 1 1
 One week into ownership and the BC Instinct is a ripper. I am fortunate enough to have a 2018 Instinct as well. Both bikes are stunning . My Levy has very accurately described both bikes. Can't get enough of either!
  • 2 0
 who's the Replicant riding the bike?
  • 1 0
 How does it compare to the old 29er Instinct? I'm looking to upgrade, but can't justify the pricetag on this beautiful sled.
  • 1 0
 I hope that the 15 gauge spokes are a typo! They did have a broken spoke though.
  • 2 0
 not a bad looking bike
  • 5 5
 @mikelevy how does this compare to the Altitude and Slayer, mainly the Slayer?
  • 2 0
 Neato, indeed, Mr. Levy.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy - Those pedals look interesting, first thoughts?
  • 1 0
 they just did a review, nukeproof pedals
  • 1 0
 @rachwal1: Ah, my bad. I was thinking they were the proto Shimano ones I've been seeing pictures of.
  • 3 1
 Awesome paint job!
  • 1 4
 You mean blow job? Smile
  • 1 0
 why is the same color way as a range this year?
  • 1 0
 can the bc edition only be rode in bc?
  • 1 0
 That's funny that the 29" is more agile and the 27.5" the most planted
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy did you test a size medium or large?
  • 3 2
 Where's the battery go?
  • 3 0
 Shhhhh... they don't know about that bit over the pond...
  • 1 1
 I look forward to a review on the more practically priced models.
  • 1 1
 That colorway makes me nauseous
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