ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTINCT BC 29 - DIRTY DOZEN
A Canadian answer to all things 29
with bikes such as the Element Race and the original Slayer in the early 2000s, Rocky Mountain has always been at the forefront of innovation - its legendary freeride pedigree is testament to that.
But in my eyes Rocky are on the radar even more so for recent achievements. Bikes like the RM9 and the RM7 were things of beauty, they did a job and did it well. The new look era has the brand coming back to glory with some great results in the EWS, including the 650b Altitude getting the top spot in Whistler piloted by Jesse Melamed. There is no doubting this bike's design.
The brand may not be the undisputed king of freeride anymore but they're most definitely still not a company to be underestimated with the Slayer, Altitude Powerplay and this, the Rocky Mountain Instinct BC long travel 29er heading up their offerings.
The all new Instinct BC is the longer travel stablemate to the 140mm Instinct. The shorter travel mile destroyer was so good they used it as a platform to create this bigger hitting enduro beast. There's a largely similar design here except for a single position link as opposed the shorter travel bike having a flip-chip for geometry.
'Size Specific Tune' ensures that riders of all sizes get the right balance of small-bump compliance, mid-stroke support and end-stroke progressiveness. Rocky Mountain does custom shock tunes based on real world field testing, and adjusts each tune for specific frame sizes. It's neat stuff and something you hope will become standard practice one day.
Sizes: S - M - L - XL
Frame: SMOOTHWALL™ Carbon. Full Sealed Cartridge Bearings. Press Fit BB. Internal Cable Routing.
Fork: Fox 36 Float EVOL FIT4 Performance Elite 160mm
Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite offering 155 mm Rear Travel
Stem: Rocky Mountain 35 CNC DH
Handlebar: Race Face Turbine R 780mm
Brakes: Sram Code
Front Derailleur: Rocky Mountain Spirit Guide
Rear Derailleur and Shifter: Sram GX Eagle
Cranks & Chainrings: Sram Stylo 7k Eagle 32T
Front Hub: Rocky Mountain Sealed Boost 15mm
Rear Hub: DT Swiss 370 Boost 148mm
Rims: Stans Flow MK3 Tubeless Ready - Tape / Valves Incl
Tyres: Maxxis 29 DHF 2.5 EXO Maxx Terra 3C TR / Maxxis 29 DHRII 2.4 WT EXO Maxx Terra 3C TR
Seatpost: Fox Transfer Performance Elite 30.9mm
OPINION: IEUAN WILLIAMS
With the Dirty Dozen coming to an end, there really have been some fantastic bikes on the list and this entry from Rocky Mountain always had some serious promise. With plenty on the scale for sizing (S to XL) everyone should be catered for. This 155mm travel 29er seems to tick all the boxes on paper - 1213mm wheelbase and 454mm reach for a large doesn't make it the largest of bikes out there but it really is a super comfy place to sit.
The Rocky Mountain Instinct BC really is an easy bike to get to grips with. Nothing revolutionary here, just the basics done well. It may not have as slack a head angle as a Transition Sentinel or as low in the bottom bracket as an Orange stage 6 but, man, it is still a fast bike from A to B.
These long travel 29ers can not just be marked on the descending though. The Rocky Mountain Instinct BC's slightly higher bottom bracket, matched with the steeper seat tower than on previous models, gives a good position to winch up the climbs with ease. This is one of the longer travel bikes on test but we'd be happy to spend a big day on it, some of this is down to the SRAM Eagle drivetrain mind.
The weight of the Instinct BC is also on the correct side of the 30lb mark weighing in at 29lb10oz. It is not mind-blowing but to be honest anything around this weight is spot on.
So how does the bike cope when shown some tough stuff? Very well. Supple suspension with more than enough progression built into the chassis allows for plenty of small bump sensitivity while keeping the bike's shape in hand.
The bottom bracket is a touch high (a 19mm drop to 348 mm) but a soft start stroke to the damper means it does not feel that lofty on dirt. All this said though, other bikes in the Dirty Dozen do have a flip chip that the Instinct BC does not, so the height is the height unless you crack out a pair of offset bushes.
Rocky Mountain has managed to keep the stiffness flex of the Instinct BC in the green zone. Not so stiff it is harsh but enough flex to keep the fatigue low on longer rides. This matched up with a great set of wide trail tyres from Maxxis really does give for a smooth and compliant ride dynamic.
All this said nothing is perfect. And the Rocky Mountain suffers from one of my pet hates - noise! The chain slap from the Instinct BC was pretty savage in any gear below 6th. Now, there is plenty of cleverly designed chain protection so no damage will be incurred, but this should stop noise too.
The 32 tooth chainring can most definitely be upped to a 34 or 36 and this would give better chainstay clearance (and with an Eagle cassette why wouldn't you?). But to be honest with you this should have been found and solved before. A blemish on what really is a great bike.
So, the second super-impressive bike from Rocky Mountain in a week. The venerable Canadian brand marches on.