Ridden & reviewed by bike tech George “Shop Guy” Merrill
- Height: 6’
- Weight: 150lbs
- Chromag 800mm bars and 35mm Stem
- Fox DHX2 Coil Rear shock with 400lb spring
- Industry Nine Enduro S wheelset
- Specialized Butcher and Purgatory 2.6” Tires
The last time I owned a 29er was back in 2013. It had prehistoric geometry, a whopping 100mm of travel, and it handled terribly on anything but smooth singletrack. After spending the past five seasons on smaller 27.5” wheeled bikes I decided it was time to give the wagon wheels another chance and I’m glad I did. This Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition is nothing like the 29ers I remember from just a few years ago. The folks over at Rocky Mountain managed to blend the nimbleness and handling of of a 27.5” bike with the stability and speed of a 29er creating the ultimate long travel trail bike. I chose this bike because I liked the build and the price and I wanted a longer travel bike. It’s easy to get frustrated when every company releases a new seven-thousand dollar superbike each season, but Rocky Mountain understands that and offers plenty of well spec’d aluminum bikes for riders who aren’t looking to spend their last penny on a new bike.
The regular Rocky Mountain Instinct sports 140mm of travel and is marketed as a cross country/trail bike. The BC Edition is named for the rugged trails of British Columbia and gets a travel lift up to 155mm in the rear and 160mm in the front, pushing it into the enduro bike category for riders looking for a more confident ride on the descent.
Since this isn’t the only bike in my collection, (I spend a lot of time riding a Chromag Rootdown 29” wheeled hardtail) I opted for a slightly more burly build with all of the great bike parks in the state in mind. I liked the performance of the stock DPX2 shock, but I wanted the bike to feel more damp and grounded, so I opted for the DHX2 coil shock. Surprisingly, the bike climbs just as well as it did with the DPX2, even without using the climb switch. On the way down, the bike prefers to stick to the trail, rather than pop off of every little side jump, something that I have loved while riding lift served trails. If downhill riding isn’t your thing you will probably love the poppy and responsive feel of the stock DPX2 shock.
This bike truly performs when pointed downhill, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay for it on the uphill. I am consistently blown away by how efficiently it climbs despite it’s slack angles and relatively long wheelbase. It has taken me to almost every bike park in the state and on all day epics in the Stowe area without any issues at all. If you’re looking for one bike to do it all that won’t break the bank, this is your ride.
- The bike stays glued to the ground like a racecar.
- Climbs incredibly well even with the coil shock.
- One bike for everything from Cady Hill laps to full days at the bike park.
- Long travel aluminum bikes aren’t particularly light.
- I did not love the stock Fox DPX2 shock immediately. It is well worth putting in the time to tune it to your riding style.
Official info on the Instinct: https://www.bikes.com/en/bikes/instinct-bc-edition/2019
If you’re interested in further inside info, feel free to stop by and visit George at Ranch Camp in Stowe, a Rocky Mountain dealer. Ranch Camp also has Instincts in stock if you’d like to swing a leg over one.