Rocky Mountain Instinct BC - First Impressions
Late last year Rocky Mountain announced the updated Instinct model. The standard Instinct is a 29" trail bike with 140mm travel front and back. At the same time they released the long travel version of the same frame. The Instinct BC edition uses the same frame as its younger brother with a longer shock and heavier duty components. The BC edition up the ante to 155mm rear travel with a 160mm Fox 36 fork, Sram Code brakes and bars wide enough to make sure you'll never thread the gap between those tight trees again.
We took the Instinct BC edition to southern Utah and rode one of the chunkiest trails we could find. First impressions are good.
We started the day by climbing the aptly-named "Crybaby Hill" to the top of Grafton Mesa. It's a tough climb but the Instinct BC made short work of it. I did have to use the Eagle gear and the lockout switch on the DPX2 shock for some of the steeper pitches. With the shock open, there's some bob while pedaling. It makes sense though, Rocky Mountain suggest you run the shock at 35% sag. I'm usually not a fan of having to use a lockout switch to keep the pedal bob under control, mostly because I forget to open the lever before the descent. To give a comparison, I have been riding the Ibis Mojo HD4 since August. The HD4 is a long, low and slack enduro race bike made for the descents. It also pedals incredibly well. Before that, I rode the Evil Wreckoning for a year. That bike didn't pedal incredibly well. The Instinct BC falls somewhere between those two. The steep seat tube puts you in a good position for getting power to the pedals. I never found the bike wanting to wheelie up steep climbs either. We didn't have to much tech on our climb, but the small amounts we did have, the 29" wheels motored right up them.
Grafton DH is one of the chunkier trails in southern Utah. It is the perfect test for the downhill capabilities of a bike. It's got enough sharp rocks to shred a year's worth of tires, plenty of tight rocky corners, slow awkward tech, a little flow and some good old fashioned drops and jumps. The Instinct BC handled it like a champ. On a side note, the carbon HiFi wheels we put on our test rig were up to the challenge. More on those in a future review. Three things really stood out during my ride.
1. It's nimble and playful — The Instinct BC despite being a long-legged 29er wants to hit every extra credit feature and carve turns like a short-travel trail bike. Initially I was worried about the higher BB on the bike, but at 35% sag it feels just right - the bike corners really well. It's really easy to get the Instinct BC off the ground and it will have you looking for every feature you can turn into a double.
2. It's a monster truck — with lots of travel and big wheels, the Instinct BC will monster truck over almost anything. Just close your eyes, hold on and let off the brakes. The bike instills so much confidence you'll be eyeing up lines you've always considered impossible.
3. It's plush — I never noticed a harsh bottom out. In fact I may not have even hit the bottom of the travel the whole day. Yes I have my sag set correctly, but no I didn't mess around with volume spacers before the first ride. Even a few parking lot hucks to flat I never once felt a hard bottom out.
All in all I think the Instinct BC edition is a great heavy duty trail bike that will handle long pedal days as well as some enduro races/bike park days. If you're looking for something for longer climbs and easy, cruiser descents, have a look at the regular Instinct. If you want something for non-stop lift days at the bike park, Rocky Mountain offers the Slayer.