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2014 Carbon Rocky Mountain Instinct

The Big 29er Goes Carbon

Words by Morgan Taylor. Photos by Margus Riga and Brendon Purdy.
July 1st, 2013

Last August, Rocky Mountain launched the aluminum Instinct at Eurobike. This was the second bike in the Rocky lineup to feature Ride 9 adjustable geometry, and its thunder was stolen by the 650B Altitude launched just a couple weeks earlier at Crankworx. The Instinct was a sleeper hit though, and has proven popular at dealers in Europe and North America.

Fast forward to June 2013 and Rocky was ready for a true launch of the new carbon version, taking advantage of the opportunity to show a group of hungry journalists their new North Vancouver facility and to shred some freshly buffed trails. I stumbled the four minutes down the hill to Rocky’s new office and joined an international crew for a ride in my back yard…

We have a 2013 Instinct 970 on long term test and I rode that bike enough to conclude two things: first, the value for money in spec is really good with these bikes; and second, the Large frame fit on the small side. For the launch I lined up an XL frame to see if a 625mm horizontal top tube would feel better than the 600mm on the Large.

Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

My ride for the day, an XL carbon 2014 Instinct 970 MSL. Frame geometry on the 130mm 29er platform remains the same from 2013, while we see the introduction of a beefed up BC Edition version (below). The new frame weighs in at 2350 grams or 5.18 pounds including shock and all hardware.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

We celebrated the new office opening with a log cutting ceremony.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Rocky is proud of their history and it shows at the office even without being dressed up for a media visit.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

They’re also proud of their love for coffee.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Alex Cogger took us on a tour of the office and prototyping faciliities.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Noted.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Dimly lit conversation around one of the Instinct prototypes.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Cogger tells us why Instinct is Rocky’s “most versatile bike of all time.”

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

The love for coffee can now be taken to the trails with Handpresso

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Off to the trails we go…

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Wade Simmons helps with bike setup.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Endless Biking helped us out with a shuttle to the trailhead and good guidance along the way.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Apparently I get a yellow line violation for this one.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

The XL frame was a good comparison to the Large tester. I definitely felt more comfortable climbing, and the bike was more stable descending. With a couple of tweaks to the setup I believe I would land at a medium length stem on the XL frame rather than a long stem on the L.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Ruben Salzgeber shows us what the Instinct is capable of.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Pedaling with Dr. Dre.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

For a 5″ 29er the Instinct feels reasonably light and nimble underfoot. The 2.2″ Continental tires are not exactly confidence inspiring in the wet and would quickly make their way off the bike if it spent much time in my hands.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Following the Godfather.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

Rocky Product Manager Ken Perras leads Wade through the new High School trail, a hand built bermy pumptrack through the woods. Ken gets credit for spec’ing a 750mm bar on all Instinct models and a 780 on the BC Edition.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

2014 Instinct 950 MSL. Carbon front, aluminum rear, SRAM X7/X9 build. 28.2 pounds and $3999.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

2014 Instinct 970 MSL. Full carbon, XT/XTR, Race Face, Stans Arch EX, and Reverb. 27.7 pounds and $5399.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

2014 Instinct 970 MSL BC Edition. Carbon front / aluminum rear. Fox 34 and CTD Kashima, 2.4″ tires, 780mm bar, Stans Flow EX, stealth Reverb. 30.2 pounds and $5399.

2014, Rocky Mountain, Rocky, bike, Instinct, 970, 970 BC Edition, 999, 950, 29" 29er

2014 Instinct 999 MSL. Full carbon, XX1/Race Face/Stans Arch EX/Reverb. 25.0 pounds and $7599.

With just a short time on the carbon Instinct I am leaning toward thinking the XL frame is more suited to my fit and riding style. I rode the bike in neutral setting for this ride which bodes well for dropping it into one of the slacker modes which will shorten up reach a touch. The BC Edition bike is a great addition to the Instinct family and it’s great to see another well-engineered and well-spec’d bike make its way to the showroom. We should be seeing the carbon Instinct in shops in October…


Does the carbon Instinct tickle your fancy? What about that new BC Edition?

  • cunningstunts

    great looking bikes- 3 items of note:

    - everyone but everyone but everyone takes issues with Conti’s 29er tires. why bother making them spec with the tremendous options out there.
    - great spec and bar width stock. why mess around.
    - RMB along with Santa Cruz continue with very short bikes for large people. anyone over 6’3″ need not apply. it’s too bad but these bikes will be great for everyone else.

  • shirk

    Is that Race Face Next SL a spiderless crank?

  • Feral

    Morgan, how tall are you?