Cycling News

First Impressions: Rocky Mountain Instinct evolves

Rocky Mountain Instinct

Sometimes wholesale change isn’t the best plan. Sometimes a thing just works, and all you need to do is refine it. This is the case with the Instinct, the venerable trail bike from Rocky Mountain. The North Vancouver brand takes takes its well-established 29″ platform (27.5″ in size XS) and, instead of starting fresh, goes about improving what was already there and adding a few new features along the way.

After a few rides on Rocky’s new rig, its clear this evolutionary approach elevates the Instinct. Big changes on paper don’t disrupt the balance we loved so much in the outgoing version. Instead, the Instinct appears to take on new abilities.

Photo: Margus Riga

2024 Rocky Mountain Instinct: What’s new?

Rocky Mountain calls the new-look Instinct its most versatile bike ever. With a suite of changes and upgrades, this is true on a few levels. The basic platform, and silhouette, remains the same. It is still a 150mm rear-wheel travel (160mm fork) 29″er trail bike. The XS size still comes with 27.5″ wheels and the small size still comes in either 27.5″ or 29″. There are still carbon fibre and alloy frame options. It is, at its core, still a trail bike designed to excel in the widest possible range of riding conditions.

To aid in that last bit, though, there are a ton of changes. These cover design, features and geometry.

Rocky Mountain adds in-frame storage to the carbon fiber frames called the Penalty Box, in keeping with the brand’s hockey themed naming convention. The Penalty Box adds extra security via a stealth AirTag/Tile holder added to the underside of the lid.

Hone your Instincts

Also new is a reach adjust headset. This gives the option of neutral (0mm), +5mm or -5mm reach, without changing head angle. And without giving the Instinct’s head tube the appearance of wide can of Spam. Rocky switches from Ride-9 geometry adjustment system to the simpler Ride-4 found on several other recently updated models. By eliminating some choice, Ride-4 makes it easier to find the settings that work for you and makes it easier (single tool) to adjust settings.

On the instinct, Ride-4 and the reach adjust work in concert with the two-position rear axle already on the…

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