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Why That Bike? | Rocky Mountain Instinct

If you've ever cruised our Bike Check section, the largest collection of badass bike builds on the internet, you know that Vital members spare no expense when it comes to radifying their rides. Always on the hunt for a backstory, we reached out to the owners of these three tantalizing trail weapons to find out what went into each project. These rigs are all both drool-worthy and shred-worthy, so jump right in to get stoked.

About the Rocky Mountain Instinct

The Instinct was first launched in 2012, and while it was originally designed for "cross country riders with all mountain capabilities", it has since evolved into a pure trail/all mountain bike, ready for almost anything. When the going really gets tough, Rocky riders will reach for an Altitude or maybe even a Slayer, but the Instinct would not be left far behind - especially not the extra-rowdy BC Edition.

View the Rocky Mountain Instinct in our Product Guide.


lach_ness' Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition

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Age: 30

Where do you live? Geelong VIC, Australia.

Favorite local trail to ride? Not so local to me, but Hero Trail into Shred Kelly’s Last Stand at Mystic Mountain Bike Park in Bright VIC is a pretty special trail, worth the 4 hr drive for sure!!

Why did you pick the Rocky Mountain Instinct? Based on the reviews the RM Instinct offered plenty of big bike capability, but maintained some trail bike manners and was going to still be an easy bike to get along with for those all-day rides. I’ve always had a soft spot for Rocky Mountain bikes after previously owning a Thunderbolt which was a little 27.5 short travel fun machine, so given the Instinct ticked all my boxes it wasn’t a hard decision to jump back on another Rocky. I also really dug the olive green and orange half matte / half gloss colour scheme, it looks killer!

Is this Instinct your only bike? I also have a Cannondale Super X which basically serves as a do-it-all commuter / gravel / road bike. I’ve got two wheels sets; one set up with 28mm road tires and another with 45mm nobby gravel tires which means it’s pretty versatile for a whole range of terrain.

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? My previous bike was a Trek Fuel EX 9.8, which was my first introduction to the big wheels. Being relatively tall at 188cm (6’2”) the 29 wheels just make sense for me. The Fuel EX was a great bike, probably perfect bike for the majority of Aussie trails but I was planning to enter some enduro races so wanted a bit more travel (mainly to give me more margin of error for my lack of skill!).

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? Full custom build! Started with the frame and then slowly acquired all the parts over a 6 month period. This worked well because I had to wait for certain parts to come into stock and it also gave me time to spread the cost out a bit too. Building a bike by buying all the individual parts is definitely not the most cost effective way to go about it, but you do get exactly what you want and I learnt quite a lot about building up a bike from scratch along the way. Plus the bike is unique which is cool!

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What’s your favorite part about the bike? The EXT Storia Lok rear shock is pretty exotic and definitely sets the bike apart. This was my first time running a coil and I’ll never forget the sensation of that first ride after I installed the shock, such a different feel and SO MUCH GRIP! It’s actually the Storia Lok V2 shock, I purchased it a few months before the V3 was released, so at the time there weren’t too many around. I can’t say for sure, but I think it’s the only Instinct BC in Australia that is running an EXT coil shock so that is pretty cool!

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What would you change on it? I hand-picked every part so pretty stoked with how the build turned out and I wouldn’t change too much! I’d love to try some of those We Are One Composites Union carbon wheels though!

How long do you plan on riding this bike? I have a (bad) habit of turning my bikes over pretty frequently so I dare say there’ll be a new steed in the not-too-distant future haha. 

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? So many good mtb’s around at the moment, my top 4 contenders for next bike are: 

  1. Rocky Mountain Altitude 
  2. Specialized Stumpjumper Evo 
  3. Evil Wreckoning V3 
  4. Forbidden long travel 29er (hopefully coming soon!) 

Help me choose, post in the comments what you think is the best pick of the bunch!

View lach_ness' Bike Check.


meltron's Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition

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Age: 35

Where do you live? Missoula, Montana.

Favorite local trail to ride? Bjorn Again at Marshall Mountain, compliments of MTB Missoula!

Why did you pick the Rocky Mountain Instinct? I’m a CORE Ambassador for Rocky, and love the versatility of the Instinct. You can run the BC link and longer stroke shock for more of a brawler, or use the Ride-9 link and shorter shock for an all-day backcountry bike. I leave it in BC mode because it’s as happy on a 30-mile backcountry ride as it is at the bikepark. It’s relatively light, and the more active kinematics make it a tractor on steep techy climbs. I’ve been super impressed with the reliability of Rocky Mountain bikes over the years, too. It take a licking and keeps on kicking.

Is this Instinct your only bike? Oh no. I have a stable…ha! This one gets ridden the most though. 

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? I’ve been fortunate to try a handful of bikes over the last season or so. Last season I was on a Mondraker Foxy 29 RR. I was keen to give the ‘progressive’ geo bikes a go to see what all the fuss was about. But before that I had another Instinct BC so getting back on one felt pretty natural. 

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? The current iteration is a bit of both. Started off as a C90 BC Instinct, but made a couple small changes including the Öhlins TTX coil out back and a second set of wheels with DH tires for bikepark days. I think Rocky does a good job on spec’ing their bikes, not many changes needed.

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What’s your favorite part about the bike? I really appreciate the ‘can-do’ attitude of the bike, it’s rare to overwhelm it even on the biggest mistakes. It’s lively, balanced, poppy and planted all at once.  Also, big shout out to Catahoula Ergonomics for hands down the best saddle on the market. I love that thing.

What would you change on it? Nothing, really. Pretty solid bike!

How long do you plan on riding this bike? One season. I’ll be for sale early Dec to make room for the new steed dropping in Jan.

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? Rocky has a special somethin’ somethin’ launching early 2021 that I’m very excited about. I’m also dreaming of doing a frame-up on a Rocky Mountain Growler, would be fun to have a hardcore hardtail in the quiver again.

View meltron's Bike Check.


tamashub25's Rocky Mountain Instinct

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Age: 23

Where do you live? I live in Gyöngyös, Hungary.

Favorite local trail to ride? I live 15 minutes away from the tallest mountains in the country. The trails are mostly walking paths but we can use them too and we've got some wild ones out there.

Why did you pick the Rocky Mountain Instinct? I never really looked for a Rocky, then I found this one in the country. After a long chat with the seller, we came up with the solution to buy it without the fork because that way I could afford it at the time. Rocky Mountain was the pinnacle of biking for me since I started riding. When you grow up in a country where you really don't have much riding going on, you watch videos from the north shore, from Whistler and those places every day and dream of getting a piece of it one day. Then the dream becamse a reality when you can buy a bike from one of the biggest brands out there, it's a feeling which is mind blowing. Rocky Mountain for me is equal to the freedom of riding and that's what you live for. I couldn't imagine in my wildest dreams, one day I can have a bike like this.

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Is this Instinct your only bike? No. I also have a 29er Radon XC hardtail.

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? Before this I had a 2015 Merida 160. It was a great bike, but I wanted to try something different.

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? It is mostly stock I think. I bought it second hand without the OEM fox 34 fork and put the 160 36 on it. It came with the Maxxis DHF-s but they were only the EXO ones. Changed them to an Assegai DH / Aggressor DD set with a Tannus Armour in the back. Of course the 200mm rotors front and back for all the power. And the EX471 rim on the back.

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What’s your favorite part about the bike? The fork! I love how the 36 feel. I never would have thought one day I can have my own.

What would you change on it? I want to change the rear shock for a FOX X2 coil. Maybe get the longer eye-to-eye shock and convert the fork to 170, and add a Fox Transfer Kashima dropper for the ultimate dream setup. Also gonna get some Shimano Saint or XT 4 piston brakes.

How long do you plan on riding this bike? I don't know. Only had the bike for a couple of months now and I really enjoy riding it. It's a dream come true for me and I don't want to change it any time soon.

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? Only 29ers for me from now on. I would like to try a Privateer 141 or a Santacruz Hightower one day too.

View tamashub25's Bike Check.


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