Rocky Mountain Instinct 990 MSL BC Edition 29er

Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition

I rode this fine stead on the Guacamole Trail, Virgin, Utah during the Hurricane MTB Festival in March, 2016.  I don’t demo many bikes on “The Guac” but ride it several times a year and know the trail.  There are some great places to test a bike on this trail with steep rock climbs, descents, rock gardens, and two foot jumps.  The scenery in front of the red cliffs of Zion National Park is stunning.  It is one of our favorite trails anywhere!


The carbon bike weighed in at 28 lbs, average for a strong trail bike.  It had a Rockshox Pike 140mm fork, XT setup, 1×11 gearing, and the head tube angle is adjustable!  That is cool.


The Reverb dropper worked well this time but of the demo bikes I’ve rode that had Reverbs, which is most of them, about half worked poorly, if at all.  I don’t trust or recommend them.


On the “stem” trail heading out to the slick rock I went over the handlebars after hitting a smallish rock in the trail at maybe 10 mph. Sure, I was coasting along and not paying much attention but I shouldn’t have to there.  This happens on Rockshox, but doesn’t happen to me on the newer Fox forks.  See my Fox 2017 Factory Float 34 fork review for more details.  Photo below after I got up off the trail and the offending little rock in the upper right.
MTB crash scene Guacamole Trail.
March 2016 crash scene on the Guacamole Trail, Virgin, UT. Actually the Margarita Trail part of The Guac.


Safety, stability, and control:  


The bike is agile, handles big drops well, and climbs gnar ledges nicely.  It is a 29er so has those benefits.  The geometry should be excellent for stability and control but with more testing on that ride I’m pretty sure the Pike was the issue.  The head tube angle is adjustable from 67.7 degrees to 69.3.  So in theory it is a 140mm trail OR cross country bike.  The manufacturer’s rep put it in trail mode for my ride.


There was no problem on the rest of the ride but I was paying attention more.  However, this OTH thing was somewhat common for me with the Rockshox Revelation on my Yeti and the Pike on demo bikes but hasn’t happened at all on the newer Foxes both on my Yeti and other demo bikes.  Same rider, same trails, same rocks.


To solve the safety problem swamp the Pike 140mm for a Fox 34 140mm.


Comfort for longer rides:


I rode about 8 miles, only a few of which were gentle single track.  The Guac is a seriously challenging trail with rock gardens well over your head in height.  Back at the trailhead I felt fine, even with the head plant at the beginning of the ride.




I love the yellow frame!  The design is coherent geometric and has a fine aggressive stance.  Internal cables are nice.  It is a beautiful bike and one you can ride proudly.




Rocky Mountain makes fine bikes and their reps at bike festivals are excellent.  You don’t have to say “heh” and “owse” (House in English) but it helps to speak Canadian 🙂  Since the Canadian dollar is a bit low now compared to the U.S. dollar you can save a few hundred on the frame compared to some other premium bikes.  Ride one and check it out!


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