Camp Fruita Review: 2018 Rocky Mountain Instinct

2018 Rocky Mountain Instinct

Rocky Mountain’s Instinct has been a long time favorite of mine due to its versatility on a wicked range of terrain.   Being light and efficient enough for xc yet burly enough to tackle some rough shit – how can you improve?  I’ve been eagerly awaiting the 2018 model with rumors of its arrival for some time.  The totally redesigned 2018 Instinct is now here and it looks AMAZING!

Recently, we were invited to preview the new Instinct at one of our favorite destinations – Fruita, Colorado.  Although this wasn’t an extensive test I feel I was able to get a good feel for the bike on trails I’ve enjoyed for many years.  Here’s a little more insight into the incrediable test terrain in Fruita.

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Fruita’s riding combined with its proximity to many other meccas is pretty hard to beat.

2018 Rocky Instinct


2018 Rocky Mountain Instinct Carbon 70 | $5299 USD | 140mm travel front and rear | 29″ wheels | BC Edition – 160mm front/ 155mm rear travel


Whats NEW with the 2018 Instinct?

The latest edition of the Instinct brings technology from the redesigned 2017 Slayer.  Along with more progressive geometry, higher anti-squat and bearings in the rear shock eyelet (vs bushings) there is now clearance for 29 x 2.6″ tires!  Like the previous 2017 model, the 2018 Instinct shares the same frame with the 27.5″ wheeled Pipeline.

To help add control and descending capability, they’ve increased reach, slackened the headtube angle, and lowered the bottom bracket.  A BC Edition is also available that extends rear travel to 155mm with a different and interchangeable rocker link.  The BC Edition also get a bigger Fox 36 fork with 160mm travel.

Gram conscious riders will be excited about the svelt 5.1lb frame.  Rocky Mountain also claims that the new frame is among the strongest the company has produced.

Riding the 2018 Instinct

The updated Instinct feels more ready than ever to tackle the roughest terrain while retaining its agility.  The bike does feel slightly plusher and the updated geometry gives more confidence without a trace of affecting the bikes excellent pedaling capabilities.  With a steeper 74.5-degree seattube angle and increased anti-squat the bike pedals very well.  After only a couple rides it’s really hard to pick apart anything on the bike.  I really hope to spend more time on the bike in the future since initial impressions are that its freaking awesome!

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2018 Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition
The Instinct BC Edition stretches its legs to 155mm rear and 160mm front travel.

2018 Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition

The parts build on the Instinct is excellent.  This was my first extended ride on the new SRAM GX Eagle. After a few days aboard GX, I wonder why I need anything better.  The “Elite” level Fox 34 fork and rear shock also felt very similar in performance to the more expensive “Factory” offerings.  My only complaint with the bike is with the freehub engagement.  Some popping as the freehub engages is noticeable.

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2018 RMB Instinct Chain Guide
The stock chain guard worked flawlessly.   I never knew it was there with zero noise.

Final Thoughts

Rocky Mountain’s 2018 Instinct is incredible for those looking for a ride any terrain ripper.  With updated geometry and 10mm more travel, the 2018 Instinct capitalizes on confident handling.  The bike nails a sweet spot among 29er trail bikes with an ability to be superb on nearly any terrain.  If my instincts are correct, I think I am in love.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Bill Blankenship

    I was in Fruita a few weeks ago and loved it. But I am in Brevard, NC today, like to say hi.

    1. Chad Davis

      Hey Bill!! Give us a shout. We just got back into town. It’d be great to catch up! cdavis@crankjoy.com

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