Bike Test: Rocky Mountain BC Edition Rocky Mountain
Rocky Mountain BC Edition Rocky Mountain
The mountains are calling
The Instinct falls into the trail bike category of Rocky Mountain’s lineup; however, the bike tested here is not your ordinary Instinct. Rocky took this model a step further by deeming it the BC Edition. Increased travel, wider handlebars, bigger tires and stiffer wheels all play a part in pushing this trail-ready machine to a higher, more capable level.
The goal was to create a version of the Instinct burly enough to handle the rigors of British Columbia’s world-famous trails. Rocky Mountain, born in Vancouver, is all too familiar with North Shore riding. For those of you who weren’t born in Vancouver, just imagine an early freeride film and the zone will quickly come to mind. BC offers some of the gnarliest trails around with handmade jump lines, natural rock gardens and wooden features sprinkled throughout for good measure.
A bike carrying the BC Edition name must be ready to take on anything. It has to be a versatile rig able to earn its turns while providing the utmost confidence and precision for the way back down. This month the MBA wrecking crew challenged the Instinct 50 BC Edition to a different kind of terrain. The loamy forest and rock-slap trails were swapped out for Southern California’s finest. Did the Instinct answer the call? Find out.
Building on the Instinct’s 140mm of travel, the BC edition gains an extra 15mm. The rear end uses Rocky’s Smoothlink suspension system paired with a Fox DPX2 shock. Rocky even claims that each frame size received a specific tune in order to provide the best suspension feel for riders on every frame size. These bikes are offered in either the alloy version seen here for $3700 or a lighter-weight carbon model with a price of $6100. Our test mule featured Rocky’s Form alloy tubes, which are said to be engineered with specific parts of the bike in mind. Basically, Rocky made sure this alloy frame was shred-worthy. Furthermore, Rocky Mountain designed this bike with sealed cartridge bearings, a Press-Fit bottom bracket and internal cable routing.
Components: Rocky built this bike to be tough as nails, which can be seen throughout its component spec. The bike rolls on Race Face AR 30 wheels wrapped with Maxxis Minion DHF and DHR II tires. The drivetrain is made up of a SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed kit but uses an NX Eagle chain to help cut cost. Rocky then reached into SRAM’s electric bike department for a pair of Guide RE brakes. If they’re powerful enough for an e-bike, then they must be plenty strong for a pedal bike, right? The build kit continues with a 160mmtravel Fox 36 fork and a house-brand 35mm cockpit. Finishing up the build is a Race Face Turbine R dropper post attached to a WTB Volt saddle.
Suspension: Rocky Mountain removed its popular Ride 9 system from the BC Edition for a single-position link. Ride 9 is a system composed of two interlocking chips that allow riders to fine-tune the geometry and suspension by choosing from among nine different configurations. The absence of this system, however, was not a negative for our testers. In fact, it was a nice change of pace to be limited to one setting instead of constantly making micro adjustments to enhance ride quality. A high-volume DPX2 shock was added to the Instinct’s SmoothLink suspension. Along with adding travel, the larger shock also helps manage the rear end through rougher terrain.
DOWN AND DIRTY
Climbing: While the BC Edition isn’t one to run with the cheetahs, it is a mountain goat that will crawl its way to the top of a tough climb. Our tested alloy version without pedals weighed just over 32 pounds, which became noticeable on the trails. SmoothLink suspension, on the other hand, was the Instinct’s saving grace. We’d much rather have a beefier bike that pedals well than a lightweight one that bobs up the climbs.
The Instinct’s platform allowed our test riders to leave the shock set wide open without penalty. Furthermore, the geometry offered a neutral riding position that allowed riders to comfortably settle in on longer climbs or power their way through technical ones.
The Instinct lives for the rush of a long descent. Its Fox suspension goes to work, smoothing out the rowdiest trails and offering its rider a comfortable and confidence-inspiring ride down. Whether barreling through a rock garden or sliding around sand turns, the Instinct kept its composure and pushed on.
In fact, it was hard to find a spot on the descents where the Instinct didn’t shine. The bike tackles switchbacks well, especially considering its 29-inch wheels, and it offers an almost bottomless feel over big hits or hucks-to-flat. This Rocky could either be ridden with a point-and-shoot style or slashed around the trails with a more playful intent. Considering the price point of this shredder, our test riders were quite blown away by its performance. We have to admit the bike overall is on the heavier side, so a bit more power is required to pull out of turns, but once up to speed, the Instinct sets its sights on the fastest lines.
MODS AND UPGRADES
In some ways we felt like this bike needed to go on a diet, but then we reminded ourselves that this isn’t the regular Instinct. If a lightweight trail weapon is the bike you’re searching for, then purchase the non-BC Edition. For those riders not afraid of taking extra suspension up the hill for a more exhilarating ride back down, the BC Edition is the bike for you.
The only upgrade we made to our test rig was setting up the wheels tubeless and spending time to properly set our suspension. With the right balance of traction and control, our bike felt ready to rip. Sure, you could go to town upgrading this bike, but you’d be better off purchasing the higher-end carbon model if you’re willing to spend the money.
The bottom line is that the Instinct BC Edition is a bike that’s true to its name. Although we didn’t have the opportunity to test this bike in the Canadian province it was named after, we were more than pleased with its ability to handle our local stomping grounds. This beefed-up trail bike is a versatile option for hardcore shredders willing to earn their turns.
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