The 2024 Rocky Mountain Instinct Adds Frame Storage, Adjustability, and Aggressive Geo [First Ride]

The latest Rocky Mountain Instinct trail bike is out today. We got out on a ride before the release and have the full details here.

It doesn’t feel like a lot of time has passed since Rocky Mountain released the last Instinct trail bike in the spring of 2021–almost exactly three years ago. But three years is a lot of time when it comes to technology in the bike industry and Rocky’s latest full-suspension trail bike implements all of those changes.

2024 Rocky Mountain Instinct key specs

  • 150/140mm travel front/rear
  • Geometry: 64° head tube angle, 77° effective seat tube angle
  • Four-position flip chip plus a rear axle chip and adjustable headset
  • Internal frame storage plus UDH compatible
  • Weight: 30.8lb as tested (C70 build)
  • Price: $2,899 (alloy) to $10,599 (carbon)
  • Buy from JensonUSA

We’ll start with what hasn’t changed on the new Instinct. The bike is still the brand’s go-to, all-around trail bike with 140mm of travel in the rear and a 150mm fork. Otherwise, there is a lot of change, including the geometry and new features throughout the frame.

On the geometry front, sizes XS and S are still available as a 27.5″ bike, and sizes S through XL are available as a 29er.

The Instinct has the Ride-4 system, with four geometry settings in the flip-chip.

Take a medium in it’s neutral setting, and you’ll get a 64° head tube angle, a 77° seat tube angle, a short seat tube length for long droppers, 455mm of reach, and a 1,227mm wheelbase. For the most part, the bike has become lower, longer, and more slack (with a steeper seat tube angle).

That’s almost 2° more slack in the HTA, with just under a half-degree steeper in the STA, and a reduction of 7mm in the reach with a 18mm growth in the wheelbase.

There is a flip chip at the rear axle still with a 10mm length adjustment. The rear center length is still standardized across sizes, (437-447mm) but the chip gives riders the option to throw it in a shorter or longer setting depending on their size or if they’d rather opt for more stability or playfulness.

The Penalty Box and an Air Tag compartment.

Rocky Mountain also gives the Instinct an adjustable headset to modify the reach by 5mm.

One big change on the new frame is the addition of a frame storage space, and in true Canadian fashion they’ve branded it as the PenaltyBox 2.0. The second version of the storage system, first seen on the recently updated Slayer, is only available on carbon models and has a hinged system that doubles as a water bottle mount. Inside, it comes with a custom tool wrap and a concealed compartment for an AirTag.

Another big jump is the addition of SRAM UDH compatibility and SRAM Transmission builds.

Builds and pricing

The Instinct comes in six carbon builds and three aluminum builds.

Pricing starts at $2,899 for an Alloy 10 model and the builds top at at $10,499 for the Carbon 99 edition.

The A10 build includes a RockShox Recon Silver RL, a RockShox inline Deluxe Select shock, Rocky Mountain components, Shimano wheels, and an X-Fusion dropper post.

The highest C99 build is specced with RockShox Flight Attendant electronically controlled suspension, SRAM Code brakes, SRAM X0 Eagle Transmission drivetrain, and DT Swiss XMC carbon wheels.

Our test model is the C70, a fully carbon frame build with a Fox 36 Performance Elite with Grip 2 damper and a Fox Float X shock, a Shimano XT groupset, and Race Face Turbine R wheels with DT Swiss 370 hubs. The bike retails for $6,499. It weighs 30.8lb with tubes; pretty admirable for this kind of trail bike.

One thing worth noting is that pricing seems rather fair on the latest models. When we tested the Instinct C50 in 2021, it retailed at $5,549. The 2024 Instinct C50 costs $5,799. It’s certainly increased in price, but considering it’s three years later and there are some notable new frame features, the increase is negligible.

In 2021, I’d noted the $800 (~17%) increase between the previous generation and the new model. With only a $250 (4%) increase this time, it may be one other sign that the general interest in mountain biking has returned back to normal levels and prices have fallen back to earth.

An adjustable chainstay and wheelbase chip returns on this generation.

On the trail

Early March bike launches are difficult to accommodate for me as it’s still full-on snow season in Colorado, but we have had a fairly mild winter and I have spent a little bit of time on the new Instinct. Funny enough, it’s almost three years to the day the last one was released and so far it seems like it’s an improvement.

Reviewer profile height: 173cm (5’8″) weight: 75kg (170lb) testing zone: Colorado Front Range

Notably, the last version I reviewed, a C50, had only an inline Fox DPS shock on it which didn’t really match the Instinct’s capability. Maybe it did back then; looking back now, the last version’s geometry was still fairly conservative with a nearly 66° HTA in the neutral setting and this version slackens out by almost 2°.

The loam shelf will hopefully keep bearings and linkage cleaner, but might need frequent cleaning itself.

Off the bat, the head angle change isn’t too noticeable. The 2024 Instinct tracks well on the climbs with minimal handlebar sway and though the geometry has gotten much more aggressive it still feels like a nimble trail bike, though it does have a heavier-hitting feel than the average trail bike. I find that is usually the case with Rocky Mountains. They tend to have a bit of an over-biked feel that I appreciate on the descents.

The suspension feels very supportive under pedaling power and in compressions leading up to a jump or coming off of a drop. I don’t want to say too much just yet as I’ve only had one ride on it, but keep an eye out for an updated full review here in a month or two.