First Look: Rocky Mountain Instinct MSL – 130mm Travel Carbon 29er Revealed

29er All Mountain Trail

Francis on Instinct MSL.

Bottom Line

In our short but very technical test ride of the Instinct MSL, everyone seemed impressed. The bike is full-on dialed for the North Shore BC trails as the local legends showed us what the bike was capable off… if we had the skills.

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Video: Ruben and Wade take the Instinct down a slick rock wall.

But the revelation of the day is how the bike seemed to allow all the riders in our group to have fun in challenging and unfamiliar terrain. As soon as the brakes bedded in and we learned to trust the bike, we were able to generate speed and flow where none seemed to exist.  The bike was fully active under power and under braking as the bike kept us upright on a series of slick rocks, roots and drops. The Reverb posts and Conti tires did their job and everyone had fun pushing their limits.

I rode the Instinct 999 in fully neutral Ride-9 shock position and I rode comfortably in seemingly challenging terrain. Get me on that BC Edition bike on slack Ride-9 mode and I bet there will be a few more high-fives at the bottom of the hill.

The Instinct MSL models

Instinct 999 MSL

  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 with RaceFace Next SL crankset, 30t XX1 chainring
  • Front suspension: 130mm-travel Fox 32 Float FIT CTD with Kashima coating
  • Rear suspension: Fox Float CTD with Kashima coating and handlebar-mounted remote
  • Brakes: SRAM XO brakes with 180mm rotors
  • Wheelset: Stan’s Notubes Arch EX rims laced to Stan’s 3.30 hubs
  • Tires: Continental Mountain King 29×2.2
  • Cockpit: RaceFace SixC Carbon handlebar (750mm), RaceFace Turbine stem, RockShox Stealth Reverb seatpost, WTB Silverado Race SLT saddle
  • Price: $7,599 (complete),$2,999 (frame w/shock)
  • Claimed weight: 25.5lb (

Instinct 970 MSL

  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT shifters and rear derailleur, SRAM XO front derailleur, Shimano HG-81 cassette, Race Face Turbine (36/22t) crankset
  • Front suspension: 130mm-travel Fox 32 Float FIT CTD
  • Rear suspension: Fox Float CTD with handlebar-mounted remote
  • Brakes: Shimano XT with 180mm rotors
  • Wheelset: Stan’s Notubes Arch EX rims laced to Shimano XT Center Lock hubs
  • Tires: Continental Mountain King 29×2.2
  • Cockpit: Race Face Turbine handlebar (750mm), Race Face Turbine stem, RockShox Stealth Reverb seatpost, WTB Silverado Race SL saddle
  • Price: $5,399
  • Claimed weight: 27.7lb

Instinct 970 MSL BC Edition

  • Drivetrain: SRAM X9 shifters and rear derailleur, SRAM X7 front derailleur, Shimano HG-81 cassette,Race Face Turbine (36/22t) crankset with bashguard, Blackspire Stinger chainguide
  • Front suspension: 140mm-travel Fox 34 Float FIT CTD with Kashima coating
  • Rear suspension: Fox Float CTD with custom “BC valving” for increased progressivity
  • Brakes: SRAM XO Trail with 180mm rotors
  • Wheelset: Stan’s NoTubes Flow EX rims laced to SRAM X9 hubs
  • Tires: Continental Mountain King 29×2.4
  • Cockpit: Race Face Turbine handlebar (785mm),Race Face Turbine stem, RockShox Stealth Reverb seatpost, WTB Silverado Race SL saddle
  • Price: $5,399
  • Claimed weight: 30.2lb

Instinct 950 MSL

  • Drivetrain: SRAM X7 shifters, SRAM X9 rear derailleur, SRAM X7 front derailleur, SRAM PG-1030 cassette, Race Face Turbine (36/22t) crankset
  • Front suspension: 130mm-travel Fox 32 Float CTD (open bath)
  • Rear suspension: Fox Float CTD
  • Brakes: Avid Elixir 7 with 180mm rotors
  • Wheelset: SUNringle Inferno 25
  • Tires: Continental Mountain King 29×2.2 (front), Continental Race X King 29×2.2 (rear)
  • Cockpit: Race Face Turbine handlebar (750mm), Race Face Turbine stem, Race Face Turbine seatpost, Rocky Mountain XC Light
  • Price: $3,999
  • Claimed weight: 28.2lb

Photos by Margus Riga and Brendon Purdy.

First Look: Rocky Mountain Instinct MSL – 130mm Travel Carbon 29er Revealed Gallery
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Ride 9 Slackest Setting

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Ride 9 Steepest Setting

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Alex Guiding Through Headquarters

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Francis Checking Out Instinct MSL

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Ready For Test Ride

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Andreas Hestler Guiding The Crew

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Instinct MSL Test Crew

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Wade Simmons is Ready

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Francis Climbing with Instinct

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Francis Climbing With Instinct MSL

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Wade Simmons Down Rock Wall

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The Rocky Crew and Journalists

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The Crew Headed Out

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Short Climb To The Trail

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Francis With Andreas Hestler

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Francis on Instinct MSL

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Ruben Salzgeber on Rock Wall

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Ruben Salzgeber In Forest

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Rain Forest Wall

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Francis Down The Pavers

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Francis Descending On The Instinct MSL

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Flowy Trail in Seymour Mountain

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New Flow Trail in North Vancouver

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New Flow Trail in BC

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Morgan Manualling Up a Root

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Instinct MSL in Rain Forest

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Rocky Mountain Logo

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Instinct MSL Fleet

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Instinct MSL Down Rock Wall

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Instinct In The Forest

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Brett Tippie Big Hair

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Francis Instinct MSL

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BC Edition

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Instinct 999

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Instinct 970

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Instinct 970 BC Edition

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Instinct 950

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Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Geometry

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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