During our time at Interbike’s Outdoor Demo we got the chance to ride the top of the line Rocky Mountain Instinct 990MSL BC edition, which features a longer travel 140mm Pike fork, stiffer wheels, bigger tires, and wider bars than the standard edition Instincts. At the same time, my test partner Nate and I grabbed an Intense Spider 29 Carbon (Read the First Ride Review here.)
Excited to compare two pretty evenly matched steeds side by side we headed out of the demo area for the Lake Loops. We kept staying left at all the junctions insuring the longest loop with the best variety of terrain. While not equal to the more rugged offerings up the canyon, these trails did provide a nice test ground for these two trail 29ers and their intended purposes.
I stepped directly off the Intense after one lap of the outer loop right onto the Instinct so should have been able to feel any differences immediately. What struck me most is how similar they felt despite some differences in their key numbers. For instance the top tube on the Instinct is a short’ish 23.6″ for a size large but with the reach only a quarter inch shorter than the Spider at 16.77″. The Instinct did feel a little taller in the front due to the longer fork and did have a slightly more upright sitting position, but the fit between the two was remarkably similar.
I could not appreciate any huge advantage from one to the other with regards to pedaling efficiency. They both have this part mastered pretty well but I’d say the Spider was probably a bit more sprightly. The beefier BC spec on the Rocky Mountain added some weight compared to the Intense which was noticeable out on the trail (or was I just getting tired).
But I appreciated the extra confidence afforded by those upgrades on the Rocky Mountain. The wider, more aggressive 2.3 Minion DHRII tires and wider bars really allowed me to attack some of the loose, blown out corners with a little more aggression, though I can’t say the Spider lagged behind it much in this regard.