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  1. #1
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    Rocky Mountain Element 970 MSL vs Instinct 970

    Well I am in a bit of a pickle. I am looking for my next ride and I could really use some advice from people who may have experience riding either of these two bikes.
    I currently have a 2011 950 Element (aluminum) and it has been the best riding trial bike that I have ever owned. I know it is considered a xc bike but it really works here on Vancouver Island (PNW to the lower 48) as a damn good Mt bike. I generally ride anything considered xc to all mt type trials but nothing in terms of big jumps or skinnies I just like what nature has to offer.
    So my Pickle is this. I know the Pedigree of the Element but at 37 and not a racer, I am looking at the Instinct and wondering if it maybe a better all rounder to have in the garage. More travel and adjustable Geo make it tempting.
    What I don't want to loose is the quick handling and pedal response of the element. Normally the 100mm of travel on the element is enough, but having a bike with more is tempting when thinking of leaving the comfort zone of local trails and trying something new.
    My last thought on this matter would be to buy a new element 970 and then sell the old 950 and use the cash to help finance an Enduro 29 comp or an Altitude 930/950 aluminum and use that for Road trips and what not.
    Or
    buy a 970 Instinct sell my old element and buy something silly like a Krampus.
    Help! my Brain is turning in circles and I can't figure this one out.
    Stinky.

  2. #2
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    I guess I am pickled. I will bump one time to see if there is anyone out there today.
    If not I will let this tread die a lonely death.

  3. #3
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    I demo'd both a couple weeks ago. While I would think I would want more travel than the Element, I rode the BC Edition, and it was incredibly nice. Just pedaled up everything. I felt instantly comfortable. The trails were pretty smooth, so I don't know how it would go on more technical stuff, but it was just a great bike, and every other person who demo'd it said the same.

    I also went with the Instinct for a ride, and while I was really hoping to love it, I didn't. Maybe it wasn't set up right, but instead of feeling more plus than the Element with more travel, it just felt more like a pig. It was aluminum, and heavier and all that, but I wanted to like it more.

    Also rode a full carbon (wheels too) Altitude that day, which was super rigid and nice, and very efficient pedaling, I'm just too used to the 29er wheels, and it felt like more work. Went down real fast though.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Slynx
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    Hey Stinkyto.

    I had the element 950 last year and bought a instinct 950 this year. I love both these bikes. The instinct is definitely a more capable bike. 130 mm of travel in the back really changes how the bike rides. Allows it to be ridden more aggressively. As well, the three settings on the front and rear shock really allows for quick on the fly adjustments. When i put both shocks (front and back) in downhill mode it makes the bike descend like a downhill bike and allows for some big jumps with soft landings. in Hindsight, the element really has very little travel in the rear, which makes it ride less aggressively.

    As well the i9 adjustment allows you to really change the geometry (make it like and element or make it more like a slayer).

    I ride this bike in Squamish. Use it for toonies, and harder rides. Very happy with it! I think it might be the sleeper-bike of Rocky's line up this year. Friends at the last demo day were test riding it against the Altitiude and were stunned that they preferred it to its much hyped sibling.

    No regrets on this one! Next year it will be in carbon which will mean a significant price jump.

    One note: I was orginally going to buy the element bc edition - but could not cough up that much money

  5. #5
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    I really want to take another go on the Instinct. Great write up.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Slynx and Mr. Quint. appreciate the point of views.
    Slynx do you think a rider like myself (trail rider at heart) would be happier with say an instinct then with a element/ enduro 29 combo in the garage.
    I guess what I am trying to ask is the instinct that good or is it a jack of all trades but a master of none.
    I am a weak climber but I sit and grind it out. I had a 2010 Specialized 29 stumpjumper fsr and while it was fun going down it was a ***** to pedal it up any where. The Element in comparison is so much better at everything.

  7. #7
    Slynx
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    Quote Originally Posted by stinkyto View Post
    Thanks Slynx and Mr. Quint. appreciate the point of views.
    Slynx do you think a rider like myself (trail rider at heart) would be happier with say an instinct then with a element/ enduro 29 combo in the garage.
    I guess what I am trying to ask is the instinct that good or is it a jack of all trades but a master of none.
    I am a weak climber but I sit and grind it out. I had a 2010 Specialized 29 stumpjumper fsr and while it was fun going down it was a ***** to pedal it up any where. The Element in comparison is so much better at everything.
    Two bikes is always better than one. But... I used to have a Spec Enduro and Giant AnthemX (two years ago), then went to an element 950, and am now on the instinct. I am lucky that my wife is the same height as me and when my bike is in the shop I use her Slayer (2012). I prefer the instinct for every type of trail over the slayer - which feels like a pig when climbing, and the little wheels now feel foreign. I rode the Element hard last year, and really felt like it hated jumping, or getting pushed hard on bad tranny's. I made it work, but I don't miss it. The instinct allows me to gap jump with reckless abandon, and reminds me of my enduro (but faster).

    I would say, the instinct does it all incredibly well. I am 5.9 and last year had the 18.5, this year I got a 17. I think the smaller size is allowing me to rally the bike more. Mind you I nearly always ride it in trail mode unless jumping or dealing with slabs to hard tranny's and have never actually reset the i9 thing. Maybe in the off season I will set it for more downhill.

    So to be succinct - it is the perfect trail bike! Will do hard stuff, xc, and long distances no problem. The only drawback is that it is heavy for an XC race bike - but I make it work. If the Element worked for you, you will love the Instinct. It's just a more aggressive element.

    My second bike for my quiver would be an all-mountain 29 hardtail for the off-season when the rain kills bushings. In rains a lot in squamish. I think the ven digram between an Enduro and Instinct is too overlapping with regards to what they can do.

  8. #8
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    Rode the Instinct 970 at the RM demo...Bike is AMAZING! Go ride one, that's all I can say....
    Hey, is that a Huffy? That's a nice-lookin' bike, boy!

  9. #9
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    In early April PedalPower in CT was demoing Rocky Mountain bikes at Hurd SF. We rode an Element and Instinct 970's and switched back and forth while out there riding.
    I have an upgraded GT STS with Fox RLC fork, Risse Racing rear shock and fluid discs and a Canondale Jekyl 2000 . Have rented Ibis Mojo SL's. The SL was maybe 15-20% better than my other 2 bikes.
    The 2 RM 970's blew us away. Quantum leap better. The Element was like a scalpel and the Instinct was more like a fine cutting knife on the trails. On the Instinct, I found myself searching for rocks and roots to ride over. It pedaled uphill fantastically and ate up the bumps with ease going down. PedalPower gave me a great price delivered to my door in Santa Cruz. Only ridden it once here, and I can say that I love the ride! The travel on the Instinct 970 is great. You will not be disappointed in this bike.

  10. #10
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    So I am back to update an old thread. First off thanks for all of the advice. after waiting a whole year I squirreled away a few more coins and went with an Instinct 970 MSL and I am very happy with the results. It was the right choice for me (even though it is the honeymoon) as the miles add up I will post a full report.
    I do have a couple of questions and I am hoping that there are a few people out there who can help.
    1. Ride 9 I get the concept and I want to start playing with the settings. I can find no information on what is a "heavier" rider. I am about 200lbs on a bike am I a heavier rider?
    2. I can flip the ride 9 chips to the setting I want to try but for the life of me I cannot get the shock to line up with the new mount. The shock is very stiff, meaning, get no up down movement and front to back movement is done only by using the chainstays for leverage. help?
    I am hoping the 2014 CTD is better then the 2013 CTD I feel little difference in Trail and Descend modes, this is why I wanted to try a "heavier settings" to see if the difference is air pressure would help.
    Thanks

  11. #11
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    Unfortunately this thread is seriously lacking in pictures, including trail pics!
    MTBR is serious stuff.
    You never get better until you get out of your comfort zone.

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