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  1. #1
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    Instinct 950 or Element 950

    I'm just eyeing up getting a FS bike after a few years away from them. Still loving my Vertex RSL but the number of bike you have is never enough so the itch has to be scratched!

    I'm just going for a test ride tomorrow on a niner Jet 9 as the dealer hasn't got a demo rocky in but he says that I'll get a feel for the bigger wheels from it.

    I guess my question is whether the Instinct is a long travel version of the element 950? Has anyone ridden both and if so how do they compare weight wise, climbing and through the technical twisty stuff?

    I'm looking for something to have some fun on rather than race on but I don't want to sacrifice that turn of speed that good xc bikes have.

    Any feedback appreciated to clear up the confusion

    Rich
    Rocky Mountain 2003 Hammer, 2009 Vertex 70 RSL, 2012 Element 970
    2012 Wilier Triestina Gran Turismo

  2. #2
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    I test rode an Element 950 last summer on a good long ride on single track at Mont Sainte Anne, and bought an Instinct 970 at Christmas.

    The Instinct is more a replacement for the Altitude 29er with a bit of SXC thrown in. The wheelbase on the Instinct (1158mm) is 38mm longer than the Element 950 (1120mm), so it doesn't have as much maneuverability as the Element in really tight trails.

    I didn't notice the weight of the Element 950 wheels on my test ride, and I had just ridden the same trails with my Element 70 MSL with carbon wheels. It climbed quite well and handled fairly quick, it definitely handled roots and rocks more easily than the 26" bike. The very short 6" shock on the Element doesn't feel as plush as the longer 7.5" shock on the Instinct, there's quite a difference in the shock leverage ratio between the Instinct and Element. The Element has more of a racey feel and the Instinct is more trail bike.

    That test ride is what got me looking at the Instinct 970 for the more technical cross country trails. The standard Ride9 setting on the Instinct provides about 10mm more BB clearance than my Element 70 MSL, and you can get it higher if you wanted to. The lack of pedal strike was quite a welcome thing on the rooty trails here.

    But the Instinct is a heftier bike, my Instinct 970 was 30.5 pounds with Eggbeater pedals. I imagine there will be a carbon version for 2014 which will be lighter in the frame and your wallet. I really notice the difference between the Instinct 970 and my Element 70 MSL at 22.8 pounds. But the Instinct is still lighter than my SXC was. The wheelbase on the Instinct is within 2mm of the same length as the SXC.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  3. #3
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    Thanks RUH, I had a good ride on the niner today and it kinda answered the travel question nicely considering it only had 75mm on the rear wheel, it felt like a lot more, the bigger wheels seem to add the effect of about 40mm travel when you consider how smoothly the bike rolled over stuff. Most notable was the grip in the bermed sections and the ability to conserve energy on the uphill technical climbs by not stalling on trail obstacles.

    It all felt pretty nimble in the twisties and quite odd for a tall guy to be sitting in the bike so much rather than on it! Pedal strikes count got up to 1 as opposed to "gawd knows how many" on the hard tail last week.

    I think the element will get the nod based on this ride. Only other question I have is how light can a 29 wheel and tire combo get without going silly expensive. The 1600g wheelset and panaracer razers on the 26" bike do accelerate noticeably quicker.
    Rocky Mountain 2003 Hammer, 2009 Vertex 70 RSL, 2012 Element 970
    2012 Wilier Triestina Gran Turismo

  4. #4
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    I've already failed in my goal to not go all weight weenie on the Instinct, OEM DT M1.6 wheels were 2010gms. Enve wheels were 1450gms with the CL-6 bolt adapters. It made a huge difference.

    I have found that loose and technical uphill sections are no match for 29" wheels, they do seem to steamroll uphill roots and rocks. And as you say sitting in the bike, not on the bike, you almost stop looking at the trail surface.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Instinct 950 or Element 950-2013_0423new0002.jpg  

    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  5. #5
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    I seem to be doomed in my quest to by an FS Rocky, no XL 950's left in Australia! Only 950 RSL's which are a bit too pricey and I thought of getting an alu bike so that I'm not worrying about the cost of it sooo much....

    Ah well, when are the 2014 models out, seeing as there's no 2013's left in April!
    Rocky Mountain 2003 Hammer, 2009 Vertex 70 RSL, 2012 Element 970
    2012 Wilier Triestina Gran Turismo

  6. #6
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    All is good in the world again, just managed to find and order a 2012 element 970 at a bargain price, hopefully with me in a week or two
    Rocky Mountain 2003 Hammer, 2009 Vertex 70 RSL, 2012 Element 970
    2012 Wilier Triestina Gran Turismo

  7. #7
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    I rode both yesterday. But I was on the Element BC Edition, and it was super nice. Normally, I think for my riding, the Instinct would be a better choice, but I couldn't get over how well that Element pedaled. I think that was down to the weight and the carbon, along with nice components. 95mm on the back doesn't seem like much, and I wasn't on very rough trails, so I didn't miss the extra travel on the Instinct.

    I also rode an Altitude 750 carbon, and I liked the 29ers more. I'm used to them, because I have a Camber 29, but overall, I think I just prefer them.

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