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  1. #1
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    Instinct or Element

    So im kind of at a stalemate for my next purchase, I know I want a 29er fs from RM but as i can not test the bikes I want I am looking from some input from someone who has tested both bikes. I know these bikes aren't necessarily apples to apples but any info would be appreciated. I am wondering how much climbing efficiency will I lose if i were to choose the Instinct. I live in an area which is mainly XC type single track with varying climbs and descents. I know the element will climb better but by how much really. Thanks

  2. #2
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    If the Instinct is properly setup with the correct sag and rear shock tune, the climbing quality is very similar, that won't be where you'd feel the difference.

    The Instinct is a bigger bike, so the wheelbase is longer and the chainstays are longer, so it isn't as well suited to tight and twisty singletrack as the Element. And the Instinct is heavier than the Element. But with the extra 30mm of travel, the Instinct can handle trail obstacles better than the Element.
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  3. #3
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    I have ridden the Instinct, but not the Element. If you are planning on riding through rough rocky sections and the like, then the Instinct would be your choice. Don't worry about climbing, because the shocks have lockouts. But if you race, the Element is the one to buy, whereas the Instinct would be a good bash around the woods bike.
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  4. #4
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    I agree with CannondalF9. If you aren't racing, I would get the Instinct. I pedaled one around my local shop's parking lot. It is light enough, and with lockouts, it will be very efficient. The extra travel is so nice when things get rough. That is a very capable bike. You might want to take this bike to other destinations as well, and then you have a better all around bike.

  5. #5
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    Well, I have done multiple demos on the Element (including the BC edition and I own an Instinct. I would be interested in knowing a bit more about your riding style and the type of bike you are used to? I don’t think these two bikes will be separated on the subject of climbing. The Instinct climbs amazing well. The Element is the first 29er that made me believe the big wheel could ride like a 26. The Element feels crazy agile for a 29er. The Instinct losses very little of that agile feeling and brings a stability and feel that normally comes with a heavy, extremely slack pig of a big, yet climbs great and remains very maneuverable. The bottom line for me was the geometry on the Instinct made riding fun. I was going to buy an Element then rode an Instinct at a demo, and became completely obsessed with the bike after 1 ride.

    The Element was a bit twitchy for *my* taste… a couple degrees of HA changes the feel, that’s for sure. As much as I want to recommend the Instinct, I detect a bit of XC bias from your description and the importance of climbing. if you are an “xc guy” The Element is probably going to be the ticket. I could recommend my choice, but that may not be the right choice for you. Hope that helps some..
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    Firstly I am pretty new to mtbing but just love it, I ride a 2008 reign x1 which is a lot of fun but the guys I ride with mainly have xc specific bikes (vertex rip 9 and so on) so they usually end up leaving me in the dust ( never last mind you) on the climbs, which is why I want something more uphill friendly but still lots of fun. So if the main issues will be weight and Wheelbase then hypothetically a medium instinct 950 rsl should preform almost as well as a large element 950 ( again not apples to apples i know) as there is like 1 lb weight difference and 14mm wheelbase difference. as far as traveling goes I definitely plan on some bike trips, such as maah daah hey in the near future

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Unger View Post
    Firstly I am pretty new to mtbing but just love it, I ride a 2008 reign x1 which is a lot of fun but the guys I ride with mainly have xc specific bikes (vertex rip 9 and so on) so they usually end up leaving me in the dust ( never last mind you) on the climbs, which is why I want something more uphill friendly but still lots of fun. So if the main issues will be weight and Wheelbase then hypothetically a medium instinct 950 rsl should preform almost as well as a large element 950 ( again not apples to apples i know) as there is like 1 lb weight difference and 14mm wheelbase difference. as far as traveling goes I definitely plan on some bike trips, such as maah daah hey in the near future
    I wouldn't get too fixated on wheelbase…and you definitely don’t want to sacrifice proper fit for the sake of WB or perceived agility. If you fit a large, get a large. These are some of the better handling 29” bikes out there IMO. You shouldn't have that straight line, monster truck feel with either. I was dead set on a short chain stay 29er, as that’s what made the 29” feel acceptable to me, then rode the Instinct, and while its not long (more middle of the pack) it rode nimble & didn’t have that pig feel of the longer CS bikes (easy to get the front wheel up, kick the back around tight corners, etc.)….best of both worlds really.

    If you like everything about your Reign except the climbing, the Instinct may be what you seek.
    I would do everything you can to demo both bikes.
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  8. #8
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    I second that observation, the cockpit fit is of primary importance and the wheelbase is what it is. Get the bike that fits properly. The Large Instinct has a 38mm longer wheelbase than the Large Element, which is a sizable difference. 7mm of that extra wheelbase is in the chainstays, as the swing arm needs to be longer to provide wheel clearance at the seat tube, the rest is in the front-centre distance.
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  9. #9
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    And an Element can take some hard and fast riding

    SEGMENTS - Ep. No.3 - Squamish by Trail on Vimeo
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    That is awesome! Friend of mine (owner of the rocky dealer where i will be purchasing the bike) sent me this exact video no more that 1 minute before you posted this. I am leaning towards the element as yes the downs are a blast but I get me sense of accomplishment on hard climbs being able to keep up so keep the reign for the downs and element for the ups. thanks for all the help guys

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    I'll throw in my .02. I own a 2012 Element 950(Revelation fork and 20mm thru axle up front). I absolutely love this bike. I live in the Dallas area, we have @ 15 or so trails around. Nothing too crazy, but better than a lot of people would think. I took it (Element) to Durango this summer, so I have that perspective as well. I demoed 10 FS 29ers before purchasing the RM. It was the first demo ride btw. It is twitchy comparatively to the others I rode, but I like that. The bike just felt right and that feeling lasted thru all the demos. A lot of the bikes I rode were much more expensive too.

    I did a 24hr relay race a month ago. Unfortunately I broke the frame on my bike 1 week before the race, so I rented an Instinct for the race. I'm a clyde and ride pretty hard, but RM covered under warranty in a timely manner. Maybe not an ideal situation, but I did put a lot of miles on the Instinct that day. It was as the other folks described. It was a bit more stable on downhills, but it felt much more burly/bulky to me. For me, I'd take the Element every time. Mostly xc type stuff around here anyway.

  12. #12
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    looks like santa will be bringing me an element as an early Christmas present in the next few weeks

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    And an Element can take some hard and fast riding

    SEGMENTS - Ep. No.3 - Squamish by Trail on Vimeo

    He is riding an Instinct 950 in that video

    Not the Element.
    99% of the problems and questions posted here would be answered if people actually walked into a bicycle shop and asked

  14. #14
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    I ride an Element and love it. The instinct looks amazing too, I can understand your dilemma.

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  15. #15
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    It is too an Instinct, the first place I saw it posted had called it an Element XC bike, but the INSTINCT on the top tube would be a dead give away.

    Quote Originally Posted by 69erEverything View Post
    He is riding an Instinct 950 in that video

    Not the Element.
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  16. #16
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    I just started looking at these 2 bikes they were not on my radar until someone told me about how great the company was and how should check them out. I like everything I read and hear about them.
    I live in Las Vegas ride xc with some trail riding. I currently ride a old specialized hard tail. It is a xc race bike but from the 90's, I know give me crap about it. I rode a lot then to a long, long break and got into riding about a year ago. Before I spend a bunch on a new bike I wanted to make sure I would keep riding.
    My current bike is very twitchy and I would like something more slack.The riding here is hard pack and sand lots of rocks and as much up as there is down. Climbing is important to meas is the down. I am looking fir a bike that will inspire some confidence on faster descents but not be a pig on climbs. As far as I can tell the Element is a race bike the Instinct is not. I am limited on comparisons but when I was in a shop looking recently at an specialized epic they steered me to a camber comp saying the camber would be more rider friend and comfortable.
    So I ask you what do you think? Currently I ride with people who have tallboy c's, Niner Jet 9 RDO, Ibis Ripley, Ibis SL, Giant Anthem, Trek Rumble fish. I have no dealer near me at all so demo is no likely.
    I like the lower weight of the Element but am worried it is to xc and will be twitchy and to weight forward. I would like more weight over the center relaxed position. I also am a 1 bike person so I need a good all rounder. I am hoping as I get more confidence on a new bike I will be going to more aggressive trails but do not see huge drops and airs in my future, I just want a high quality bike that can handle the trails I am on. As I currently ride a HT with my friends I know it is not all the bike but would like more confidence and more bump absorption then I currently have.
    Also I read that the bikes run small, I am usually a medium but heard I may be a large on a RM. I am 5-10 any idea what size frame?

    Thanks for all the information.

  17. #17
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    In the 29" bikes the Instinct is certainly more flexible in setup with the Ride9 rear suspension adjustment, you can slack out the head angle for sandy conditions and descending.

    But if you're coming from a 26" hardtail I would also say that for an all around bike that isn't twitchy and is absolutely confidence inspiring, I would still consider the 26" Element 50/70/90. My 2010 Element 70 MSL has been my favourite 'go to' bike since I bought it, and I have other bikes, but I always come back to the Element 70 for the bike I will take on vacation if I want to ride all sorts of trails. 120mm of travel, nice and light, head angle is a good balance between descending and climbing. And it pedals efficiently.
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  18. #18
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    I have a 2012 element 950, do mostly fire roads and the occasional single track.

    This bike climbs fantastic and loves going downhill fast. Every time I come bombing down my favorite fire road downhill at 40+ mph I am surprised how stable the bike is.

    I think if you do mostly xc riding the element will be your bike of choice.

  19. #19
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    Thanks for the feed back.

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    Sparta, your friends are on 29ers by the looks of it. I was able to test ride the Element and Instinct 29ers in aluminum and carbon versions.

    My trails are XC with rocky, rooty sections, and short, sharp climbs and descents. I liked them both, but the Instinct was the clear choice for me. Just ordered one. Perhaps the Element for your area though?

  21. #21
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    It sounds like similar conditions but I have long climbs. Sounds like I could

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