The Thunderbolt is no more, but there are stellar Instinct builds available with the new Rocky Mountain range.

Rocky Mountain has consolidated its product portfolio with a new Instinct replacing the Thunderbolt.

The Canadian legacy mountain bike brand has opted for frame size dictated wheel diameters, with economies of scale working in Rocky Mountain’s favour. It is using the same frame for two different market segments, with the updated Instinct. 

By altering the shock specification, enabled by a different mount, Rocky Mountain’s engineers have been able to convert the 170/160mm Altitude to an Instinct. Rear suspension travel is similar to the Thunderbolt, at 150/140mm, but there is now the choice of larger wheels for most of the frame sizes.

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Recognising that 27.5” wheels might be more appropriate for smaller riders, Rocky Mountain is offering the Instinct with these hoops on the small and extra small frame sizes. All larger Instincts roll 29” wheels.

The new Instinct also offers three geometry adjustment settings, allowing riders the option to balance their frame angles for specific terrain gradients.

On the 27.5” frames the adjustments correspond as such: slack (65.3 °), neutral (65.9 °) and steep (66.6 °). If you are rolling on an Instinct 29er your geometry modification spectrum is 65°, 65.7°, and 66.3°. The Instinct’s cockpit is notably roomy too, with a large Instinct tallying 493mm of reach in its steep setting.

True enduro-lite build options

Rocky Mountain is offering both aluminium and carbon-fibre frames with the new bike, including a coil-sprung build kit.

The fantasy build option is a Carbon 99, which is equipped with full SRAM AXS wireless shifting, a Pike Ultimate RC2 fork, Raceface Next R carbon wheels and 13.08kg.

Rocky Mountain’s Instinct Carbon 70 coil uses Cane Creek suspension componentry, with a Helm coil fork up front and DB Coil inline shock at the rear. It rolls Raceface ARC 30 rims and comes to a weight of 14.56kg.

There is Instinct value to be had in alloy

The entry-level version of Rocky Mountain’s newest bike is an Instinct Alloy 30. It mounts a Rockshox Gold RL fork up front, shifts via a Shimano Deore drivetrain and uses WTB ST i30 rims.

As one would expect from a 140mm aluminium dual-suspension mountain bike, this variant isn’t light and comes to a weight of 15.76kg.