Instinct

Feature

2021 Rocky Mountain Instinct - Felix Burke

March 25, 2021
Felix Burke has ridden on the Rocky Mountain XC race program for 4 years, specializing in endurance and adventure events. If the event requires racing long distances on technical trail, you can bet Felix will be fighting at the front of the pack. He’ splits his season between spending time in both Québec and BC, to not only sample a wide variety of trails but also to appreciate both the Anglophone and Francophone riding culture. While the Element is his go-to race steed, the all-new Instinct has become his daily driver.
 
Felix Burke Instinct
"The new Instinct really opens the door on any type of trail option for me, which makes each ride that much more exciting! Whether it’s a big pedal to the top of a distant trail or pinning it down the steepest lines in my local trail network, I always know I’m going to have fun on my Instinct. I love how agile it is by nature, and I’ve made tweaks to my suspension to allow for quick movements and a playful ride feel. In general, I want my bikes to be light and nimble, but also reliable for an all-day ride. It can be a tricky balance to find, but tried and true components like Shimano XTR drivetrain, XTR 4-piston brakes, and Maxxis MaxxTerra tires offer the best blend of efficiency and reliability.”
- Felix Burke
 
Frame: Instinct, size Large, RIDE-9 Position 2, short chainstay position 
Fork:  Fox 36 Float EVOL Grip2 Factory Series 150mm Heritage Edition
Shock:  Fox DPX2 210x52.5mm, with Rocky Mountain shock bearing eyelets 
Stem:  Race Face Turbine 40mm reach, 35mm clamp
Handlebars:  Race Face Next R 780mm width, 35mm clamp, 35mm rise
Grips: Race Face Half Nelson
Brakes:  Shimano XTR 4-Piston Finned Metal Pads RT86 203mm Fr RT86 180mm Rr  
Shifter: Shimano XTR 12 speed 
Derailleur: Shimano XTR 12-speed  
Crankset:  Shimano XTR  170mm, 34T
Cassette:  Shimano XTR  10-51T
Chain: Shimano XTR  
Chainguide:  OneUp Components Chain Guide Top Kit V2  
Pedals:  Shimano XTR
Wheels: Race Face Next R31 28H on Turbine hubs 
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF MaxxGrip DD 29x2.5WT / Maxxis Aggressor MaxxGrip DD 29x2.5WT
Seatpost:  Fox Transfer 150mm, 30.9
Saddle: WTB Silverado
 
Click here to explore the 2021 Instinct models. 
 
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
 
Previous 40th Anniversary That time I got my first Rocky Mountain… That time when I was 15 years old and purchased my first Rocky Mountain Blizzard frame.
Next Service Article Instinct vs. Altitude While the all-new Instinct shares many of the same technologies and frame details as our redesigned Altitude, the bikes are starkly different in their intended use and ride characteristics. The Instinct is meant for long days in the saddle and efficiently tackling all types of trails, while the Altitude was designed for aggressive riding and enduro racing.
Service Article

Instinct vs. Altitude

March 22, 2021
While the all-new Instinct shares many of the same technologies and frame details as our redesigned Altitude, the bikes are starkly different in their intended use and ride characteristics. The Instinct is meant for long days in the saddle and efficiently tackling all types of trails, while the Altitude was designed for aggressive riding and enduro racing.
 
The Instinct is for the rider who’s looking to embrace the challenge of a technical climb, maintain a steady cadence on flowing singletrack, and push it on the descents. 
 
 
Click here to explore the 2021 Instinct or click here to check out the 2021 Altitude. 
 
 
Previous Feature 2021 Rocky Mountain Instinct - Felix Burke The new Instinct really opens the door on any type of trail option for me, which makes each ride that much more exciting!
Next Feature 2021 Rocky Mountain Instinct - Kevin Calhoun Kevin Calhoun is one of the longest serving Rocky Mountain athletes, product testers, and brand ambassadors we have. Starting way back in 1996, Kev’s been riding on our bikes for nearly 25 years.
Feature

2021 Rocky Mountain Instinct - Kevin Calhoun

March 19, 2021
Kevin Calhoun is one of the longest-serving Rocky Mountain athletes, product testers, and brand ambassadors we have. Starting way back in 1996, Kev’s been riding on our bikes for nearly 25 years. Originally from small-town Ontario, his passion for mountain biking and the West Coast lifestyle brought him to Vancouver where he began working for Rocky Mountain in 2001. After a couple of decades of traveling and racing cross-country, his riding preferences began to change and he gained interest in longer travel bikes for riding his backyard trails on Vancouver’s North Shore. The Instinct was that bike for Kevin, which helped him to unlock a whole new level of passion and progression on two wheels.
 
Felix Burke Instinct
 
“The Instinct has been my daily driver and ride of choice for over 10 months. Throughout those months I’ve put in some serious ride time and I’m stoked that it’s ready for everyone to enjoy! I tend to stick to my cross-country roots when it comes to bike setup. I still like a good sufferfest on the bike and I’m always interested in covering ground quickly on both the climbs and the descents.
 
My bike set up is a 150mm travel FOX 36 fork with FIT4, (78PSI, LSR 11 clicks, LSC 9 clicks) and FOX DPX2 rear shock at 220 psi. I run my Instinct RIDE-9 chip in Position 3 most days, but you can sometimes catch me in Position 1 depending on the day.
 
I’ve been a long-time Shimano supporter and have this bike built up with a Shimano XTR drivetrain (32T front ring and 10-51T cassette), XTR Trail four-piston brakes with a 203mm front rotor and 180mm rear rotor, and XTR Trail pedals as I prefer the wider pedal platform. I did sub out the XTR crank for a Race Face Next R carbon crankset, 170mm in length, just to shave some grams.
 
At home on The Shore, it’s often wet here so I run Maxxis wide trail 2.5WT tires, swearing by the MaxxGrip compound on the front and MaxxTerra on the rear. I typically run low pressure on most rides (19-20PSI front, 22PSI rear) and even less if it’s wet. In case you didn’t pick-up on this, I’m a bit particular with my bike setup. If you look too closely, you’ll find that I am guilty of the odd titanium bolt here and there, aluminum presta valves, carbon steerer tube spacers, and a Chris King headset just because…”
- Kevin Calhoun
 
Frame: Instinct, size Large, RIDE-9 Position 1, Custom black Ti pivot bolts, short chainstay position 
Fork:  Fox 36 Float EVOL FIT4 Factory Series 150mm, 51mm offset and FOX fender
Shock:  Fox DPX2 210x52.5mm, with Rocky Mountain shock bearing eyelets 
Stem:  Race Face Turbine 40mm reach, 35mm clamp with EDC tool
Handlebars:  Race Face Next R 760mm width, 35mm clamp, 20mm rise
Headset: Chris King InSet
Grips: Race Face Love Handle
Brakes:  Shimano XTR 4-Piston Finned Metal Pads RT86 203mm Fr RT86 180mm Rr  
Shifter: Shimano XTR 12-speed 
Derailleur: Shimano XTR 12-speed  
Crankset:  Shimano XTR  170mm, 32T
Cassette:  Shimano XTR  10-51T
Chain: Shimano XTR  
Chainguide:  OneUp Components Chain Guide Top Kit V2  
Pedals:  Shimano XTR Trail
Wheels: Race Face Next R31 28H on Turbine hubs 
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF MaxxGrip EXO 29x2.5WT / Maxxis Minion DHR2 MaxxTerra EXO 29x2.4WT
Seatpost:  Fox Transfer 150mm, 30.9, Shimano iSpec level
Saddle: WTB Volt
Cage: Arundel Carbon Cage
 
Click here to explore the 2021 Instinct. 
 
Jesse Melamed Instinct Powerplay Vancouver
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
 
Previous Service Article Instinct vs. Altitude While the all-new Instinct shares many of the same technologies and frame details as our redesigned Altitude, the bikes are starkly different in their intended use and ride characteristics. The Instinct is meant for long days in the saddle and efficiently tackling all types of trails, while the Altitude was designed for aggressive riding and enduro racing.
Next News Big Sky Gamble by Sam Schultz Wanting to get out unsure where to go, Sam Schultz put his trust in Eric Melson which led them to a zone known more for backpacking and skiing than mountain biking. The two ventured into the Montana backcountry along with photographer, Marc O'Brien where they found epic singletrack and some spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains.
Feature

2021 Rocky Mountain Instinct - Thomas Vanderham

March 12, 2021
Thomas Vanderham is coming up on his 20th year riding for Rocky Mountain. Over that time, he’s ridden his bike all over the world, appeared in some of the most iconic mountain bike films ever made, and competed in events such as the Red Bull Rampage. Based in North Vancouver, Thomas works closely with the Rocky Mountain R&D Team on both the current and future bikes.
 
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
“I try to build my bikes up with a specific use-case in mind. When it came time to building my Instinct, I was focused on efficiency and fun. It's the shortest travel bike I own but it carries incredible speed, so I opted for some burlier parts like Maxxis Double Down tires and 4 piston Shimano brakes with 203mm rotors. The end result is a bike that I would choose to ride for longer days on the North Shore, alpine adventures, or even a multi-day stage event like the Trans Cascadia." 

- Thomas Vanderham

 
Frame: Instinct, size Large, RIDE-9 Position 5, short chainstay position
Fork: Fox 36 Float EVOL Grip2 Factory Series 160mm Heritage Edition
Shock: Fox X2 210x52.5mm, with Rocky Mountain shock bearing eyelets
Stem: OneUp Components 35mm reach, 35mm clamp EDC
Handlebar: OneUp Components 790mm width, 35mm clamp, 35mm rise
Headset:1-degree Angleset
Grips: OneUp Components grips mounted upside down 
Brakes: Shimano XTR 4-Piston Finned Metal Pads RT86 203mm Fr RT86 203mm Rr
Shifter: Shimano XTR 12-speed
Derailleur: Shimano XTR 12-speed
Crankset: Shimano XTR 170mm 32T
Cassette: Shimano XTR
Chain: Shimano XTR
Chainguide: OneUp Components, Chain Guide Top Kit V2
Pedals: Shimano Saint
Wheels: Stan’s NoTubes 29 rims on Shimano XTR hubs
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF MaxxTerra EXO+ 29x2.5WT / Maxxis Minion DHR2 MaxxTerra DD 29x2.5WT 
Seatpost: OneUp Components Dropper 210 30.9
Saddle: SDG Radar
 
Click here to explore the 2021 Instinct. 
 
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinctr
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
Previous News Big Sky Gamble by Sam Schultz Wanting to get out unsure where to go, Sam Schultz put his trust in Eric Melson which led them to a zone known more for backpacking and skiing than mountain biking. The two ventured into the Montana backcountry along with photographer, Marc O'Brien where they found epic singletrack and some spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains.
Next News A Tall Tale – Perception is reality on the new Instinct The Instinct has been designed for epic rides and wide-open singletrack. As our most versatile platform, the Instinct thrives on all types of trails, tackling features with the utmost efficiency and responsiveness.
News

A Tall Tale – Perception is reality on the new Instinct

March 08, 2021

From exaggerated stories of blissful alpine singletrack to rubbing elbows with the pros, everyone has “that friend” whose tales from the trail are too good to be true. But this story feels different. They're telling it with confidence and you’ve heard their new Instinct has them riding trails in a whole new way. Your friend has always been a good rider, but have they really transformed their riding completely?

Go with your gut on this one - Trust your Instinct. That’s what your friend did and it’s working for them.

Click here to explore the 2021 Instinct models.

Featuring:
Kevin Calhoun
Felix Burke
Thomas Vanderham

Video by: Scott Secco
Photography by: Margus Riga

Music: “Walt Whitman”
Performed by Trampled by Turtles

Tags: Instinct

Previous Feature 2021 Rocky Mountain Instinct - Thomas Vanderham I try to build my bikes up with a specific use-case in mind. When it came time to building my Instinct, I was focused on efficiency and fun.
Next News Introducing the new Instinct The Instinct has been designed for epic rides and wide-open singletrack. As our most versatile platform, the Instinct thrives on all types of trails, tackling features with the utmost efficiency and responsiveness.
News

Introducing the new Instinct

March 08, 2021

The Instinct has been designed for epic rides and wide-open singletrack. As our most versatile platform, the Instinct thrives on all types of trails, tackling features with the utmost efficiency and responsiveness.

The Instinct has been the go-to bike for riders looking for a bike that does it all, and our most recent design takes that philosophy to the next level. The desire to ride faster and harder than ever is universal amongst riders, and the changes we've made to our Instinct take that to heart while maintaining peak efficiency. Updated geometry and frame features mean that the Instinct is versatile and can adapted to meet any demands that you or the trail may have.

"I feel like I can pedal the Instinct all day and it’s never going to shy away from a demanding descent or long, technical climb. Every time I put my feet to the pedals, I’m excited about the possibilities of the ride, where this bike will take me, and the adventure it has in store.” – Felix Burke

 

Intended Use: Trail
Wheel Size: 29" 
Front Travel: 150mm
Rear Travel: 140mm

A simpler lineup

The 2020 Thunderbolt and Instinct platforms both offered 140mm of rear travel but differed in their wheelsize and ride characteristics. The natural evolution of these platforms within the Trail category was to combine them into one platform designed for efficient riding for all-day adventures.

Looking at the needs of shorter vs. taller riders, we’ve introduced a wheelsize split with our small Instinct frame. Our extra small frame is offered with 27.5” wheels while the small frame is available in either 27.5” or 29” wheels. For riders that are tall enough to ride medium, large, or extra-large frames, the Instinct is available with 29” wheel only. In order to accommodate the shorter riders, our size extra small and small frames have an adjusted frame silhouette to give riders a comfortable amount of standover height.
 
The Instinct is designed around efficient and versatile trail riding, which is why we’ve offered six frame sizes including size small available in two distinct frames to accommodate either 27.5 or 29 wheels.
 
The evolution of size specific tune

With a suspension curve that provides a supple beginning-stroke, supportive mid-stroke, and progressive end-stroke, our engineers designed these bikes for hard riding on technical trails. Our product team goes above and beyond by creating custom shock tunes for every frame size to ensure riders of all heights experience how we intended the Instinct to feel.

Size does matter

Our size extra-small and small frames have a visibly different frame silhouette than our medium through extra-large frames. The two smallest sizes use a 190x45mm shock to achieve 140mm of travel which creates a lightweight kinematic, making it easier for small riders to properly set up their suspension and use all of the travel. The medium through extra-large frames use a 210x52.5mm shock to achieve 140mm of travel, so no matter what size of rider you are our bikes are designed to perform at their best.

Frame features

In pursuit of true versatility, the Instinct has been updated to include a variety of new frame features.

We’re always looking for ways to take our bikes to the next level, which leads our engineers to incorporate thoughtful ideas through flawless integration. Added benefits like the ability to control the balance between stability and playfulness, ease of maintenance, and frame durability are just the beginning for these bikes.

10mm chainstay adjustment
  • Long = high speed stability
  • Short = playfulness
  • Dedicated Rocky Mountain 180mm brake mount supplies, no extra parts needed
  • New Rocky Mountain hanger
  • SRAM UDH compatible in Long mode
RIDE-9 adjustment system
  • The RIDE-9 adjustment system allows riders to quickly fine-tune their geometry and suspension with a pair of Allen keys. Nine configurations are possible thanks to two interlocking chips
Internal guides (Carbon models) and large ports (Alloy models)
  • Full guided internally for easy cable and hose management
  • Moto style compatible
  • Secured for a rattle-free setup
Added protection, guards, and chainguide
  • Downtube protection, noise canceling chainstay protection, “Canadian Shield” yoke protection, and downtube shuttle guard
  • New Rocky Mountain “Canadarm” mount with OneUp Components V2 Top Guide
Modular shock mount
  • Allows for future suspension kinematic updates
  • Only available on carbon models
Updated tube profile
  • Modern look with a focus on front triangle stiffness for steering precision
Dual bearings at the chainstay and seatstay
  • Increased stiffness and durability. Shielded bearings featured on all pivots including at the lower shock mount (compatible with aftermarket shocks as well)

Technical Details

Instinct (29")

  • 150mm, 44mm (FOX) or 42mm (RockShox) offset fork
  • Max tire clearance is 29 x 2.6
  • Max chainring size 34t
  • Min chainring size 30t
  • Sizes: SM-XL
  • Weight*:
    • Frame & Fox DPX2 shock: 3.14 kg (6.90 lbs), size MD
    • Instinct Carbon 99, complete: 13.08 kg (28.8lbs), size MD
    • Instinct Carbon 90, complete: 13.65 kg (30.0 lbs), size MD
    • Instinct Carbon 70, complete: 14.24 kg (31.3 lbs), size MD
    • Instinct Carbon 70 Coil, complete: 14.56 kg (32.0 lbs), size MD
    • Instinct Carbon 50, complete: 14.15 kg (31.1 lbs), size MD
    • Instinct Carbon 30, complete: 14.4 kg (31.7 lbs), size MD
    • Instinct Alloy 50, complete: 15.3 kg (33.7 lbs), size MD
    • Instinct Alloy 30, complete: 15.76 kg (34.7 lbs), size MD

* Note: Complete bikes and frameset weights include protectors, seat collar, and rear axle: 94.5 g (0.2 lbs)

Instinct (27.5")

  • 150mm, 37mm offset fork
  • Max tire clearance is 27.5 x 2.6
  • Max chainring size 34t
  • Min chainring size 30t
  • Sizes: XS-SM
  • Weight*:
    • Frame & Fox DPX2 shock: 2.95 kg (6.50 lbs), size SM
    • Instinct Carbon 99, complete: 12.89 kg (28.4lbs), size SM
    • Instinct Carbon 90, complete: 13.25 kg (29.2 lbs), size SM
    • Instinct Carbon 70, complete: 13.98 kg (30.8 lbs), size SM
    • Instinct Carbon 70, Coil complete: 14.27 kg (31.4 lbs), size SM
    • Instinct Carbon 50, complete: 13.99 kg (30.8 lbs), size SM
    • Instinct Carbon 30, complete: 14.05 kg (30.9 lbs), size SM
    • Instinct Alloy 50, complete: 15.10 kg (33.2 lbs), size SM
    • Instinct Alloy 30, complete: 15.40 kg (33.9 lbs), size SM

    * Note: Complete bikes and frameset weights include protectors, seat collar, and rear axle: 94.5 g (0.2 lbs)

    See the full line-up here with complete details.

     

Tags: Instinct

Previous News A Tall Tale – Perception is reality on the new Instinct The Instinct has been designed for epic rides and wide-open singletrack. As our most versatile platform, the Instinct thrives on all types of trails, tackling features with the utmost efficiency and responsiveness.
Next Feature Celebrating International Women's Day The women we work with are driven, passionate, and unbelievably inspiring. We’re lucky to have them representing our brand and have them out there helping to make mountain biking a more positive and inclusive sport.
Feature

The Jank Files - Episode 4

August 20, 2019

There’s something special about being able to race at home. Fortunately for this crew, they get that opportunity every year at the Enduro World Series in Whistler. Jesse, Rémi, and Andréane all live in the Sea to Sky corridor and are proud to race on their home tracks in front of their friends and family. Crankworx is an festival for mountain biking, as it brings riders together from all over the world. For the Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team, that means their American teammate Peter Ostroski comes up to join the crew and put down some fast times!

From sketchy lunch laps on the North Shore, fancy showrooms, fresh kits, and taking the top spot of the team podium; this is Episode 4 of The Jank Files.




Filmed by Caldwell Visuals
Photos by Dave Trumpore

A big thank you to all our sponsors!
Race Face, Maxxis, Fox, Shimano, Smith Optics, WTB, OneUp Components, Stages Cycling, Peaty’s Products, EVOC, RideWrap

Previous Feature Climbing ain't dead From climbing up features he never dreamt possible to picking routes that mine as well be the Penrose Stairs, Camille’s having as much fun on the climbs as he is on the descents.
Next Feature Oscillation Back and forth, forward and back. Mastery on the bike comes from constant repetition.
Feature

Journey through time

January 30, 2019

Story by Julia Hofmann

It’s been an excruciating climb, one with as much hike-a-biking as pedalling, but at last, we’ve arrived. Standing atop the highest point of Cronin Pass above Smithers the wind is howling; the air is cold. It’s been ten years since my first trip to Canada. Ten years since my first international mountain bike adventure. And as I stare out at the vast landscape of Northern British Columbia, I can see the long, flowing, epic trail I’m about to ride.

It’s the middle of August and each piercing gust hints that autumn is just around the corner. Despite our early start, the sun is now low. Shadows along the cliff bands lengthen and the colors of our surroundings begin to saturate. Feelings of peace and solitude complete this blissful scene, but I can feel the growing anticipation to drop in. The combination creates a sense of freedom inside me that washes me with happiness. From my extensive travels around the world to mountain bike, British Columbia is still one of the only places that host all the elements I love about riding. Well-built trails, a supportive riding community, and general love and appreciation for spending time in the woods.

When I was young my adventures started small – riding horses through the fields and woods near my childhood home near Lichtenfels, Germany – and grew to be grander over time. With each ride, I pushed myself to go a little further than before. The first true piece of singletrack I rode a bike on was a nice piece of trail, not far away, near my grandparents’ house. The special feeling of moving through the woods on two wheels was like nothing else I had experienced and chasing that feeling has continued to shape my life.

As an adult, I became so familiar with the forests around my home in Upper Franconia that I eventually began to look elsewhere for adventures. I started taking road trips to bike parks throughout Germany, then further on to Austria, Switzerland, Spain, and Italy. I’d read about British Columbia’s North Shore and seen videos of the Whistler Bike Park, but it seemed unattainably far away. It was several years before I’d even considered the possibility of traveling to a riding destination beyond what I could drive to. But the idea of flying to another country was there – somewhere – in the back of my mind and finally, it worked it’s way forward. Before I had thought about what I was committing to, I was standing at the airport ready to check in, heading to Canada.

I’ll never forget the feeling of landing on another continent for the first time, building my bike, and putting the tires into the dirt. Canada will always be a special place in my heart for this reason. The country feels vast with endless forests and mighty mountains, and to top it off there’s perfect singletrack that navigates the dramatic landscapes. The quality of trails is really what sets the riding here apart from the rest of the world. They are made specifically for riding rather than being repurposed old hiking routes. There’s something for everyone and the purpose-built climbs can be as enjoyable as the amazing descents.

As the sun disappears below the horizon line of endless peaks and ridges, the oversaturated filter begins to fade. It’s time to go as we’re losing light, and we have a long descent ahead of us. At the bottom of the mountain, a cozy cabin waits for us where we will stay for the night before moving on to the next incredible location. I lower my seat, start rolling down, and am treated to another unbelievable Canadian descent.

As I continue to travel around the world with my bike, I realize how the famous adage, ‘the more things change the more they remain the same’, rings true in my heart. All these years later, standing on top of a mountain on another continent, and I am still chasing that same feeling I discovered riding my bike through the forests in Lichtenfels as a child.

Previous Feature Je me souviens I realized that even though I have moved on from XC, Québec will always be my home, in my mind they were so tied together, until I brought my big bike and rode it! 
Next Feature Introducing the Instinct Powerplay The Instinct Powerplay will take you to the places you never thought possible. When it comes time to head out the door that epic ride into the alpine, you'll be riding further and faster than ever before on what is our most versatile e-MTB yet.
Feature

Nordvegr: The Way to the North

November 14, 2018

 

It’s normal to get home from a trip and feel like you’ve left something on the table. Whether it’s a trail you skipped out on or an area you didn’t have time to see, the things you didn’t do can be as motivating as the things you did. Thomas Vanderham and Remi Gauvin have both been to Norway before, but it’s one of those places that keeps drawing them back.

Much like a lot of Remi’s travel, his first two trips to Norway were for both for racing. Back in 2013 and 2014, Remi was racing downhill and competed at the World Championships in Hafjell. Thomas’ freeride background has put him in Norway twice before, but never in the world famous Nordfjord region, and never on his trail bike. Travelling to compete is a rinse, wash, repeat cycle. The process broken down is: airport to hotel, hotel to event, and a few days later you’re flying home. This trip was a chance to see Norway in a different light, and after landing in Ålesund and boarding what would be the first of many ferries, the small town of Stranda seemed like the perfect place to start.

The people along the way can be one of the most interesting parts of travelling. Located just up the road from our rooms in the Hjelle Hotel is the small town of Folven, home to Norwegian freeskier, Fred Syversen. Fred is a local legend who in 2008 unintentionally set the world record for skiing off a 107m tall cliff, but today he coaches skiing on the glacier, operates an adventure sports campground, and is building out the Hjelledalen valley mountain bike trail infrastructure.

Our Scandinavian photographer, Mattias Fredriksson, likes to joke around but with an underlying sense of sincerity. Early on in our trip he forewarned, “It’s hard to go on a road trip in Norway and still make dinner deadlines. I tend to shoot a lot…cause the shooting is epic”. It was a constant theme of the trip but the fjord views near Sandane had us especially late for dinner. The trails were above treeline which left us exposed to the harsh wind and rain, but the combination of fast riding corners, natural features, and stunning backdrop were just simply too good to cut the ride short.

With another trip under their belt and trails under their tires, Norway remains an incredibly interesting place for Thomas and Rémi. Newly built mountain bike trails with a strong historic culture of moving through mountains leaves plenty of room for endless adventures in the Nordfjord.

 

For this trip, Remi rode his team build Instinct BC Edition that he’s been racing on all year, and Thomas rode his custom-built Altitude.
Check out the Altitude and Instinct.

FILM
A Film by: Scott Secco
Featuring: Thomas Vanderham and Remi Gauvin
Produced by: Stephen Matthews
Post Production Sound by: Keith White Audio
Typography and Design by: Mike Taylor
Photography by: Mattias Fredriksson
Music: Pioneer by Ryan Taubert

Thanks to: Asgeir Blindheim, Fjord Norway, Visit Nordfjord, Veronica Vikestrand, 7 Blåner, Destination Ålesund, Sunnmøre, and Fred Syversen

Previous Feature Introducing the Instinct Powerplay The Instinct Powerplay will take you to the places you never thought possible. When it comes time to head out the door that epic ride into the alpine, you'll be riding further and faster than ever before on what is our most versatile e-MTB yet.
Next Feature Norway: The Characters Behind the Adventure Behind every trip is a cast of characters with varied backgrounds and interesting outlooks. Individually, they’ve been brought on because they come with their own unique stories and skills and are strung together by a common thread; a passion for mountain biking.
Feature

Norway: The Characters Behind the Adventure

November 14, 2018

Behind every trip is a cast of characters with varied backgrounds and interesting outlooks. Individually, they’ve been brought on because they come with their own unique stories and skills and are strung together by a common thread; a passion for mountain biking.

 

 

 

 

 

I first met Mattias Fredriksson in 2010 while in Switzerland. He was shooting for Anthill Films’ upcoming film, “Follow Me,” and was incredibly friendly right from the get-go. His positive demeanor is contagious, and you can’t help but have a great time around him. Scott Secco and I first worked together in 2014 on his film, “Builder," and between the planning, building, and riding, we became great friends and have collaborated on several projects since.

Working for Rocky Mountain, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know and ride with our talented athletes. Needless to say, heading out on a trip with Thomas Vanderham and Remi Gauvin was an exciting experience. Our trip to Norway also gave us the chance to link up with local Nordfjord rider, Veronica Vikestrand, a born and raised Norwegian and a true asset to the trip.

 

Scott Secco

RM: What’s it like coming to another country to film a video where neither you nor the riders have seen the trails before?

Typically, I do most of my work in British Columbia where either the rider or myself are familiar with the trails. Having prior knowledge of how a track rides and when certain locations will get the best light certainly helps the process. I normally rely heavily on rider input for which sections of trail to shoot: if the rider is having fun then I think it shows on camera.

It’s always a fun challenge to visit somewhere new since I think it forces you to have a more open mind and look at everything with an eye to creativity as I don’t have specific shots planned. Travelling gives me an opportunity to put myself in unique situations with people and cultures that are different than my daily life. I would say in general I travel more for the culture than the riding.

RM: What’s your process for reviewing and editing footage on the trip?

I’ve heard that I’m fairly unique as a filmmaker since I can’t sleep until I’ve gone through the day’s footage and edited it as tightly as I can. Editing what I’ve shot each day means the footage is fresh in my mind and I know which shots are my favourite. Plus, by the end of the shoot I’ll have a rough cut that’s often quite close to the final cut. The final benefit of this is that the riders can see what we’ve shot each day. I think this helps with their trust in me since they can actually see the footage (I can be a little slow sometimes to setup shots). I also respect athlete’s opinions on the video and Thomas and Remi had some great suggestions for this edit. Filmmaking is a team sport!

Mattias Fredriksson

RM: You grew up in Sweden and have shot both skiing and biking in Scandinavia for many years. What’s the most special thing about Norway to you?

First of all, it might be the most beautiful country in the world. Everywhere you look it’s just insane! As a photographer I love this place because you just can’t go wrong. I like to joke (except I’m completely serious), that it’s hard to go on a road trip in Norway and still make dinner deadlines. I end up pulling over a lot to shoot the epic vistas.

I’ve been to Norway an uncountable amount of times in my life, both for personal and work trips, and I still haven’t gotten bored.

RM: You’ve had a long and varied career as a photographer. How did you get started in bike photography?

I grew up in the south of Sweden, 4 or 5 hours south of Stockholm, and started riding bikes in the late 80’s! Even before I had my first real mountain bike, I remember stripping off the kickstand, fenders, and chainguards to emulate the look of a proper mountain bike. My parents were choked because I came home muddy all the time, but I didn’t care, I was totally hooked.

Around the same time, I had started my own punk rock magazine called “Heavy”, was a drummer in a band, and I think that’s where I first found my passion for journalism. I loved writing about what I cared about, so at 16 started working for the local newspaper.

I spent my early career working for a handful of different magazines in Sweden, but I decided that writing in Swedish was limited compared to shooting images that everyone can enjoy! I shot the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, US and World Championships in 1999, but other than that I stayed far away from shooting events – ha ha. I focused on inspirational stories and trips because that’s what was important to me. I started shooting mountain biking, because I absolutely love to mountain bike.

Veronica Vikestrand

 

 

RM: What bike did you bring on this trip?

Slayer!

RM: Where did you grow up in Norway and how did you get into mountain biking?

Today I live in a small town just outside Ålesund and I’ve lived in this area my whole life. Living at the foot of the mountains and along rolling terrain separated by fjords, being in the woods and on the trails felt natural to me. I bought my first hardtail in the late 90’s, shortly followed with the purchase of the Kranked film on VHS. I was so inspired by what was happening in BC, that I bought my first full suspension later that year.

I tried downhill racing in 2004 but it just wasn’t for me. I’d get too stressed, lose my nerves, and just couldn’t get along with being forced into a format of riding. I think that’s why I first connected with Kranked so well, the idea of freeriding and using mountain bikes in whatever fashion you want was invigorating.

RM: As a born and raised Norwegian, how would you say the mountain biking scene in Norway changed over the past several years?

It’s been growing like crazy. New bike trails and bike parks are being built all over the country, and the enduro race scene has exploded. We’re also seeing a lot more “adventure-style” riders, taking inspiration from our backcountry ski and hiking culture. The riding here is very different than what you get in the Alps or North America, but mixed types of trail combined with Norway’s beauty is incredibly unique.  

RM: How did you get involved with Rocky Mountain?

I have been working in the bike industry since 2008 with different brands. Right now I’m working for 7 Blåner, who has been the distributor for Rocky Mountain since 2016. I’ve always admired the Rocky Mountain brand and have looked up to what they stand for since I started riding in the late 90’s! The opportunity to now be helping show some of their legendary athletes around my home country has been incredibly exciting!

Remi Gauvin

RM: What bike did you bring on this trip?

Same thing I've been on all year, my Instinct BC Edition!

RM: How did you first get involved with Rocky Mountain?

I got a call from (Thomas) Vanderham back in February 2014 while I was working on the oil rigs in northern Alberta. He said that Rocky Mountain was developing a new downhill bike called the “Maiden” and that the R&D team was looking for feedback from racers. I didn’t have a sponsor lined up for the coming season, plus it seemed like a cool opportunity. After that first season riding the Maiden, I started racing enduro in 2016, and am now committed to a full EWS circuit as a rider on the Rocky Mountain Race Face Team. I really owe it to Thomas for giving me a chance to come on board.

RM: As an EWS racer, you spend so much of your season travelling around the world to race. What was the coolest thing about travelling to Norway to film and shoot, rather than be locked into a racing schedule?

When you go to these races that are all in amazing places, there usually isn’t time to appreciate where you are and what’s happening around you. At an EWS race, you’re so focused on performing, that you miss out on seeing the local culture and beauty of these places. The pace of shooting photos and video is so much slower, so you actually have time to soak in where you are and learn about what’s around you.

Thomas Vanderham

 

 

RM: What bike did you bring on this trip?

Tried and true, my Altitude.

RM: You’ve been travelling to ride mountain bikes for a long time. Do you still enjoy the process, seeing new places, and not knowing what kind of riding you’re in for?

Absolutely! One of the things that makes filming mountain biking so great is the diversity of the environments we get to work in. We can shoot in jungles, deserts and everything in between which is one of the reasons that I think bike videos are so good. Mountain biking has facilitated a lot of my most memorable trips and I'm excited whenever I get a chance to go to ride in a new location.

RM: You were riding in Norway over 10 years ago. What was that all about?

I've travelled to Norway twice before. The first time was in 2003, I think. I was new to the Oakley bike team and we travelled quite far north to Narvik with Wade Simmons, Kyle Strait and Cedric Gracia. That was the first time that I worked with Mattias Fredriksson as well and experience the awesome energy that he brings to a shoot. The second time was in 2009 for an event called Anti Days of Thunder that was definitely ahead of its time. They had some huge jumps built that we got to session and also involved a team relay DH race (that team Canada won if I'm not mistaken!) Some of the guys involved went on to help start the FEST series.

See the full story, photoset, and video, “Nordvegr: The Way to the North”.

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