A closer look at the Instinctiv. (Photo: Instinctiv)
- The Netherlands might be flat, but it has considerable
mountain bike technology influence.
- Gearbox mountain bikes offer many advantages but can have
peculiar shift controls.
- Instinctiv has managed to make their gearbox mountain bike
shift a lot more ‘naturally’.
The highest point in the Netherlands, is a mere 323m, which
isn’t great for mountain biking. Despite its relative flatness, the Dutch are
very resourceful mountain bikers.
Bart Brentjens won a mountain biking gold medal at the 1996
summer Olympics, in Atlanta, and Mathieu van der Poel might be the next great
talent in XC mountain bike racing.
Beyond its champion racers, the Dutch are great cycling technologists,
and their latest offering is a very clever gearbox mountain bike.
Designed and engineered by Instinctiv, these new M-Series
mountain bikes are targeted at enduro riders, who never shy away from the most
The three M-Series models cover both 27.5” and 29” wheel
sizes, with rear suspension configured to either 140- or 150mm of travel.
Instinctiv recommends a 150mm fork up front, which sets the
M-series bikes at a 64.5° head angle, slack enough to put the rider in a
confident position when navigating challenging downhill terrain.
Instinctiv has launched its M-Series bikes, featuring a very clever gearbox shift mechanism. (Photo: Instinctiv)
Perfecting the mountain bike gearbox idea
Defining the frame design, is its lack of a conventional
external rear derailleur. Instinctiv chooses to use a Pinion internal gearbox,
instead of the popular 1×12 drivetrain systems from Shimano or SRAM.
The benefits of a gearbox are numerous. There is no rear
derailleur cage to get caused and knocked out of alignment by rocky terrain and
the suspension system operates more actively, due to reduced chain tension
For its benefits, the gearbox has not been widely integrated
by mountain bike manufacturers due to its mechanical drag and odd shifting
action. Most gearbox systems use a grip shift, which is fine when you are
climbing, but can cause awkward hand slippage when descending very steep and
Instinctiv briefed German aftermarket cycling component
specialist, Cinq, to produce a more ergonomic trigger shift mechanism for the
M-series bikes. The result is a shifter that looks and functions closer to a
Shimano or SRAM conventional drivetrain component.
With generous suspension travel, tidy geometry and a mass
rating of 15.2kg, the Instinctiv M-Series is an impressive gearbox mountain
bike for conquering big terrain.
The Dutch company has opened its order book for the new
M-Series range, but production numbers will be very limited, with batches of
only 50 units for global distribution.