Intense Tracer 275 Review

Jan 21, 2013
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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TESTED
Intense Tracer 275


WORDS Richard Cunningham
PHOTOS Ian Hylands


The Tracer Legacy

This test explores the attributes of the 27.5-inch-wheel version of the Intense Tracer - the latest chapter in the development of the Southern California bike maker's most popular aluminum-framed trail bike. Intense launched the Tracer in the year 2000 with Horst-link suspension, slacker frame geometry, and a more downhill-friendly cockpit than the typical XC bikes of the time. It could be argued that the birth of the Tracer marked the rebirth of the trail bike. Today's Tracer has VPP suspension, almost double the wheel travel of that first model, and its steering geometry is slacker than the downhillers of that era, but its purpose remains steadfast - to blend the traits of a good climber and descender into one bike that shreds all. With the adoption of 650B wheels, the Tracer 275 has the potential to take the classic trail bike to the next level, but before diving into a wheel debate, we investigate the back-story of Intense's latest shredder.

Intense now offers the Tracer in all three wheel diameters, so the 275 benefits from an evolutionary design process. Intense founder Jeff Steber was an enthusiastic early adopter of the 29er. After Steber had successfully honed the 29er version into the Tracer of his dreams, he was armed with the real-world information necessary to blend the velvety roll-over and in-the-bike feel of the 29er with the precise steering and snappy pedal feel which are attributes of a 26er. The seemingly rapid development of the Tracer 275 was made possible by the fact that Intense makes, welds, heat treats and finishes nearly every part of its aluminum frames in their Temecula, California, factory - so Steber, who still designs and constructs prototypes there, can make changes as necessary, regardless of how large or minute they may be. With trails ranging from pro DH to flowy XC within minutes of the building, Steber and his trusted hard men can immediately evaluate modifications in geometry or suspension and be back making new parts the same day. While the handling and performance qualities of 26 compared to 29-inch-wheel bikes are an obvious contrast, assessing the more subtle differences between those and the mid-size, 27.5-inch wheel would be difficult at best without the rapid prototyping and evaluation capabilities that Intense enjoys.

Intense Tracer 275 frame construction details
  Intense G1 dropouts (left) are bolted onto the swingarm using aluminum chainring hardware - an arrangement that provides for all axle combinations and future geometry changes. A rubber seal protects the hose entry point for the Tracer's Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost (center). A look under the Tracer 275 bottom bracket shell reveals ISCG-05 chainguide tabs and grease ports used to service the rocker-link bearings.


Tracer 275 Construction

The 275 frame is assembled on different tooling than 26 and 29-inch Tracer frames because its geometry is unique in order to maximize the attributes of its chosen wheel diameter. Tracers are primarily constructed from Easton 6000-series alloy taper-butted and manipulated aluminum tubes, although the top tube/seat tube strut is hydroformed from flat aluminum and then welded into an efficient, one-piece structure. Intense makes the frame's suspension rockers, dropouts, bottom bracket shell and shock mounts on its network of CNC machining centers. Even threaded bits like the adjustable suspension pivot hardware are made in-house. Tracer frames feature two travel options: 5.5 or 6 inches (140mm, 150mm) and are recommended for forks in the 150 to 160-millimeter travel range. The 275 is described by Intense as suitable for trail, all-mountain and Enduro, so the chassis is built tough enough to compete at the highest level of Enduro, as well as to handle the wide range of riding styles that all-mountain encompasses. Big-hit toughness, however, comes with a weight penalty. A medium Tracer frame with its Fox Float CTD shock weighs 7.8 pounds, which is competitive within the realm of AM and Enduro, but a pound off the mark for carbon-friendly XC/trail riders. Our medium-size Shimano XT equipped test bike weighed 30.7 pounds without pedals.

Tracers have ISCG-05 chainguide mounts at the bottom bracket and internal and external routing for a dropper seatpost. Out back, heavy duty G1 replaceable dropouts house a 142/12mm through-axle. As is the practice now, the G1's massively rigid hanger ensures that impacts to your rear derailleur will not bend the hanger and shove the mech into the spinning spokes. In most cases, it will be shifting properly when you return, or be dangling by its cable. The front changer has a direct-mount boss to place it correctly in space, as the seat tube is bent forward for tire clearance. On the subject of tire clearance, there is room for rubber up to 2.5 inches wide, although real estate is cramped near the top of the tread at both the seat stay and chain stay bridges of the swingarm. There are no bottle mounts to be found anywhere, as proper stand-over clearance and shock placement trumps most of the available space in the Tracer's frame. Serviceability is ensured by full-length housing and hose runs, a threaded bottom bracket shell and press-in headset cups, as well as adjustable angular-contact bearings in the suspension pivot locations. Grease fittings are installed on the vulnerable lower rocker link so the bearings there can be routinely purged of grit or moisture.

Tracer 275 geometry


Tracer 275 Suspension


Santa Cruz shares its patented VPP dual-link suspension with Intense, so the Tracer 275's shock tuning and suspension rate curves reap benefits from two design teams. What that means is efficient, firm pedaling at the sag position, with smooth, linear-feeling suspension through the mid-stroke and just enough of a rising rate towards the end-stroke to mute maximum events. Rocker links pivot on stiff, 15-millimeter shafts and angular-contact-type ball bearings. If any free-play develops in the pivots, it can be easily tuned out using collet-style adjusters at each location. Two mounting positions for the custom-tuned Fox Float CTD shock on the upper rocker link provide either 5.5 or 6 inches of rear-wheel travel. Switching to the shorter option firms up the feel of the suspension slightly, but does not affect the bike's bottom bracket height or its frame numbers. We rode most of the test intervals with the shock in the six-inch position.

Intense Tracer 275 suspension details
  Tracer 275s have about 1/4 inch (6mm) less suspension travel than their 26-inch-wheel siblings - presumably to circumvent potential tire-clearance issues. (Clockwise) Widely spaced bearings on the lower VPP link boosts the Tracer's lateral stiffness. The one-piece swingarm employs oversize tubes to further maximize the frame's rigidity. Two positions on the Tracer 275's lower shock mount determine rear-travel options.


Intense paired the Tracer 275's 160-millimeter rear end with a 150-millimeter-stroke Fox 34 Float Kashima CTD fork. Armed with 'Climb - Trail - Descend' options on both ends, Tracer 275 riders have the ability to maintain the bike's ride height with three tuning combinations by matching the CTD selections on the fork and shock. The magic of the VPP suspension design, with its good balance of pedaling firmness and smooth suspension action was such that we rarely twisted either CTD dial. The notable exception was our preference for the nearly locked out 'Climb' option for long highway stints. Before you infer that the Tracer 275's suspension is bob-free under power, it is not. The Tracer's rear suspension is configured to remain effective both under power and while braking, so the shock will cycle slightly most of the time when pedaling.

Tracer 275 Standout Components

Once exclusively a frame builder, Intense now regularly ships complete bikes, furnished with a number of standard build kits. Our test bike is based upon the Shimano XT 'Expert' kit, which would normally result in a MSRP of $4800 USD, but our Tracer was upgraded with a RockShox Reverb dropper post and Sun Ringlé Charger Expert tubeless-ready wheels, so its sticker price would be significantly higher. Rolling out with a best-of class dropper is always a good thing - and Charger rims are licensed by Stan's, so you know that they will be excellent tubeless performers. Shimano XT Trail brakes with ICE rotors join the Tracer's best-of list, which is topped off by Kashima-coat Fox suspension and a sweet Cane Creek headset. The only questionable choice in the Tracer 275's near perfect all-mountain/trail component selection was its Shimano XT triple crankset. The only visible wear the teeth received on the 42-tooth chainring was inflicted by the rocks and logs we bashed on the trail. A two-by-ten drivetrain would have been perfection.


Specifications
Release Date 2012/13
Price $5200
Travel 5.5" - 6"
Rear Shock Fox Float Kashima CTD
Fork FOX 34 650b Kashima, 150mm
Cassette Shimano 10 speed HG-81, 11-36
Crankarms Shimano XT
Bottom Bracket Shimano BB70
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT Shadow Plus
Chain Shimano 10-speed
Front Derailleur Shimano XT
Shifter Pods Shimano XT
Handlebar Intense Recon, aluminum, 31.8 x 740
Stem Intense, 31.8 x 70mm
Grips Intense Lock-On
Brakes Shimano XT Trail, ICE rotors
Wheelset Sun Ringlé Charger Expert 650B, 15mm F, 142mm R
Tires Kenda Nevegal 650B 2.35DTC 120tpi F/R
Seat Intense Ti-Rail
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth, 31.6mm




TRAIL REPORT:
Riding the Tracer 275
The most noticeable improvement that the larger wheels bring to the ride is a precise feel over the faster sections of the trail.


bigquotesRegardless of intent, our first rides aboard the Tracer 275 were going to be heavily colored by preconceptions based upon the bike's 650B wheels. Were we weighing the performance of a familiar bike, adapted to a new wheel size, or were we riding a completely new design to be judged upon its own merits? Much of that mystery was put to rest during the roll-around check rides required to get the suspension and cockpit dialed in. Turns out, the Tracer 275 feels a lot like a contemporary trail bike.


Suspension Setup: The suspension rate-curve that Intense chose for the 275 requires a good deal of pressure in the shock-spring. Use the push-on-the-saddle method to assess its spring pressure and you would swear that it is way too stiff, but under saddle, the suspension settles into its ride height and the shock then feels quite plush. Set the shock at 30-percent sag and the Tracer will deliver the smoothest ride over the chatter without bottoming on larger impacts. That worked out to 200psi for a combined rider and gear weight of 175/180 pounds. We pressurized the Fox 34 fork to about 75 psi. The result was a good fore-aft balance with a little extra stiffness in the fork to keep the Tracer riding level on the downhills.

Pedaling/acceleration: Weighing in at a touch over 30 pounds and with slightly heavier rolling stock than a 26-inch trail bike, the Tracer 275's rate of acceleration falls between that of a snappy feeling all-mountain and an overweight XC bike. That said, the 275 feels quick enough at the cranks to pepper a long-day's ride with maximum efforts, and its weight is seldom noticed, as the Tracer's balanced cockpit and easy handling allow its rider to quickly forget about the bike and get to the business of shredding. We tried various combinations of 'Climb-Trail-Descend' on the fork and shock during early testing and decided that, unless we were rolling on pavement, the 275 pedaled well enough to leave it wide open on 'Descend' the whole day. For the rare, smooth, flowing XC/trail ride, choosing 'Trail' mode with the pedaling platform set somewhere in the middle of the range made for a brighter, slightly firmer feel under power. Running both ends on 'Climb' raised the bike's ride height on trail, which eroded its feel to some degree.

Climbing:. The first clear indicator of the 275's handling with regard to its wheel diameter was that the bike's front end stayed put and steered well while grinding up steep, technical trails. Unlike 29ers, which due to their long chainstays are comparatively heavy up front, the Tracer maintains a better balance. Little or no attention is required to keep its rear tire biting, and its front tire can be easily lightened to clear steps or roots without an exaggerated weight shift. In similar situations, a typical 26-inch-wheel trail bike's front wheel would be skipping all over the place unless its pilot took corrective action. As a result, the Tracer 275 redirects energy and concentration that would normally be wasted maneuvering the bike, towards the more important task of pedaling to the top of the hill. Like most bikes that fall near the all-mountain category, the six-inch-travel 275 climbs most efficiently while its rider is seated. We learned to maximize the effects of our out-of-the-saddle efforts by choosing the most opportune moment to throw-down on a climb.

Descending/technical performance: When pressed hard, there are many moments when the Tracer acts much like a regular mid-travel 26-inch AM/trail bike. There is no sense when jumping that the 275 is unusual, and if you make a mistake, it can land controllably from odd angles. The Tracer's steering is accurate, it is easy to manage under maximum braking, and both its feel and lean angle in the corners are equivalent to what one would expect from a good 26er trail bike with modern, slacked-out geometry. Descend a fast, nasty section of singletrack at full tilt, however, and the Tracer 275 shows a clear advantage over all comers. It can get from hard right to hard left and back again with a quickness that a 29er does not match - and it can easily hold a line where an equivalent 26er would be starting to struggle. The 275 also feels confident when handling parallel ruts and off-camber situations. To what degree those traits belong exclusively to the Tracers's wheel selection or to its frame metrics is speculation. There is no doubt, though, that the 275 likes to go fast.

  The Tracer 275 can hold a tight line in the rough and it is a smooth jumper - both are attributes that play well for hard-charging trail riders.


Component Report:

• The Fox Float 34 fork was initially too stiff in compression in the mid-stroke (typically, our complaint is that the Float 34 fork blows through the mid-stroke), which was a concern until the bushings eventually broke in and the sliders smoothed out. With added control in the mid-stroke, precise feeling at the handlebar and lighter weight, the 34-platform is emerging as the go-to for the AM/trail category.

• The Sun Ringlé Charger Expert wheels went the distance and were easy to convert to tubeless, thanks to their Stan's NoTubes influence. We burped the rear tire once at low pressure on a rocky off-camber descent, but otherwise it was green and go for two months in the boulders. We never touched them with a spoke wrench.

• It is great to see Kenda back 650B with a classic tire like the Nevegal, but it is a bit dated. We'd love to try a similarly aggressive tread pattern on a more supple, high-volume casing. Presently, there are a lot of tire options for 650B with more just around the corner.

• Shimano's triple-ring XT crankset performed beautifully, but the two chainrings we used most - the 24-tooth granny and 32-tooth middle ring - are redundantly close. A wider-spaced two-by crankset, like a 24 x 36 or 38 would be better suited to the Tracer's appetite for quickly changing technical terrain. We bashed the XT's 42-tooth big ring more times than we shifted onto it.

• Funky external hoses and housings - no. RockShox Reverb Stealth - Yes.

• Fox CTD: Granted that there are many riders who need three pedal settings for their rear suspension, but the fact that the 'Trail' option has a widely adjustable pedal platform begs for the elimination of the 'Climb' setting - at least for longer-travel designs. Two options would make it quick and sure to switch from 'open' to 'platform' on-the-fly - and would be more useful for fast-paced, technical riding styles.




Making a Case for 650B

No review of a mid-sized wheel bike can go forth (at least for the time being) without some discussion of the merits of 650B and its place in the scheme of 26 and 29-inch standards. The either/or choice between a 26-inch or a 29-inch wheel bike is clarified because, beyond their unique handling and feel, the two designs also look dramatically different. Show up on a 29er and everybody knows what it is. Ride all day with a group on a 650B bike and, unless somebody reads the hot-patch on the tires, chances are you will never be singled out. It's not an easy sell.

If you are big-wheel curious, the 29er is the logical choice because it offers the extreme experience - all the good and all of the bad aspects of larger wheels in one easy-to-understand package. If you want to fast-track your mountain bike skillset, then 26 is the choice, because for over 35 years, every trick in the mountain bike book has been written for 26 inch wheels. The mid-size wheel lacks the flash value of either extreme. The evolution of 650B is more of a logical step that unites proven attributes of the two accepted standards, and it makes the most sense in the long-travel trail bike realm, where small-wheel bikes could use a boost in rolling efficiency and attempts to mate long-travel with big wheels results in missing chromosomes.

For all-mountain/trail riders, the promise of 650B is a performance package that sacrifices some of the 29er's roll-over qualities and a little bit of the 26er's nimbleness in order to focus the lion's share of those attributes into a bike that is more versatile than either of its parents - one with just-right cockpit ergonomics, familiar handling characteristics and uncompromised suspension action. The takeaway of a well-designed 650B bike is defined by hundreds of small events over the entire ride that compound the experience, rather than a few shining moments. The wider the variety of terrain, the more one begins to appreciate the concept. An 'ah-ha' 650B moment on the first ride? Probably not, but after few good laps, the advantages start to pop and the 650B begins to feel less like a hybrid and much more like a whole new animal.





Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesJudged purely upon its performance and ignoring any reference to competing wheel sizes, the Intense Tracer 275 is the real deal for those searching for a hard-charging descender that is bright enough on the climbs to stay in the game all day long. At 30 pounds and some change, the 275's weight is probably not going to capture the imagination of Mister Strava P. Spandex, but Intense has always played to a harder crowd. The 275 is tough, its suspension is deep, and its capable geometry is built around the larger fork platforms that are the staple of both all-mountain and the emerging crop of Enduro riders. And 650B? We would be remiss to say that every PB test rider loved the feel of the mid-sized wheels. Intense dedicated the frame and steering metrics of the Tracer 275 exclusively to 27.5-inch wheels, and riding it to full advantage requires a slightly different sense of timing which takes a while to acquire. Is it the right bike for you? The 275 was brought to life by a group of knowledgeable, experienced bike handlers who wanted to go big and take advantage of larger wheels. If you count yourself among them, the Tracer 275 delivers the goods. - RC
Must Read This Week

197 Comments

  • + 20
 The RockShox Reverb Stealth system is definitely something I want on my next AM bike. With all the clever stuff that gets stacked on our bikes these days there is a real demand for simple, clean looking, minimal maintenance solutions.

650B is really interesting too. If it can capture the "feel" of a 26" but roll as a 29" it's probably where I'm heading!
  • + 5
 Intense make the sexiest bikes. I dream of the day when I can afford both a balls out M9 and a really sexy tazer.
  • + 1
 Love my M9 Works Red, wish I had the cash for the Tracer Works Red too!
  • + 6
 Anyone notice the sticker of the bear riding a bike!!!
  • + 4
 TO FOX RACING SHOX: (just in case someone from Fox reads these forums) I LOVE CTD much more than RP23. I feel like you finally got it right. I've tried soooo many different tunings (even a P.U.S.H. tune) on RP23s, and always felt that the pedaling platform still left me bobbing. And it still blew through the mid-section. But the CTD w/ your new bushings is money.

Don't take away the "C" mode just for RC!

(sorry RC; only time I'll disagree w/ you)
  • + 2
 i have a m6 and that is all i need.
  • + 1
 It's funny cuz i almost never used propedal for trail riding. I know every tune and frame design are different but my float could have been an R for all i needed the platform. Just the right smount of bob for traction.
  • + 3
 as some other pinkbike guy said in other review, 650B or 27.5 inch wheels doesn't roll as a 29'' and doesn't feel as a 26'', it just feels better than a 29'' and roll better than a 26''
[Reply]
  • + 18
 Looks nice for a 27.5 and 5200$ bike Big Grin But for that price I would buy 2 bikes...
  • + 6
 agreed, but, it probably rides better then the 2 you could buy.
  • + 2
 I'd just get a cheaper build. Slx is a better enduro crank anyway, and xfusion makes a sexy 36mm 27.5 friendly fork. I still haven't drunk the dropper post coolaid either so i could probably be happy with a sub 4 grand build. Of course my wife would kill me if i soenk more than 2 grand on a rig in a single purchase.
  • + 0
 Tracer looks nice, probably ride better than most of bike in the category ... but, I might get a different bike with better built and a new Fox Rampage lid with that amount of cash .. Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 12
 Can someone please tell me what's so wrong with 26 inch wheels that we need to go an inch larger?
As far as I can tell, a really well sorted 26 -- Yeti SB 66C or Ibis Mojo HD come to mind -- seem to be ideal for having fun on the trail.
  • + 24
 Nothing. What the bike industry needs is innovation on the production side to help bring costs down and not this constant over-design that's so rampant. But I suppose it's easier to add an extra inch to a wheel and call it innovation instead of trying to improve manufacturing process to build higher quality components at more affordable price points. /cynicism
  • + 5
 As a proud owner of a Mojo HD, I tend to agree.

BUT - I also love my HD because I can ride it as a 6'er or a 650b'er with minimal effort (but I fear it takes more than minimal coin). That's kick ass IMHO.

As far as the Tracer's cost - that is a lot of money. But I'm American, and I'd be proud to ride a bike made by hand IN America. There aren't many of those these days.
  • + 5
 The only people who really GOT 650B from the start, were the ones who are let's face it... middle-aged and with decades of mountain biking experience. We're the user group who've done it all, ridden it all, and don't need to develop new skills to change bikes. We've also lived thru the real major periods and trends of mtb development, and know what's a fad and what isn't just a fad. The trick is trying to convince younger folk that we're not senile. As to your really well sorter 26 comment, the Mojo HD...is (in the 140mm version) officially 650B compatible also. Apparently its good enough for the boys at Ibis to ride their bikes that way, and designers at other companies like Intense to love the wheelsize, but consumers... especially the ones for this internet publication... resist change like they resist going to the dentist...
  • + 10
 There is absolutely nothing wrong with 26". I have never owned anything else and I have three of them at the moment!

BUT! Why stick with the same old concepts if there are better options? Both the bikes and what we use them for has changed drastically since 26" was decided as the standard, so why not try different wheel sizes as well?
29" is not for me. I see the point and the advantage, but I feel that the disadvantages (for me) are greater. Maybe the 650B is the perfect combination that will make me happy. Who knows?

Just remember, that no one is forcing anyone into buying something that they don't want. So there is no need to get all frustrated and anxious about bike manufactures trying out new ideas.
  • + 2
 Brian Lopes rides 26", middle aged and has ridden everything. The 650B is an option, that has pros AND cons. If we're having fun on our bikes why switch?

Btw, also middle aged, started out on a Univega, have a 650b compatible bike and see nothing that's "needs" to be improved in the 26".
  • + 1
 Yep Brian is still sponsored and racing, but he also does development work for X-Fusion and Ibis, and Ibis has officially confirmed the Mojo HDs are 650B compatible (the 140 without modification, the 160 needs a travel limiter to keep the tire smacking the back of the seattube) and all the X-Fusion forks are 650B compatible, so chances are Brian has spent time riding them.
  • - 1
 Just putting 650b wheels on a frame designed for 26" only gets you the rolling/approach angle benefits. The low BB height that DH bikes are so critical of is easily the 1st or 2nd argument for why larger wheeled frames handle differently.
  • - 1
 @rattpoison... did you not read the geometry chart? 13.3" is a low BB height for a 150mm travel frame.
  • + 2
 Mojo HD is also rip-sh*t-up-atible I've found
  • + 0
 @deight PLUS (23 hours ago): Is the tracer 275 a "frame designed for 26" wheels" with 650b wheels on it? NO. I was clearly referring to the Mojo HD and other 26" frames with 650b wheels on them. This whole Gdam article is about a 27.5 frame, how can this even be confusing?
[Reply]
  • + 8
 When is BMX gonna get with the program and change that little wheel size?! And Motorcycles for that matter. Get with the times other cycle sports and make 3 different wheel sizes like us cool mountain bikers!
  • + 12
 I figure you're being sarcastic but doesn't BMX already has as many wheel sizes as mtb? 16", 18", 20", even some 24"...
  • + 5
 also 22" now
  • + 0
 and also 26 ".
Moreover, in the BMX wheel size has NEVER replaced the other!
  • + 0
 29'ers too. Not that there good, but they are made.
  • + 3
 Yes but BMX'ers don't go around whining about new wheel size options like mountain bikers do....
  • + 3
 Deeeight :
MTB, attempts to replace wheel size by another, which is not the case in BMX. Mountain biking, if a new size wheels arrive, it must be done IN ADDITION, not a replacement.
  • + 0
 There is no evil conspiracy to replace the 26" wheelsize in mountain biking. But if the people who are actually spending money stop buying bikes with a certain wheel size, at a certain price level or type of model...manufacturers will switch to models that there IS demand for instead. Even without 650B, Rocky Mountain Bicycles have all but eliminated 26" models from their lineup EXCEPT for their full suspension models, the slopestyle/dirtjump bikes, and three "recreational" level XC models below $1100 retail. Last year they had nine XC hardtail models below the vertex (which were ALL 29ers, the vertex 26ers got dropped after 2011) ranging from the trailhead model down to the flare and of those only three were 29ers while six were 26ers. This year there are only seven below the vertex and four of them are 29ers and the trailhead isn't among those three 26ers remaining. The Altitude model has now converted all to 650B (from previous 26er and 29er offerings) for 2013 and its rocky's only 650B model thus far. But they also have several new full suspension 26ers including a slayer SS, and the Instinct that didn't exist last year. In 2011 they had an AM hardtail model called the Reaper but those were both dropped due to poor sales, and that was the last year of offering the steel blizzard model even as a bare frame.

If you and others do not like this sort of trend from bike companies... you need to start voting with your wallets and BUYING the bikes that they're discontinuing to show manufacturers there is sufficient demand to justify continued production of them.
  • + 1
 I got the same thinking with the invasion of any part-suspended in 2004-2005. For manufacturers, the ranges were mostly in TS and upscale. From 3-4 years, was found in the Semi Rigid upscale thanks to light weight.They spend the same scenario with the wheel size. The 26 "comes, as it will be lighter, stiffer, more manageable, more nervous and player. Smile
  • + 8
 Lately I find myself very disenfranchised with the increasing prices of bikes and parts. Why does a set of brakes for a bike cost more then brakes for a car? If you look at the level of inflation of bike prices it is astounding. Who really buys these $5000 bikes? That costs almost as much as my tuition, not to mention is 25% of a new car (albeit a compact), or a used car!
  • - 3
 @EllioMoose...

People with jobs buy them. And the reason bike parts cost more than car parts is number one, production quantities and number two, cars are actually sold at losses or very little profit because the brands know that they'll make it up in long term repair/maintenance costs several times over. If you added up the replacement part prices for the stuff that goes into a car... it'll be three to five times what the complete car sells for. With bicycles, the parts versus complete ratio is maybe 1.3 to 1.5 times as much. The Porsche 959 was one of the first "supercars" twenty plus years ago, and Porsche sold every single one of them at a financial loss. But most every one of them is still running and still being maintained by their owners, with pricey parts. My own car is a 1990 Saab 9000S. Its got about 340,000kms on the engine, transmission and even original clutch. To get a replacement ignition module I had to go looking on ebay to find a used one two years ago and it cost me $150 for what is essentially a little magnet with a wire coming from it that measures the crank speed and tells the direct ignition system when to fire the plugs. A NEW one, ordered from sweden would have been $600, and this for a car that if I tried to resell I would have a hard time getting a thousand for. But if I parted it out on ebay or kijiji to other saab owners, I could probably make three or four thousand.
  • - 2
 deeeight...I say it again : You are a tool!!
  • + 9
 Brake Pads for my car = £9 (for both front sets.. so 2 pairs)

Brake Pads for my bike with XT = £25 (for one set)

Brake Pads for my bike(s) with Hope = £12 (for one set)

I am a little miffed by how much more i pay, for what is essentially the same sintered pad.. only a HELL of a lot less of it.

I also might like to add, that I get through pads on my bikes a damned sight quicker than i do on my car..

i've owned my car for over a year now.. changed the pads once.. i've owned my bike with XT for 6 months.. I'm on my 3rd set of pads! (not to mention the hope equipped bikes).

I'm aware that winter conditions are mostly to blame.. and I'm also aware that this story has nothing to do with brakes.. but i saw what EllioMoose said and felt the need to vent.

Apologies.. carry on!
  • + 5
 With the exception of serious racers, most of the money spent on MTBs is just overkill. The last few seasons I've noticed a large increase of people on the trails with blinged out 5-6" AM bikes that have pretty average fitness / bike skills. The good thing is that innovation usually trickles down ( disc brakes, suspension tech, etc. ) and there will be more nice bikes on the used market when the trail-yuppies decide they need the latest über-gizmo to go fast.
  • + 0
 Yes but hundreds of millions of brake pads are made on automated machines that are quite large, for cars... the tooling to do bicycle sized brake pads are much smaller, and they're not manufactured to the same scales so the unit costs are greater. As to hope versus XT... the hope's are a british brand and likely made right there in the UK... and the XT's are japanese and imported five thousand miles.
  • + 2
 @deeeight: "People with jobs"... you self righteous... I will refrain. It is also very clear you know very little about how car companies work, but let's not dwell on the past.
  • - 5
 Well given how I've owned cars longer than you've been alive, and paid for my own repairs and have done my own maintenance, I'd say I know a good deal more than someone complaining about the price tags of used cars, let alone of modern mountain bikes. And yes, the self righteous comes with knowing I'm right. Someday you'll know you're right about something also, but today isn't that day.
  • + 5
 Bike pricing: 150-400 factory cost for a dualsuspension AM bike - pricing varies according to bulksize. Shoppricing depends on brand-standing relative to the "competition" which essentially sells the same bike from the same factory.

Marketsaturation is a problem, industry tries to solve it by declaring 26 bikes obsolescent and introducing 29 - which failed - and now try the schtick with 650b. Pinkbike is playing the obsolescence game. That is what they are paid to do.

Our commentssection is an important tool for a marketresearcher, probably the most important and accurate trendmeter in the whole industry.. They now have to come to grips that they need to partner with the customer (right, that guy/gal who actually has the cash) because the customerbase is getting to a point where they do not buy (part with their cash) underengineered and overpriced stuff. This is an elite driven buying decision - and the marketeers are in for a steep learning curve or the elite will just not buy from them - as Spec, Trek and some other brands find out - it is a demand driven industry rather than a market.
  • + 3
 I love how the first thing @deeeight does before making a reply to someone is to check how old they are. So then he can say he is so so wise
  • + 0
 I do check ages when people are making statements that make me question how little life experience they might have in the real world. When they start going on about the price of bikes versus tuition.. and how could anyone spend this sort of money on bikes.... its pretty obvious they're not very old, and they don't know what a real job is yet. When you start making 15k or more beyond your living expenses a year, you have money to spend on other things. Also once you've established a credit history and can show a source of regular income, you can do what we adults call... FINANCE IT.
  • + 0
 deeight, I had a similar discussion regarding life experience and the ability to critically evaluate products and marketing trends. I basically got neg propped into oblivion by the kids who felt experience wasn't important, because, well they have no experience to see how important it is. Your comments are among the few that are presented reasonably, are readable, and do not resort to name calling and insults when they run out of reasonable ideas.

I agree with the improtance of a real job. I have been in the same field for 20 years, and can afford nicer equipment as well. I drove used cars for many years. keeping them up to 500,000km before replacing. I do not feel it is inappropriate that a middle aged intermediate rider (me) spends a good chunk of coin on nice equipment. I can afford it and enjoy it.

I have been around for long enough to know 650b is a good idea, and was intrigued when I read of Kirk Pacenti having a tire made for the size years ago. It just made sense that this is the way forward, and once I tried it, it felt better than I could imagine.
  • + 2
 @deeeight: There is truth in what you have said. However, I do not approve of the way you go about saying it. I think you have blown out of proportion my previous comment, where i pointed out how the price of the bike was as much as my tuition. I work in a bike shop and see how many bikes worth 5000 dollars come into the store i work at each week, and I can tell you not a lot. When I am at the trails I have noticed very few people have bikes that cost 5000 dollars. I full well realize people with disposable incomes who have a passion for cycling buy these bikes, but what I am saying is those people are few. If you want to make a point, try not to be such an arse when you do it, then people will listen.
  • - 1
 Well perhaps where your ride its the few but where i ride, the few are the ones on cheaper bikes... Say around a grand or so. The main trail network here in ottawa is called the south march highlands and its several hundred acres of city owned forests, marshland and small lakes located next to a large housing development area of very pricey (they start north of a quarter million) homes, several golf courses and the high tech hub of canada long known as silicon valley north. The ottawa-gatineau region has more bicycle stores per capita than any other region of canada and it shows in how many cyclists are out in the trails or on the roads every day, year round. The summer group rides on xc trails i take part in, the median pricd of the bikes is around $3k, and those belong to a couple of sixty plus year old retirees.
  • - 1
 @ ElioMoose: one of the skills we learn as we move into the adult world is to accept and evaluate a message regardless of whether we like the way it is presented. I do not mean this as an insult or to start an argument, but this piece of advice was given to me by a very wise man when I was 16, and it has helped me greatly throughout my life.

High end bicycles are not marketed or intended to be purchased by the young, they can't afford them. When we look at all hobbies enjoyed by young males, we see a resurgance of money spent when those people hit middle age, where the kids are leaving home, the mortgage is paid off, the promotions/raises have come in etc. These are the people spending big money on their passions. Some will be swayed by gimmicks, but those who have been successful enough have some disposable income have some ability to not get taken in. Unfortunately, the only way to learn these skills is to live life, and do so for many years with hundreds of thousands of experiences.
  • + 0
 ugh, the condescending lectures are getting out of hand.
  • - 4
 The teenage narcissism has been out of hand for quite some time though......
  • + 1
 I'm sorry Willie, but your such a flaming hypocrite. Hop off your high horse and do some self reflection. Narcissism, really?
  • - 4
 look up the definition if you don't know what it means or see how it applies.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Buddy of mine uses a Tracer as a single speed parkbike - seen some massive abuse for years and still fine. Why someone wants huge wheels on a capable and flickable Tracer is beyond me... Got a 951 since last year. Build quality is beautiful. Frameengineering seems to evolutiv. The Intense rear closed triangle works well with low springrates, is not the stiffest - there is sometimes some bind with the bearings in the lower, unequal length parallelogram. I fear that the stiff airshock on the Tracer will hurt the bearing action.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 My dad has a carbine which is the carbon fiber version of this bike(pretty much same geo) I have taken it up to the trails and let me tell you, Intense is knows riders!!! this bike feels like a mini dh rig. Can't say enough good stuff about this company and their bikes
[Reply]
  • + 4
 RC: One thing that bugs me about this review - apparently the wheel size has something to do with keeping the front wheel planted and tracking while maintaining rear traction. Isn't this just a case of the bike fitting the rider well? Things like wheelbase, top tube length, stem length, chainstay length, BB height all affect center of gravity of the rider and weight distribution, and therefore the ability to climb, not to mention descend and turn. Giving the wheel size most of the credit is misleading. I see the same thing happening in other 26 vs 650B vs 700C articles, and not just on PB.

It would be more accurate to say that "the test bike fit the rider well, and he had no trouble on climbs and ripped the descents, and we wished we had a Tracer in the other wheel sizes so we could see which one was the most fun".
  • + 0
 The problem with that theory is that manufacturers usually only provide ONE test bike to a publication, and then they have several riders use it while putting a review together. If you look at the photos, that isn't RC riding it. MBA has their "wrecking crew" for example, I'm sure PB has a similar group of test riders on staff. One person's name will go into writing the article but the facts presented will usually come from many sources. So in order to have several riders test a bike, unless they're clones or quadruplets or something, they have to adjust the fit to suit each rider. This is often when you see reviews with photos where one picture there are clipless pedals on the bike, another photo it has flats, and another there is a totally different model/make of clipless pedals as from the first picture, and the stem length / spacer configuration on the steerer keeps changing between pictures.
  • + 1
 "... apparently the wheel size has something to do with keeping the front wheel planted and tracking while maintaining rear traction ..."
I have read in another Article that this is maybe the effect of the Rider being lower between the Wheel-Axles, due to the lower BB-Height and therefor lower Center of Gravity. The downside might be more Effort/Momentum to lift the Front or to manual because of that, depending on Geo some Brands put on their 650Bs.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I find the Pro 650b activists on Pinkbike to be equally as aggressive as the Pro anything that isn't Apple activists on the rest of the internet.

It's like these people troll the internet, looking for people who they can tap violently in the forehead with their index cyber finger whilst loudly repeating "Think like me! Think like me!"

Going on like 650b... and anything that isn't Apple.. are the cures to all forms of cancer and the particularly aggressive strain of Feline AIDS.

Chill the fuçk out yo... and go ahead! Roll around on your big ass wheels with your big ass phones.. not gonna make your dick any bigger, but i guess you've figured that out by now.
  • - 2
 The pro 650b people are noteably the ones who OWN and RIDE these bikes, and GET IT!!! The have experienced the ride and do know it is revolutionary. The ones against it are the ones who haven't ridden it, and therefore are just blabbing nonsensical opinion.
  • - 1
 ^ Case and point ^

'Look out lads! This one's a biter!'
  • - 3
 Puzzling, somehow you think you make sense?????
  • + 2
 The sense is, that your response was overly aggressive (see my the first sentence of my original comment). CAPS and excessive !!!s denotes shouting.. and looks like you're screaming at your computer as you type.

I liken you to Jehovah's witness'

I know you're there, and I have absolutely no problem with you, after all.. variety is the spice of life... But as I read through this thread, I can see that you're the type of JW that stops me on the street, or knocks on my door.. preaching the gospel of 650b... and I have no time for your condescending demeanour.

I have also read in this thread, how you're talking to these 'kids', who truth be told, would most likely be able to ride circles around you. I'm 30 and I still race.. and I know for a fact that these 'kids' are getting much better, and going much bigger than they did when i was a nipper... it doesn't get any easier the older you get.

You also don't know what it's like to walk in another persons shoes, whether they be 13, 30 or 300... So you don't pass judgment on people.. because you diminish yourself.

I myself have ridden a 650b.. and felt absolutely no way about it.. one of my frame's can accommodate 650b wheels.. but i've stuck with 26". Not because I'm resistant to change, or because I'm young and inexperienced.. but because I found myself to be indifferent to the difference.

Oh and BTW, my next bike is likely to be a rigid single speed 29er... but I'm sure you'll have something to say about that also.
  • + 1
 Criticizing the people who have ridden the 650b size and like it, calling them trolls, but supporting those who haven't ridden it as being the informed., more rational population is odd. I have never disputed that the kids can outride a middle aged man. That just makes sense. What does that have to do with being able to report a real world appraisal of a product to diffuse the uninformed propoganda spewed by people who have no experience with the product? It seems to me the people who have never ridden the product are the ones with the bone to pick. The supporters of the product are simply providing the rational counter argument. Your argument is irrational from the start.
  • + 1
 Oh enjoy your 29"SS. I hear they are fun. I thought about one a few years ago, but knee problems and hilly terrain prevented the idea from becoming a reality.
  • + 1
 You should probably re-read my original comment.. I only criticise 650b 'activists'. I don't fight on the side of the 26er, I merely goad (more or less invite) a typical 650b activist response... Which you provided! Most pro 26" riders comments, are about their aversion to the extra cost of yet another wheel standard... Which is like a red flag to a 650b activist. You guys immediately pounce on the individual, and question their integrity, or right to an opinion. Bringing in age, or experience etc..

My point (which you seem to have missed) is that you behave like scientologists do when threatened.. only, no-one's really being as aggressive or even as petulant as you..

Hence the "^ Case and point ^" comment earlier... your response was set up, by me, to make a point... The point being: RELAX. If you're so desperate for people to think like you, and you believe wholly and completely in the superiority of 650b.. then stop ramming it down peoples throats. Most people are probably less likely to try it because of an encounter with your attitude.

My argument (again, which you seem to have mis-read or more than likely, not read) is not about the pros or cons of 650b.. it is about YOU, the ACTIVIST... and how much you remind me of a Jehovah's Witness, or Scientologist
  • + 0
 You missed my point: comparing those who are pro, and those who are against is not reasonable at all. People can and should have strong opinions, once they have experience with the idea, something completely missing from one side of the argument. I am aware you are complaining about those with informed opinions and experience, and feel they are just as extreme as those who are against the wheel size.

The religeaous zealots do not require evidence for their opinions, nor do the 26" activists. The comparison is flawed.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 its great looking ride. its also about 2200 dollars outta my price range..go figure ill keep climbing with my trance x3
[Reply]
  • + 6
 looks like a great bike but 5200$ r u serious ? oh well guess ill stick with my 26inch
  • + 2
 Yeah dido...looks like a cool bike, but there are planty of good AM/XC bikes out there for less $
  • + 2
 Yah but you have look at the parts spec. Full XT, with fox suspension and a dropper post. 5200 is actually reasonable for what you get.
  • + 2
 y dont they review a less expensive model than ( if there is one) its true that this bike comes with great spec but in this days not sure how many ppl have spare 5200$ for a bike, bike companies should look around see whats going on all over the world with the economy but i guess thats a diffrent story, anyway great bike
  • + 2
 There is a 400 USD up-charge for the RockShox Reverb stealth. It's still not cheap, but the post is a healthy bite in the wallet.
  • + 1
 For what you are getting I think it's a good value! Intense like Santa Cruz are what I would consider "Boutique" bikes. In fact (correct me if I am wrong) Intense is still producing almost all of there aluminum dual suspension frames in the USA not Taiwan or China. Just for argument a comparably trimmed Blur LT that its competing against with no dropper runs $5090.
Like I said these are "Boutique" bikes that are not focused at the lower price point of the market even with "whats going on all over the world with the economy" we still sell a number of $5000 + Santa Cruz 29er's I hope the same will be said with the Intense 27.5" beautiful bike!
  • + 1
 Exactly what nissmo127 said. An aluminium Intense, like the Tracer, are all handmade in the USA, only their carbon fiber bikes are made overseas. This isn't a big bike company, more boutique style, but the prices are reasonable in my mind. Nice review RC, I was curious as to how the Tracer rode 27.5,as you can buy dropouts to convert a 26inch one to 27.5.
  • + 1
 well thats a pretty good idea than...can any tracer get the dropouts for the 27.5, or just the latest models ?
  • + 1
 I believe any Tracer 2 can get the dropouts, don't quote me on it though!
  • + 1
 aight thank you :-)
[Reply]
  • + 5
 A great rational article RC, thankyou...as for wheelsizes, I'll have one (or several) of each....
[Reply]
  • + 2
 once you've owned and ridden an Intense hard, you realy don't want any other bike out there ever, since owning my 6.6, everytime i think of a new frame (and there are plenty good ones out there) i keep coming back to Intense, will always be on one
[Reply]
  • + 1
 26 is just as arbitrary a number as 29. 650b or 27.5 is the closest there is to a scientifically proven "right" wheel size. It's perfectly proportional, and really has no travel restraints and no glaring negative aspects. It rides like a 26 but with enhanced riding characteristics (traction, cornering, roll over). If we started from scratch there would be only one wheel size,650b. I have a carbine 275. Most satisfying machine I've ever owned, and I've owned over 30 bikes in my 19 years of riding.
  • + 1
 If more tire companies than Nokia had been producing 2" wide off-road tread 650B tires and shipping larger quantities of them to america, specifically california 35 years ago.... mountain bikes would have standardized around 650B from the start and we'd never have had 26" except for kids bikes.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Review seems biased, I mean is a 30+ lb bike really going to climb and accelerate well? I'm sure it's a well built bike but companies are all claiming to have the best machine for doing it all but im sure none of them climb as well as they say.
  • + 1
 VPP climbs very well. IMO, best climbing design out there. I have a nearly 40 lb Cove that climbs fantastic.
  • + 1
 Best ever climbing bike was my 1988 purplish silvermet. Marin Pinemountain with front skinny slick and fat rear slick. Grip of a slick or MTB tire back then was about the same, the slick rolled a bit better though. Workd hard for that bike - my pride - got stolen. Worst summer of my life.
  • + 1
 climbs well relative to similar bikes. Ive ridden VPP and it felt almost like a hardtail when transferring energy to the rear. a lot of dual sus designs are like that, I once was on a pivot firebird demo and it had some shifting issues, only had access to 5 gears but it was still able to climb over anything the xc guys were doing, albeit at a slower rate.
  • + 1
 My Intense Uzzi is my do-it-all bike, and it climbs extremely well despite the 36 lbs. VPP and Intense are where it's at. They're expensive and you get what you pay for.
  • + 1
 Not all of us feel it is important to be on the lightest machine possible. I'm happy to climb my 35lb'er all day - for people like me, this bike is light. I'd rather have the confidence going into a blind drop or chute knowing my ride has a few extra pounds of aluminium holding it together, than the least amount of material to meet the minimum acceptable strength standard.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "It is great to see Kenda back 650B with a classic tire like the Nevegal, but it's a bit dated" Tell me that you don't like the nevegal for (insert your reasons here) or you think it's doesn't do any good on the bike handling or whatever... but not because it's "Dated". Completely useless comment.
  • + 0
 Sorry mate, I don't want to beat on an old friend. Kenda's Nevegal was the first big tire with aggressive tread that used angled blocks to get a good roll. Everyone uses those tricks now, and most good DH and AM tires roll faster. The Nevegal still puts in a good performance, but she's a bit dated.
  • + 1
 And the only size version of the Nevegal that can really said to roll well is the 26 x 1.95 as its the lightest of them, and has the shortest knob heights. The knobs get deeper/thicker on the 2.1 and 2.35 casings and the weight goes up substantially. The 26 x 2.35 Nevegal weighs more than the 650B x 2.3 Neo-Moto.
  • + 1
 flip the rear nevegal backwards...for strength!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Deeeeeight, actually the cost of production of cars and parts, for commercial cars, like Ford fusion etc, is really Low, around 6k, maybe you are referring to prototypes when you say that companies loose money on them. They make a hell of a profit but spend it all in other Costs, like jets, and "programmed plant maintenance work".

As far as the bikes, the only reason prices are so High, is that there is too much innovation going on, it's worst than computers, every year, something new and expensive coming out, and there is a lot of "got to have it" consumers out there. It's capitalism. It would be bad if we did not have less expensive options, but we do.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I have a the tracer 275, switched out the unneeded three rings up front to a single 32, lightened up some parts, it's a sub 30 beast. Works great, love it, highgly recommend it. Just raced it at this weekends enduro, and it performed excellent. Can't say the same for myself, but the intense guys were there and they are an excellent crew of people.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Dear Richard, I'm currently stuck in the (very muddy) UK, struggling to keep any 650B bikes upright in the mud. From your list of "a lot of tyre options for 650B", could you please tell me what wet weather options there are?
  • + 2
 Can't be a good source for mud info. It's perfect weather here most of the time, and when it is muddy, the clay here is super sticky - wads up on the tires an inch thick. I spend a lot of time in Europe riding mud, and Schwalbe tires are my favorite there - Muddy Mary or Hans Dampf. Any UK Mudmen out there with suggestions?
  • - 1
 We have mud here in canada, the local variety is heavy clay content so depending on local drainage its either sticky clumpy or slicker than teflon. In my experience, open treads like racing ralphs shed mud well, but they also tend to break traction quickly. NeoMoto's pack up with mud and don't have a great compound for wet conditions. Quasi-motos have minimal tread so they fling off mud great but like RaRa's can slide out also quite easily if you then hit a wet root or rock (or a dry one with a wet from mud tire). The Nobby Nics and Hans Dampfs should be the best options for new 650B treads. Go for a trailstar compound if you can find one. Kenda is bringing the Karma out in a 650B and that is traditionally a very good mud tire in my experience. Hopefully they'll do it in the DTC compound and not just the L3R like they did the 29er.
  • + 1
 i use maxxis swamp things dh super tacky tyres for most of the year i swear by them yeah theres drag but they keep me going where i want to go. my little bro uses knobbly nic's and they work for him but he doesn't ride as mental as some people do, hope this helps.
  • + 2
 ignore me i dont ride a 650b and didn't read the question properly but id recommend those tyres if they make them that size but they probably don't
  • - 2
 They don't yet but they probably will in 2014. So far Maxxis has announced 650B versions of the crossmark 2.1, the Ardent 2.25 (regular and exo casings) and the high-roller II 2.4 (super-tacky compound only)
  • + 0
 Ok deeeight and Richard, but that's not a lot of help. I'm talking MUD tyres for @%#tty British trail riding...
  • - 1
 Well then find what tires the 26ers and 29er riders use locally for mud, and see if the manufacturers make them in 650Bs.. get off your lazy butt and do your own research if you don't like our answers.
  • + 2
 Misconceptions +100 I too am having fun with the mud I am currently hand cutting tires to get what I need. I went so far as purchasing a tire groover to make it faster and easier. Cut Hans Dampf and Nevegals seem to work the best although the Nevegals are slick on roots!
  • + 2
 deeeight - no need to get angry! Surely as a 650B rider, I'm the one entitled to the anger. There's absolutely NOTHING available for mud riding on 650B. I could suggest 26 and 29 tyres until I'm blue in the face, but none of them are in 650B. At all.
  • - 2
 Really? We've told you already of several that are available... the Hans Dampf 2.35 Trailstar compound is a prime example of one, MBUK gave it 4/5 stars in last month's test review for dirty weather tires, and I think being a british mag, they test in british mud and Schwalbe makes it in a 650B size.
  • + 2
 I ride on the alberta side of the rockes, and the slick mud is teflon. The nobby nick is the best tire I have used in those conditions, bar none- including the holy grail coolaid drinking maxxis, but don't have them in 650b yet. I want to try the hans damph when the nobby nicks wear out.
  • + 1
 I am sure they got great reviews however they work marginal at best in the Oregon muck I ride in this time of year! I usually ride mud or full spikes this time of year. However there are neither for 27.5" yet I hope there will be some by next winter! Here is a quick tire list of what I know of please ad/edit if I'm wrong or missed any!
Schwalbe= Rob/Ron/Nic/Ralph and Dampf
Kenda= Nevegal
Hutchison= Cobra/Cougar and Toro
Maxxis= Ardent and Crossmark
Conti=?
Ritchey= Shield
WTB= Wolverine
Interloc= Fire XC
Pacenti= Neo-Moto and Quasi-Moto
Vredestein= Black Panther-TLR-XTRAC-Extreme and Spotted Cat
  • - 1
 Vee Rubber has nearly a dozen models for 650B either in production already and available thru QBP or on the way down the pipeline in the next few months. Maxxis is doing the High Roller II in the super-tacky, and two casing versions of the Ardent. Dugast has handmade tubular 650Bs for the elite racer-types. Kenda announced the Slant Six and Karma 650Bs would be available this year.
  • + 1
 deeeight, you just don't get it, do you? Maybe you need to come over here and ride some proper mud, but Hans Dampf - as good as they are - will never be a full-on mud tyre. I'm quite aware of MBUK... I know enough of them to know where they test and what they think, and I'm sure they will agree with me. 650B is missing a trick here whether you like it or not.
  • + 0
 I'm sorry that you think you know proper mud, but until you've ridden in leda clay rich soil, you don't have a clue. This is soil that when it gets over-saturated with moisture, SHEARS away... whole towns have disappeared in this part of ontario. One day you could be riding a trail and see damp looking mud and think "oh it should be solid enough" and then sink HUB deep into thick packed mud that promptly stops your wheel and launches you over the bars, and then just over the next ridgeline you'll find that 100 feet of trail are now down at the bottom of the ravine. I know mud... and I also know there are now a lot of johnny come latelies to 650B bikes who are displaying a really overdeveloped sense of entitlement in expecting the tire industry to have caught up with dedicated mud tires which are limited sellers as is for 26" sizing, for a market segment that did not have ANY available off-road tires seven years ago.
  • + 1
 I've got 26s, 650s and 29s on the go at the moment, and there's no sense of entitlement, just a query as to the choice of words in "a lot of tyre options". Mud tyres aren't "limited sellers" though - if you look at any uplift truck, they're on the bikes for at least a quarter of the year. The only sense of entitlement I can see is yours, as you misguidedly cling to the firm belief that nobody else can be right. On that point, Maxxis Highrollers have been around for much longer than seven years, just as one example of off-road tyres.
  • + 0
 You own 650Bs but don't know what tires are available already and coming available this model year? Really? And how long have you had 650Bs then ?
This time last year, there was a total of SEVEN tire models to choose from six brands, and we're now up to two dozen models and growing from over a dozen brands.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 One thing that is grossly apparent at least to me is the bike has 160mm of rear travel mated to a 150mm trail fork! It appears that these bikes are going to be aiming at the 26" Enduro All mountain crowd and since most of us already ride 20mm forks and wheels why aren't there any 150/ 160mm travel 35/ 36mm wide stanchion 20mm thru axle 27.5" forks???
If you take a look at those of us who did conversions to are 26" bikes a large majority used Fox Float 36 160. Why Fox and Shimano Has pushed this 15mm trail axle into the 150mm + range just seems stupid to me when a 20mm thru can be made to have the approx the same weight with better stiffness then the 15mm trail axle!

Attention Fox RockShox Manitou etc...make a 27.5" fork with 20mm thru axle, 35/36mm stanchions and 160mm travel!
  • + 1
 X-Fusion site says their Vengeance forks are 650b compatible. Up to 170mm travel, 20mm axle, 36mm stanchions.
  • + 1
 Yeah accept I don't run their products and that is one out of many. The two biggest players Fox and RS have not even touched the long travel(160+) and all of there 650b forks are 15mm.
Like I said myself and many others run Fox Float 36mm 26" fork(although without mods some will buzz the lower crown) it would be nice to have a 27.5" version to replace it with when I get a new bike this year. If Fox and RS would just look at what the majority of 150mm to 160mm 27.5" converted bikes are running they would see what they are putting out is just not adequate
  • + 1
 Rockshox Lyrik forks fit 650B tires.
  • + 1
 "Rockshox Lyrik forks fit 650B tires."

Yes and no I started with that fork but I had arch clearance issues so rather then grinding the arch I ended up getting a Fox....but even the fox I still get a occasional stuck rock and I had to shorten the travel 5mm so I actually have a Float 155mm
You are missing the point we need more 27.5" specific forks in the 160mm + travel range that use a 20mm thru axle....
  • + 1
 And we have them... X-Fusion Vengence for starters... if you refuse to run their products, that is not the fault of anyone but yourself. The 150/160mm 650B FACTORY BUILT trail bike market is brand new, to this current model year. Expecting instant product releases and developments from the brands you want is a very "please me please me please me" whiney sort of attitude to be displaying. Any DH fork with a 20mm axle and rated clearance for a 26 x 2.7 tire or larger will work with a 650B x 2.35, which is as big as 650Bs come currently. The Fox 36 and 40s are specifically NOT rated for 650Bs as their maximum safe rated tire diameter is 27.3". If you want to know the tire clearances of other companies 20mm axle forks, why not email them and ask ?
  • + 1
 deeeight you make everything around you difficult don't you...
I don't refuse to run their products I work at a shop that does not carry or service their products and I try to run what we carry and since I voided the warranty on my forks running a 27.5" I would like to be able to perform service in house. Just like when customers ask about my non specific 27.5 bike I tell them Do not carry out the mods that I have done, however it rides great ...blah blah blah and when you have a chance to ride a 27.5" specific bike do it.

Where the hell did I say I wanted instant response? How am I whining when I say look at what is already being done make something for that? Like you stated the X-Fusion has a LT 20mm and many 27.5" conversions are LT 20mm thru so make that not a 140/150 15mm trail fork.

It seems bike manufactures are focusing on converting 26" guys to bigger wheels more than trying to convert 29" guys to a smaller wheel and most of the the 26" guys run 20mm thru and for a frame like this longer travel. The Frame manufacturers here states "the chassis is built tough enough to compete at the highest level of Enduro" and it has a trail fork a really good fork but still a trail fork.
If you have one segment making longer travel All mountain/Enduro bikes to bring up 26" guys and fork manufacturers making 15mm thru trail forks that the 29" and trail guys are running it just seems like a mismatch to me.

But that is why I just ride the bikes and don't market them!
  • + 1
 "Any DH fork with a 20mm axle and rated clearance for a 26 x 2.7 tire or larger will work with a 650B x 2.35"
Actually my boxxer is said max tire size 2.7 and a 2.3 kenda 27.5 will not fit! I wish it were that simple the axle to arch height as well as its shape comes into play. If you live were there is heavy clay type mud and gravel you may not be able to run a 2.3 in the winter even with clearance you will have to drop to a smaller tire.

"The Fox 36 and 40s are specifically NOT rated for 650Bs"
NO 26" specific fork from RS, Fox or any other manufacturer is meant to run a 27.5 and if you ask them for info to run one they will not give it.
That said the Fox has one of the best crown clearance out of the 26" non specific forks and if you make sure the tire does not "Buzz" the crown you are all good. I also ran a RockShox Revolution XX 29" with a 20mm thru but because of its A to C and flex was not the best choice compared to the Fox 36
  • + 1
 It was a typo. The bike has 140/153 rear travel. With a 150 up front (standard). Some guys run 160 in the front.
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  • + 1
 ...it's not the bike, it's the rider that does the climbing. Doesn't matter how nice the bike you have, but if you are not fit to ride it...you are not going to have the same experience. There's no new innovation here, just different packaging.
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  • + 1
 Hi folks, its jones here from dirt magazine, having some really positive riding on 650 bikes (including the Norco Range and Cube Stereo) however im really struggling to find proper mud tyres for these bikes, yes the hans damfs in trail and vert star compound are excellent but Im not talking 50/50 here. I want rubber that cuts it in the conditions we have in wet conifer woods and handcut local tracks. I'd be at a disadvantage to riders on 26 and 29
  • + 1
 Maxxis HighRollerII in supertacky should be available retail by the time of sea otter.
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  • + 2
 I think that a mention of how big wheel bikes handle switchbacks should be included in reviewing them. We all know benefits, but for 5k we would also like to know the drawbacks.
  • + 4
 Just went out yesterday with my mates on one of the most fun switchback trail I've ridden in years - lots of rocks and steps. Nailed some pretty impossible looking stuff. Excellent - doesn't turn in slow like my 29er. Never got stopped in the spaces between boulders either - rolled over everything, even at slow speeds.
  • + 1
 That is awesome . Adding to the review, based on user comments. Thanks.
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  • + 1
 peaple go im starting out and dont see need for 26 inch to improve YOU ARE A PERSON WHO JUST JOINED!!!!!!! for petes sake you know nearly nothing you just started how do you know if theres somthing to be improved for all you know riding a 650B COULD MAKE YOU HAVE WET DREAMS ABOUT RIDING!! start talking when you have riden 26 650B and 29er till then let the arguement take its course
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  • + 2
 I wished they would make a carbon tracer. The carbine 275 wasnt originally designed for the 275 but an adaptation from 26 using dropouts.
  • + 1
 I Totally agree with you! I just got my first ride on the Carbine and honestly I like my Tracer VP way more. Albeit it weighs a little more, but the Carbine wasn't as fun on the DH....why didn't Intense just make a carbon Tracer, then introduce the Carbine a few years down the road...
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  • + 1
 Add the Tracer275 to the my growing list of potential next bikes. I'm on a SC Blur LT at the moment and have no complaints on how the VPP climbs, so would not hesitate to give this bike a try.
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  • + 1
 Great review... and killer bike. I was super impressed when I demo'd one and this bike totally changed my perception of 27.5" wheels. If I could own only one bike, this would be it.
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  • + 1
 You know what makes this bike and many like it incredible... Fox suspension! Fox its time to cut out the middle man, and give the world the finest engineered, complete Fox bike. Just saying!
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  • + 1
 And do not forget that no material can replace the training! Because if not for a minimum of physical and tecnhique, it will not be better with the best bike in the world!
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  • + 1
 So when are the timed runs on 29, 27.5 and 26 gonna be published? Dirt did it a few months ago and the 26 won all but 1 loop. Be cool to see more of that!
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  • + 2
 i've got a Tracer 2, can i just get longer drop outs and put 650 wheels on it??
  • + 4
 yes, for the Carbine and Tracer 2 there are special G1 Dropouts to adapt the frame to 650b.
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  • + 2
 If, judging by the price, this product is directed at the Arab sheiks, why don't they use a metric units in the size-table?
  • + 2
 If it was directed at arab sheiks, the price would be higher and it would say specialized on the downtube and not intense.
  • + 2
 They use American Standard sizing because its made in America. And 5k is pretty standard for a domestically handmade bike. You won't find US built squish frames for under 2k. Hell finding a high-performance Taiwanese frame for under 2k is tough. It has been this way for a long time. I actually feel like bike prices have grown much slower than inflation. No one is saying you have to spend that kind of money to get into the sport. But I've been building/selling high-end custom-assembled mtn bikes for 9 years, and 5k has always been the accepted ballpark price when you're talking about serious hardware. I just wrote a 10k quote for a Pivot Mach 5.7 carbon, WC Revelation, ENVE wheels/bar/stem, XX1, Formula R1 racing, LEV, full tits. Everyone has differing levels of passion and interests. For some people cycling checks all the boxes and they build their lives around it. Life is short, you should ride the best bikes you can get.
  • + 1
 Except the Specialized Stumpy Expert Evo would be $600 less than the Intense, with SRAM XO carbon cranks, rear der., and Formula brakes. Anyhow, the Intense is a high quality bike with a nice build. It usually costs one almost 30% more to build a bike of this level from a frame.
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  • + 1
 Isn't the actual tire- rim size 27.146 or close to that, which is NOT even close to 27.5 ??? Kind of misleading ?? On the other hand we as humans LOVE options and choices !!
  • + 1
 No, the actual 650B rim size...584mm or rather, the BEAD SEAT diameter of the tire, is 22.992". But the bead seat diameter of a 26er is 559mm / 22.007", and for 700C (which is what 29ers are) it is 622mm / 24.488". The naming of it as 27.5 was an idiot move by the people in the mtbr forums now coming on six years ago, who got behind the 650B re-introduction by rounding down the actual diameter of the only 650B tire then available, the Pacenti Neo-Moto 2.3 to a number more easily/quickly explained as to how it fit in between the existing 26er and 29er options. I call them 650B. Lazy people call them 27.5. I wish RC would stop being lazy about this, it doesn't do convincing people any good when they can take a tape measure to their own 26er tires and quickly realize that they're probably bigger than 26" exactly, and then wonder what all the hooplah is about for 650Bs.

29ers got called 29ers...with a 24.488" bead seat diameter rim, because the first "true" 700C mtb tire that was over 2" wide, the WTB NanoRaptor 2.1, measured out coincidently enough at 29" diameter. There had been 700C mtb tires before in the early 90s when hybrids were first introduced/developed, such as the Panaracer Smoke in a 700C x 1.9 size, but they were small casing/wider tread tires and really inflated were at best in the 28"-ish range. The Bontrager Jones XR came in such a size only five years ago, labeled 29 x 1.8, again narrow casing/wider tread, inflated they're about 28.4" diameter. I think MBA recently did a survey of tires they had in their fleet of test bikes, where they gave the average diameter of the tires and the average for the 29er sizes was only 28.9".

Calling 650B something else isn't just a recent largely american thing though, in canada in the 1940s/50s it was called 26 x 1 1/2 (written as a fraction, not a decimal). 590mm bead seat, which is the 650A size is often seen marked as 26 x 1 3/8 on tire sidewalls.
  • + 3
 I thought 650b came from French road cycling and 27.5" like 29" is used to separate road from mountain bike version. I don't think it has anything to do with being lazy just trying to separate it from its road cousin.

If you look at in in context it seems the 650B designation is more confusing then the 27.5

Here is a quote from Mr. Brown
In the French sizing system, tires are designated by a three-digit number, which may be followed by a letter. The number is the nominal outside diameter of the tire the rim was originally designed for. The absence of a letter indicated a narrow tire; "A", "B" and "C" indicated increasingly wider tires."A" was originally a tire about 30 mm wide, so the 650A rim is pretty large, 590 mm. If you add the top and bottom 30 mm tire thickness to 590, you wind up with the 650 mm tire diameter.
The 650C size was originally intended for a quite wide tire, about 40 mm wide. Top and bottom 40 mm tire plus the 571 mm rim size again bring you to a 650 mm outside diameter, even though the rim was smaller.
With time, however evolutionary processes have led to different widths of tires being applied to the rim, so the nominal 650 mm designation is now more theoretical than practical.........you can read the rest here sheldonbrown.com/650b.html
  • - 1
 I am aware of what sheldon wrote, some of the sizes on his charts on his site came from me. When I stopped posting on the usenet groups in the late 90s, Sheldon hunted me down through my email address to find out if I had died or something to have stopped posting when I had been a daily fixture in his newsfeed for several years.

But no... while 650B and 700C came from french cycling, 27.5 and 29" had nothing to do with trying to seperate road and mtb culture and everything to do with trying to name something relative to the inflated diameter of the tires in inches. In europe, germany especially, trekking 700C tires (things around 40-50mm width) were called 28 inch tires. Continental still to this day labels many of their tube models as 28". 29er tires got called that because that's what they were closest to. 650B offroad tires have been called 27.5 because the first ones while bigger, were closer to that than they were to 28" (and there was already stuff being called 28" tires) so it made more sense to round down than round up. If mtbr's search feature worked better, I could probably find exactly WHO said it first in the forums. It was probably Kirk Pacenti but it could have been any number of people. Sheldon included it in his article on 650B about a move to call the 27 1/2 but he died after Kirk Pacenti first started offering 650B tires for sale, and the article was largely about road bike conversions from 700C down to 650B and had nothing to do with converting 26er mountain bikes to something bigger.
  • + 2
 "everything to do with trying to name something relative to the inflated diameter of the tires in inches."

Yes exactly that's my point trying to get it away from European sizes and into something us dumb mountain bikers can understand....You can put a 700c road tire on a 29er rim and ride it around but we don't call it a 700c or 700D or 700 small medium large XL that is not how MTB is measured we already had 24",26" so OD is close to 29"...done. Same with 650B measured out close to 27.5" 28" already used...... done 27.5" I own one so I am good with it I honestly don't care!...call it 120 farts 1 poop and a beer..... as long as it is the same.... something we are all familiar with and stick to it!

Without changing the entire system its what we have. Really it should be changed to how MC and Automotive wheel and tires are sized with wheel size/ tire width and aspect ratio we are all pretty familiar now with 225/50-17 and with that information you can figure out what the O.D. of the tire is.

I think you should just calm down smoke a bowl calling people lazy just makes you sound like a elitist a*shole I would much rather spend my time trying to get more support behind it. More frames built more wheel choices we really need better tires and more fork choices. I would rather bitch to the companies about that then to bitch about what the hell they decided to call it 650B....27.5.... 22 farts 1 poop and a PBR.....just make it and make more of it
  • + 0
 Oh don't bring 700D into this... let's not confuse the kids with that wheelsize also.
  • + 1
 What about "clipping" into "clipless" pedals?

Discuss.

*sits back with a bag of popcorn*
  • + 1
 What about "clipping" into "clipless" pedals?

Discuss.

*sits back with a bag of popcorn*

rofl I like it!.....I'm gonna go ride my bike instead
  • + 1
 Too simple LOL! The original version of clipping in was toe clips. The cleated pedals were called clipless to distinguish them from toe clips.
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  • + 2
 Saw it was a "mid sized wheel" and thought it was a 24" bike. Stupid lycra wearing large wheeled hipsters!
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  • + 1
 I'd like to see how this compares to a Norco Range Killer B and a Banshee Rune V2 in the 650B setting.
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  • + 2
 oooo and i got a nice Canadian flag too
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  • + 1
 what was mike's take on the bike, he is in the picture, but we don't see his review?
  • + 1
 Mike K. rode it for a decent amount of time in Sedona for the photo shoots and reportedly, didn't like it all that much.
  • + 1
 I didn't really get enough time on the bike to weigh in with a solid opinion. It was definitely a capable bike in the rough stuff, and easy to handle in the air.
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  • + 1
 Can someone please make a decent hardtail 650b!! it's all Full suspension coming out
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  • + 2
 I have a 2013 Intense Carbine 27.5...best bike I have EVER ridden.
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  • + 1
 Is there any 6'5" tall guy who has ever ridden a tracer 275 Large size? Comments?
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  • + 1
 Well, tripoding a corner will always be more fun on flats. But clip less are fun for up and down riding.
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  • + 2
 Does every bike company now have either a neon yellow or green bike?
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  • + 2
 I'll stick to my $2,200 giant reign , very capable mini dh rig.
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  • + 1
 I had the traser 2 26inch loved it on the downs but its was really bad at the ups very dragging .
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  • + 2
 Such a rad bike! id love to get my hands on one of those!
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  • + 1
 Ummm, do I buy this or the new Scott Genius 27.5 ?!?!?!
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  • + 1
 Anyone notice the sticker of the bear riding a bike!!!!!!
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  • + 1
 Love that color and it looks really nice!
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  • + 1
 Shows a lot of similarity to the Yeti 575
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  • + 1
 woooow nice bike ! but I prefer Transition...
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  • + 2
 So Cal is awesome!
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  • - 1
 I like the progres and news, and i like intense for its quality, but there are too many standards unnecessary! i dont like 650b or 29r.
  • + 1
 Well, Intense thinks the 26" wheel is dead. They said that in an interview couple of months ago...
So don't worry, we will have only 2 standards left pretty soon Smile
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  • + 1
 Santa Cruz just released BLUR TR to go against these high prices!
  • + 1
 Santa Cruz frames probably cost $200 for them to make
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  • + 1
 "Steber and his trusted hard men " ..........Nice!!!!
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  • + 1
 Inb4 26" or bust.
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  • + 0
 I like it cuz it's green. ;D
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  • + 1
 I would enjoy this bike
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  • + 1
 I'll take two.
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  • + 0
 I have 26 version which is awesome
  • + 1
 My too! Currently Enjoying the Tracer 2. Saving for the 275 and hoping for it to become more mainstream. Smile
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  • + 1
 What shoes are those?
  • + 1
 from the soles i'd say vans not sure which tho
  • + 1
 Van's waffle print is much smaller.
  • + 1
 They're the 5.10 Freerider Danny Mac model. The soles look tan because I'd been walking in the red desert dust with them.
  • + 1
 They look like some version of the 510 Danny Mac but with tan soles. I think I see a 5 on the side in the one shot and they have a blue heal protector with what appears to be a plate on the heal. Blue eyelets, lining and what appears to be lettering on the sole.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 TwentySix4Life!
  • + 1
 Amen to that bro...tired of this constant publicity stunts to push us to buy diferent wheel sizes...Not just on Pinkbike, but on every mtb magazine...enough is enough...let us choose wich size we want to ride!!!!!
  • + 1
 I ride with friends and all of them have 29'ers, I am the only one with a 26er, we do this 35 mile rides that they program, where 50% of the trail is Highway and car dirt roads, they really kill me there, but as soon as we hit the single track, there is no comparison, they even get off their bikes in some moderate technical descents, I wondered why, and asked to try a Specialized FSR stumpjumper 29'er, that felt really weird.. not for me, I did the descent but almost went over the bars, with a big wheel. 29ers are for wide and straight.
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