Exclusive First Ride: Intense 951 Evo – 650B DH Racer

Apr 17, 2013
by Richard Cunningham  
First ride on the Intense 951 Evo
  Intense, PB and Troy Lee Design bend the rules of color and common sense as Harold Preston sends the 951 Evo to flat, well past the transition on Ted's road-gap-to-table combination.


Intense will be releasing its first production downhill chassis completely designed around mid-sized 650B wheels at the Sea Otter Classic. It’s called the 951 Evo and Pinkbike was given the opportunity to ride the bike in a secret, two-day test session a few weeks earlier. Intense designed the 8.5-inch-travel 951 Evo specifically for the mid-sized wheels. That means its swingarm, front-section and frame geometry are exclusive to the Evo. More importantly, Intense founder and designer Jeff Steber says that, rather than attempting to duplicate the handling of its 26-inch-wheel counterparts, the 951 Evo’s steering and cornering were also optimized for 650B. However subtle, that should translate to a unique feel that we were eager to explore. Expect the 951 Evo to be available in late May in small, medium and large sizes, equipped with a Cane Creek Double Barrel shock. MSRP for the frame and shock is $2900 USD and prices for complete, ready-to-race 951 Evos will be announced later this spring.



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  Intense applied subtle touches, some learned years earlier from its experimental 29er downhill prototypes, to design a 951-based chassis that would extract the most performance from 650B wheels.


951 Evo Highlights:

• New swingarm and front-section designed specifically for 27.5 wheels
• 8.5 inches of travel
• Re-curved VPP suspension for more gradual rate change
• Cane Creek Double Barrel shock standard
• Chainstay length maintained within 5mm of 26-inch 951 chassis
• Accepts full-travel, 200mm DH forks
• Geometry optimized for wheel-size
• Small, Medium, Large sizes
• $2900 - Frame with Cane Creek DB shock
• Available May, 2013




Side-by-Side Comparisons

To get our heads around the new bike and to ensure that our riding perceptions were as accurate as possible for the two-day evaluation, we chose a familiar DH track and invited two talented local riders, not sponsored by Intense, who have extensive experience aboard both the 951 and the M9. We also brought along an M9 for side-by side comparisons (a 26-inch 951 was not readily available). The M9 was set up with Fox suspension and Maxxis tires, while the 951 Evo rolled on Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires and was suspended by a Manitou Dorado fork and a Cane Creek DB shock. While a scientific apples-to-apples comparison was not possible - two sessions, riding similar bikes on a familiar DH track, provided enough experience to clearly define the differences in both the 951 Evo’s handling and its performance – and they were not so subtle.

  Intense's 650B 951 Evo opposite the M9 - two of the world's more capable descenders. With equal riders aboard, the M9 would have a small fight on its hands to stay ahead of the Evo.

bigquotesWhile a scientific apples-to-apples comparison was not possible - two sessions, riding similar bikes on a familiar DH track, provided enough experience to clearly define the differences in both the 951 Evo's handling and its performance - and they were not so subtle.

About the 951 Evo

The 951 was intended to be Intense's more affordable downhill/freeride chassis and as such, it lacks some of the features of the M9, like adjustable G3 dropouts and multiple options for ride-height and suspension travel. Surprisingly, however, the 951 has become quite popular among racers and is now capturing a substantial portion of the brand's DH sales. The 951 Evo is constructed from heat treated 6000-series aluminum throughout. Every tube is butted, tapered or manipulated in profile and the top tube is the hydroformed and welded feature that has become an Intense signature. All of the main pivot bearings use adjustable angular-contact bearings for an extended service life, and the head tube is a straight 1.5-inch style, so that forks with any combination of tapered or straight steerer tubes can be used. Designer Jeff Steber said that some modifications were done to the 951 Evo’s VPP suspension rates to smooth its feel through the mid-stroke of the shock and also to reduce the rising rate at full compression. The new tune works exceptionally well with the Cane Creek Double Barrel shock.


951 EVO Geometry

Size (inch/mm)............Small .....................Medium....................Large

Wheelbase..................47" / 1193.8.............48" / 1219.2..............49" / 1244.6
Top Tube.....................22.5" / 572...............23.5" / 597................24.5" / 622
Chainstay....................17.5" / 444.5............17.5" / 444.5.............17.5" / 444.5
Head Tube...................4.5" / 114.................4.5" / 114..................5" / 127
Head Angle..................62.5.........................62.5...........................62.5
Bottom Bracket...........13.75" / 349.2..........13.75" / 349.2...........13.75" / 349.2

Fork Axle/Crown..........23" / 586
Shock...........................9.5 X 3.0" / 241 x 76
Bottom Bracket........... 83mm
Headset.......................1.5"
Seatpost Dia................31.6mm
Rear Travel..................8.5" / 216mm
Rear Spacing..............150mm




What is Different?

Remarkably, the Evo's 17.5-inch chainstays are only 0.2 inches (5mm) longer than the standard 951's to make room for the larger wheels and rear-wheel travel is the same. The rear tire comes awfully close to the saddle at full compression, but that is an occupational hazard which also comes with most 26-inch-wheel DH bikes. Steber extended the top tube length of the 951 one half inch from the M9 - the medium M9 has a 23 inch top tube, while both the 26 and 27.5-inch 951s measure 23.5 inches. The head tube is one half inch shorter, at 4.5 inches, than the M9 and 951, while the bottom brackets are the same height, at 13.75 inches.

Conventional logic holds that a larger-diameter wheel would require a steeper head angle in order to duplicate the steering action of a smaller-diameter wheel, but Intense kicked out the Evo's head angle from the standard 951's 64-degrees, to a much slacker, 62.5 degrees. Standard 951s use a 65-degree seat angle, while the Evo's is 64 - a shift that only the tallest riders for a given size will sense. The 1.5-inch delta between the wheelbases of the M9, the 26-inch 951 and the 951 Evo in the medium size is significant, with an inch of that created by the Evo's slacker head angle and longer top tube. The M9 can be set between 46.5 and 47.5 inches, the 26er 951 wheelbase is 46.5 inches and the 951 Evo measures 48 inches. For your future data bank, Intense published the Evo's frame geometry with a fork crown-to-axle measurement of 23 inches (586mm) which means it will accept all of the most desirable 200-millimeter DH sliders.

Intense 951 Evo first ride - details Novatec Diablo wheels Manitou Dorado fork Cane Creek DB shock 150mm rear end minimal tire clearance crutch-bumper fork stops
  (Clockwise) The Evo's Manitou Dorado fork put in a surprisingly solid performance. Its inverted design is easily adapted to larger-diameter wheels. Cane Creek's Double Barrel damper is a good match for the 951's VPP suspension. The Evo's swingarm is reconfigured to raise the dropouts in order to maintain an optimal 13.75-inch bottom bracket height. The big wheel is a tight fit behind the 951 Evo's seat stay bridge. A bit primitive, but the 951's Integrated fork bumpers are available at almost any hardware store.


Key Components

Availability of premium wheels, tires and forks was the limiting factor for the mid-sized wheels's entrance into the marketplace, and while most brands are well-represented in the trailbike segment, 650B-specific DH components are just coming on line this spring. Fox Racing Shox will have its 2.75-inch 40 ready in May, and reportedly, DH forks from RockShox and X-Fusion will follow shortly after. The default fork for 650B DH bikes at present is the Manitou Dorado, which was on the 951 Evo. The Dorado has no significant clearance issues with 27.5-inch wheels because its reversed stanchions do not require a reinforcement arch. Wheels specific to DH, on the other hand, are still in the pipeline for most big-name brands. Hoops for our test bike were built with Novatec Diablo 275 rims, which are holding up quite well. Tires are not a problem, with almost all brands releasing 650B options of their popular DH patterns this year. The Hans Dampf from Schwalbe proved well suited for the sometimes slick hard-pack found in Southern California, and is becoming a go-to tread for many riders on the World Cup circuit. The rest of the 951 Evo was classic DH kit - powered by a Shimano Saint ensemble and glued to the dirt with a Cane Creek DB shock.


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bigquotesOf course, the extra speed could be chalked up to exuberance and New Bike Syndrome, but as the testing progressed, it became apparent that, while the 951 may not feel much faster, it is really moving.

From the outset, the 951 Evo pedals easier than the M9 over any surface. All three of us commented immediately on that point - and the Evo's balance feels quite good from the get-go, so there is need for a familiarization period before sending the bike. Two runs down Ted's and the difference in speed was evidenced by the fact that our first rider was over-jumping everything. Of course, the extra speed could be chalked up to exuberance and New Bike Syndrome, but as the testing progressed, it became apparent that, while the 951 may not feel much faster, it is really moving. The enlarged wheel-size, in conjunction with the 951's revised suspension and steering geometry, create a wonderfully smooth ride that erases much of the sense of speed and urgency that comes from a bike when it is banging down rocky terrain.

Intense M9 RC and 951 Evo Harold Preston 50B wheel comparison
  Comparing the M9 (left) with the 951 Evo on identical trails reminded test riders of how good the M9 is - it fears nothing. The two bikes seemed to be equally matched on big hits and landings. The 951 rolls more fluidly over rock gardens and trail chatter and in those situations, it carries more speed.


Corners came up suddenly on the Evo, and there we discovered the second major difference between the M9 and the 951. Turning the Evo requires a more pronounced lean angle, which corresponds to results we have garnered from testing AM 29ers in this same zone. The additional lean is nowhere near that of a 29er and it becomes natural after a couple of shuttles. Once learned, the 951 reveals another trick in the turns that may be inherent to its wheel-size. Where the M9 tends to break traction with an edgy feel, the Evo lets loose in a more controlled manner that encourages feet-up drifting. The differences in the two bike's tires may play a large role in this, but the feel was that the 951 rider was more in the bike than on it when pushing hard through a corner. We speculate that some of the added stability is due to the bottom bracket being lower in relation to the axles than the 26-inch-wheel M9.

  The 951 chassis feels as easy to corner as it looks. The hip in the background of this composite image helps to indicate how fast the turn actually is. The Evo liked to be leaned harder than the M9, and it repaid the favor with some of the most predictable cornering we have experienced.


Of course, there is the question of whether or not slightly larger wheels add significantly to the 951 Evo's speed in the rough. The answer is yes, they do roll faster, but the truth is that an eager rider on a good day could get the M9 down the rocks as fast as the Evo. In fact, the third test rider of the team (un-named, due to conflicting sponsors) was not completely convinced that he could put in a faster time down the most technical parts of the trail on larger wheels. Medium-amplitude features, like rock gardens and chatter bumps, are built into the trails at Ted's to put suspensions to the test and all were in agreement that the 951 zoomed through them as if they were part of an XC circuit. Perhaps the greater advantage of the 650B platform is that it takes the edge off the terrain and thus requires less concentration to ride the course. This in turn, makes it easier to focus well ahead on key features and to hold a more accurate line.

  Launching into one of the zone's many rock gardens. Preston, who fielded the most positive review of the Evo, owns the M9 used in the test, as well as a 26-inch-wheel 951.


First impressions:
bigquotesRiding is not racing and the defining tests of the mid-sized wheel's potential will begin in the start-houses of the first World Cups this Spring. That said, we expected the benefits of the 650B wheels to be minimal and difficult to discern, but such was not the case. The Intense 951 Evo is one of the easiest downhill bikes I've ever ridden and that sentiment was reflected by far more capable riders. It pedals easily and you don't have to pedal as much because it carries its speed so well. We expected the Evo to feel sluggish in its steering, but beyond the extra lean angle, it is at least as nimble as the M9. In theory, the 951 has a lot going for it in the positive column and almost no negatives. Unfortunately, those seeking hard numbers will have to wait for the racing season to heat up. Our efforts to ride the two bikes on the widest range of terrain available did not provide the consistency required to publish relevant Strava comparisons (Planned for the long-term test.)

Before you get all hot on a new 650B DH bike, however, be reminded that some key ingredients - like a proper selection of DH forks and wheels - are still on the horizon. It would be prudent for first-adopters to confirm the existence of those critical components before slapping down the credit card on a frame and shock. (Intense will stock complete build kits to ensure Evo customers are covered.) All things considered, though, the 951 Evo could provide a very rare opportunity for a privateer racer to buy a measurable advantage over the bikes that most riders, including super-funded corporate teams, will be campaigning on this season. A couple or three seconds isn't going to change the life of a weekend shuttler, but that is exactly the advantage that an up-and-coming racer needs to move up the rankings and get noticed. My advice? If you own a fresh DH bike - keep it. If you are in the market for a new race bike, I'd put my money on the 951 Evo - or something darn close to it. - RC



277 Comments

  • + 289
 That Trek Session comment you were about to make... save it. That's done... no one wants to hear it anymore...
  • + 70
 But...you just made it?
  • + 116
 I still want yesterday's KONA carbon
  • + 146
 "Norbs got robbed" is valid until Rampage 2013!
  • + 12
 U still want a giant..
  • - 1
 GIANT is a Cañone! Blasting trought trails!
  • - 142
flag Edward47 (Apr 17, 2013 at 5:11) (Below Threshold)
 this bike is prolly more than i need. prolly more than i can afford.... but im not going to bitch about how expensive the sport is......cause its time for my woman to get on her knees... this bike got me hard!
  • + 58
 951, 275, 650B ... damn ... i hate Math
  • + 6
 Well this is pretty cool
  • - 45
flag transitions-are-neat (Apr 17, 2013 at 7:46) (Below Threshold)
 looks like a v10
  • + 10
 Love how intense manages to keep their origional style. It's NOT a trek session
  • + 8
 I could not take my eyes of this bike... Almost took a sip of the windowclean sitting next to my desk..
  • + 1
 ...At least it doesn't look like a trek.
  • + 4
 Am I the only one that thinks it'd be cool if they called it to 2751? Like this 2951 www.pinkbike.com/photo/5932551
  • - 38
flag Nickroy (Apr 17, 2013 at 14:34) (Below Threshold)
 Is PB becoming gay friendly site??!!! Why the neg props to @Edward47???!!!!!! He speaks the trooth!!!!!
  • + 17
 do i get a backpack for most negative props?
  • + 10
 Looks like a Trek Ses... No. No it doesn't. That joke is like herpes, It's not funny and it keeps coming back...
  • - 11
flag Nickroy (Apr 17, 2013 at 14:38) (Below Threshold)
 That is u are lacking uh????!!!!!!!!! lol
  • + 8
 I'm sorry nickroy, but when has PB ever been an anti gay site? I mean other than a few moronic teenagers who spout that kind of stuff. And more importantly, why do you have a problem with the gay community?
  • + 1
 @Edward47-protours gotten more I think. Sorry. Maybe a pair of gloves though.
  • + 6
 Nobody will ever top protour. EVER.
  • + 1
 Ya Protour like a social media whore, I mean legend!
  • - 4
flag immacaroni (Apr 18, 2013 at 0:54) (Below Threshold)
 LOOKS LIKE A SPECIALIZED DEMO
  • + 2
 it looks like a well plannend marketing hype Cool
  • + 3
 It looks like an intense 951 with bigger wheels! wow...
  • + 1
 i do not have a problem with gay community i wanted to say something else and i get misunderstood. I liked the comment of @edward and i didn't get why they neg proped him.
  • + 4
 @ transitions-are-neat I have a V10 sitting pretty much right beside me and the 951 looks nothing like it.
  • + 2
 @nickroy....cant please em all
  • + 1
 lol hahaha . . true edward!!
  • + 136
 "The rear tire comes awfully close to the saddle at full compression, but that is an occupational hazard which also comes with most 26-inch-wheel DH bikes."

Haha classic, I was once riding on a trail that had a small drop at the end that landed you in a city park. I had a new DH bike and the spring on the shock was a bit soft. I went off the drop, the front wheel came up, caught my shorts as my ass was too far back and pulled my pants down just as I rolled past a group of 6 Scandinavian backpackers having a picnic. It was awesome haha...
  • + 10
 Ahh, damn, I meant back wheel! How did that happen...
  • + 3
 There atually are certain occasions where something different at the front comes up, that's how.
  • + 5
 HAHAHA...Best story ever!
  • + 30
 What a bore. Yet another big wheel bike test using lightweight tyres. Fit proper DH tyres on that, ones capable of surviving DH rigours, like those on the M9, instead of trail-weight Hans Dampfs, add 750g-1,000g rotating mass, and its going to be noticeably more difficult to accelerate, decelerate or change direction. Don't get me wrong, I am sure that Intense have done a great job and its probably a very worthy bike for many circumstances. At least they didn't add ballast weight to the 26er like MBUK did recently for a comparison to 650b and 29er, to make the 26&650b both as heavy as the 29er. Doh. I just I get fed up with distorted comparisons and wonder why they always seem to be distorted to favour the bike company's new product............... I wonder why that? (BTW, the tyres used are not even the soon-to-be-released mid-weight Enduro-weight SG Hans Dampfs)
  • + 10
 I agree. Also, why not compare to a 951? M9, the piggy f'in M9?, let's stick to apples to apples.
  • + 12
 The HD 2.35 Super Gravity tires are Tubeless-Ready and have a claimed weight of 995 grams in 26er and 1040 grams in 650B. Hardly "mid-weight" considering the regular HD's are more than half a pound lighter.

www.schwalbetires.com/super_gravity_revolutionary_carcass_technology_for_mtb

Apparently good enough for Danny Hart isn't good enough for someone like you.
  • + 8
 deeeight , you have missed the point completely , also it's very unlikely that danny was running standard walled hans dampfs.
  • + 6
 they made tone of changes to the bike and the out of all those changes the only thing that make this bike so great is the wheel outer diameter? looking the picture at the top the difference between the 26 and the 27.5 This writer is trying very hard to push the idea of bigger is better, I cannot find anything wrong with what we have right now regarding wheel size, personally I don't think I would ever be even remotely as fast as the top DH riders so why should I care about whether I can ride 0.002 millisecond faster (or maybe not - as it turn out that they couldn't come up with numbers to show us that it is any faster). BTW really nice looking bike..
  • + 6
 @cgzasv - but they want you to think it's in some way relevant, and they want you to buy in to the delusion that is it what you NEED not WANT
= marketing 101
  • + 7
 Why different forks and tires atall? you could get matching ones, and not have the 2 most important parts different.
  • + 6
 I like this little quote "nimble as the M9" ...well that's good. I should hope so. As much as I would love to own an M9.. it really is a wicked DH sled... it's a sled, Ive never heard anybody describe it as nimble.
  • + 3
 That is true
  • + 1
 Well, why don't you move over here to sunny Socal? People here are always impressed with British accents! (I guessing your British, if not, oops.) I don't think we have hit over 7 inches of rain this year. Wink
  • + 3
 deeeight, Danny Hart will switch tyres after every race, in fact probably several times during a weekend of racing. For the 99.999% of us who aren't pros, are concerned about durability of expensive rubber, have to mend our own flats, and want our tyres to last longer than a single weekend, Minions or, if sticking with Schwalbe, Wicked Wills or Muddy Marys would have been far more appropriate for this test.
  • + 2
 The fact that they brought up the fact that the 650b bike drifted more readily was laughable. Comparison can only be valid if both bikes have same sidewall thickness, width and tread pattern. Not to mention wheel builds, rim must be exact same model only differing in diameter. Granted they acknowledged the tire difference, the comparison should not have even been attempted if the wheels and tires aren't the same. Therefore the argument has no leg to stand on. I want to see a true, fair comparison. Not between two completely different frames, suspension, and tire packages.
  • + 30
 SWEET, now give me a 650B UZZI to go with my 26er. Oh and i still love intense's color options.
  • + 17
 The first production Evos are coming out in an awesome looking electric blue.
  • + 7
 Well it looks like im saving for a new bike. Thanks for the info!
  • + 10
 stuff 650B uzzi! how about carbon uzzi?
  • + 13
 Still better than seat clamp hitting swing arm..#stinky.
  • + 1
 Yes I also want a 27.5 Uzzi. I have no interest in a carbon Uzzi at all. Carbon is what my 27.5 TRc is for. At least design some proper 27.5 G3 dropouts not worried about HA when I have an Angleset.
  • + 2
 I love the color options. Its a sick looking bike but I could use a few less decals on the frame. Like take off the big ones on the top bar and the triangle, that would look sick. Everything in general seems to be going more and more towards logos and labels (look at wheel sets these days). I like to keep it simple and placement is everything, but Im just one man.
  • + 23
 As a tall Rider I'd totally ride a 650b, just to get what a 26" wheel feels like to a regular guy Smile
  • + 10
 I totally agree with you...at 6'3" I've been waiting for this stuff for years...even if I didn't know it.
  • + 3
 come on, I'm 6'7" and bigger wheels perform the same no matter how tall you are, so you wont somehow get better performance because you are tall....................maybe I should get a 36" DH sled for my tall arse.......... :-)
  • + 0
 True...the wheels on your bike don't care how tall you are and I don't think anyone said that a 29er or 27.5er would perform better if you are taller.

But the angle of approach of the wheels relative to your center of gravity makes a difference in how the bike rides and how it feels to the rider. I personally feel like I am sitting "in" my 29" bike as opposed to "on top off" my 26" bike.

If a taller rider will benefit from (or need) a larger frame, why would he/she also not benefit from (need a) large wheelsize?

There is a reason Specialzied does not make any size Small 29" wheeled bikes or any size XL 26" wheeled bikes.

The height comparison is relative to a rider of any given height on a 26" wheel versus a 27.5" or 29" wheel. Not to the height of the rider relative to the performance of any of them.
  • + 3
 hmmm, I still disagree about performance of the bike based on center of gravity......if us tall folks have a higher center of gravity then I would assume performance would be lessened. So if you sit on a 29'er which actually brings your center even higher given the taller wheels it would essentially perform worse for a taller person. Now it may "feel" better, and that I'd never argue with someone, because only you know how you feel...................but a performance gain?? Not in the turns or in the air, just over rocks....................and I like picking a line vs. rolling over........I'm not into getting down the hill the fastest, I'm looking for the most fun!!
  • + 1
 OH, and by the way, I've tried quite a few 29'ers and haven't liked them, but I'm very interested in 650b..........so, yeah, take anything I say with a grain of salt!
  • + 1
 Your center of gravity in isolation has nothing to do with it.

Your center of gravity in relation to the angle of approach of the front wheel is why a taller rider will benefit more from a larger wheel size than a shorter rider.

To put it simply...a taller rider going from an identical 26" wheeled bike to a 29" wheeled bike will feasibly see more relative benefit from the larger wheelsize than a shorter rider on the same bike. That's not to say that either will see any benefit if they don't like the way the bike feels or rides nor will the taller rider be faster than the shorter rider due to the increase in wheelsize.

I for one am a wagon wheel convert...and at 6'7", you will be too someday, trust me.
  • + 3
 @donch15- I am right about 6' 5", so i understand and agree with you, I have longed for a chassis -and wheel size that is proportionally correct for my frame. Its not just the wheel size that makes a difference. With larger wheels come a larger chassis, and with that corrected chassis size, comes a lower placement of the riders weight on the chassis because the bb is now lower in relation to the axles, which is what determines the center of mass/gravity ect...not only that, but you get a longer wheelbase, which is more stable at high speeds and in the rough. its not simply the wheel size that creates a benefit, but the combination of the whole package that (for some of us) delivers a possible advantage, or at the very minimum, a new and possibly better experience. I would love to ride one of these or one of the KHS 650 dh bikes.
  • + 1
 I may be missing something when it come to physics, because I totally dissagree with both of you. I don't believe that a taller rider can make 29'er wheel perform differently than a shorter rider, I do not see where that is possible. There are benefits to all wheel sizes and if the bike fits you, the rider can reap those benefits, otherwise Like I said, maybe I should get 36er's to fit my size...............either way, I will conceed that I love bikes, ALL of them, and I even more love when someone has fun on a bike, so, I conceed..............much love and stuff, hopefully I'll get a chance to ride this weekend, should be some "hero" dirt out there in NorCal! ......

doug
  • + 3
 Holy shit man...no one is saying that taller rider will be faster than a short rider on a 29er. The pros and cons of any bike or wheesize can be overcome with skill and ability.

What is being said is: For a taller rider, the relative benefits of riding a 29er vs. a 26er will be greater than those of a shorter rider. But that will not make the taller rider faster than the shorter rider.

Think about this a a spectrum of costs and benefits, the effects of which change depending on a number of factors (skill, experience, ability) including height & weight. In isolation of all other factors, the shorter you are, the less the effect of the benefits of the 29er will have on you. The taller you are, the more effect the benefits of the 29er will have on you. Both riders benefit from the same factors, but the effect is magnified the taller you are relative to riding a 26" wheel The same goes for the downsides and the opposite is true for the benefits and downsides of a 26" wheel.

Think about the downsides of a 29er.

It's bigger...the effect of the this is minimized the taller you are.
It's takes more effort to turn...the effect of this is minimized the taller you as a taller rider, presumably with longer arms, can in theory generate more leverage at the handlebars.
It's heavier...the effect of this is minimized the taller (and presumably bigger & stronger) you are.

The benefits and drawbacks of either wheel size can be overcome with skill and ability, but in isolation of all other factors, the benefits of moving from a 26" to a 29" wheel, while the same for everyone, the effects of which will be magnifide for a taller rider.

There are limitations to all of this (trail size, max speed, radius of turms, etc) so no, building a bike with 42" wheels does not make sense.

If you can't figure it out, it's ok just to stick with your current bike. No one's forcing you to do anything.
  • + 2
 hehe, man, you are passionate about this..........I didn't say anyone was forcing anything. In fact I said that there is no denying the benefits of larger wheels.........I just hate the misinformation being spread to folks that are tall that a bigger wheel is somehow to their advantage just because they are tall.........anyways, I hope to test an XL 650B bike someday and see, the 29'ers I've ridden were not as fun.........and someday, maybe I'll eat all my words and by a wagonwheel bike, it is afterall just my opinions..........and anything past what I remember from Physics in college is just opinion, which is dangerous..............sorry I got you wriled up...........
  • + 2
 By the way @donch15 - I ride an XL Specialized Enduro, on 26" wheels Smile

@Nikoli hit the nail on the head - It's about how the whole bike is setup; the BB height in relation to the axle height. not just that bigger wheels are just magical somehow. Plus a slightly bigger wheelbase.

One thing is that those Dorado forks are looking tastier every day.
  • + 1
 @simoo...good luck if you have to warranty it.

XL frames w/ 26" wheels no longer exist as far as Specialized is concerned.

It is all about how the whole bike is set up...and a frame as large as an XL will generally work better with larger wheels. Smile
  • + 2
 my answer to any wheel size argument is chriskovarik. i take an honest look in the mirror and know that and then i laugh(@ myself) and listen to the zealots at the trail preach of wheel-size and redemption. i'm glad that 650b is here for the simple fact that the 29 crowd can have someone new to spew on while my 26 crew do the digging on our optimized for 26 only spots!
  • + 1
 You could go 24 inch and your head will be further from danger
  • + 3
 "Optimized for 26 only spots"

What do you have one of those height check things from the entrance to the rides at Disneyland at your trailhead or something?

Your wheels must be this small to ride this ride.
  • + 1
 The short answer is yes. Seriously, I was being sarcastic about "optimized". While old farts like me with bmx roots still prefer 26s, I do get tired of wheel debates and just use the -shut up and ride- approach. What I've noticed locally and traveling is that skill set trumps wheel size. Every time. Riders like to run what optimizes their skill level.

The ride height check you mentioned is funny but probably more insightful just cuz of wheel debates in race applications. Debating wheel size to me is like debating what is most attractive on a woman when at the end of the day you just want one that fits your personality the best...or your skill level...
  • + 1
 I am with you...ride what feels good to you.

I just have a problem with people who have a problem with 29ers or 650b(ers?).

Open your damn mind...29" wheels do some stuff better than 26" wheels and vice versa. Ride what fits your style, terrain, skill set, etc.

European Enduro races...I'm 26"/160mm (or 650b/150mm) all day. U.S. Enduro races...I'll be killing it on a 29er.

The flip side of that comment about the ride height is that Specialized is actually kind of doing it with their 29ers. No small frames of the Enduro 29 means, "You must be this tall to ride this ride." Smile
  • + 20
 I love the fact that they test the bike in sunny dry weather, bring it over to the uk and watch that back wheel stop moving. To me it looks like there's hardly any Clarence for mud on the back wheel. IT'S NOT SUNNY EVERYWHERE. Brendog was on 650b wheels on his scott at bds round 1 and struggled like hell through the muddy corners. He even said him self it was a bad choice.
  • + 9
 I'm with you on that. Hell I'm not sure the rear tire wouldn't rub the stays if you put wet screams on.
  • + 4
 fair enough, but there is no way anyone is to bothered about tyre clearance now - have you seen how close the new carbon front mudguards are run against the tyre? Almost every pro had them at the BDS Rd 1 and there was basically no tyre clearance once filled with mud.
  • + 6
 The tyre in that photo is a Hans Dampf, not sure about the 650b version, but the 26 HD is the same size as a 2.7 minion, so it's a pretty big tyre which may explain the clearance.
  • + 1
 650b in the front, 26" in the back then! We can call it 27.6er - I am sure just the front wheel in larger diameter alone can win you a sec or two. In DH you don't need that much rear tyre grip as in XC or Enduro. I'm all sold on this wheel size thing. It is the future or what?
  • + 4
 As far as working in the wet, if the tire clearance isn't an issue (and I suspect it won't be as bad as you think) then this bike is a bigger winner in the mud. Larger contact patch, bb-axle height ratio, long wheel base. This thing is screaming for a British spring race.

And Waki, I know you are joking, but if the wheel issue is nothing than you should prove it by winning some races with 24" wheels on a DH bike and writing an article about it. These things make a difference. They figured out bar width pretty recently. Stems took a while to get shorter to a size that made sense. Head angle only got slack a little while back. This seems to be legit. I am dying to try a norco range killer b, and this DH bike just made my dream list.
  • + 8
 Ive bern away for over a month. I got some perspective. Im not joking. It is the future, 26", 27.5 and 29 all together used by all races and religions, depending on mood, riders profile, easthetic taste, terrain type, weather conditions. Because who the f cares what do we write here... Whatever comes out from the factory is here to stay for 10 years at least.

I think i am reaching the ultimate level of my training. Hippcritirvana is almost complete. I shall now preach the pointlessness of internet trolling and! geeking.
  • + 1
 The HD is NOT the size of a 2.7 minion. They are 2.35 and in 27.5 they are maybe same size as a 2.4 Maxxis.
I have about 1/2" clearance on my 26"'Float CTD with the 27.5 HD
  • + 2
 My 26in HD WAS the same tread width as the 2.7 minion on my other bike.
  • + 0
 The HD 2.35 is just under 28" inflated diameter. Go thru your collection of 26 DH tires and see what inflates closest.
  • + 5
 Waki where have you been man? On some sort of MTB vision quest !?
  • - 1
 @dchill.... hope you have a health benefits plan that includes dental work, because the 26er Fox forks are only rated to a maximum 27' diameter for the 32s and 27.3" for the 36/40s, and the absolute smallest 650B off-road tire made, the Quasimoto 2.0 is 27.2". While a lot of Fox forks come from the factory with too much oil inside and won't ever hit full travel, when filled properly, it is IS possible to run a 650B tire into the crown at full travel, with an endo the following result. Don't assume because a fork has a lot of brace clearance for mud that it has the crown clearance for a taller tire automatically as well.
  • + 4
 That is why I added an extra set of bottom out bumpers. Let all the air out of the fork and tested the tire crown clearance. Also shimmed the rear shock so I don't hit the seat tube. Don't assume that all I did was stuff a 27.5 tire in there.
  • - 5
flag deeeight Plus (Apr 17, 2013 at 8:38) (Below Threshold)
 When all you provide is half the info, people will assume you're not qualified to make the statements in question, especially when that's with a claim as to how big a 26 x 2.4 minion is, when others have measured them out as smaller than a 650B Hans Dampf.
  • + 5
 @WAKIDesigns. I also like the idea of a 26 at the back for fast acceleration out of corners and a 27.5 in front.
  • + 3
 Deeeight the size in question was a 2.7 minion not a 2.4 minion. I should have said about the 650b HD not being as big as a 2.7 minion. We have a Bronson here at the shop has 2.4 HR2 27.5s on it and they are as wide as my HD. I must add the 27.5 2.25 Ardent is very big for a Maxxis and only slightly smaller than the HD.
  • + 10
 What casing were the tyres on both bikes, because I didn't think Schwalbe did the Hans Dampfs in a dual ply dh casing? Waste of time comparing rolling speed (i.e. rolling resistance) of two wheel sizes unless the tyres are the same, because the increase in rolling resistance of a full dual ply dh tyre is enormous. Ever try putting dh rubber on your trail bike? Any 26" dh bike will feel well fast with trail rubber on.
  • + 9
 I'm sorry but you can't compare a 951 and a 951 Evo ... If they changed the curve of the suspension (and I DO hope so) well then you might aswell compare a Devinci Wilson with a Transition TR450 ... The 951 wasn't that good on this part, so hopefully they'll have tweaked it in the right direction.

And one thing before you all jump on 650b, check tyre and wheels availability, big chance is that you won't find any spares in your lbs :/
  • + 17
 "We also brought along an M9 for side-by side comparisons (a 26-inch 951 was not readily available). The M9 was set up with Fox suspension and Maxxis tires, while the 951 Evo rolled on Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires and was suspended by a Manitou Dorado fork and a Cane Creek DB shock. While a scientific apples-to-apples comparison was not possible"

That quote invalidates any argument this article has.
  • + 4
 It's not a very scientific or accurate comparison between bikes, I totally agree with you...but if a Pro racer feels as fast or faster on the 951 Evo than his own M9 race bike...while subjective, that means something. Hopefully they really fixed the rate curve of the suspension...the original 951 could be a little scary.
  • + 1
 Well Maxxis is doing a 27.5 HR2 and Schwable is doing a dh HD in 27.5. I am sure Kenda will be doing a Nevegal dh. So not many tires but they are out there. Forks are the issue Dorado and FOX Float 40. I would like to see a 180mm sc 27.5 fork
  • + 1
 Ploutre is right. As a guy with a 650b bike in hand I can tell you that wheel part (rim, tire, tube) availability is so far pretty lacking.
  • + 2
 There are a few 27.5 Xc and am tires available. The 27.5 dh scene is what is very limiteded.
  • + 8
 First they say: "We also brought along an M9 for side-by side comparisons (a 26-inch 951 was not readily available)."

Then they say: "Preston, who fielded the most positive review of the Evo, owns the M9 used in the test, as well as a 26-inch-wheel 951."

Guess he loaded up the wrong bike that morning! I agree this comparison is useless. 2 different bikes, 2 different suspension set ups, 2 different types of tires. There is no validity in this comparison at all.
  • + 8
 I am always happy to read about a new bike...particularly one that is using any new design/technology/concept/etc... and bravo to Intense for putting this bike together.

But the introduction of an awesome new bike was turned into just another bull shit wheelsize comparison or opinion article posted by RC, who despite all his techinical knowledge and achievement in the industry, can't seem to formulate a worthwhile thought or comparison when it comes to wheelsize.

These half crocked comparisons and opinion pieces posted on Pinkbike do more harm to the analysis of wheelsize in mountain biking than good. Comparing two dis-similar bikes, under the guise of similarity by using the Intense brand name and then calling it a comparison of wheelsize does little more than create conjecture and uninformed internet arguing.

The fact that a direct comparison of an identically spec'd 26" and 27.5" 951 is actually possible, but was not done is the most disapointing part of this whole article.

Maybe RC should take a look at his former employers most recent issue to see how you should compare similar bikes with different wheel sizes.
  • - 5
flag deeeight Plus (Apr 17, 2013 at 8:42) (Below Threshold)
 @donch15... The April issue of MBA is the one they always load full of articles trying to see who the fools are that fall for them and you apparently were one of them. Their "test" involved putting the wheels inside a channel made from 2x4s, and putting the tape measure on the top of the side boards, where it was already over half an inch higher than the base of the tire, before they extended the measuring tape. Then they did a "rolling" test which confirmed nothing except that the circumference of a circle is found by multiplying its diameter by Pi.

The May issue is actually the most recent issue. I've had it on my throne reading rack for the past week.
  • + 3
 Did I say the April issue? Let me check, nope...I think I said the most recent issue.

I was talking about the comparison of an identical 26" Stumpjumper versus a 29" Stumpjumper.

You know...a comparison of identical bikes with different wheel sizes. Nobody said anything about 2x4's and protractors.

You sir...are a moron.
  • + 3
 Maybe what was MBAction is now PBAction. It is the here today gone later today coverage of stuff. ADD to a tee.
  • + 3
 It's all just designed to get us to buy new stuff...and put our old stuff up for sale on Pinkbike.
  • + 8
 As people have alread said, this comparison is trash and the dozens preceeding it. There are 3 particular things I dislike about these wheel size comparisons.
1. Pinkbike writes every bike is great, but this goes for all "First look" articles.
2. Anytime someone talks big wheel momentum they conveniently forget about braking distance and scrubbing off speed.
3. As someone said ^^^^, it always seems like the big wheel bike is fitted with some light tire like the Arden, HD, RR, SS and the like.
One other thing that I find strange is the various different opinons about how much faster 27.5 wheels are. In an earlier 27.5 test article tester said he only gained a second per mile with 27.5 wheels on a DH trail and that can be made up or lost with just good line selection. Here it's like 2-3 seconds and it gives lesser riders a chance to compete.
  • + 1
 My seperated shoulder can attest to the fact that bigger wheels carry more momentum...and are tougher to slow down.

I think I hurt that tree more than it hurt me though. Smile
  • + 1
 ^ hahahahahahaaahahahahahahha Big Grin
  • + 1
 the day pinkbike says a first look big wheel bike is a pos is the day hell freezes over.
  • + 12
 Haha door stop fork bumpers.. That's pretty awesome.
  • + 1
 i thought they same they are already dented and will result in a nice clong 6months down the road!
  • + 4
 English...do you speak it?
  • + 2
 pb calls them 'primitive'.. i say good job instense for using fork bumpers that you can pick up at your local home depot/lowes Big Grin
  • + 3
 ^ and what if you don't live in a country with home depot?
  • + 1
 use your brain and go to a local hardware store... not that hard d0000000000000d.
  • + 8
 I have a few observations on this test. One is that its a completely subjective and unscientific comparison. So take the 'results' with a grain of salt. The first problem is that the testers know what they are riding and they are aware of the hypothesis that is being tested, which is that companies are claiming that the 650B is faster. So just knowing that, they are already biased. Its the placebo effect. Unless you could also test a sample of riders who thought they were on 650B but were really on 26", there isn't really a way to do a scientific test. That or you'd have to do some sort of completely blind testing where none of the riders had any idea what they were on. Outside of those situation these types of tests really don't offer any real conclusions.

Second, along the same lines, the results of this "test" seemed exactly in line with what would have been predicted. That the 650B rolls better and can go faster over some of the rough stuff, but lacks a little in handling compared to the 26", with the riders concluding they were faster on this track but had doubts they could ride a tight technical track as fast on the 650B. Sound familiar? It should because that's exactly the popular opinion out there. So my question is did these testers really feel this way based on the riding? Or were their impressions influenced by what they had expected going in?

To me all this is nonsense until we see these things out on the WC where the best riders and putting both bikes to the test and we see what bikes the riders end up riding and on what courses.
  • + 7
 Agreed. You can't ride two different bikes, with different suspension characteristics, different dampers, different weights, different tyres and substantially different geometry and then claim any difference you felt was in the wheel diameter. Until someone actually tests this stuff back to back, with identical builds bar the wheel size, why are we even bothering to discuss it?
  • + 4
 Socket - well you just brought even more into the equation that I was simply just ignoring since even with identical builds, my point would still stand. The fact that the riders know what they are riding can't help but introduce some sort of confirmation bias. Like I said, the testers know what they are riding and what the popular hypothesis is, in that these bikes are supposed to be the hot thing, that they are supposed to be faster. Unless you can do a truly blind test, or introduce some sort of control group, then these test will always be something well short of scientific.
  • + 6
 I couldn't find any mention of this in the comments, but I believe the fact that they had to work a little harder on the turns is most likely the Dorado vs the Fox, not the wheel size. I have tested 2 M9 bikes with identical spec except the one had Dorados and the other Fox 40's and this was exactly the difference I felt. The flex in the Dorado requires that you push a little harder to turn the bike in the corners, but it also smooths out the edge of the track. As in it makes rough techy sections easier and you don't have to concentrate as hard. 2 Things noted in this article and the credit was given to the wheels - I disagree and say those 2 attributes are because of the forks. Stick some Dorados on the M9 and the same tyres and do the test again Smile
  • + 1
 Yeah have to agree here. I'm sure there's probably an entire article somewhere stating the differences between a 40 and a Dorado. If they were gonna go to the effort of taking two bikes out to test... they could of at least whacked a Dorado on the M9!! LAZY!!!
  • + 1
 Could not agree more, I started last season with a 40 and switched mid season to a Dorado. FOX guys drove me crazy with what they where charging for every service of the 40. Anyway, same bike and everything but two completely different rides and i even made sure the geometry stayed the way it was. Dorado made me feel pretty much the same things described for the whole 951 so please go and try again with the same fork, one way or the other i don't care, but between 40ies and Dorados the difference is so big you cant possibly compare anything...
  • + 9
 Can they do one with a 24" back wheel? I hear that is the future.
  • + 7
 Hop back in your time machine and go back another 10 years Wink
  • + 4
 The funny thing is that it was Specialized that was pushing that. "Smaller wheels are better" they said. Now look at 'em.
  • + 5
 the PB 650b/29'er hypez machine goes crazy !!! having ridden both bikes (M9/951 @ the old fashioned 26" mode, I can tell ya that the 951 seems to roll faster anyhow . it feels lighter, sharper, and generally more agile than the M9, and the M9 has a fairly distinct advantage over really steep nasty terrain. that last advantage mentioned is not relevant to this test by all accounts. so regardless of anything else, the 951 tested WOULD roll better on this course. not comparing like-for-like against a 26" 951, and without any timing comparisons, this is a complete and utter FAIL of a test and has no intrinsic or objective value other than to keep the bike industry hype machine fuelled up. this is actually a disgrace on the part of RC but then, it harks back to the old product review articles he is so infamous for as the sheeple greedily gobble up this latest megaportion of hype fodder from the Ministry of Big Wheeled Disinformation. nothing against progress and evolution, but the method and means that this is being rolled out is frankly laughable, backed by a tidal wave of HYPEZ, STOKE, and RAD!!!!

regards,

the rest of the biking population riding old fashioned 26" wheels who are not OCD/ADHD obsessed by wheel size and are just geting on with riding their bikes and having fun, ignoring the bike industry hype machine, and laughing as the sheeple rush to sell perfectly good mountain cycles in order to buy new more expensive redundant big-wheeled cycles with NEW 2014 spec things and stuff and waaaaah when is my new XX2 coming out???? want !!!!!!
  • + 3
 It's funny how the people who say they don't care about wheel size are the most angry when 650b and 29" bikes appear on pinkbike. If you truly ride your bike for fun, let the rest of us have fun and ride our bikes - whatever the wheel size - in peace.
  • + 3
 no anger here grasshopper, just a sense of detached amusement at this marketing shitshow
  • + 4
 Who cares about he marketing? I don't get angry every time I see an ad for a brand of fork I don't own, or a drivetrain from a different brand. Why should wheels bring out the rabid tribalism in people?
  • - 2
 Angry, no. Clueless, yes.
"Sheeple"? Really?
How many 29ers or 650b bikes have you ridden? Zero, right.
Ask yourself this question. When WC DH racers start showing up on 650b bikes - bikes their bike sponsor doesn't actually sell - is it hype, or a performance advantage? If a rider chooses to race a 650b bike in an Enduro when their sponsor makes/sells all 3 wheels sizes, is it hype or an advantage?
Your beloved 26" wheels were an arbitrary winner in the wheel size sweepstakes when mountain bikes were just starting out...kinda like VHS over beta, Blu-ray over HDDVD, etc... Ironically, like VHS v. beta, beta was actually the superior format.
  • + 4
 ^ I don't race and I don't care about 1 second advantages and other trivial hocus pocus
  • + 1
 Nor do I, but I still ride a 29er. I like the way it handles, the big wheels mean I can get a sensible riding position without a stack of spacers or a 450mm headtube.
  • + 1
 RC said it himself: "riding is not racing". unless you're racing for a pro license who gives a isht
  • + 3
 sheldonbrown.com/rim-sizing.html according to my calculations the differerence to the average rider between 650b and 26" is fairly close to sod all. do you really think an extra 78mm in circumference (21mm in diameter) and 70-100g in weight is going to make that much difference in ether way?
wake up sheeple!
  • + 3
 i dunno about a new bike maybe intense should work on there metal these bikes are horrible everyone i know even myself has broken the swingarm chainstay not great quality look into bikes b4 u by them alot companys have problems with swingarms chainstays intense is none for it
  • + 1
 Was that the G3 drop out version if yes they were terrible but I and numerous other people I know had zero issues with the fixed drop out designs - therefore the material design issues I believe were sorted out. I would buy another!!
  • + 2
 Good to see the geometry and the info about lean angles.
But everything else has no value in the test because most of what they talked about is largely controlled by tires and suspension. Until they test back to back with identical builds and settings (minor changes in the rear to optimize to leverage) we won't really know how much of these changes are down to wheel size.

At the end of the day with all the factors in a downhill run one mistake can undo a win so wheel size aill rarely if ever be the deciding factor, the athlete always wins. 650b might make some bits easier but it still has its draw backs in other areas where 26er excel, different style different strengths i cant see it making a massive advantage mark at all tracks but It may suit some. Of course I may be proven wrong as the season unfolds.
  • + 2
 Why not wait until you could get hold of a 26 951 and provide a more relevant comparison? You could probably find just as many differences between a 26 inch 951 and a 26 inch M9. The fact that Intense make two different downhill bikes for different riders, needs and budgets mean that even on the same size wheels they will handle completely differently.
  • + 1
 See gnabar's post - he addresses this.
  • + 5
 I really hope 650B catches on. It will temporarily lower prices of 26 wheels and tires and I will stock up!
  • + 2
 muhahahahaaaa

please dont tell everyone my plan Wink
  • + 2
 "the third test rider of the team (un-named, due to conflicting sponsors) was not completely convinced that he could put in a faster time down the most technical parts of the trail on larger wheels"
Reminds me of a timed test Dirt made with 2 riders and 2 trailbikes. The guys had the impression to be faster on the 26" but were actually faster (or similiar) with a shorter travel 29". Sure the big wheels smoothen things a little. Of course 27.5 a little less than 29". But I guess for racing it's gonna be standard for everybody by next season. If you're not racing DH (like me) that's not interesting to change now as RC said it.
  • + 4
 Marketing FAIL, when you have Kovarik and want to show off your ""new"" wagonier , LET HIM DRIFT IT!!!!.
951 frame looks amazing as always!!!!
  • + 2
 1. I agree that this test is lacking due to disimilar bikes being tested with different geometries. a 62.5º headangle makes a massive difference compared to 64º! As well as the longer wheelbase. Thus many of the characteristics of the 951 evo could be down to the geometry alone and not the wheels.
2. Having said that everyone claiming that these wheels have little to no effect due to the roughly inch difference in diameter is full of crap. If that were true then we could say the same about 180 and 200mm of travel. 20mm isn't much but it does make a difference not as much as say 40mm but still something.
3. As for the MX comparison, how they tested different wheel sizes and settled on 21 and 19/18 inch for the rear rims (not wheel diameter) I think the same should happen with mountainbikes. MX settled on around 28in in diameter, they use a 21, 18, or 19 inch rim with a big tire to achieve this. Mountainbikes with the lack of engine have been going with bigger diameter rims and a smaller tires. A 26in rim is 22.0in (559mm) and with a DH 2.5 tire the diameter comes out to ~27in. Now a 650b wheel with DH tires of the same size will undoubtably comeout closer to 28in and thus closer to the the optimium MX wheel diameter. Now DH bikes have followed MX bikes in many areas, suspension (although not to the point of having 12in of travel), geometry (MX bikes tend to have headangles 62.5-63.5º) and other components so I don't see why they won't with wheels.
4. I'm pretty sure the Hans Damf tires on the Evo are the supergravity ones which in 650b come out to 1000g which isn't far of the 26in tires on the m9!
5. and that's a wrap.
  • + 2
 If u all actually rode this bike u would stop all the technical talk and be amazed by the overall smooth, fast, stable feeling of the 951 Evo. One smooth bike that rolls over rocks like nothing and carries speed like no other bike I've ever ridden. 275 is the next step and if you don't agree u haven't ridden one yet.
  • + 1
 I am definitely not a weight weeny. This big 951 looks killer.

Combined 500g more mass on the outside of two flywheels is huge. The faster they turn the bigger angular momentum and acceleration is. That explains why you cant turnin as quickly as with a 26 wheel, or brake or accelerate.. The bigger momentun of a 27 carries you better over the first and second root. After that it is 26 again because at slow rotational speed uphill 500g dont matter.

Also this bigger wheel weight is actually softening the current suspension. Leverage vector gets longer. And I think this is the effect that all the testers are actually talking about, it lowers spring rate and lets you notch up damping. Many riders ride way to big springs and only use the beginning stroke of their bikes - this seems like an advancement - the shock can now work better to controll the weaker spring.

My daughters 26, 951 runs a silver spring upfront and a 300lb spring in the back @ static HA 62 (riding HA is around 55-5Cool . This 951 is ridiculously fast, stays planted, uses all available travel. Although I am much heavier I now ride the same setup on my Hydro. Pushing of the ground is near impossible and flight trajectories are low and short and root carpets dont upset the suspension as much, almost no chatter. Tiregrip/min.pressure becomes a big issue . And here I see the biggests concern with 27 bikes. No decent tires available on 26 apart from Minion 2/3ply supertacky and none in 27.

Wheels hitting seattube - two layers of ducttape keep the paint fresh...It also means you finally used all your bikes travel.
  • + 1
 I love the way they're surprised that its more stable. Duh, it has a 62.5 head angle, bigger wheels and a lower BB height compared to axle height. It would be stable!

Is it faster is what I wanna know! Get a 951 (not an M9!) fitted with some 26" Hans Dampf's and give us some bloody average times down a variety of runs done but a variety of riders...
  • + 1
 ....and chainless for gods sake....
  • + 1
 I have never tried 29 or 27.5 but I have never crashed and thought damn if only my tires were bigger.

The fact that most companies charge 30% More for a 29" bike over a 26" with the same spec is enough to put me off.
Unless your stinking rich, calm down go watch a bunch of MTB movies and realize all those guys are riding 26" and make you look like crap.
Go oil your 26ers chain give it some love and GO RIDE IT.
WAIT for all the BS hype to calm down, and the prices to even out.
WAIT a bit more and see the hype when the industry starts pluging 26" tires as the new thing.
  • + 1
 To give you guys an idea of how close 650b is to 26".
In the shop where i work we just fitted 650b wheels to a woman's 26" wheeled bike ''to make her faster'' the wheel comes very close to the fork arch and very close to the saddle, but it bloody fits fine!! What's the point?

Ps. Her Strava times are the same.
  • + 1
 just the fact that it comes with Dorados makes me super excited haha!! i Love my dorados on my Scott Voltage and i have been wanting and Intense forever. Add that too my recent interest in wanting to try the 650b size.....this may very well be the bike for me!!
  • + 1
 looks pretty intense. if you could test ride bike in your home trail system, you might have a better chance at forming an opinion that has some foundation to it. If the traditional size had been 650b, nobody in their right mind would consider the 26er as an option. I applaud the fact that we have choices, I have 2 bikes that are 26ers, an XC and a downhill, and a cyclocross bike with 700c wheels. They all ride great, and feel different, and I am ok with that
  • + 1
 I dont understand 650b on a downhill bike. I have ridden several "All Mountain" 650b bikes and decided they were not for me simply because the benefits of easier climbing did not out weigh the sacrifice in handling. I'm not a downhill rider but I know they don't pedal these bikes up a hill, so why would you want to sacrifice sports car handling if all your doing is pointing this down a hill?
  • + 1
 It sounds like you didn't really ride 650b AM bikes. Since most have not yet reached dealers, where are you riding them?
  • + 1
 We have bike demos at my local shop (The Path Bike Shop in Tustin, CA) almost every weekend this time of year. So far I have demoed (10+ beautiful OC mi) The Intense Carbine 275, The Rocky Mountain Altitude 770, The Turner Burner and the shop has a 27.5 Banshee Rune Rental. Santa Cruz Demo is April 27th so I will ride the New Bronson then. I am in the market for a second bike to ride 25+ mi on. I have a Santa Cruz Nomad and absolutely love it until I hit mile 26. I have owned 29ers in the past and did not think that I wanted to go back but the 27.5 bikes have not impressed me. I think it will be a couple of years before they can get the geometry right. But my fingers are crossed the Bronson will kick ass.
  • + 1
 Fair enough.
  • + 4
 now I'm waiting for 29wheeled dh predator - I wish there was at least one available on the market...
  • + 3
 look up lenzsport pbj. they have been around for years.
  • + 1
 I would never replace my 951 FRO 26" for a 27.5 951 with no rear ajustable geo. Intense I love your bikes,,,,stop the f**&&^%^ around and design a Carbon 951 or M9 that will destroy the V10c and all others. Time to switch to carbon...why is evil doing carbon ajustable geo bikes and the intense are Not! Not!

All this 27, 29 etc...30, 36 what ever.... it's a waste of time for DH maybe in XC but not DH. It's only to make people spend their money. I stick to my 26 FRO and challenge any 27.5

Intense get back to the basics and design a Carbon 951
  • + 1
 I was very keen to get a 951 in 2011, but after seeing (live) many 951 twentysixers just being ripped apart in the headtube welds, I decided to stay away from it. I would be more interested to know if intense has improved that spot and reinforced it, particularly if they slackened the HA a couple of degrees...
  • + 1
 The road bikification of long travel, full suspension bikes. Tires get skinnier, bars get lower, wheels get bigger, suspension travel gets shorter, parts get lighter and lighter and weaker and weaker. In ten years downhill bikes will look exactly like road bikes.
  • + 4
 Perfect! Now, who wants to sell me their 26" 951!?
  • + 1
 Nothing on braking performance? I hoped you could comment on that. Increasing diameter will reduce effective braking force at the tire and for many people (not the light people, of course) that is important.
  • - 1
 shimano. problem solved
  • + 4
 can't wait for the scientific Strava time comparisons :-)
  • + 0
 The biggest benefit, which is hardly ever mentioned, of larger wheels is that it puts the BB below the axles of the wheels. This leads to a bike that corners and handles like a somofabitch...given you have the skill set and balls to lean it over far enough.
  • + 3
 It will mostly reduce the risk of OTBs when impacting obstacles as it rises the axle of rotation (hub) with respect to gravity center. The rest is speculation of marketers, and there are a lot of marketing scientist in the bike industry!
  • - 3
 You're right...there couldn't be any other obvious benefits of lowering your center of gravity relative to the axles.
  • + 2
 OK it sounds so obvious that you'll easily explain me why I guess? Could be I missed something so I'd be happy to learn and correct my mistake. But how can it improve cornering and handling is a mistery to me if related to axle height. I actually expect a little less handling from the bigger wheels because of the more important momentum (slightly larger diameters and weight of your rims/tyres) causing a stronger gyroscopic effect. Actually those bigger wheels will even slightly rise the overall center of gravity!
It's only by lowering your center of gravity per se that you will improve cornering and handling.
If you have a physical argument, bring it on. I'm no physicist so I can learn something.
  • - 1
 Again...you're absolutley correct. There couldn't possibly be any benefits to have a lower center of gravity relative to the axles. There's definitley no benefit to having a larger contact patch and the greater lean angles you can achieve without breaking traction because of it, either. It's all hocus pocus and black voodoo magic.
  • + 0
 there is no larger contact patch or lower center of gravity unless you live in other universe where math and physic we learn in school do not apply - but don't let this distract you from buying any advertising none sense. If this was the case other industriousness would have embrace the bigger diameter idea long ago
  • - 1
 You're right...the whole world is crazy.

Maybe I'll start using wood blocks on my pedals to raise my center of gravity up...so I can see further down the trail. No drawbacks to having a higher center of gravity, right?
  • + 1
 already a head of you! im using milk crates Wink
  • + 3
 @donch15, there are advantages of having a center of gravity lower than your axles, but not those you mentioned. Still waiting for a physical argument from your side. The argument about "the whole world" is just as solid as a roten bridge on the north shore!
Another example of a "well known advantage" often used by the cycle industry: your down tube is bent to come orthogonaly onto your headtube because you maximise the welding surface. Aha? Pythagoras was wrong and noone noticed for 2500 years? the diagonal is shorter than the orthogonal section of a tube?? Really?
There's this other one from Trek revolutionizing applied force on a shock (broke down to pieces by a simple physics rules as once explained by an engineer at Santa Cruz, forgot his name).
So? Still believe what everybody "knows" is true? You're free to believe what you want.
  • + 1
 I wonder when mx will start using bigger wheels than 21" front and 19" rear......
  • + 0
 21.5B!!!!!!!!!!
  • - 3
 @EndroManiac: You can't argue with stupid...so you'll get no arguement out of me.
  • + 0
 @ EuanBisset: MX has tried 17, 18, 19 and 20" wheels in the back. 19 is the one that stuck. In front, there have been 19, 20, 21, and 23" wheels. 21 is the one that stuck. Offroad riders use an 18" rear wheel for better compliance/flat resistance.
  • + 1
 Yep thank you for proving my point. Yes enduro machines use an 18" rear tyre with the same outer diameter as the mx bikes 19" tyre. I don't believe an added contact patch of roughly 5mm extra on a 650b wheel compared to 26" will give better grip, also the added size will increase weight and ability to accelerate quick would be affected negatively. Anyway if we wanted to carry momentum better wouldn't we all be on 50lb hucker bikes still...........
  • + 1
 Believe what you like. Some people believed the world was flat. Some people believe the world is less than 10,000 years old (add up all the dates in the bible.) Doesn't mean they are right.

Moto tried different sizes, and found the balance between maneuverability and stability. MTB is doing the same, just 20 years later.
  • + 1
 I'm not against improvement just exaggeration of benefits given by the bigger wheel size.
  • + 1
 I'd love a go on an EVO to see how is compares to my FRO, doubt I'll find a fully built test bike to try out though. Still waiting for Intense to bring out a carbon 951 before replacing mine. Love the TLD kit!
  • + 3
 brand new operator and Intense 951 Evo - two days, two beautiful bikes!!!
  • + 1
 what is up with intense and their super long top tubes? 23.5 inches ETT should be designated as a size large on a downhill frame.
  • + 2
 As long as you can hit sweet jumps and do wicked-skids and awesome bar-turns, choose a weapon and ride.
  • + 2
 Amen brother.
  • + 2
 Horrible comparison... 2 different models instead of last years 951 26 vs. the 27.5. What were you thinking, PB?
  • + 1
 just wait.. as more 650 dh rigs start to come out, we'll see some real testing..
  • + 1
 Sick, downhill is gettin faster and probably burlier... certainly the sketchier way to go. Certainly gonna try to get one of theese.
  • + 1
 reading a RC article is like reading MBA which is like reading an ADD which makes me disgusted b the bullshit hype that is stinking up mountain biking!
  • + 1
 A Downhill bike with Schwalbe Hans Dampf Tyres?! Thas like mounting slicks on a MX Bike Big Grin ... Think it will getting hard to find some Wetscreams for 650b Big Grin
  • + 1
 What's the consensus of improved frame durability? There was a notable rash of broken 951s a few years ago. How was that problem resolved?
  • + 2
 Intense does it again, i really spoiled myself by buying an Intense, now nothing else even compares
  • + 1
 Really could they find a flatter track to test on, different bikes, different forks and tires, so over these tests you guys are wheely crazy!
  • + 4
 I herd there will be a new 28,5" standard in 2014 and it will make you 0,23 seconds faster on your hometrail
  • + 0
 What traditional wheel size does that refer to. Oh, you are trolling!!!!!
  • + 2
 I wanna start a 26"road bike building company -" its the new black in road bikes" is my tag line
  • + 1
 wrong website for building road bikes, but I like the tag line Smile
  • + 3
 Yesss! I'm loving all these new bike reviews!
  • + 1
 Nice photos Greg! Awesome to see you transferring your skills and love to the bike industry.
  • + 1
 What a great job by Intense cycles. The Have brought the term "Outdone Themselves" to a WHOLE new level.
  • + 2
 650B... Heil obsolescency
  • + 1
 If 650b is easier to ride it might encourage more people to take up mountain biking, which can never be a bad thing Smile
  • + 5
 I just hope that it won't encourage the wrong kind of people (covert roadies) and ruin the flow of trails!
  • + 2
 yeh but i cant see people taking up mountain biking just because 650b has made it "easier"
  • + 3
 It's not about the bike but the rider
  • + 1
 +1 siradam amd tabletop84. couldnt have said it betta me self
  • + 0
 So you guys do not use suspension, disc brakes, knobby tires, or any other developments used to make cycling easier over the past 20 years Smile
  • + 2
 Advanced suspension, better brakes, tires > 2cm wheel diameter

I'm not saying it can't be better I'm just a bit turned off off the desperate wheelsize-marketing-war. And before you say I just shouldn't read it: It's almost unavoidable. Every publication about mountainbikes I know has at least two wheelshizzle-articles which are desperately trying to sell you stuff nobody apart from pro racers need and even them maybe won't become faster by it. Yeah if Gwin wins the overall on a 650b everyone will be like "I told ya" but in the end he won it because he's Gwin not because he's on specialized, trek 26 or 650b.
  • + 1
 Ride your bike with 2.1 instead of 2.4 tires, and tell me if there is a difference in ride and traction. Small differences can equal big changes. Use a stem that is 20mm shorter or longer, or a 120mm rather than a 140mm travel bike. My point was that each of those advances were rejected by the traditionalists, just like you are rejecting this change.
  • + 1
 the only change i reject are the pennies i find in between my couch!
  • + 1
 it kind of looks like a 90's dh bkie, from the colors anyway, but still sick!
  • + 2
 The word 'evo' is now a huge fucking mtb cliche.
  • + 1
 why do you think i hate the mitsubishi evo?!?!?!
(other than the fact its FWD) Wink ))))
  • + 1
 The evo is all wheel drive you psycho.
  • + 1
 i know it is.. but if you look at how the motor sits in the bay, youll see what im talking about Wink
  • + 1
 if you stick some integrated bump stops on it. i isn't a design progress. its just fashionable
  • + 1
 I wish I knew where this test took place. It looks like it in my neighborhood but I do not recognize it.
  • + 1
 27.5, 26, ???? make up your own mind, just want the 951 evo lots...........
  • + 1
 Next season; 27.5 downhill bikes. Season after; dinner plate sized brake rotors to stop them.
  • + 1
 Makes sense with all the extra speed and traction. Better brakes will be needed.
  • + 1
 **sends email to brembo**
  • + 2
 Love the Frankenstein bumpers on the side of the headtube.
  • + 2
 this looks really awesome!
  • + 2
 now i need to win some money....
  • + 1
 YES!!!!!! I haven't read 5H1T in the article but I'm mad excited to see this still.
  • + 1
 And now having read it, I want one! My White Bros Groove 200's will work well with this frame.
  • + 2
 After 2 years saddle time....My 951 is still my super fun "do-it-all rig"!
  • + 1
 Well I think the M9 looks SOOOOO much cooler!! like the colors thought!!
  • + 1
 Its easy to do m9, durado , long wheelbase setings. 27.5 fit front/back.
  • + 1
 Fair one. But Intense want you to buy a new frame!
  • + 1
 Lotta Ted's props.... word!
  • + 1
 26" is downhill please dont take that away Frown ( u took it away from xc
  • + 2
 Beautiful
  • + 1
 I saw an M9 in that video, what what what?????
  • + 1
 In the movie at 1:15 it not a 951, it a M9 on 27.5??
  • + 1
 love this bike one of the best
  • + 1
 Those neon's hurt my eyes!
  • + 1
 Does anyone know What the tld kit that he's useing at 34s?
  • + 5
 I think that's the new Toucan Sam Pajama Signature Edition. They come as a prize in every box of Fruit Loops.
  • + 0
 ahh great better get me some Fruit Loops then thanks!
on a serious note are they even available to buy? Smile
  • + 1
 looks like TLD SE pro corse yellow/orange
  • + 1
 WHERE IS THE PLACE TO MUD REAR TRIANGLE In
  • + 1
 I'm also waiting on the 29er version...Intense Bigfoot FRO!
  • + 1
 Could've used a better wheelset also. There are plenty on the market.
  • + 1
 Must say the Kona Operator is the one for 2014.....
  • + 1
 The biger the faster lick it up toto
  • + 2
 mmmmm bike porn
  • + 1
 Is that the new Campagnolo seatpost ?
  • + 1
 loving the bumpstops on the frame Wink
  • + 1
 Were these pictures taken at Teds?
  • + 1
 Totally didn't see this coming... Wink
  • + 1
 Still not sold on a 27.5
  • + 1
 Wait until u ride one
  • + 0
 this bike is a WOW. Instant "want"
  • - 1
 Is that a door stop they're using as fork bumpers?! It kinda cheapens a really nice bike for me...
  • + 1
 Super fun bike...
  • + 1
 You get to ride it BBLB? Looks amazing!
  • + 3
 Yeah, great ride... they've got a 27.5 M9 Proto floating around too that's even better than the 951 IMO.
  • + 2
 I think I remember seeing pics of those from a while back.. One day I wish to supplement my Tracer with an Intense DH bike...
  • + 0
 i so tire d about weel ss ar29 and this shit ... ar26 ts perfect
  • - 1
 Im sure there will be 27.5 dropouts for the m9 .
  • - 1
 Agreed.
  • - 1
 ISO
approves this bike....
I rode it....
Wink
  • - 1
 This is one 650b I don't mind reading, finally PB
  • + 0
 FLIP IT!
  • - 3
 What's with the old(er) E13 chainguide on the brand new bike?

No 26" 951 to use for the test and a old(er) chainguide? What's going on over there at Intense?
  • + 0
 Me Gusta...
  • - 1
 My next bike, cause of the door stop fork bumpers!!
  • - 3
 evo? idk for now I'd say de-evo for de-evolution as I'm not 100% sold on 650b, I'd love to try it though!
  • - 4
flag Willie1 (Apr 17, 2013 at 0:19) (Below Threshold)
 Its better.
  • + 11
 Than what Willie1 ?

Chocolate covered ants? Possibly, but even if it rolls better, I ain't buying it.

Unless it's chocolate covered
  • + 4
 willie1 is it really better? I can't see the point of it for the average rider, obviously as said in the article it's for racers but even still I want a nice fun 26 to use off the race course as well as on the race course, so for now if I had the money and the desire to own an Intense I'd buy the M9
  • + 6
 But downhill tracks were built for 26" wheel'd bikes.... they'll have to make the courses rougher, and there will be no f*cking difference to how smooth the ride is, you'll just have a pair of wheels on your bike that are too big.
  • - 2
 I'm not convinced- I'm gonna hold out for 26.75".
  • + 0
 trolling!!!!
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