Bike Check: Aaron Gwin's Intense M29 - Maribor DH World Cup 2019

Apr 27, 2019
by Daniel Sapp  

Aaron Gwin is riding into the first World Cup of 2019 on a new bike and with a new team (that he owns himself).

In February, Gwin won his first race of the season in Fontana aboard the M29. As a threat at almost any race he shows up to in good health, Gwin has as good of potential to land on the top step Sunday as anyone. After landing second in qualifying today, it's apparent the speed is there.

Aaron will be racing on his Intense M29 FRO this weekend. We caught up with his mechanic, John Hall, to get the low down on his bike set up and the changes that have taken place with the new team for 2019.

Even with the switch over to an entirely new team with a new frame sponsor, according to Hall, Gwin has adapted to the changes very quickly and there haven't been any struggles in getting the set up dialed in. Helping with that, most of the parts sponsors carried over to the new team from last year, making everything feel comfortable from the start.

Is the new team, frame, and a fresh start the winning combination for Gwin? We will see on the clock come Sunday when he crosses the finish line in Maribor. Check out the photos and audio below.

Rider: Aaron Gwin // Intense Factory Racing
Age: 31
Height: 178cm (5'10")
Weight: 77kg (177lbs)
Hometown: Morongo Valley, CA
Instagram: @aarongwin1

Aaron Gwin looked comfortable on track and as always played practice pretty cool not wanting to draw too much attention.
Gwin in practice, looking comfortable as ever.

Intense M29 FRO Details

Frame: Intense M29 FRO, size large
Shock: Fox Float X2
Fork: Fox 49
Wheels: eThirteen LG1 Carbon
Tires: Kenda Hellcat with FTD inserts front and back
Drivetrain: TRP
Brakes: TRP
Cockpit: 50mm Renthal stem, 790mm Renthal bars; SDG Saddle/Seatpost
More info: Intense Cycles

The M29 is quite a bit different than the YT Tues he was on previously, but according to John Hall the M29 was easy to adapt to. Works components headset increases the reach by 6mm.

TRP's DH drivetrain. The gold bits are found on the FRO (For Race Only) bikes from Intense.

The DHR is TRP's new brake. It's TRP's e-bike brake which both Aaron and Neko were really pleased with in testing. Better feel and more power.

Hall drills out the dimples on the TRP brakes for Gwin. It gives a little more grip on the finger with slightly sharper edges, plus it looks good.

Kenda had recently launched the Hellcat when Aaron switched over from Onza. He was happy with the tires after testing them, and there are several new tread patterns in development.

SDG handles the seat and seat post while Aaron runs his signature ODI lock on grip.

John Hall, Aaron's mechanic isn't one for disclosing many numbers on exact settings or ride height. When you're at the top of the game, it makes sense to keep your cards close. Hall's spirit animal is a bear, hence the bear with the wrench on the seat tube. If you see that logo on any bike, it's John's stamp of approval and a guarantee of a dialed ride. When the bear is there, have no cares, as there's nothing you need to worry about, whether it's Gwin's race rig or a buddy's trail bike, it's good to go.

Aaron is on a stock size large frame right now but there is an XL on standby if he feels the need to run it.

MENTIONS: @intensecyclesusa / @aarongwin1

Author Info:
danielsapp avatar

Member since Jan 18, 2007
476 articles

  • 57 3
 Ken da tires grip in da wet?
  • 22 14
  • 6 6
 @NateTubbs: Funny because it's true.
  • 1 7
flag karoliusz (Apr 27, 2019 at 18:36) (Below Threshold)
 Intense conds you have at least onese cond advan’t age
  • 4 12
flag thenotoriousmic (Apr 28, 2019 at 2:17) (Below Threshold)
 I doubt he’ll be using Kenda. He’ll just use blacked out Maxxis like he did when he was on onza.
  • 1 0
 Gwin is too clean cut to be a FRO rider.
  • 32 2
 5'10' and potentially running an XL frame, does it suggest Intense need to sort their sizing out?
  • 4 5
 The bikes are big. The industry needs to catch up as a whole
  • 5 18
flag thesharkman (Apr 27, 2019 at 16:18) (Below Threshold)
 No, it suggests the industry's push for longer bikes is all based on making money. The actual racers who know what they're doing aren't falling for it.
  • 18 1
 Sizing is for the masses. Racers change out rear triangles with difference sized frames too. He was on an XL with YT also. That's just for racing though. I'd be willing to bet he doesn't ride an XL when he's not racing.
  • 10 2
 @thesharkman: the xl has over a 1300mm wheelbase. Just about a solid 40mm the an xl m16. If anything this demonstrates that the industry is lagging behind. If you were right, you’d see Aaron on a smaller size, not a bigger one.
  • 3 5
 Intense has been behind the industry for years. The size XL M16 has the same reach as a medium Tues. The XL M29 is longer, but still falls into a large sizing in other brands.
  • 2 0
 On the Redbull qualifying show Gwin was talking about being between the two sizes.
  • 4 0
 Just need to change sizes too small, XL, XXL & XXXL?
  • 4 1
 Dude the man comes from a motocross back ground. He is prob more comfy on a big ass bike. Remember he is not sit down pedaling either, so who cares about the reach. And if you've ever ridden a slacked out bike, downhill, you would know that longer, just eats up all kinds of terrain.
  • 2 0
 @QuickMish: the familiarity with riding a much bigger machine was what I was thinking also. Gwin looks barely 5’10” if that’s what’s stated.
  • 4 0
 @QuickMish: reach matters when standing. Top tube matters when seated
  • 15 1
 "Hall drills out the dimples on the TRP brakes for Gwin. It gives a little more grip on the finger with slightly sharper edges, plus it looks good.”

Well I’ve just gotta try this one.
  • 1 0
 Yeah me too!
  • 14 0
 it's for all that dimpled aero advantage. #prosecrets
  • 21 0
 Speed holes!
  • 9 0
 @charmingbob: dam you flanders! lol
  • 2 0
 That’s stock on the new TRP brakes. Just got 3 pair and they are all drilled out already.
  • 2 0
 @fclinder: it might be that he takes a little more out of the dimples compared to the casting on the production leavers which have a smoother profile, presumably from a polishing treatment. This would leave a small area around each hole with a sharper, grippier edge. A small difference but potentially an important one, similar to Hope Tech 3 levers which are drilled.
  • 2 1
 @charmingbob: Or could be holy brakes?
  • 1 0
 Drilled and slotted levers.
  • 18 2
 I don’t know...I think they should be running a less sturdy chain.
  • 15 2
 Being secretive about bar height's ridiculous. Like knowing that would give anyone an advantage lol
  • 25 6
 If it doesn’t matter then why do you want to know?
  • 13 2
 @kleinblake: Every bit of knowledge gleaned from a pro's bike is practically worthless. It's all about curiosity and gear nerdiness. Why do a bike check at all if things like bar height and tire pressure are treated like proprietary tech that's still in development?
  • 6 1
 Yeah it’s totally stupid and if it’s that important just make something up to put your competition off.
  • 7 0
 I love John Hall content. As a bike shop mechanic for 13 years, his habits and attitude impress me. I've even made a pelican case tool box in his style, and I've always crimped cable ends in my signature style. A sticker seems like the next logical step!
  • 11 2
 As a bike shop mechanic for 15 years, I can honestly say I've never had enough time to develop a signature toolbox or cable crimp method. I'm way too busy working!
  • 4 0
 @seraph: yeah, cause John Hall is a slacker and never works.
  • 1 0
 @seraph: Well done, lol.
  • 11 4
 Aaron Gwin is an incredible human being his team will really rock.
  • 5 0
 Actually he told yesterday Rob on RB TV that he'll be ridding with an XL
  • 4 1
 Random fact - I designed the bear logo for John. He's a rad dude & it was super fun designing it for him.
I'm glad that the logo is finally getting out there a bit.
  • 5 1
 Love the Derailleur hanger Bling
  • 4 0
 77kg = 177lbs, what kind of hocus pocus is this?
  • 1 0
 Yeah more like 169 lbs. Close to 170 tho. But rounding up to 177 is a crime.
  • 14 2
 @seraph: Everyone seems fine with Danny Hart rounding up his height by inches..
  • 4 1
 When Gwin is on it he is a peg above everyone, keen to see how he goes this year, i'm thinking very well.
  • 4 0
 What's the over/under on broken wheels this season?
  • 10 6
 Sexiest DH bike of all time. There I said it.
  • 17 14
 Funny because I think it’s one of the ugliest. But that’s cool. To each their own.
  • 8 11
 @rockyflowtbay: I am in agreement. I think the lines are hideous. Doesn't hold a candle to the classics.
  • 6 2
 @rockyflowtbay: the alloy prototype was intense best looking bike and they’ve had some bangers. They showed they still have it instead they decided to sell cheap Chinese catalog bikes now that look like a fake eBay Santa Cruz.

Make bikes that look like this intense. We know you can do it.
  • 3 1
 @thenotoriousmic: Came here to say the same, alloy mule was the best looking in the circuit. Even if they had switced to plastic but keeping the shapes it'd be, but no, they changed every single line :/
  • 2 1
 @rockyflowtbay: Agreed. Looks horrible. The M9 & the M6 were and are gorgeous machines.
  • 2 0
 It's pretty dumb that the mechanic keeps Gwin's "ride settings and stack heights" cards close. As if anyone actually gives a shit about them.
  • 2 1
 How good would it be to throw a leg over this steed @puffysquirter !!! Not sure if you would be able to man handle it though Smile
  • 3 1
 5'10" riding a large with 6mm of extra reach and he has an XL on standby. Make these bikes longer jeez.
  • 5 1
 Have a medium at 5 ft 9 and can concern they do not need to be longer. You can't base what a World Cup downhiller uses off what you do. It just doesn't work
  • 2 1
 Kenda hellcats huh? That doesn’t sound right. I thought he had his own tire that looked like a maxxis?
  • 2 0
 He designed the Onza the Aquila which currently has his name printed on it (both the DH and trail versions). He and Onza are most likely in a separate business deal where they license his name to print on the tire. Either way, he is sponsored by Kenda so he isn't going to be using an Onza tire.
  • 2 1
 What a Race machine! Btw does Gwiny looks older than 31 only to me? He's like 40+
  • 1 0
 are they ever like: "man, this product is sh..t but we have to run it because we're sponsored"
  • 1 0
 Fine Print Must Read: “Stamp of approval does not include chain and cranks”
  • 1 0
 Who is Kendas patent company?
  • 2 1
  • 9 1
 They don't have a parent company...based out of Taiwan - Kenda Rubber Industrial Company, 建大工業股份有限公司
  • 2 0
 What pedals
  • 1 0
 Looks like they are HT X2 pedals.
  • 1 0
 HT X2-SX I’m sure.
  • 2 0
 Isn't he on HT pedals ?
  • 3 2
 Why do they care about keeping suspension settings ‘secret’?
  • 7 2
 It's not like they're competing against anyone!
  • 2 1
 TRP brakes = muy bueno!!!!
  • 3 2
 Should be called the M30 cause this thing will hit Mach 3 under Gwin
  • 1 0
 Is he running carbon or aluminum bars?
  • 1 0
 The only one thing that can stopping Gwin is kenda hard to find!
  • 1 0
 31.8 alloy bars for the Gwinner?
  • 1 0
 Maybe I missed it but how much does this bike weigh?
  • 1 0
 my spirit animal is the honeybadger...
  • 2 1
 Straight out of BroCal
  • 1 1
 Intense needs to offer toned down paint like this to the public.
  • 3 1
 How many would you like
  • 5 3
 is the Claw.
  • 2 2
  • 1 2
 those tires. I thought he'd be running something else. You know...
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