Bike Check: Aaron Gwin's Prototype Mixed-Wheel Intense M279 - Mont-Sainte-Anne DH World Champs 2019

Aug 30, 2019
by Daniel Sapp  

After some time off due to a shoulder injury, Aaron Gwin is back racing this weekend in Mont Sainte Anne. During the course of his recovery, he's been dialing in his vision of an ideal race bike, and will be putting some of those theories to test at World Championships. While the rest of the Intense team is on 29" wheels, Gwin has opted for a staggered wheel size - 29" in the front and a 27.5" wheel out back.

Following the Andorra World Cup, Gwin went to the engineering team at Intense with some feedback on how to make his bike a little more lively. He's been riding some staggered wheel trail bikes from Intense, including the Tazer and enjoying them. It only took a month or so before Intense had a new 27.5" rear end and linkage for Gwin's DH bike.

Gwin still isn't feeling 100%. His shoulder isn't quite at full strength but he's beyond happy to be back on the bike and getting back into the groove of things. He says that this weekend's race and the following World Cup finals at Snowshoe will be excellent venues to get a jump start on testing ideas for next season, as both tracks are proper DH courses.

Rider Name // Aaron Gwin
Age: 31
Hometown: Morongo Valley, CA
Instagram: @aarongwin1

Aaron Gwin Prototype 279

Aaron Gwin Prototype 279
Intense M279 Details

Frame: Prototype M279
Shock: Fox Float X2
Fork: Fox 49
Wheels: E*thirteen Aaron Gwin signature edition DH
Tires: Kenda Prototype
Drivetrain: TRP with E*thirteen cranks
Brakes: TRP with prototype calipers
Cockpit: Renthal bars and stem, Works Components adjustable headset
Size: Large

The big differences on the bike? According to Gwin, the suspension has a different leverage ratio and the geometry is different from the stock M29. Other than that, it's more or less business as usual. Gwin runs a size large frame and his suspension settings are pretty middle of the road (as he sees it), but doesn't disclose much information. He does say that he runs about 27psi in his front tire and 31 in the back. If you take a good look at the details of the bike, it's readily apparent that the back end of the bike isn't the only prototype part.

Aaron Gwin Prototype 279
Prototype Kenda tires

Aaron Gwin Prototype 279
Aaron Gwin Prototype 279
The Works Components angle set looks to increase reach by quite a bit.

Aaron Gwin Prototype 279
Notice the brake calipers? "Prototype AG"

Aaron Gwin Prototype 279
Aaron Gwin Prototype 279
Signature Gwin wheels and e*thirteen cranks.

Aaron Gwin Prototype 279
Aaron Gwin Prototype 279
The machining on that link...

Regions in Article
Mont-Sainte-Anne DH Park


  • 150 7
 "According to Gwin, the suspension has a different leverage ratio and the geometry is different from the stock M29. Other than that, it's more or less business as usual"

Basically, it's completely different than stock, but otherwise it's exactly the same.
  • 39 8
 Maybe this one won’t get stolen.
  • 23 5
 @mitcht: Too soon.
  • 18 17
 @reks - a bike set up has a lot more to it than a frame and rear shock. The component set up, way he runs his suspension, tire pressures, bar width, etc. are his standard numbers.
  • 7 1
 I saw him riding it on the Parkway and then parking it in the driveway
  • 16 0
 @danielsapp: His suspension setup isn't the same if the leverage ratio is different...
  • 25 0
 @scvkurt03: don't belong here sir, you actually think
  • 25 3
 Anyone remembers this?

"Gwin remarked that's the m29 rear suspension felt so good it made him think whether his previous dh bike ever performed well"

I mean Gwin is good on a bike but man he likes the marketing tricks(or lies?).
  • 18 0
 Remarked the carbon cranks are gone for good?
  • 3 0
 @mitcht: now I’ll never sell that M29, dammit!

PS - I am of course joking but going Mullet will devalue the stolen bike if the idiots who nicked it still have it in one piece.
  • 2 1
Welcome to the world of sponsorships.
  • 2 5
 It's interesting the bikes are made to sell parts and bikes and not win races. I notice this because everything is not made from titanium. If the bikes were made solely to win, they would be as light as possible disregarding cost, which means, wouldn't the cranks, bolts, calipers, nearly everything be titanium or carbon? Spoiler: or perhaps the bike and parts really don't matter so much and it's 99.9999% all about rider and some luck on that day :o
  • 4 0
 @Rasterman: the parts still have to finish the race, so no they wouldn't make everything as light as possible. Also some weight is good in areas for downhill.
  • 52 4
 Looks like the internet won , back to 27.5
  • 19 0
 Halfway there Smile
  • 10 1
 Woooah oh
  • 4 1
 1/4 of the way back to 26
  • 3 0
 @mattg95: Livin on a prayer...
  • 2 3
 @HankBizzle: thankyou for competing my little joke. However, to the rest of the pb community, it took 10 hours and you were primed by the presence of god-fearing Gwin. I'm not angry, just disappointed. Now please, commence a meltdown and/or punchain on religion or wheelsize.
  • 42 1
 The way the link fits in the seat tube area is top notch
  • 40 1
 Hey guys, your bike tried to kill me. Can we please change everything? Thanks! - Gwin
  • 5 0
  • 29 1
 Shouldn’t this “staggered” bike be called the M297?
The naming convention - front to back. My OCD.
  • 12 0
 or as from left to right, 279
  • 10 1
 It hurts me.
  • 47 2
 Every bike Intense has ever made has been named after U.S. military arms with the M279 being a Hellfire missile launcher.
  • 7 1
 @An-Undocumented-Worker: Two excellent bits of information. Cool.
  • 7 1
 @An-Undocumented-Worker: The Uzi (or uzzi as it was spelled on intense bikes) isn't a US military weapon, nor was it used by the U.S. military. The Secret Service used them for a bit, but they aren't a branch of the military. But yeah they are basically all weapon based names.
  • 5 2
 @An-Undocumented-Worker: Cool info, shit I'm a vet and never made the connection. I did have an Intense Slopestyle a while back so I guess there are some exceptions. It was a shit bike so I haven't paid much attention to the brand since.
  • 5 18
flag CaliCol (Aug 30, 2019 at 21:41) (Below Threshold)
 @An-Undocumented-Worker: is this a liberal complaint or a general observation?
  • 18 10
 @CaliCol: everything is a liberal complaint..
  • 1 0
 @An-Undocumented-Worker: what about the slopestyle?
  • 2 13
flag Brklss (Aug 31, 2019 at 3:16) (Below Threshold)

That’s pathetic.
  • 5 0
 @CaliCol: no complaint whatsoever, I love they're naming scheme. And upon further reflection the trail bikes just use general weapon names of the sort available to everyday blokes while it's the downhill bikes that are military grade ;-)
  • 11 7
 @AarontCO: thank you for your service.
  • 7 0
 @An-Undocumented-Worker: As an Intense owner I was unaware of their naming convention and I thank you for your insight. My OCD has been satisfied and has crawled back to the corner.
  • 1 0
 Not 295?
  • 1 0
 All profile shots of bicycles are rear to front. Otherway around doesn't show off the drivetrain.
  • 2 0
 @An-Undocumented-Worker: that’s awesome definitely needs to be called the hellfire though also what’s the m3 and shouldn’t they have started with the m16 the most famous one?
  • 1 0
 The link in the seat tube has 279 cnc’d into it, I think intense already has it figured out.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: They started with the M1, a weapon which layed waste to many foes in WWII.
  • 30 8
 Those Kenda DHFs look nice
  • 9 6
 They honestly look nothing like a dhf....they could literally pass for the the aquilas he ran last year if you slapped an onza patch on them though.
  • 4 0
 Kenda has said they were working on a new dry conditions tire. Is it a DHF or an Aquilla?
  • 2 0
 @Jackson900: the aquila is a DHR, these look like DHF
  • 1 0
 @ORTOGONAL555: After closer comparison the shoulder is more similar to the Aquila and the center is more similar to the DHF.
  • 1 0
  • 19 1
 Mr. Gwin, you’re due. Get it.
  • 31 16
 Aluminum crank.....interesting that. Or it could be Unobtainium. Hard to tell. Would have to see it in person. Wink
  • 17 34
flag Lotusoperandi (Aug 30, 2019 at 17:31) (Below Threshold)
 You, sole person, who keeps down voting every comment I you and I got into a beef at some point here on PB, can't we just get along? I meant you no harm bro (or dudette). Holding grudges is harmful to yer psyche. Ya know?
  • 4 2
 Iirc he snapped a couple of the carbon ones this swason
  • 3 1
 @bkm303: Yup, I know, hence the comment on it. Just curious though, what's a "swason"?
  • 12 0
 @Lotusoperandi: A swason is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.
  • 15 2
 Seems like a good idea; he’s looked a bit out of sorts on the 29er.
  • 9 0
 I agree. Even on the YT 29 he never looked fully dialed.
  • 15 2
 I hope he wins these next 2 races
  • 7 0
 I like how they label everything "Prototype". Gotta make sure your don't bolt some of that stuff on one of your OEM bikes going out the door. Aaron, "Dudes, where's my bike?" Intense guy, "Ehm, can somebody get me the tracking info on that last direct to consumer shipment, like NOW!!!!"
  • 3 1
 I remember thinking "Atherton Bikes? How creative!"

This man has his name on most of the components on his bike
  • 9 0
 Interesting move, always thought gwin looked better on a 27" bike
  • 8 2
 Who doesn‘t? ????
  • 26 0
 @vhdh666: Minnaar.
  • 1 0
 @zyoungson: yeah but he hasn’t tried the mullet has he. Nor has Loris!!
  • 1 0
 @zyoungson: yep you're correct
  • 8 0
 Should've left it raw
  • 2 2
 Wet dreams
  • 7 0
 That wrap should keep it from getting stolen. Wow
  • 8 2
 Ohhhh yeah prototype bike porn... [unzips bumbag, lubes chain]
  • 5 2
 Need more info on the crank set.
  • 7 2
 Because he’s snapped a few of the carbon versions. ????
  • 4 1
 @Shibby187: yep he and everyone else!
  • 3 0
 It's a cold forged one piece axle arm (no press fit) crank, the chainring arm threads drive side, have a set for over a year, no complaints.
  • 3 1
 very hard to imagine that we will look back upon bikes like this and say 'ha, look at that old thing!'
  • 2 0
 The John Holmes works components makes for a pretty stiff front end
  • 1 0
 Yeah, with extra reach.
  • 1 0
 I'm ready to see see him gwin again. The races haven't been as intense with him on the sideline.
  • 2 0
 I prefer to call it a mullet bike. But that's just me
  • 1 0
 Aluminium rear triangle too!
  • 1 0
 I wonder if the VPP is just not his jive. We will see.
  • 1 0
 Inspired by Eddie Van Halens' Guitar?
  • 1 0
 Maybe. Either way it is impressive that they now have graphic designers getting wild mentioning something is a prototype.
  • 1 0
 Looks like he’s going to Alloy cranks after the last carbon eff-up
  • 3 3
 .... but wait.... isnt.... but.... come to think of it. I dont care.
  • 3 3
 Does anyone know if a 29er fork and wheel would go alright on an M16?
  • 2 2
 Of course it would.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Wrap job looks...
  • 1 0
 mine had 2679.
  • 1 2
 Damnnn that TRP
  • 2 3
 Still an ugly design.
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