Words: Mike Rose / IntensePaint Job & Photos: Fresh Paints of Whistler
The word ‘legend’ is often used a little too freely, but Intense team rider Chris Kovarik really is a legend of the downhill mountain bike world. There are very few (if any) professional mountain bikers that have been with just one brand for such a long period of time. Twenty-two years, well over two decades of loyalty and dedication, during which time Kovarik has won multiple Australian National Championships titles, four World Cups, including his unforgettable +14 second demolition in Fort William 2002… one of the greatest race runs of all time… and all on flat pedals let’s not forget.
Back in the late 1990s Kovarik was part of the initial wave of super fast Aussies that turned the downhill race scene on its head. The style was powerful and aggressive, but always seemingly in control… kind of! When Kovarik was on track it was serious stuff, it was not for the fainthearted. You couldn’t take your eye off him, and he was always up for the win.
Chris first met Intense at the NORBA finals in Vermont. He was a privateer riding for Dave Rodgers’ Qranc Team with Nathan Rennie, Johnny Waddel and the Rogers brothers. He won the race and ended up second in the overall points for the series. Later that day Jeff Steber (Intense CEO and founder) approached him and said to give him a call. A month later, he signed with Intense and basically became part of the family from that day on.
So, to celebrate 22 years with Intense Chris hooked-up with local specialists Fresh Paints of Whistler to create this very personal one-off celebratory custom painted M29 frame. It had to be a DH bike and that’s what Chris grew up riding and it was only fitting to choose the M29 over the M16, as it’s the bike he will be spending most time of his time racing, coaching and riding on. Check out Chris's thoughts on the project below: