Field Test: 2020 Intense Primer S - Mixed Wheel Corner Carver

Nov 19, 2019
by Mike Levy  


PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

2020 INTENSE PRIMER S

Mixed wheel corner carver



Words by Mike Levy, Photography by Trevor Lyden



Intense used to have a few different models in their lineup that could be considered trail rigs, but there's only one name for 2020. The all-new Primer offers 140mm of rear-wheel travel paired with a 150mm fork, but there are still choices to make given that you can have it with two 27.5" wheels, two 29" wheels, or a mixed 29" front and 27.5" rear combo like our Primer S test bike.

You can also have your Primer S in one of two trim levels; the 'Pro Build' pictured here goes for $5,799 USD straight off Intense's website, with a Fox 36 FIT4 fork, *e13's LG1 Enduro Race wheels, and a mixed SRAM drivetrain. The Expert model costs $3,899, or you can get the frame and shock for $2,999 USD.
Primer S Details

Travel: 140mm
Wheel size: 29'' front, 27.5+ rear
Frame construction: Carbon fiber
Head angle: 64.5 / 65.1-degrees (geometry)
Chainstay length: 440mm
Reach: 454 / 460mm (L)
Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
Weight: 30.0 lbs / 13.6 kg (as pictured)
Price: $5,799 USD
More info: www.intensecycles.com

The carbon fiber frame is all-new for Intense, and they've used it as the base for the 27.5'', 29'', and mullet-wheeled models. The former gets its dedicated front and rear triangles, while the 29er and the Primer S share frames. You'll find a flip-chip at the aft shock mount that takes the head angle from 64.5 to 65.1-degrees (in the mixed-wheel configuration) while also lifting the bottom bracket by just over 7 millimeters.

Intense is still using a similar dual-link layout, but they're saying that it's been revised for 2020 for improved efficiency and added ramp-up for those big hits. A Fox Factory DPX2 shock looks after the 140mm of travel while being compressed by the carbon upper link (the bottom one is aluminum), and titanium hardware holds everything together. Fancy.




Intense Primer S review Photo by Trevor Lyden
Intense Primer S review Photo by Trevor Lyden


Climbing

There's a lot of talk about steep seat angles these days, but the Primer S' 74-degree seat tube was noticeably slacker than the other trail bikes being tested. Part of the reason is the fact that Intense uses the same frame for the 29" Primer and the mixed-wheel version. That puts you a bit farther behind the bottom bracket than some of us would like to see, and while it wasn't that long ago that 74-degrees wasn't out of the ordinary, it's a compromise worth mentioning.

Also worth a few sentences is how good the Intense feels when you're out of the saddle to use all those watts. It's got plenty of jump to it, with satisfyingly crisp acceleration at every pedal stroke. Just watch those pedals, though, as that 27.5'' rear wheel (and the slightly lower-profile Maxxis rear tire we installed) sees them a few millimeters closer to the ground than is ideal when you need a couple of cranks to push through a tricky climb.

Aside from wanting 2-degrees added to the seat angle, the slow-speed handling was on-par for what you'd expect from a trail bike. Be decisive with your line choice and take advantage of the traction that 140mm can give you to get the most out of it.


Intense Primer S review Photo by Trevor Lyden

Intense Primer S review Photo by Trevor Lyden
Intense Primer S review Photo by Trevor Lyden


Descending

Is it wrong that when I see an Intense, I sort of want (and expect) it to be a great descender? With so much of their history revolving around downhill racing, I'm probably not the only one thinking that, but it's a bit more complicated with the Primer S. First, the good stuff.

I can't remember a test bike that's made me look so good in so many corners, and especially when there was a berm involved. At first, I thought, ''You're better than you remember, Mike!'' Not surprisingly, that wasn't the case. When I rode the other three trail bikes, it became obvious that the Primer S has a distinct knack for carving corners with very little care whether you've decided to go inside or outside or if you've decided on a big ol' slide. It feels low and stable, which obviously helps, but it's also very good at telling you what's about to happen; there are no surprises, no sudden loss of traction that you weren't expecting.

After keeping our thoughts to ourselves during back-to-back testing with the Primer S, Stamina, Optic, and Occam, it wasn't a surprise to find that Kazimer's notes on the Intense's impressive cornering were full of as many exclamations points as my own.

Now onto the less good stuff. Despite the relatively slack head angle, the Primer S felt like it needed a bit more attention on trickier sections of trail. I wouldn't call it nervous, but it and the Occam certainly feel the most 'trail bike' of the four. It's not like I'd shy away from a sketchy line that I'd roll into when on the other three bikes, but the timing doesn't lie: I was consistently slower down our test lap on the Primer S, which is odd given how it amazing it feels in the corners.
Timed Testing

Our timed lap for the trail bikes was around 1:30 long and started with Afternoon Delight, a rooty, twisty singletrack that feeds you into the rocky lines of Lower Whistler Downhill. After that, we crossed the piste before entering Heart of Darkness where the lower Freelap cone was hidden next to a tree.

Don't forget that timing is just one of many ways to judge a bike, and fast doesn't always mean it's the best for everyone.


Levy: ''The Intense was the slowest of the four bikes for me, clocking in 6.2% slower than my fastest time.''

Using a 27.5" rear wheel drops the bottom bracket height compared to the 29'' version of the Primer, and it also means that the lower, slacker of the two geo positions feels like it's on the ground. Yes, that low setting would have been a little more useable with the stock 2.8" tire, but either way, you're still looking at a sub-13" bottom bracket height. I realize that's partly why it cuts corners better than me at work, but I couldn't get comfortable with it on our rooty, rocky trails. Thankfully, it's just as impressive in the higher, slightly steeper setting and, as an added bonus, it'll vastly lower your chances of scorpion-ing courtesy of a pedal strike.

On the suspension front, it's not that the back of the Primer S doesn't work well, only that it performs exactly as 140mm should - it's good, but not exactly mindblowing. There are a few things to point out with the bike's spec, too, including a Fox 36 with a FIT4 damper when we all know that Grip2 internals has surpassed it. Yes, the FIT4 system works well - it's what we all wanted before the original Grip came out - but this 'Pro Build' deserves the latest and greatest. ''The FIT4 150mm fork is an excellent beefed up trail bike fork,'' Intense countered when I asked about the spec. ''It still allows the flexibility of a lockout to aid in the long days of a rider climbing just as much as they are descending.''

Also, I understand the idea of a four-piston brake caliper up front combined with a two-piston rear unit (more power where you need it the most), but it just seems odd when I want all the power on both ends; let the customer tune that via rotor size, please. Lastly, it's odd to see a bike with a 2.6" front tire and a 2.8" rear tire. Some mixed-wheel bikes are coming out like this in order to compensate for the shortened reach and dropped BB when going to regular width 27.5, but we're not huge fans of how those rear plus tires feel—especially on a bike that corners this well.


Talking Tires

Using the same 'control tires' for all of the bikes in each category means that we can focus on things that matter most, like the handling and suspension, and then better compare the bikes against each other. Eliminating a variable and all that. Sounds good, right? Of course, it's not that simple.

First, having to change and tubeless twenty-eight tires isn't a quick task. Second, it meant that the Intense would be using a 27.5'' x 2.4" wide Minion DHR II WT rear tire instead of the 2.8'' wide Rekon+ that comes stock. While the DHR II certainly makes sense on the back of the Primer S, the rear axle ends up sitting around 4mm lower in height than with the Rekon+, and that means that the seat angle gets a smidge slacker and the bottom bracket is even lower than stock. We ran the bike in its higher geometry setting to compensate. However marginal, it needs mentioning given some of our thoughts on the bike's performance.


Intense Primer S review Photo by Trevor Lyden


Pros

+ Mindblowing in the corners
+ Relatively efficient
Cons

- Not purpose-built for mullet wheels, so seat angle is too slack and reach is compact
- Stock 2.8" tire spec is not our favourite setup
- Fork and brake spec are odd





The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible by support from
Race Face apparel & pads, Giro helmets, & Sierra Nevada beer.



321 Comments

  • 203 32
 Wish you guys had tested the 29er version, instead of the trendy mullet that seven people will buy.
  • 61 19
 Mullet bike seems like one of those trends that will already be totally forgotten this time next year.
  • 121 7
 We chose the Primer S in part because we wanted to give the mixed wheel size option a try, and also because the S version gets a Fox 36 vs a 34 on the 29er, which seemed more appropriate for where we were testing the trail bikes.
  • 19 6
 Not at all interested in this bike, but would be curious in comparisons between mullet and full 29er version. Or that same sort of test on another frame. I would suspect mullet version would excel in playfulness and corners. As 29er would be fastest. Duh, but would be good to see the Mikes break it down.
  • 18 33
flag duzzi (Nov 19, 2019 at 7:40) (Below Threshold)
 You forget that the main mission of Pinkbike is to discover "trends". There has been not a single one that has not been endorsed or somehow supported (remember how 3.0" tires and short travel bikes were supposed to revolutionize MTB?)

At least Mike Levy is balanced in his commentaries and in this test recognizes the obvious: a mullet bike must be built with a mullet specific geometry. Slap a 29 wheel in front and guess what: it will slacken your seat angle do a possibly uncomfortable degree!!!!!!

PS Won't comment on the futility of a 90" runs to somehow evaluate a bike "performance" ... nor on the idea of swapping tires to try to eliminate one (of the dozen or so) variables. I do feel a bit bad about the work involved: swapping wheels would seem to be a much faster way to do so, and in addition eliminate yet another (big) variable.
  • 32 2
 I am kind of glad that the mullet got a proper shakedown. Maybe it's good, maybe it's shit. Some trends stick, some trends don't. Only one way to find out.
  • 12 12
 Yeah, doesn't really make sense to throw in one bike with mixed wheel sizes against three others that are all 29ers.
  • 27 2
 @srjacobs, there aren't a whole lot of mixed-wheel bikes currently on the market, which is why we thought it'd be interesting to check this one out. As far as pitting different wheelsizes against each other, that's going to happen - in the Enduro category some of the bikes have 27.5" wheels, and others have 29", but that's not a major focus of the testing.
  • 8 8
 @mikekazimer: Hey Mike, ever thought of bringing up the article for review regarding Neko and his conclusion of mullet bikes basically not working whatsoever?

It would be interesting to see what PB has to say about that. I recall the article taking a very very strong stance on that setup being a sham/not working/total trend. Then the following season having a good amount of fairly dominate performances (EWS & UCI DH) utilizing the mullet.
  • 4 4
 It does seem like Intense is trying to jump on a bandwagon(wheel) with this. I can see mixed wheels in DH, at least sometimes - horses for DH courses; but can't imagine needing/wanting it on a trail bike. Just give me great geo and suspension bits, reasonably light, and 27.5, and I'll be all set for trail.
  • 3 5
 @JDFF: Let's stop with the "Mikes breaking it down" for a couple of days. There was enough hoo ha with the Pole.
  • 2 1
 The mistake here seems to be that Intense recommended a Large, but based on reach, I'm guessing these guys should be on an XL. It wouldn't change the damper, or STA, but it might help descending in the fast sections, and make the bike quicker.
  • 2 0
 @number44: Check out the Primer 275 that is also available. Purpose build 27.5 frame and all trail spec.
  • 17 2
 @nskerb: That isn't what neko said at all. He stated that it didnt give the advantages he had initially that it would for racing purposes (cornering, braking and acceleration) but felt more comfortable jumping and scrubbing. He also said that since he is tall with long legs the additional clearance in the back was not a big deal for him but could probably benefit shorter riders like myself. Just because he didnt find it any faster does not mean it is the same.
  • 3 0
 Based on their website geometry it looks like the 29+29 (medium frame) setup would kick the BB height up 10.4mm and increase the seat tube angel by 0.9 degrees. A little improvement but not sure if that would make a big enough different for me in clipping pedals and feeling like I am off the back in climbing.

Tried to compare to the Pole geometry, since they gave it such a good review, but there are enough differences in each geometry number that it would make sense to compare just one or two numbers.
  • 2 13
flag nskerb (Nov 19, 2019 at 9:01) (Below Threshold)
 @mixmastamikal: I think you're taking this a little too seriously lol.
  • 5 1
 @number44: My wife is 5'5" and currently trying to decide between a 29" and 27.5" trail bike. If there were a mullet bike that's truly designed for that setup (this Intense smells like a bit of a hack-job, with the silly + tire used to mask geometry weirdness resulting from the retrofit), I could see it giving her the front wheel rollover she craves, along with a snappy rear end, less gyro effect (so at her size the bike would be easier to lean into turns), and most importantly, no butt buzz from the rear tire on steeps (which is more of a problem with smaller frames).
  • 27 0
 @nskerb: better tell the world champ & world cup champ that they don't work
  • 2 41
flag nskerb (Nov 19, 2019 at 9:39) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: you’re a dipshit lol
  • 15 3
 @srjacobs: seems it's 2 bikes that Excell at downhill pitted against 1 actual trail bike and 1 Mish mash bike that didn't really stand a chance.

Then go give the downhill bikes a 1:30 downhill timed section to show who's fastest.

Since they are trail bikes they deserved at least a 5 min timed section with ups flat sections (where you still have to pedal to move) and downs would've been more fair and gave much more info.

Also take with a grain of salt the fact that this type of terrain is like 10% of what most riders ride.
  • 6 3
 try the Liteville 301 Enduro in as a mullet bike. SO. SICK. Plus they have a smart way to compensate for the smaller rear diameter wheel.
  • 14 1
 @mikekazimer: I think you guys made a great choice in testing the mullet bike over the other options. I had fun watching this one.
  • 6 0
 @rojo-1: you might be right on the best sizing, but they state they are using the manufacturer's recommendation. This is the correct approach as intense are a direct to consumer brand.
To me though the sizes are wrong if 5foot11 is on xl. What do tall people buy? Virtually no one offers xxl.
5foot11 is surely very average and manufacturer's should sell the appropriate frame as medium.
  • 4 3
 @mikekazimer: I like that you generally change the tires to control tires, but this particular bike seems to incorporate this tire into the design. Maybe you actually measured, but .4 inches (2.8 vs 2.4) = 10mm. 10mm would be enough to be make a difference.

Not defending the bike- it's not on my list- just seems like the tire size is a design factor here. Which could be a con in itself, but /shrug
  • 3 1
 @yeti-monster: You're right, if you get recommended the wrong size on your mail order bike, it's game over!
  • 1 0
 Yeah, Mullet Primer...meh. Get the Carbine, drop a -1 headset in and have a great time.
  • 18 6
 There is a reason motocross all ride mullet wheels. They are better in corners, still give good rollover in front, and provide snappier acceleration due to the smaller rear wheel. MTB industry is almost always behind motocross in figuring stuff out. If mullet bikes don't come to be, it'll be due to marketing in MTB. I hope people aren't taking these reviews as canonized facts.
  • 7 0
 @number44: I have mulletted my Transition Sentinal. The bike is now substantial more fun to ride where i live (@5’7).

I foresee all manufactures in the near future putting in much larger shock flip chips, at a bare minimum. To accomodate peoples 29/27.5 desires.
  • 6 0
 @gline1234: You may have a point, but can do different things with an engine on board than you can when you have to pedal.
  • 5 0
 @gline1234: larger tire width is put where grip is needed more, and for most mountain biking thats the front wheel since mountain bikes need control going downhill, not level ground, have a much higher center of gravity, and don't have a motor. Moto bikes need more traction in the rear because they have enough power to shoot roost everywhere, so not the best comparison, although some longer travel ebikes are starting to do that (but once again, a motor that can roost)
  • 6 0
 The mullet is not trendy. There are specific advantages on some trails. Not for everyone, but those who ride steep, very technical, and tight trails is where the mullet has advantages.
  • 4 0
 @up-left-down-right: I went the opposite way with my 2017 Transition Patrol (29'er front on a 27.5 wheel bike) and honestly don't think I would ever go back to a non-mullet for my current type of riding and body configuration. The slack seat angle sucks for ascending, but once things point down hill its so hugely confidence inspiring and so much more fun. For me the joy of riding is all in the descent and that is where mullet bikes shine in my opinion. The steeper the trail the more the advantage.

This is my second mullet bike and I honestly thought I was going to go back to 27.5 front and back but I immediately missed the mullet feel and handling so much I went back within 3-4 rides.
  • 2 3
 @hamncheez: to that point one thing people often talk about with 29 is that it has a larger contact patch for the same width tire which is definitely relevant to mtb.
  • 1 2
 @mixmastamikal: True, to some extent.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: It would be interesting to try a 27.5 mullet bike, meaning one that is designed to run a standard 275 rear wheel with a 29 front or 275 front. It seems like this format of mullet wouldn't have the seat tube angle and BB height issues, as the rear is purpose built for the 275 and then the front upgrade to a 29 would be less noticeable as either you run 10mm shorter travel on the fork (which is typical with a 29r fork) or you run a larger volume 275 tire, which makes more sense on the front than this 2.8 on the rear.
  • 3 1
 @mixmastamikal: it has a LONGER contact patch. Size of the contact patch is unrelated to the tire size.
  • 3 0
 @whitehonky: Damn that's what I've been saying all day whitehonky! LOL. Agreed! Intense missed the mark here.... On the plus side, people say the straight 275 and 29ers are really good!!
  • 1 0
 @P3N54: Upvote for using "hoo ha".
  • 6 0
 @whitehonky: Bike Mag tried this on the TR Scout here: www.bikemag.com/gear-features/bike-shop/bike-shop-27-5-rear-29-front-the-79er-trail-bike-done-right
Seems to me to be the best way to do it: 27.5 bike with 10mm sorter 29 fork/wheel up front
  • 1 0
 @Yetimike2019: @mikekazimer: I agree with Yeti mike it was cool to see this bike thrown in the mix!
  • 2 0
 Mullet bikes are the new 27.5+
  • 3 0
 @MikeAzBS: that may be true but it doesn't mean this video wasn't still entertaining and interesting.
  • 2 0
 @gline1234: I agree, This is where its at - following moto is finally happening. I owned a Yeti sb165 mullet w/ 170 front - It was too slack (sub 63 degree) but felt really good turning. Since then I am on a Megatower in high setting mullet and loving it with 170 fork. Will prob. go to 180 fork and keep 27.5 in back. I have really come to like this option a lot, feels very natural. Hopefully the industry catches on - it CARVES turns so well. Give it some time and I think mixed wheel sizes will become very popular.
  • 2 0
 So none of you are aware that Foes has had the Mixer Enduro / Trail bike for 2 years now?
@g-42 you should at least call them and let them know her personal stop and they can build one from scratch timed to her right and everything. My buddy loves his Foes Mixer.
  • 3 6
 @g-42: don’t drink the koolaid, for you marriage sake, just buy the lady a bike that she likes. Don’t over think this, mullets are a joke that comes around every few years, but like a drunk uncle at the holidays, no one takes it seriously.
  • 4 5
 @gline1234: no, it’s because motos have a motor and generate huge torque, which is more easily managed by a short fat rear rear wheel. Motos also roost the rear wheel which allows the two ends to take separate but compatible arcs through a turn.

Mountain bikers ride much more forward and far less torque than a moto, roosting is not the same, so there’s no advantage to mullet, only the disadvantage of making for awkward transitions and less stable handling.
  • 4 0
 Gotta agree. I had a Primer and it was killer. Wish it'd been a 'regular' Primer test.
  • 3 0
 @nurseben: One big advantage of a smaller rear wheel for MTB is that you can build long-travel bikes in smaller frame sizes without the tire hitting the riders ass or seat or compromising suspension.

To me, the mullet bike makes sense in frame sizes up to medium, while the rest of the sizes can go full 29.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: Well...Large actually now that sizing changes are pushing the 5'10" rider (formerly a medium frame person) onto Large frames.

I'd ride a Large frame on a modern DH bike and medium on most any trail rig. And yes, I buzzed my nuts on an SB150 & Mondraker Foxy xrxsrsrs (some combo of letters).
  • 2 0
 @nurseben: The lady buys her own damn bikes, I just get to enjoy geeking out about it with her Wink
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: No water bottle.......
  • 2 0
 @g-42: hack-job for sure--seems pretty cynical to me.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: Yes, but then why bother with the big front wheel? That big front wheel cause no fewer problems with front suspension, jacking it up an additional 20mm over a 27.5 fork. Trust me, I've played with this on multiple bikes, current running a reduced travel 29er fork on a 27.5 bike so I can run 27.5 and 29" wheelsets. Mullets are a compromise to a question no one is asking. Kinda like wierd sex, it's wierd.
  • 2 3
 @roma258: It's NOT a mullet bike. Mullets have different diameter wheels which has a huge impact on how the ride/handle. This is a shit bike with a plus tire in the back. Pure marketing wank. No wonder it doesn't deliver...
  • 1 1
 @Krikstar:

Q:How many Pinkbike commenters does it take to figure that out?

A: 303
  • 2 0
 @Krikstar: The GT Maes is riding is 27.5 with a 29 wheel/fork added on. It seems to work for him as he is one of the top EWS racers.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: " Kinda like wierd sex, it's ____." Awesome?
  • 57 0
 They should have a deluxe signature version where Aaron Gwin rides your bike for you, but you get to keep the Strava times.
  • 5 0
 Brilliant! I’m ordering that Primer now. Bring on the KOMs!!!!!!!!
  • 40 12
 I want a version where he snaps my cranks and blames my LBS.
  • 1 0
 @GriefTheBro: cold... But funny
  • 41 4
 what no one cares about new trail bikes anymore or is everyone waiting for the downcountry tests
  • 17 1
 It's an Intense...what did you expect
  • 4 0
 @MikeyMT: I expected at least one comment after this field test was posted hours ago
  • 1 1
 DC FTW
  • 13 0
 @audeo03: Use your words....
  • 4 0
 @mybaben: Down Country For The Win?
  • 23 4
 @taprider: Dick cooperated, f*cked the wife.
  • 2 1
 To be perfectly honest, if I get to choose between my own 3 years old Vitus and this brand new Intense, I would keep my old bike. And it's not a mind blowing state of the art bike. It's just ok.
  • 5 0
 @pakleni: Good news - you do get to choose.
  • 3 0
 @paulskibum: Yep. And that's a good news for me. Not that good for Intense though.
  • 1 0
 @pakleni: I agree with you man. These bikes have done nothing for me since the M9 back in the day which I absolutely lusted for.
  • 1 0
 @paulskibum: Good news - cigarette juice
  • 1 0
 Downcountry bikes are fun and great for longer rides, but I keep pushing it beyond it's limits.Trail bikes are the sweet spot for most riding.
  • 39 1
 Damn, I wanted this bike to be better.
  • 8 0
 A damn fine looking bike but component and geo-wise a bit of a miss from where the industry is really at. I loved my intense tracer I had a few years back and was really hoping intense would have a winner with this one but alas
  • 9 4
 @paulbrenneman:

Agreed. Intense is asleep at the wheel. They went direct and stopped progressing, effectively reducing the Primer (or keeping it) to a 'Dad's bike' which will see one trail day a month under most customers. It looks like basically every other bike in the test has great geo for the category except this. An embarrassing fail.

No i haven't ridden it. Yes, the new linkage layout and frame look good. Looks are subjective so i won't comment on the colors/decals (meh). But we're in the age of woke geo war and this sad sack is limping along at the back of the pack.

Hey, at least the frame didn't fail!
  • 6 4
 @WasatchEnduro: Disagree mate. The cats on the Intense facebook group, who have the bike, say it shreds! (talking about the straight 29er version)
  • 11 1
 I think they made it backwards. They should have used the 275 frame and put the wagon wheel on front! It would have been way better...
  • 3 0
 @mybaben:

Confirmation bias, my babe! To be fair we all do it. And I wound't be adverse to taking a spin on the 29er, much more sorted tho still unfashionable by a degree or so with that 75 sta.
  • 2 0
 @WasatchEnduro: I'm just reporting what they're saying... I haven't ridden one and I'm a 275 guy anyway! Smile
  • 3 0
 @WasatchEnduro: Have you not seen the spy shots of their new prototype design with the lower shock mount, like Santa Cruz?
  • 3 0
 @WasatchEnduro: agree on the colourway.
Intense should be INTENSE, garish and bright. A bit lairy and individual.
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez:

nope... for realsies?! they're STILL copying SC? while doing that please steepen the sta.

wait did i miss the sarcasm? these Primers are new!
  • 2 0
 @WasatchEnduro: @hamncheez: That prototype is new for the Enduro bikes, not for these Primers. Isabeau raced one at her last EWS race. It was a mullet actually, but it was built on the Carbine frame and was a proto with the shock down low, similar to what SC is doing these days...
  • 1 0
 @WasatchEnduro: They already "copied" Santa Cruz with their DH bike; its had the lower linkage shock mount for over a decade
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: By the way Pole, that's how you mark your shit so prototype gear doesn't get put on the wrong bikes!!! LOL.
  • 23 1
 This is the one bike that testing using the control tires kinda screws up because it changes a key feature of an unusual spec. But it also points out that Intense kinda fudges the Mullet bike thing by using a standard 29er platform and cheating with the 27.5+ tire on the rear to try to get the rear wheel diameter pretty close to 29" again which pretty much negates the Mullet concept. I would anticipate if the testers used stock tires, the pros/cons would have changed (worse cornering from a squirmy rear tire/improved pedal clearance - still too slack of seat angle) but overall the bike still would have gotten a less than glowing review.
  • 1 4
 It's what motocross has being doing for decades.
  • 2 1
 Agreed. Also, I think they missed the mark in general, because they should have built the bike with a 275 frame, in the first place.
  • 2 1
 @CM999: And what we did in the early 2000s with a 24x3.0 in the rear, with a 26x2.5 or 2.6 in the front.
  • 18 2
 I appreciate you explaining the conundrum of changing tires on this bike. BUT, how much more would this bike have sucked if it still had a freaking Rekon on the back?? The geometry changes with the new control tires probably had a much smaller effect on ride quality than what you gained grip-wise from the Minion vs Rekon... especially in the testing location.
  • 17 1
 Exactly. Pemberton and the Whistler Bike Park aren't really Rekon-friendly zones.
  • 8 0
 To be fair the DHRII is available in 27.5x2.8" so this bike could have been equiped with tires that were sized correctly. Of course that isn't a 'control' tire then, so its a bit of a conundrum. Control tread and casing could potentially be appropriate.
  • 2 1
 Especially for a corner carver, I'd imagine the Rekon would just roll right off the rim if run at the low pressures it's intended to use (or lose all grip if aired up to avoid that...)
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: At the same time, if you take the brand's recommended frame sizing, why not do their recommended tire selection, or at least compare it to the control? maybe a 2.8 rekon would fare better than the smaller size.
  • 3 0
 That's what I'm thinking!! And a 2.8 at that!! Then a smaller 2.6 up front?? I understand what they were trying to do... but that's a total fail (for lack of a better word). They just shouldn't have bothered with the mixed wheel sizes... they ruined the bike and ended up with a shitty review for it.
  • 5 2
 The only crime here was not just switching it to a 29” rear
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: Are you speaking from experience? I tried a mullet hardtail with a plus tire in the rear, and it worked quite well.

And having a larger diameter front wheel with a narrower tire isn’t that outrageous. At least none of the guys I rode cross or enduro motorcycles with ever complained about that kind of setup.
  • 8 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 19, 2019 at 11:34) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: neither location sounds like trail bike friendly. I don’t know how Down Country can grow in Squamish... or any place where most descents exceed 1minute. Rekon is a good trail tyre.
  • 18 1
 @WAKIdesigns, you just need to visit and it'll all make sense. Maybe leave that Rekon at home, though.
  • 5 9
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 19, 2019 at 11:52) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: I have no doubts about leaving Rekon at home, I wouldn't take Rekon to any hill taller than 300m let alone mountain. But I will defo bring at least 40mm of travel more than these... "trail" bikes Smile I won't be backpacking in BC nor PNW nor counting Watts up Mt Seymour...
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: is Waki visiting BC ?
  • 14 8
 @samhillseyebrows: for 40th birthday. 2 more years. Can't take the pressure already... I want to do a filmed series a side gig to Privateer: "The loser". Preparations and then sending it... full sends only... fully overbiked!
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: We should have a big rager for all the old PB d-bags. I'd go. As long as I don't have a criminal charge the mounties don't like at the border.
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: This is something I would love to see!
Get it up on some crowdfunding site so you get money for body armour and medical bills.
  • 5 6
 @erlingba: I will be covered in MiPS head to toes... you can coach me in Hafjell before I go
  • 1 0
 @Jdorph: still would have had a slack seat tube and short reach
  • 1 0
 @rideyobike86:
Except that the 29er geo has a 75° STA, which is pretty contemporary (id devinci Troy, revel rascal etc) and a reach that is 470+
  • 2 2
 @Jdorph: the best bit about super long trail and DC bikes is that people who used to chose M or L can downsize and have a good bike with short seat tube...
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Right. Or up size.

But you also need to scale reach with STA. 470 on 75° might feel the same as 480 on 76° or 490 on 77° because of how tipped over the front you are. Large ripmo feels cramped to me, large primer 29 feels about right, as an example. Similar reach, different STA.
  • 3 2
 @Jdorph: Well, for the most part I am interested in how a bike feels when I am standing on the pedals, seated pedalling is a must. Cannot even imagine chosing a bike based on ETT unless it gets way too short. I do like to fly sideways, be able to change lines, and length definitely does not help with that. Yesterday I drew up a bike with 78 seat angle and for my body, I would need to make reach 470-480 to not be cramped while sitting and that is at least 20mm longer than what I would run on a DH bike. Add slack head angle and rear end needs to grow To 450 of more and that is as flickable as my grandmother. Fine on DH bike where speeds are high, not so much on a bloody trail bike.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: checkmate dh bikes have shorter reach because they have higher stacks
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: so, are bars of DH bikes higher than optimum? Or maybe Downcountry bikes should ride with 40mm rise DJ bars? Where is the optimum of stack and reach? Why don’t we talk about BB height? Why isn’t BB height carved in stone by now? What is the meaning of life? Does Chris Porter know? If I die will there be Enve gauge at the gates of Heaven? Or just nothingness...
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: sorry to sound like evading the queen but reach and stack are not exactly interchangeable. You may want to achieve this to balance out some greater compromise but that’s like saying that stem length and bar width are interchangeable with no effect to bike handling. Reach/Stack inM: Session 42/62cm, Slash 43/61cm, Remedy 42/59, Fuel EX 45/61 Choose your brand to generate your own rationalizations Smile or mention another dimension you want use to rationalize “longer reach is superior” argument. How long... and no, stacks ofdh bikes are not taller than those of DC bikes because by average with every cm of travel the bb goes down by 1 cm and SC forks have higher relative axle to crown
  • 16 2
 FIT4 seems like it was chosen to save money on customers who only see the shiny Kashima and don’t look closely at the spec.

Has there been any bike lately that still had fit4 on the 36 instead of grip2?
  • 5 1
 Quite many. Canyon has it on Spectral with Performance Elite and there are some other that have it on PE and Factories. I think also Cannondale had them in 2019.
  • 9 0
 Is the Fit4 really so bad?
I had a Fox 34 Perfomance Elite Fit4 fork which was superb.
  • 1 1
 Orbea Occam M10 specs the 36 Fit 4, with an upgrade option to GRIP2.
  • 13 4
 @OneTrustMan: No. The Fit4 offers a lock-out. A nice option to have on a trail bike. On a more gravity oriented bike or Enduro bike the Grip2 would be suited.
  • 1 2
 Indeed, that was a bad decision.
  • 2 0
 @Dennisvdb: That's not quite correct. Occam comes stock with a 34 with an upgrade option 36. Except for the M-LTD spec level which comes with a 36 grip 2 right away.
  • 8 0
 Aside from the pros and cons of FIT4 vs. The GRIP2, if you look at the bike on Intense's website, it only says,"Fox Factory 36". It doesn't say which damper it has, which is kind of misleading considering how many bikes are specced with GRIP2 now.
  • 5 0
 Also, the photos on the website show the GRIP2 fork on the bike...
  • 4 2
 Fit4 sucks if you are heavy or fast. High speed damping is weak.
  • 2 0
 I'm guessing it has partly to do with saving money. The Fit4 comes in 150mm but in order to use the Grip2 they would have to put in a new air shaft since it starts at 160mm. I know some think the Fit4 is fine, which it is but the Grip2 is just so much better. I don't see needing a lockout on a fork where you have so many more tuning options on the Grip2.
  • 7 2
 @Upduro Or just aimed at people that don't want to play with every single setting under the sun. The Fit4 us superb, and IMO the Grip 2 is not worth the extra money unless you are someone that is really going to use all the settings.
  • 1 0
 @Rig: yes but for a top spec model you usually want the good stuff? If you don’t want to turn all the knobs you could still get the normal grip damper.

@zarban‘s explanation with air shaft length makes more sense.
  • 2 1
 @Rig: Aren't they almost the same price? You can get the Performance Elite with Grip2 for even less than Factory. Even if you get close to decent settings on the Grip2 it feels so much better.
If talking about the 34, I would rather have the cheaper Grip damper from the performance model than the Fit4.
  • 1 0
 @Ferisko: sorry man, my bad. Misread. Mixed stuff up earlier this morning when I was painting an Occam to Bronson-Kalimotxo style. Droolworthy!!!
  • 1 0
 @OneTrustMan: Not once you get it tuned with a Luftkappe and a Tractive tune form Vorpsrung. But it is common to see a common bike spec where the brand has decided to spec a 36 over a 34 but shaves some cost but plumping for the FIT4 rather than the Grip2. You lose some of the ability to exactly tune the fork to your weight & riding style which is a bit annoying.
  • 4 0
 I've read quite a few reviews where the (reputable) reviewers prefer the FIT4... saying that it's basically on par with Grip2... perhaps gives up a sliver or two of performancem but it isn't really all that noticeable, especially for most riders.

Same reviews go on to say that FIT4 is better for those that like a "set and forget" fork... while with the Grip2, because it's so adjustable, it's very easy to into adjust away any performance benefit it has over FIT4 if you're not careful.
  • 9 2
 @andrewbikeguide:
I couldn't care less
The Primer is a trail bike and I would prefer the Fit4 over the Grip2 on a trail bike all day.
The climb switch is really nice and by no means is the Fit4 a bad fork.
I only switched the fork, because it was non boost and I really needed a boost fork for my new wheels.
I'm more of a light weight rider so maybe that adds to my personal preference too.

And I really don't understand that obsession with having a enduro fork on any kind of bike.
A 130mm Trail bike needs to be capable and light, needs to be fast, easy and fun to ride.
A trail fork can handle the ups and downs just fine for that application
If I want to shred DHs at high speed I just take my 180mm Enduro bike. Harsh on the ups, but fun on the downs.
But for a long day trail ride with friends I would choose my light trail bike any time over the enduro bike.
It's way more fun and still fast enough on the downhills.
  • 3 0
 @zarban: in South Africa it's quite a massive difference in price aftermarket. Me, I'd take the Grip2, and @Upduro does make a good point - on the top spec model you want top spec.

But I do know a few people that prefer Fit4 over Grip 2 because they are the set and forget tyle. And the Fit4 is pretty impressive.
  • 2 0
 I have a 36 fit4 on my c90, i find it a wicked, you do not have to spend loads of time tuning it in. it also performs amazing.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: It kind of depends also how well your weight and riding style fit the stock internal high speed damping/rebound tune with the FIT4. For an average weight/speed rider there should be no issue with using the FIT4.
  • 3 0
 @Rig: Agree

I just did a custom trail bike build and opted fornthe FIT4 36PE

I'm no suspension guru and I'm not at all inclined to be fking with minute settings all the time.

Just want a great fork set up properly and then just leave it alone and ride.
  • 2 0
 @OneTrustMan: I completely understand the camp that likes a set and forget style fork but saying that having a Grip2 on a 130-140mm trail bike takes away from it being fun, fast or capable does not compute for me. I don't know how a forks damper and being a little stiffer could do that. The weight is negligible (also easily remedied with a couple of other smart purchases if a couple hundred grams matters that much) and the performance gains from the more capable fork seems to justify buying the 36 every day. My Ripley has a 36 and it's still a rocket up hills and now I can take it up to the North Shore or to Fruita without feeling the extra flex from the 34. Now, if you're only XC racing, riding flow and/or want a simple fork than by all means buy the 34 Fit4, that makes sense but otherwise give it a try and see what the possibilities are for a short travel trail bike.
  • 4 0
 @Rig: I didn't know that about price in other areas.
Most of my friends buy the Lyrik or Pike because they like the set and forget style better so wanting the Fit4 fork for that reason makes complete sense.
  • 1 0
 @Rig: That's interesting. In the US there is only $70 difference between the Grip2 and Fit4, which would be pretty insignificant to me on a $5,800 bike. I thought these comments about "saving money" were way off until reading your post. Maybe it has some truth for exported bikes.
I always find it very weird how much prices for things manufactured in other countries varies so widely due to tariffs, duties, etc. Not just bike stuff, everything.
  • 2 0
 @OneTrustMan: In all reviews, you have to take them with a gain of salt and look at the preferences of the reviewer. These guys (and 90% of people in the comments) are heavily biased towards downhill performance and unconcerned or perhaps even oblivious to uphill or all-around performance. These preferences influence the reviews since even a 120mm bike "needs" a 160mm Fox 36 (Grip 2, of course) and DH tires. If they swap out to components like these for the test, we argue they didn't really test the bike and if they don't, the bike gets criticized for not having these parts speced. This used to only affect reviews of shorter-travel rigs (120 and below), but has now progressed to 130-140mm as well. After all, these guys thought it was a great idea to take a 125mm bike to Whistler Bike Park; you may not have similar results.

This is not to criticize the reviewers; they did a great job and provided their honest opinions. It's just to point out that if you take restaurant advice from someone with very different tastes to yours, expect a disappointing meal. The best thing I did when researching a new purchase was to test ride bikes that I had read reviews of to learn if my preferences matched a given reviewer. If not, their review held much less weight. Reviews are amusing, but unless you can find someone with preferences exactly matching yours, nothing compares to riding the bike yourself.
  • 12 0
 Loving the Field Test! Excited to see the rest.

Also hoping at least a little comparison of the Norco vs the Santa Cruz. (I realize they were put into different categories but they both seem similar in HA and BB height.)
  • 3 0
 I agree. Since we know that both Mikes have been on the Tallboy recently, I hope they mention where it would fit into this party.
  • 16 0
 The Tallboy and the Optic can definitely party together. The Optic has a touch more rear travel, it's slightly longer, and it has a 140mm fork, which gives you a little more margin for error in the rough stuff. With a 140mm fork on the Tallboy the difference shrinks, and then you're looking more at how Santa Cruz's VPP feels vs. the Optic's Horst Link. The Optic is a little more active, and it feels like it delivers a touch more traction in loose terrain, while the Tallboy has slightly firmer suspension feel.
  • 3 0
 WWMB...What Would Mike Buy?
  • 2 0
 If talking about Norco vs Santa Cruz I would like to see the new Sight vs Hightower. Maybe next year...
  • 10 0
 Awesome to finally see a review of pedaling on a Mullet bike. There isn't any info i've found on the climbing capabilities of a mullet so it was great to finally see one in action. Great review guys!
  • 13 1
 Review: basically short bike corners well.
  • 8 0
 A resounding "meh" compared to the others.
  • 2 0
 Not just short, but also low. 13" BBs are too low for anywhere with rocks.
  • 2 21
flag JohanG (Nov 19, 2019 at 7:54) (Below Threshold)
 @ratedgg13: Yeah but look who is riding it. These guys aren't the type who like to pedal.
  • 3 0
 @JohanG: If it pedaled far better than the other bikes, then that would have been something. But... It didn't due to its slack STA.
  • 19 0
 @JohanG, wait, who said I don't like to pedal? That's one of my favorite activities of all time.
  • 21 1
 @JohanG: ??? @Mike levy sleeps in bib shorts @mikekazimer sometimes just rides uphill and drives the shuttle downhill
  • 9 1
 "it's not a VPP"

two contrarotating short links: isn't that the definition of VPP?i had an M9 and the suspension was exactly like that (of course the cinematics are different..i hope), and it was exactly like the VPP from Santa Cruz. What am i missing?
  • 1 1
 Vpp pivot point sits behind the bb slightly this design the pivot sits way in front of the bb im not sure if it also has something to do with the shock mounting straight to the bottom linkage as well
  • 25 0
 It is a virtual pivot point design, but the actual term VPP is trademarked by Santa Cruz, which is why Intense call this layout "JS Trail Link."
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: yeah i get that but the concept is the same, isn't it? but i still have to understand the difference between a Maestro and a DW-Link, tbh.
  • 2 1
 You aren't missing anything. It's like Giant's Maestro vs DW. Same thing.
  • 2 1
 @JohanG: dw links on my ibis both rotate the same way. VPP they rotate in opposite directions
  • 2 0
 The patent for VPP focused on “two counter rotating links” one rotates clockwise, the other anti clockwise. On a DW and maestro the links rotate in the same direction @Bruccio:
  • 1 0
 @CM999: It's an analogy. Giant just moved the lower pivot forward and pretended it was different. So did Intense.
  • 1 0
 @phdotd: yeah i know the difference between VPP and DW link. what i can't see, is the difference between VPP and JS, or between Maestro or DW. not complaining, just, you know, curious on how patent works and so on. i mean, there must be some kind of objective criteria to judge if an invention is different enough from other anlogous stuff so that it can be patented
  • 2 0
 @phdotd: That isn't true. There are 4 patents covering VPP, and several different linkage arrangements are specified, and a bike in the early 2000s used the VPP design with two links that rotated in the same direction:

www.google.com/patents/US5553881
www.google.com/patents/US5628524
www.google.com/patents/US6206397
www.google.com/patents/US6488301
  • 1 0
 @CM999: dw and maestro are bot co-rotating.

Same same, but different.
  • 2 2
 The main thing VPP was trying to do was have a compression curve that fell and then rose, and at various points throughout the years an S shaped rear axle path. Most linkage-driven designs rise, or rise and then fall, but its really tricky to do falling and then rising (here was their attempt on a single pivot heckler: www.santacruzbicycles.com/files/styles/scb_natural_2000_auto/public/fox_floater_shock.jpg). Santa Cruz has since moved away from this, but this was the falling/rising philosophy back in the day: www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/news/348

Intense always tuned their suspension to be much more mild on the initial falling rate, even when they were officially licensing the VPP patent(s). When the patents expired and they could now call it JS tune or whatever they ditched the regressive, falling initial rate even more and now have a flat(ish) to rising rate, like their DH bike and the Santa Cruz v10 always had with their lower shock mount.

Patents are a mess, and many of the engineering terms used in them are borrowed from other industries (like the hated anti-rise term) and used incorrectly, even in official government patents. Patent law ultimately is guessing what a Judge will say if it ever goes to litigation, not on actually trying to define technical pathways to do things. I personally don't see any good evidence that the whole idea of patents actually do benefit science, technology, and end consumer products. They mostly are make-work programs for rich lawyers.
  • 1 1
 @Bruccio: Maestro is just a straight dw-link copy, but Giant has more money for patent lawyers than Dave Weagle.
  • 1 0
 @markinator DW sued Trek for the split pivot.... didn't win of course.

www.pinkbike.com/news/Court-Issues-Ruling-In-Split-Pivot-Lawsuit-2013.html

He tried suing Giant and lost again.

www.vitalmtb.com/news/news/Dave-Weagle-Drops-Patent-Lawsuit-Versus-Giant-Bicycles,782

He's never won in court.
  • 1 0
 @markinator: there were dual mini link suspension bikes before DW. Like Schwin's Rocket 88. One could just as easily say DT figured out how to copy Outland's design without violating the VPP patent. Giant had all kinds of crazy suspension designs back in the day, many one off's used as team bikes etc. I don't understand why it's so hard to believe that large companies with large R&D budgets can't come up with a new design independently. Haven't you ever had a good idea at work?? Wink
  • 1 0
 @jaydawg69: I think in both those cases they settled out of court and DW received a payment
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez: you settle out of court before judges makes a decision and why would you pay someone who lost in a court case against you? Doesn't make any sense in either cases. Do you have a supporting link or just hearsay?
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: With Trek he lost the case. It's always possible they paid him not to keep bringing up more lawsuits? Maybe he learned from the loss and came back at them with a different angle and they didn't think they could win a 2nd time.(it's interesting the decision was NOT based on the mechanics of the split pivot, but on leverage curves/shocks??) OR they could have paid him just because they didn't want more lawsuits but still were in the clear?? happens. But per @jaydawg69, without any supporting evidence the simplest conclusion is that he lost and that was that?

In the Giant suite he dropped his case and Giant was pretty harsh in their announcement of it. That sorta seems like either Giant was 100% in the right and DW had no case? OR, like an out of court settlement and a solid non disclosure agreement...? But again the only facts we know is the suite was dropped. Other than we saw examples of Giants R&D department making different suspension designs so we know they were testing new things. Also Giant's primary business at the time was still making bikes for everyone else. So they would have to be very careful how they were handling other brands patents and proprietary designs while also making their own designs. So I'd think they would have been very good at the legal aspects/basis of what they were doing. (which to play devils advocate, may have included DW signing something that ended up totally screwing himself trying to sue them later??)

Obviously there are countless examples of the small guy getting screwed over by large companies. So I'm not saying it didn't happen. BUT, there are also countless examples of people using patents as a way to sue other entities who put a lot of time and effort in developing something. Not saying that's what DW did. I think EVERYONE has experienced having a good idea only to find out somebody already thought of it. So it's totally possible each party was in the right, but from DW's side he sees these companies he worked with now coming to market with something similar to what he was working on. And so from his perspective he thinks he got screwed, but that once all the information is available in court that didn't turn out to be true?

Anyway, maybe this will be like "who shot JFK" and someday the FBI will release the info to the public and we'll know... Smile
  • 8 0
 Thanks for testing the Mullet bike PB.

I still see some future in this configuration, but it was done poorly in this case.

1) Plus tires are dead, for good reason. The bike should have arrived with a 2.5 Aggressor in the rear with the geo designed around that.
2) The bike should have had a proper frame built for this geo.
3) Just generally speaking, Intense bikes are still way too short in Reach.
  • 11 3
 Ahhh Jeff... you just love to be different dontchya? By releasing the mixed wheel size primer, you really sabotaged the media perception of what is likely a rad trailbike. All the reviews Ive seen of the new primer have been focused on this goofy mullet version with a plus sized rear tire vs the models a consumer is more likely to actually purchase.

PB... by choosing this model you guaranteed immediately changing the geo from stock with the control tire swap. Also... a Fox 34 is a trail fork... for a trail bike. The “trail” category is now so broad that light/heavy adjectives are almost necessary which seems a little silly. Prior the the fox38 development, it was safe to say the 34 was a trail fork and the 36 was an enduro fork. Why did we exclude the bike that most riders would actually consider buying because Intense chose NOT to spec an enduro fork on a trailbike?

This mullet version seems like a novelty that should never have been released compared to the 29er that probably rips. Intense brought this meh review on themselves, and I cant say I can really fault the media including PB. I mean who wouldnt order the ‘freak’ version to test if money was no object? The problem is that for the consumer... money is of course an object. So now, plenty of hype and meh for the “freak”... but no real world look at the underlying bike in 27 or 29. For a direct to consumer brand with no way for consumers to put their hands on... this has got to be a marketing fail.

Full disclosure... I ride a 2018 primer that I looove for its light weight, value and performance. I was hoping Intense would come correct with the update but surprisingly... nothing in the new release made me feel like trading up. I hope they sell though because I wish them all the success!! The staff have been great to deal with and it was awesome visiting with the team at Snowshoe!! Intense for life boys!
  • 4 0
 You make some excellent points.
  • 1 0
 I have a 2018 Primer upgraded to 12 speed XT and I love it. I was hoping to see a new version with up to date geometry. Sadly, this is a whole new bike and not what I would use for trail riding.
  • 4 0
 They are entitled to their OP. But given PB's known bias against plus tires and the fact that it takes plus tires for this bike to function correctly it's kind of BS that they even tested it. Forgon conclusion they wouldn't like it with the right tires on it. And testing it with small tires, when it's obvious the tire selection that makes it "work" as a mullet, and then complaining about the low BB is just stupid...

How about you spoon some 1.8" tires on the Pole and see how fast your time is on that terrain...

ALSO, if your gonna size down on the Pole, than why didn't you size up on the Intense? You had a look at all three versions of the bikes way before the feild test and it should have been obvious it had a shorter cockpit.

On the flip side, it's BS of Intense to market the bike like they have a mullet version when they've just made a home brew conversion like anyone one could. Also it's BS for intense not to publish correct geo. Also, the tame and lame geo is super disappointing.

Can't fault PB's comments on spec or seatpost angle...
  • 6 0
 Im rding a devi nci mullet 2.6 r 2.8frt minions and it rips....why they put small tire up front isnt the way it works....look up Foes mixer and get on the rite page.Business up front party in bak is here to stay..aka uci d.hill..lots of performance
  • 1 0
 My buddy has a Foes Mixer. For about 2 years now and he's never had any complaints.
  • 6 0
 I like the idea of mixed wheels, but I wouldn't buy one unless the frame was specifically designed around it. Slapping a 27.5 rear wheel in a 29er frame comes with some unpleasant side effects like extra low BB and slack STA. The review seems to confirm this. Do it right or don't do it at all.
  • 1 0
 The nice part is you have wheel and tire options this way. Not locked into the mullet. Though I agree that going to market with a Homebrew conversion and acting like the bike was intended as a mullet is super lame.

Too bad they don't have flip chips/adjustable drop outs or a different shock linkage or planned to be able to use a different shock length, etc. to adjust the geo to make the mullet work better.

OR, if they would have started with a 77 degree seat post angle than when it got slacked out on the mullet it would still be fine .. and pushed reach out more.

Most likely they just jumped on a trend to try and grab some sales without designing a bike ready to make a mullet!

Though I got to say GT was stupid not to release a limited edition Martin Maes mullet conversion of the force when he was winning every race.
  • 5 0
 This kind of half-arsed mullet bikes make mullets die before they can ripen. To get a good mullet, you need a specific front frame and not just a 29er with different links.
I think mullets are perfect especially for smaller riders, where a 29 rear tire has too little clearance to your butt.
I ride a canyon strive mullet with a self designed front triangle and imho it rocks:
fotos.mtb-news.de/p/2430505
  • 1 0
 Neat rig!
  • 5 0
 For this bike I think he should have been tested with stock tires. This bike seems to need a 2.8 tire to make up for the smaller wheel. Other testers have found 27.5 plus bikes are faster than 27.5 WT tires. Bassically to me this review is a throw away. But owning a 27.5 enduro bike I'd go for the 27.5 Primer as I don't need a DH trail bike, just a trail bike.
  • 5 0
 I Kind of see this as a party trick/ novelty for park riding, and getting a 29er rear wheel for normal trail use.

Which is basically what I am hearing from the complaints about seat tube angle
  • 5 1
 "Ideal candidate for this bike" - people who don't ride on trails that consist of massive up then massive down. Pedaling efficiency, 74sta, cornering greatness, all point to a flat-ish type trail rider. I know a guy who rides the previous model in 29/29 and loves it.
  • 3 0
 Can't put too much stock in these reviews - it really depends on your terrain, skills etc. For example if you have a BMX background, enjoy flow-style trails, ride in tight woods, or maybe like to hit the pump track once in a while, these shorter-wheelbase trail bikes manual, jump, and are more fun. 1300+ wheelbase on a 140 trail bike? No thanks. There is a reason why riders like Gwin like these types of bikes...
  • 4 2
 The guys in the FB Intense group, who ride the new 2020 Primer 29er, say it's amazing. Just FYI.
  • 4 0
 Are 4 pistons brakes that much more powerful than 2 pistons one ? The same amount of oil is pushed by the lever and roughly the same amount of pads enter in contact with the rotor (well tbh 4 pistons brakes pads are usually a wee bit larger). In my experience the difference lies more in preventing fading than outright power.
  • 2 1
 Physics says it will only be more powerful with a more grippy pad compound.
  • 2 0
 Force = Pressure x Area

If you increase the area of the slave cylinder (pistons) you increase the force output for the same pressure generated at the master cylinder (lever).
  • 1 0
 But they increase the pad area (I havent measured it) and claim 20% increase in force. Going from 180 to 203 rotor increases leverage by 11%. So whatever you want to do.
  • 1 1
 Yes.
  • 2 0
 Not sure as a whole or what physics can tell yoy but if you compared XT 2 pot to XT 4 pot you can most definitely feel the difference. MY LBS broke a caliper by accident on my 4 piston and replaced the lever and caliper with the 2 pot version. All I can say is it felt like I had to put twice the amount of pressure to get any type of stopping power near like I was getting from the other brake. To make things worse it was the front brake that got replaced! Not quite unrideable but definitely not recommended. I have Codes on my other bike and those are some seriously powerful 4 piston brakes.
  • 3 4
 @zarban: saying codes are powerful basically just made you lose all your credibility.
  • 1 0
 @zarban: Sounds like they weren't bedded. I'm holding all judgement until I can figure out if they made the pad material softer on the 4 piston. It's a cheap way to get more friction, and it wears out quicker.
  • 2 0
 @spaceofades: I guess my experience with the new Code RSC is different than yours. I don't know how that makes me lose my credibility but I appreciate your comment and hope nothing but the best for you.
  • 5 1
 Man! I need to head home after work and immediately throw my trash bike in the dumpster. Clearly it just isn't rideable with it's incredibly slack seat tube angle which I wasn't even aware of until I went and looked up the spec just now. No matter! to the trash it goes and a new steeper seat tube bike will surely remedy my riding woes. Smile
  • 4 0
 I have been on the 29er version for two months now. Have about 200 miles on it. Intense should have made sure to include the 29er version for the boys to test. This is a better all around bike than the first generation Primer which was a favorite of mine for it's intended purpose. It does corner better than anything I have ever ridden. As far as the seat angle, if you look at how far forward the seattube is to BB, you will see that the slacker seat angle is appropriate for this design. It was a concern of mine before I purchased but has ended up being a non-issue. One issue that this test fails to acknowledge is that the 2.8 tire has a larger diameter and much closer to the diameter of a true 29" tire. Dont let this test keep anyone from at least demoing this bike. It rips for a trail bike!
  • 3 0
 Word is they sent them all three bikes but they decided to review the Primer S version. This is not surprising because it is the most 'interesting' of the 3 but then PB went ahead and decided to change the geo of the bike by throwing a 2.4, 27.5 tire on the back rather than keep the 2.8. Compromises the test.
  • 2 0
 @RCederholm: If I remember correctly I think I saw in this video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nxR61pbJNw&feature=emb_logo) where they initially rode the 29er version and really thought it was a improvement. It does seem strange to choose the Mullet and compare it to a bunch of 29ers.
  • 1 0
 @Ridenwithbear: Apparently it was because of the Primer S having a Fox 36 fork which they felt better fit for the terrain they were testing in (even though the Fox 34 is a trail fork and the 36 is more of an enduro/all mountain fork). I understand what Intense was doing with using a 34 fork (keeping it trail) but it seems many other bike companies are putting the burlier (i.e., heavier) 36 fork on their trail bikes so now it is Intense that seems to not be keeping up with the others. Sometimes it might be good to just not fight it and go with the trend so as to not get called out for it.
  • 4 0
 A nice looking disappointment is how I'd describe this. I recently got a Tracer which was launched in 2017 and the seat angle is steeper than this. How could they miss on something so (nowadays) obvious?
  • 1 2
 carbon frame molds cost money and maybe intense buyers dont read pinkbike
  • 3 0
 Sweet looking bike! I wish 29er configuration was also tested. 29er geo is much more comparable to the other bikes in the test. Looks like Primer 29er BB is taller than Norco Sight & Orbea Occam and seat tube angle only 1 degree slacker than the Sight.
  • 1 0
 *Norco Optic, not Sight.
  • 8 2
 That was intense I thought it might snap!
  • 4 1
 I'm crackin up over here
  • 5 0
 Im getting rasta vibes anyone else? Some green on this bike and it would be perfect.
  • 5 1
 I'd like to know how changing the tires changed the geo. I think your 2.5 2.4 combo lowered it quite a bit leading too your low bb complaints
  • 4 0
 I wonder if the 29er would have faired better?

Maybe a future test comparing all 3 version6 with the same level build is in order...
  • 3 0
 The 29" Primer would be better suited to their seat tube angle preference and dropped BB.
  • 3 1
 Who the hell made the term "Mullet Bike"? A Mullet is short in the front and long in the back...so when will we see a true Mullet bike...27.5 in front and 29 in rear hahahaha. This is not a new thing btw... peeps were trying 24" in the rear and 26" up front racing DH back in the day.
  • 8 0
 Business in the front, party in the back.
  • 1 0
 You Tellum. I tried, they like Mullet.
  • 3 0
 Would have been cool to see this bike tested back to back with the 29'er version to see the differences in handling. But hey at least it didn't break.
  • 4 1
 The bike already seems like a miss to me, that will be updated next year. Slack seat tube angle, not long enough, gimmicky mullet set up. Save your money people.
  • 5 1
 The art of how to confuse the crap out of prospective buyers...mastered by Intense.
  • 2 1
 It's a shame that reviewers only ever get to ride 2.8" Rekons. While it's a light 2.8, it's the worst tire in that width and not a pattern I'd want to be hard charging Whistler on.

Bontrager, Schwalbe, and Specialized make reinforced carcasses that would have offered better traction without affecting the geometry as much as going down to a 2.4 tire. Now that mullet bikes appear to be going somewhat mainstream, it's okay to stop crapping on 2.8 tires. It's just a tire width, not a new standard.
  • 2 0
 Decent. Seems like a bike I would definitely ride.. I don't love the spec with the 2.8in rear but the geo and cornering and everything else makes it sound like a really fun bike to rip on.
  • 4 2
 OK - this changes the odds on the bike that broke and injured a tester - I had Intense top of my list/

Who's the new favourite? There's a new Yeti, and it has chainstays.......
  • 3 0
 This bike seems to be more a holdover for 2020 while they button up whatever they have coming for 2021.... Well let's hope that's the reason for this confused bike...
  • 1 0
 a holdover with a 5000 dollar price tag...
  • 1 0
 @TreyDownhill: they still gotta make some money.... Lol
  • 1 0
 @TheBearDen: For sure, but it seems that there are better options out there with the same pricetag
  • 4 1
 So let me get this straight. You put a 29" on the front, and a 27.5 plus tire on the rear making them essentially the same height - and you can still call it a mullet?
  • 2 0
 Don't like the 27.5+ tire in the back? For a few hundred, one can easily buy a 29 back rim/tire. That would make this bike a pretty flexible option that could cover many different terrains and weather conditions.
  • 3 0
 Intense made the bike backwards. They should have used a 275 frame and put a 29er fork and front wheel on it. The geo would have been better all around. My 2 cents.
  • 2 0
 it would have been a way high BB. They should have put a different link in the 29er to reduce travel a tiny bit and raise bb
  • 2 0
 Agreed, makes more sense that way
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: No, it would have been very close to stock BB on a 275. Just don't have a massive fork on it and change to a Zero Stack bottom cup on the head set. They could have done something like a 140/140 mullet or possible even a 140/150 (rear/front), if the head angle was slack enough. It would have been sweet!!
  • 1 0
 @mybaben: Someone said it best somewhere else, just put a larger flip chip and problem solved (except the STA would still be to slack for the modern endurobro)
  • 3 0
 stupid to even put this one in the test should of used the 29 version. even when comparing all 3 versions previously the bullet was last.
  • 3 0
 Mullet bikes probably work best with a 27.5 frame with a 29 fork+wheel added, instead of a 29er frame with the rear wheel swapped. Raises bb instead of lowering it.
  • 1 0
 Agreed! That's what I've been posting above. Also, with the right angle head tube and a zero stack bottom cup on the head set, you can keep the BB almost exactly where it is a normal 275 rig. Just don't put a massively long fork on it! 140/140 or 140/150 (rear/front) would be easy to do!
  • 1 0
 Should have kept the 27.5 rear tire at the 2.8 size. Otherwise, it kind of defeats the entire intention of the manufacturer, which really isn't fair to them. I know you note this in your "Talking Tires" section but you then complain about the STA being slacker, etc. While the STA isn't steep to begin with, it is your fault you altered the geo of the bike and rode it in a way it wasn't intended. The bike is different from the way the general person ordering/receiving the bike from Intense would be set up.
  • 2 1
 NOT A MULLET BIKE!

It's basically a 29'er with a shitty 27.5+ rear tire and outdated geometry.
(Too short reach and too slack seat angle etc.)

Why: Because 27,5+ has the same circumference and axle height as a 29'er = Not a mullet and as such no advantage from running different sized wheels. On top of that you get shitty handling because its a + tire with added flex and more grip on the rear than on the front. Who in their right mind wants that?

Do it right or don't do it at all! Mullets are great when done properly. Don't let this half assed attempt fool you.
  • 1 0
 Ho yeah!!! it`s so ``new``, but for the consumer who has kilometers of ignorance and fears in its sockets, how does it feel?
- One will say ``I feel bad for the people buying into this joke of a mullet bikes``. @GatoGordo
- Another one will say: ``don`t they have any e-version `cos you know...?``
- Another one: now I have to carry 2 sizes of tubes instead of one in case of, also btw: how to you fix a flat?
- Some will just go back to 26``rear/front and those can`t be wrong...

Cheeers :-)
  • 1 0
 I purchased the previous Primer immediately before the new design released, and have been very happy with it as my first carbon bike (with FREE carbon wheels too!). I would honestly be sad if my frame breaks because the new colorways are not the shiny that makes my monkey-brain happy.

As far as the raging debates here (and I agree the term mullet is incorrect = short front, long rear) and in all the other bike topics (chainstays, really?), it is all just psychology. People want to be recognized, acknowledged, validated, whatever - just get the bike you like and ride it until you can't.
  • 1 0
 A demo ride on the 2017 Primer 29er (Factory Spec) converted me to 29ers in the first place - awesome bike....but £9000! Mullets are always going have compromises and I can only see the benefit on DH bikes to be honest anyway!
  • 1 0
 Here we go, bike industry research shows them that enough people own a 27.5 or 29r that they are going to start to lose out on as many people converting away from 26. Time to release the 29/27.5 mixed bikes for a few years and get a bunch to dump their single wheel size bikes. After that start to eliminate 27.5 as a front wheel size because it "doesn't roll over stuff well enough". Cue ten years later once everybody is firmly on 29 and then rerelease 26 as an option for people who want better acceleration that 29 cant provide. By then anybody who grew up on 26 will be too old to even ride an mtb anymore and everybody will think it's so revolutionary and "why didn't they think of this when 27.5 was out?!!"

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Kill Yourself.
  • 2 0
 I’ve been saying this for years: mixed wheel size corners better.

Would be interesting to see a comparison of wheel sizes options on this bike.
  • 1 1
 said with the voice of a boxing match announcer " lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllaaaadddiesssssssssssssss and gentlemen, in moment you have all been waiting for, the kings of the mountain, the monster trucks of the jank, the waiting in over, its time for the show down of the year. So please take your seats the the big show is about to start "................. the crowd starts to get restless and the chanting starts with a low rumble with feet stamping " eennndddduurrrooo, eeeennndduurrrooo, eeennddduuurroo".

OK PB, we all like a bit of foreplay, dam we need some of that shit, but I'm not known for my stamina and endurance. For the love of all that is holy, GET ON WITH IT MANm your doing my head in. I can't take this much long.

PS Am absolutely lov'in the reviews. Keep it go'in!
  • 3 0
 So why would a manufacturer make a bike with a STA like this knowing "everyone's" opinion these days on that topic?
  • 3 0
 74 degree STA very might work better on less steep trails. That's what some say but I can't speak to that.
  • 2 0
 @SunsPSD: I agree personally, but never heard a review say that. All they want is steep, steep, steep. Would like to hear from a manufacturer on their reasoning. I mean they don't make these frames accidentally. Engineers have to sit and design every curve, angle, bolt, bearing, etc.
  • 5 0
 In rolling terrain, its actually better. Plus, with the stock tire setup its going to be steeper. This bike is short, maneuverable, and apparently corners really well. Its probably ideal for places with less steeps and less vertical, but more rolling terrain.
  • 1 1
 Because it’s a rehash of an existing mold, cheaper to reuse than redesign.

It’s Intense, they’re lower budget, direct sale, they can’t compete with big names.
  • 2 1
 I can totally understand that you light testers don't like bigger tires. Bigger tires are better for bigger riders. Maybe you guys need a tester who can represent people who weigh more.
  • 4 0
 Pros: It didn't break (or bend).
  • 3 0
 I would be pretty miffed that my front and rear brake pads were not the same.
  • 1 0
 Totally. Right now I have two bikes with three different brake pads. Pain in the ass!
  • 1 1
 Not bunk, mullets are stoopid, bern there and tried that long before it was cool ... and realized then as I realize now: mullets are not better, they are inherently unbalanced, and they are an unnecessary compromise.

Why did it feel less stable through a rock garden? Doh!

The review is spot on and all the mullet dreamers should be paying attention.
  • 2 0
 Nothing says “I have nothing good to say”if one of your two pros is
“Relatively efficient”
  • 1 0
 RE: Talking Tires...I know just the thing to help with swapping and airing up 28 tubeless tires quickly. $750 is a bargain now, eh?
  • 3 0
 A trail bike that feels like a trail bike!
How can it be?!
  • 1 2
 Mixed wheel size bikes seem more suited to racing than everyday trail riding. For those riders riding remotely enough to need to carry a spare tube, mixed sizes means carrying two tubes. Also, sometimes it makes sense to move a front tire to the rear when the rear wears out and only buy a new front tire. That's not possible with mixed wheel sizes. Similarly, if wanting to keep a spare tire on hand, mixed sizes mean you need two spare tires instead of one. If people like the handling enough, perhaps it out weighs the added expense and hassle. Personally, I don't want to buy and carry more gear.
  • 5 0
 29 tube works for all wheel sizes. Just sayin.
  • 1 0
 Pretty sure you can shove a 29er tube Ina 27.5 wheel in a "get me home" circumstance.
  • 2 1
 @JohanG: 27.5" tube works better for both 27.5" & 29". Now who the F carries tubes anyways?
  • 3 0
 @SunsPSD: People who ride in the middle of nowhere carry tubes. Way better than walking for hours when you rip a sidewall.
  • 3 0
 I've put 26" tubes in a 29er (rode half a season with it), 29er in 26, and 650b in both. I bet you could even stretch a 24" into a 29er without issue.
  • 1 0
 @SunsPSD: I won't once I get my new Stans tire plugs Smile
  • 3 0
 Intense is getting a little boring.
  • 1 0
 You guys should make an alternate video with a better... or, I mean, "different" soundtrack. Like less whatever that is, more Reign in Blood.
  • 1 0
 Having done quite a lot of testing on wheel sizes, I thing best sizes are 26+ rear & 27.5+ or 29er front, so bring back the 69er will be my prediction 2020- 21?
  • 1 0
 Hey Mikes, how do those exo+ casings compare to DD?

Any pinch flats? Or those *almost* pinch flats where you get a slowww leak on the bead that never quite seals?
  • 1 0
 I've become a huge fan of the EXO+ casings. Previously I only ran DH or DD casings, but running an EXO+ on front and a DD rear has been the sweet spot. May try an EXO+ in the rear at some point even.
  • 1 0
 You did it!!! A trail bike article without a single mention of the word "capable"! Does this make the Intense the least capable bike in the test?
  • 1 0
 The mullet will come and die like the hairstyle… And will come back again when we will be riding 31'' … 29/31 bikes in 2030.
  • 2 0
 I wonder what people will argue about this time, plenty of options here...
  • 1 0
 Just for me, Intense doesn't make any effect anymore, despite their dh machine. But, I'm not a downhiller; so...
  • 4 3
 Hmm any guesses as to the other frame break? I thought it would be this one.
  • 2 1
 There was talk on the Pole comments that the other breakage was the RM Slayer. Guess you'll have to wait to know
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: Apparently the new slayer is really good. Im intrigued for the field test....
  • 1 0
 @Shafferd912: don't doubt that. Like I said, was just mentioning what some guy said on the other section. Adding to the drama, I know
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: No, I understand. I am excited!
  • 2 0
 @Shafferd912: I've got one! It's incredibly good. But bit nervous hearing that it possibly broke! The Taj illustration shows a smashed front wheel and a snapped down tube!
  • 1 0
 @Shafferd912: I re-read Taj's post. He said the chainstay failed.
  • 1 0
 @paulwatt: Yeah, that's nerve wracking. You've got a new slayer??
  • 1 0
 @Shafferd912: Yeah. Loving it so far! It rips downhill and pedals pretty decently.
  • 1 0
 @paulwatt: That is so awesome. I have a 2018 Commencal Meta, and I have even considered selling it to get one!
  • 5 2
 2.8 tire? What a joke...
  • 2 4
 @Mikekazimer - I'd argue that such bike is supposed to make you feel a bit sketchy on G.N.A.R.tm because there's not much suspension (and often tyre bite/ sidewall stability) to save your bum when things go south. It's all cool when you know what you are doing on a trail you know very well and you know your brake spots and where to lift and put down your wheels. Same in the park. Dirt Merchant is doable on a DJ. it's just that blokes out of Sam Pilgrims or Jared Graves league will have a hard time surviving even a mild dead sailor on this thing. Levy even mentioned that on the Optic. I bet quite a lot, you took it down stuff, people used to armor up for not that long ago. If you cut down travel, then put your money where your mout is Smile
  • 1 2
 ''The Intense was the slowest of the four bikes for me, clocking in 6.2% slower than my fastest time.'' Who talks about time in percentages? I got a good chuckle after reading that!
  • 2 1
 smart people
  • 2 0
 Except that it’s durn close to ten percent, which makes that bike slow as f*ck.

That ^ doesn’t make anyone giggle, nope.
  • 1 0
 @JohanG: Touche!
  • 1 0
 With as low as all BB's are these days, this must be REALLY low for you guys to keep mentioning it.
  • 1 0
 ...still waiting for the 27.5" front / 29" rear option. I'm more of a "business in the rear" type.
  • 1 0
 Would prefer if this test was done 29" both ends but hey, it's only a bike test so no sleep lost here.
  • 1 0
 It felt slack after getting off the pole.
-@mikelevy
  • 1 2
 no more frames from Intense. My broke after 2 years. I got a new, improved back triangle. It broke even faster. It was improved but with the same design error. And the terrible bottom link design.
  • 1 0
 Can we get a mullet bike filter like the ebike one? I have zero interest in this bizarre ‘trend’.
  • 1 1
 Can someone please fix the Pinkbike sign... Those letter are off and I cant stop staring at it. You're welcome.
  • 1 0
 Hmmmm, it is so classic that it would have been modern 5 years ago...Smile
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer Hey Kaz, what shoes are you wearing in these videos?
  • 1 0
 Love the concept of the mullet..
  • 1 0
 2020 monthly online deals
  • 6 6
 I only came for the huck-to-flat test to see if it would break
  • 1 0
 nvm
  • 2 4
 Like the rest of intense bikes.....leave it where you found it....
  • 1 3
 Crap selection of trail bikes...didappointed
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