Intense Restructures With New Management Team, Commitment to Racing Development

Jan 22, 2019
by Richard Cunningham  
L to R Jon-Erik Burleson Jeb Christy La Curelle Jeff Majkrzak Jennifer Gabrielli Jeff Steber Chad Peterson Ryan Dungey
New faces at Intense: (From left) Two Wheel Group Jon-Erik "Jeb" Burleson & Christy LaCurelle, Investor Jeff Majkrzak - co-owner Geico Honda Team, Intense REO Jennifer Gabrielli, Intense CEO Jeff Steber, Intense Chief product officer Chad Peterson, Investor Ryan Dungey - 4 time Supercross Champion


Intense has restructured its business for the third time in four years. The new name is Intense LLC, and it brings together both assistance and investments from like-minded individuals in the motorcycle business. Jeff Steber will remain in control as CEO. It's no secret that Steber has been searching for the right mix of corporate savvy and grass-roots support in an effort to grow the brand internationally without losing their connection to the loyal, hard-core riders who were responsible for their initial success.

“We hired a management team and a new CEO back in 2014 to help us take Intense to the next level,” said Steber. “And, for the first two years, everything went pretty well. After that, things became a little more contentious and I started to see that Intense was moving away from our core values. The moment when I realized how far it had gone happened after we developed the aluminum M29 prototypes. I wanted to get our racers on them right away, but our sales guys argued to hold back on the M29 because releasing it would kill sales of the 27.5-inch M16s we had in stock.”

Photo Intense Cycles
The aluminum M29 prototype precipitated big changes in Intense's management team. Intense photo

Steber couldn’t conceive of such thoughts. He held his ground and Intense Factory Racing scored a second place at Fort William with Australian Jack Moir aboard the 29er prototype. Months later, he retook the reins of Intense as the CEO and vowed to refocus the brand on racing development.

That’s what Steber knows best and it seemed to be working out. Moir, along with Charlie Harrison and Dean Lucas were posting top ten World Cup results, while at home, Steber collaborated with Cerro Designs’ Cesar Rojo to launch a succession of stunning, technically astute production race bikes, including the Carbon M29 that the Intense Factory team is campaigning with today.

bigquotesWalk the same path and you are sure to arrive at the same place.Anonymous
The carbon M29 marked a new chapter for Intense. Intense photo

Taking a step back to realign Intense with its passion for racing turned out to be a positive move for the brand - at least for the short term. That said, Steber and company are well established as innovators with a passion for racing. What they have yet to figure out is how to follow that path without ending up in the same place.

Dean Lucas and his red hot Intense M29
It takes lots of money to go World Cup racing. Dean Lucas poses with his M29 at the Leogang pits, 2018.


“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday?” Translating podiums to purchases is not that simple. Nobody is making bank selling downhill bikes these days. If you had access to the numbers, you’d be surprised to discover how few DH bikes are sold annually compared to the millions spent on downhill racing. Race teams are advertising businesses, pure and simple. Winning is the job, but the purpose is to elevate brand awareness. For a bike sponsor, a World Cup DH team pays the bills by selling trail bikes – lots of them.

bigquotesI grew up with it. My father was a professional motorcycle racer. I saw how amazing the peaks and valleys were. Racing is a powerful drug. It's so easy to become addicted. I could tell you stories about many who lost fortunes. It doesn't happen often, but when it goes right, there is nothing like that feeling.Jon-Erik Burleson

Jon Erik “Jeb” Burleson and Christy LaCurelle get that. Jeb’s father was a professional motorcycle racer. He joined KTM North America’s motorcycle division right out of college and was president for a good part of his 15 years there. Christy put in almost a much time there in motorsports marketing, much of which was working with race teams. She also put together and ran KTM’s youth half-time Supercross racing program. They later formed the Two Wheel Group, a consulting agency which would soon become an integral part of Intense’s future.

Christy LaCurelle
Christy LaCurelle (left) spearheaded a number of successful youth motorcycling programs.


A chance meeting a number of years ago brought Jeb and Jeff Steber together. Jeb, an avid mountain bike rider, was on the way to KTM, which was also in Temecula, when a passenger suggested that they roll by Intense. Jeb was impressed by the factory and wanted to become involved right away, but the timing was not right. Steber and Burleson remained in contact, however, and eventually, Jeb joined the board of directors at Intense in January 2018, where Steber came to appreciate his frank assessments of their mountain bike business, and more so, that Burleson understood the importance of the brand’s racing heritage.

“Originally, Jeff asked me to do some consulting work,” said Jeb. “Then later I joined the board, where I basically worked to restructure the finances to give us a runway forwards. Now, it’s been almost exactly one year since we have been working on this project [Intense LLC].”

So, are there big changes in the works? Surprisingly not, which was refreshing to hear. Steber says that they are on a more conservative path that begins by executing their day to day business more efficiently and more importantly, focusing more sharply on Intense’s core customers. To begin with, they are rolling out “Intense Podium Payback" - a contingency plan to reward pro and amateur race winners at selected local and national race venues. Jennifer Gabrielli, who runs that program, tells us that Pro riders receive cash, while amateurs get vouchers for products redeemable on the Intense Rider Direct web store, and as the plan matures, at Intense retailers. The Podium Payback plan was launched locally at the Fontana, California, winter DH series and predictably, it’s a hit.

bigquotesI was there when we launched the contingency program at Fontana. When we saw this Intense rider standing on the podium and handed him his check, he had no idea at first, and then he was ecstatic. He said he actually needed the money.Jennifer Gabrielli, Rider Experience Officer


On the business side, Jeb says that the traditional sales model has flipped. Originally, the relationship between the bike brand, and its retailers was that the brand marketed its overarching message, while the retailer was responsible to generate the sales.

“Now, all of a sudden, that is changing and we have to make that sale,” says Burleson. “Making the brand seem cool and having people recognize us isn’t enough. Now we have to go one step further and get them to buy – whether that is a click or a door-swing. We call that performance marketing – where we don’t just deliver a message, if it’s social media or whatever, we provide a click-through or an immediate opportunity for that person to make a purchase.”

Jeb believes that the role of the new retail dealer is to be the confidant who provides knowledge, support and service. “Buying a new mountain bike – talking about it, comparing, geeking out on components, having it worked on – it should be super fun,” he says. “If we can shape purchasing our bikes into that positive experience, then it doesn’t matter whether they buy it from us through Rider Direct, or if they buy it from a retailer, we’ve done our jobs.” Arguably, a significant portion of the Intense experience is buying into an ideal that is larger than life, which brings us back to World Cup racing.


bigquotesWe have to be in it to win it.Jon-Erik Burleson

Two of Intense LLC’s investors, four-time Supercross champion Ryan Dungey and Team Geico Honda Co-owner Jeff Majkrzak, have lived that dream. Given their exemplary track records, it
intense
is doubtful that either would invest substantial sums to subsidize Intense’s desire to go World Cup DH racing without an ironclad business plan that included athletes who could deliver top-step performances.

Red Bull KTM
Ryan Dungey understands the business of professional racing. He earned four Supercross titles and is a three-time outdoor Motocross champion. Simon Cudby photo

“The number one thing that we had to do with this restructuring was to become extremely relevant in World Cup downhill,” states Jeb. Easier said than done. If racing was their true north, once Intense LLC committed to that path, anything less than a successful World Cup Team would be suicide. Expensive? You bet. Reportedly the deal required nine months of back and forth between investors, athletes, and Intense. The team announcement posts tomorrow morning.

bigquotesThe moment you stop moving forward and start talking about what you’ve done, you are no longer relevant.Jon-Erik Burleson

It’s certain that Intense fans will applaud a triumphant return to their racing roots, but will it be enough? Most of the brand’s storied history took place before millennials and Gen-X riders bought their first mountain bikes. Once again, Jeb puts it bluntly: “You are only as good as your last win. It’s the same for racing, business, or life. The moment you stop moving forward and start talking about what you’ve done, you are no longer relevant.” The new Intense team has a good track record with both generations and they’re betting that a successful show at the World Cups will engage younger riders, new to the brand.

Providing most goes as planned, what will Intense LLC become five years from now? Well, it turns out that Jennifer Gabrielli and Christy LaCurelle are already at work curating the brand’s future. Jennifer, by reaching out with the Podium Payback program to support racing at the local level and to reward weekend-warriors who paid for their Intenses and live to race. Christy, based upon the enviable success of her KTM youth racing program, is working out a future racing venue designed to bring younger riders into the fold from the day they learn to ride.

Both programs come at a good time. The average age of a Pinkbike member is now thirty-something and a lot of us have kids. If the new race team gets the job done, a lot of riders are going to become first-time customers. Founder Jeff Steber’s first motto was “Intense for Life.” Podium Payback and an upcoming youth racing series could be the best insurance for the brand that this new crop of riders are exactly that.


240 Comments

  • + 123
 When will they just announce gwin on there team
  • + 166
 *their
  • + 14
 @millsr4: or the
  • + 13
 @millsr4: my bad lol
  • + 34
 Tomorrow morning bud, says so in the article.
  • + 57
 Tomorrow. And look at the M29, G-Spec brakes, TRP Derailleur, Renthal, Fox, ODI AG Grips, the signs are too true
  • + 61
 @GregorHayes: yup that’s pretty conclusive. They probably had him take that picture.
  • + 5
 @GregorHayes: Gwin will be on Kenda this year then too?
  • + 10
 Ah too bad, I wanted a KENDA SUPRISE.
  • - 4
flag Intense4life (Jan 22, 2019 at 19:04) (Below Threshold)
 Team announced in 4 days
  • + 13
 @Intense4life: THIS IS SO INTENSE! I CAN'T WAIT
  • + 1
 @MrDiamondDave: it’s tomorrow.
  • + 1
 @BrigadierBuege: its neko n gwin...but running their other sponsors from last year.
  • - 4
flag dmock157 (Jan 22, 2019 at 19:54) (Below Threshold)
 @GregorHayes: sad part is you cant buy an m29er right now because they are not in stock... such a joke if you ask me... you think trek or say nissan would deny a customer tomorrow ? Doubt it ! ????
  • + 4
 @dmock157: Unless they are planning a restocking that coincides with the announcement tomorrow. (i.e. Gwin edition) They also are a more boutique brand than trek and their business model is different than "make as many bikes as possible"
  • - 2
 @GregorHayes: agreed point is you cant sell what you dont own. They have lost a lot of folks in the last few yrs..that trend will multiply...watch !
  • + 3
 @dmock157: We will see. Every brand is having to deal with the shifting markets and the new "customer." We notice it in the bike shops, and it will define which brands will succeed and which ones won't.
  • + 1
 23rd!
  • + 1
 @GregorHayes: the m29's were in stock last week, so I'm assuming that you're correct.
  • + 0
 @Mntneer: they are not in large or xl ....try again. We were told march for a large and june for an xl
  • - 2
 @superkeen: The Kenda Nevegal was a good tire but became irrelevant when Kenda never made it tubeless.
  • + 1
 @superkeen: that is hillarious and unavailable in the states because of us americans trying to eat everything. -j from bham, wa
  • + 5
 @tacklingdummy: Nevegal was an OK value tire in 2001. Once every other company made a decent tire, the Nevegal was crap.
  • + 3
 Looks like they got ryan seacrest!
  • + 2
 @dmock157: LOL. then go buy a Trek Sentra and GTFO!
  • + 1
 E13 wheels, that race place, Onza tires, etc... They lead pic is a dead giveaway for sure.
  • + 1
 @GregorHayes: my thoughts exactly,
  • + 2
 @FUbob: Oh schnapp!
  • + 1
 When you get there, start clicking the Prev and Next buttons....
  • + 1
 @dmock157: Actually in the UK you can’t even get a test drive in the new Nissan Leaf, and the waiting list to buy one is measured in years…
  • + 1
 @FUbob: all pics now removed from PB, lame!
  • + 0
 @conoat: why ? I have 2 m16s already...all of which were devalued once the dropped the price by 3k bucks.
  • + 3
 What happened to Eastbound and Down? I’ll miss him.
  • + 4
 Intense Bicycles: Direct Sales Bikes at Full Retail Price! You're welcome America.
  • + 1
 @ccolagio: or A
  • + 1
 @dmock157: what else will your crystal ball tell us?
  • + 0
 @danlovesbikes: gwin ...neko ...nor jack will will the wc overall or world champs..... wanna bet 1k bucks on it or are you yellow ? Wink
  • + 56
 Interesting.
3rd restructure in 4 years...sure, these are interesting times, but that shows a lack of awareness and poor strategy for the current marketplace. They moved on or "evolved" before fully executing their prior stated direction. Poor strategy from the start or just the standard old performance brand trying to navigate a chaotic marketplace and getting reactionary?
Cool brand and good bikes= all good there.
However, having a retailer dealer base with no effective pricing controls and retailers in the mix who were always offering deals and advertising products on sale results in the average unit retail being well below MSRP. If dealers can't be profitable, that conduit to the customer will erode.
Enter the quasi direct to consumer approach- sounded sort of OK in the PR release, but it provided an additional hurdle for retailers. Sure, DTC can work very well and it may be the future, but there needs to be a transition strategy and weaning period. Cold turkey is rough. Marketing and consumer communication did not match or support the move to direct sales.
Never known anyone to pay full MSRP for an Intense in years.
May be time to adjust sales expectations and balance the business with retail realities?
Or, may be time to charge ahead with tons of marketing, best in class direct to consumer communication, and best in class warranty service.
Good brand with lots of history. Good bikes.
However, lots of other brands and bikes also stack up.
Intense does not appear like they have captured the younger emerging consumer. Seems like they have some connection to "racers" getting a deal and older affluent customers(who are also often getting a deal).
Very common hurdle for older performance brands= you only get the young/new customer by slinging deals and your older core customer only buys from you infrequently.
It appears as if Intense is rapidly losing retail relevancy and a connection to customers even though they appear to be making improvements in products.
I wonder if they have a 5 year plan or if they are just reacting season to season, production run to production run?
When I see investors marketed in a PR piece it is often a red flag. Are the investors going to push things forward and see a reward or just serve to goose things for a bit by providing assurance that there is money and vision?
Intense really needs to make a connection with customers-both old and new. The customer connection and clear benefit to the customer for choosing Intense is what really seems to be lacking.
The bikes look cool, the bikes perform well and a bunch of fast riders are on them...just like any other premium bike brand.
  • + 6
 Spot on. I think they'll be gone soon.
  • + 10
 Weren't they saying this same stuff when palmer came in.
  • + 10
 @Cyberhatter: you´re right. Anyhow, why did the cut the palmer project? It just disappeared.
  • + 13
 You said everything I was going to say. I guess Intense is going hard after those that want to moto-cosplay. They must be expecting to sell a ton of Tracers. By all accounts they are bleeding money. Are they going to have money to invest in the bikes in addition to the team? At a time when bikes are undergoing rapid shifts in geometry. And, at least in my area they have a rep for breaking to overcome.

Did Gwinn make YT or did YT make themselves by providing people a higher level of parts at a much lower price while being on top of trends.

To borrow a line from other cash intensive industries “the best way to make a million dollars is to start with five million”. Hope Dunge and the FC guy know what they are doing. I’m sure they love riding bikes but do they love bikes enough to blow a ton of money on the questionable promise of a payoff years down the road?

TLBig Grin R: intense seems to be throwing it all up against the wall and hoping it sticks.
  • + 6
 @wibblywobbly: Your TL dr I think is pretty spot on. We could talk endlessly about what makes a bike company relevant but I'd probably attribute most of YT's success to having a pile of bikes that start in the $3k range. I would say for the majority of people purchasing DTC they're simply looking at price/quality ratio so unless Intense can come out with some value options I doubt they'll have much luck. Most businesses that operate outside of the pure luxury sphere (purses/watches etc) may sell high end stuff but pay their bills on volume at the lower end.
  • - 9
flag TEMO1611 (Jan 22, 2019 at 20:25) (Below Threshold)
 @wibblywobbly: Gwin made yt otherwise they would be "no where".
  • + 8
 No doubt Gwinn on a race bike designed by Cesar is going to be amazing...... but is it going to tempt your usual Santa Cruz customers away from a bronson, nomad etc and onto intense? This I’m not so sure about.
  • + 7
 5 year plan? Who would make a 5 year plan, now?
Stuff is changing so fast now, I'm surprised anyone can stick to a 2 year plan.
  • + 0
 not everyone wants to spend 15k on there bikes....
  • + 2
 @GiantSpecializedEddie: it was probably a quite unstable relationship...
  • + 1
 @andydhteam: Everyone wants to, not everyone can,
  • - 5
flag maxx-x (Jan 22, 2019 at 23:21) (Below Threshold)
 I am pretty sure Intense will be gone within 3 years..
they are competing in a rapidly changing market. are already left behind by the other competitors for years and are now stating they want to take a conservative approach... they got to be kidding.
has anyone seen their website? it looks like its from the 90s.. and they try to sell bikes through that thing. it seems that they just dont have any plan what they are dooing what so ever.
the whole brand and even more the managament staff seem so outdated and stuck in the industrial age thtat it hurts.. i really cant see a any chance for a successfull turnaround here..
  • + 0
 @friendlyfoe: They have bikes that are in that price range, at least in Europe. The price here is maybe 10-15% more than a YT.

Man, I’d love to speak with these guys to sort their D2C model out (Europe). It feels like it’s 80% done, but they haven’t quite finished it. Plus they need to sort out the lack of multilingual set up on the Shopify front end.
  • + 4
 @maxx-x: I've been to their website and it looks pretty normal. No problem buying something. But complete bike shopping is alien to me so I don't know.
  • + 2
 @jamesdunford: I guess I just looked at their DH bikes, there are some cheaper options for enduro but the US website is pretty awful. If they can compete on price point, have some big names on their bikes and can get a few favourable reviews in the media I don't see why they wouldn't sell a pile of bikes.
  • + 1
 Please do not jinx this company. They make the best bikes. And customer service is a whatever from a industry that changes standards frequently and can blame anything on user error. It's a buy a bike one time as is and don't expect to change any components or else you need to buy a whole new bike industry. So in that sense, they are clearly one of the best elite bike brands. And it seems like every bike company has a MSRP double what it should be.
  • + 4
 @wibblywobbly: "TLBig Grin R: intense seems to be throwing it all up against the wall and hoping it sticks." But now a new and improved strategy - doing it with other people's money.
  • + 1
 @ACree: HAHAHAHA its fool proof! Unless you're the one giving them the money.
  • + 2
 @CantQuitCartel: Bronson owner here. It has me looking at Tracers on Pinkbike--same VPP design too. Now that Santa Cruz is held by a conglomerate (Pon Holdings), I'm less inclined to stick with them.

I hope Intense not only takes World Cup racing this seriously, but also look into getting a strong team together eventually for the Enduro World Series too.
  • + 1
 @Patsplit: so instead of buying a bike from a well run and financially stable company with great customer service and actual in house engineers you would go with a company that is giving away equity to pro racers and famous friends in the moto industry in a last ditch effort to stay alive. Sounds like a great idea.
  • + 4
 @wibblywobbly: Ever the contrarian you are. It all depends who's at the helm, as big companies with poor leadership have a bad habit of trying to maximize profits by cutting costs and not necessarily through efficiencies.
  • + 2
 @wibblywobbly: dungey prob paid for the riders salaries alone for 2 yrs. Not a fsn of him...but yea... hes got lota cash
  • + 1
 @wibblywobbly: Yeah, it's called help the smaller company who is going in the right direction vs the larger company that seems to be doing well for itself that it doesn't need my dollars so badly. Giving equity to riders is a great way to get them invested in the company. Talk about a rider-owned company, now it's a racer-owned company. I'd rather my money go to Aaron Gwin himself than some dutch executives.
  • + 3
 @Patsplit: I don’t think Gwinn needs charity from either of us to put gas in his McLaren.

It’s all a business. Donate to charities you find worthy and don’t think for a second that Gwinn (or the Pon people for that matter) give a flying fcuk about you personally.

Santa Cruz has a reputation for great reliability and customer support. Intense... not so much.
  • + 2
 @wibblywobbly: or to build his mansion. Guy deserves it all but he has 0 to do with anyone getting my money. Bike and support do. I've had warranty issue with both intense and santa Cruz. Santa Cruz was so much better and easier to deal with. No contest.
  • + 2
 @wibblywobbly: But he just liked my comment on Instagram... I'm a fan of racing, and he's provided endless hours of entertainment at his own body's expense. He's faired pretty well given his efforts to win races. The guy deserves a mansion on the hill (and a MacLaren in the garage). What has the Pon executive done? Moved his money to someone's bank account because he thinks it will make his bank account larger... nah. Warranty/Customer service does play some role, but I haven't had any issues with my bikes that I needed to utilize customer service (yet).
  • + 0
 @Patsplit: But when you do need this support you will be singing another song. The second gen of Santa Cruz carbon frames, from Blur to Nomad, had issues with clear coat cracking around the bolt at the lower link. Cosmetic but still, when you want to sell the frame, the 90% of people will tell you to either go F yourself with a cracked frame or demand lowering the price a lot. Like it happened to me. I had another potential crack building up in my TRc and SC replaced the frame on warranty quickly with no questions asked. Ironically for this story, the problem arose from unfortunately low placed lower link. For the third generation of their bikes, they raised the lower link to get it out of the way of rocks (I damaged mine on a climb!). M29 has a low hanging lower pivot of the swingarm, they haven't provided any shileding for it - so a few of those who buy this bike WILL need warranty service because of this. Antidote Dark Matter has similar issue and they added metal shielding mounted to the link rather quickly. I suggest Intense guys to pay attention to this "detail".

Another example is all carbon rims. YOU NEED A STELLAR WARRANTY SERVICE, because pretty expensive products will fail. They will.
  • + 1
 It's interesting how Intense seems to play in the same niche as SC or Yeti, but all 3 have different ways of doing things and Intense's looks the least successful.

I remember people saying Yeti would lose some credibility by not having a DH bike or team, but in the end they still have a cult-like following backed up by arguably very good (if expensive) bikes and probably saved a ton of money by cutting the DH product (loss leader usually) and the uber-expensive WC team.

SC on the other hand have absolutely milked the sponsorship-related marketing and it worked for them but they had corporate cash to afford it and some of the most distinct personalities on their bikes.

Intense got stuck somewhere in the middle with no idea where they were going and maybe less standout bikes or, IDK, not enough focus on markets outside US?
  • + 55
 Those are some intense stares Blank Stare
  • + 11
 SoCal
  • + 5
 Chad has seen some Weeping Angels or something.
  • + 4
 When your budget is tighter than a virgins gnarpoon.
  • + 4
 Chad has got that look when you know the e.bikes are already in development, but you release a 6 paragraph long PR piece about RACING being everything.
  • + 2
 @thedirtyburritto: In development? He is standing right next to one Blank Stare
  • + 33
 Ill have two hits of whatever Chad Peterson had. and a Lyft
  • + 4
 @Icaru5: for the win!
  • + 3
 team not announced yet already caught doping. that is intense bruh
  • + 2
 "Intense Chief product officer Chad Peterson" - literally
  • + 25
 The grips on the DH rig (along with other components) pretty much seals the deal that Gwin will be riding Intense frames...
  • + 10
 If the build is completely accurate it seems Gwin is trying to help revive another tire brand. At least that Hellkat looks already like a DHR II, so less work to do...
  • + 2
 keen eye!
  • + 1
 The tires appear to be Kenda.
  • + 1
 @jzPV: Yeah, they are both round and black.
  • + 15
 To say Jebs' dad was a motorcycle racer is like saying George Patton was a soldier. Dick Burleson-Eight National Championships. Eight ISDE golds. Legend. And Dungey. It may be totally illogical, but I am so much more likely to buy an Intense than I was yesterday.
  • + 1
 Thank you. As I was reading I thought "oooh THAT Burleson family!".
  • + 0
 Haha I feel the same way. I know it's irrational, but....that's marketing.
  • + 3
 JEB is also one hell of a MTB rider!
  • + 3
 Weird, I was struck by how little correlation there is between motorcycle racing success and business sense. (and I think the world of Dick Burleson and Dungey).

The likelihood of me buying an intense went from zero to negative. I am impressed with Steber's ability to sell a vision. Intense ownership is looking like the timeshares of the cycling business.
  • + 1
 @ACree: I live here in Temecula and can tell you that everybody and their mother rides an Intense around here. Go to Greer on any given day and I would say 50-60% of people riding are on an Intense which turns out to be 50-60 people. So locally they are well supported. I'm not sure about the sales around the rest of the country or world, but I think State side they are well represented. As far as the year end sell off's and all the "sale" promotions , you get that with many different companies that sell thru online shops. (Intense, Santa Cruz, etc..) And who buys bikes at retail prices anyway. I certainly don't.

Now AG is moving into a company that already sells a lot of bikes, But can he help sell more? I guess we will find out.
But one thing is for certain, He definitely helped YT sell a crap load of bikes.
  • + 1
 I agree I would be a little more interested in buying one now. I think people are jaded that some big money names are behind this (Dungey and FC Guy), but Jeb took over KTM USA in the early 2000's when their bikes were super weird. I know I didn't want to ride or race one at all. He helped that company put the race teams together, they started building bike specifically for the US off-road market that got them to their huge market share in off road dirt bikes.

I think Jebs got some awesome business chops and I know Christy has been around all the race teams and marketing for a long time. This might be pretty cool, we will see...
  • + 14
 Awesome Ryan Dungey as an investor. That’s sick. The KTM connection with Gwin is still there to.
  • + 4
 Also noticing TRP brakes, HT pedals...yeah gwins bike for sure
  • + 1
 @Royallsn: Renthal Bars, Ethirteen wheels. Yeah pretty sure that's Gwin confirmed.
  • + 1
 I must admit a KTM branded M29 would sick AF
  • + 1
 @AntN: ONly if its got CNC billet everything just so rich wankers can park them in the garage, and ask 90% of msrp when its got 13 hours on it 4 years later hahahahahah
  • + 14
 "We are focusing on racing". . . Builds an ebike.
  • + 1
 Google Ebike races. Its a real thing. Too bad we didnt kill it with fire before it laid eggs.
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: I'm well aware that e bike races are a thing. Trust me, as a former dual slalom racer I know better than most that DS races are quickly being replaced by Exc and Eduro races all over the country.
  • + 2
 @Boardlife69: and google ebike sales
  • + 10
 Everyone is overlooking Jeb, he is the man that was at the helm over at KTM when they were slaying dragons!4 of them to be exact... Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki. The motor cycle industry has not been expanding in the last couple decades, it’s been shrinking and in order for KTM to grow like it has it had to literally take each new increasing sale from one of these totally dominant brands. Yes the bicycle industry has far more dragons, and a bunch of well established lizards far more powerful than Intense, but Dungey and Co are betting on Jeb turning this around, nobody else in that photo has the chops to do it. IF Steber follows JEBs plan in several years Intense will be better than ever, check ego at door the Kings son has the helm.
  • + 2
 I couldn't agree more.

Looking from the outside, the bottom line at Intense could be argued to be something like the following over the past few years...

'To grow the brand Jeff has to step sway from (X, Y and Z) to have more time doing (A, B and C), and we have this great new (plan / CEO / sales model ) that's going to be great for the consumer, dealer and everyone'

Yet that has proved to be only until Jeff steps back in again because at the end of the day, it's his baby, and if he doesn't like what he sees, he (as he has every right to), steps in and takes back control.

What this does to consumer confidence in each subsequent version of the message is... well, yet to be seen.

Good luck to them all; I hope it all works out.
  • + 9
 Why do people think Gwin is going to Intense? I don't see how a signature ODI number plate, signature ODI grips, signature TRP brakes, signature E*Thirteen wheels and finishing kit, ect. makes someone 100% guaranteed to be on the team...
  • + 12
 They no longer make misaligned aluminium frames that snap like saltines in the U.S.?
  • + 7
 I had 4 of those crackers.
  • + 2
 @Cyberhatter: You racist.
#Crackerlivesmatter
  • + 9
 What happened to Palmer’s race development program? I have been out of the loop. It seems like it just sort of disappeared. Any information is appreciated.
  • + 5
 That’s was last years attempt at ‘realigning’ and ‘getting back to their roots’.
  • + 9
 You know what I read? "gwin gets stock".
  • + 1
 Has to be, curious at what percentage and the cash to stock split.
  • + 1
 @dvp8: he's literally going to be riding to survive- for the whole company. It's pretty rad
  • + 9
 And there is Gwin's bike on the left...
  • + 5
 If Ryan is involved it must be worth a look. Why would he put his neck out unless he thought this was going to work. I will also still cheer on Gwinn this season. No matter what team he ends up on? Neko too. Whatever team he is on?
  • + 3
 Ryan Dungey is a great moto racer, but what exactly is his track record as an investor?
  • + 1
 @sino428: We are about to find out but I stand by them.
  • + 3
 @shotouthoods: I hope they do well too. The one intense I owed was a real nice bike and I have nothing against the company. I’d have no problem buying another intense at some point. This press release just didn’t give me a good vibe about the future.
  • + 8
 The dude next to Gordon Ramsay, not my first choice as a cell mate.
  • + 0
 You imaging being forced to do the dirty with him?
  • + 7
 Surely I can’t be the only one who’d be interested in seeing Dungey riding dh
  • + 4
 Whether this will work or not, time will tell (and likely within a year). That said, go big or go home and this seems to be the "Go Big" approach. All chips on the table and let's hope, for the future of Intense, that they hit it big. I love my Intense Primer and am so glad I picked it up over the usual Trek's in this area (Madison, WI).
  • + 9
 Two sets of crazy eyes.
  • + 5
 I'm amazed that , through all of the restructuring , that the frames they make have not lost their muster. A sign if good engineering I guess.
  • + 4
 Or paying Ceasar Rojo
  • + 3
 I appreciate a bike company coming out a being so forthright with why they are investing a ton in Gwin. At least now we know they have a strategy, specific goals to hit, and a willingness to invest on several fronts in order to achieve their goals. It's interesting that the two bikes pictured are their DH bike and their e-bike instead of an enduro or trail bike.
  • + 4
 I will be so happy to see Intense get their sh... act together and have a solid season. I’ve always loved the bikes. Looking forward to seeing them the at the sharp end of the game again.
  • + 8
 Camping is Intents
  • + 4
 So are circus fires.
  • + 1
 @gumbytex And they know there True North
  • + 5
 Is Jeb’s Dad Dick Burleson? Dude was a monster enduro racers in the 70’s and 80’s. He was practically unbeatable.
  • + 2
 I'm finding it very alarming with all the negative posts from this story. I feel that this is amazing news. Intense, a company that's not only been there at the begining of downhill racing. But has also revolutionize what the modern downhill bikes are today. (Remember when all the "major" bike companies put there names on Jeff's Intense frames come race day) We should all be extremely excited about all thats going on at Intense! An American rider on and American race bike. And Gwin with the support from legends in the Motocross industries to back him up. Remember, Gwin's roots are from MX racing. I'm sure Gwin is amped about the future with Intense cycles. I just wish everyone else was excited about this.
  • + 6
 That has to be quite the monthly payroll to meet for a niche bike company.
  • + 4
 I feel like we read a press release like this from Intense once every two years
  • + 5
 Read the article, team drops tomorrow
  • + 2
 The only thing I think about with Intense now is puka shell necklaces and frosted tips. Their brand image is a mess. No more Rasta, no more busy paint jobs, no more Intense 4 Lyfe bro, Time for their brand to grow up.
  • + 4
 3 business restructuations in 4 years ...lol , seems like a solid investment ????????‍♂️
  • + 3
 The key to all of this is not the KTM connection, but mega rich new investor Jeff - who is the money man behind Geico Factory Connection Honda.
  • + 3
 Question about Intense: As a direct-to-consumer online sales company, why are their bikes more expensive than similarly spec'd YT/Commencal/Canyon?
  • + 3
 Because they tried to take a middle ground and still placate retailers.
  • + 2
 That seems foolish. Why would I buy directly from them if I could get LBS support?
  • + 0
 @jayacheess: because you can get the m29 for 5800 eur and enduro-trail bikes for around the same. Top spec YT and Canyon rides are not so far in price and the m29 was designed by Cerro too. If it was me, Intense over any other direct sales any day.
  • + 1
 I'm interested in the rumor that there is another investor... And it seemed odd the other week when I couldn't get a hanger for a customer, yet the customer could get it direct from Intense's International Consumer Distribution warehouse...
  • + 1
 I always loved the way Intense bikes ride but do to the never ending warranty issues and horror stories from friends I doubt I’d ever buy one. Also Intense might want to update their trail bike and enduro lines. It’s been a few years since they have done that. Maybe work on those color schemes or always offer an all black frame. But that’s probably something all manufacturers should do.
  • + 5
 I wonder how much Gwin invested.
  • + 5
 Run for it Dungey! Don't get involved with these kooks.
  • + 1
 Intense' way forward should be pretty clear. With the movement to aluminum, more specifically US made aluminum bikes and their history with the material it should be pretty obvious. Add in DTC and it really becomes a no brainer.

Not saying to stop producing carbon, but US make aluminum bikes would allow much more flexibility to stay on top of trends. Want to push the long geometry trend? No problem. Want to resize the CS length based on the size of the bike? Done! Want to do full custom geometry with custom paint? What is your CC number?

They could continue to produce carbon in the more standard geometries/sizing, but really push the limits with aluminum. Otherwise they are a zombie company, already dead but still walking...
  • + 2
 Bike business brutal gotta do what you gotta do, will be interesting to see what they can pull off this season, but I wonder if part of that mission statement that can’t be seen reads “and add motors to them” haha
  • + 1
 Their ebike is the Tazer. The yellow one in the shot with the new people and investors.
  • + 3
 If you make an ebike I will never buy from you. You factory direct same thing. Good luck Intense. Even getting my favorite racer can't help you.
  • + 1
 Oh Gwin really doesnt look happy on the picture.. but who can blame him. i really hope that intense will survive as long as his contract is running. shame for him that he couldnt find a better brand for his program. and in my eyes a bit of a shitty move on yt's side to inform him so late that they will not continue the program. with a bit more time on hand he surely could have found a better fitting more progressive brand with a future
  • + 6
 hey
  • + 3
 hello
  • + 3
 You dawgs. Sup?
  • + 1
 I would be very interested in intense bikes if they even updated frame colors year to year. It seems like they are looking to expand and progress so hoping for some new bikes. Might be a worthy contender.
  • + 4
 "He said he actually needed the money."

Very astute.
  • + 3
 Look at those crazy liberal eyes some of them have. They look nuts
  • + 2
 What does that even mean??? Liberal eyes, wtf?
  • + 1
 @Otago: them's the eyes that got Arnold Schwartzenegger electricked Governator right therm
  • + 2
 AOC eyes
  • + 3
 I'm sure the Gwin story will come out tomorrow.
  • + 2
 Click on the lead picture and use your arrow keys, Gwin is pictured with the Bike. Its pretty Intense!
  • + 1
 @KenDobson: Wow that was a big f-up
  • + 1
 Whoa, Ryan Dungey investing!? Didn't see that coming. Pretty cool! I guess we'll see if the big announcement actually comes on the Wednesday the 23rd.
  • + 1
 DH is still on the rise, can't say that for MX.
  • + 3
 I wanna see video of Ryan Dungey riding DH.
  • + 1
 No kidding! Want to sell bikes? Put Dungey on one...dude would rip!
  • + 2
 Bring back the Tazer HT DJ and the Uzzi. A new 29er Uzzi would give the Pole Machine/Stamina a run for it's money.
  • + 2
 Tazer re-run would be sick with updated modern geo.
  • + 3
 Kenda tires on "Gwins" Bike. . . . .
  • - 1
 “Steber says that they are on a more conservative path that begins by executing their day to day business more efficiently “

—meaning eliminate brick and mortar channels, and offshore the brand production. Another “American” brand only not really. Long live small framebuilders.
  • + 10
 Who are the small American builders knocking out carbon DH bikes?
  • + 1
 @packfill: yes exactly, that’s the primary reason I don’t ride a DH bike. I’m not trying to foist my values on anyone else, but I’ve got a fleet of hardtails at the moment...
  • + 1
 @packfill: forgot to add, aluminum is still a viable option, I don’t need another carbon frame to break.
  • + 2
 I'm really glad they fired nearly all of their CA employees to free up some money to sign Gwin, great marketing decision.
  • + 1
 What the hell? Ryan Dungey investing in Intense cycles? I mean, I guess it makes sense now how they were able to afford Gwin. But still. What in thee hell?
  • + 1
 I hope they get back up there. Better still, if Gwin does go there. Some hot laps on the bikes and Moto with Dungey for some quality videos is what I'm keen for!
  • + 2
 Gwin is on intense! it shows you in the article! Click the main picture, skip to the right 2 pics, boom, new team revealed!!
  • + 1
 @Willyb911: You're right! Someone at Pinkbike messed up!
  • + 1
 Has no one but me clicked on the pictures... They show the new team!! Click the first picture and then onto the next picture, everything is revealed. Gwin, Neko, Moir! Boom!
  • + 1
 I like the motocross number plate. You have to be a sponsored pro rider to get that.
  • + 4
 ...or shop at jenson
  • + 2
 Gwin’s wikipedia lists him as riding for Intense Factory Racing!
  • + 17
 Give me a minute and it will say he is riding for your mom’s house.
  • + 2
 oh and how sexy is gwins rig... looks dam good with 40s on it
  • + 2
 intense frames and components are still made in the US right?
  • + 1
 When Intense bikes started being sold at discount sporting goods department stores, that's when they lost my money.
  • + 2
 What about Napalm !!? Great news tho
  • + 2
 Those are some large looking brake discs on the m29
  • + 1
 220mm or so. Way of the future with 29" wheels
  • - 1
 Maybe it would be nice if your model names weren’t so violent inspired. Carbine, sniper etc? WTH? They are not loving inspired
  • + 1
 Great to see this partnership. It will be good for intense tup
  • + 1
 Glad Palmer is out of there!
  • + 1
 Just announced on Instagram, Team Intense Moir, Gwin, Mulally!!!
  • + 1
 What is it on the last picture ? An ebike with a heat engine ?
  • + 1
 Ebike on front cover tells you everything.
  • + 1
 'Ol Jeb kickin the Lakais! Who knew he skated?
  • + 2
 Gwinning.
  • + 1
 Lookin like a gwinning team
  • + 1
 Contingency program is cool. Sounds like they've added some good people
  • + 1
 tommorow im guessing they will tell us gwins on the team
  • + 1
 In the past few years this company has been a series of intense mistakes.
  • + 0
 Dungey ? Ok I now have 2 badass m16s to sell soon.... ef that dooshhhh ! Smile )
  • + 1
 chick on the right is hawt.
  • + 1
 Bike in the Left, the bike has all the GWON parts, even the grips too
  • + 1
 Cross Country Back seat ?
  • + 1
 The dude to Dungeys left looks like David Bowie
  • + 1
 looks like Ted Nugent on the Cat Scratch Fever album cover to me
  • - 2
 Intense has lost its original style and important elements. The present frame lacks texture, workmanship and craftsmanship. In my mind, only products before 2014 are real intense
  • + 0
 My red Intense M16 just got a whole lot cooler
  • - 1
 When will Intense just admit that they literally just copy and paste everything Santa Cruz does with frame design smh.
  • + 1
 great.
  • + 0
 The new Intense/KTM team.
  • + 1
 M16.
  • + 0
 where’s aaron?
  • + 1
 Tomorrow.
  • + 3
 @austenselk: He's in the future? Is that why he's so fast?
  • + 1
 @wpplayer18:


Fox suspension
e*Thirteen
Renthal
ODI
TRP Brakes

Gwins sponsors.
  • - 2
 @austenselk: Plus i heard the Atherton's are also joining Intense. A real SuperTeam.
  • - 1
 They must have offered Gwin some big bucks to join the Intense sh!t show.
  • + 3
 Also, let’s hope the new marketing team has better taste in color schemes.
  • + 3
 And better customer service.
  • + 2
 @trailtaco: let's hope the marketing team has nothing to do with product design!
  • - 1
 I see a lot of Gwins in your future
  • - 2
 Okay so when does the "Intense signs Gwin" article drop?
  • + 6
 I believe the article states tomorrow morning the team roster is announced.
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