Review: Intense Sniper XC Elite

Jul 2, 2018
by David Arthur  



Type “XC bikes are dead” into Google and you get 385,000 results. But if the new Intense Sniper taught me anything, it’s that short travel bikes with proper modern geometry, wide bars, and a dropper post make a complete mockery of this myth. XC bikes are anything but dead when they’re as well designed as the Sniper: they are fast, fun and entertaining.

As befits any new mountain bike these days, the new Sniper has geometry that is long, slack, and low. It’s more progressive than any traditional XC race bike, with a 67.5-degree head tube angle and 470-millimeter reach on the size large, the sort of numbers typically reserved for longer travel trail bikes. And packing a full carbon frame built around 29-inch wheels, 100 millimeters of front and rear travel, and an all-up weight around 23 pounds, and you have the ingredients for a very rapid bike.
Intense Sniper XC Elite Details

• Intended use: XC/trail
• Frame construction: UD carbon frame, carbon/magnesium links
• Travel: 100mm
• Wheel size: 29"
• Rider-forward geometry (67.5º HA, 74º SA, 635mm TT)
• Sizes: :S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 23.04lb (Large tested, without pedals)
• Price: $6499 USD
• More info: intensecycles.com

By moving to a “Rider Direct” sales model last year, Intense Cycles is now able to be more competitive when it comes to pricing. Make no mistake, these aren’t cheap bikes, but with prices starting from $4,499 USD for the Expert build, they’re more attainable than before. There are another three models, including the $6,499 XC Elite model tested here, and topping out with the Factory build at $8,499. Along with the Sniper XC models there’s also the Sniper Trail range, with more suspension travel (120mm at both ends) and a burlier build kit. It’s a model that I suspect will appeal to PB members, and anyone who doesn't race but still enjoys a fast and light trail bike.

bigquotesThe Intense Sniper puts the fun into XC, with the speed and efficiency of a short-travel lightweight mountain bike, yet with the confidence and stability to enjoy the descents without hesitation.




Intense Sniper XC


Construction and Features

Intense Cycles has, in my opinion, done a stellar job in producing a bike that looks fast and light. Looks are wholly subjective of, course, but I’m going out on a limb and saying the Sniper is drop dead gorgeous. Underneath the love-or-hate-it paint job is a carbon fiber frame, swingarm, and linkage, which keep the bike's overall weight low.

The suspension arrangement provides space for a water bottle to be fitted inside the main triangle (an essential provision for XC racers and trail riders). The low-slung top tube provides plenty of stand-over clearance too, which is good for agility in tight turns. The seat tube, however, could be a bit shorter to allow for a longer dropper post than the 125mm model spec'ed on the large-sized test bike. I’m not sure it’ll be a deal breaker for the sort of person buying this bike - lots of XC bikes don’t sell with a dropper post at all.

Intense has also "nailed its colors to the 1x mast," so there’s no fitting a front derailleur to the Sniper. Eliminating the front mech' has benefited the frame's stiffness, with wider-spaced swingarm pivots and a larger diameter down tube and seat tube. Look away now if you despise press-fit bottom brackets - the Sniper has a BB92 setup. I had no problems throughout the test I hasten to add, and for a bike designed for absolute performance over everyday workhorse durability, the choice can be understood even if its lack of threads is not appreciated by everyone.

There’s minimal clearance around the 2.25-inch Maxxis Rekon tires. Thankfully, it wasn’t that muddy during my testing, and what mud I did encounter cleared easily enough. How it would stand up to a full mud-bath treatment is anyone’s guess, but the limited clearance could be an issue when fitting more aggressively treaded tires.

Other details include internal routing for the rear mech, brake and dropper post. There’s also titanium hardware and noise-reducing pads on the chainstay and downtube, which also serve as a protector for the thin carbon pipes. One very neat detail is the concealed lever for the rear axle, which saves getting a tool out and also provides a clean aesthetic.

Intense Sniper XC
Carbon rocker linkage controls the shock.

Intense Sniper XC
The Sniper's tall seat mast limited the dropper stroke to 125mm.
Intense Sniper XC
Magnesium lower linkage of Intense's JS-Tuned suspension system.

Intense Sniper XC
Stealth lever hides inside the rear axle.


Geometry & Sizing

Normally, at this point in an XC race bike review, I’d be telling you how steep and short the bike is, but the Intense Sniper XC borrows a few lessons from the long-travel trail and enduro trend with its longer, lower and slacker numbers. It’s clear the guys at Intense wanted the speed, low weight and efficiency of an XC race bike, but wrapped up with the handling, composure and poise of a modern trail bike

Intense Sniper XC


The 67.5-degree head angle is crazy slack for an XC racer, which traditionally are near 69 to 70 degrees. The 74-degree seat angle makes sense on a bike like this - and then there is the reach, which on this size large is 468mm. The roomier front-end is designed around a 40 to 50mm stem - once again, not the sort of figures normally seen on an XC bike. Chainstays are 439mm across the size range, producing (on this size large) a 1179mm wheelbase. The Sniper Trail with its 120mm fork sees the head angle relax even further to 66.5-degrees.


Suspension Design

Much effort was spent on designing a suspension configuration that would provide the razor-sharp reactions and efficiency required by the pros and speed freaks while eliminating the need for complicated cable operated lockout systems.

As such, the suspension design is simple, a carbon rocker swinging off the top tube and driving the Fox Float shock anchored to the top tube, and a short linkage at the bottom bracket, with ball bearings at all the pivots. The Tuned Suspension System, as Intense calls it, allows the kinematics to be tuned to suit the requirement of this bike, which actually ended up being very close to the Primer 29er. A supple early stroke for small bump sensitivity and traction and a firmer progression on the XC bike compares to the Trail.

Intense Sniper XC
With just 100mm of suspension travel, it needs to work well and Intense's JS-Tuned suspension system does.


Specifications

Specifications
Price $6499
Travel 100mm
Rear Shock Fox Factory DPS
Fork Fox Factory 32 Kashima
Headset Cane Creek AER integrated
Cassette SRAM XG 1295 10-50 tooth
Crankarms SRAM Stylo carbon, 34t
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle 12 speed
Chain SRAM GX Eagle
Shifter Pods SRAM GX Eagle
Handlebar Intense flat 760 carbon
Stem Intense Recon Elite 50mm
Grips Intense Nano foam
Brakes Shimano XT
Wheelset Intense Recon XC Carbon
Hubs DT Swiss 350 Classic
Tires Maxxis 29 x 2.25 Rekon
Seat Fabric Line Elite
Seatpost Kind Shock Carbon Lev Ci, 125mm


Intense Sniper XC





Bike Setup

The Sniper XC Elite is the second highest build spec in the range. Other than setting the suspension pressures, no changes were needed. The standard-issue 50mm stem and 760mm handlebar worked well, and the KS Carbon Lev 125mm dropper was highly appreciated for allowing me to wring the neck of this bike on challenging trails. Really, when was the last time you tried descending with the saddle up your rear?

The lightweight and capable Fox 32 Step-Cast fork was an obvious choice for the Sniper XC, with 100mm travel and a three-position adjustment. I initially set the fork up following Fox’s online guide, which amounted to 73psi for my body weight, which worked well - providing good support while allowing full travel to be achieved on the very big hits.

I set the Fox Float DPS shock with about 25% sag, which gave a good balance of small bump suppleness with enough ramp up for the bigger hits. It’s quite an active shock in the early part of the
Cube Stereo 140 C 68 SLT 29
David Arthur // Technical Editor
Age: 37
Location: gloucestershire, UK
Height: 5'11"
Ape Index: +4"
Weight: 143 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @davidjarthur
stroke but it’s progressive enough that it never feels like it’s wallowing in its travel. Three-way adjustment compression (open, medium and firm) provide useful control, I probably spent 60% in open and the remainder in medium, really only switching for sustained climbs.

Testing took place on my favorite local trails, which consist of flowing singletrack through the woods with lots of steep climbs and tricky descents. To test the full range of the bike's abilities, I also did forays into Wales and the Forest of Dean for bigger all-day rides.


Intense Sniper Review
If you enjoy climbing, you'll revel in the Sniper's speed


Climbing

Oh boy, does this bike climb - REALLY climb - like there’s a small motor tucked away down in the bottom bracket, or you’ve constantly got a tailwind pushing you up the hill. You just find yourself going faster and faster until your legs are spinning fast and your heart is pounding hard. It really encourages you to hit the climbs full gas and give it everything you’ve got.

And why not, when climbing is this much fun. Yeah, I said it, climbing can be fun. Well, it can when the bike is this light. The suspension is supple and active on the smaller stuff, with ample traction in the loose, and it doesn’t bob excessively when you rise out of the saddle to sprint for the summit. I never found the slack head angle resulting in vague or lazy steering when tackling steep hairpin tracks, you can get enough weight over the front wheel and use those wide bars to leverage the Sniper around the tightest turns.

There’s no lockout lever on the shock, but I didn’t miss it at all. The Sniper simply doesn’t need it; the suspension is supportive enough that even in the open mode it just gets on with the task at hand. For longer grinds, it’s no effort to reach down between your legs and flick the Fox Float’s lever into the middle setting for a bit of extra compression damping. The firm mode was rarely used, other than to check it worked - but if you do a bunch of road to get to the trail it might be useful. I really feel Intense has got the suspension tune just right to enable you to benefit from it all the time, and not mask any inadequacies with a lockout lever.

That a light bike climbs is obvious, but it’s the efficiency and stability of the suspension, the rangy top tube, wide bars and short stem, that all combine to make climbing something the Sniper does exceedingly well. I cleared a couple of climbs that I hadn’t managed before and set a few personal records on Strava. What more proof do you want?

Intense Sniper XC

Handling & Agility

XC bikes are normally short and steep to provide maximum agility and responsiveness, but despite its length and slackness, I never felt the Sniper to feel lazy or unresponsive when approaching race speeds. It carves, flicks and changes direction very sharply. Granted, it’s not a pinball, razor sharp bike through the turns, but it’s plenty agile. And at higher speeds, the calmness of the handling is a real benefit, especially towards the end of a long ride when you’re badly fatigued.

The 74-degree seat angle ensures an efficient and comfortable pedalling position for the long grinds, keeping you positioned nicely over the bottom bracket. The wide bars don’t feel too unwieldy on such a light bike and give you so much control when the trail gets technical or you need to change direction quickly. I thought the short stem and wide bar would limit the agility of the bike but there’s no loss of turning speed at all, and there’s no hint of twitchiness when you’re really ragging along. The way it covers ground so quickly and effortlessly is intoxicating.

Intense Sniper Review

Descending

Unless you have the awesome handling skills of Nino Schurter (or any top-level World Cup XC racer you can name), then riding an XC bike normally goes something like this: rocket up the climbs like you’re a VO2 boss, descend like the bike is made from glass. Yeah, XC bikes of old were never what you’d describe as very talented on technical or fast descents.

The Sniper throws all that out of the window. This bike is nothing short of a revelation on the descents. It’s all due to the geometry and the equipment, including the dropper post, which gives this XC race bike trail bike-esque handling when it comes to anything steep and entertaining. Basically, you can enjoy the descents as much as the climbs. I never once felt like I was going to die on the trickiest tracks I took it down.

Suspension: If there is a limiting factor it is that 100mm suspension travel is not a lot, not when you’ve been riding a bunch of longer travel trail and enduro bikes. The Sniper dishes it out with enough support and progression so that you don’t feel too short-changed, but there is nowhere to hide with this little travel. You can’t plow straight through that rock garden and let the suspension sort it all out. You need to pick your line, plan ahead and find the smoothest way through the roots or rocks, float the bike over bigger obstacles.

Chassis: It’s a fully involved ride and you need to be on your A game to get the best out of it. It’s light enough as well that you can easily jump anything jangly, and the front wheel is easy to loft over holes and ruts. Despite its low weight, there’s a pleasing solidness and stiffness to the Sniper that reassures you that it’s not going to get all noodly the moment you show it a jump or drop. Get yourself dialled in with the Sniper and it’s a lightweight hooligan.
Intense Sniper Review

bigquotesI never once felt like I was going to die on the trickiest tracks I took it down.

Components: There’s good frame and rear end stiffness, and the rear suspension has satisfying progressiveness to deal with bigger impacts. It’s the 100mm travel fork that is limiting factor when you’re really hammering, and while my low weight didn’t induce all that much flex in the fork, I did find myself wondering what an extra 20mm would have done to the confidence on the steep stuff. I think a heavier, or non-racing rider is going to find the stiffer and longer travel Fox 34 on the Sniper Trail a better ally on rough courses.

Intense Sniper Review

Trading a lockout lever, a common feature on XC race bikes, for a dropper post was a masterstroke by Intense. The inclusion of the dropper post just increases the size of your smile on the descents. It’s only on the steepest stuff that I wanted a longer dropper than the 125mm-stroke LEV, but due to the tall seat tube, a longer dropper post would have exceeded my maximum saddle height. For most people buying this type of bike, however, 125 millimeters should be more than enough.

Overall: The Sniper is so much more versatile and fun than any XC bike I’ve ridden ever. It could be used for racing as much as for big mountain all-day rides, and short weekend blasts around the local woods. With the wide bar, short stem slack head tube angle and dropper post, it feels like a mini trail bike, so far removed is it from how XC bikes traditionally looked and handled. Slap on a Fox 34 120mm fork and you’ve got an awesome lightweight trail bike that will rip up any trail at warp speed. The simple truth of it is that I had a boatload of fun on the Sniper, and if I had the cash, I’d be adding one to my garage.



Santa Cruz Blur CC X01 Reserve Photo by James Lissimore
Blur 3 CC X01 Reserve
2018 Specialized Epic - First Ride
Specialized Epic

How Does it Compare?

There’s a renaissance in the XC category and the Sniper is one of the bikes leading this new vanguard. World Cup XC courses are getting more technical and demanding, so suspension tech and geometry are trickling down from trail and enduro bikes.

An obvious comparison is the new Santa Cruz Blur XC. Like the Sniper, it’s been redesigned for a new breed of progressive XC racers but it’s still more conservative, with a 69-degree head angle and a lockout lever where I'd want a dropper control. The 460mm reach of the size large is close to the Sniper's, though. Mike Levy summed the Blur XC as, "a bike that will make a cross-country racer smile," and the same sentiment can be applied to the Sniper.

Another obvious comparison is the new Specialized Epic which was overhauled last year with an altogether more modern and progressive geometry. Similarly packing 100mm of suspension travel in a carbon frame, but it’s still not as bold as the Sniper - with a 456mm reach and a 69.5-degree head angle on the size large.

Intense Sniper XC
Intense Sniper XC


Technical Report

Maxxis Rekon tires: Incredibly rapid tires when the conditions are dry and loamy, and with decent traction in the dirt, but care does need to be taken when pushing the limits. The low-profile tread doesn’t cope well with mud either. No issues with the lightweight construction causing punctures, though.

Fabric Line saddle: I’m a big fan of the Fabric Scoop saddles, I just get on well with the shape and padding. This Line has a recessed channel down the middle but I didn’t notice any substantial difference in comfort, it’s still a nice place to sit.

Intense Recon Carbon wheels: Carbon wheels definitely score well on the bling factor, and the stiffness of these wheels is noticeable in how keenly the Sniper responds to your inputs. I wasn’t impressed with the decals peeling off during the test period though.

Intense Flat 760mm bar and Recon Elite 50mm stem: Bar width and stem length do come down to personal preference but I found this setup worked well on the Sniper. The bar has a nice shape that’s comfortable on longer rides, and I didn’t feel the need for a wider bar, it suits the character of the Sniper well.



Pros

+ Fast and light
+ Modern geometry
+ Wider bars and dropper post
Cons

- Long seat tube
- Unless racing, Trail version might be better pick
- Limited tire clearance



Intense Sniper XC


Is There a Spider in Your Future?

Intense’s decision to go with a very modern geometry, long reach and slack head angle, was the right decision for the Sniper XC. The bike is light enough and the suspension efficient enough for demanding XC racers and people who simply love to ride fast all of the time over any terrain, but the geometry opens it up to people who might not race, but still value the speed and efficiency of a well-honed XC bike for just riding trails all-day. If I were buying this bike (speaking as a non-racer) I’d probably opt for the Trail build or upgrade the fork to the stiffer and longer-travel Fox 34. Other than that, there’s nothing I’d change.



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesIf all you want to do is ride fast up and down the trails with maximum efficiency, but still want to enjoy the descents, the Intense Sniper is an astonishingly good bike which injects new life into the XC category. David Arthur







198 Comments

  • + 183
 The complaints about all of these new "short travel but not race bikes" is always the same from the editors... "I wish I had more travel on certain trails, wider bars, and a dropper post". Then buy a trail bike and not an XC bike and stop complaining... Also, everything shorter travel feels like it climbs fast when your base point is a 160mm enduro bike. How did the bike do in the environment and style of riding it was designed for (XC racing)? It seems like the understanding of XC has been lost on this website...
  • + 43
 This article sounded more like Mountain Bike Action than Pinkbike.
  • + 0
 I don't doubt that this bike would be outmatched on some of the not-so-technical courses that make up a good portion of the world cup circuit. But if things do indeed get more technical and start demanding more from riders, I expect this kind of bike will be a contender.
  • + 3
 Yeah 100% agreed
  • + 69
 Well, going out on a limb here, most of the PB staff & viewership is from the longer travel crowd that is primarily focused on (or favoring) descending. The editors and reviewers are going to be viewing the XC bike through that lens. It has far less to do with a lack of understanding of the pure XC community and more to do with how a descent-based website rides and interprets XC bikes.
  • + 38
 When we have horses for courses, there should be jockeys for horses too. We need some skinsuit and vegan reviewers on PB.
  • - 21
flag headshot (Jul 2, 2018 at 2:48) (Below Threshold)
 Sounds like you should be reading Cycling News or Bike Radar for XC bike reviews? This is a trail/enduro/dh gravity focused site. Stop complaining about PB reviews and look elsewhere. It seems an understanding of PB has been lost in this comment section. Jeez.
  • - 9
flag Feideaux (Jul 2, 2018 at 3:15) (Below Threshold)
 Agreed. The reviewer seems apologetic for having to review an XC bike and makes all kinds erroneous assumptions about the readers, some of which I couldn't help but mentally respond to whilst reading...
"You can't just plow through rock gardens." - Yes I can, fkng watch me.
"When was the last time you rode with the saddle up your rear whilst descending?" - The past twenty years...or never, considering it's usually against my sternum.
  • + 14
 There's probably a more XC oriented website that would give you the base point you're looking for...
  • + 2
 @Feideaux: No you cant the same as you would on a 130mm or 160mm trail/enduro bike can you? This review is for people who ride bikes like that and perhaps want something XC that they can still have fun on. I also ride descents with my saddle up sometimes - only because I forgot to use the dropper seat post though.
  • + 4
 @AlexS1 : There are already plenty of vegan users on Pinkbike...and mountain bikers tht use skinsuits on road TTs.
  • + 2
 @AlexS1: where can i apply Smile
  • - 9
flag thejake (Jul 2, 2018 at 7:26) (Below Threshold)
 @AlexS1: please no. I don't give two shits about your diet and complete lack of fashion senus when is comes to mountain biking.
  • + 1
 @thejake: he was referring to the skinsuits Wink
  • + 2
 Don't get your spadex in a bunch.
  • + 9
 Even if they have no interest in racing, many PB readers would be well-suited with two bikes in their stable: A 160mm trail bike and a 100mm XC bike.
  • + 27
 Understanding of XC got lost on this website? Or maybe most people who think they understand XC suck at bike handling and bike setup and simply cannot imagine a ride without being wobbled like a bag of potatoes? That cannot understand that current “established” XC bike geo is crap? Then suddenly and finally comes a breed of bikes and they are affraid this is slower on a trail that could easily be ridden by a gravel bike? Are your Furious Freds worn out? Thunderburts too heavy? Because I tell you for sure, if you were to ride an actual XC WC course you’d appreciate every angle and length on this bike and you’d probably cry for a Down Country bike with more travel on it.

Big props to Intense for this machine, they are coming back!
  • + 1
 NERD!!!!!!
  • + 2
 Exactly, I have 150mm 29er , a rigid SS 29er built like my ode to the Klunker, and a 26er DJ, my rigid SS is the most fun bike on my closest available trails, this is the first XC bike in long time that’s caught my attention completely @Marcencinitas:
  • + 34
 Words from the review:

"I didn’t feel the need for a wider bar"

"the KS Carbon Lev 125mm dropper was highly appreciated"

That said, I think you make a fair point. We probably worry too much about making our reviews relevant to the vocal trail/gravity crowd on Pinkbike, and could stand to put more effort into judging bikes more directly in what they're intended for.

Would you guys prefer we look at XC bikes through the lens of more aggressive trail riders? Or should we change our tactics, start weighing hardware like the German mags, and doing some broscientific timed efficiency testing for XC bikes? David is a hell of an XC rider and can certainly go deeper on that front.

But also, all bikes should have droppers.
  • + 14
 @brianpark: your XC bike reviews are great. Your site has a trail/ gravity profile. If I wanted dorky German or Italian reviews for Lake Garda crowd I'd go to the sex shop. They have better magazines covering tips for advanced masturbation methods. Not sure though which models look like they have something up their butt, dudes from sex magazine or blokes from Trans Alp poster...
  • + 2
 @AlexS1: Pirate. Don't forget kombucha pirate.
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: you really dont like lake garda huh?
  • + 1
 @cuban-b: love the place, love the part of my family living there, hate the cyclists there... calling them Joeys is an insult to Joeys...
  • + 5
 @headshot: I for one race both xc and enduro. I split my time fairly evenly between my two bikes. I find Pinkbike to have some of the best MTB coverage of all the sites and certainly would appreciate the xc bikes being reviewed as such. I think you're being short sighted to assume that all Pinkbike followers only prefer big travel bikes and that style riding. I think we can all agree though that the ebike reviews can stop. Wink
  • + 10
 @brianpark: I wasn't targeting your review specifically. Recently the new Orbea came out, as well a Cannondale, and the reviews all sound pretty much the same. Great climbers, I would change XYZ so it's more fun etc etc. I just happened to write my comment on your article. The new Canyon for example is definitely designed with the goal of winning Marathon Worlds and similar races, not being the most fun short travel ripper. While on paper the Canyon and this Intense are maybe in the same category, the purposes are totally different. The only reason I would look at a Canyon is if I want to win races and it's going to be a bike that normally has a number plate on the bars. The Intense is going to be a super fun bike that can rip after work hot laps, high country rides, and so on all while still being in touch enough that you can race it occasionally.
To make a suggestion instead of simply criticize and complain, like you said, I, and others it seems, would appreciate that these categories be looked at through the lens of the most appropriate use or purpose. While maybe it's too geeky for Pinkbike, having occasional metrics would be cool; and that is something that could be used across the board whether it's a short office DH track for direct comparison between DH bikes, or a local climb for comparing XC bikes etc.
Thanks and we all appreciate the work you all do
  • + 8
 @brianpark: I'm not looking so much for the weight weeny breakdown of the xc bikes but more how they actually handle and perform compared to other xc bikes, not larger travel bikes. Riding style is obviously different between the two disciplines and should not be used to be compared against each other.
  • + 8
 @brianpark: I think that it would be nice to have a XC focused review for XC bikes. I don't mind some of the comments about droppers or wider bars, it reflects the changing nature of XC. It would be nice to dive into a little more of how something handles on technical climbs too. I would apply this litmus test- Would you say the same thing if the table were reversed? i.e. "This downhill bike is great, but I really wish that it had less travel and pedaled like an XC bike." It's the kind of statement that is pretty much useless. I don't mind saying "this bike is capable of stuff beyond XC." Allot of bikes are starting to blur the lines. But if you are looking at a short travel XCis bike, it should be reviewed as though that's going to be how it's ridden. I wouldn't mind some lap times to look at, or things that could be changed to remedy handling problems such as a longer stem for climbing. Anyway, my two cents. Still a very good review. Smile
  • + 2
 @Feideaux: They said the same about the 16 trek fuel ex! I tossed some 2.4 dhf on her and I'm still plowing through rocks on 120mm then taking out my buddiesbont their 160mm back to the top.. These rigs with the right tire rim combo are wayyyy more capable than people think!
  • + 4
 @pancakeflatted: I wear baggies and five ten falcons on my cx bike!
  • - 6
flag WAKIdesigns (Jul 2, 2018 at 11:52) (Below Threshold)
 @texican: current xc bikes handle like shit on climbs so well, this can be just good. Mount wheels from Top Fuel to Fuel EX and you’ll suddenly climb better. Remember the times when XCers were whining on wide bars? Or tyres fatter than 1.95? No pros were running them, and everyone was saying this will never happen? Not to mention disc brakes? Oh well... welcome to the most conservative crowd in MTB where racers know exactly what is fast: like sticking pieces of Virgin Mary’s bath tub to their frames and forks. They damp devils vibrations - magical holy items excavated by Italian teo-archeologists on expedition to Nazareth led by Professor Alotto Vagino. But they will not use dropper posts. Fastest girls do it more and more often but well, men’s field is so optimized. They are ahead
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Ya dude! Still my most fun bike is a 2016 fuel ex 9.9.. With the right tire wheelset combo it is still very forgiving... I think many riders misjudge in their buying as to how much travel they actually need... 90% of the time I'm not going to need 150-60mm.. I'll take the loss and have a more efficient bike for longer days! These lower travel niners with updated geo are awesome in my books!
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: To defend Shurter, he says that he doesnt run a dropper to keep his dh speed in check- when he rides with one he goes too fast and risks tearing the sidewall on his paper-thin tires.
  • + 1
 @brianpark:
Couldn’t care what lense the guy is looking thru. Review is totally fine. It spells out clearly how the interviewer feels about it, gives a decent review of parts package and new geo, and y’all mention reliability when it’s a potential issue. I know from the review it’s not a bike i’d Buy since it’s not what i’m After in an Xc bike, (I want more travel upfront and a more conservative geo), but I also get the vibe I could rent one and have a blast.
  • + 1
 @bohns1: I have the '15 EX. lol. Not as good as yours, but perfectly fine to race enduros. and XC. I'll never sell it Smile
  • + 0
 @bohns1: fuel ex with decent shock tune, race wheelset/ tyre combo, and no upforking will easily suffice for a person who races xc occasionally. For pleasure, fork it up to 140 and put on intermediate tyres. #quadburn Big Grin
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: how can anyone not appreciate a proper Professor Alotto Vagino reference?!
  • + 0
 A billion percent this....please for the love of God get a racer to race a race bike! Seems logical for a review...
  • + 2
 @brianpark:
Fine review. Don’t listen to the negative, half the people here aren’t happy unless they are unhappy about something.

If I was in the XC market, I’d totally be checking this out except the narrow tire issues. Still generally happy with my quiver of my older Scalpel 29 and my Ripmo because I’ve slacked out my Scalpel with offset bushings and the Ripmo just climbs too well to ride the Scalpel much. Besides, I can fit 2.4” tires in the back of my Scalpel, don’t know how I feel about being stuck with narrow tires all the time.
  • + 1
 Enough about you let's talk about you.
  • + 4
 i disagree, this bike appeals to more people than just the leg shaver crowd, i actually want this bike and i ride a Nomad.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I put it on 140pike and dhf! Defenite at #quadburn
  • + 0
 @bohns1: perfect, if XC comp comes along drop the Pike to 100 using the piston from Pike DJ and mount on Ikon front Pace back or XR2 front XR1 back! Boom! #somuchwin
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Ya its still such a versatile rig in that way..
  • + 1
 @Marcencinitas: I'm thinking you've got the right idea. I've got a 100mm XC bike, which is fine for my normal riding... handles all the light stuff, but I'm looking for a 160mm or so enduro/am bike for the bike parks and all the rest of the heavier riding. Sounds about perfect, at least to my way of thinking.
  • + 50
 I bought the same Sniper XC Elite that is reviewed in this post. Put about 300 miles on it so far. I'm definitely an XC and road racer more than an enduro or downhill racer. It's been wet on the east coast this year. I've raced roughly 15 crits, 2 road races, 3 time trials, 3 xc races, one gravel race, and one endurance race (Pisgah 111k) so far this year, but would have rather done more mountain biking...to give an idea of the kind of riding I tend towards...

short review: this is the most fun mountain bike for all around mountain biking I've ever ridden. An enduro bike is more fun for pure downhills, an epic or a hardtail is more fun to rail climbs, but this is more fun all around. It's a good bike for racing, and it felt well placed in the 2 xc races I've used it in. I like this bike so much more than I liked the Epic ( that I sold after buying this). I still ride my singlespeed with a dropper more than anything else (due in large part to lower maintenance costs).

medium review: it flies downhill, especially in gnarlier, rockier, tight-turning east coast descents. It rides normal trails with a bit of up and down well. It does not do well on steep jeep "roads", or super steep loose trails. The suspension is not as firm as the above review makes it sound. I've had to set it up in trail mode, 11 clicks, and for 175lbs, while I weigh 150lbs. About 5-7mm of sag. When I service it I plan to put a volume reducer token in there, and a remote lockout. The 34-tooth chainring has like 0-clearance on the chainstay, and needs a spacer on the drive side, or reduced to 32 tooth.

I've ridden the new blur, but not the yeti SB100. The new blur feels like a normal xc bike in the 90 minutes I rode it. The Sniper is, just different. It doesn't ride like I thought it would (e.g. an enduro bike that climbs), and rides a bit different from anything else I've ridden. Maybe an xc race bike with a bit of enduro-bike, but doesn't really want to grind out a long steep climb. It always wants to go faster and harder.

long review in the mtbr threads.
  • + 0
 how about fire road grinding like any xcm is ought to have would you say does as well as a bike with more conservative geo on a 20/30 km fire road climb?
  • + 5
 @fercho25: more relaxed climbs ( 20% incline) seem fine. There is something that happens with the geometry and suspension that causes more bob - and power loss on "steep jeep roads" that are long 20-30% grades and stays that steep for more than 100-200m (where you are standing and grinding out 400/500watts to go 5km/h). "super steep loose trails" = >40% incline. Above 40% the front end wanders a bit in comparison to a shorter wheelbase bike with a 70-degree head tube, but you would arguably be better getting off and running at that point.
  • + 0
 Thanks for the thoughtful review. When you say the Sniper feels different from the Blur, is that because the Sniper is a more confident descender or because the Blur gives you a better response to the watts you are putting down? Or a bit of both? The Sniper is at the top of my list for my 2019 frame purchase but the Blur and new Epic are close. I tend more toward the enduro and trail category but also ride road rather frequently.
  • - 1
 I really dont see the point if the bike still bobs around when climbing, and it only has 100mm of travel. The weight difference can easily be made up for by rider fitness. So unless we're talking about strava and race performance, you'd be better served on a longer travel bike that climbs just as well, if not better than this bike.

Why buy this bike if you're not a weight weenie? It looks like it's designed to appeal to roadies.

doesn't the slack geo give it the same climbing limitations as any modern enduro bike (e.g. climbs great until the trail gets super steep)? I don't care how slack you make it, 100mm is still 100mm on the descents (e.g. not confidence inspiring unless you've never ridden a mountain bike before, especially an enduro bike).
  • + 1
 I also have an Sniper Elite and agree with most of what you said. The shock really needs a lockout (as all XC-bikes do).
However, I have fitted mine with an 36t oval chainring with room to spare, you could probably fit a 40t round.
  • + 31
 When an issue such as frame clearance with a 2.25 tire is mentioned I wish it would be discussed a bit further. Why buy an aggressive XC bike if you can't fit any of the tires that you'd want to run on it. Most companies are putting a 2.3-2.4 option on even their most race-focused XC tire, it's a huge oversight if they didn't build the frame with enough clearance.
  • + 1
 Agreed. I love the look of this thing but a a more aggressive tread in the UK for winter and you are screwed
  • - 1
 Agreed. Every bike should support up to 2.6" tires.
  • + 2
 @Marcencinitas: 100%. I have been racing xc on 2.6" xr2's this season, and they both roll fast, and offer way more grip that one might expect due to their increased contact patch. The only place they give up ground to larger treaded tires is in really loose conditions.

I would consider running a 2.6 in front with a 2.4 in back, but there is no way I would consider a frame that can only *just* clear a 2.2.
  • + 3
 Cant agree more. Clearance tight on a 2.25 Maxxis? Forget it, not interested.
  • + 5
 I have the trail version. I run 2.6 maxxis recon's front and rear. I9 wheel set: 27mm inner 31mm outer. Just sayin...
  • + 1
 totally agree. This is and XC/Trail bike,why not fit a wide tire like a 2.3-2.4?
  • + 1
 Actually drop bar gravel bikes are bragging about 2.4" tire clearance. So yes, and XC bike that only takes 2.25" seems tight in the read end.
  • + 1
 @bobafter5: Now that is interesting. Is there a different back end to the trail version, or are you just okay with having less clearance than the reviewer is?
  • + 1
 @maximell: Same rear triangle on the Trail and the XC. Not sure why the 2.25" tire clearance was brought up. I've run a 2.35" Ardent Race on the rear with room to spare. There are a couple guys running 2.5 and 2.6" tires on 30mm wheels without issue.
  • + 1
 I'm not sure how much clearance you want, but the trail version comes with a 2.35 Forekastor and there should be room for most 2.4 tires... I don't think I would try a 2.6 in there...

I wonder why I haven't seen much love for the Sniper Trail? To me, it's the closest thing I've ridden to a 29 slalom bike... A really good XC bike for a DH rider...
  • + 2
 One of my customers raced with a 2,6 Nobby Nic on his Sniper. A bit tight, but works. 2,3-2,4 works easily. I´ve sold 20 of these bad boys now.
  • + 1
 @homerjm: It fits easily. Dont know where @pinkbike gets it from...
2,4s no problem
  • + 1
 @maximell: What xc race bike comfortably fits a 2.6 at the back. I cant think of one?
  • + 18
 Not sure if this can be done but I will ask anyway. It would be great if the same reviewer could ride bikes of same catergory and then give us a genuine comparison. I would much rather they rode 3-4 bikes over a period of time and then give us their thoughts, pros, cons and so on. Just my two cents worth.
  • + 3
 Agreed, like Vital's recent long travel 29er head to head comparison or the Bible of Bike annual test. Don't just smash up a bunch of totally isolated reviews by different reviewers.
  • + 2
 or even if the same reviewer rode these bikes over a period of time and came out with review articles one at a time like they currently do, but the last part of the article can be comparing the old bike that they rode. like this article, but it wasnt the same reviewer who rode all bikes. e.g. have mike levy ride the xc bikes, RC do the enduro bikes, and kazimer with the dh bikes.
  • + 7
 We try to do a full "ridden and rated" comparison as soon as possible for most categories to give bikes a proper comparison. We'll do one for the new crop of progressive XC bikes as soon as we get a few more under our belt.
  • + 6
 @cuban-b: That's what we've done. It's not always possible for timing and logistics reasons, but in general Aston does DH, Kaz does Enduro, Levy & Daniel do XC-Trail, and David does XC.
  • + 8
 @cmscheip: Bible of Bike is the most air-fairy reviews every!
  • + 2
 @brianpark: thank you. Looking forward to seeing that and hoping the Yeti SB100 is in that test.
  • + 2
 @cmscheip: that Vital test was an excellent format in my eyes.
  • + 14
 Finally, someone decided to make a true xc bike with proper geometry. I would likely be purchasing this bike for racing next year, if it wasn't for... the tire clearance. I have been running 2.6" Bontrager xr2's this season for racing, and the speed and grip that they offer is amazing. I won't be going back to 2.2" tires, so unfortunately the sniper is out.
  • + 1
 Don´t worry. it fits 2,3-2,4s easily.
  • + 17
 "a bike that will make a cross-country racer smile"
Fake news.
  • + 2
 Sometimes XC racers are the grouchiest bunch ive ever met
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: You would be too if a roadie would review an enduro bike going downhill... on a road.
  • + 17
 the xc crowd is getting real whiny
  • + 8
 Their bibs are too tight and they had to settle for a non-hand Fairtrade espresso this morning.
  • + 12
 Can Pinkbike elaborate more in the comparison department other than the geo numbers? I mean the Blur has VPP also -- how does it compare? Etc..
  • + 10
 Surely the Yeti SB100 is is a prime comparison too. Longer fork, but arguable as 'progressive'.
  • + 6
 Reviewer probably hasn't ridden either so just looked up generic geo & sizing chart....
  • + 1
 @heinous: I agree 100%. I looked at the Sniper, the new Blur, and the SB100 - and chose the later. I'm stoked on my choice and it's fast, even compared to my old bike which was an S-Works Stumpy 29er HT. More capable, more fun, and a shitload less nerve racking on the more technical descents we are getting to race on in Rotorua.
  • + 1
 @Gunnie100: I grew up in Rotorua, still ride there lots - there was definitely a point a couple years ago where my singlespeed hardtail (mostly die to headangle) started to become a hand full. I think I realised it just after launching the nigh line on Boulder Dash.
  • + 1
 @heinous: Way too heavy.
  • + 9
 The Epic and others were designed for XC racing in mind. This was designed as enduro bros’ XC bike or XC racers’ enduro bike. Smile Nothing wrong with it but it’s a stretch to call it an XC bike other than it has similar suspension travel.
  • + 21
 Considering it weighs 23lbs and rocks a fox 32/dps, I reckon that coming from a coil sprung Nomad, this enduro bro would find it more aligned with the Epic than not.
  • + 6
 @SoDiezl350: That's what I'm talking about. For an enduro bro it's like an Epic and for a competitive XC racer, it's a trail bike.
  • + 1
 Bikinbah i agree. This is a trail Nijmegen with a light build. I'm thinking last weeks Oiz was more XC. I don't want to stand anf smash a choppered slack front end.
  • + 2
 Sorry that was suppose to be trail bike.
  • + 9
 What doesn't make it an XC race bike apart from your preconceived ideas of what XC geo should be?
  • + 1
 @bikeinbih: Isn't that what the new yeti is marketed as?
  • + 10
 Climbing is ALWAYS fun! (what the hell, this is mountain biking and mountains are not flat!)
  • + 2
 You speak the truth brother!
  • + 4
 Agreed, as much as I might complain sometimes. Climbing to descend provides a thorough satisfaction, instead of some fleeting fun you didn't actually earn Razz
  • + 1
 @pretzelgirl:
That's exactly what i meant. The full experience, a day in the mountain, climbing and descending through trails. I am well aware that mountain bikes can go everywhere, but the trail seems to me as the top level of fun.. Thus i've created the following list:
-The asphalt road is the (very) dull & boring mean to reach the mountain!
-The dirt road, is the interesting way to reach the area you want into the mountains...
-The wide trail is were the fun begins
and
-the singletrack is your goal. It is the place were you wish to stay & ride for longer (and that includes climbing & descending)
  • + 4
 this is such a dissapointing Review, not hating on David the review is well written, but Pinkbike needs to get on Board a guy who is actually racing XC to win it not as an ocasional passtime. the review just treated as a regular trail bike, but why would I buy this bike if im not racing xc ? so the proper testing should be done either on race courses or preparation for them and let us know the details of that experience.
  • + 4
 Does that apply to all reviewers? A DH bike review must be done by someone racing DH?
  • + 1
 Because the vast majority of people don't race for a living, yet still would like to get a very capable bike..
  • + 6
 Sniper, Blur, SB100 or Spark? Tough to choose... XC is getting more and more interesting
  • + 3
 I'd love to see multiple testers ride this bike along with 3 or 4 others in the same category and put the power meter and stop watches in play. Ride at prescribed power, measure, take observations from test riders (plural!) and give the results. Since many of us looking at these bikes will actually race them, I think this kind of data will help make a more informed purchasing decision. Rest of the PinkBike audience can scoff, but it's very similar to what they do with motocross bikes... and it's a good thing. PS- if you need a test rider, I'm in Switzerland for the next year. Hollar at your boy.
  • + 3
 I think something that always gets overlooked on XC bikes is how important climbing really is. In a race situation if you can't make it to the top of the hill first, especially the start hill, then it really doesn't matter how well your bike descends. If you bike is giving up something on the climb to descend better, but then you get stuck in traffic on the way down it doesn't really even matter. Another thing of note, imo, is that a lot of XC courses are nothing like anything you see on the World Cup. Here in Wisconsin we have a pretty great XC series, but all of our courses are very much old school. Another thing I've noticed here is that the 720mm bars I have fitted on my '16 Fuel Ex barely fit through the tree gaps in a lot of the corners. I've tried wider bars, but I find that I start banging into trees with them. That being said, the trail version of the Sniper seems like it would be the perfect replacement for my Fuel Ex.
  • + 3
 Tire clearance makes this a no-go for me. I am/was excited to see the Sniper Trail review whenever it shows up, but if there's no clearance for 2.4" tires there then it's again, a no-go. I'm guessing they are using the same rear triangle for that bike and if-so, that's too bad. Same issue with the Transition Carbon Smuggler, super cool shorter-travel bike with modern geo but you can't run a 2.4" tire. I don't get it.
  • + 1
 Constraining the rear tire size has got to be for weight, but can it save that much? Would love to know approximate amount that saves.
  • + 2
 it fits 2,4s easily. Do some research and you´ll see. A customer of mine runs it with 2,6 nobby nicks...
  • + 3
 I have a med sniper xc with 170mm dropper on it. I don't know who your mechanic is but I think it's funny when you say you can't use a longer seat post than a 125mm and then there is 4 inches of the dropper that could go into the frame.
  • + 3
 Intense’s old pricing scheme had top tier models at 10k. Now, this Nike has a top tier model at 8.5k using rider direct pricing. Why is it that European companies who use the direct sales model can get top of the line bikes to their customers for less than 6k and an American company cannot?
  • + 3
 It's pretty much just Intense that tries to justify the prices. The bikes still cost the same to mfg, so now that extra money is just going to Intense instead of Intense and the bike shop.
  • + 5
 The Elite model is what I would call "top tier" and comes in at $6500 with carbon wheels, cranks, XO1 eagle derailleur, etc. That's right on point with any other direct to consumer manufacturers pricing.
  • + 1
 @bforwil: actually, you can get the same price at a shop as Intense has on their site, save 150 in shipping, and your LBS can still make some money... We have been selling a lot more Intenses since the rider direct pricing came out... The $4500 Intense is a better build than the $5000 Trek...
  • + 3
 This type of bike is what excites me currently, lovin' my primer and this would certainly be a blast, the whole long low slack thing has gotten out of hand for most of my trails, not all, but most.
  • + 2
 I have to say, I've been riding a Trek Top Fuel with a 120 RS-1 and a dropper all summer and it is a HOOT! I don't ride gnarly trails much anymore, having a light bike that is mostly capable is a game changer, especially on rides that lean toward 4,5 or 6 hours. I for one appreciate the "new school" geometry and suspension on XC bikes.
  • + 2
 GX Eagle and it still came in at 23lbs for a size large. Definitely a lightweight pick for something that seems fairly capable on the descents. I bet a size M (my size) with a lighter drivetrain could be around 22lbs, especially if I went 11spd. As mentioned the tire clearance stinks, but I hope Pivot redesigns the Mach 429SL very similarly to this bike but offers a 74* STA with a 120mm setup and clearance for up to 2.6" and gets it into this weight range. I feel like we're very close to the perfect XC/trail bike being out there but nobody has it 100% yet (for my taste at least).
  • + 3
 Agreed. I feel like we're pretty close, esp with the new Pivot, Transition's SBG stuff, new Blur, and SB100, but if they can get a 120mm bike with 66-67ish head angle and low BB down in weight, it would be the bees knees.
  • + 7
 I liiike
  • + 4
 I waaaaaaant
  • + 9
 "...if I had the cash, I’d be adding one to my garage. ..."
Just what many of us thought...
  • + 2
 Been racing the Sniper at XC and marathon events around CA since February and have since gotten rid of my HT and Epic. The climbing efficiency and traction is incredible and the descending capabilities are next level for a 22lb race bike. Fast descending rarely wins XC or endurance races, but more importantly recovering and not losing time on the descent are paramount, the Sniper allows me to do that.
  • + 1
 HT and Epic? Isn't that a little redundant?
  • + 1
 @mtbikeaddict: not if it’s an Epic FSR
  • + 1
 @Chadimac22: Even if it's FSR, I didn't think there would be that big of a difference between 100mm HT and FS... unless it's not an XC HT, or maybe there is a sizable difference?
  • + 1
 @mtbikeaddict: It was a Pivot LES and Epic FSR both setup full XC. Got tired of getting beaten up on the HT, got the Epic, liked it more then HT then got the sniper and liked it more then both.
  • + 1
 @The-Gons: Makes sense. I'm currently on an XC hardtrail... as much as I love it, sometimes there's no substitute for full suspension. If I didn't plan on riding bigger terrain, this Sniper (maybe the Trail for good measure) would be high on my list.
  • + 5
 I for one love these sorts of bikes. For omaha nebraska trails this bike perfect!
  • + 2
 Norco Revolver FS ????
Put mine to 130mm up front, got 170mm dropper from RF, stock with 50mm stem and 750mm bar.
Almost the same reach
MUCH cheaper
Pretty much the same progressiveness as dscribed for the Intense.
Almost never locks anything unless on gravel roads.
Not has slack, however, but still goes down Bromont fast with a 2.3DHF up front.
These bikes are ruling Canada cup for 3 years and some (lighter) girls ride them for enduro races because they can actually pedal and move this thing and save about 10pounds.
  • + 2
 This bike is really fun to ride. And it’s really fast. When going out before/after work to pedal my brains out this is the bike. Chasing the fast dudes on a ride? This is the bike. For the type of ride where you do 1200 feet of climbing 50 feet at a time it’s a great bike. You don’t stop and hit the jump line or that crazy rock drop. You just hammer they and check your strava at the end of the ride.

It’s not for every ride, but when you want to go fast, it’s the pick. The geo feels very similar to a modern trail bike so you can ride it hard and it doesn’t feel all twitchy.

Cons: it’s expensive and it’s an Intense. At some point it will be on sale on the internet for way less than you paid and always of question of how long it survives in one piece. Wish the Blur had this geo because I would buy that flavor of VPP and carbon construction in a second over this.
  • + 1
 perfect, the cons you pointed are the same for me. As I commmented on the new Canyon Lux article, a Blur with this geometry would be a perfect buy. What about headset with offset angles in the Blur? Could make the geometry very similar to this Intense.
  • + 1
 an Medium blur with a 1.5 degree angleset would be very close to Small Sniper XC, but with slightly longer wheelbase.
  • + 1
 I saw the numbers wrong. In fact, the Small SC Blur with 1.5° angleset would have exactly the same wheelbase of a Small Sniper (1127mm) but with a 1cm shorter Top tube. If use a 110mm travel suspension or make the lower headset bearing external adding 10mm height (see works headsets and they have this option) the ST angle, BB height and Reach would stay about the same. So maybe a SC Blur with 1.5 angleset would be the perfect XC bike.

Edit: damm, the headset on Blur is integrated. and there goes my dream xc bike Frown
  • + 1
 @thelittle: An EC44-ZS55 Angle Headset should work in the Blur
  • + 1
 @Tobi234: Could you fit this same angleset on the sniper?
  • + 4
 Next time, a roadie will review a trail/enduro bike! Stay tuned for more useless reviews.
  • + 1
 I’m between this, the Blur, and the Lux but leaning towards the Sniper. Use will be long rides including 50-100mi races in the west on decently technical terrain. Leaning towards the Sniper because I want to stay upright when I am a zombie after 75 miles of riding. The Lux looks like a good value and I know that they rode it on the Cape Epic, but worried it will take too much mental and physical effort to deal with technical terrain when I am exhausted. Thoughts?
  • + 2
 Don't forget the Spark RC. I love mine.
  • + 2
 Check out Pyga Stage.
  • + 1
 The Spark is a contender too, but pricing is similar to the Blur, ie not as good as Sniper or Lux. Never heard of the Pyga until now. Do they sell to USA?
  • + 1
 I want a review of the Sniper Trail. I don’t race and I’m a heavier rider. The trail version seems like it would serve me perfectly on my local trails but could handle some tougher trails when I get the time to travel. I wonder how the trail version compares to a bike like the Primer as well.
  • + 1
 I remember that back in the 90's, roughly around 680mm handlebars were already the max width for XC racers in order to get a better aerodynamic body positioning.. Now the trend is 760mm. Wow! I just hope the XC race organizers have factored it in designing a course where there are 2 trees in between.
By the way, I don't have broad shoulders like bodybuilders. I only weight 138lbs, 5'7", slim built for sure as a XC racer.
  • + 1
 With clearance that tight, even a 2.1 tire with respectable side knobs is going to pick up gravel and rip through the carbon on the inside of the chainstay. Maybe most people don't have this type of terrain but if you do you know what I'm talking about.
  • + 1
 it wont. it fits 2,4 easily
  • + 1
 I LOVE MY SNIPER! I have the same model as reviewed, but I put a 120mm Fox 34 Kashima non step cast on the front for maximum shredification, while retaining the excellent climbing tune of the 100mm rear. I also put a 2.35 Ikon on the front. With XTR pedals and the bigger fork it weights 24.5lbs! I'm coming off a Scott Spark 930 that I rode for nearly 7000 miles. I believed the the Scott twin-loc remote lock-out was the answer to having a bike that climbed great, and also could descend admirably. I was wrong. This Sniper will out climb my old Spark, and the descending comparison is laughable. The Sniper is in a completely different league going down. Now I go out for XC rides, and stop at the bike park and hit jumps and drops before continuing on my loop, which I'd never do on my Spark.
  • + 1
 this sounds very sales pitchy...
  • + 4
 @Longtravel: I wish I was a paid Intense rider, but I shelled out thousands of my hard earned $$ for the bike. I'm just stoked on the thing! You're welcome to ride it sometime if you'd like, as we're both in Bend. I'm racing Gravicross up at Bachie on Saturday aboard her as well.
  • + 1
 Tried the SB100 today. Didnt find that it flew up the climbs. Good on the downs but not great on the ups. Felt a bit dead to be honest. Too clinical
  • + 2
 I can buy a lifetime supply of guacamole for $6499 but only if my life was 3 days.
  • + 3
 Largest size has 600mm stack, is this a bike for ants?
  • + 2
 An XC bike with decent geometry actual rides better? What a surprise...now if only road bikes tried the same thing...
  • + 2
 Looks good too and without the fugly bendy tubes that most bikes are sporting today. Could replace my Rocky one day.
  • + 2
 Needs MOAR graphics on the frame. It's just so bland looking like that...
  • + 0
 for the price of this bike i can get top of the line canyon lux with the best specs available and have about 600$ change. is intense carbon better than canyon carbon?
  • + 2
 How does the Lux frame-only price compare to the Sniper NM and SL?
  • + 0
 @bikewriter: lux frame-only is not a very good deal. it costs 2499$, 100$ less than the LUX CF SL 6.0 PRO RACE kit. Its a better deal to get the full bike for another 100$ and sell the parts.
  • - 1
 Yep... "customer direct" and they're still charging $6500 for a bike that has GX parts on it (and a bunch of Intense-branded bits too). That's just ridiculous.
  • + 4
 Unfortunately the geo of the Lux is based on road bikes.
  • + 0
 @jclnv: yes that is indeed disappointing. i was really hoping they would make it with a slacker head angle.
  • + 2
 @grimm007: Then go ahead and get a Canyon Lux.
  • + 0
 @TheR: Thats the plan
  • + 1
 Looks like the bike to buy, when your body says "spandex" and your heart says "enduro".
  • + 2
 I hope it comes with spandex too Smile
  • + 1
 Now over to dirtmountainbike.com, they got the latest DH bikes on test
  • + 1
 If you want to use this for racing, how can you mount a chainguide on it?
  • + 2
 Nice review. Thank you
  • + 1
 What shoes are are you wearing? Thanks!
  • + 1
 If i got one of these would my riding buddies start calling me spider man?
  • + 1
 Potentially, but only by coincidence...
  • + 7
 Mary Jane. Seeing as you would be riding spidy
  • + 0
 why have a HOW DOES IT COMPARE and not compare the bikes? o right, because they advertise with you.
  • + 1
 this Sh!t is intense!
  • - 2
 That review was intense. A capable XC that can do all that so well, and called the Sniper? Shots fired. This bike is about to start picking off the competition.
  • + 12
 Ooooh, so close. You tried for the 'pun' comment but you really missed the target.
  • + 1
 @bigtim: Shoot, my aim was off...might as well bite the bullet and admit it... send me below .. threshold.
  • + 2
 @bigtim: Should I mention I don't give a shot? Naw, too close to profanity, sorry. Razz
  • - 1
 Jesus fucking Christ - we get it you use a goddamn water bottle.
  • - 2
 Lower link on Santa Cruz and Intense are constantly sprayed by dirts and rocks? Awful design, for otherwise great bikes.
  • + 0
 Looks flexy!
  • - 3
 Pressfit BB.... Yikes!

And yeah, why no comparison with the SB100..?
  • + 1
 why pressfit's are still a thing is beyond me.
  • - 2
 Too heavy.
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