Pinkbike Fresh Test Product - 2008 Intense SS

May 9, 2008
by Jordan Holmes  
Intense Bikes, based out of Temecula California, had a huge success with the creation of their Socom bike in 2007. Using the reliable and amazing ride of the VPP link, these bikes hit the market like throwing a stone in water.

Well, judging by the design, and overall look of the all new Intense SS, it has the makings to be the next big splash.So what exactly does SS stand for?

SS is an abbreviation for Slopestyle, a genre of riding that utilizes a lower amount of suspension and slacker angles. Slopestyle tracks usually consist of a number of things. Big jumps, gaps, drops, quarter pipes, and tight corners. A few of the better known Slopestyle events could be Whistler's Crankworx festival or the Nissan Qashqai events. Seeing as these events have such a vast amount of obstacles and hidden features, they require a bike that not only can handle this amount of abuse, but be versatile enough to work with the rider during this session.


The Intense SS has a low slung top tube that it makes it easier for you as the rider, to throw tricks and fly over built lines with ease. The Intense SS also has a 1.5" head tube, the reason behind this is fairly straight forward. With a bigger diameter head tube it allows for more contact with the top tube, and down tube making for a stronger junction without the need for gussets. With this added welding contact space the structural strength of the head tube area is greatly increased, as well as giving you the option of running a larger fork, such as a Totem Solo Air, in a 1.5" steer tube. Please note that you can still run a 1 1/8" fork (standard) steerer with a 1.5" head tube, with the use of a reducing headset like those from Cane Creek and FSA. Low stack headsets make for lower front ends and in today's world of Slope Style and park riding more riders are trying to get their front ends lower while maintaining their desired travel lengths in their forks.


The rear drop outs on the Intense SS are replaceable and can be run in either 135x10mm or 135x12mm options. It comes equiped with ISCG mounts, allowing you to run a chain guide with ease. The Slopestyle is also front derailleur compatible, which is a nice thing to not have to worry about if you want to really get out and ride this bike in areas that aren't only gravity fed. They also incorporated a dirt and muck guard on the rear triangle, which guards the lower link of the VPP design from any dirt or water that may damage it.


The decals that the SS comes with are very well laid out and nicely designed too. Intense has moved their main frame logo to the underside of the down tube, which adds a nice clean look through the mid section of the bike and is great for those photo shoots when you are airing over the camera person. They badged the front of the head tube with their Intense Racing logo, and put a nice SS decal on each side of the head tube section, similar to an old style fighter jet. They also placed a clean Intense logo on the top tube, almost right over the shock. On the back of the seat tube there is a very fancy Intense decal, featuring a gnarly looking tree.


All in all the Intense SS is a very clean, and visually appealing bike that I am sure won't let you or us down as a park orientated bike, but I believe it's going to excel in a large variety of riding styles. It has quite a few neat little features that make it unique, and different than other bikes. Utilizing the VPP suspension design, Intense knows that this frame should run problem free and perform to the standard that we all know to expect from Intense Bikes.


Stay tuned to see what comes of the Slopestyle in the near future.

-Pinkbike.com


97 Comments

  • + 20
 we've had 2 Intense SS bikes come through our shop (a grey medium and a raw medium) and both frames were badly welded and finished, especially the long top weld run of the top tube / monocoque and the welding of the rear triange where the bracing struts / mudplate sits - really messy with overuns, bleb holes and inconsistent beads

both owners were not impressed with the quality considering the high selling price here in the UK (around GB£1700) - Intense need to sort out their welding and finishing if they are going to keep their reputation for quality
  • + 0
 I just wrote my comment above and then read yours. Their welding is shady in general and only seems to be getting worse. Good help is hard to find i guess.
  • - 1
 Yeah, get a Banshee/Mythic instead.
  • + 10
 The do but the quality is not as good as they hype about, especially if you take into account the price.... I still ride intense though
  • - 1
 That's so true.
  • - 1
 Why knock the 2nd comment and not the first? I agree, look at the welds. I have an M3 (2nd one actually), I love it, but I also have some common sense.
  • + 0
 lol what do the welds have to do with any of that i can pretty much gearantee you would brake the tubeing before those welds sure he got a little sloppy and made a bead a little bigger does not affect the quality at all
  • + 10
 i was on the m6 the other day, i was lost! i should have been at carlisle!!
  • + 0
 haha great one lesWink
  • + 3
 well i have to say after having briefly ridden both our customers bikes its definitely not a slopestyle bike by any means

its a mid travel freeride bike, marketed to appeal to the "slopestyle trend" and its smart marketing on Intense's part

a previous poster was correct when they said that Intense and Santa Cruz licensed the suspension technology from Outland, who tried to make a VPP bike back in the 90s but did not produce a frame that was burly enough to withstand the stresses and therefore rode poorly

the downsides of the VPP system is the extra weight inherent to all the extra fabrication, links, reinforcement and bracing needed, and the very noticeable pedal feedback as the suspension compresses

when i test rode our customers bike, I manualled across a car park and was very put off by the sensation of a sharp tug on the pedals, which upset my manual - this is not a trait i have even noticed with either "faux-bar" Transition Bottle Rocket or Banshee Wildcards, or "four-bar/horst pivot" Specialized SX or Devinci Frantik bikes

when you buy a "boutique" brand like Intense and are paying top dollar and often waiting months for delivery, you expect A1 premium quality welding and finishing

honestly, i would rather take an SX or Wildcard (made in Taiwan) than either of the 2 Intense SS (made in USA) that came through our shop
  • - 1
 I think you point is very valid, but the isolated cases in which you speak of do not represent the entire range of intense bikes. My local intense dealer has sold 5 of these after i ordered mine, and no ones complaining. theyve also sold 3 socoms and an m6. itense quality screams from my bike. and i wouldnt have it anyother way!
  • + 0
 I fully agree with hampsteadbandit on the negative pedal feedback issue as I previously posted, but I was definately not aware that the technolgy dates back to the early 90's, thanks for the insight...
  • - 1
 obviously I didn't see the frames but they were welded by humans not robots that are solely are used for economy operated by people who probably wonder what the hell a mountain bike is. Intense frames are on the silly expensive side of things but you can always find fault with human welds.
  • + 2
 I recently bought an intense ss and had problems with the frame. The headtube had not been faced properly meaning my headset didn't fit properly either. I had to get my frame sent to Orange cycles workshop as they were one of the only places in the country that had a 1.5 facing tool. This is not what you would expect from a frame that cost £1800. When you buy an intense you are buying it for the quality of the build.
  • + 1
 getting back to the whole welding situation,back less then a year ago the bike shop i work at bought 4 soccoms for our DH race team. Needless to say about half way through the season 3 of the 4 frames got stress lines which turned into cracks and the 4th frame was on its way. I just found it pretty funny. I think Intense shipped them new frames but still after that happening once how excited do you think they were to get back on the same thing?
  • + 1
 "I think you point is very valid, but the isolated cases in which you speak of do not represent the entire range of intense bikes."

that is a true comment, over the years i have seen numerous frames like the Tazer HT, Uzzi, the M1, the Socom and M3 and all were very well finished and represented good value for money, the brand gained it reputation for going the extra distance in terms of quality and finish


"obviously I didn't see the frames but they were welded by humans not robots that are solely are used for economy operated by people who probably wonder what the hell a mountain bike is. Intense frames are on the silly expensive side of things but you can always find fault with human welds."

from what we understand, Intense are actually welded in the USA by 2 welders, not in Taiwan like the majority of bikes - there is no excuse for poor quality welding regardless of where the bike is manufactured, but especially when paying top dollar for a USA made frame from a brand that is reknowned for quality - perhaps the Intense SS is being "rushed" to meet demand?
  • + 1
 as i said befor, 5 were ordered from my dealer as soon as my frame got in (the first of its batch) so yer there in high demand, and i think they only come in like 50 at a time!
  • + 1
 Intense bikes are overrated. I have a 6.6 that flexes so much when I pedal that the tire rubs the inside of the chainstay. This has caused quite a few chain derailments and destroyed derailleurs. The worst part is that Intense refuses to acknowledge a problem and rectify the situation. I would suggest anyone considering an Intense look elsewhere. Other companies actually stand behind their products.
  • + 1
 awesome looking frame! i'm just not convinced by the reliability... i've seen too many broken intense frames over the years...
saying that, intense are one of those brands that all serious mountain bikers aspire to own atleast once (intense, yeti, foes, santa cruz etc.)
i personally can't wait for the production ss bike from yeti... i'm saving up already Wink
  • + 1
 It seems to me to be a starnge review where they comment on how great the bike is going to be... but they obviously haven't even built the frame up yet. I'd much rather read a review that was unbiased and factual. I'm pretty sure that they will be doing another review of this bike once it has been ridden a bit, I will take much more interest in that review. It is a visually appealing frame tho, no doubts about that!
  • + 1
 I have one. All the thing wants to do is jump. Which I guess is fun if you like that kind of thing. Wanna see a pic? Boxxer WC and under 35lbs. Triple front ring. Climbs great too.
  • + 1
 triple front chainring and a setback seatpost? you should've gotten something else more allmountainy
  • + 3
 ooo ooo, i wants one. I dunno why, but it just appeals to me. How much travel's it got though?
  • + 1
 6.5"
ive got one.
its fantastic
  • + 1
 ye the intense rigs i have seen that have come out of the factory in the last 6 months have all been very well made, just for the money you be better off with a stronger and lower weight MDE pusher.
  • + 1
 er...please back this up with a true weight, and as for strength the welding surface areas alone on this frame speak for its strength. stop bumming MDE.
  • + 1
 sounds similar with my socom I got last week. It came through a little erm, under prepped...head tube was very rough and sharp. But wasn't too major. Definitely rides great for the price.
  • + 3
 yes im sure id have my new intense frame sitting on rocks :L
  • + 3
 looks kina like a tbc bottlerocket
  • - 8
flag CJL1 (May 9, 2008 at 4:35) (Below Threshold)
 yep and you're paying twice the price to get a vp suspension that undoubtedly creates negative pedal feedback...
  • + 12
 You're saying that VPP is LESS efficient than single pivot? The technology that Santa Cruz and Intense spent millions on developing is inferior to the free to use single pivot? The technology designed to IMPROVE pedaling performance will make it worse? Think before you open your mouth
  • + 4
 VPP is the shit man. try it out sometime
  • + 9
 To AqueousBeef:

1) I highly doubt Santa Cruz and Intense spent millions of dollars developing VPP...I would be curious to know how much the patent cost them to buy in order to make these bikes, and their R&D costs, but I would wager the cost much lower than in the millions.

2) VPP DOES create negative pedal feedback - VPP efficiency is inherently based on chain tension, and this is fact. It's actually pretty noticable when in lower gear ratios, but not so much in higher gears.

Negative feedback does not mean less efficient by the way

-CJL1 is actually correct.
  • + 1
 Hey ASSbeef AKA "Aqueousbeef" Why don't you try thinking before YOU speak... I believe companies such as Canfield Brothers and Balfa had VPP technology long before Santa Cruz and Intense ever did, so the next time you get the inclination to put someone down for their opinion try reading a little; if you can. And all I was saying is that the SS costs twice as much as BR which is why BR is vastly outselling the SS cuz nobody wants to pay double the money for 1in more travel and a higher maintenance supension system.
  • + 1
 And just so we are clear I have tried both the Nomad and The VP free(but admittedly never an Intense) not that they are bad bikes by any means but I didn't like the feel of the pedals pulling in reverse when the suspension is compressed.
  • - 1
 @Wellsy, thanks for the correction and companies spend a LOT on R&D (engineers, designers, CNC operators, not to mention teams that they have to support in order to test the products), I wouldn't be surprised
@CJL1: AssBeef, really? Is that the best you could come up with? And also, opinion noted, and I withdraw my accusations
  • + 4
 Sorry about the name calling, I admit it was rude and no hard feelins...
  • + 4
 I believe that the VPP patent was sold by Outland bikes for not very much money after trying to make a go of it with their bikes to Santa Cruz. A far cry from millions to develop on SC's part.
  • + 1
 To handsomedan: BINGO!
  • + 2
 Oh Jeez!!! I love intense, Can't wait to try this baby out. be a nice change from my M1
  • + 1
 the only thing stopping me buying that frame is the price!!. sooo sweet tho!
  • + 1
 i like the ss... and: yes! it could also be built as an allmountain bike:
www.pinkbike.com/photo/1961366
  • + 1
 if your tire rubs the chainstay try truing your wheel. your wheels can be flexing if your spokes are tight
  • + 2
 i want that frame so bad!
  • + 1
 umm, nice maybe my next, mission?it s meant to flex,muppets!!check my uzzi you fluzzies!!lol
  • + 1
 this bike is amazing i dont see a single "dodgy" looking weld on there
  • + 1
 How much does the fram cost canadian
  • + 1
 that thing is soooooooooooooooo sick
  • + 1
 My friend has that frame, it is SICK!!!
  • + 1
 dope but the welds could look better..
  • + 1
 deff. the next bike im going to build up when i get the money!!!
  • - 1
 You know that TBC was on track,but as everyone Transition Bottlerocket blows this away! Why you ask.....intense doesent have a lifetime warranty!
  • + 3
 neither does transition...
  • + 1
 Check out the TBC Blindside. Basically a dh version of the bottlerocket and im my opinion much better manufactured than the Intense.
  • - 1
 Transition does offer a lifetime "crash" replacement actually. Which one could view as a lifetime warranty, I mean if the headtube rips off from a bad weld all you would have to do is say you at it on a drop or something... I'm not sure if intense offers something similar or not...
  • + 1
 what colour is that?
And yes i know its blue!
Midnight, Baby or works?
  • + 1
 I have a M5.I feel vpp is great,so i like it!!!
  • + 1
 looks great intense makes great bikes
  • - 4
flag driftmonster (May 9, 2008 at 16:01) (Below Threshold)
 A BETTER BOTTLE ROCKET
  • + 1
 that is sick,never liked intense but this 1 is nice
  • + 1
 wow, impressive welding eh
  • + 1
 hell yeah, they are sick! i rode one the other weekend
  • + 1
 lescart good joke...haha
  • + 1
 Great frame thanks to INTENSE good job :]
  • + 1
 THE DESGIN IS SO CHEESY. HATED IT.
  • + 1
 frame
  • + 1
 that looks immensee!!!
  • + 1
 ok, cool.
  • + 1
 sweet color Smile
  • + 1
 i want one
  • + 1
 Nice ! Pimp
  • + 1
 that is badass i want it
  • + 1
 get a rmb ss 396
  • + 0
 i want that biike
  • - 2
 Their heavy, especially with the totem and the coil dhx 5, I've seen Ironhorse Sunday's lighter than these.
  • + 2
 mine weighs just under 36lbs, with a coil shock and fork. thats lighter than my Bottlerocket...
  • - 2
 it may have a few dodgy welds but you stil wouldnt say no to that beast!
  • + 3
 the price is insane, though, especially in Canada. it better be perfect (welds, everything) for that amount, as there are plenty of options these days for this kind of bike.
  • + 1
 So very true....we don't have to worry about Spec and co.'s four link patent up here so we have lot's of choices for our recently par to U.S. dollar
  • - 2
 Hummm..I don't like...my favorite frame is M6!!!!
  • - 1
 sick it looks so fast
  • + 37
 FUCK I WANT ONE!!!!!
  • + 2
 very nice
  • + 4
 its not supposed to be fast really... its a slopestyle bike
  • - 41
flag dbox123 (May 9, 2008 at 8:41) (Below Threshold)
 ? Why not just buy a vp3 ????
  • + 5
 What the hell is a vp3? you mean a vp FREE? Which is an all mountain/fr/dh bike and too big for slopestyle?
  • + 1
 lol dumbass
  • - 7
flag bighitryda88 (May 9, 2008 at 13:31) (Below Threshold)
 and that bike looks fuckin unreal
  • - 1
 Weight?
  • - 1
 they are stopping making the vp free anyway. i really like this bike. would make a good bit of everything kind of bike.
  • + 1
 no need to get nasty ^^^, i can see where dbox123 sees a similarity between the ss and the vpfree. but man that bike is sexy, escpecially in the blue.
  • + 1
 ginger ninija, they aren't cancelling the vpfree, they are making upgrades on it, some how they aim to make it better ad yes the vpfree is way too long and big for SS
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