Today it's Intense's turn to announce its 2022 downhill program and it has bolstered its team's ranks with Dakotah Norton and Joe Breeden.
Although Neko Mulally has moved on from the team to start creating his own bikes
, Dakotah Norton ensures that the team's USDH presence remains strong. Dakotah is the reigning US Champion and a regular on the top step of the podium at the US ProGRT and Downhill South East series. He is also familiar with the World Cup top 10. In the 2021 season he raced his way to three top-ten finishes, narrowly missing out on a podium position in Snowshoe.
|Intense has been winning races before I learned how to ride, so to be joining the Intense family this season is really exciting for me. They’re a brand that’s not afraid to step out of the mold as a racing program to put performance first. The entire program and everyone surrounding it has such a winning history so I’m keen to put myself in a fresh environment and see what we can achieve together. I have immense respect for Aaron, and everything he’s told me prior to signing about the new plans they have for this year has me confident that I can perform at the highest level on an Intense.—Dakotah Norton|
Joe Breeden has ridden for Intense in the past on the Saddleback supported UK team and qualified first in Val di Sole on one of its frames
. He makes the move over from the UR team where he picked up a 10th in Lousa 2020, another 10th in Les Gets 2021 and a win at the Psychosis downhill race.
|Ever since I started riding for Intense Racing UK when I was 17 it has been my dream to one day ride for the Factory team. Five years later and here we are... and I couldn’t be more stoked. I’m super excited for the future working with everyone to see what we can all achieve together.—Joe Breeden|
|I'm really happy with how our program is shaping up for the future. We've got some awesome talent onboard and I'm looking forward to working together to accomplish all the goals we're hoping to achieve. The team and I have put in a lot of hard work this off-season and I believe we've been able to make the gains necessary to put ourselves in a winning position. I can't wait for the race season to get started.—Aaron Gwin|
The rest of the team remains unchanged with Aaron Gwin at the helm and Seth Sherlock continuing his partnership with Intense that he has had since he was 13. The team will continue to develop the M279 bike with "new changes and special tweaks" expected for 2022. Seth and Joe will also race at select EWS events on the Tracer.
|It’s going to be a great year for the team. With the addition of Dakotah and Joe, as well as a new downhill bike, Lourdes World Cup can’t come soon enough. Both Dakotah and Joe have had some great results the past couple of years, and for Aaron and Seth, the new downhill bike will surely elevate their performances. Intense, and our supporting sponsors, have provided us with a level of support that will showcase us at our best.—Todd Schumlick, IFR Team Manager|
|IFR 2022, this is a dream team program that Aaron and Intense have assembled with focus on the podium and product development at the highest level. I am very excited to continue to work with Aaron and Seth and new opportunities with Dak and Joe. John Hall also assumes a new role as not only AG’s mechanic but also Product Technical Director to coordinate between Race team and product R&D. We now have not only an aggressive rider range but also a support program to help develop the next generation World Cup level DH bike.—Jeff Steber, Intense Founder|
-The tires are huge. Kenda is without a doubt behind Maxxis and most other brands. Gwin has said it himself in various podcasts. He's been pushing them the entire time to improve the tires.
-Dak likely didn't have much of a choice as it sounds like the YT team folded after most contracts (or all?) were done for 2022 season. He wanted to continue racing world cups and this was an option. I highly doubt it was #1 on his list.
-Kenda should have some of the new tires ready for this season and the new Intense frame may finally be out. Gwin also mentioned his disappointment with how slow it's been to get new frames/designs in the Vital podcast.
-Jack did well on an intense frame, not when they switched to the Kenda tires and other components. He also noted in podcasts that he struggled with the component package.
-Not knocking Kenda tires for 99.9% of the population. But at this level, these guys are fighting for seconds and need the absolute best/full confidence in their tires and a multiple tread variation options.
@OCSunDevil : Kenda has to sell these tires it develops so they don't want to make exact copies. They (like any brand) want to save face and come up with their own stuff. That said, the issue seems to be more with casings and compounds. There is a video of Gwin testing compounds and casings to try to get the tires to perform better. I don't think he had them on his bike last season until the end and he was recovering from injury, etc. Casings and compounds are very hard to develop and take a lot of R&D. Copying tread patterns is the easy part. Also, regarding tread patterns... Kenda is definitely off the back there. For most of the first season they were just running Hellkats which aren't full on DHR/DHF style tires. Then they got the Pinner, which was/is a good tire, but has a hard compound (60 durometer) so not good in the wet, etc. They are currently still developing the Assegai copy (there are photos of it). Gwin has been on it since last summer. It's really a mess, but they are kicking in a lot of money for the team and Gwin likely also gets royalties for the sale of the Pinner. So I understand his motivation to keep the relationship going as it's making him a solid paycheck. And I'm not hating on that. Got to make money while you can. I just think it's sad because it's definitely had some level of effect on his performance the past few seasons.
But it does seem Kenda aren’t great.
Gwin will never do anything again. He is too old, he’s got married and he’s lost the hunger.
Neko’s best years were on Scott. That was when he arrived on the world stage and was a consistent podium threat. Again, his best years are behind him. He’s got other priorities like running bike parks and making bikes. He’s a smart guy, diversifying.
In order to win, one needs to be savage on a bike. One also needs a razor sharp focus on winning and winning alone. No distractions, no jobs on the side and no high maintenance lady friend.
Dakota has the best chance to kick some ass on that bike if anyone since big boy Jack.
Head in the game, body in the game. Tyres make more difference than the frame. Gears and wheels literally do not make any difference at all.
I reckon Dakota will win a World Cup race this year.
Did you work at BKT??? LOL, I only ask because my kids are obsessed with monster trucks and I never heard of them until we started watching it.
Having confidence in the product you are running is a big part of the mental game when racing for fractions of seconds. Even if you have perceived idea of the tires not being as good as they could, it will wreck your mental game. I would imagine Dak will put the tires are gear through the wringer and hopefully gain and maintenance confidence in his gear.
If not 6 packs of sharpies are pretty cheap.
In his interview with Levy he talked about having too many side gigs besides racing.
1. Americans don’t say c*nt, c*nt.
2. If he was going to win again he would have done it by now. Speaking from experience of being married to an actual woman, I know all too well how they drain time and energy. I presume from your answer that you are not married. I love being married. Absolutely love it about 20% of the time. I wish my sheila would let me train more and stop nagging at me about driving too fast and shit. That’s what women do. It slows you down. Fact.
Gwin is perhaps the best to ever do it. He obviously has the skills and the physiology needed. What he doesn’t have is something mental that he used to have. Could he get it back? Probably. Will he get it back? Probably not. You could put him on the commencal and he still won’t win. It’s not about the bike.
Gwin very well may never win another race but I highly doubt it has anything to do mentally. Riders get older and loose pace, basic biological facts. Minnar's just a freak, and an exception to the rule.
A wife doesn’t have to slow you down. My wife rides more than I do. On an xc bike she can give many guys a run for their money. We are doing our best to pass our cycling addiction on to our kid. So far seems to be working.
But using a mrs as an excuse is not a good one. I believe peaty was married and had a few kids for a good bit of his dh career. I have a photo somewhere of Mik Hannah on the podium with his kids, and this was in 2008 or 09.
It seems like almost nobody gets along well with this bike, this is the millionth time we've heard about "new changes and special tweaks", and further still the frame is still vaporware after nearly 3 years of "changes and tweaks".
I wish him the best of luck and hope he takes this bike to the podium, because he's pretty much the only one who can.
Q: The world is ending in 20 min and you have only two options to travel to see your significant other. Either your current race bike with Kenda tires down the gnarliest downhill or one of those reverse steering bikes down a crowded road. Which would you choose?
Jacks answer: Bruh both of these dangerous AF haha
But the 2015-16 frame with the counter-rotating lower link not so much. It’s more of a long-legged xc bike because that’s what the tracer was until updated in 2017-2018.
I’d hate to see Dak’s momentum from last season stopped in its tracks due to sub par equipment.
That being said - Gwin really has his teeth sunk into the program and out of respect I think all of us fans need to give it another year or two.
No question it’s been a bit ugly for Intense but I for one just hope we can see the bikes and the riders get fully back the game. Add some more spice to the circuit!
While we cannot be sure Intense is the best option for DAK, On the flip side DAK was a great choice for Intense.
Kudos to Intense for picking up the Ripper, good luck DAK
Well done to joe and dak and for ifr strengthening it’s team. Good luck for the season…
Uzzi tryin' to kid?
Good luck to Dak tho, he's such a cool and fast rider!
Gonna be on 36" wheels by the time it is..