Review: Intense's M29 is a DH Racing Thoroughbred

Jan 14, 2019
by Paul Aston  



Intense has been competing at the sharp end of the downhill World Cup since before many of Pinkbike's readers were born, with the legendary M1 regularly visiting the podium. In fact, back in the day, many other manufacturers simply rebadged Intense frames with their own team logos. Nowadays, Intense Factory Racing and Cero Design (the studio behind Unno Bikes) have been heavily involved with the development of the M29, and were testing alloy mules during the 2017 season.

In 2019, the M29 will be available as a complete bike in the 'Elite' build and also as a frame and shock. Initially, a race team replica going by the name FRO (For Racing Only) was released, but the 15 bikes sold out almost immediately despite the $10,000 price tag. The Elite build reviewed here costs $5,999 USD and is ready to be put to test against the clock straight away. The frameset is also available for $2,499 including a RockShox Super Deluxe coil shock.




Intense M29 Details

Intended use: downhill
Travel: 208mm rear / 200mm front
Wheel size: 29"
Frame construction: carbon
Fork: Rockshox Boxxer World Cup
Shock: Super Deluxe World Cup Coil
Sizes: M, L, XL (tested)
Weight: 16.77kg / 37lb (XL, tubeless, w/o pedals, actual)
Price: $5,999 USD Elite build
intense.com


bigquotesHeading through a slippery rock garden it handles amazingly, landing sideways it soaks up the landing and puts you back on track - this is a unique trait and feel that I have not found on any other downhill bike. Paul Aston




Contents




Construction and Features

Intense M29 Review

Intense M29 Review
The stout linkage ties the front and back of the bike together.
Intense M29 Review
There's even a mudguard to keep everything clean, which should help extend the bearings' lifespan.

The M29 shows clear signs that it was born from Intense and Cero lineage. The suspension system is now called the 'JS Tuned' after Intense's owner, Jeff Steber – old timers will remember the previous 'VPP' patent, which is now expired, that was used in partnership between Intense and Santa Cruz (acquired from Outland). The 'JS Tuned' system still uses links that rotate counter to each other, but the lower link now uses the bottom bracket shell as its pivoting point to drive the shock from.

Cero shows its genes with clean lines, the slender top tubes, and the precise carbon packaging that nestles most of the shock and linkage out of sight. The frame is carbon throughout, excluding the lower link, and has many neat features like the collet-locking pivot points and rear axle, integrated mudguard, chainstay protectors and a seat clamp that follows the form of the frame. One of my favorite features of the frame is the caliper that bolts directly into post-mount threads for 203mm rotors; there's no need for faffing with adaptors.


Intense M29 Review
The rubber down tube protector stretches halfway up and provides much-needed protection for the carbon frame.
Intense M29 Review
Internal cable routing and the rubber chainstay protector.



Geometry & Sizing


Geometry, on the whole, has calmed in the downhill sector, and gone are the days of wild differences between bikes and model years. The M29 is only available with big wheels, and in larger sizes, so its numbers are all the longer side of this spectrum. The fixed points include a 63.5º head angle, 456mm chainstay length, -30.5mm bottom bracket drop and a 459mm seat tube.

Reach numbers start at 435mm for a medium size, 450mm for large, and 480mm for the XL. The headtube measures 90mm on medium and large sizes, and slightly bigger at 115mm on the XL. I tested the XL size which has a wheelbase that nearly breaks the 1300mm mark.


Suspension Design

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The M29's axle path has a few millimeters of rearward travel to start with, but overall it has 20mm of forwards travel. The anti-rise figure is between 105% and 70% in the most used part of the travel, this should help to preserve the chassis geometry under braking.

The anti-squat number is around 100% at sag, so promised very good pedaling efficiency on smooth terrain then drops off to nothing at full compression - this should reduce pedal kickback at the same time as a big bottom-out type impact for a more controlled compression. The M29 also has a very progressive leverage ratio, probably the highest of any downhill bike on test his year - this gives the incredibly supple initial portion of travel and gives plenty of support and response to the rider

Intense M29 Leverage Ratio
Leverage Ratio

Intense M29 Anti-Rise
Anti-Rise

Intense M29 Anti-Squat
Anti-Squat


Build


Intense M29 Review
Shimano XT 4-piston calipers with 203mm rotors.

Intense M29 Review
A full E13 LG1+ chain guide and Truvativ Descendant crankset take care of chain retention.
Intense M29 Review
The Fabric Radius Elite saddle fits in well with the color scheme.

Intense M29 Review
Rockshox Boxxer fork, Renthal Integra 45mm stem, and an 800mm wide Intense aluminum bar.

Unfortunately, I missed the boat on the $10,000 dollar FRO model, which was signed by Steber, delivered with carbon everything and even a World Cup mechanic and a film crew for your maiden voyage on your new bike. I "settled" for the peasant-grade 'Elite' model.

Costing $5,999, the Elite bike is still built to take on anything and has the same BoXXer World Cup matched with a Super Deluxe World Cup suspension as the FRO. The cheaper price comes from the alloy components, including the DT-Swiss FR 1950 wheelset, Descendant cranks, XO1 DH drivetrain, and Intense's own-branded 800mm wide handlebar attached to a Renthal 45mm Integra stem. Shimano's latest XT 4-piston brakes handle stopping duties and Maxxis Minion DHR/DHF tires provide the grip.



Specifications
Specifications
Price $5999
Travel 200mm
Rear Shock Rock Shox Super Deluxe Coil, 250x70mm
Fork Rock Shox Boxxer World Cup 29”, 200mm
Headset Cane Creek 40 Series
Cassette SRAM XG-795 10-24, 7 speed
Crankarms Truvativ Descendant 165mm, 36T
Chainguide E13 LG1+
Bottom Bracket SRAM GXP 83mm
Chain PC1110, 11 speed
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 DH, 7 speed
Shifter Pods SRAM GX 7-speed Trigger
Handlebar Intense Alloy 31.8 mm x 800mm
Stem Renthal INTEGRA 31.8MM. 45mm
Grips Intense Dual Lock On
Brakes Shimano XT 4 piston
Wheelset DT Swiss FR 1950
Hubs DT Swiss 240 32 Hole
Spokes DT Competition
Rim DT Swiss FR 1950
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF and DHR2
Seat Fabric Radius Elite
Seatpost Intense Alloy Straight




Intense M29 Review









Test Bike Setup

Setting up the Rockshox suspension is a breeze compared to Fox's latest dampers with adjustable everything. Setting the shock was simple and the 450lb spring supplied was ideal for my weight, I started with all the LSC open and the rebound set at -7. The fork was set with no tokens and 135psi, HSC open, LSC +2 and -7 reb clicks of rebound.

The front end was set the same height as the rest of the fleet, and the handlebars measured 1095mm from the floor - which meant running the fork at full extension and finding a stem spacer to raise the bar. Tire pressures were 24/26psi and the bike was ready to shred. Testing took place on a variety of tracks, from Finale Ligure, Verbier, and to some of Piemonte's best kept secret bike parks.

Paul Aston
Paul Aston
Location: Finale Ligure, Italy
Age: 32
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 75kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @astonator


Intense M29 Review

Riding

It may have a World Cup DH pedigree, but the M29 is really easy to get to grips with . Thanks to the really progressive nature of the linkage and excellent small bump compliance, chattery sections of trail where it can feel like you're losing speed are melted away underneath the M29, and tempo increases naturally. The bike accelerates really well under power, and barely bobs at all.

The suspension offers tons of support in the mid-stroke, which makes the bike incredibly responsive and maintains the ride height well without getting bogged down in the travel. This also lets the bike pop in and out of corners quickly and easily, as well as generating plenty of speed when pumping. Even though the progression of the bike reduces slightly through the travel, it still took on the big hits without issue, and I can't recall feeling a bottom out. This also makes the bike pop really high off jumps; if you are used to something much less progressive this can take you by surprise on the first few jumps.

Of course, being a super long and slack downhill bike, the M29 hauls around corners. It doesn't quite have the stability and achievable lean angle of the huge Banshee Legend, but is much more responsive and changes direction more easily. I also really like this bike under braking; the initial suppleness of the rear suspension means it sits easily into the sag point. The positive amount of anti-rise helps this, meaning that the geometry of the bike is preserved more under braking, and there is a reason why these bikes are designed to be long, low, and slack. The counter-argument to this is that the suspension is not as free to react to bumps, but I have found time after time that preserving the geometry under braking helps me to brake harder and with more control before locking the rear wheel. Part of this could be put down to me being a taller rider with a higher center of gravity, meaning more forwards weight shift under braking, so I need more help from the bike to stay centered.

Intense M29 Review

What else does the Intense do well? Not dieting, that is for sure. Weighing in at 36.8 lb (16.7 kg) for the carbon framed sled, it is no lightweight, but for me, this strikes a good balance between stability and maneuverability. Again, this is bike dependent, and where the weight sits across the entire package is a factor, but for me, towards 33 lb (15kg) downhill bikes generally start to feel more sketchy, and over 39 lb (17.7 kg) a bit porky.

Standout feature? The carbon layup. The M29 looks like a chunky-tubed, super stiff race machine, but it isn't. Finding the right adjective is tough, but 'soft' is the best I can think of, although it's definitely not flexy. It's hard to describe how a frame feels, but it always tracks when you want it to and pushes back when you need support. Heading through a slippery rock garden it handles amazingly, landing sideways it soaks up the landing and puts you back on track - this is a unique trait and feel that I have not found on any other downhill bike.





Intense M29 Review
Intense M29
Commencal Supreme DH 29 Review
Commencal Supreme DH 29


How does it compare?

Compared to the high-pivot point and idler setup of the Norco Aurum HSP, the Intense doesn't have the pure straight-line ease of the Canadian DH machine. But what it lacks here is made up by better sizing for the XL rider, a more compliant and damped ride, as well as being more responsive and playful. Is it better than the Commencal Supreme DH29 bike? That's a tough call - both are standout performers, and it'll require some additional head-to-head testing to come up with a final verdict.


Intense M29 Review
Technical Report

Packaging: The M29's striking silhouette doesn't come without a price. The shock being nestled super low in the frame, and all the linkage being packed between the split seat tube means tolerances are tight. You can't reach the rebound adjuster on the shock without taking the wheel and mudguard off, and the same to remove the lower shock bolt and nut; the nut is not captive and hidden on the driveside behind the chainring. There is also a tough-to-reach cable routing guide hidden down there too, which also requires shock removal to access. There was also a dull rattle that I could never locate, which I can only put down to the internal cable routing.

Despite the mudguard that kept most of the crap out of the linkage, there was still some build up here. The proximity of moving parts next to the seat tube is a recipe for scratches, scrapes and possibly worse. For downhill racers washing their bikes every few runs, this should not cause a problem, but if you are a weekend warrior doing 15 runs down a Welsh bog in December without a rinse, don't be surprised if you have lost some of that Rosso Red finish when you wash the bike down.

Shimano XT Brakes: Another great brake option with tons of power and that classic Shimano lever feel. Both brakes were making rattling noises on the first ride, this easily fixed by removing the springs from between the pads, stretching them open and re-installing it. Solved.

DT-Swiss FR1950 Wheelset: I have had DT's FR1950 wheelset on many bikes this year, and not a single one has missed a beat. The worst I have had are mild dings to the rim, the type that doesn't even start to hassle the tubeless seal. No snapped spokes, no spokes coming loose (thanks to the ProLock nipples), no buckles more than a few millimeters. I'm starting to think they are 'unbreakable' but saying that will surely jinx me – d'oh!


Intense M29 Review


Pros

+ Fantastic silhouette and heritage
+ Superb bump compliance and traction
+ Lively and confidence inspiring

Cons

- Low-spec components for the price tag
- Some slightly frustrating maintenance access issues
- Only available in 29" and bigger sizes



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesThe M29 is a racing thoroughbred and needs to be treated like one with care and attention in the pits, but will go full-gas when let loose on the race track. A big rig that gives an easy ride in the worst scenarios, while still being lively and nimble. It's a stunning, truly remarkable bike that looks at you and calls your name to head to the hills.  Paul Aston








303 Comments

  • + 163
 So this is Aaron Gwins new bike?
  • + 82
 He's been seen riding around Crestline(on the way to Big Bear) on an Intense..
I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this 'review' was timed for an announcement from Intense/AG
  • + 10
 @YoKev: The teams lists have to be registered by Friday I think.
  • + 10
 @YoKev:
Shhhhhhhh.
  • + 52
 Actually this one is Nekko's. Arron gets a fresh M29.
  • + 7
 @jaame: You are right but the list does not become public immediately, last year this happened in early February...
  • - 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 14, 2019 at 2:09) (Below Threshold)
 All that people following him on insta know is that he is doing laps on an e-bike... let’s do... PITCHFORKS AND LANTERNS!!!
  • - 9
flag Monkeyass (Jan 14, 2019 at 2:55) (Below Threshold)
 seems like a Gwinning bike
  • + 11
 @WAKIdesigns: But if he was on a moto it would be all cool?
  • - 27
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 14, 2019 at 3:37) (Below Threshold)
 @Boardlife69: The frog is boiled isn't it?! (!!!)
  • + 27
 When did it become a con to be only offered in 29er wheel size?
  • + 10
 Why are the last three posts questions?
And what the hell was in those envelopes at the Bush funeral?
  • + 3
 @YoKev: Its perfectly timed. Got to pay his outrageous salary.
And then half way thru the season he starts riding a 27.5-29 combo to drive up even more sales
  • + 9
 the mullet bike would be better option for him as hes not tall n linky enough that back wheel wont hit him on arse and buck him off like it did wit Danny..
  • - 29
flag chriskneeland (Jan 14, 2019 at 6:47) (Below Threshold)
 @rivercitycycles: Because wagon wheels ride like trash unless they're pointed in a straight line.
  • - 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 14, 2019 at 6:58) (Below Threshold)
 @chriskneeland: yeah right Newton!
  • + 4
 All I know is that Gwin finally has his long chainstays
  • + 10
 @rivercitycycles: the same day it became a con to only offer 27.5. I don't get it either.
  • - 10
flag leviatanouroboro (Jan 14, 2019 at 7:25) (Below Threshold)
 @rivercitycycles: pinkbike is like fox news my friend. Trying to control bias for individuals.
  • + 13
 @leviatanouroboro: yeah, and Joeys are Joeys no matter what bike they are on. If you cannot corner a 29er, trust me you suck at cornering a 26er. You do.
  • + 18
 @WAKIdesigns: Waki, we're talking about why a large publication is covering this story about a well regarded and established company only offering 29" wheels on their new DH offering. They are covering the story exclusively and considering it a con in their review.

I'm poking fun at the current state of things in bike standards and the power of mass media.

Quit huffing the glue. If you think 29" wheels are just as easy to corner as 27'5 or 26. Cool.
  • + 3
 @rivercitycycles: When you want a size small frame
  • + 6
 @rivercitycycles: I won't say it a "con" either. But for a shorter guy like myself (5'8"), I think I'd buy a new M16 before a Medium sized M29. But I've never ridden a M29 and it might actually be amazing for my height.
But it also doesn't help me when every test/review of the M29 is piloted by someone 6'+ in height.
  • + 14
 @rivercitycycles: Not really a con to the bike I think, just a con because there are quite a few riders who prefer riding 27.5. Choice is always a positive, lack of choice a negative.
  • + 9
 @WAKIdesigns: @chriskneeland: well not trash but they are not as quick to turn in. And @wakidesigns: I take a professional winning racer's experience over yours. TMO said it clearly, that yes 29ers are harder in tight corners but so much faster and smoother on the straights. You haven't this experience and stop being so insulting to people who know better and put you in your place. Humble pie and stop drinking please.
  • + 1
 @rivercitycycles: for real, being a taller guy myself that’s honestly one of the biggest things I look for in a mtb (outside of dirtjumpers)
  • - 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 14, 2019 at 10:33) (Below Threshold)
 @Keit: Maybe you can ask Greg Minnaar or Danny Hart or Amaury Pierron or You could at least mention Loic, but no, Tracey, so gender equality of you. Then, you own a super long Starling and will discuss turning radius of a 29er... not to mention that you want to fire up a wheelsize argument.
  • + 1
 Naa, Aaron Gwin is probably going with Trek. He's the 3rd guy in the pictures. If you look closely at the Grips on the Session, they are without a question, Aaron Gwin's Signature ODI grips.
  • + 1
 @vanillarice19: the sessions have also been floating around someone else's training camp...but who knows
  • + 6
 @WAKIdesigns: no waki no wheelsize argument. Horses for courses. Greg and Tracey are the the only ones in the names listed here that have sufficient experience at the top and have gone through generations of mtb technology. TMO is a better statement as she is not a tall rider and yet gets on very successfully with the big wheels. And yes I have a very long Starling because I am 1.89m tall. I'll race against you on that bike (27.5) and you can take a DH29.....sorry my mistake you are a keyboard rider only. Albeit I put the challenge out there again. Lets race this summer and if you loose you can never write your offensive tripe again! But on a mans track please in the Alps. Deal?
  • + 1
 I’d be happy to see him rock a mullet with or without wheels @bat-fastard:
  • + 1
 YEEEEEAAAAAAHHHH!
  • - 6
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 14, 2019 at 14:01) (Below Threshold)
 @Keit: I must say I learned something from our conversations. Our communication is like trying to fit Huaweii battery into Samsung on one side and Apple on another. I think abou i it a lot lately when being in my work environment. How come there are situations when most people hust get along, then two people are dying to work with each other, then some like a person but that person doesn’t like them and some want to kill each other after the first project meeting. Some people are just incompatible with each other... and some irritate each other with no direct contact. The very thought of their existence or near presence annoys them deeply...
  • - 1
 @Keit: finally I missed saying that in my not humble opinion this bike looks absolutely stunning. It seems that Intense is back.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: That I can agree with. I'm mesmerized by all of the new frames and advancements that 2019 has to offer for Downhill.
  • + 0
 Not very smart of him in my opinion to change wheel size. 27.5 has been working for him. Why mess with a good thing (1st)? He will struggle, just like he did when he washed out last year.
  • + 2
 @vanillarice19: doubt Aaron would ever leave fox for sram
  • + 3
 @Rider656: I'm sure he's scrolling through PB hoping you'd give him some winning advice.
  • + 2
 @Rider656: tell that to Greg minaar. 26er was working for him. He has 3 world champs and yet he transferred to a 27.5 and eventually a 29er.

It takes time to get used to a “new” bike. You judge his results off his last two races after coming back from a hand injury. Look at Rachael Atherton, it took her a year to get back to prime from her injury.

You’re the type of person who would be like, “let’s try flat pedals, oh man I got 50th in this race. Time to switch back to clips after 2 race.” You need to realize it takes time to adapt.
  • - 4
flag vanillarice19 (Jan 14, 2019 at 18:38) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: Gwin will follow the Money!!! He has a History of it. Plus why on earth would Trek or anyone on the team run Aron Gwin’s ODI Signature grips? Would love to hear an explanation
  • + 1
 Let me give you an example. Say you were paid 100,000 dollars for 1st place and $100 for 2nd or $50 for 3rd place. You have been winning every race you enter and then someone says, "ride my bike the next race." What would you say? Would you risk your 100k to try something else? Would you tell yourself, "well it takes time to get use to it" and "I need time to adapt" meanwhile you are now losing out on 100k every race... I believe it may have to do with marketing and a company(s) trying to generate more profit rather than the bike actually being better.
  • + 3
 @rivercitycycles: Um, yeah, about that. Practically every single PB 27.5 review of late... Con: No 29" option. Now, 29" review... Con: No 27.5" option. Lol people make up your minds, not every bike is a Beretta. Madder lol Facepalm Dead Horse
  • + 7
 @WAKIdesigns: not quite. Some people make an effort and can build bridges over the largest chasm. You are no such a person. I have an email from you to me with you confirming that you are not such a person nor that you even aspire to even make such an effort. And we can also conclude that you are overcomensating certain attributes you have identified conciously or unconsciously which are lacking and you overcompensate on pinkbike. One of these items becomes visible through your repeated sexual innuendos which denegrate woman (just go back and look at some of your early forum comments). You clearly have substance and some intelligence but it is only enough to cause damage and disruption not actually adding positively to most interaction. I might also add your battery analogy is quite poor but I commend you for making an effort to say something positive. Yes the bike looks quite nice. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So let's race hey
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 15, 2019 at 2:30) (Below Threshold)
 @Keit: yes exactly what I wrote... this PM was reach of a hand, but you took it as offence... exactly my man, exactly...
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: too late for that.... After your countless unfounded insults. Be a man and rise to the challenge, that is the choice you are left with.
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 15, 2019 at 6:31) (Below Threshold)
 @Keit: what challenge? race you? Post a vid or pic of you riding. Told you at least 5 times. We will be able to save time. If I was to take insults on the internet seriously... Mhy Ghawd...
  • - 1
 @Keit: And you had a freaking nerve to call me a coward. I won’t race you until I see you ride.
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: you c*nts need to grow up aye
  • + 3
 @ajayflex: Smile learn to express yourself decently before you tell others to grow up.
  • + 1
 Waki is my friend. He doesnt know it, but he is Smile keep doing you Waki.
  • + 1
 @Keit: What I lack in eloquence and sophistication, I make up for, whole heartedly, with a delightful clarity.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: if you race Keit what trail would it be on?
  • - 1
 @mkotowski1: it was him proposing a race. But he can’t take swearing... and his wife think I’m a disgrace. He won’t post a video of himself riding which tells me he is a Joey. @Keit - how high can you bunny hop? Can you track stand? Can you manual 2 or more doubles on a pumptrack in one go? What was the biggest thing you senf? A letter?
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: If you honestly believe all that put your big mouth where your money is. You silly excuse of a man.
  • + 1
 @vanillarice19: take a look at Intense IG account. A few days ago there was a bike build....also using Gwins signature grips....
  • + 2
 @RodneyPierce: Good find!! Either those are fabulous Grips everybody just loves or he's really going to Intense
  • + 1
 @Keit: where would you race waki?
  • - 2
 @Keit: post a video of you riding you anonymous cock. You thre the glove. Prove you are worthy
  • - 2
 @Keit: you could also start with presenting yourself with full name and surname, maybe where do you come from and what do you do for living. I thought you are about being proper. Until you do that I won’t even considering going out of my house if you stood outside.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: bad form waki. A gentlemen leads by example.
  • - 1
 @Keit: what do you mean, you want my name , titke and a bunch of photos and videos?
  • + 1
 I didnt' mean to say anything here.
  • + 3
 everyone give it a rest. Yes, Waki has a small penis. No, I don't care if yours is just as small.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: my dick is indeed very small. That’s what happens when you buy Rhyno dick pills from Ali Express.
  • + 4
 Clearly a slow week at work for all of us lol
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: wait so Rhyno pills aren’t legit? I take them before riding
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: waki you are acting like a complete child. grow up
  • + 1
 @mkotowski1: hi there, because it would be a feasible and fair challenge. The pot is the one who looses has to leave pinkbike. It occurred to me after he posted pro doping comments and I discovered a reddit page about him. And at heart I am a racer. Not the best yet someone more competent than I once said: you have your own way and somehow you make it down everything.
  • + 0
 @mrman123: it was this Joey @Keit who started. For some reqson idiot thought that I will travel half of the world to meet him and race him over an online argument, hence I told him to post a couple of pics of him riding which would show if he can ride or not. He even tells his wife about our “discussions” and she called me a disgrace. She thinks I should be ashamed of myself. Holy fk hahaha. Come on Keit. Show us a video of you riding, or have we see it already in one of Friday Fails? Come on. I’ll tear you apart just a bit. You are a Joey, I am quite sure.
  • + 2
 @Keit: that’s a solid pot bet, sucks if you lose though haha
  • + 0
 @mkotowski1: what is the chance when you ride even at just above average level, that you won’t have a dozen of pics or videos of you riding? It is possible but the chance is slim. Think of countless instagram accounts, Facebook pages of people sharing simpliest pieces of their rides.

He is yet to deliver a proof to qualify him racing anyone. I am no god on the bike but I am not anonymous you can find out anything about me on my instagram @wakidesigns

My bet is, he is a boss in a tiny private company, or an employee higher in hierarchy of a bigger one. His attention to “good manners”, ability to talk down to people as teachers talk to teenagers makes me feel so. He is few lines of text away from resolving everything, text starting with “http”, but he just doesn’t do it. The thing is, if he does suck and deliver a proof of it, he is at my mercy. Other than that he can wave his glove of unrealistic duel that only an idiot would try to make happen.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: no I can talk down on you because you behave and talk like a lout.
  • + 0
 @Keit: There’s a whole world out there outside your bubble and it doesn’t care about you feeling above them. In fact all I see is a little insecure man. Coming up with Duels, talking down to people, being petty about the language, a bike color matched using shiny pieces, asking his wife for an opinion about a guy who doesn’t like you, getting offended on the internet, taking umbrage, holding a grudge. “lout” You can’t even insult anyone else but another boring semi fat dude with a stick up his butt. You have no understanding of social context, so keep living in your own Pantheon of poeple who don’t fart and don’t masturbate. You have never got your ass kicked and have never been properly humiliated, you die many times every week, afraid of being accused of bad manners or making a mistake.
  • + 2
 I wonder what Aaron Gwin makes of this discussion? lol
  • + 111
 After reading Paul's reviews I'd say he's very tuned in to how a bike feels and reacts, up there with the world cup racers. A lot of bike journalists don't come across as having these traits. I credit Paul for not just spitting out the usual blurb a lot of bike jurnos like to do these days and make every review just sound like a brand advertisement. He puts across some very interesting points which he's obviously spent some time over and done his research. Especially after seeing some riding clips of paul in the head to head reviews this guy clearly knows his sh#t and is pinned!
  • + 23
 By far the most interesting bike reviews I've read on this site or any other. I'd completely lost interest in them previously.
  • + 23
 +1 Paul is a fantastic reviewer.
  • + 57
 Thanks for the props! There are a few more interesting DH / 29 reviews coming soon!
  • + 3
 I’m always jealous of these guys jobs. Getting to test amazing bikes.Cry but I could never review it as well as these guys!
  • + 13
 Could not agree more. Paul’s reviews are the best
  • + 12
 Yep- in a world where actors who don't ride bikes are being given massive cheques to sling them to the superficial masses without a word of how they perform compared to other bikes- reviews by writer/riders like Aston are the stuff I enjoy. I think I learned from the ideal geometry article that I'm looking for a ride closer to what Kazimer or Sapp are into but huge props from me for the knowledge, experience, transparency and attention to detail in Aston's pieces.
  • + 3
 Totally agree.
  • + 1
 @paulaston: As you have ridden some bikes with long chainstays (Legend and now the Intense): Are there any downsides at all?
A more centered position makes turns easier than the need to position yourself accordingly to manouvre a long bike (atleast thats what I believe).
Would love to hear Smile
Cheers
  • + 3
 @NotNamed: I have little confidence we would see such detailed reviews if the reviewers weren't first given the frame geo and suspension kinematic details. I want to see blind tests.
  • + 1
 @paulaston: Hi, Do you guys have plans to review the Tracer this year? Cheers.
  • + 2
 It's no coincidence he's the fastest guy of all the reviewers. There's a reason RC doesn't test bikes anymore.
  • - 1
 @mybaben: there is no review needed , because it is simply the best bike you can buy right now.
  • + 1
 @paulaston: Thank you for those great reviews. If you are planning an over-all comparison (I already like the comparisons you are making in each individual review), maybe you can also point out the bike most suited for average riders, such as:

Only about 10 - 20 days in a bike park per year (rest trail bike)
Slow to medium speed
Flatpedals
Too much braking in the turn instead of ahead of the turn
Not enough body or bike movement

And for me: Steep technical terrain

I feel for an average rider that brakes more often, good behaviour under braking might be a more important factor than others.
I don't know if an average rider should value higher stability or nimbleness. I assume nimbleness because of the slower speeds.

Let me know what you think
  • + 1
 @LiamVonderach: LOL!!! Good one man. I actually have a 2015 Tracer Carbon, and was curious about the current generation. : ) Cheers.
  • + 48
 If I bought the 10k$ bike, the footage they get would definitely be some of the most mediocre riding they've seen so far lol. And I'm sure the WC mechanic would be saying "Are you sure you want 40psi in the front and 10psi in the rear??".
  • + 2
 @seismicninja: I laughed out loud literally at that one.
  • + 22
 If I bought the $10k bike then I think the subsequent film edit would be so embarrassing for Intense that they'd immediately pay me to never ride their bikes again. If I negotiate hard and charge more than $10k then I'd effectively be getting paid to have a day's riding on a top of the range $10k bike with a mechanic to hand. The edit would be buried and the only witness, the mechanic, would soon tire of telling everyone how crap my riding was. Its worth doing then! just need access to $10k in the first place
  • + 14
 I doubt I could achieve even mediocre footage. Probably my best option would be to setup up a horrific crash. That would give the mechanic something to do as well.
  • + 38
 Frame with shock at $2500. Sweet price compared to other boutique brands, with looks to match.
  • + 5
 @j7mb their prices improved a lot once they started the doing direct sales as well.. kudos..
  • + 15
 Since when, and WHY is Intense "boutique"?
Last year they were literally on liquidation sale online, and are sold at stores one step up from your local sports depot (REI, MEC etc.). Nothing about that screams boutique to me... Just saying.
  • + 9
 @ratedgg13: $5k Chanel dresses are made with love in Paris, you know.

Unno is boutique, Antidote is boutique, even Guerrilla Gravity, but a $9k bikes produced in a chinesse factory are just expensive.
  • + 1
 Makes me feel more and more like I got taken to the cleaners when I brought my trek.
  • + 3
 @ratedgg13: It was, it is no more.
  • + 6
 "Boutique" typically speaks to the production quantities and range of the company (Boutique shop vs. department store) which may or may not be related to the price and quality. Someone can make a few of a crap bike and another could make a whole lot of a great bike. What often seems to happen is companies make a pile of crap bikes (crap as defined by a pinkbike- "I only ride technical single track- stop dumbing down the trails man!"- user) and then a couple of marquee high end bikes- look at Giant, Specialized or Trek for that. Does that mean that the quality of their high end bikes gets evaluated based on their low end bikes built with low end spec? Maybe but not necessarily. Companies like Intense, Santa Cruz, Transition etc. don't run the full range (boutique vs. department store) that those other companies do- there are no $429 hardtail completes from any of those brands- which is what makes them "boutique"- in that their overall production numbers aren't as high and what they put out tends to only be high end (to a general consumer). I don't think "boutique" necessarily means it's ultra rare or that you won't find them on sale- I would say Intense still counts as boutique but if you want a super rare bike- sure...they may not fit the bill for you but also remember rarity and quality are not the same thing either- they can be but they aren't always.
  • - 1
 And yet, Intense is mostly sold (other than online) at stores that are essentially department stores.

Mass produced Chinese frames sold for knockoff prices is what Intense does.

Regardless of whether they offer a broad range of bikes from entry level to race spec, those are not qualities that would define any other boutique brand.
  • + 2
 @ratedgg13: I think if your definition for boutique is that the frame must be made in the country of origin for the company you would knock out most companies that currently are commonly defined under that categorization- either way it is just a socially agreed upon grouping. I'm not a fanboy of Intense as I never loved the way VPP rode historically though do appreciate their racing heritage and contributions to the sport. It sounds like you are questioning their quality, their value, and the reputability of the shops you have seen them sold at- all great discussions but personally I have never fit those factors into whether or not I define a bike brand as boutique or not. You might- and others might- I have not though.
  • + 2
 For an extra $1000 ,you can get complete and unfettered access to the shock on a Demo in under 3 seconds.
  • + 1
 @ratedgg13: what "department stores" are intense sold at. In the US online shops and LBS are only places I see them.
  • - 2
 @mfoga: REI which is essentially an outdoors department store. Same as MEC in Canada. Not exactly bike shops bringing in high end bikes.
  • + 6
 @ratedgg13: Never seen a single intense bike for sale at REI ever. Never seen one at a single store like that in US. Probably a Canadian dealer issue.
  • + 1
 @ratedgg13: not available at REI, from what i can see. i think selling at MEC was a mistake on their part. made them look cheap in Canada.
  • + 3
 Just looked at MEC. That’s what qualifies as a dept store in Canada? There have less stores in the whole country as REI (the comparison company) has in California.
  • + 0
 @mfoga: you know, it's almost like the population of Canada is smaller than California and hence everything is proportionally smaller. Congrats at almost using your brain.
  • + 5
 @ratedgg13: Sorry- can you remind me why where it is sold is important? Have you ridden the bike? Do you know if there are concerns with the quality of the materials, layup, or the way it rides? The department stores comment was an analogy used to distinguish boutique- or specialty high end- bike brands from others. Whether over not MEC sells a variety of outdoor gear, is a glossy yuppee factory, and isn’t considered as ‘bro’ as other options doesn’t factor into the quality and ride of an Intense bike IMO.
  • + 2
 @ratedgg13: I bought a Carbine Pro from MEC and would not hesitate to buy another high end bike from them. A number of my crew have your same bias, and, each one of them have stories of poor customer service and some really colossal f-ups from their "smaller" shops. In fact, whenever I go to MEC, I actually drive past one of Santa Cruz's largest dealers in NA because of that "non-department store's" mixed customer service history, and I'm not the only one.
  • + 28
 A con being price? The frame is about $1000 less than any other carbon frame on the market.
  • - 25
flag GatoGordo (Jan 14, 2019 at 6:18) (Below Threshold)
 Goes to show they are getting their carbon technology from the best cheapest factory possible. Junk!!
  • + 16
 @GatoGordo: by that logic YTs carbon must be really sketchy.
  • - 17
flag chriskneeland (Jan 14, 2019 at 6:50) (Below Threshold)
 They reduced the price by $1000 because it's hideous. And one day of not being able to access the knobs without having to take the wheels and guards off and thing can go right in the dump.
  • + 5
 "Low-spec components for the price tag". A frame isn't a component, so it's no comment on frame price.
  • + 1
 I wasn’t gonna said it. But Yeah@mfoga:
  • + 3
 @chriskneeland: speaking of knobs, you're great at being one!
  • + 2
 @Beez177: Good one. Tell that to anyone looking to adjust their damping.
  • + 5
 That was my first thought too, cutting edge carbon frame with top spec shock for $2,500USD... makes Yeti and others frame costs laughable, i.e .$3,800USD for SB150 with X2.
  • + 1
 @chriskneeland: fox x2 problem solved.
  • + 1
 @mfoga: Will it clear? That's a pretty tight shock position.
  • + 17
 Great review from @paulaston but I totally disagree with the low spec component as a "con". The 4 piston XT's are great, the wheelset is among the best aluminum set out there, the fork/shock are Rockhsox's best, Renthal stem, and X01 7spd drivetrain. And at $4k less than the FRO, I'd say they nailed it.
I spent about a month on the Elite M29 last fall and was completely satisfied with the build. The only thing I swapped out was the bars and a 350lb spring.
  • + 0
 true. although renthal stems seem iffy, I love their bars though
  • + 1
 @housem8d: yup, swapped the stock bar for a Renthal carbon Fatbar.
  • + 21
 Gwinteresting
  • + 12
 Intensely.
  • + 12
 @paulaston I find in your reviews this past year that you seem to set the bikes with very little damping in compression especially, always fully open or near. Is There any reason for that?

Im asking because we weight roughly the same, and while im sure you are faster tan me, I found that the settings you where trying felt really loose and undamped, aka divey or unstable.
(Im talking mostly about a float x2 and dhx2 in the some of the bikes you reviewed this year, that I happen to own or have access to, I not talking about this m29 review)

As always, very good review. Thanks!
  • + 11
 $6000 is a small price to pay for a fantastic silhouette
  • + 7
 Can anyone explain why DH bikes have shorter reaches than a lot of new age trail and enduro bikes. One would think that the long, low and slack trend would be evident on DH rigs also, or am I missing something?
  • + 15
 My opinion is that DH bikes don't need to be so long in the reach because your COG is further back when pointing DH so the bike feels longer. If I was going to pedal this bike up a hill it would feel short compared to, say a 510mm reach enduro bike.

Plus, many of the latest enduro bikes use shorter stems (30-35mm) and offsets. DH bikes are still sticking around 50mm stems and 58mm offset for the 29" forks. I think this is likely to change soon, though.
  • + 7
 It might be, and I'm taking a wild stab here, that downhill has a bit of a longer history than enduro and the numbers we see are more settled as a result.

DH riders, like pro enduro riders, are at the top of their game and don't need longer reaches to improve straight-line speed (read 'feel') because they are quite accustomed to riding at crazy speeds.

Enduro bikes are the big thing nowadays and geometry is easier to push on the masses as it is a way to 'buy' speed. Pro's don't need it but anyone else who wants it can buy faster by going longer.
  • + 1
 I'd say you need much roomier cockpit to maneuver in on DH bike, both in fore-aft direction and laterally as well. While on trail/enduro bike rider's upper body moves in more shallower and narrower space. Plus, shorter reach makes for more centralized position (longer wheelbase is gained by slacker head angle). And, longer reach may not be ideal for big hits/landings at high speeds.
  • + 1
 @dubod22: Tend to agree with this
  • - 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 14, 2019 at 4:40) (Below Threshold)
 @paulaston: yeah, but don’t Enduro bikes require more available range of motion? Let’s be clear, any good rider with Enduro bike in the park will take that bike to gnarliest DH tracks it has to offer anyways. But due to less travel he’ll need to move around more. So according to this theory, Enduro bike should be shorter in reach than a DH bike. I don’t know the answer just asking since you are a better rider than me.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I think he is saying that the dh bikes geometry or layout makes it feel like it has a longer reach compared with the enduro bike that technically may have a longer reach. One number doesn’t tell the whole story of why a bike rides or is set up the way it is
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 14, 2019 at 5:25) (Below Threshold)
 @mkotowski1: I understood perfectly where his idea came from. But Enduro bike's target handling position is exactly the same as on DH bike, while stack heights are very similar. Meanwhile you need to move back and forward on Enduro bike, since they ride slower on same tracks.
  • - 1
 @paulaston: I was surprised to see the trail on this is shorter than on my Turbo Levo with a 160mm short-offset Lyrik! As you can get custom crowns for DH forks, it wouldn't be difficult to adjust the reach (with a Works headset), the offset and the stem length to keep the hands and tyre in the same place and just change the steering trail to find out how it affects things.

Also, DH bikes almost always runs dual-ply tyres whilst most trail and enduro bikes have slightly lighter tyres on the front, so less gyroscopic steering stability.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I've just come up with a hypothesis as to why DH bikes should have shorter reach than Enduro bikes - a longer cockpit means you have to move more to control the bike which also means that it takes a greater inadvertent movement to destabilise the bike.

As DH tracks are 2-5 minutes long but Enduro special stages often longer and part of lengthy multi-day events, is the longer reach partially a solution for rider fatigue?
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 14, 2019 at 5:37) (Below Threshold)
 @threehats: all proper riders on proper enduro and dh tracks run double downs/ SGs or full on DH casings. I am sure Paul does whenever he gets to chose. With his skill and weight he'd rip the 1plies to pieces, burp all sealant, and puncture even with Barelli's baguettes inside. Let's not suggest that super long Enduro bikes are made with Joeys in mind. It is unthinkable.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: FR or DH track at bikepark is not intended application for enduro bike. I bet you wouldn't like to absorb high speed abrupt impacts or heavy freeride landings in strech-out position of modern enduro bike for more than 2 consecutive days. Having upper body and arms stretched forward must be quite exhausting in DH run. You receive those impacts under higher arm-to-torso degree.
  • + 1
 Some interesting thoughts but I'm still none the wiser. I just find it interesting that all the brands are pushing reach up and up on their trail/enduro bikes with every iteration, riders that are 5ft 6" are now buying large framed bikes, and all the while the pros are smashing the DH tracks on bikes with much more conservative numbers
  • - 2
 @fluider: but this is how Enduro bikes are ridden like by good riders around the world. They take no prisoners, point that bike down that sht. And that is why I don’t get why would Enduro bike need longer geo than a DH bike, while it’s suspension cannot cope with bumps as well anyways.
  • - 2
 @Davec85: It's because reach is a nonsense measure for the thing that mtb journalists are trying to describe. Front centre,in combination with chainstay length, is a much more meaningful measurement for how long the bike feels and its weight distribution.

You could have two bikes with identical reach figures and head, but one with 100mm fork and the other with a 200mm fork (I know this is unlikely, but it's just for the purposes of this example). The one with the 200mm fork would feel much longer and be more rear biased, all other things being equal, yet the reach figure and head angle wouldn't tell you that.

JP
  • + 16
 @Davec85: @Davec85:

Many brands are making the reach number longer on their bikes to work for taller riders who still want to use short stems. In the past (and currently with road and XC bikes), bigger sizes came with longer stems and sometimes layback seatposts. When people realized that both of those were a silly idea, they added the stem length to the frame so taller riders get a bike that fits and handles well.

For example, I had an XL Specialized Enduro 29 in 2014 which had a 465mm reach and was specced with a 90mm stem, yes ninety! The 2019 Enduro has a 489mm reach with a 50mm stem.

Now the following maths are rough as there are other factors involved, but:

460 + 90 = 550
489 + 50 = 539

So the actual size is fairly similar. I also think MTB's never had a wide enough range between sizes due to using the stem to change the fit. So brands that are on the ball made bigger bikes for bigger people (and a massive increase in popularity of MTB means there are more tall riders to make it worthwhile manufacturing XL and XXL bikes, where these were left out of the range due to low sales).

I don't agree with brands that make all the sizes bigger, there are still people of all sizes. Personnally I would change the size the reach of the bikes by 40mm, something like 400 - 440 - 480 - 520, rather than 20mm increments that is more common. Then with changing stack height, bar width/roll/sweep and stem length would allow for a wide range of fit.
  • + 2
 @paulaston: I agree, but I also think that reach is just one factor in the whole stability of the bike. With a slacker HA and a longer CS length, you end up with a massive wheelbase. Take a long trail/ enduro bike like the Ripmo in an XL has about 1250mm wheelbase vs this at about 1300mm despite having a shorter reach. IMHO, wheelbase and HA factors more into stability than just reach.
  • + 2
 @threehats: great theory. I personally think that DH bikes having the slacker HA and longer CS's mean that a smaller reach keeps the WB in check. Also Paul is right that reach becomes "virtually" longer because of steep tracks, aka of the back riding.

Also, a shorter reach makes for a playful bike. This helps make this 208mm travel beast a bit more playful, which is desirable for days on A-Line, aka not racing. Enduro bikes can pull off longer reach values because their shorter travel, 2009 era DH geo and lighter wheels make for the loss in playfulness from the longer reach.

Essentially, imo, DH bikes are targeted more towards expert riders, Mountain Bikes (enduro) being targeted more towards all skill levels. Longer reach= less chances of weight going over front axle as gee atherton explained when the previous gt fury was released. (a bike that garnered a lot of attention for it's longer reach)
  • + 1
 @threehats: Excellent. Enduro-biased geo provides a bigger bubble to counteract fatigue, complement lesser travel, and allow for a steep STA--uphill pedaling.

DH geo should be more compact, because if one has to move more to influence the bike, one is more likely to be caught out in recovering from the movement. The larger the rider, the slower his/her rebound. The more compact setup favors jumping--so park.

Exception: short reach Sam Hill. But he's a lighter, smaller fellow.
  • + 1
 @whambat: @housem8d

Interesting points that make perfect sense now I think about it. What is the benefit of shorter stays and longer reach on a trail/enduro bike then?
  • + 2
 @Davec85: shorter cs's help with tight hairpin corners commonly found on ews tracks.

But how a bike handles (riding DH) is more than just one value, it's a combination of HA, BB drop, rear and front centre --> wheelbase

Also another huge factor is axle path, or may I say 'active chainstay length"

For example the stumpjumper evo has a 445mm CS but that becomes 430ish when riding it.

I would argue that experienced riders prefer a shorter reach and longer cs because of their ability to ride steep tracks with more body english. the opposite is true for less experienced riders, the longer reach keeping their weight centered.
  • + 1
 @Davec85: also, ebduro bikes have to pedal uphill. Since STA's are steep now, the cs is virtually longer and reach is virtually shorter. THen when you stand up and go down the geo is slightly different because body is placed differently.

At the end of the day, bike geo is a temporary band-aid for untrained riding skillsets.
  • + 1
 @housem8d: you realise everything here is measured from the bb?
  • + 1
 @housem8d: No, short CS is not good for anything other than manuals and backhops.
  • + 1
 @zyoungson:

Yup, there is such a thing as too steep of a sta
  • + 1
 @Mondbiker: if you say so
  • + 2
 As Aston points with the Spesh example reach plays toguether with stem length.
To me reach number is not a goal, but a byproduct of front center length + HA.
When they moverd the headtube forward they coupled with a shorter stem, because the goal wasn't to stretch you out, but have a longer wheelbase for stability. Now stems can't get any shortwr, reach is getting longer because WB is getting longer, not the other way around.

Now, in a DH bike; you have a 200mm travel fork on a 63 HA, if you use enduro reach numbers you end up with the wheelbase of a schoolbus.
  • + 1
 @ismasan: Spot on! I think there are going to be few brands which will decrease reach and STA in favour of increased CS, which will efectivelly keep the CoG and riding position centered. WB and front-wheel trail can stay the same, the bike will be stretched just another way.
Also, short stems. Thanks to larger wheels and slacker HA, you got much higher value of front-wheel trail which enhances stability of bicycle, but because of milelong reach numbers you gotta need shorter stems in order to maintain ETT usable, but with shorter stem you're loosing advantage of calmed down steering behaviour. Maybe, we'll see short-offset teleforks, to gain even higher front-wheel trail for the sake of sticking to short stems.
On 26" teleforks, FOX had been using 37mm front-axle offset, and RockShox a 40mm offset.
On 29" telies, now FOX offers 44mm as SHORT-OFFSET OPTION! Lyrik 29" uses 51mm offset.
  • + 1
 @fluider: You are not stretched out on modern enduro bike.
  • + 5
 the only thing that bothers me is that low end of the swingarm just below the bottom bracket. riding in a place with lots of rock gardens can be scetchy. that chain guide offers just a couple mm of protection. I really like the looks of that bike
  • + 1
 At least it looks like, at sag or more, the bottom bracket and the bash guard is quite a bit lower than that piece... still could be an issue though. Check out the suspension squish video.
  • + 4
 @paulaston , I'm confused by your statement of "Low-spec components for the price tag" aren't the only low spec components the bars, shifter and cassette (and possibly the crankset). For 6K, you're getting top notch suspension and frame, nice wheels with great hubs, some good brakes with plenty of adjustments, it seems that they spent the budget where it would be most useful. It's not cheap but I think that it fits well in the middle of direct to consumer pricing and traditional bike shop channel pricing.

What am I missing?
  • - 2
 he is talking about the shi**y RS fork.
  • + 4
 The kinematics on this thing are top notch, predictable leverage ratio, high A/S around sag dropping off steeply, great braking performance, is that down to Cesar Rojo or did he work on other aspects of the design, it’s a looker too for sure.
  • + 1
 are you sure with the antisquat? i read it so that a/s drops off after around 66% of the travel used
  • + 1
 @sebazzo: I was a little unclear there, the A/S is hight at sag point and much of the way through the travel before dropping off quickly close to bottom out, a nice trait on a DH bike, nobody wants high A/S and therefore pedal kickback (unless you have a high pivot / idler) at bottom out.
  • + 10
 @sebazzo: who's pedalling two thirds deep into the travel??
  • + 1
 @ismasan: dude, thats what Im saying, the antisquat graph looks really strange. The curve has it's high point at around 66% of wheel travel. look at it.
  • + 1
 @sebazzo: I thought you said the AS dropping was the problem.
I just checked other AS graphs and nothing weird in that matter (check out nomad 3's). About the peak at 2/3 into the travel instead of around 1/3; this bike will be ridden at 30-35% sag, and pedallling will be sprinting, so progressive AS all the way makes sense too.
  • + 1
 @ismasan: kinda counter to knowledge what youre saying. A/S is usually sought to be dropping beyond the sag point so to reduce pedal kickback. As you said yourself, who's pedalling at 66% into travel.

But nevermind, in the end the graph is probably just botched. if you make a mirror image, the high point of as falls just at 33% i.e. sag. And also the shape of the curve makes much more sense (rising swiftly then dropping off more smoothly farther into the travel). Duh.
  • + 1
 @sebazzo: when I said who's pedalling at 66% I thought your gripe the AS dropping in the last 1/3.

Stomping the pedals at 35%sag in a plush bike you can go easily to 50%, that's why progressive AS makes sense. Also, kickback is a bad thing pedalling at low speed (uphill), but has no effect in a downhill, as explained by Antonio Osuna:
linkagedesign.blogspot.com/2012/12/kickback-en-bajadas-wm.html?m=1
  • + 3
 $10k bikes that come with a W.C. mechanic and a film crew. I guess that’s one way to make you feel special for spending 5 figures on a bike.
Meanwhile other brands sell $9k+ bikes with complex damper adjustments have most of their unwitting weekend warriors pedaling around on shitty tunes with go-pros... Kinda funny.
  • + 3
 Right any chance I can have Waki and Keit on my Downhill Fantasy team at some stage. Also can Pink bike please fly them to Val Di Sole so we can sort out this race Keit is keen to have.
  • + 2
 A bit surprising to see XT brakes specc'ed. Nothing against them as they use a similar design to the Zee or Saint but why not go for a DH spec brake? Perhaps the Zee/Saint are a block away from redesign and they wanted the newest?
  • + 1
 so odd - they show saint photos on their website even though it's calling out XT 4 pistons... but honestly XT 4 Pistons are rebranded Zee
  • + 1
 @iJak: which are...? Right, rebranded Saint calipers.
  • + 3
 @Muckal: Negative - Saints are cold forged. XT and Zee are cast. Saints overall build material is higher quality.
  • + 0
 @iJak: I don't think that's true. From a bit of online research they seem very much the same besides the lever and fancy gold fittings. I just bought a set of Saints but I am wondering if I should have gone for a Zee caliper and used my current generation XT lever with adjustments....
  • + 4
 A carbon frame and shock for $2500 what in the hell is going on here? This can easily get built for under $4500 not too bad....
  • - 1
 If you buy everything used maybe lol. Or go for the cheapest stuff available.
  • + 4
 "Fantastic silhouette and heritage"
2 things to look for in a bike and a life partner.
  • + 5
 Only available in 29” and bigger sizes. Bigger??
  • + 3
 as in, it's only available as a 29r, fullstop and it's only available in bigger sizes i.e. M, L, XL presumably
  • + 0
 Yes. 29er, 36", 37,5" and 39er. 39er for me please!
  • + 5
 @paulaston can we expect a Wilson 29 review??
  • + 1
 Hi Paul, I see you are on the Catalyst pedals for DH too now, i rember you liked them best for trailriding in the riginal test and stll preferred Vaults fr DH.
Did you change to longer pins? I found the originals pretty short
Thanks man
Neil
  • + 6
 Instant gwinner!
  • + 3
 I'm just here to read the WAKI comments ~ and there are a few ~ Happy Monday everyone!
  • + 1
 Liked that detail in the side landing ,when I saw that bikes in action(the commencal,Intense)they who’re like that ,for me the best well balance ones(and yes the Loic bike). Nice reviews
  • + 2
 Effective seat tube angle of 77 degrees, I can hear it now. . . . . . "climbs better than a bike with this much travel should"
  • + 5
 Now I wish I weren't 5'4
  • + 4
 Haha, same here bud!
  • + 4
 Agreed...5'5"
  • + 1
 Shoe inserts.
  • + 2
 Yeah. I'm 6'7" tall and it won't fit me either! I'd recommend we band together, but you have plenty of other bikes you can get.
  • + 1
 @rtjames: hahaha...tried transition 29 before and I had hard time just to sit on the saddle.
  • + 1
 @Lugers: Hahaha my current ride is TR500 medium size which is shorter than my previous Giant Glroy small size. It suits me well. And you're right, there are still so many bikes on the market for people like us, hahaha. Who am I kidding, I'm not going to race world cup anyway. Just ride my bike for fun once in a week take as many photos as possible and post them on Instagram...
  • + 1
 Frame looks svelte yet stout, suspension movement looks smooth through the travel, minimal shock bushing rotation, but I just can’t fall for the look of road bike sized hoops.
  • + 2
 I can't wait to get mine! This only further comferms how much I'm gunna love it!
  • + 2
 How is heritage going to help my riding? Thinking of Shawn Palmer is only going to bring me down.
  • - 1
 ...especially when you spell his name wrong.
  • + 1
 @Mondbiker: does it really matter? You knew exactly who I was talking about.
  • + 0
 @foggeloggliod: It depends, does it matter if you misspell Jesus?
  • + 1
 Interesting that the upper linkage comes so close to the shock reservoir. Makes me think there could be fit issues with some brands.
  • + 1
 "CA$14,605.80 Price Shown Includes Import Duties" ouch. Whats the next step after Dentist price range? -pulled from Intense website
  • + 3
 Seatpost too long aaaarghh ????
  • - 1
 I don’t give a F about what someone that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars rides.
I’m sure some are very nice people and all have unbelievable skills.
Mountain biking was a counter culture movement. Now if your bike is not Carbon and cost minimum 6K , no one would say hi to you on the trail. God forbid you are riding in your tennis shoes and white socks.
f*ck , come on people. Wake up and smell the coffee.
Stop consuming everything, got hav the latest and greatest.
It will not make you happy, the opposite is true.
Please just ride and have fun
  • + 2
 Yeah I thought mtb culture was gonna kind of be like bmx culture when I got Into but have found its much closer to road cycling lol
  • + 4
 I've ridden my beat to hell aluminum Epic all over the country and have had excellent luck in meeting very nice people everywhere I've been. That's not to say that I haven't met snobs or dirt roadies along the way, but they're the exception rather than the rule.

Perhaps I'm exceptionally lucky (in addition to being extraordinarily handsome), perhaps you're not.

Maybe it's a matter of not letting a few jerkoffs ruin your perception of the world around you.
  • + 2
 i love it when u see some goober in cutoff jeans, tennies, and a skid lid, who then proceeds to outride everyone around him. since i suck, i compensate with nice bikes and matchy match kits.
  • - 1
 Bla bla bla bla.... three years ago I read the same article about dh 27.5.... give it another year or two and you'll read the same article about 29/27.5 .... give it another couple of years and they'll... oh wait... another couple of years and the mtb industry is going to fall like it did back in the glory days bc people are feed up w bs and the fad is gone.
  • + 1
 I am so glad that this frame has the additional brace on the seat tube, it would have been far too sexy without it. I don't care what it rides like as its still beautiful.
  • - 1
 Curious on the timing of this coming out now? Drop us some hints on how it compares to the 29 V10 you are testing.

It sounds like this is the same suspension the Intense team runs and they do not neuter the bike for the paying customer like Santa Cruz does?
  • + 5
 I'm still waiting for the V10 and no sign of it yet!
  • + 0
 @paulaston: Do you happen to have a 2019 Canyon Sender on test? It's been almost 2 months since the last MTB release and I'm really impatient.
  • + 3
 But does it climb like a mountain goat?
  • + 1
 With a 77 degree STA, it must.
  • + 1
 Nice review Paul,
thoughtful.
Beautiful looking bike.
Do you use longer pins in the catalyst pedals? I believe they come with 2 sets of pins now.
Thanks
Neil
  • + 1
 What a pile of crap. What does Jeff Steber know about suspension? He knows how to milk 10K out of 15 idiots. Too bad that ain't gonna save him. Chapter 11, here we come.
  • + 1
 This bike seems just tempting enough to wait and get Gwins personally updated version in a year or so Smile
  • + 1
 With that BB drop I bet it monsters through rough straight aways! Would be fun to try one of these
  • + 1
 Anyone noticed that chainstay is longer than reach on M and L sizes? So 2000s
  • + 2
 Definitely looks capable of Gwinning some races this year!
  • + 1
 Thanks for the helpful review! Can you guys review the Intense Tracer soon?!! Cheers.
  • + 1
 Check this out it’s funny ! m.youtube.com/watch?v=4ecwpBNSE6w
  • + 0
 Bring on the anti squat because people can't pedal smooth. I would prefer an M9 it would be much more sensitive to small stuff. But hey trends lots of platform gotta have it!
  • + 0
 Saw one of these at snow summit over the summer... Had to speed up my run to get a good look at it... Sexy bike in person... Would be fun to try one...
  • + 2
 @paulaston rocking them catalyst pedals I see.
  • + 2
 Sexiest looking bike of 2018 IMO
  • + 1
 beautiful machine to look at in 2019. Pedigree and history . GWINTENSE . .
  • + 3
 Stunning bike
  • + 2
 a reasonably priced intense, that's something new
  • + 2
 Thats pretty Gwintense...
  • + 2
 Raddest looking bike for years!
  • + 1
 Just goes to show you don't need a 500mm reach (on a Large) to go downhill fast!
  • + 1
 I was faster with my 417mm reach DH bike than with my 470mm freerider...be it that the Lapierre frame was just too good or that the longer bikes take way too much energy. Well gonna go back to smaller bikes- more fun and easier to ride
  • + 1
 In the tester opinion is the M29 a 29er M16? The review reads like an M16 review...imo
  • + 3
 I thought an m16 was a riffle mate
  • + 5
 @enduroNZ: You thought the M16 was a Duncan?
  • + 1
 @paulaston: that joke is intense Smile
  • + 1
 Does the M16 use the JS Link suspension design?
  • + 0
 @lccomz: Yes, it is called the JS link on the M16. But its pivot is above the Bottom Bracket and not wrapped around it like the M29. (Still looks like a VPP to me)
  • + 1
 @rpb10276: interesting, in this article the author describes JS Link as being different from a regular VPP layout in that the lower link pivots around the BB shell. Are you certain the M16 isn’t simply a VPP iteration?
  • + 1
 @lccomz: I though it was a VPP iteration too. But there calling it a JS tuned suspension linkage on the M16 as well. Check it out for your self.
www.pinkbike.com/news/intense-m16c-pro-build-review-2015.html
  • + 1
 Looks like a gwinning bike to me...
  • + 1
 Makes me want to buy a downhill bike. The M29 downhill bike that is.
  • - 1
 36 lbs, is lighter that most so called Enduro bikes with pedals. 26/24psi won't survive the Bondocs, Stick and Stones, or Karpiel@ Northstar.
  • + 1
 I wish they would take this colour scheme and put it on the tracer
  • + 1
 Have you seen the new Tracer?
  • + 1
 @creativefletch: I've just googled the 2019 tracer (here in the uk intense only show the 2018 colours). For 2019 is me much nicer, but I would liked to have seen a bit more red and a bit less grey
  • + 1
 demo/YT combo. Perfectly designed by Gwin
  • + 1
 Nice review! Looking forward to seeing Gwin race it tup
  • + 1
 Was anyone else wondering why there’s no good picture of this thing
  • + 1
 Big jump picture looks pretty much like Verbier Tu Cuci Track
  • + 3
 All the pictures are in Verbier. What a place, and the faceshots of dust at the end of October are always that bit more special!
  • + 1
 "Only available in 29" and bigger sizes"

What's next, 30.5"?
  • + 0
 When you review a 29er! Wheel bike and complain it’s only in 29er wheel. Tart!
  • + 1
 What pedals are those? They look sweet.
  • + 3
 They look like James Wilson's Pedaling Innovations Catalyst, Bout 99% sure.
pedalinginnovations.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxsfm0Pjt3wIVGrbICh3BkAmtEAAYASAAEgLQrfD_BwE
  • + 0
 Ahh another bike that is made from price unobtainium
  • + 0
 Bringing back the kickstand
  • + 1
 Seems legit
  • + 1
 What pedals are those?
  • - 2
 looks like a demo...sorry I meant session...no wait, Demo!
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