Shaun Palmer and Intense Announce DH Development Team - Sea Otter 2015

Apr 17, 2015
by Richard Cunningham  

Shuan Palmer 2015
(From left) Josh Gibb, Blake Motley, Warren Kniss, Stephen Walton, and Nik Nestoroff will be the new Palmer Intense Team.

After a six-month selection process, Shaun Palmer and Intense have chosen five young men who, under the guidance of one of the mountain biking's most storied action-sports competitor, will race the new M16 on the USA Cycling Pro GRT circuit. Sixteen-year-old Josh Gibb from Redmond, Washington; 16-year-old Blake Motley from San Diego, California; 18-year-old Warren Kniss from Fremont, California; 15-year-old Steven Walker from Corona, California: and Nik Nestoroff of San Marcos, California, were chosen to headline the new development team. The five racers will campaign on the recently released M16 DH machine and, reportedly, also on a newly configured Spider 27.5 for gate racing. Shaun's M16 (yes, the man is racing regularly) was on hand, custom painted in his American flag motif. The Palmer/Intense team will be racing all-white versions.

Shuan Palmer 2015
Shuan Palmer is taking his role seriously
We had a chance to watch a very different Shuan Palmer in action. His words were short and positive and, while the crowd of journos and associated industry were being treated to craft beer, the inked wild man of DH was busy gettin' the job done. Overseeing the assembly of the team's race bikes and checking up on their gear selections while his new charges prepared for dual Slalom and DH practice.

bigquotesThis is where our roots are. Intense invented the downhill bike. This is where we need to be.
Intense CEO Andrew Herrick

Intense CEO Andrew Herrick was visibly proud, and while admitting that the effort to establish a team from scratch was a more daunting prospect than originally anticipated, he indicated that Intense was on track with its original plan to re-establish Intense as a downhill powerhouse. "This is where our roots are." said Herrick. "Intense invented the downhill bike. This is where we need to be."

Traditionally, the road to World Cup success in the USA has been a leap from the junior class to the pro ranks, followed by a quick progression from the USA National series races, to the relentless and much more competitive racing available in Europe and Oceania. Few juniors, however can land the support required to campaign the US national circuit, much less dream of racing World Cups. Shuan Palmer's development team promises that at least five of those prospects have a fighting chance to make that cut.

Shuan Palmer s Intense M1 vs 2015 M16
Palmer's original M1 and his latest race bike, the new M16 - painted in his favorite color scheme. The team will race new M16s painted white with black graphics.

Much credit should be given to the new team's sponsors: SRAM, Maxxis, DT Swiss, Evoc, Magura, and Fox Factory for throwing in with Palmer and Intense to invest in this country's efforts to retake the top spots on the World Cup DH. All journeys begin, as they say, with the first step. Bravo!

Be sure to check out all of our Sea Otter Classic images.

MENTIONS: @intensecyclesusa, @SramMedia, @foxracingshox, @MaguraPassionPeople


  • 413 31
 You guys do realize that women race too.....I know a girl 12 yo that rides intense bikes that smokes all the boys at races and where are they??? To help the youth progress why not help boys and girls........
  • 48 10
 Bump this up. Let's get some attention from intense.
  • 12 85
flag preach (Apr 17, 2015 at 7:57) (Below Threshold)
 I think pink bike needs to come up with a "sister" website that does shine light and put specific attention on women's stuff. That way they would feel much more included and important.
  • 16 5
 As awesome of an idea as this is, you have to also recognize the amount of money that goes into something like this. I'm sure they will have a junior women's team some day, but fast girls are a lot harder to find because (unfortunately) girls don't get pushed to race the way the boys do.
  • 54 5
 A sister site would smack of separate but equal. Let's just try to keep pro-girl content coming.
  • 6 1
 I think it would be great to get more women into the sport. . . But just look at how many deals there are on Juliana frames right now vs Santa Cruz frames. . . unfortunately. Too bad they didn't make the Julian Frames in XXL cause I could care less what label is on my ride, as long as it's a good bike for a great price.
  • 5 1
 I'm in agreement with taletotell when it comes to the website in general. I'm more for inclusiveness rather than something exclusively for women riders. However, I do like the way major companies are marketing women specific bikes. I think it'll promote more girls, of all ages, into the sport.
  • 18 6
 segregation does not lead to integration. even if it is initiated by those who are marginalized.
  • 6 24
flag dontcoast (Apr 17, 2015 at 8:56) (Below Threshold)
 Agreed, intense fail.

They must be INTENSELY intent on a "bros not hos" mentality or something?!?

That being said, I'm not sure how I'd feel about Palmer coaching the young ladies, either...
  • 11 3
 Junior development is great and Intense have good intensions (get it haha) but yea why no girls? This kind of program is exactly what is needed for developing a strong future in female DH racing. Rachel Atherton is doing more for junior female riders than this entire program and that's off her own back.
  • 7 13
flag vhdh666 (Apr 17, 2015 at 9:00) (Below Threshold)
 maybe shaun doesn't like female racers?
  • 9 18
flag xCri (Apr 17, 2015 at 9:24) (Below Threshold)
 I think only girls should be sponsored for mountain biking. They're really leading the sport. And it's great to see them getting out of the kitchen to throw down some of the most exciting action in our sport. I can't believe intense missed this opportunity to have one of the few girl only race teams in the business.
  • 32 3
 it's economics. Men buy downhill bikes.
  • 22 6
 who cares
  • 7 5
 Yes they buy them for their kids...... boys and girls.......equality in our sport will only make it better! The Girls try just as hard as the men if not harder to be equal, they race the same tracks and have the same times, minus WC pros of course, but they need the opportunity to be progressive with mentored training as well.
  • 7 2
 And also there was not 1 single USA elite woman and only 1 from canada in the top 36 at the Lordes WC..........that should tell ya something......
  • 8 15
flag chyu (Apr 17, 2015 at 10:55) (Below Threshold)
 Maybe Shaun only know woman can do a certain task.
  • 35 14
 My daughter wanted a bike for her birthday, like her brother got, but instead I bought her a nice set of knitting needles. Girls bones are really fragile, and who's going to marry and take care of her if her face is scratched up from falling off her bike (like girls do)?
  • 5 9
flag idafreerida (Apr 17, 2015 at 11:08) (Below Threshold)
 Lol are you serious?????? Why again are you on pink bike??????
  • 8 12
flag Ilikebikes33 (Apr 17, 2015 at 13:28) (Below Threshold)
 I think Rachel Atherton is a badass and she's doing great things for women's mtb, but to be fair and equal here, what is she doing for men's mtb? I see women only events, but why why are we excluding the guys???? Let's not get in a pissing match over boys vs girls and just be pumped that these kids get a chance. Half of them have probably never had a brand new bike. Good luck boys, go crush it!!!
  • 3 8
flag idafreerida (Apr 17, 2015 at 14:48) (Below Threshold)
 I don't want my comment to think I'm not pumped for these kids to have a chance because I am I got to watch Gibbs race last weekend and is a talented rider but when we a talking Jr team to prepare for world cups there's a bunch of Jr. boys in the Lourdes WC and not a single Jr. is north america bringing them along to compete at a WC level...
  • 13 4
 Yall watch the wnba? Yeah I thought not.
  • 44 1
 Don't worry guys. My brother is on the team and he is pretty much a girl
  • 4 13
flag taletotell (Apr 17, 2015 at 17:15) (Below Threshold)
 he said jealously
  • 24 1
 Not even close. I'm super proud of my brother. But as he's my brother I reserve the right to talk shit on him anytime I'd like.
  • 3 7
flag idafreerida (Apr 17, 2015 at 18:04) (Below Threshold)
 Wow never new there were some many woman haters here....... I guess all the neg propers are gay.......and ride 29ers checking out moose knuckle.......oh no don't get a scratch girl no one will love you for being a badass, said no one.
  • 4 9
flag preach (Apr 17, 2015 at 18:20) (Below Threshold)
 Nice try with the politically correct BS. Let the video and raw data speak for itself on who goes faster and bigger. And take your banter to the democrats
  • 5 1
 Signed into my account just to get this comment recognized!!!^^^ help the ladies out too!
  • 8 4
 I met palmer today, got his autograph, and asked him exactly this. Why no girls on the downhill team, there's some fast ones out there? He replied with "well maybe in cross-country," grounded then walked away. Legend. kind of a douche.
  • 1 1
  • 4 4
 Given the above lineup... I would definitely pick the guy in the middle as the scumbag thief, just look how he wears that hat.

Intense CEO:
"What he steals and who he steals from is none of my business. What does bother me are those damn sunglasses blocking my logo! He's off the team!"
  • 9 1
 Palmer in charge of the development of a team of 15-18 year old girls? There's so many ways that could go wrong...
  • 6 6
 Very true! My old bosses brother raced motocross so she was hanging out with Palmer one night, he was super drunk and asked her for a bj, cause her boyfriend had told Palmer she was really good at them.
  • 6 2
 I would really support a big name company if they started a simillar program but for girls/Women.. Palmer is just afraid that girls can outrun him on a bike these days..
  • 4 1
 Well considering they're now working with Palm & Lopes, my guess is Intense is on a quest to be all the douche they can be. Maybe not, maybe it's just a coinkydink. Or maybe it's 'cuz no one really flies a f*ck about girls racing. Blank Stare
  • 1 2
 Go douche or go home. Don't fuck with the IE!
  • 35 0
 Kenny Powers!
  • 4 1
 Sad but true.
  • 7 3
 That's a massive change compared to what was originally announced. It went from "top 5 WC rider" to "promising young WC riders" to "promising young riders from US and Europe" to "promising young riders". Now let's see the positive: it's good to get some young guns get some support.

Also the comment of that Palmer has always been racing is quite funny as Palmer himself said this winter that it was a bunch of time he hadn't approached a bike.

Obviously Intense needs to polish its communication strategy!
  • 2 0
 Palmer does not age well :/
  • 25 2
 Palmer, a legend. Yes. Role model. NO
  • 15 0
 It's pretty exciting that the US race scene is looking to have more local support for riders in the coming years. Now lets just hope that the races and race series continue to succeed so that the newly supported riders have a place to race.
  • 5 0
 Bring back MSC series.
  • 1 0
 Yes! What warrens ^^^ said. Bring back MSC! I live in Denver and really miss it!
  • 20 1
 They better get some tattoos on those kids, otherwise whats the point???
  • 30 14
 Warren Kniss IS A THEIF! He was suspended from the 2014 Gravity Nationals, for stealing!
  • 7 4
 dude, you are doing a pretty serious acussation here, you better be 100% sure of what you are saying. This might cost the kid the spot in the team.
  • 14 7
 People make mistakes.
  • 29 10
 Its all on camera and USAC suspended him at nationals in Angelfire bike park in 2014! He stole my 100% goggles and was Caught on camera and was also kicked off the team that he raced for, ( some sort of TLD specialized team last year) for the year of 2014. 100% sure! look it up he did not race nationals last year because he had intentionally taken other peoples property!
  • 8 4

Camera doesn't lie.
  • 3 3
 classy Twitter account:

"Don't drive a vagina it will get ran through lmao aye"
  • 16 11
 Dude he's a minor for one thing, and secondly, every person (especially young, and especially in usa) has the opportunity to right his ship and right his wrongs if done so.
No need for the Scarlett letter, unless a person makes the same mistake twice.
  • 13 9
 pretty sure he learned a lot from this mistake and there is no need to punish him more for that kind of thing...
  • 6 5
 I'm sure the kid is a great rider, but when you work hard for bikes, parts, gear, etc and someone steals it, FK that. If he paid for his crime and learned from it, good for him.
  • 15 1
 I hope he's reading this thread and understands the repercussions of his actions. Yes, we do make mistakes growing up, but some people never learn. I hope, for your sake Warren, that you have learned your lesson. As for the people harmed by your actions, I hope they can one day find it in themselves to forgive you.
  • 28 14
 Is it stealing when one rich kid takes another rich kids stuff???
  • 1 15
flag Sebastes (Apr 17, 2015 at 8:35) (Below Threshold)
 If you are going to accuse him of something, you should at least spell it right.
  • 7 0
 Unrooted Hahaha
  • 13 4
 Dude, not cool. As you stated yourself, the guy has already suffered the consequences of his actions and has hopefully learned from it. Is stealing right? Hell no. Would I be angry? Absolutely. Continuing to tarnish his name because he stole some goggles is not right either. Should he be banned from every team because of this? I hope we live in a time where we can forgive for past actions and move forward with second chances.
  • 3 1
  • 8 3
 I will put it bluntly: He is a young and dumb shitbird for stealing, and deserved his punishment in 2014. With that said, I am sure the Intense team knows about the incident and hopefully they gave him an ultimatum of some sorts as a condition for riding on the team. Sean Palmer was known for a lot of things in his hey-day, but stealing wasn't one of them. I say he deserves another shot due to his talent, but zero tolerance for another such act. In my soldiering profession I have witnessed many a young warriors do stupid things when they were young privates, but turn out to be great NCOs. Just my two bits from personal experience.
  • 9 4
 allegedly stole a pair of KTMKTM625's goggles? better burn him at the stake/attempt to ruin his career
  • 5 2
 @bikesandfun: there is no 'alleged' about it. Apparently he was caught on camera. What I am saying is that the Intense team more than likely knows about it. With that said, I am sure they set some conditions on his place in the team. F$$ck yeah, ruin his career if he does it again, but if he doesn't then let him continue to ride at an elite level with the opportunities that young riders need to progress in the sport. In my younger days I would have said "F the dude," but being a little more older and have experienced some shit in my life I say let him learn and grow, but with some controls in place.

You come off as believing that all should be forgiven by virtue of his talent. Clarify what it is you are trying to convey when you state that "better to burn him at the stake/attempt to ruin his career." When pointing out a problem, always present a solution to said problem, never just harp on the problem at hand. My continued frustration with Pinkbike posters is that there seems to be a lack of maturity and common sense. To the masses, take that as you will, but it is a problem on these boards.
  • 4 2
 @CaliCol My original comment was just a sarcastic way of saying that I don't think it's all that big of a deal. I say alleged because we're just taking some random person's word who said it was caught on camera, without any way of knowing if that's even true. Also I tried looking it up and couldn't find anything about, but that's beside the point. I totally agree with your comment on him stealing not being ok and it shouldn't be completely ignored, but I don't think one relatively small offense should block him from being able to be picked up by a race team and have a chance to prove himself like you said.
  • 2 0
 @bikesandfun: Roger, I understand what you're saying. No harm, no foul!
  • 13 1
 at first I complained about Intense/Palmer team not racing WC this year, but now that I see their team of young guns and the effort they put on it I like it, some of they will make it to the WC some year that's for sure, I like this long term plan approach, hopefully they don't get off track.
  • 9 2
 "This is where our roots are. Intense invented the downhill bike. This is where we need to be.
Intense CEO Andrew Herrick"
Wow invented the downhill bike yea? 1994 with the M1? Andrew, where you need to be is going home, your drunk
  • 10 0
 To be fair, they might not have invented downhill racing, but they sure as shit started the process of designing bikes the right way to get them down the hill.
  • 2 0
 @deadbeat: so, who invented the downhill bike? Orange (I am assuming you are UK biased)? Or, Santa Cruz with the Super 8? Maybe MTN Cycle with the San Andreas? My personal opinion is Foes, with their complimentary F-1 Fork. Intense was in the running for originator, but there were many companies in that time frame that were in the market with great (at the time ) designs.
  • 2 0
 Yea no denying Intense set the standard for DH bikes in the mid-late 90's. As far as inventing the DH bike - dh bikes have evolved from downhill racing. from fully ridged steel cruisers to what we see today. For me one of the first downhill specific bikes is the Peugeot teamline kl 5000 (1993) fully suspended, sachs rear disc and hydro actuated cantilever front brake, no front derailleur, 48 tooth chainring and a weight of around 17kg. Then the Cannondale super V DH (1995) Plenty of dual suspension bikes that were used for DH in the early 90's but like early M1's they all ran front derailleurs and were not 100% dedicated dh bikes. Intense had a massive impact with the 96 -99 M1's but they didn't invent the Downhill bike it's more likely Downhill invented Intense.
  • 2 0
 The original super v was the first commercial success of a non-diamond shape frame bike. That "Y" shape was revolutionary. Still made to this with all them crappy Walmart bikes. The dh 4000 was that on steroids. Both the super v and San Andreas cam out in 1993. That bike was revolutionary as well.

I give props to Cannondale for being at the forefront of DH Design.
First - Super V
Second - DH 4000
Third - DH 4000 Dual Fulcrum
All these designs are still used today.
Volvo-Cannondale team was the envy of all others.
  • 10 1
 Someone get Palmer a razor
  • 9 1
 Wow! That painting! Who gives a f*ck about the seat tube anymore?
  • 6 0
 Seen Napalm's old M1 has inspired me to bring my '02 M1 frame out of retirement and build it up again. Also love the M16 America F*ck Yeah !!!
  • 3 0
 Do it!!
  • 7 3
 it might be a logistical or schooling limitation, but I wished they tried to recruit from other geographical parts of the country. Plenty of talented groms here on the East Coast!
  • 6 0
 While im from the west coast I thought it was odd that all the riders are from this coast. Plenty of talent across the US.
  • 7 0
 I'm guessing it's just a logistical limitation. They probably want their team to be together so they can service the bikes and show unity at races.
  • 3 1
 You were suppose to apply to be on the team then palmer looked over the applications and decided.
  • 1 0
 Being biased myself with the "west is the best" attitude, I was surprised that there were only west coast riders. Don't get me wrong, west coast kills it, but there is a huge pool of talent from the rest of the X amount of sates that have legitimate downhill riding available.
  • 7 1
 Nik Nestoroff beat the entire pro field except Aaron Gwin as a Junior X this year at Reaper Madness. Keep an eye on him!
  • 6 0
 So does that mean palmer will be actually racing?
  • 5 0
 Lets hope so. It would be great to see him back on the hill shredding.
  • 2 0
 Oh yes a bit of old skook thrashing
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Look out Master's Division!
  • 2 1
  • 5 0
 Can we please get an Enduro and/or Dh race in Big Bear/Snow Summit????
It's looooong overdo and we are ready for it!!!
  • 3 0
 They raced enduro at snow summit last year and have 2 enduro races planned for this year .
  • 1 0
 Do they do any of the runs any of us would be familiar with (Miracle Mile, Party Wave, Westridge), or do they prep something specifically for these races?
  • 2 0
 No. Its not really a race at Bear. You use the chair lift to get up and ride down to trails off Summits property
  • 7 1
 Nik nestoroff is going to be a top guy in a few years, mark my words.
  • 2 1
 No doubt, kid is incredibly fast
  • 4 1
 I'll gift any of this team a free entry to this years Rose Bikes BDS race series in the UK.
We're at Fort William May 16/17th and then Llangollen May 30/31st. We even have a 40-49 class..
  • 1 0
 that side by side photo shows just how retro-styled the M16 is! its got Palmers fingerprints all over the design plans. plus its name harks back to the 'Nam war. We just need a rival bike co to bring out the 'AK47'. What about Benderoni riding an NS Bikes AK47? (sorry on the basis that Poland is next to Russia)
  • 7 6
 How AWESOME that someone who has that much talent (Shaun Palmer) and a winning career decides to help young upcoming stars to make it to the big league. These young riders are our future of the sport we love. All the negative comments towards Warren are totally uncalled for; kids/people make mistakes and everyone deserves a second chance, if you have never made a mistake then you can cast stones otherwise let it go!
  • 5 1
 Wow one decently reasonable person on this website...applause.
  • 4 0
 Is this a Motley crew then?
  • 2 0
 Hell yeah it is
  • 4 1
 Gibb Nation, represent. Go get em Josh.
  • 6 5
 Everyone quit whining over this female inequality crap....The mentality is changing just hang in there. If you want a female racing team go build one!!!!!
  • 2 0
 Here come the "Palmer rage" comments, this is gonna be good.
  • 3 0
 "Visibly proud" ulp
  • 3 1
 Keeping dousing the Haterade. Pour it on. It'll wash off. America!!!!
  • 2 0
 Check spelling pinkbike. half article is SHUAN ? SHAUN !!
  • 2 0
 That paintjob looks rad actually
  • 3 1
 and they say there's no diversity in mountain biking...
  • 1 0
 What a bunch of nerds.... Look out for the nerds, they'll kick your ass!!!!!
  • 2 0
  • 2 1
 love palmer. and at least he is not wearing that silly cap anymore! haha
  • 4 0
 Hey Palm.....bring back the cap Smile
  • 3 3
 "Intense invented the downhill bike." Riiiiight...
  • 2 1
 send them to europe, buy them a motorhome and have them race wc!
  • 2 1
 Has Shaun Palmer ever won a World Cup?
  • 1 0
 BTW, Stay the hell away from my daughter......
  • 2 1
 Palmer's a tosser. And a bad loser.
  • 1 0
 "Intense invented the downhill bike". Wow. That's some claim!
  • 1 0
 Awesome job Josh Big Grin . That's pretty awesome.
  • 1 2
 If I squint my eyes I see a SC V10c and when I don't squint I see a SC V10c some body has been working together....
  • 1 1
 Where's this World Cup team?
  • 4 5
 Still for the life of me can't figure out that M16 seat tube...
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