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First Ride: The New Intense Tracer 279

Aug 16, 2021 at 12:58
by Matt Beer  


The Tracer has been a staple in the Intense lineup for over two decades as a long travel, heavy hitting trail and enduro bike. The latest version was developed with two different size wheels based on input from Intense's athletes. Bikes with a 29" front wheel and a 27.5" rear may not roll over obstacles with the same ease as full 29ers, but during extended enduro stages, mixed wheeled bikes can be much easier to manipulate, particularly for shorter riders.

If the Tracer 279 looks like the most recent M279 downhill prototype bike, that’s because Intense used their findings from that build process and applied them to a bike that can pedal uphill, as well as thrash the descents.

Intense Tracer 279 Details

• VPP suspension
• MX wheel only - 29" F, 27.5" R
• Carbon frame
• Travel: 170mm front, rear N/A
• Head angle: N/A
• Effective seat angle: N/A
• Chainstay length: 445 mm
• Wheelbase: 1280mm
• Weight: N/A
• Price: N/A
intensecycles.com

The carbon Tracer I spent time on was covered with Intense's hazard camo prototype decals, but it's unlikely that the frame will undergo many changes before production. Intense wanted to give us sneak peak without indulging in a typical "First Ride" pre-release of the bike. Furthermore, the geometry, weight, and build kits could change depending on what parts will be specified. Due to Covid supply chain issues, the project has taken longer than anticipated.


Frame Details

Jeff Steber, Intense’s founder, has always held a high regard for detail. The built-in look of the seat clamp lines up with the seat tube brace neatly, which carries over from previous Tracer, and the top tube runs straight into the head tube, avoiding a bulbous, "gas-tank" shape. The striking lines of the frame aren’t the only thing that make this bike stand out from the crowd. Onboard tool storage is something we often see on enduro race bikes and below the monstrous bottom bracket area hides a clever tool storage compartment. Another gadget is the lever that slides out of the rear axle for tool-free wheel removal, and the rear triangle has a tidy fender molded around the yokes to keep any debris out of the linkage.

Similar to the M279 prototype, the shock is now driven by the lower link, rotating around the BB with two positions to change the geometry and kinematics. The shock and linkage are offset to the non-drive side and the left crank arm runs tight to the frame. We've seen this before from brands like Devinci and Evil, to name a few, but the idea is to maximize the real estate there to create a wider, stiffer bottom bracket area and produce a better chainline. However, the lower shock eyelet does not ride on bearings like you'd find on some other VPP bikes. With the amount of rotation at this point, I expected to find more than a regular DU bushing there.

Tool storage - check. Fender - check. Hidden rear axle lever - check. Water bottle inside the front triangle - check.
Since this was a prototype, we may see the inclusion of 4 cable ports at the head tube for those who run their brakes moto style.

Frame Details

Although the geometry and specifications weren't provided during my initial ride on the bike, the updated Tracer follows the lower, longer, slacker trend. Intense stated that even though the carbon molds are set, the geometry could slightly change due to different linkage dimensions or the change in axle to crown lengths between different fork manufacturers.

A tape measure and iPhone angle finder did tell us a few measurements, such as the 450 mm seat tube and the 445 mm chainstays. Even with a 200 mm dropper post, I had enough clearance while descending with 80 mm of post still above the seat clamp. The angles seemed to fall in around the new normal - near 77º for the seat tube and 64º for the head tube. For a size large, the reach felt in the realm of 475 - 480mm with a 112 mm head tube length.

Taking into consideration that the previous Tracer had 165 mm of rear wheel travel and the bike we rode had a 170 mm fork installed, I think it's safe to say the Tracer 279 will land around 170 mm. The frame accepts a trunnion mount air or coil shock and there are two shock settings on the lower link. Most readers will be pleased to find ordinary Boost 148mm rear hub spacing, a threaded bottom bracket, a 31.6mm seat post, and a common ZS44 / ZS56 head set.


Ride Impressions

Whistler's valley trails are primarily made up of advanced, technical singletrack with a lot of steep chutes, rock rolls and rooty bits that demand confidence and control - what better of a place for a shakedown? Chris Kovarik had built this Tracer 279 with his personal choice of equipment, including some Magura brakes with huge floating rotors, Maxxis DH casing tires, sturdy Chromag bits, and a Fox 38 fork and DHX2 shock. Touting a build like that, I felt ready to tackle some gnarly moves on a foreign bike.

The Tracer was the first MX bike that still gave me that secure "in the bike' sensation that is usually reserved to describe some 29ers. The center of gravity and stand over height are lower than some other 4-bar bikes, which attributed to confidence while descending. The bike wants to push you over obstacles instead into them, keeping your body weight centered and refrained from being pitched forwards. The dynamic geometry let me climb and pedal through rough sections without stomping the pedals into the ground. The steep seat angle kept my weight forward without popping wheelies, but was easy to manage rear wheel traction on the dreaded Whistler Flank climbs.

We started out with a heavier 500 lbs spring rate in the high setting, but dialled it down for the next half of the day and switched to the low setting. The bike stayed free of crank strikes when we went to a 450 lbs spring and felt more aggressive in stature as it sagged lower; perfect for the bike park laps ahead. The frame's progression in the low BB setting never let me reach the very end of the travel. Aaron Gwin did have a lot of input on this bike and has been know to like a progressive setup.


It seemed like that last 10-15% of travel was reserved for the worst of impacts that only Gwin could endure and despite my best efforts to launch further than usual, I never got there. That didn't seem to slow me down and the small bump traction remained active, but that ramp kicked in a little earlier on impacts that didn't match where the fork was in travel. Sometimes there is a downside to this. The bike can store a lot of energy on those big hits and launch the rear wheel back before you can adjust your body weight, aka: going OTB. But, those huge compressions were still managed predictably. I adapted to the benefits of having that support deeper in the travel, carrying more speed when pushing into jumps and turns. If I had more time on the Tracer, adding a volume spacer to the fork to match the frame kinematics or dropping down in spring rate to a 425 lb spring might be the ticket.

With its generous stack and low center of gravity, it can certainly become a bike that helps you stand tall and strong (think Danny Hart posture). At times, I wished the head angle complemented this and was a touch more aggressive to allow me to attack with that extra 10%. Other bikes in competition with the Tracer, like the Transition Spire carbon, offer that kind of stance in a full 29er. It would be interesting to put these two toe to toe in a timed test to see if the Spire's lighter weight build and bigger rear wheel could take on the Tracer.

That smaller 27.5” wheel combined with the size large that I rode was easily managed on the tight, technical Whistler valley trails. Through consecutive turns, the bike was easy to tip side to side with the smaller rear wheel and the 445mm chainstay struck a great balance between the speed that this bike can hold and maneuverability in the jank.

To summarize, aggressive riders will be content with the Tracer as their only bike, especially if they live near a chairlift or shuttle zone. It has that confidence to try and keep up with downhill bikes in serious terrain and is more energetic than those beasts on jump trails, yet it has the angles and suspension to make it work for climbing. Yes, it's going to be a bit more of a slog than a 14kg, 150 mm, dual 29er on the climbs, but it's ability to charge the descents will likely leave the other all-rounders behind.


275 Comments

  • 219 79
 Intense: "Hey Santa Cruz can I copy your homework?"
Santa Cruz: "Sure just change a few thing so it's not obvious"
  • 32 2
 I know it's a joke but I'm just curious - isn't the VPP a suspension design that can be licensed by any bike company, though it's mostly associated with Santa Cruz? Kinda like the DW-link suspension?
  • 15 5
 @Thebluelion: That is correct. I believe the Patent on VPP expired a few weeks ago and is now available for any company can use.
  • 179 14
 They did/do not copy. They developed VPP together with Santa Cruz, back in the days.
  • 110 3
 @Morrrice: They both licensed the VPP design. I believe a company called Outland invented it.

kudos
  • 20 6
 @Morrrice: Right, where have these idiots been, N/A
  • 25 0
 @Morrrice is correct. Joint venture. VPP was purchased from Outland & jointly developed with Intense so they could pursue all sorts of linkage variations to see what was possible with the tech.
  • 10 0
 @a100steaksauce: that’s correct. Outland originally held the patent and intense and santacruz acquired the licence. I forget his last name but I believe a Canadian guy named James .. came up with the original VPP design… anyone on here able to verify that?
  • 7 3
 Haha, finally proof that Santa Cruz don’t have to make every bike look exactly the same even though the suspension setup is the same.
  • 47 0
 @caradock: to be specific, Santa Cruz purchased it when Outland went under and Rob from SC went to Jeff at Intense and offered him exclusive rights to use it along with SC to help push VPP as at the time Intense had more industry swagger than SC.

They'd both been working on lower shock frame design's since the early 2010's for long travel mini DH bikes and had long had the V10 and M3/6/9/16/29 lower link driven bikes.
  • 5 0
 @caradock: this is a correct statement. the brainchild of two fellas from canada, james being one of them. back in the day it was a tricky bike to work on, butttttt damn fun to ride.
  • 13 0
 The original Outland at the time was SOOOO cool looking:

www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeSpecs.aspx?item=71411
  • 26 0
 "(...) Jeff [Steber] already knew about the VPP concept and when we contacted him, he was very interested. I talked over the details with Jeff and we gave Intense the exclusive rites to the patents that we purchased." -Rob

"Santa Cruz asked me to help develop the design. They figured that, between the two of us, we could come up with something another level better." -Jeff

MBA has a interview from 2001 about VPP with Rob Roskopp (SC) and Jeff Steber (Intense) here:
mbaction.com/the-return-of-the-virtual-pivot-pointmay-15
  • 2 1
 @dbarnes6891: VPP is a common design and I believe the patent has been in the public domain for a while now.

SC and Intense "VPP"s patent is about a vpp system with the 2 links counter rotating, which appears to also have expired since a couple of years.
  • 5 0
 @caradock: Jamie Calon from Calgary.
  • 3 0
 Nice looking bike
  • 13 0
 This thread was an amazing journey down memory lane. Nice recollection from everyone.
  • 1 0
 @gui21st: I knew it was something along those lines.
  • 3 0
 @castlemtn: thank you Smile

Do you recall James last name? I actually rode for Outland back in the day and met James many times. Rad bikes and a massive nightmare to maintain. The bushing pivots needed changing every few weeks. Bikes are so much better now.
  • 1 0
 @a100steaksauce: correct sir. Canadian company.
  • 1 0
 @travis-the-tailor: that’s right!! Thank you. What’s James doing now?
  • 2 0
 @caradock: Pres of 54Blue(com). I don't know him personally, just have mutual friends and I'm a fan of his work.
  • 4 0
 @caradock: Jamie Calon and James Klassen were the two Outland bikes dudes who developed VPP in Calgary back in the 90s
  • 11 0
 The ironic thing about VPP now is that back then, it was such a game changer because it let you pedal the garbage/flexy bikes with archaic dampers on the long fire road sprints and far more common uphills of DH courses of the day.

VPP & GT's iDrive DH bikes felt like hardtails when you sprinted 8 or 9" of travel for 15-30 seconds on 42lb rigs. FSR style bikes did way better in rocks and roots but on flats or sprints, they pogo-ed & you'd smack pedals almost every stroke.

You felt like you were gaining 5 seconds every sprint on VPP & iDrive.
  • 14 1
 @Morrrice: It's quite funny how he got upvoted so much for such an uneducated comment lol. These kids need to do their homework before they make stupid comments lol.
  • 1 0
 @qman11: cheers
  • 1 0
 Différent color rho
  • 1 0
 @a100steaksauce: Yes. This is it.
  • 2 0
 @dbarnes6891: you're partly right, however it's been a handful of years now (I think 3 or 4). Other bikes are using the design now for a few years, notably Diamondback and DMR.
  • 3 0
 @caradock: it was invented by a chap called Victor Peter Penderson.
  • 1 0
 But Horst Link on multitudes of brands not a problem. Why is that @wiesejunge? Your just coping others biases. (Pun Intended !)
  • 1 0
 I dunno if anyone’s ever ridden a bike without pedal kickback but boy it’s pretty incredible.
  • 1 1
 @Vlad-Putin: But remember....it's a concept, not a reality according to all the design nerds. Beer

I really miss the way DW-Link Sunday's & DHR's felt through chunk. Would love to afford a Pivot just to see if they feel as good. And a Commencal. But I'm not made of money
  • 11 0
 @wiesejunge - bother to learn some MTB history before commenting dude! Intense and SC have had parallel designs for years now due to their joint VPP heritage. Cant belive the # of upvotes wiesejunge got. Shame on you pinkers!
  • 1 0
 @caradock: Jamie calon
  • 1 0
 @caradock: saw him in Fernie last week with Todd Schulich. he's riding bikes and livin the llife..as fit as ever
  • 1 0
 @travis-the-tailor: 54Blue did a shop remodel for The Bike Shop a bunch of years ago when I worked there. Was pretty cool to talk to James and a bunch of the other guys who used to work at techno sport who are reps now. Learned about the development of that bike. Wild that the tech and bike came from Calgary and not like a single person knows about it. Cool story.
  • 1 0
 @castlemtn: what was he riding?
  • 1 0
 @bonfire: we saw them at the pub, but he was speaking of his Santacruz very highly. he is 10 foot tall so most likely a tall boy or hightower or what ever SC has that fits him
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse:

I think we’re all missing something really important here- that bike appears to be 1X! No front mech in sight.
  • 2 0
 @blowmyfuse: So many undersized bushings. Bike was amazing for like two rides, and then then whole back end wiggled all over the place from the bushing slop.
  • 1 0
 @a100steaksauce: yep, I've got an outland frame with VPP sticker in place.
  • 1 0
 @qman11:
James Klassen was Outland Snowboards before the bikes came along.
His boards had metal edges and could turn on hard snow at a time when the “big” names of the time like Sims and Burton were still using fins.
  • 1 0
 I really liked that original Outland bike. I didn't understand how the suspension worked, but I wanted one bad. That and the Turners and before that the Manatou frames. I had to settle for an Access/SuperGo hardtail.
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: okay, not gonna lie, that wasn't what was expecting after reading your SOOOO.
  • 1 0
 They should have kept it in a high quality aluminium for a point of difference
  • 1 0
 @marcinjonczyk: it’s funny to re-read that interview now. Was Santa Cruz already bigger than intense then? Did Roskopp give intense exclusive rights knowing they wouldn’t execute anywhere near as well as SC would? A sort of backhanded compliment, SC kneecapped Intense who have been on a steady downward slide.
  • 1 0
 @Vlad-Putin: No, Intense was way bigger on the DH scene back then. Basically owning the field with the M1. Roskopp just "found" the invention and needed Intense's to help develop and get it to market.
  • 2 0
 @Vlad-Putin: Intense got hit hard by the same thing that Turner Suspension Bicycles did. A complete shift in ALL things MTB. They were producing custom aluminum 26" bikes as the market was flipping on it's head.

27.5 & 29 both came to market and consumers were all over the place purchase wise, triple chainrings were being pushed out by double chainrings & 10 speeds and then the narrow wide, single rings hit. It all put aluminum independents at a loss for what to build and build in any sort of volume.

Santa Cruz to my knowledge had already moved to off shore ordering, Intense went through a restructuring at the same time and boom....carbon everything was an obsession & Intense was left with an alloy business model, 3 different wheel sizes to try to support & a small production team & facility pumping out alloy when Santa Cruz was producing carbon DH & trail rigs from overseas.
  • 2 0
 @blowmyfuse: I remember something from Ridemonkey a few years ago that the guy from Tantrum cycles had also tried to get Jeff to make his alloy frames but they had just sold off a bunch of their large scale manufacturing equipment because of new Cali regulations that they couldn't afford to swing.

The fact their still trying so hard is amazing and they're able to proto stuff by hand super fast which is rad. I was running the current gen tracer for two seasons and it was amazing. I get people may not love the paint but that doesn't dictate how it rides
  • 1 0
 @TheBrosCloset: It's funny you mention the paint. The paint finishes and logo placement that Santa Cruz put on their bikes during that initial VPP roll out and as Bryceland made his way through the brand seemed to sell the heck out of their bikes. Nothing garish or loud...just muted tones and unique color combos.

The Santa Cruz brand (especially the logo and font) has had a visual appeal and I think if you painted their bike with some of the Intense paint/color schemes of the same time period, they'd not sell as well.

I have a marketing degree. I hate marketing for that very reason. The public just wants stuff cause they want it.
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: I think you're about 10 years off there. Noone was making carbon DH bikes or running 27,5" wheels in 2001 when the VPP coop started.
  • 1 0
 @megatryn: Only referring to market shifts & production methods, not the VPP tech
  • 62 0
 Okay so how many quick links are in that chain?
  • 14 0
 at first I thought it was "only" 4 but after closer inspection it appears to be 7
  • 4 0
 I count 6! lol
  • 11 0
 @er043: oh my god. the bottom of the chainring in the second picture has two back-to-back. there's 8
  • 3 0
 Is that a Chromag DJ saddle?
  • 5 0
 I´m impressed they could resist putting in oil slick or golden quick links.
  • 19 1
 @GotchaJimmy: holy f*ckballs, you're right!

did he build this chain from a coffee can of chain bits in the back of the shop?
  • 2 0
 @conoat: I guess! If it makes the bike go forward, might as well do it
  • 3 1
 calm down. its a prototype =p
  • 3 0
 @krazieghost: it's funny
  • 16 0
 Chains are hard to find so make new ones from leftovers
  • 12 0
 Makes the chain almost worth more than the bike for how hard quick links are to come by.
  • 2 0
 Hahahahaha never seen so many!
  • 5 0
 Have heard that Sram is back ordered until late 2022 or early 2023 on chains currently
  • 6 0
 At least he knows where he has them stored for when he needs one.
  • 3 0
 Gwin rides em. Needs to be ready when he breaks em.
  • 7 0
 Goes to show where we are are with procurement issues. I bet it’s made up from the off cuts of several other bike chains.
  • 3 0
 Look at the main picture at the top. That chain is seriously f-ed up short too. Look at the rear mech position and it's not even close to 1st gear. That chain will never make it to 1st without snapping the mech.
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: woah you're right!
  • 2 0
 @jakewashere: some say that's all his chain is made of.
  • 3 0
 @conoat: That’s my guess. It’s hard to find Eagle chains at the moment in Whistler or anywhere I’ve checked on line. I haven’t checked in a month or so though. A bit sketchy though. Might even say intense.
  • 6 0
 Well, when SRAM cant get you chains till '23 at the earliest you make due with what you've got...
  • 2 0
 this is the state of the world. they have time to run two chains on high pivot bikes for pseudo science projects but not enough chains for a bike test...
  • 86 31
 Intense has clearly the most hideous paint schemes out there. But they stick to their guns!
  • 18 4
 I don’t mind them.
  • 19 0
 Agree on this one. Please @intensecyclesusa mellow out on some of your colorways and keep your frame pricing 10-15% cheaper that brands that aren't direct to consumer.

P.S. I like the direction you're headed with this new 279.
  • 22 5
 Honestly it’s time for intense to hire an actual graphic designer. It’s not really hard. Just use solid high quality paint in multiple coats and resist the stupid decals.
  • 12 1
 @ATXZJ: it's the regular intense prototype paint that's on all their proto bikes. It's not a production color.
  • 6 0
 This has Proto camo on it in Van Halen pattern.
  • 8 1
 @TheBrosCloset: I completely understand that. All it takes is a trip to their site to see the color way carnage. Fingers crossed they just go a little more subtle (refined) on the newer offerings.
  • 2 4
 I clicked on the link just to see. Yep, still ugly.
  • 1 1
 Final product will not look like that. Google "Prototype Camouflage". Done to conceal lines and details in the auto industry. I am sure it is a play on that.
  • 1 0
 This is a prototype bike, all the Intense prototypes have that EVH striped thing going on.
  • 12 1
 @DHRAW: I get that, but as someone else said, look at any of their bikes over the last 5-7 years and tell me Stevie Wonder didn’t come up with the color schemes. They make great bikes. They’re just ugly.
  • 4 1
 @DHRAW: And that said, I know some of you color-blind mugs go for that, and that’s OK. To each their own. But I’d urge you to please check with your wife before you go out wearing whatever you’re wearing
  • 3 0
 YES! The logo... The paint.... The color... Its way way to much. The silhouette of the bike looks awesome. These things are really holding this company back. IMO.
  • 6 0
 @sschultz: I do think they’d sell a few more bikes if they tightened up the paint jobs a bit. They are really solid bikes that ride great.

They had a Tracer in 2013 or 14 or so that was absolutely beautiful. Deep red and black. They even sold a special edition green version. They were so nice. Then the next year they started making it a little louder, then a little louder until they got absolutely garish.
  • 3 5
 Dude that's a proto frame. You haven't even seen the paint yet.
  • 1 0
 @mybaben: The trouble is the proto paintjobs don’t look any better than the production ones!
  • 29 1
 I still think if Intense went back to boutique aluminum bikes they would kill it. Their bikes were beautiful and the welds themselves were art. Raw aluminum please. Just do it.
  • 13 0
 Except hand made in USA Alloy frames would likely cost the same if not more than Carbon. Then people would say "if only it were Carbon for that price"...................
  • 1 0
 Was thinking the same thing, especially with the resurgence of aluminum frames. Have an old Spider 2 raw (26") frame hanging on my wall. Loved riding that bike and still love looking at it. Friends that don't ride but know something about welding have all commented on the welds at one time or another.

However, I agree with the other comment that the market might not accept the price. No way to weld in Cali and compete with Banshee on price, and Banshee's geo and linkage design are good.
  • 9 0
 @muscogeemasher: As someone who was a production welder/fabricator in Southern California, I call bullshit on that.
  • 3 0
 I'd jump on one for sure especially if it's a Jeff Steber made in USA special. Those Intense prototype DH frames are sick!
  • 6 0
 Am i the only one that remembers all the made in the U.S.A. aluminum frames from intense cracking and breaking years ago? Lol maybe not the first company i would look at to build me a frame…..
  • 3 0
 @drunknride: dunno what to tell you. Maybe my friends don’t know know as much as I think they do? They are definitely not welders. I just know those welds look different, thicker, and more uniform than I’ve seen on any other production bike.

Now as to intense, frame alignment, and snapped rear triangles, there were definitely some issues. And there’s no way my brain would let my heart go through with a new one, but it’s still fun to remember what the way they tried to do things stood for.
  • 2 0
 @muscogeemasher: My fault for not clarifying; my comment was directed at price to weld it in California not being feasible. I still have a 2012 951, the welds are awesome.
  • 1 0
 @drunknride: ahhh. Makes more sense and my only basis for the cost comment is everything you read in popular press re American manufacturing and some of the msrp on us-made bike stuff. Would be super cool of it could be done in US with competitive pricing. if that’s the case, wonder even more why Intense doesn’t give it a go. Do they really have that much to lose at this point?
  • 1 0
 @muscogeemasher: If I had to guess it probably has more to do with not being tooled up to do the production volume they need.
  • 30 1
 Intensely interested in a trip to Costco this morning.
  • 7 0
 Get the 951 version for $10 off!
  • 3 1
 Oh snap!!
  • 2 1
 @stumphumper92: the IE 909 version comes with meth and xanex
  • 34 11
 They’ve got a race bike nobody can win on and decided to use “the findings from that build process” to make a bike that the rest of us can’t win on?

Granted, I can’t win on anything.
  • 41 2
 Isabeau was part of the process and she murdered the women’s field on this bike
  • 1 12
flag kylar (Aug 20, 2021 at 7:51) (Below Threshold)
 @Mntneer: Isabeau has been racing enduro on the M279?
  • 6 1
 Yea but to be fair, a lot of bike brands haven't won a world cup recently? Looking at the men's results since 2018, when Gwinn started getting hurt. It's basically only been Commencal, Santa Cruz, and Specialized on the top of the podiums.
  • 14 4
 @rustiegrizwold: I mean, I’m just here for the jokes and you all are coming at me with facts!

I did some looking though and bikes with elite DH wins from 2019 on are:

Specialized
Santa Cruz
Commencal
Atherton
Mondraker
Saracen
Scott
Trek
Transition
Polygon
Canyon
  • 5 0
 @kylar: Come on homes, there are other disciplines besides DH. Isabeau raced that bike in a proto mullet in EWS and crushed it.
  • 1 20
flag kylar (Aug 20, 2021 at 10:57) (Below Threshold)
 @mybaben: we’ll why didn’t the article say something to the effect of:

“This bike has been in the prototype stage for blah blah amount of time with incredible results from Isabeau” I would probably have said “Oh neat!”and moved on.

Instead, no mention of her and article says basically:

“This bike is based off of a bike that has been in the prototype stage for three years with pretty blah results from a team that currently (or maybe ever?) fields no women.”

And I’m supposed to know the first thing? I mean, c’mon, who even follows enduro?
  • 11 1
 From some measuring on my screen I would guess the HTA to be something like 63,5 or 64.
If thats true, the 1280 wheel base should result in a 470 to 480mm reach.
Has Intense finally managed to build a bike with up to date geo?
I am proud of you *sheds a tear*
  • 24 1
 I measured the bar length on my screen and it's way too short. Crossing Intense off my list.
  • 2 0
 There are angle finder apps.
  • 6 0
 That’s so German of you ! Did you had a white coat while you were measuring it?
  • 4 1
 @Pyres: An engineering joke hidden in there, I just cant find it :/
  • 2 1
 @rrolly: Better safe than sorry. Tyres also seem to be road only
  • 1 0
 I wonder if the dropper is so short due to max insert issues. Can you investigate that next please.
  • 3 0
 I also got these approximate numbers, how ever I just read the article where they tell you.
  • 1 0
 @endoplasmicreticulum: How do you know it’s an engineering joke? It’ll tell you it’s an engineering joke
  • 13 4
 The new Kool-Aid:

"during extended enduro stages, mixed wheeled bikes can be much easier to manipulate, particularly for shorter riders."

So now here's what we have:

You are tall or only ride cross country, do not like to be in the air or only race enduro at pro level speeds: 29" wheels
You are short, not racing enduro or want a "playful" bike: 27.5" wheels
You are maybe short, racing long enduro stages or need to manipulate your bike (not to be confused with playful): Mullet
You are not interested in new technology, still wear jean shorts riding and wear Pit Vipers: 26" wheels
You have given up on fitness, ride in leather chaps and argue that its simply worth it to "get more laps brah": E bike
  • 4 0
 Bollocks. I've been on the same 26 frame for 15 years and I can see how the 29/27.5 mullet is genius. Contrarian planet we live on today.
  • 5 0
 Times are good my man! As you point out, there is something for everyone. Unfortunately we also have the internet to see that other people might like different stuff and that just seems to make everyone mad. But there is a cure: Go ride your favorite bike and don't sweat the marketing!
  • 4 0
 @Sardine: mullets are the gender-neutrals of this sport. It's fear that aggravates people and creates unwarranted revulsion.
  • 1 0
 Sounds like someone hates short people Frown
  • 11 1
 148, threaded bb, internal routing with no guides, internal storage, no silly fork bump stops....Checks all the boxes on my list.
  • 4 2
 Except for trunnion mount shock, oh well . . .
  • 4 0
 @dave-f: why don't you like trunnion? Genuinely curious btw...
  • 2 3
 @dave-f: Why the problem with trunnion? Engineer here. You are talking personal opinion only.
  • 1 0
 I agree that this looks like a solid bike.

I have some concerns about that internal storage; looks like a flimsy plastic door that snaps into place in an area prone to rock strikes. If the door fails everything falls out. Hopefully the production version is solid.

I'd also like to know more about the BB-concentric lower link. It seems like that could be a hassle to live with (e.g. replace bearings) but maybe it's not bad.

Definitely the most interesting Intense in a while!
  • 1 0
 @dave-f: that's true, but maybe a choice because of popularity, not because they're relying on the shock for linkage stiffness.
  • 16 0
 @NZRalphy: Trunnion is an extremely stiff connection between frame and shock, which is much less tolerant of side loading or misalignment than a conventional eyelet (let alone a spherical bearing). It can be very hard on the shock as a result. A lot of shock failures are blamed on the shock manufacturer, that in my estimation are at least as much the fault of the frame as the shock itself, because shocks are really not intended to be structural members.

Besides the side loading concerns, when a standard eyelet shock bolt comes loose, usually it just rattles and you tighten it up again without damage, worst case maybe you bend or break the bolt and screw up some $20 shock hardware. However trunnion uses (usually aluminium) bolts in single shear (actually worse than true single shear since there's a spacer between the shock and the bearing too), threaded into the most expensive part of the shock, which is not available as a spare part from at least some of the shock manufacturers. As a result, something as simple as a bolt coming loose can strip out an often-unavailable spare part, resulting in you needing a whole new shock. This doesn't happen all that often fortunately, but when it does it's no fun for anyone.

I can't see many legit advantages to trunnion mounts to be honest, other than giving you a shorter eye to eye length overall which may be beneficial in some frame designs/sizes where another 25mm of shock length would be a clearance problem. Is trunnion mount The Worst Thing Ever? No, there are plenty of people riding trunnion mount bikes without issues, but there is no question that it is harder on the shocks themselves. Gets even harder on the shock on some bikes that have trunnion at one end to shorten the shock, then a clevis at the other end to lengthen it.
  • 4 0
 @VorsprungSuspension: Yes! And Intense has screwed this up before: I owned a 1st gen Sniper, a great and fun bike in may respects but it has a horizontal trunnion shock with the trunnion attached directly to the upper link. Rear end flex is therefore transmitted directly to the shock, and my bike killed like 3 shocks before I figured this out. Just a bad design.
  • 1 0
 @VorsprungSuspension: Interesting take. Makes a lot of sense. Are we thinking of it backwards though? Is the shock too rigid or are frame manufacturers just not held to a high enough standard?

I ask because, all of my bikes from a particular manufacturer over the last 4 years have been trunnion, all have been flawless. And they use the shock in a way that uses the trunnion end as the end that sees most of the rotation which would seem to be a good use of bearings and not bushings. Granted, I do check bolt torque every other ride because I'm extra careful with everything, but they're never loose. I will admit that none of the layouts seem to have actually necessitated the shorter stack height (shock could have been taller) so that benefit is mostly lost. I guess my overall question is - all things considered, if frame stiffness could match, then why NOT use a trunnion mount shock so that you CAN have bearings instead of bushings on the part of the system with the most rotation? (of course begs the question why not just a larger eyelet and bearings in a standard eyelet then)
  • 2 0
 @agraber: I agree that using bearings is generally better than bushings, though the IGUS bushings that Fox/DVO/CC use are pretty good. However, some degree of frame flex is unavoidable even if alignment is perfect though, and given that, as you say, you can just use bearings with a normal eyelet anyway... why not just do that? Both Fox and Rockshox provide factory bearing options, and it really isn't a difficult thing to do to integrate them into the frame instead, should you want to. Using bearings with a standard eyelet mount doesn't need to be heavier or more expensive or more complicated or have any other real world detriments, in this case I believe it can be entirely better without making anything worse, but it needs to be a decision made at the frame manufacturers' end.
  • 1 0
 @VorsprungSuspension: fair enough. with any luck, this exchange will be seen by those who need to see it lol
  • 11 3
 The handle between the top tube and the seat tube to carry when you ripped off the head tube looks convenient.
  • 7 0
 first Intense I would actually buy
  • 7 0
 This might just be the one! WANT!
  • 5 0
 Agree. Really digging what they did here.
  • 4 0
 What's up with the lower guide pulley by the chainring? Not a high pivot, and not a DH bike. I'm confused as to why that's there. Is it related to the 8 quick links in the chain?
  • 1 0
 Stops lower chainslap and chain derailment... I wonder if thats gonna feature on the production model.
  • 2 0
 @AntN: "STFU" By Kovarik
  • 4 0
 "Tool storage - check. Fender - check. Hidden rear axle lever - check. Water bottle inside the front triangle - check."

Am I weird to wish for this on the future M279 as well?
  • 5 0
 my back hurts just looking at it

Gwin joke aside why so much hate? Maybe I'm skewed from lusting over Intense bikes of old but this thing looks like it's ready to go fast!
  • 4 1
 I had an UZZI back in 2004 and that thing was so much fun. I'm not a huge fan of the color/graphic but intense holds a place in my heart. Until NOW, I have not wanted one again but this thing looks awesome and big points to the bottle mounts and storage compartment.
Intense continues to be a top level, semi unique bike in my pinkbike opinionSmile
Hope everyone gets out for a ride today
  • 1 0
 "Intense continues to be a top level, semi unique bike in my pinkbike opinion"

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!
  • 29 23
 Looks like shit. Colour combos are so bad
  • 12 12
 They're graphics are the worst. Cannot understand how they decided to keep up with that stuff year after year.
  • 8 2
 That's a proto frame, it's not production. That's not what it will look like.
  • 2 5
 agree, its ugly AF
  • 4 0
 "Hazard came"? I think there's a pill you can take for that.

And since when did "MX" become an abbreviation for "mixed", and not "moto-cross"?
  • 1 0
 Yes, WTF to all of that. I think you get bonus pay for Hazard came btw. That's what she said I think
  • 4 0
 Here is a full blacked-out version that Gwin is riding:

www.instagram.com/p/CSzZ_CvFj2N/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
  • 8 4
 Is jeff steber color blind? I think that's the only thing that could explain this mess
  • 4 0
 For those that complain about the subdued SC graphics, we present you a megatower with a handle.
  • 1 0
 Their paint schemes don't bother me much. Plenty of manufacturers with the black and gray bikes dominating their lineup. That aside, I am glad to see some more bikes with in-frame storage. So many bikes wasting this additional space is a shame.
  • 3 0
 FYI -- I am told a full 29" version will also be available (Carbine Replacement I am guessing unless they combine the names like they did with the Primer)
  • 2 2
 Interesting opening line... the OG Tracer was a 100mm 'downcountry' bike 20 years before that term had been forced upon the internet, and it was a seriously rad bike. The lightest trail bike in the line up through that point was the Uzzi SL, and that thing was awesome, but it was also built around a coil shock and Intense's Uzzi style removable seat tower.... it was a big. The Tracer felt like a rocket by comparison.
  • 1 1
 It doesn't say that anywhere.
  • 1 0
 I had both. Both were brilliant. I really miss the old Uzzi and would love to hang it on the wall.
  • 4 1
 that mechanic sure didn't care about valve/rim decal/hot patch alignment. 0/10 for aesthetic
  • 4 1
 Given how often Karver destroys tyres, I'm pretty sure it wasn't high on his priority list.
  • 2 0
 445mm on a 275 rear triangle....that concerns me. The whole point of a mullet is to capture the agility of a 275 rear end, which are typically under 440 at least. Hmmmm....
  • 2 0
 I have ridden a few Intense's and have thought they performed very well. That said, shouldn't this bike be called Uzzi? Tracer was always more trail-oriented no?
  • 1 0
 So tired of industry excuses. Release it already dammit! Covid boo-hoo, production issues boo-hoo, shipping issues boo-hoo, we're still testing boo-hoo, my dog ate my homework boo-hoo. End of Rant!
  • 5 2
 Wow ! Wish i could buy right meow !
  • 3 0
 Kovariks bike build is tight
  • 3 4
 ....he can't even line the valve stems up with the tire label!
  • 1 0
 So is this the bike they are coming out with or just a heads up of something similar down the pipeline? Why a chainguide? Why so many quick links? No teaser of colors?
  • 1 0
 Heh, having dealt extensively with Intense, they don't know.
  • 2 0
 The Nomad 4 was perfect since 2018, every thing else has been a copy or remake
  • 7 8
 Is this what all the money from the bikes the sold at Costco bought? Or did that go to pay off Dungey and the other investors as they headed for the exit….

Is Gwin going to help market this thing? Or is he heading for the exit too?

If it wasn’t for Costco and selling Tazer’s to moto guys thru Parts Unlimited Intense would be deader than the rear triangle of my old 951.
  • 1 0
 isn't Dunge still part owner? have any of that group actually sold and left?
  • 1 1
 @shredddr: is he? And if so, for how long?
  • 1 2
 your comments are BRUTAL lol. i love it.
  • 2 0
 I had the V1 Tracer back in the early aughts. This might be the first version since that I’d be keen on owning. Looks fun.
  • 1 1
 I don't think you mean "n/a" for weight. You mean "we didn't weigh it because it's a prototype and we didn't have a scale". N/A for weight would mean that it is infinitely both heavy and light.
  • 1 0
 Finally ! Want that frame really bad!
Last bike I purchased from intense being abused for 6 years of bike park riding without any issues;

Time to refresh
  • 1 0
 Jesus, has outside trimmed the entire copy editing department already. Please resume editing. This loose collection of sentence fragments is painful to try to read.
  • 2 0
 Who cares if its copy from sc.. as long as its cheaper than sc, I'm in for that.
  • 1 0
 Who makes that little chain keeper thingie atop the chainstay? I recall it was an invention by a freeride downhiller racer personality, but can't recall who it is?
  • 1 0
 stfubike.com
  • 4 2
 So if I want one today, I just buy a Bronson right?
  • 4 1
 No, your Bronson will be delivered in fall ‘22
  • 1 0
 That suspension curve which I’m guessing has a softer mid stroke is great in technical terrain.
  • 4 3
 saudades de quando as marcas tinha identidade em quadros, hj são todos iguais, só muda cor e nome.
  • 2 2
 Going for the upvotes there then amigo?
  • 4 2
 can't wait 'till these hit blow out sales!
  • 2 0
 The new "Looks Like" for the bike Industry: "Looks like a Bronson"
  • 2 0
 N/A ain’t no head angle that I’ve ever heard of.
  • 1 0
 Nice little dent in the rear phase 30. Those rims are hard to dent, must have been a good whack.
  • 3 1
 Is the bike even released? Bizarre
  • 1 0
 No.
  • 1 0
 They only sell prototypes ?... Long time I only see protos from intense everywhere..
  • 3 0
 Take my money now
  • 1 0
 Me first
  • 2 1
 Looks like a.....Bronson? Wait, that doesn't sound right.
  • 2 0
 looks like a high tower
  • 1 0
 Kinda looks like a Nomad mated with one of those Spot bikes, no?
  • 2 0
 Santense!
  • 3 3
 Is their entire business model prototypes and a so-called beginner brand now?
  • 1 0
 Rear teavl is apperantly 167mm according to other sites
  • 1 0
 Do they not know the angles and travel??
  • 1 0
 Can anyone explain me what advantage of the pulley on chain guard is?
  • 1 0
 Nomad 4 has entered the chat
  • 1 0
 Anyone want to buy an S4 Enduro frame?
  • 1 0
 Any idea when these are suppose to hit the market?
  • 1 0
 Why are there 6 quick links on the chain?
  • 1 0
 mistakes were made!
  • 1 0
 Make a 29er version or I won't care.
  • 1 0
 Got this from Intense -- there is a full 29er version planned.
  • 1 0
 I love my Santa Cruz Nomad
  • 1 0
 Whoa maybe something finally nice from intense
  • 1 0
 Hey cool, an uglier, less well made Santa Cruz. Cool
  • 1 0
 I'll have mine in Black and XL please.
  • 1 0
 Hey Tracer fan bois, check out Friday Fails at 1:44. LOL
  • 2 0
 Beautiful bike
  • 1 0
 What’s going on with the HSC adjuster?
  • 1 0
 I can’t wait to get it. Hope they have other colour options
  • 1 0
 Price N/A = Not Affordable?
  • 1 0
 I will be riding this 279 model next year, I like it!
  • 1 0
 looks like the whole downtube has rubbered protection, well done intense!
  • 1 0
 I want that alloy version. BB area, NICE
  • 1 0
 I’ve always though that red, orange, and neon yellow go great together.
  • 1 0
 When can I get one at Costco
  • 1 0
 new bike same floppy rear end
  • 1 0
 Gorgeous looking machine.
  • 1 0
 Is this Santa Cruz and Ellsworth collaboration?
  • 1 0
 And info on shock size?
  • 1 0
 2.75 spring so I would guess 205/60 or maybe 65.
  • 1 0
 The alloy proto at the bottom is over a drawing showing 230x[obscured] - but that could be the DH bike, not the tracer.
  • 1 1
 Sure doesn't look like a Session - sorry Santa Cruz
  • 1 0
 Looks like an Enduro
  • 1 0
 Not really. Link in the wrong place.
  • 1 1
 Ironic we just had the Copy Cat episode of the podcast.
  • 1 1
 Intrigued by the ISCG-05 Chain tensioner, any idea what it is or for?
  • 1 6
flag er043 (Aug 20, 2021 at 7:33) (Below Threshold)
 last ditch effort to include a high pivot idler? Meh we'll just stick this bit on the bottom and hope the kids still think it's relevant.
  • 6 2
 @er043: You are an idiot. This is Chris Kovaric's personal build as it said in the text. I'm sure he has enough experience to figure out what he wants.
  • 3 5
 If the DH team isn't performing, there is no desire to own one. Top tube and rear triangle have unique, but awful graphics. Plain is the way to go.
  • 4 1
 you do realize those are just prototype camo graphics right
  • 3 1
 @WY228: considering how their bikes look in the past I really doubt its only a prototype
  • 3 0
 @stephenzkie: Just take all those stickers off and I bet that is one of the paint versions to come (simple black and red).
  • 1 0
 @stephenzkie: looks like it'll be a simpler red and black scheme. The picture showing the rear fender is likely what the rear triangle will actually look like. Just look at Gwins race bike, they always add the wacky camo to "prototypes".
  • 2 2
 Thank god it has Maxxis tires (not Kenda)
  • 1 1
 I liked it until I saw mixed wheel. Get outa here with that garbage.
  • 1 0
 A full 29er version will be released as well (info from Intense)
  • 1 4
 Blaming Covid for the release, but probably really just waiting for Gwin to get some wins since they have been working on this bike for years.
  • 1 1
 Going to have a long wait
  • 1 1
 Has been know
  • 1 1
 is there a 299?
  • 1 2
 Jim Busby created VPP
  • 2 4
 I just realized Intense still makes bikes
  • 1 3
 Intense's color designer is obviously color blind.... and 12.
  • 2 3
 FAD!!
  • 1 0
 Man, those lower-link VPP bikes look so cool, functionally. No coil shock for me though, unfortunately. Seems like a P.I.T. Buttocks for a big guy like myself.
  • 1 4
 Beautiful bike majorly let down by a horrendous colour clusterf*ck Frown
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