2016 Intense Carbon 29c Mountain Bike Review

2016-intense-29c-pro-mountain-bike
 2016-intense-29c-pro-mountain-bike

Magazine Reviews for the 2016 Intense Carbon 29c Mountain Bike (from the Intense Cycle Website)

MOUNTAIN BIKER

“If you can only have just one bike, the Spider 275C is a perfect weapon, a truly Swiss Army knife. It performs well in the most unlikely situations, it’s fast, agile, comfy and very sexy. Nominee for Trail bike of the year since now.”

[R]evolution Magazine, Australia

“Jeff and the his team of engineers extraordinary attention to design detail isn’t only apparent when you stand back and marvel at the Spider 275 Carbon in all it’s beauty… but when you hop on board and start riding this bike you instantly experience that exhilarating Intense Cycles DNA coming to life on the trail, screaming performance, fun and speed. Few, if any, 130mm travel 27.5″ bikes, feel this plush and bottomless. The Spider 275 Carbon’s JS Tuned linkage design (essentially a big leap forward from the old VPP design) sets a new benchmark. It delivers bucket loads of noticeable stiffness, and whilst fully active the efficiency of power transfer from pedal stroke to rear wheel is truly astounding. In a single word, the all-new Intense Spider 275 Carbon is, impressive. Very, very impressive! (Okay, so that was actually three words, my bad!)”

Now for the Intense Spider 29c Review from the Team at XC-MountainBike.com


First Impressions

Stunning.  Even though the suspension design is very similar to other popular brands past and present, there is something about the clean lines, graphics, components and the geometry.that feels right and looks great.  Also I am stoked on the 68.5 degree head angle, and the fact the bike  is dual purpose for both XC mounatin biking and trail riding. Also I respect Intense Cycles choice for staying with a proven suspension design and making small refinements to improve it year after year.


Paint & Colors

Very nice. I love the new graphics, as I have always leaned towards the silvers and blacks, they never seem to go out of style in my opinion.  I think Intense Cycle’s graphic team really created a look and feel that says I’m a race bike at any level of competition.


Frame Design

Spider 29C Monocoque UD Carbon Front and Rear Triangle 29” Mountain Frameset, JS Tuned Suspension, Internal Derailleur Routing, Downtube Flak Guard Armor, ISCG 05 Mount, G1 Replaceable Dropouts w/ 142 x12 mm spacing, 115 -130 mm travel

Smart cable routing and adjustable travel is another plus.


Frame Sizes

Intense offers a nice range of sizing S,M,L & XL. I wouldn’t mind seeing an XS size in the future for the smaller adult rider or youth.  I am 5’7″ and ride a small, sometimes on really wicked stuff I even wish I had an XS, so for sure if you are an aggressive rider below 5’3″ you would be best suited on an XC. The 29r wheelset makes it a serious XC machine. Some smaller riders prefer a 27.5” wheelset, but you do see a few smaller riders at the UCI World XCO level running 29” wheels and they are very competitive. Intense also offers the Intense 275 mountain bike model series for those wanting the slightly smaller wheel size, thus they have all riders covered on wheel size, as longs as you don’t need an XS.

I am very excited about the geometry being more slack and allowing for a smaller stem, while still being a very capable XC machine. At 68.5 degrees and with the option of an additional 1 degree headset from an after market vendor if you choose, there is an incredible amount of ability to adjust this frame to cover a vast majority of riding styles and terrains. I think this is a big breakthrough for the sport and hope manufactures continue this trend.

The seatpost angle is 71.2 degrees across all sizes providing a nice balance for climbing while still providing the rider with greater control on those wicked XC trails that point down.

The wheel base remains the same for 2016 (44”-47”) (1119mm-1194mm) increases with the size of the frame.  The Intense 29c mountain bike has a slightly longer wheelbase then many other manufacturers similar models making this bike slightly more stable over high speed, rough terrain like rock gardens, and a slightly more agile climber. Only a very small sacrifice will be noticed on very tight slower speed turns.


Bike Weight

Not listed as a complete bike. The frame only weight medium size is claimed to be 5 lbs. 5 oz.


Carbon  quality

Intense has an excellent reputation with it Carbon MTB frames and they seem to be fairly indestructible aside from the inherent limitations of carbon over aluminum in crashes and hard impacts.  A riding buddy of mine recently purchased the Tracer Carbon T27.5c DVO he has been taking it down insane trails with no problems from the carbon frame.  Plus Intense Cycles is offering a 5 Year Warranty on the frame which is outstanding.


Parts grouping

A few brands set up their frame packages like Intense and I really like it. They offer a frame with various color options, in this case two colors. Then they have 3 or 4 build options. In this case a factory, pro build, expert and foundation build kit. I assume the factory build is their team model? This is opposed to the companies that offer a different paint scheme that matches each level of components.

For some reason my brain just adapts better to this style if given the choice. I think part of it might be that psychologically the lower end models of other brands, which have the exact same frame just different parts and are painted a different color feel inferior. I know this is really stupid, but it is about what generates the most sales.

When I get the same color as the best model with lower parts, it just feels better. Also if you upgrade and match all the parts to the spec of the top of the line model then it is the same top of the line bike Intense sold for all practical purposes and resale. If you do that to another companies model that was a lower end model, it simply will always be that lower end model with some better parts on it. Isn’t that crazy, its just a paint color, but do you agree?


Factory Build

  • Spider 29C Monocoque UD Carbon Front and Rear Triangle 29” Mountain Frameset, JS Tuned Suspension, Internal Derailleur Routing, Downtube Flak Guard Armor, ISCG 05 Mount, G1 Replaceable Dropouts w/ 142 x12 mm spacing, 115 -130 mm travel
  • FOX FACTORY 34 FLOAT, 3 Pos Lever w/ Open Mode Adj, 29
  • FOX FACTORY FLOAT, 3 Pos Lever w/ Open Mode Adj, SV EVOL, 200 x 50 mm
  • 28 Hole DT Swiss 240 15 mm Front Hub; 142 x 12 Rear Hub w/ XD Driver, centerlock
  • DT Swiss XRC 1200 SPLINE® 29′, Tubeless Ready
  • DT Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0
  • Tires are Maxxis Ardent 29 x 2.25″, EXO TR
  • Shifters: SRAM XX1, 11 speed
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM XX1 X-Horizon Carbon, 11 speed
  • Cranks: SRAM XX1, 30T
  • Cassette: SRAM XG-1199 10-42, 11 speed
  • Saddle: Fabric Scoop Radius Pro
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 31.6 mm x 420 mm, zero offset, 125 mm of travel
  • Handlebar: RENTHAL FatBar Carbon 20 mm – 760 mm
  • Headset: Cane Creek, 40, alloy cartridge
  • Shimano XTR Hydraulic Disc, 180 mm front and 160 mm rear
  • Grips: Intense Dual Density Lock-On

My Two Cents

Nice choice on the grouping. The XTR brakes, carbon horizon rear derailleur and mix of top of the line SRAM, Renthal Carbon bar, Stealh Reverb seat post, perfect for domination!

Just like the 2015 models it reminds me of that scene in “The Good, The Band and The Ugly” when Eli Wallace turns several revolvers best parts into one super revolver and then goes out to shoot the silhouettes in half when they are sideways. Intense has fired all their guns at once as well combining the best of every parts mountain bike manufacturer has to offer..


Pro Build

  • Spider 29C Monocoque UD Carbon Front and Rear Triangle 29” Mountain Frameset, JS Tuned Suspension, Internal Derailleur Routing, Downtube Flak Guard Armor, ISCG 05 Mount, G1 Replaceable Dropouts w/ 142 x12 mm spacing, 115 -130 mm travel
  • Front Suspension FOX Performance Elite 34 FLOAT, 3 Pos Lever w/ Open Mode Adj, 29″
  • Rear Suspension: FOX Performance Elite FLOAT, 3 Pos Lever w/ Open Mode Adj, SV EVOL, 200 x 50 mm
  • Hubs: 28 Hole DT Swiss 340 ;15 mm Front Hub; 142 x 12 Rear Hub w/ XD Driver, Spline 29
  • Rims: DT Swss M1700
  • Spokes: DT Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0
  • Tires: Maxxis Ardent 29×2.25″, EXO TR
  • Shifters: SRAM X1, 11 speed
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM XO1, 11 speed
  • Cranks: SRAM X1 1200 , 30T
  • Cassette: SRAM XG-1175 10-42, 11 speed
  • Saddle: Fabric Scoop Radius Elite
  • Seatpost: Kindshock LEV Integra, 31.6mm x 385 mm,zero offset, 125 mm of travel
  • Handlebar: Renthal Fatbar 20 mm x 760 mm
  • Headset: Cane Creek, 40, alloy cartridge
  • Brakeset: SRAM GUIDE RS, 180 mm front and 160 mm rear
  • Grips: Intense Dual Density Lock-On

My Two Cents

I think Intense went with just a few minor downgrades, again this is a bit nit-picking because the parts are still fantastic at this price point, but there were a few very minor downgrades from 2015, like the cranks, cassette, and they did switch to Avid Guide RS brakes from the Shimano XT.  Some of you like Avid better and some like Shimano it a preference, but most likely it was done for cost savings. I do pat them on the back because I think the new front and rear suspension changes are better and more than make up for the minor parts downgrade. Also I prefer the DT Swiss rims over the Stans. All things being equal, this is a sick bike for the price and delivers the goods, hands down.


Expert Build

  • Spider 29C Monocoque UD Carbon Front and Rear Triangle 29” Mountain Frameset, JS Tuned Suspension, Internal Derailleur Routing, Downtube Flak Guard Armor, ISCG 05 Mount, G1 Replaceable Dropouts w/ 142 x12 mm spacing, 115 -130 mm travel
  • Front Suspension: FOX Performance 34 FLOAT, 3 Pos Lever w/ Open Mode Adj, 29
  • Rear Suspension: FOX Performance FLOAT, SV EVOL, 200 x 50 mm
  • Hubs: 28 Hole DT Swiss SPLINE® hub
  • Rims: DT Swiss M 1900 Spline 29″, Tubeless Ready
  • Spokes: DT Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0
  • Tires: Maxxis Ardent 29×2.25″, EXO TR
  • Shifters: Shimano DEORE XT, RIGHT, 11-SPEED
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano DEORE XT, RD-M8000, SGS 11-SPEED TOP-NORMAL SHADOW PLUS DESIGN
  • Cranks: Shimano Deore XT,30T, 11 speed
  • Cassette: Shimano DEORE XT, 11-SPEED, 11-42
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Race
  • Seatpost: Kindshock LEV Integra, 31.6mm x 385 mm, zero offset, 125 mm of travel
  • Renthal Fatbar 20 mm x 760 mm
  • Headset: Cane Creek, 40, alloy cartridge
  • Brakeset: Shimano XT Hydraulic Disc MY2016, centerlock rotors, 180 mm front and 160 mm rear
  • Grips: Intense Dual Density Lock-On

My Two Cents

I am really fired up over the changes from the 2015 model.  Improved suspension, and the big switch to a high quality Shimano XT 1x 11 speed system.  Awesome.  Also I like the DT rims better and the extra 20mm on the new Renthal carbon bar.  Sold, a great bike for the build, for the money!


Foundation Build

  • Discontinued

My Two Cents

It appears it has been discontinued for 2016.


Final thoughts

This year for some crazy reason all my friends showed up on brand new Intense Cycles and they have been absolutely stoked with their purchases and performance.  I personally think you can’t go wrong, Intense is truly shining again, and if the glee doesn’t get in your eyes, time to open them wide.


Pros

Intense is continuing to optimize / tweak the VPP suspension system. It works so well I think this a great decision. The bike has perfect geometry and the 130mm up front with 34mm stanchions means super stiffness for aggressive terrain.  The rear can be switched from 115mm – 130mm great for XC racing as as it become more nimble for climbing. The parts groupings at the various builds are outstanding almost all the minor tweaks to the groupings in my opinion are in the positive direction and small improvements over the 2015 models as would be expected.


Cons

With the Hard Eddie gone which could only be called an XC slayer, this is now Intense Cycle’s flagship XC mountain bike racer.  It is a little over aggressive in some areas as far as components, suspension and weight are concerned to be a Worldcup XC mountain bike racer.


Rating: 2015 Intense 29c MTB Factory Build Bike Review for XC Racing:

Sizing: (4 1/2 stars)
Componentry: (5 stars)
Design: (5 stars)
Performance: (5 stars)
Price Point: (4 stars)
Overall Rating: (5 stars)

Rating: 2015 Intense 29c MTB Pro Build Bike Review for XC Racing:

Sizing: (4 1/2 stars)
Componentry: (4 1/2 stars)
Design: (5 stars)
Performance: (4 1/2 stars)
Price Point: (4 1/2 stars)
Overall Rating: (4 1/2 stars)

Rating: 2015 Intense 29c MTB Expert Build Bike Review for XC Racing:

Sizing: (4 1/2 stars)
Componentry: (4 stars)
Design: (5 stars)
Performance: (4_half stars)
Price Point: (4 1/2 stars)
Overall Rating: (4 1/2 stars)

 

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