2015 Intense Carbon 29c Mountain Bike Review

2015-intense-29c-pro-mountain-bike
 2015-intense-29c-pro-mountain-bike

Press Release for the 2015 Intense Carbon 29c Mountain Bike (Shortened)

The Spider 29 Carbon Pro Bike is the fourth edition in Intense’s lineup of carbon fiber mountain bike frames. Designed specifically for cross country and trail riding, the Spider 29 boasts an array of excellent features, including: adjustable 4.5-5” travel, G1 dropout system, and Intense’s patented VPP rear suspension technology. To sweeten the deal, the Spider 29 Carbon also features internal cable routing, a tapered head tube, and special internal cable routing for dropper seat post. In many ways, the Spider 29 Carbon is the Swiss Army Knife of Intense’s lineup and is a great choice for riders who are looking for a bike that can tackle a wide range of terrain.

With modern trail geometry and the VPP suspension, the Spider 29 Carbon is your do everything bike. VPP suspension balances forces to eliminate unwanted compression. VPP bikes use a patented link configuration and axle path to apply some of the pulling force from the chain to counteract the motion caused by pedaling.VPP suspension is plush and features minimal “pedal- bob.” With the Spider 29 Carbon’s VPP suspension you get the best of both worlds: efficient climbing and plush downhill domination.

For the Pro build of the Spider 29 Carbon, Intense chose a 1x drivetrain from SRAM. The SRAM X1 shifters and crankset deliver legendary SRAM performance while keeping cost down, and the SRAM X01 rear derailleur ensures that shifting is on lock. Shimano’s XT brakes give you all the braking power you need to navigate tricky sections and avoid dangerous obstacles. The XT hydraulic brake is a favorite among riders of all disciplines and is repeatedly reviewed highly.

The Spider 29 Carbon Pro rolls on a set of Stan’s Arch EX Team wheels wrapped in Maxxis Ardent tubeless-ready tires. Suspension duties are handled by the killer pair from Rock Shox. The Rock Shox Revelation RCT3 in the front tames bump like a champ and the RockShox Monarch RT3 in the rear keeps everything nice and plush on the way down the mountain. Intense didn’t cut any corners when equipped command central of the Spider 29 Carbon Pro. A Kindshock LEV Integra dropper post with 125mm of travel allows you to raise and drop your seatpost according to terrain, a must have feature for enduro riders. The Renthal Fatbar Lite offers 740mm of navigating leverage and a WTB Silverado Race saddle ensures you have a comfy perch to spend your days on.


First Impressions

Very high tech and impressive. If we had another moon mission, I would expect the astronaut would exit the Lunar Lander on one of these bad boys.


Paint & Colors

Very nice. They just look fast. There are two colors available in the Intense Spider 29c line called Naked Yellow & Naked Red.


Frame Design

The frame is a Monocoque UD carbon front and rear triangle with 130mm of VPP travel. VPP is a well proven suspension licensed by many brands. The frame has internal derailleur routing, protective Flak Guard Armor on the downtube, ISCG 05 Mount, G1 Replaceable Dropouts w/ 142 x12 mm spacing. The rear suspension is adjustable to 115 -130 mm of XC travel

Smart cable routing 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. 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 adjustability with this frame the covers a vast majority of riding styles and terrains. I think this is a big breakthrough for the sport.

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 (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.


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

  • Frame: Spider 29C Monocoque UD Carbon Front and Rear Triangle 29” Mountain Frameset, VPP Suspension Technology, Internal Derailleur Routing, Downtube Flak Guard Armor, ISCG 05 Mount, G1 Replaceable Dropouts w/ 142 x12 mm spacing, 115 -130 mm adjustable travel
  • Front Suspension: RockShox Revelation RCT3, 29” 15QR Thru Axle, 130mm Travel
  • Rear Suspension: Cane Creek DBinline Air 200×50 mm
  • Hubs: 32 Hole DT Swiss 240 15mm Front Hub; 142×12 Rear Hub w/ XD Driver, 6 Bolt
  • Rims: NO TUBES Arch EX Team 29
  • Spokes: DT Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0
  • Tires: Maxxis Ardent 29×2.25″, 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: WTB Volt Team
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 31.6mm x 420
    mm, zero offset, 125 mm of travel
  • Handlebar: Thomson Trail Carbon 750mm x 12mm Rise x 6° backsweep/4° upsweep
  • Headset: Cane Creek, 40, alloy cartridge
  • Brakeset: Shimano XTR Hydraulic Disc
  • 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, Thonson Carbon bar, Stealh Reverb seat post, exemplary!

It reminds me of that scene in The Good, The Band and The Ugly when Eli Wallace takes all the pistols and pieces all the best parts into one gun, and then goes out to shoot the silhouettes in half when they are sideways. I feel Intense has done the same here, as they truly combined the best of everything, not feeling compelled to go with only one brand but the best of all brands.


Pro Build

  • Frame: Spider 29C Monocoque UD Carbon Front and Rear Triangle 29” Mountain Frameset, VPP Suspension Technology, Internal Derailleur Routing, Down tube Flak Guard Armor, ISCG 05 Mount, G1 Replaceable Dropouts w/ 142 x12 mm spacing, 115 -130 mm adjustable travel
  • Front Suspension: RockShox Revelation RLT3, 29” 15QR Thru Axle, 130mm Travel
  • Rear Suspension: Monarch RT3, HVI MM 320 S, 200×50 mm
  • Hubs: 32 Hole NO TUBES 3.30 HUB 142x 12 mm rear w/XD Driver, 15 mm front, 6 Bolt
  • Rims: NO TUBES Arch EX Team 29
  • 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 XX1, 30T
  • Cassette: SRAM XG-1180 10-42, 11 speed
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Race
  • Seatpost: Kindshock LEV Integra, 31.6mm x 385 mm,zero offset, 125 mm of travel
  • Handlebar: Renthal Fatbar Lite 20mm x 740 mm
  • Headset: Cane Creek, 40, alloy cartridge
  • Brakeset: Shimano XT Hydraulic Disc
  • Grips: Intense Dual Density Lock-On

My Two Cents

Nice choice on the grouping. Obviously some part are one tier level down from the Factory build, but this bike is still ferocious and shouldn’t be too far off the weight of the factory bike. The pro build is as advertised, a professional product still capable of being competitive enough to capture race wins, at a slightly lower MSRP.


Expert Build

  • Frame: Spider 29C Monocoque UD Carbon Front and Rear Triangle 29” Mountain Frameset, VPP Suspension Technology, Internal Derailleur Routing, Down tube Flak Guard Armor, ISCG 05 Mount, G1 Replaceable Dropouts w/ 142 x12 mm spacing, 115 -130 mm adjustable travel
  • Front Suspension: RockShox Revelation RL, 29” 15QR Thru Axle, 130mm Travel
  • Rear Suspension: Monarch RT3 200X57 HV MM Custom Tune
  • Hubs: 32 Hole NO TUBES 3.30 HUB 142x 12 mm rear, 15 mm front, 6 Bolt
  • Rims: NO TUBES Rapid 28 Team 29
  • Spokes: DT Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0
  • Tires: Maxxis Ardent 29×2.25″, EXO TR
  • Shifters: Shimano XT, 10 speed
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT, 10 speed
  • Cranks: Shimano XT, 38/26T, 10 speed
  • Cassette: Shimano XT CS-HG81-1, 11-36T, 10 speed
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Race
  • Seatpost: Kindshock LEV Integra, 31.6mm x 385 mm, zero offset, 125 mm of travel
  • Handlebar: Renthal Fatbar Lite 20mm x 740 mm
  • Headset: Cane Creek, 40, alloy cartridge
  • Brakeset: Shimano XT Hydraulic Disc
  • Grips: Intense Dual Density Lock-On

My Two Cents

Great package, largely Shimano XT with a 10 speed rear derailleur and 2 rings in the front. If this is your price range, don’t hesitate, this is truly a solid build that should offer excellent performance.


Foundation Build

  • Frame: Spider 29C Monocoque UD Carbon Front and Rear Triangle 29” Mountain Frameset, VPP Suspension Technology, Internal Derailleur Routing, Down tube Flak Guard Armor, ISCG 05 Mount, G1 Replaceable Dropouts w/ 142 x12 mm spacing, 115 -130 mm adjustable travel
  • Front Suspension: X-Fusion Trace RL 29″, 130mm, 15QR
  • Rear Suspension: X-Fusion 02 RL Air
  • Hubs: 32 Hole Intense Tuned, 142x 12 mm rear, 15 mm front, 6 Bolt Wheel Set
  • Rims: Sun Inferno 25 Rims, 29
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Champion
  • Tires: Maxxis Ardent 29×2.25″, EXO TR
  • Shifters: Shimano SLX, 10 speed
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano SLX, 10 speed
  • Cranks: Shimano SLX, 38/26T, 10 speed
  • Cassette: Shimano CS-HG50-10, 11-36T, 10 speed
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Sport
  • Seatpost: Intense, 350 x 31.6mm
  • Handlebar: Intense Recon 31.8 x 18 x 740 mm
  • Headset: TS Intense Headset
  • Brakeset: Shimano BL M506
  • Grips: Intense Dual Density Lock-On

My Two Cents

For an entry level bike in 4th down its class, it has superor package then most manufacturers offer these days. Good suspension and Shimano LX round it out. I do miss the tubeless rims on this model and you might swap the cassette in the near future. Other future upgrades might be brakes, and even higher end front fork when they go on sale. Overall, don’t get me wrong this is one of the best entry level bikes in its class for the money!


Final thoughts

I love the Intense 29c mountain bike and I think they are revolutionizing the sport with their slacker, more descent aggressive XC designs. Intense always had a great reputation for quality and attention to detail. Strike the iron whiles it is hot and buy an 2015 Intense Spider 29c carbon mountain bicycle.


Pros

Intense has opted to run with the well proven VPP suspension system. The bike has great geometry with ample suspension for both XC and some AM riding. The slightly longer wheelbase makes it super stable over very rough high-speed terrain. Intense offers an excellent array of build groups to meet every ones budget constraints. Finally, the 2015 Intense 29c Mountain Bike will deliver its rider excellent trail performance recreationally and for the serious XC MTB racer.

Finally, if you don’t win any races on the an 2015 Intense 29c Carbon MTB racing bike, might I suggest hiring XC-MountainBike.com as your riding coach. Maybe we can help. Check out our articles on Strength, Endurance and Nutrition at XC-MountainBike.com


Cons

What happened to the claimed weight. I hope it is equal or superior to its competitors? At 130mm travel, this bike will most likely weigh around 25-26 lbs with the best factory build thus making it most likely 1-2 lbs. heavier than the most competitive XC racers running 100mm of suspension travel on the track. This may only be a small factor to the smallest percentage of XC racers who are super competitive, and not the mast majority. Only a scale will tell the truth, and maybe I am off +/- some ounces one way or the other.

The slack head angle and more aggressive geometry could make it a bit more challenging for the XC racer who only climbs, and rarely points the bike down.

Hint: Intense is still more of a boutique brand and supplies are usually more limited so, buy a 2015 Intense 29c Carbon XC bicycle while their available.


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)


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

Sizing: (4 1/2 stars)
Componentry: (3 1/2 stars)
Design: (5 stars)
Performance: (3 1/2 stars)
Price Point: (4 1/2 stars)
Overall Rating: (4 stars)



Intense M16 Alloy Palmer Edition Bike
$5999.00
40% Off

was $9999.00



Intense Carbine Pro Bike 2018
$6999.00

was $6999.00



Intense Tracer 275C Expert Bike 2016
$5899.00

was $5899.00



Intense Primer Expert Bike 2018
$5899.00

was $5899.00



Intense Carbine Expert Bike 2018
$4999.00

was $4999.00



Intense ACV Foundation 27.5 Bike
$3599.00
22% Off

was $4599.00



Intense Tracer Foundation Bike 2017
$3999.00
13% Off

was $4599.00



Intense ACV Foundation Bike
$4599.00

was $4599.00



Intense Carbine Foundation Bike 2018
$3999.00

was $3999.00



Intense M16 Alloy Palmer Edition Bike
$5999.00
40% Off

was $9999.00



Intense Carbine Pro Bike 2018
$6999.00

was $6999.00



Intense Tracer 275C Expert Bike 2016
$5899.00

was $5899.00



Intense Primer Expert Bike 2018
$5899.00

was $5899.00



Intense Carbine Expert Bike 2018
$4999.00

was $4999.00



Intense ACV Foundation 27.5 Bike
$3599.00
22% Off

was $4599.00



Intense Tracer Foundation Bike 2017
$3999.00
13% Off

was $4599.00



Intense ACV Foundation Bike
$4599.00

was $4599.00



Intense Carbine Foundation Bike 2018
$3999.00

was $3999.00



Intense M16 Alloy Palmer Edition Bike
$5999.00
40% Off

was $9999.00



Intense ACV Foundation 27.5 Bike
$3599.00
22% Off

was $4599.00



Intense Tracer Foundation Bike 2017
$3999.00
13% Off

was $4599.00


Related Articles