The new lineup of 2018 Intense bikes is in at MEC, and we couldn’t be more stoked on the updates and builds. Expect specs that’ll let you hone in where you want with versatile performance that comes standard.
To help you get acquainted with these beautiful machines, we grilled our MTB specialists about what each build is all about. Here’s the run down on each of the different 2018 Intense bikes – Spider, Primer, Carbine, ACV, Recluse and Tracer – and what they can do for you.
“Bikes come to life when you push them hard. That’s when you notice a big difference between brands.” – Andres P., MEC MTB Specialist
The Spider is your go-hard all-rounder that’ll impress you when you give it the chance to pick up some momentum. It’s designed for riders who want something light and zippy to move around on the mountain, but that can still handle treks over any trail.
“The Spider just makes you want to go faster.” – Luke P., MEC MTB Specialist
Like all the Intense models, the 27.5in. Spider starts with the Foundation build (available in carbon or aluminum). The Pro and Expert builds take things up a featherlight-notch by combining carbon fibre and SRAM’s 1×12 Eagle drivetrain. Agility and maneuverability are what the Spider’s all about, and the dual-link JS-Tuned suspension system helps keep you from bottoming out on rough terrain. Energy conservation and comfort also come into play with such a great suspension system – you can pedal up efficiently and keep the ride down smooth and fast. 140mm of front travel hits the sweet spot for a versatile all-mountain machine. Versatile geometry means you can take it to races, and still maintain enough pep to keep up with your buddies on big bikes while you’re riding trails on the weekends too.
Looking for a 29er? Scope the Primer below.
Side note: What’s JS Tuned suspension?
JS (“Jeff Steber”) Tuned suspension is part of what makes Intense bikes stand out. Three things to know about this dual-link suspension set-up:
- It’s essentially a customized variant of the well-known Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) system.
- The suspension set-up is specced specifically for each Intense bike in the range based on wheel size, geometry, use and more.
- The lower link near the bottom bracket (the iBox pivot) helps reduce bottom-out and gives great small bump sensitivity. The result is better pedalling efficiency and control at the top of suspension.
- Want more info? Check out our 2017 guide for a deeper dive on JS Tuned suspension.
The days of having a fleet of mountain bikes for different types of riding are over. Meet the Primer: a bike that will get ‘er done from coast to coast. 140mm of front travel devours steep terrain. It’s a 29er, so if it’s fast rolling momentum you’re after, you’re in luck. Shortened chainstays and wheelbase balance out the big wheel diameter, so your frame will still feel flickable and nimble.
“For 2018, the build kits also see a few nice upgrades: wider rims and SRAM Eagle groupsets mean there’s very little I’d change out of the box. East coast, west coast – it doesn’t matter. Wherever you go with the Primer, it’ll be with a grin on your face.” – Matthew L., MEC MTB Specialist
The Primer matches the Spider’s all-around attitude and JS Tuned suspension that’ll let you thrash steep sections of trail, but 29-inch wheels give this machine the chance to really shine and take your momentum further.
Not quite burly enough for you? Meet the new Carbine.
The Carbine: made for epic adventures. It’ll impress you on Strava-worthy days in the saddle and can handle anything a mountain can throw at you (and handle it well).
“The Carbine is a monster truck, but still is very capable so you can climb epic, day-long trails.” – Andres P., MEC MTB Specialist
The 160mm of front travel and JS Tuned suspension means this 29er sets you up for roller-coaster trails and serious drops. Whether you’re shredding the Shore or want to gain an edge for smoothing out your ascents, the Carbine is a tough trail pick that’ll bump you up a weight class or two. Extra ruggedness doesn’t mean this rig will feel cumbersome or heavy, but the long wheelbase is going to feel stable and under control no matter where you take it.
Take them for a ride
When it comes to comparing specs, any bike tech nerd could spend hours analyzing geometry, numbers and angles. But the best way to feel out which bike is right for you is to actually get on one and take it for a rip where you ride. To test ride an Intense bike, check out the MEC demo program.
“My top tip for demo’ing a bike is to ride somewhere you’re familiar with, instead of setting out to some exotic new locale. Riding a known loop means you’ll get the best idea of how the demo bike stacks up against your current rig.” – Matthew L., MEC MTB Specialist
Alright, back to the last three bikes:
ACV (that’s Air Cushioned Vehicle) falls into the 27.5+ category (a.k.a. “plus bikes”). The frame accommodates some seriously wide tires – 2.8in. to be exact. You’ll especially notice the extra width when you’re floating over loose terrain or keeping traction at its max over changing conditions. Added traction is a huge advantage, letting you pick your way down a super wet route with ease. JS Tuned suspension and 150mm of front travel lets you huck it around the on trail and makes this bike a blast to ride.
Dominating over steep, rocky terrain, the Recluse balances slack geometry with a short wheelbase –that’s where things get fun. You’re going to get a ride that’s responsive and peppy, but also (maybe even surprisingly) stable.
“The Recluse is like the ultimate multi-tool – it gets you up to the best trails quickly, and the iBox Pivot keeps the rubber side down on technical descents.” – Cory S., MEC MTB Specialist
The 27.5in. wheels and 150mm up front mean you’ll feel at home on steep, gnarly terrain. Like the rest of the fleet, the JS Tuned suspension system is a defining quality of this bike. The Recluse, however, has a little extra travel and slacker angles than the Spider that’ll give you a slight edge if Enduro is your priority.
Intense hangs their hat on the Tracer build, and for good reason. A full-on freeride machine, the Tracer was made to pick out the most aggressive line.
“The SRAM Eagle groupset on the Expert and Pro builds of the Tracer offers a massive gear range to shred the mountain in both directions.” – Matthew, MEC MTB Specialist
Trying to decide between the Tracer or the Recluse? Know that the Tracer pulls ahead when it comes to demolishing hyper-vertical terrain or spending days at the bike park and is the most aggressive pick of the lineup. 160mm of front travel puts it in downhill territory, but the slack geometry keeps stability locked into the design. The efficient frame design and the lightweight carbon frame makes climbing almost too easy.
Between all Intense builds, the one constant is versatility. Once you’ve got things dialed, there’s no reason you can’t push the limits of where each bike will take you.
These rides are ready to rip. Just say when.
Have more mountain bike questions?
MEC MTB Specialists have the answers. Book an appointment to talk to your local MTB Specialist, use the chat feature on mec.ca, or call 1-888-847-0700.