Forrest Riesco taking the Intense Recluse down a rock roll

Bike review: Intense Recluse with Forrest Riesco

Intense Cycles recently released their 2017 lineup, including the totally new Recluse. Purpose-built to satisfy the all-mountain category, the Recluse is more aggressive than the Intense Spider 27.5, while offering slightly tweaked geometry from their full enduro machine, the Tracer 275c. Intense Cycles rider and World Cup athlete Forrest Riesco has been trying out the 2017 Recluse. We caught up with him to talk riding, goals, personal preferences and – of course – the bike.

Forrest Riesco riding the Intense Recluse bike on the North Shore
Tell us a little bit about yourself – who are you?

I’m a 22-year old mountain biker who loves racing bikes.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised on the Sunshine Coast, and grew up in the small town of Gibsons, BC. I’m still there, with no plans of moving yet.

Forrest Riesco riding the Intense Recluse
Who do you ride for?

I ride for myself, and for the love of it! I’m also fortunate to have sponsorships from Intense Cycles, Kali Protectives, FOX Suspension, Ryders Eyewear, Race Face, Maxxis, Gamut, Atlas Braces and Birzman.

What have you been riding for the past season?

The Intense Cycles Tracer 275c Palmer Edition trail bike, and an Intense Cycles M16 DH bike.

What stood out when you rode the new Recluse?

The Recluse’s longer top tube length felt really nice on the trail. Since I’m tall, the extra reach combined with a slack head tube angle made for a much more comfortable bike at speed.

Forrest Riesco riding the Intense Recluse bike
How does the Recluse differ from your Tracer 275c?

After a season on the Tracer 275c, stepping onto the Recluse felt really comfortable. The longer top tube was a huge benefit on the trail for a guy my size, and the Recluse was amazingly nimble. The head tube angle is a 0.5° slacker on the Recluse than the Tracer, yet it’s also got a steeper seat tube angle. So even though the Recluse has less travel, it felt just as capable on the descents, and actually was more comfortable on the climbs than my Tracer.

Forrest Riesco climbing on the Intense Recluse
Your favourite trails?

My favourite race track is the Mont-Saint-Anne World Cup course in Quebec. I look forward to racing it every year. On the Sunshine Coast, I have some of the best trails in the world at my doorstep. Some favourites near home include the trails around Roberts Creek, like Mach Chicken. Lately the work being done at Sprockids has been amazing, so I’ve been spending a lot of time in there.

What’s your biggest goal for 2017?

My main goal is to maintain top 20 results on the World Cup downhill circuit.

Your current go-to “ride really fast” song?

I listen to a lot of rock and alternative. Lately I’ve been listening to Metric quite a bit.

Forrest riding the Intense Recluse on singletrack with ferns
Breakfast on race day?

I keep it simple and go for oatmeal with almond milk and a dollop of peanut butter. I usually have some fruit too.

Favourite post-ride recovery beverage?

Coconut water.

First mountain bike ever?

A Norco Mini Mountaineer – which was awesome – but my first bike with suspension was a Giant Yukon.

What’s inspiring you these days?

The fact that the riders on the World Cup continue to pour their heart and soul into racing, and also travelling the world. It’s amazing to get to compete among so many driven athletes.

Forrest Riesco with the new Intense Recluse

Forrest Riesco is one of Canada’s top downhill athletes racing for Intense Cycles. He has a few seasons under his belt travelling the World Cup race circuit, and trains year-round on British Columbia’s west coast.

Side profile of the Intense Recluse bike

The Recluse geometry makes it the perfect bike for riders looking to ascend with pure efficiency, and charge just as hard on the descent. With a 66-degree head angle and 75-degree seat tube angle, the bike boosts confidence on technical terrain, and keeps your body in an effective position for hammering the pedals.

Intense Recluse with internally routed cables

All of the cables and hoses, including those with the Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper post, are routed internally through the frame to give the Recluse a clean finish. The linkage points use an angular contact bearing system for increased stiffness, and have replaceable grease zerks.

Intense Recluse with Mavis wheelset and Maxxis Highroller tires

The Mavic XA Elite Ultimate is a new wheelset from Mavic; it has a 25mm internal width rim and weighs in at 1695g. Configured with Boost hub spacing both front and rear, Intense Cycles has paired these wheels up with Maxxis Highroller II 3C/EXO/TR tires for an aggressive and lightweight wheelset.

Close up of the Intense Recluse drivetrain and crank

SRAM X01 derailleur, E13 cassette, SRAM X1 chain, and Race Face Next SL crank are combined to make a simple and reliable 11-speed drivetrain.

Intense Recluse: close-up of FOX X2 shock

The Recluse features 140mm of rear travel, and is coupled with Intense Cycles’ JS Tuned Suspension. The FOX X2 shock is tuned to maintain an efficient pedalling platform and provide amazing traction and support throughout the bike’s entire travel.

Close of the Intense Recluse Thomson stem

The Recluse Pro is built up with SRAM Guide RS brakes, Renthal 760mm bar, all held together with the classic touch of a Thomson Elite X4 60mm stem.

See more of the Recluse, along with the other bikes in the new 2017 Intense Cycles fleet.

MEC Ambassador Stephen Mathews
Stephen Matthews

A mountain biker with a knack for getting lost/adventuring. Animal companion: a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Merlin.