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Mountain biking is a sport that requires strong, dependable, and rugged gear. Of course, the most important piece of riding gear is your mountain bike itself. Since your safety is on the line and dependent on your bike, it’s essential to have a high-quality rig you trust to keep you riding for many long, arduous days on the trails.
Depending on the type of riding you like most, you will have to sift through many models and many brands in order to find the bike that might be right for you. One name in biking that exudes quality and durability is Intense Bikes.
We know that searching for your perfect bike and setup can be rather daunting because there are seemingly endless options to choose from. Only with thorough research can make a solid buying decision on a new mountain bike.
In this post, we take a hard, deep look at one of our favorite mountain bike brands: Intense Bikes. We evaluated four different Intense models, exploring their various performance features, design differences, prices and more to inform you about this innovative player in the industry.
What Are Intense Bikes?
Intense Bikes have nearly 25 years of experience and integrity built into their designs. These bikes emphasize mind-blowing performance and an incredible rider experience. Diverse in design, responsive, and built to last, these bikes have earned their place among the highest-ranked mountain bikes for trail riding, enduro or downhill.
Since 2012, Intense Bikes has continued to enhance their carbon fiber technologies and polish their bikes’ performance by partnering with numerous renowned, world-class riders.
Intense Bikes is a wide-reaching and established brand that got its start in Southern California in 1992. The first models were completely custom fabricated by hand, and then refined in their design over the years through rigorous use in team races and downhill challenges. Today, This symbiotic and passionate team of mountain bike extremists at Intense Bikes consistently delivers race-worthy bikes to serious riders around the world.
Product Offering & Selection
Intense Bikes offers a broad line of ultra-high-performance mountain bikes built to handle whatever terrain you wish to conquer. Along with their full mountain bike setups, this maker offers frames, limited edition rides, and even electric bikes. This company takes mountain biking very seriously and loves supporting others who feel the same. On its website, Intense also offers parts, repair kits, riding apparel, and other gear.
Intense Bikes are high-end rides built to last you through many seasons of demanding, rugged rides. The general price range of a complete and ready-to-ride bike from Intense can range anywhere from about $3,000 to $10,000 or more. That being said, these mountain bikes are constructed to perform under the most demanding conditions and help you cross the finish line with confidence and extreme satisfaction. Intense offers its premium mountain bikes assembled and expertly tuned, so your machine is ready to go upon arrival. As you would expect from a top-of-the-line machine such as those produced by Intense Bikes, you can also count on superior customer service for the lifetime of your bike.
How They Compare
We selected a few different Intense Bikes models that are currently available to check how they compare. Our mission is to give you insight into the brand and help you decide which style and build appeals to you most.
- Intense M16C Pro Build
- Intense Spider Expert Build
- Intense Sniper Trail Elite Build
Intense Tracer Pro Build
The Tracer Pro Build is loaded with advanced features and aggressive capabilities. This bike is equipped with a carbon fiber frame with sleek, angular geometry and an impressive suspension system. The Tracer crushes challenging terrain and switchbacks with ease, offering incredible downhill speeds and stability. The shock system and advanced suspension technology on the Tracer help you stay in control of impact, ride depth, and feedback response.
- DESIGN QUALITY
- SPECIAL FEATURES
Considering the overall price range of the Intense Bikes products, the Tracer Pro Build is moderately priced at around $5,000 directly from the manufacturer. The bike comes pre-assembled and includes Intense-authorized, precision tools for quick tune-ups and maintenance.
The Tracer’s suspension system is smooth, quiet, and amazingly interactive. This results in a ride that is forgiving but supportive, making flying along rocky mountainsides or navigating loose rock much more stable and predictable. This bike is clearly for expert riders who understand how to modify their stance to achieve maximum comfort and unit control. The Tracer Pro Build does feel entirely intuitive at first, perhaps because its size is a bit larger than you might expect. This model requires a combination of finesse and domination from its rider, it will respond with power and accurate control.
We found the overall design of the Intense Tracer Pro Build to be integrated and supportive where the rider needs it most. Its 75.5-degree seat tube angle is comfortable and intuitive to support the rider on steep slopes. Its forgiving suspension gives it smooth control for long-distance casual trails., and the braking system is agile and fluid. The Tracer’s rear suspension gives this bike stability and traction for reliable stopping.
Our one concern with the overall design of this bike is its tires, which are extremely grippy and can challenge some riders. A tire change would likely result in smoother speeds and acceleration.
Highlights of the Tracer build include its 27.5-inch wheels, 29.19-lb. build weight, 160/166mm front and rear travel, a 275 SL Monocoque UD carbon fiber chassis, a Fox 36 fork, and a Fox X2 shock system
- Great stability
- Extreme tire grip
- Overall smooth ride
- Supportive Fox fork and shock system
- Powerful high speeds
- Tires not ideal for uphill climbs
- Lower link bearings require regular adjustments
- Mid-range price point within the Intense Bikes line
Intense M16C Pro Build
The M16C Pro Build is one of the more iconic rides in this line. It extends the Intense Bikes legacy of building M-Series bikes that offer incredible performance and aesthetic appeal. This is the first carbon fiber, downhill-specific mountain bike from this manufacturer, and its lightweight build helps set it apart from other downhill units. The M16C is a heavy-duty downhill champion with an easy-to-carry weight of just 35.4 lbs. You can get yours with either alloy or carbon fiber construction.
- DESIGN QUALITY
- SPECIAL FEATURES
The Intense M16C is moderately priced within the overall line, but it is packed with features and offers premier downhill performance. You can purchase this model for around $5,000 from Intense Bikes.
We really like the M16C for its precision feedback, ride response, and agility. This model is awesome for jumps and gave us noteworthy lift off the ground. With clearance measuring at an awesome 9.5″, pedaling through large obstacles becomes much easier and faster. The overall controls on this bike are straightforward to the max: it has two brake levers and a shifter.
Our main concerns with the M16C have to do with steering control, weight distribution, and sizing standards. The size and dimensions of this model are ultimately limiting for its intended purpose.
This model is solid with a lightweight carbon frame (or the alloy option); a compression-molded, carbon fiber upper link; internal cable routing to protect brake and gear shifting cables; locking collet axle pivots, and double sealed pivots for increased bearing performance.
The Intense M16C is constructed with a few key features. This mountain bike has an EPS-molded, high-modulus carbon frame. In addition to the protection offered by internal cable routing, we appreciate the dual grease port on the M16C’S lower link for quick and streamlined maintenance. This model is also equipped with carbon dropouts and disk mounts.
- Quick jumps and easy lift
- Lightweight build
- Internal cable routing and protection
- Limited turning radius
- Inaccurate sizing guide (we recommend double-checking dimensions and potentially “sizing up”)
- Very sensitive steering and weight distribution response
Intense Spider Expert Build
The Intense Spider Expert Build is built for the trail and cross-country treks. It boasts a JS Tuned suspension system and a sleek frame that offers quick speeds, agility, and fun rides. This model is excellent for high-speed cross-country runs and well-established trails.
The Spider is durable yet lightweight with a carbon fiber frame. It’s highly responsive and quick-turning for rugged races, but also versatile and balanced, offering its rider smooth climbs and efficient descents. The Intense Spider Expert Build is a professional grade 275C mountain bike equipped with ample torsional stiffness and strong front triangle support for steering precision.
- DESIGN QUALITY
- SPECIAL FEATURES
The Intense Spyder is a moderately priced, pro-level, cross country/trail bike that offers agility and performance. You can purchase this wonderfully diverse mountain bike for around $3,500 via the Intense Bikes website.
Lightweight and agile, the Intense Spyder Expert Build gives riders a balanced ride great for maintained trails and cross-country expeditions. The Spyder Expert Build gives you an awesome value with an aluminum body option or carbon fiber for ultra-lightweight durability. This model has quick acceleration and refined handling, even under aggressive or demanding circumstances. This is an adjustable short-travel bike offering you 4.5″ to 5″ of coverage. This is a high-quality ride that is nimble on the trail with excellent XT hydraulic disc brakes for incredible stopping response.
The design of the Intense Spyder Expert Build is thoughtful and reliable, featuring a JS Tune suspension system and acute skills for pedaling and braking. This model’s boosted rear hub spacing enhances rear stiffness, and the tapered head tube ensures precise front-end operation. This bike is made for balanced climbing and high-speed descents.
The Shimano XT 1×11 speed drivetrain gives the rider easy shifting and diverse gear options. Tubeless DT 27.5″ Swiss wheels produce a fluid ride, and the RockShox Pike RC fork offers 140mm suspension travel. You benefit from a fully active rear suspension giving 115mm-130mm adjustable travel. Aluminum and carbon fiber body options are available
- Well balanced for climbing and descending with ease
- Lightweight and agile
- XT hydraulic brakes for great stopping accuracy
- JS Tuned suspension
- Carbon fiber and aluminum body options
- RockShox Pike RC fork provides 140mm of suspension travel
- Balanced performance but not heavy-duty
- Moderate price range
Intense Sniper Trail Elite Build
The Intense Sniper Trail Elite Build is the company’s first mountain bike billed exclusively as a cross-country bike. It has impressive geometry that stands up to that of trail and enduro bikes. The Sniper is a cross-country race bike that is built to perform even when things get a little rough on the course. Although its travel is short, the frame design and geometry deliver excellent comfort and help the rider feel confident traversing diverse terrain.
This model comes in two versions: the XC and Trail. The XC is rather minimal in design, whereas the Trail offers 120mm of front and rear travel.
- DESIGN QUALITY
- SPECIAL FEATURES
The Sniper steps well into the high-end price range. It can be viewed on intensecycles.com. and purchased for around $6,500.
The Sniper is swift and agile, weighing in at 22.48 lbs. Its 29″ wheels help you breeze past rocks and challenging trail elements. The Sniper Trail is agile and responsive even though it is a short-travel bike. Its smooth and accurate front-end tracking power helps the rider advance with more ease than other short-travel mountain bikes. Its Shimano XT brakes are chunky but also heavy-duty in performance. They offer awesome control and confidence.
The Sniper went through a long design incubation phase, and the results were worth it. It offers 100mm of Steber Tuned suspension. This model has a carbon fiber top link and a magnesium lower link, with everything linked by titanium hardware, making this bike even lighter. Its carbon fiber frame and internal cable routing help keep the bike’s weight and balance in check.
Stock Maxxis Rekon tires give this bike awesome grip and tactile response. The Sniper’s brakes are Shimano XT center-locks with 180mm/160mm front and rear rotors. The frame is Monocoque UD carbon, and the shock/suspension system combines the Fox Performance Elite DPS 165mm x 45mm with a Fox Performance Elite 34 set.
- Comfortable ride and geometry
- Powerful trail bike with a lightweight build and stiff frame
- Excellent climbing response
- Stable and agile
- High-quality build and thoughtful design
- Excels in races and on maintained trails
- High-end price point
- Small travel
- Challenging on rough terrain and weathered trails
We hope that you have found useful insights in reviewing our comparison of these four unique, high-performance rides from Intense Bikes. We admire this brand and can testify that they deliver premium quality. That quality comes at a hefty price for hobby riders, however. Overall, we give Intense Bikes 4 out of 5 stars for their incredibly thoughtful and innovative designs, which are ultimately driven by years of refinement and research informed by the experience of professional riders.