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Downhill Bikes

Intense M16 C

One of the original innovators of DH works-bikes goes carbon

One of the most eagerly awaited bikes for some time, it seems an age since Sam Hill and Chris Kovarik dominated on the pre M3 VPP (virtual pivot point) design bikes in 2002 winning junior World Championship and World Cup races respectively. Its been a lean decade for Intense on the World Cup circuit, but they still make some of the most coveted bikes on the planet.

“Intense were ahead of the curve when it came to 27.5” wheels”

 

But what causes such desire? That’s a difficult question to answer. It could easily be argued that Santa Cruz took over as Intense faded slightly on the world circuit. But both utilising the VPP design they have gone down similar (but different) path’s design wise over the past ten years. Heading into 2016 the new M16 visually and materially draws alongside the Santa Cruz V10cc in many aspects.

But remember Intense were ahead of the curve when it came to 27.5” wheels. And that’s after they had experimented with 29” wheels on downhill bikes – and we don’t expect that to be the last on that subject either. We’ve already rated one of previous Intense stable mates the 951 Evo as one of the best ever from the Californian company. It seems that overnight Intense now have an impressive fleet of downhill bikes to choose from in the guise of M16 – from the aluminium and carbon versions to the super cool Palmer replica build – definitely worth a look.

It’s an interesting, if not obvious comparison of numbers between the 8.5” V10cc from Santa Cruz over the 9.5” of rear travel on the new Intense M16, and Intense owner/design Jeff Steber has certainly got a very fascinating range of numbers for the new bikes. Crucially though you’re looking at sub 35lb, loads of travel and a crisp and brisk ride characteristic. And deadly silent.

YOU DIDN’T KNOW THIS BUT…

Jeff Steber, Intense Cycles Owner

Here is a little tidbit from the time we where developing and working on the M16. I had several alloy test mules going back and forth with the World Cup team and making changes. In the weld shop I came in one morning and saw these signs posted “Warning Protected by M16.” RTW  (Rick the Welder ) who is quite into guns had been waiting for years through all the M series numbers till we reached the M16.

(The M16 rifle, officially designated Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16, is a United States military adaptation of the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle since introduced in 1963 Vietnam war era)

So I figure I had to really see what this bad ass rifle is all about that wears the same name. At Interbike in Las Vegas this year I went to one of the local ranges and shot about 600 rounds full auto M16.

We have gone 4 almost 5 years since M9 so basically skipped forward a bit and personally I was looking forward to M16 I have been able to spend 90% of my time now in R&D and we have some really exciting new bikes coming up next year, M16 being the first.

“At Interbike in Las Vegas this year I went to one of the local ranges and shot about 600 rounds full auto M16”

On the bike geometry the BB height was settled on with WC team and test riders based on setup and dual travel adjust, I will say that the racers tend to keep in the 8.5″ setting and the weekend warrior racers liked the 9.5″

The asymmetrical swing arm was an ID direction I went to have a clean chainline and easy access to rear shock. I really did struggle with keeping the ID aesthetic for the M16 and specifically with the carbon in line with the monoque style front triangle. That historically goes back to the original M1 because people will compare to V10. In the end we have had this ID from day one so I stuck with it and it works really well and helps set it apart from the herd.

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