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Intense Carbine 29 | Dropping In

Introducing the Intense Carbine 29. Words and Images by Steve Jones.

Introducing the Intense Carbine 29…

Taken From Dirt issue 140, October 2013

I’m not fully clear on the exact details of why Intense were compelled to move much of their production to carbon. Or lets just be honest and say I didn’t ask, as I loved their aluminium bikes as they were. Obviously part of the story is down to the fact that once a few companies jumped they all had to, it’s the same story with wheels, gears, bar widths and bum bags.

Over the past few years the Intense Tracer 29” has been ‘one of those bikes’ here in Monmouth (Dirt HQ). When I say that it means that it was close to many people’s hearts. It had character, delivered speed and was capable of man’s work, which most 29” bikes simply couldn’t muster. It was also aluminium. And it also needed a Cane Creek AngleSet in it to get the most out of it.

The Carbine 29 replaces that bike. I called Intense owner Jeff Steber as soon as I heard this, concerned that the Tracer was being ditched. “Its going to be everything the T29 was but more.” True to his word photos arrived and visually this new bike had Intense written all over it… subtle, but then that’s what they have always done better that most. Weeks later, and within a few hours of arriving in Whistler, I was sat at 10,000ft ready to drop in to the first two stages of the Enduro World Series on that very Carbine 29 bike.

With 127–140mm rear and 160mm up front I had the correct kit for the occasion. I was High Rolling on Maxxis, braced with the RockShox Pike and geared up with the SRAM X01. Some excellent internal cable portings, Novatec wheelset held well during our rides with 23mm (internal) rims.

First impressions of the Carbine 29 are positive. It’s sub 30lbs for starters, and it’s strong. Having the Pike is always an advantage on a bike, but the damper needed a touch of tuning to soften up the first few percent. I think the Cane Creek Air will do a better job on this bike than the Fox that was fitted. Into the deep dark woods over quarter of an hour stages the Carbine is up for the task, the big wheels roll through, the angles helping a balanced ride, it’s quiet and it’s comfortable, and on big wheels you tire less.

Intense are making a smooth transition to carbon on some of their bikes, most importantly they are delivering the right bikes within short spaces of time making decisions as the market/mood changes. This Carbine 29 is a classic example of that process and what they have here is what many people want – a lightweight long travel trail bike with charm. It’s also refreshing that they haven’t made a massive media song and dance that it is the best thing ever.

Price £TBC: Extra

 

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