They say, on the forums at least, that comparing bikes at this level is difficult because ‘they are all so damn great’. I disagree on both a technical level and cosmetic.
From Dirt Issue 114 – August 2011
Words by Steve Jones. Photos by Victor Lucas.
It’s easy to get sucked into the aluminium forming of the M9, which, lets face it, has a certain exclusivity. Time and motion hasn’t quite hit the LA suburbs in the way it has way out east. And mountainbiking remains the better for it. The M9 has immense strength of character. The attraction of this bike is that it stands apart from the norm, having a charm that’s distant from the slightly tired institutionalized frame forms we get loaded with. How many companies offer endless colour options? Not only that, mention Intense and people will instantly begin speaking ‘calibre, reputation’. The boys in Temecula have done a sterling job at cultivating and maintaining a strong identity and following. This alone has a value, walk down the streets of Morzine and you will see just how many riders buy in to this.
I arrived in the Haute–Savoie in the French Alps this summer with the Intense M9 as a close ally in tackling the terrain that this ‘oh so British’ place offers, after all, it had supported me well in a sortie into similarly populated Spanish lands only a few months prior. The “custom American muscle bike” as one local Irishman put it, just felt like it would stand up to the job better than the comparatively frail Demo 8 – arguably (and ironically) one of the best production completes you can buy.
When I say “stand up better” what I mean is that the solid frame and custom high quality componentry featured on this bike are fundamentally of a superior spec and reliability than some of those that are bolted to the stock Demo – a bike of superb integrity nevertheless and one taken on that occasion for comparisons of speed and suspension as well as component longevity. A Demo feels like a trail bike when ridden alongside the M9.
And so it was that the Intense gets treated with a custom built Hadley wheelset from the guys at North West MTB, a Kashima Fox 40, the e*thirteen crank and chain retention that come so well packaged and complete in their accessories. Shimano Saint gearing, Answer bars, Formula brakes for heavens sake…this is some build. This bike comes spec’d with the highest level of componentry, there simply is no weakness here.>>