Four and a half to five, or five to five and a half – it doesn’t seem much of a difference does it? Yet even the latter is fractionally less than 140mm, the supposed middle ground of long travel trail.
DIRT ISSUE 143 – JANUARY 2014
Words by Steve Jones. Photo by Steve Jones
But this is a question that has been facing many people looking to buy this type of bike for many years – how much? Take a look at 140mm and 160mm on a tape measure – 140 is closer to six inch than five, and 160 is some way past six.
The intended use for the Intense Spider 29 Comp is said to be XC/trail/enduro. Now that’s a wide range, but depending on your skill level it/you could indeed do all three. Fork sizing on the Spider is generally at 120mm (nearer five than four) but the boys at Extra (UK distributors) had fitted a 140mm Fox to rake her out, but even though this makes the head angle slightly slacker it’s still not designed for charging and the heightened bottom bracket affects the steering.
But in its environment the bike does its job well, it’s rapid, it’s light, it’s smart looking. It’s a bike you would treasure, it’s a bike that has a ton more attitude than most. Power transfer is (as was expected) immediate, especially through the solid Shimano XTR crankset. In size large with a 50mm stem the Spider is possibly on the limit for a six–foot rider and certainly an XL would not be out of place. The cable routing is immaculate, it comes with ISCG mounts and is reasonably silent.
But still, it all comes back to those numbers. Tracy Moseley won the Enduro World Series largely on a 140mm 29 Trek Remedy. Such a bike is longer, slacker, heavier. A Specialized Stumpjumper Evo has more travel (135mm) and is lower, slacker, longer. For only 85g more in frame weight you can upgrade to a Carbine 29 which offers just so many more opportunities. It’s a bike that charges, stamps up hills, murders descents.
The Spider is an excellent piece of UK trail centre hardware, but most riders looking to take on root and rock will look to the Carbine 29 for its 160 muscle up front.
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