Jeff Steber and his crew have been busy – For 2017 the Recluse is one of a long line of new bikes launched by Intense, following the plush 27+ ACV and the incredibly rapid 29″ PRIMER.
Words: Sean White Photos: Callum Philpott
intense recluse – the review
With one of our main bike testers Ieuan currently in hospital after a ‘big off’, our recently received Recluse test bike is only half way through its initial test period. We’ll report with our ride impressions and test notes when he’s back on the bike, so for now here’s a run through of what this new Intense bike has to offer.
Intense have impressed us over the years, producing some seriously well engineered frames with great attention to detail. They were in early with a hard-hitting big wheeler, the Tracer 29, and soon after with the carbon framed Carbine – both firmly moving 29ers a long way from their cross country roots. This latest bike, the Intense Recluse, is the latest thinking on 27.5″ wheeled mid-travel bikes from Intense and is intended to sit in the ‘all mountain’ category of riding, bridging the gap between trail and enduro racing. With a 150mm travel fork up front and 140mm at the rear the Recluse is designed with bang-up-to-date geometry and sizing, stacking right up against the Trek Remedy and Santa Cruz Bronson.
There is more of a focus on fully built bikes with Intense for 2017 (with Saddleback as the new UK distibutor) and there’s plenty of choice. With five ‘build levels’ to choose from, the UK options for the Intense Recluse are, top to bottom: Factory, Elite, Pro, Expert and Foundation.
The Recluse frame is available in two versions, the standard carbon frame and the SL frame, both using a 148mm boost axle spacing and ISCG05 mounts along with a DM front mech fitting. The higher spec SL frame uses lighter, higher quality UD (uni-directional) carbon and comes with full titanium hardware to keep weight down even further. The frame’s smooth lines are kept clean with internal cable/hose routing – now commonplace on most premium frames – giving very different visuals to the US made aluminium Intense bikes from only a few years back. Scratch below the surface and the pedigree shines through; Jeff Steber’s attention to detail is still present and is reassuring considering these are bikes you’ll be riding hard over a good few seasons.
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Four sizes S to XL are available, which after looking at the geometry charts should cover most rider heights.