Enduro Bike Test | Haulage

Mountain Biking Magazine


Trail and Enduro Bikes

Enduro Bike Test | Haulage



With a maximum 140mm travel (5.5”) the Carbine is the shortest travel bike on test by a few mil’ but comes equipped up front with the bossy 160mm RockShox Pike. It’s a bike delivering attitude, one that stands apart from the traditionalist approach of equal travel front and rear. Its striking graphic continues the Intense tradition and it comes with an expectancy began by its predecessor, the almighty Tracer 29, a bike so ahead of the curve that it could come back in two years and still be in front. This is pretty much the same bike but lighter, sharper and more equipped up front. It flirts around the all–mountain enduro boundaries. If such exists.


The Tracer 29 was average with the Fox rear air can but took over a much different personality when equipped with a Cane Creek Double Barrel coil shock. Its chassis always called out for more. The same applies to the Carbine, for the Double Barrel Air makes more out of what the frame has to offer. That said, it feels slightly dry and not particularly engaging. It needs running with super light rebound settings to get movement. Up font the Pike simply reminds us of the possibilities and quicker speeds offered by a longer fork.


The BMC and Enduro are definitely tougher machines but it’s the Carbine that offers the lightest ride and definitely feels like it’s covering ground quicker. Riding back to back with the Tracer, similarly equipped with Shimano XTR, it was very noticeable how much more direct the power was being placed into the rear wheel on the carbon bike. Sizing is fractionally smaller than the BMC, most noticeably in the downtube, where it loses almost an inch, even so the large is a great fit for a six footer. It’s a bike that rides like a trail bike but opens up so many more opportunities putting a king size question mark over the need for shorter travel trail bikes when a bike can cover ground so quickly but still wants to get involved in battles.


Coming as a frame option we tried to avoid the weak points that we learned from the other two bikes. The componentry therefore is as good as it gets. If I was to mark it down it would come in the lack of size options and the overall finish, particularly internally, this is much better on the BMC and Enduro. It’s light and the Enduro would arm wrestle it off the hill, but we’d be very interested to see how the coil DB might narrow that as it’s a superior performer to the DB air which is slightly sluggish.


As mentioned the componentry is second to none. As proven on the old Tracer XTR is utterly impeccable, delivering sentences that might well be clichéd but you can never get bored of if you’re throwing down – performance and reliability are immaculate. Easton Haven carbon wheels have proved to be the toughest pairing in the business. We are yet to break any in an arena of shattered reputations.


Initially I put a question mark over whether the Carbine needed more travel in the chassis but having ridden it in wild wet Wales, Whistler Bike Park and World Enduro stages I no longer have those thoughts. Yes the Enduro will truck on through the big stuff better, but the Carbine shades it on the all round riding, as such it’s the answer to many people’s questions, those who are hanging around in the imaginary trail/enduro interface.

FRAME Intense Carbine
FORK RockShox Pike RCT3
SHOCK Cane Creek Double Barrel Air
CHAIN Shimano
BAR Easton Haven carbon
HEADSET Cane Creek
WHEELS Easton Haven carbon
SEAT/POST RockShox Reverb
STEM Easton 35mm
TYRES Specialized Storm

Intense Carbine 29 Frame £2999



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