Heading into the 2017 Enduro race season, Intense had a secret weapon. Raced as an unmarked prototype under Jack Moir, the first versions of the new Carbine ended up with two top ten finishes in the first two races. Now, after going through the iterative development process, the Carbine 29 is ready for its debut.
Built around 155mm of JS Enduro Tuned rear suspension, the Carbine is a big 29er meant to devour the biggest terrain…
Ever since the VPP patent expired, Intense has been slowly replacing models with new versions that feature their ‘JS Tuned’ suspension design. With its roots in the original VPP concept, JS Tuned uses one of three different link designs based on the intended use. In this case, the new Carbine uses the JS Enduro linkage which is said to be more supple off the top while maintaining big hit capability without sacrificing on its climbing ability.
Sedona’s slow and techy rock sections probably weren’t the best to highlight the Carbine’s abilities, but it did prove to be an excellent climber for such a big bike. Coupled with a 160mm travel fork at the front, the Carbine is a long, slacked out monster with 17.5″ chain stays.
What’s really impressive about the Carbine is that in spite of the 155mm of travel and clearance for 29 x 2.6″ tires, it has better stand over clearance and dropper post capabilities than many other Intense bikes. I was finally able to run a full 150mm dropper post on the medium frame, which I haven’t been able to do on an intense in recent memory. However, the bike felt particularly long and I found that I felt more comfortable on the small than the medium which is a change for me when it comes to Intense sizing. As usual, I was right between the two sizes and could have gone either way, though in this case the small felt marginally better at 5’8″.
Along with the new linkage which continues with their grease fittings for easy maintenance, the Carbine frame features Flack Guard Armor under the downtube with special cable anchors to prevent damage to the housing. The internal cable routing features full tunnels for each line for easy installation and removal.
Frame details include a PF86 bottom bracket, 148 x 12 Boost rear spacing, ISCG 05 tabs, a Metric shock, integrated chain stay protector, seat post clamp, and post mount disc brakes for 180mm rotors as the minimum.
At the top of the heap is the unapologetically high end Factory build priced at an eye watering $10,399. For that money you’re getting the best carbon frame with more high modulus carbon fiber, a carbon top link, titanium hardware, and a no expense spared build kit complete with ENVE carbon for the rims and handlebars.
Not shown is the Elite build which is very similar to the Factory build, but it uses Intense branded carbon Recon Trail rims and a Recon 780mm carbon bar instead of the ENVE pieces. It also drops down to X01 Eagle for the drivetrain, but you’re still left with an SL carbon frame, carbon wheels, carbon bar, 1×12 drivetrain, and the same suspension for about $2,400 less at $7,999 for the complete bike. And if you’re wondering where those colors came from, Intense says that the Red and Blue bike was inspired by the RedBull F1 car, which is fitting as it’s quite loud. If you can’t do the over the top Red and Blue, there is also a matte black and grey with red accents in both the Factory and Elite builds.
The Pro build again keeps the SL frame with carbon top link and titanium hardware, the same suspension, a SRAM X01 eagle drivetrain, and Intense carbon bar, but sheds the Intense carbon wheels in favor of a pair of DT Swiss M1700 Splines for $6,999.
The Expert build is the first to make the drop down to the standard carbon frame with an alloy top link and stainless hardware. It still offers a 1×12 drivetrain but of the SRAM GX variety and the suspension is handled by a RockShox Deluxe RT3 and Yari RC 29 fork. Thanks to a number of component changes and the difference in frames, the Expert drops the price to $4,999.
The lowest price for the Carbine comes in at the Foundation build which is priced at $3,999. For that you’re getting the standard carbon frame, the same suspension as the Expert build, but with a SRAM NX 1×11 drivetrain.
Frame only is also an option with the SL frame in Red/Blue or Black/Red selling for $3,399 and the standard frame in Black/White or Orange/Black for $3,099.