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Leogang DH World Cup Spy Shots: Intense Races the New M16 and a New Carbon Prototype

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Intense_new_aluminum_M16_DH_bike_raw_complete_non-driveside

At the Leogang DH World Cup we got some first hand looks at the new aluminum M16 that Intense teased a bit earlier this spring, and just officially announced. The bikes, being raced by the Intense Factory Racing team, were mostly painted in the low key Flat Black finish of the production bikes and put together with Boxxers and SRAM components, but this raw aluminum frame of American Shane Leslie stood out with its blacked-out DVO Emerald/Jade suspension setup and Saint build. The raw finish made it easier for us to see how the bike is put together and to appreciate the American-made machining involved.

Even though the new M16 was only shown to the public a couple of months ago, it seems Intense was pretty happy with the bike’s race performance as a prototype, and so they’re pushing ahead full steam on its carbon successor. We spotted a full-carbon version lurking in plain sight in the team’s paddock, and while no one would comment directly on the bike, it did look pretty well finished.

Hop past the break to get a few more up close shots of the raw aluminum M16, and to take a peek at what will likely become the M16 carbon in the nearish future…

Intense_new_aluminum_M16_DH_bike_raw_frame_non-driveside Intense_new_aluminum_M16_DH_bike_raw_VPP-suspension Intense_new_aluminum_M16_DH_bike_raw_VPP-suspension-adjustable

 

So the raw finish really give us a better chance to see some more detail in the new M16. We don’t have any more info then was in our last post about the new 27.5″ bike, but it is the newest iteration of the top-level DH racing platform that helped establish the Intense Cycles racing pedigree, and carried the team through the finals here in Austria. The bike is a licensed VPP design and includes an adjustable shock mount to swap between 215 and 240mm of travel. There is no shortage of machining and hydroformed tube, all neatly welded together for a stiff World Cup level DH bike.

Intense_prototype_carbon_M16_DH_bike_driveside

But what really got our attention was this new carbon iteration sneaking in just behind the new aluminum bike. The team wasn’t racing the carbon M16 yet at Leogang, but it was out getting its tires dirty, presumably doing some test runs before the elite qualifiers took place. The new carbon prototype looks strikingly similar to the aluminum bike it was sitting next to, both in overall layout and tube shaping. Some small differences did pop out to us looking at the new bike closely. The carbon version goes without the 2-position shock mount, leaving a fixed amount of travel. It looks like the shock angle ends up in the longer travel position, but we can’t be totally sure as of yet. The carbon frame’s stays also get a brace just in front of the derailleur cable port, presumably in place of the driveside strut near the pivots. This frees up some room around the chainring and guide, maybe even offering better tire clearance.

 

Intense_new_aluminum_M16_DH_bike_black_frame_non-driveside Intense_prototype_carbon_M16_DH_bike_frame_non-driveside

 

Looking at them side-by-side, the similarities are pretty clear, with a very similar shape from the molded carbon bike to that of the formed and welded aluminum original.  This M16 carbon proto does get internal cable routing through both the downtube and chainstays vs. the aluminum bikes’ external routing, in what is a sign that the bike is pretty far along its development path. The carbon prototype did look quite well finished. There was talk about the bike still being in a testing phase, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see this bike unveiled at Interbike in the beginning of the fall, with possible availability even for the next World Cup season.

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Fred
Fred
7 years ago

It still has a chain…that’s so 2015.
I’m always surprised when Carbon bikes milmic the shapes of alloy counterparts, I would have thought that both materials have very different structural challenges and opportunities resulting in different shapes when optimized. My interogation goes back to the triple triangle of GT that seemed to fit as well steel, Titanium as carbon.
There’s nothing wrong about form vs function but often That’s not the story we’re told…

LP
LP
7 years ago

@Fred I agree. Makes me wonder if some companies use carbon just as a way of making the bike lighter and to get a smoother ride. They make an aluminum prototype and if it rides well, make a carbon version of it. (?)

Glenn
Glenn
7 years ago

Those monsters…making lighter and smoother riding bikes!

Dockboy
Dockboy
7 years ago

@Fred, LP: A strong shape is a strong shape, and the advantage with carbon is you can get closer to your ideal. When you join tubes or shape metal, you have limits to how far you can push the material, but since carbon is placed just where you want it, you miss bumpy welds, some braces become unneeded, and the ride quality changes a little. Sometimes the shape can work in carbon, but not make sense in metal, like the new Specialized Demo with the offset seatmast. It “could” be made of aluminum, but it’d be heavier, bulkier, and still expensive.

Roy
Roy
7 years ago

That alloy bike is STUNNING. Love the look of metal and weld beads..

duder
duder
7 years ago

Can I have both? Alloy has that awesome industrial look, and the carbon has that refined svelte look.

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