29ers roll better. 27.5 wheels feel more responsive. The mission with this Intense Primer Foundation bike was to provide the efficiency advantages of big wheels with the snap of 27.5 in a trail bike. As usual, they tweaked the geometry, tuned the suspension, and delivered. The bike is a fast climber and able descender, which seems to provide far more suspension than numbers indicate.
Intense calls their suspension design JS Tuned. It’s giving credit to the founder. But the big deal is how they work the angles and the shock so that you have a ride that feels precise and in control no matter how beyond your normal limits you’ve ridden. The rear end provides either 115 or 130mm of travel, depending on where you secure a through bolt on the upper link.
The geometry works the angles so that everything is just right with a 50mm stem. That means they’ve nudged the head angle to 67.5-degrees, the seat angle an effective 75-degrees (72.3-degrees actual), and put the bottom bracket height at 337mm. The result is a bike that dances over everything. The steep seat angle means you don’t have to move much to adjust for steep terrain. There’s a longer than usual front-center measurement which smoothes out rough trails and makes it easier to roll at high speed. The 438mm chainstays are set up with Boost spacing, adding lateral stiffness while giving room for wider tires.
Boost is a great thing for all bikes with wide tires. The extra width allows for more even spoke tension resulting in stronger wheels, provides better bracing when pedaling, limiting lateral flex.
Boost, the 148x12mm thru axle measurement, is just one of the places they went in building the bike. Standards are not always that, but they tell an important part of the frame’s story: what it can do now and whether it will be ready for upgrades tomorrow. Intense went thoroughly modern with the bike, not only with Boost, but with BB92 press fit bottom bracket, with a Boost-spaced single-ring crank, though you can upgrade to double and still get the full-functioning of the suspension. There’s a direct mount for a front derailleur. The head tube is designed for a 1 1/8” to 1.5” tapered steerer, and Intense specifies a zero stack upper race and external lower cup for positioning flexibility and durability. The brake mount is the International Standard and is set up for a 160mm rotor. They’ve even gone so far as to install Flack Guards on the bottom of the downtube and on the chainstay to protect the bike from otherwise inevitable dings.
The frame and the rear end are molded out of carbon-fiber. They use unidirectional carbon-fiber as the dominant material in both places, trying to balance light weight, stiffness, durability, and cost. The fame, without the shock, weighs 5.8lbs in a size M. The shapes are simple and sleek, and the paint accentuates their beauty. Cables, hoses, even the dropper post are routed through the inside. You’ll even find water bottle mounts on the downtube.
The component spec is basic, but unusual. Intense decided to move away from just leaning on one supplier for all the components. Rather they went to their employees and asked how they set up their own bikes. The result here is a mix of parts you won’t find anywhere else, but play great together. Shimano brakes with a mostly SRAM drivetrain is something you won’t find anywhere else. The suspension duties are given over to RockShox.
When you’re looking for a trail bike that has the chops to go big, the Intense Primer Foundation is waiting for you.