155mm carbon fibre enduro race bike.
The all new Intense Carbine 29C is a 155mm travel enduro weapon rolling on 29-er wheels. We had a thrash of the top-end Factory model.
Intense Carbine 29C need to know
- 155mm travel enduro weapon rolling on 29-er wheels.
- Latest Metric shock fitment brings the highly-rated RockShox Super Deluxe to Intense’s game.
- Flashy, high modulus SL frame uses carbon rocker link, titanium pivot hardware and internal carbon cable sleeves.
- In-the-know spec choices include wide bar/short stem and Maxxis DHR II WT rear tyres at both ends.
- Five models with two finish choices.
- Integrated Boost 148×12 dropouts.
- JS Tuned suspension with 155mm metric shock and 160mm front travel.
- Integrated chainstay protectors.
- Super low stand over.
Big wheels and big travel
Intense are one of the earliest adopters of big wheels with big travel. They’re one of the few teams to be currently running 29ers on the World Cup Downhill circuit under the likes of Jack Moir.
The new Intense Carbine joins a select but ever-growing number of 150-160mm travel 29ers that are pushing the limits of what can be done with fast trail and enduro race bikes.
Intense are making some pretty bold claims about the new Carbine; “perfects the 29er geometry conundrum to deliver the playful, nimble handling usually associated with smaller wheels and the big-wheel benefits of increased grip, improved float over rough ground and ultimately, speed.”
You can skip down a few paragraphs if you want to read what we thought about it after our first play out on it. But first, let’s geek out on the tech stuff.
As is usual with new Intense models, the Carbine is available in two different sorts of carbon. Much like Santa Cruz and their C and CC carbons, Intense have standard carbon (for the Expert and Foundation bikes) and ultra-light SL carbon (for the Factory, Elite and Pro bikes).
The ultra-light SL carbon models sport titanium hardware. There’s a carbon upper rocker on the top-spec builds too. Swish.
JS Tuned suspension
Jeff Steber tuned suspension is a VPP-style short, counter-rotating twin link design. Intense uses three platforms with varying link lengths and pivot locations dependant on travel and usage, with the Carbine utilising the medium ‘Enduro’ link layout.
Travel is increased by 15mm over the older model and the leverage rate is increased too, with the curve initially linear, but then much more progressive towards full travel. This configuration should help the suspension move more freely at the start of the stroke, and be harder to squash (and therefore bottom out) deeper in the travel. The lower aluminium link uses a greaseport design for ease of maintenance too.
First ride impressions
Riding on the rough and rocky Mediterranean tracks of Punta Ala, home to the first-ever EWS race, the Carbine’s high-modulus chassis immediately feels solid, responsive and stiff.
With a 65.5-degree head angle and 1.2 metre wheelbase, progressing to faster, rougher trails revealed a lust for raw, straight-line pace where the Carbine felt better optimised.
Across blown-out rock gulleys and very chunky ground the chassis locks into every line choice without deflecting, and doesn’t ride so low you need to overly stress about crunching pedals on rocks, which is pretty reassuring going fast.
The Intense needed some initial fettling to find the rider balance and suspension sweet spot though, and feels less intuitive than something like the Evil Wreckoning.
Quickly reducing the shock’s air can volume saw the rear end deliver more terrain feedback and improved the bike’s ability to change direction quickly and more accurately.
In part, the super-rigid Enve wheels accelerate this razor sharp, race-ready vibe, and it’s something that might be less evident on the more affordable build options.
Price and availability
CARBINE 29C Factory – £9,000.00
CARBINE 29C Elite – £7,200.00
CARBINE 29C Pro – £6,200.00
CARBINE 29C Expert – £4,800.00
CARBINE 29C Foundation – £3,900.00
CARBINE 29C SL Frameset – £3,100.00
The new Intense Carbines are expected at Saddleback (the UK distributor) at the end of the first week of July. Expect stock to be limited.
The new Carbine is beautifully finished, rapid and ready to rumble, with arguably maximum appeal for clock-watching serious speed freaks, rather than flicky, jumpy, berm-slashing types.