The new M1 is a triumph of engineering and perseverance


We’ve waited five years to say this, but at last you can buy one of the new Intense M1 downhill frames. It’s been designed with Dakohtah Norton and Aaron Gwin’s help, now delivers up to 212mm travel, boasts a six-link high pivot suspension design and hopes to challenge the Canyon Sender as the best DH machine on the market right now. If it was a male model, it’d be Hansel.

Why should we care about the M1 then, when you can buy a complete bike like the YT Tues for just a few thousand pounds more than the frame and shock-only M1? Partly it’s history, the M1 is probably the coolest downhill bike in our sport – yes there’s a lot of competition for that accolade but only the M1 carried Shaun Palmer at the 1996 World Championships. 

The Intense M1 was probably THE bike to own and race in the mid-90s, this is from the era when Chris Kovarik was foot-out sliding it

It’s not all legacy though

The M1 was pretty terrible by modern standards though, let’s be honest, with geometry steeper than modern XC bikes and a meagre 5in of travel. The new bike is just about the most high tech thing on two wheels though. The new M1 uses a 6-link high pivot suspension design (rather than the McPherson strut of 1994), which means Intense can tweak every element of the bike’s suspension characteristics. Crucially that lets the engineers have a flatter anti-squat curve early on in the travel for better pedalling, before reducing it deeper into the travel for less pedal kickback. All things necessary in 2024 if you want the edge when downhill racing.

The M1 in raw, just in case the red is too loud

It’s not made from carbon, instead Intense has opted for 6061-T6 aluminium. It uses a 56/56 headtube, with a 63º head angle, and you can adjust the reach via the headset from 0-10mm. Intense has also built two different mounting points for the shock, one position generating a more linear feeling suspension and 202mm travel, and other offering a more progressive feel and 212mm travel.  

The M1 details

The M1 frame comes with a Fox Float X2 air shock with 4-way high/low-speed compression and rebound damping controls. There are externally mounted cables, and all frame hardware (aside from one collet bolt) uses a 6mm Hex wrench, with torque values printed on each bolt. There are just three ‘captured’ washers in the linkage hardware, meaning that they stay in place. Top quality Enduro Bearings in all linkage applications, and a durable and universal threaded BB.

You can get it in red or a raw finish and in four sizes, from small to XL. In the UK it costs £3,199, and €3,599.00 on the continent.