Five years in development, three different bikes and a whole lot of testing, the coolest bike in downhill is reborn


The new Intense M1 downhill bike took five years to design and worked its way through three different suspension platforms, according to the latest edit from Californian brand.

Starting out with the M29 and its twin-link suspension, designed with the help of Cesar Rojo and released in 2019, Intense admits in the video the bike just wasn’t fast enough when it came to competing with the best in the world.

Nicknamed the “gravy boat” this prototype with four-bar linkage popped up for the 2022 season, but it was always a placeholder for the new bike

From there the goal was to move to a high-pivot idler bike, and the first step was a four-bar linkage prototype bike to test the concept. Intense riders Dakohtah Norton, Aaron Gwin, Seth Sherlock and Joe Breedon tested that bike across the US and Canada, before taking it around Europe to try it on varied terrain, the video says.

Finally we get to see the latest M1, with a six-bar suspension design with a high pivot and an idler. You’ve probably heard the benefits of this touted plenty of times in the past few years, but the general concept is high pivot bikes have a more rearward axle path and are therefore better able to swallow big chunky hits at speed. That in turn leads to a bike keeping its momentum better. The idler meanwhile is there to give the chainline enough space to grow as the bike moves through its travel, and therefore not put tug on the pedals.

The finished M1, complete with low-slung shock, high pivot, idler and at last a solid one-colour paint scheme to take us into 2024

Details on the bike are still really scarce, there’s a fair chunk of nostalgia going on in the edit, with the glory days of Shaun Palmer and Chris Kovarik talked up. But we still don’t know much about the M1, except it’s running mullet wheels, uses an alloy frame and generated 203mm of travel. Pricing, sizes and availability are to be confirmed, but Spring 2024 is touted.

What we do know is that this M1 is the bike Dakotah Norton won the US Open on a month ago, on a track that was flat out fast and rough as anything. We all know it’s not about the bike, but we’re just sayin’.