Intense aims to simplify its trail category by eliminating the Recluse and ACV and putting all its eggs in a basket labelled Intense Primer

Intense aims to simplify its trail category by eliminating the Recluse and ACV and putting all its eggs in a basket labelled Intense Primer.

Intense Primer UK pricing

  • Intense Primer frame only, £2,599
  • Intense Primer Elite build, £6,499
  • Intense Primer Pro build, £5,599
  • Intense Primer Expert build, £3,699

In one fell swoop, Intense has chopped three models out of its line-up and consolidated its trail offerings with the redesigned Primer. Gone are the Recluse, ACV and Spider. Updated and given a fresh lick of paint, the new all-carbon Primer will be offered in three configurations: 29in, 27.5in and as a mullet bike with 29in front and 27.5in rear. Unlike Scott, for example, with its Genius and Ransom, to achieve this, Intense has engineered two different front triangles and two different swingarms.

There have been a number of changes to travel, geometry and suspension kinematics too. Instead of 140/130mm of travel, the new Primer gets 140mm at the rear paired with a 150mm fork, and those figures are consistent across all three wheel sizes. In terms of geometry, Intense hasn’t quoted any specific changes to us, but comparing like with like, a large Primer with 29in wheels is 10-15mm longer in reach (depending on flip-chip position), a 1-1.5° slacker head angle and a circa 30mm longer wheelbase than the large Primer we tested back in 2016. Interestingly, while the seat tube is shorter to accommodate longer dropper posts, the bottom bracket is higher on the new bike – presumably because of the increased travel – and the seat angle is actually a touch slacker. We’ll have to see what difference that makes on the trail when we get a chance to ride it.

intense primer

Intense Primer 29 Elite £6,499

What else is new? Well, aside from increasing the travel, there’s a new JS (Jeff Steber) link design to tune the suspension response. The old Primer had a fairly regressive initial leverage curve, which helped it into sag point, before becoming progressive around the mid-stroke. On the new bike, there’s a higher leverage rate to begin with, but less regression to the sag point and greater progression after. So it should offer more support in the mid-stroke, a more consistent feel and better bottom-out resistance. This new link is called the JS Trail link and the upper mount has a cool recessed design where the top tube wraps around the pivot. It’s a design trick first seen on the Tazer e-bike.

While the old Primer used a single spar upright for the one-piece swingarm that was a touch on the flexy side, the new bike uses a twin-spar design that should make a big difference to rear end stiffness. Finally there’s a flip chip at the rear shock mount to adjust geometry. You get 0.6° of head and seat angle change along with a corresponding BB height variation of 8mm.

So, to sum up, a one updated bike now does the job of four old models, which is definitely a step towards a simplified and cohesive range.

intense primer

Intense Primer S Elite £6,499

Want to know what Aaron Gwin had to say about the new bike? Without a hint of bias he said: “The new Primer is awesome. It’s a really good all round bike and it fits the trails I have at home really well. It’s a playful bike and the geometry is perfect for me. It eats bumps well, it handles good, everything hits in the right spots and it’s comfortable to ride. If you’re looking for a 140 to a 150 trail bike then it’s the way to go.”

Hopefully we’ll be able to tell you if we agree with Mr Gwin’s evaluation in the next week or so as we’ve got a Primer to ride right now.