The Spider 275C scurries uphill over loose and technical terrain with efficiency and reliable traction
Need to know
- Carbon 27.5in trail bike with 130mm travel
- Two frame options, four complete bikes
- Adjustable shock mount gives 130 or 115mm travel
- Fox Factory Edition shock on all models
- 148x12mm Boost rear hub spacing
- Frame-only option for £2,899
In the mountain bike world, Intense Cycles is recognised as a medium-sized brand at best, yet its influence and rich history defies its stature. What basically began as a boutique race shop, fabricating alloy frames in Temecula, California, today features numerous complete bikes for practically every category in mountain biking.
Over a decade ago, Intense introduced the Spider as a short-travel, cross-country race machine. In 2015, a 130mm-travel alloy Spider 275A hit the market in the trail category. The next step in its evolution is the all-new, carbon-fibre Spider 275C.
It’s available in two options: SL with a carbon link and Standard with an alloy link. Both versions get internal cable routing, 148x12mm Boost rear hub spacing, and travel can be swapped between 130mm and 115mm travel by repositioning the shock.
There are two complete bikes with prices ranging from (gulp) £5,499 to £8,999.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Back in 2003, Intense began licensing the VPP suspension design from Santa Cruz bicycles, resulting in a multi-year partnership and collaboration. With the VPP patent now expired, Intense still uses the counter-rotating, twin-link configuration, but now under its own platform — ‘J.S. Tune’, named after Intense founder, Jeff Steber.
The suspension design still resembles what we know as VPP, the difference being that Intense now has more freedom to manipulate the design to the specific needs for each platform.
The first bike to sport the J.S. Tune is the new Spider 275C. A bike designed to be a rider’s go-to machine for everything from all-day adventures to quick trail loops. I had the opportunity to spend a few days ripping around on the Factory Spider in Laguna Beach, California, followed by a handful of rides on my local trails in Santa Cruz.
In my short time aboard the new Spider, I quickly felt what separated it from many other trail bikes — agility and acceleration. The top-of-the-line Factory Spider is equipped with Factory-level Fox suspension, carbon-fibre DT Swiss XRC 1200 cross-country wheels, and SRAM’s XX1 drivetrain for a distractingly lightweight (in a good way) ride with snappy handling.
For a 130mm-travel bike, the Spider 275C accelerates with ease. Over the years, a trait of VPP-style dual-link suspension is how well the bikes pedal and accelerate while the shock is in the open setting, meaning there’s no need to employ the ProPedal platform or lockout.
The Spider 275C holds true in this manner, as it scurries uphill over loose and technical terrain with efficiency and reliable traction. With playful trail bike geometry and a Renthal cockpit, the Spider 275C feels equally at home on flowing terrain or technical singletrack.
However, I’d love to see how the Spider performs on a more modern trail wheelset with wider rims that offer more tyre stability. The Boost rear hub suggests there’s a Plus size version in the works, and my fingers are firmly crossed for a Spider 29er.