What do you get if you combine 29″ wheels and 140mm of suspension travel? Momentum.
Add to that a big set of tyres, wide bars, a dropper post and a RockShox Pike and you’ve got a lot of bike in your hands, the Carbine 29 aint messing about. It’s not often we see 29″ wheels with this amount of suspension, as it can make for a cumbersome and isolating bike that is hard to manoeuvre around tight trails, but some brands have been doing it well lately with the development of carbon frames giving designers more freedom. Big travel 29ers are a blast to ride, and especially capable when the trails are mighty rough, or you are a rider with some height.
The benchmark of long travel 29ers could well be the Specialized Enduro 29 with its ridiculously short chain stay length and lack of weight, but the Carbine 29 comes with an air of Californian classic prestige and looks to die for, so let’s see how it goes.
Flow received the 2015 Carbine 29 Expert which retails for $7799, it’s positioned snugly below the Pro ($7999) and Factory ($11999) versions using the same frame with different kit. The Factory model is one seriously intense Intense! Check out the range of options here: http://intensecycles.com/portfolio-item/carbine-29-2015/
Intense’s have been frame-only options for quite some time, so we welcome complete bike options all the way over here, Down Under. It’s plain to see that the parts have been chosen carefully to give the rider the best possible experience, with compatibility and model specific choices paramount, with feedback from guys like Chris Kovarik and Brian Lopes lending their experience with spec choice input.
The Carbine is an all carbon frame with machined aluminium linkages that make up the VPP – Virtual Pivot Point suspension design. Intense use VPP across their wide range of suspension frames which gives the rear wheel a specific amount of vertical and rearward travel, all in an attempt to garner a terrain devouring machine that maintains pedal efficiency.
For 2015 a new carbon rear end makes its way on to the Carbine, with a very attractive and burly set of dropouts. The new rear section is said to be stiffer and more streamlined than the previous one, so far we certainly agree with the streamline call, it’s a real looker.
The Expert level build kit is pretty tidy, with a Shimano drivetrain and brakes, but an odd omission is the absence is an on-the-fly compression adjustment on the rear shock but we’ll see if we miss it.
It has to be said, that the colour matching is real class, accentuated by the striking pairing of orange and red, not often seen in the mountain bike world.
Intense appear to be on a roll at the moment, with new bike releases rumoured and the return of the big name of the sport Shaun Palmer into the family. We recently sat down with the new Intense CEO Andrew Herrick to ask about the past and future, read the interview here. https://flowmountainbike.com/features/interview-intense-cycles-andrew-herrick/
So it’s off to the trails we go to mow down some terrain in the name of testing, stay tuned for more.