The Carbine 27.5 is the ultimate 27.5" platform. The new 27.5" wheel size is taking off for 2013, with new many new tires, forks, and rims being released. Intense has beaten every bike company to the punch with a carbon fiber, fully featured, tough, efficient, and plush frame to really show off this awesome new wheel size. The Carbine 27.5 delivers 5.5-6” of adjustable travel, Patented Virtual Pivot Point suspension design, and the host of awesome features that Intense is known for.
For 2013 Intense Cycles actually has two All Mountain 650b bikes. The Carbine 275 and Tracer 275 both have 5.5 or 6" of travel (adjustable shock mount). The main difference between the two are that the Carbine 275 is made from carbon and the Tracer is aluminum. How was Intense Cycles able to create a carbon fiber 650b so quickly? Jeff Steber, founder of Intense Cycles, discovered that his current carbon model (the Carbine) could easily be upgraded to 650B wheels due to his use of the “G1" interchangeable dropouts. Continue reading →
Weaknesses: No ISCG Tabs or Internal DP Cable Routing (new frames have both of these).
I had three niners before this bike (GF hardtail, RIP9, Trek Superfly Carbon). Those were all good bikes, but I progressed to steeper terrain with lots of chunk and 3-4ft drops. I'm just under 5ft 9in, so the niners were always a little on the big side for me, but 26" wheels feel way to small. I was hoping 650b would be a good fit and it's perfect.
This bike does everything amazingly well. I like a lower BB, so I put Burgtec offset bushings in and it lowered it about .5" and slackened the head angle. The bike rode great stock, but I was used to a low BB and the slack HA is great for steeps. I didn't notice any negative effects of the bushings.
Handling - The bike is easy to flick left to right, but holds it's line through turn. If it does start to let loose, it's a controlled slide with both wheels drifting at once so it's easy to control and correct - and lots of fun. It's very stable at high speeds as well and steering with the rear tire is not a problem at all, something I couldn't do with the wagon wheels.
Climbing - The bike climbs amazingly well for a 6" travel bike. The traction is excellent and I'm cleaning steep, loose climbs I would spin out on before. It climbs best when seated, although I do stand up quite a bit at the expense of traction.
Suspension - My bike has the Fox Kashima CTD. The range from climb to descend is huge with descend mode extremely soft. I usually leave it in trail. The rear suspension is super smooth and feels bottomless, even at the 5.5" setting which is where I leave mine. I have a Fox Talas 32 with Kashima for 26" wheels and it feels nowhere as near as plush as the shock. Also, I have bottomed out with the tire hitting the crown. I might upgrade to a true 650b fork.
Frame - It's super stiff and the their is very little to no flex. It makes the Flow EX wheels seem soft! The cable routing is a mixed bag - the cables stay off the headtube area, but the dropper post "tab" is a joke. I also don't like the cables going on the underside of the seat stays after being routed on the underside of the top tube - makes for some weird bends. The bike came with a chrome guard on the drive-side chain stay, but it came off during a ride after a drop off. The pivot bolts also loosened up on me on a few rides, but they seem to be OK now. Without ISCGs tabs and running 1x10, I'm using a MRP 1x direct mount guide with Shimano XTR Shadow RD. I didn't drop the chain, but the chain would slap in to the suspension pivot on the drive side and started to scratch the frame. My only choice was to get a Bionicon CG. It's not the best setup, but works well.
Overall - An extremely capable rig for everything except DH or XC racing. It's a true quiver killer that is fast, stiff, light and looks great. I'm planning to keep it for a long time.
Bike Setup: Fox Talas 150/120 (26" wheels)
Burgtec Offset Bushings (lowers BB and slackens HA)
Flow EX wheels
Shimano 1x10 with Rotor Chain Ring
MRP direct mount guide and Bionicon Chain Guide
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: April 3, 2013
Strengths: Light, stiff, nimble like a 26er and rolls like a 29er. Looks amazing
Weaknesses: Raw carbon scratches easily. $$$!
I've had this beauty for about 4 months now. Amazing bike. You can take it anywhere from cross country to gnarly, techy trails. I did the 24 His in the Old Pueblo on this puppy. So versatile. The suspension is amazing. Climbs like crazy with lots of traction. Buttery soft on the downhill.
Similar Products Used: Pivot Mach 5.7, Stumpy EVO FSR, Turner Flux.
Bike Setup: Fox 34 CTD fork, Fox CTD shock, Specialized Blacklight dropper post, I-9 Trail 24 wheelset with Torch hubs.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: December 27, 2012
Winter has come at the wrong time. Because I have only had just over a month to ride this beautiful Machine. Having spent time on 12 other VPP bikes I didn't have that high expectations for the 27.5 wheeled Carbine to blow me away, Or at least significantly do something that much better then these other bikes...well I was wrong! First let me start by saying that this is my first 27.5 MTB? Knowing that 29er wheel would roll over rougher terrain, I still couldn't breakdown and have one as my main ride.(because being not as fun or maneuverable for the type of trails and riding that I normally do) I was hoping the 27.5 wheel would fit my riding style style perfect. So far it's looking that way.
After spending two years on the Tracer 2 I wanted a bike that could climb as good or better (after all the Carbine 27.5 is carbon and lighter) and decened some where as good as the Tracer.(the Tracer 2 descended as good as some and better than many of my downhill bikes)
Receiving the complete bike from intense with XT kit Fox 34 160 fork, I installed a Rock Shox Reveb seatpost Sunline bars and Thompson 50mm stem. In the parking lot the bike felt a bit taller than the Tracer at the bars. Dropping two steerer spacers got the bars to the same height as the ones on the Tracer.
Climbing. First ride came with a 2 1/2 mile road climb to the trail with out with a warm up. I was not looking forword to the climb( I had lost almost ten lbs early that week to a nasty flue and was feeling really weak! Add "insult to injury" it had snowed 2 inches to the some times 18-20% grade dirt road. It was hard to stand peddling because of rearwheel traction in the snow, staying seated at times was the only option. Even with the rear shock in the descend mode the rear suspension never mushed or bobed under peddling forces, the bike inspired me to push on the peddles. The Crabine's stiff bottom bracket was noticeable when getting out of the saddle and encouraged me on the climb knowing all of the power I could muster was moving me up the climb. The fork was left on the "Trail" mode, without any noticeable movement climbing.
On the trail. It's amazing how the VPP suspension design can transition from stable platform to super plush, And the Carbine 275 seems to deliver in this aspect better than any other Santa Cruz or Intense bike I've ridden. The trails that I was about to ride I knew very well and had spent many hours building and riding them. So when I got to sections that were very bony, even though they were covered in snow the 27.5 wheels seem to roll over them with noticeably less bite than a 26 inch wheel. The carbon frame takes the sting out of small braking bump chatter. The XT clutch derailer is a must on this bike, I have not droped a chain on this bike yet. The XT brakes work wonderfull, lots of power out of a 180 front 160 rear rottor. Riding the bike on some other tight XC trails had me coming out of the corners faster and blasting into the next try to find the limets of the tires. 27.5 wheels feel fast, faster than 26.
Descending. The Crabine 27.5 had that "old glove" feel right out of the gate. A little pull on the bars and loading the rear shock had the Carbine's front wheel coming off the ground in a controlled fashion. Cornering and jumping felt much like a 26 bike, which left me with feeling I could go and try what I wanted on the trail, jump that log...sure, whip out the rear wheel...no problem. I was having fun right away because I felt confident that the bike would do what I asked. The more I rode the Carbine, the more I wanted to attack nasty rock/root fill sections of trail, and the Fox 34 and stiff carbon frame helped give the bike that point n shoot feel of a bigger bike. Oh did I say the Carbine was fast? Well it is. Real fast! All of the bikes Pros let you do things faster than any of the other 6" I've spent time on.
Bottom line. We will see how Intense's carbon holds up. they know to make top shelf products so I have little fear riding this bike the way a trail bike should. I know most feel the same and wish Intense put ISG tabs on the BB, but the XT "slap nob" mech seem to work. I didn't want to deal with a different wheel size and was kind of irritated that a lot of the bike makers were pushing them, but I can see why they did. Jumps, drops, corners, roll ins, climbing snow covered roads are all on par or noticeably better than many of the top gun trail bikes out there. Is it the wheels? I think it is the whole package, frame, shock, fork, wheels, smooth drive train make it the best trail I've ridden. So it pains me so much it's dumping snow outside.
If your on the East Coast and are looking for a good shop to pick up an Intense bike give Rhino Bike Works in NH a call they will treat you right
Strengths: Fit and finish when compared to other carbon frames (obviously high end), stiff all around with precise steering, nice machined hardware, quality paint. 650b ride quality is perfect for norcal trails. I choose VPP over anything comparable
Weaknesses: Not crazy light like the Santa Cruz blur TR, head angle is a little slack for my liking with the conversion +/- 67, I advise running a 140mm fork for trail riding.
After riding a number of nice 29er full suspension bikes, I quickly learned that there are benefits of having larger wheels. Really felt the added rolling momentum and traction when compared to 26". However I wasn't sold on the wheel size. I feel like 29 is just as arbitrary a size as 26, and there are as many positives as there are negatives when comparing the two. When I saw this bike at Sea Otter, it looked perfect. The 650b wheel size just looks proportional to the frame, which I feel is directly linked to trail performance. 26 does look a little bit to small, and 29 looks a little bit to big....650b is obviously right in the middle.I wouldn't say 650b is a size that is best of both worlds, but if you've ridden both wheel sizes and tend to lean towards 26" for trail/AM riding, this bike is the best thing out there. I look at it as a bike that rides like a 26" bike with similar travel/geometry, but feels a little faster, and noticeably more comfortable, with a perfect all around ride quality. I used to be a Santa Cruz guy, but over the years I've converted to Intense as I feel like they're putting top notch products out there. You won't feel like you're getting ripped off paying thousands of dollars for something that looks like it cost $300 to build. If you ride norcal style trails that are tight, technical, and require of lot of finesse I wouldn't look at anything beside this bike.
Similar Products Used: Moots Cinco, Ibis Mojo SL, Santa Cruz Tallboy, Giant Anthem X 29, Foes FXR, Santa Cruz Nomad
Bike Setup: Medium Intense Red frame, XT shifters/crank/brakes, XTR 2X10 Derailleurs, Thomson stem/post, Hope hubs laced to Stans Flow 650b rims, White Brothers Loop fork
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: November 24, 2012
Strengths: Stability, control, climbing, precision. 650B conversion makes this bike all it can be.
I posted a review for the 26inch Carbine, noting how vulnerable the lower link carbon
brackets are when stepping over logs etc. The bigger wheels pretty much solve that problem.
Weaknesses: A bit firm on small bumps. Needs shock pressure a bit below recommendation.
Rear brake adapter with the 650B dropouts only allow 160mm rotor. 180 would be nice.
Chainslap hurts the chainstay, but an XTR 985 rear derailleur helps.
The wheel size war is over. 26inch wheels are definitely too small.
Having owned 29ers (HT and XC FS), for two years, there is a noticeable
XC speed advantage with larger wheels. (6 ft rider).
For AM, the 650B size allows better control, and less correction, but the bike
is still light and nimble.