The fourth in Intense’s line of carbon fiber mountain bike frames, the Spider 29 Comp was designed for the XC/ light-trail segment and offers all of our signature features, as well as some new surprises.
The Spider 29 boasts modern trail geometry while the combination of patented VPP suspension and 29? wheels are magical ingredients for maintaining rolling momentum through the rough stuff, as well as on the climbs. It brings all the features Intense is known for: adjustable travel (4.5 – 5?), G1 dropout system, proven ride quality and exceptional esthetics, but also has some new tricks up its sleeve like internal cable routing, tapered head tube, special internal cable routing for the Rock Shox Reverb Stealth dropper post and comes stock with the Fox Float CTD Kashima coat rear shock. Two travel settings allow the bike to really take on a dual personality. Use the 4.5” mode for an extremely solid pedaling platform or the longer 5” position to gobble up rocks, roots and chatter.
Weaknesses: Easy to pop the front for a 29er, but still tougher because its a 29er. Frame protection peeling a bit on the edges. Hopefully they hold out given I don't spray my bike with water.
Best climbing bike I have owned bar none. Take this with a grain of salt as my stable has usually been 160mm AM bikes or hard tails. No surprise it climbs better than the AM bikes, but the hard tail superiority surprised me a bit. The exception here is the hard tails climb better when the trails are pretty smooth, as expected.
This incarnation of VPP has almost zero pedal feedback in the granny ring. A vast improvement over every VPP I have owned previously. This lack of kickback did not come solely at the cost of the venerable VPP rollover feel when descending which I will cover below. The suspension is relatively stiff off the top of the travel making it sit a bit higher in the travel than my other VPP bikes - which aids the climbing ability. With the 130mm Float and have never found the front end to wander on steep climbs or switchbacks. The slightly longer chain stays on 29ers aid in this respect. The Float far outperforms any Talas I have tried so I am happy with that decision. I have Enve wheels on the bike which also aid the climbing to an extent due to the light weight.
The negative on climbing is I do have to muscle it around tight uphill switchback more so than my 26ers, but that is an indictment of the wheel size and really isn't an issue. Overall, A in this category.
I love the long climb or ride and consider myself an all around rider, but I am a descender by background and is why I ride. Where I can accept an average climber, I cannot accept a subpar descender.
As I mentioned in a post the other day, the best barometer I had on this bike is a ride I did the other day with two buddies of mine who race Enduro and quite successfully. I can ride their rear wheels if I decide to hang it out that day but usually let them drop me ever so slightly. Riding a steep, technical single-track the other day, I was riding their wheels like I normally ride when I get slightly dropped. It was surprising and impressive. Actually, my buddy mentioned to me after the ride that he was shocked at my riding that day and chocked it up to new bike stoke. Whatever you chalk it up to, I am faster downhill on this bike than I am on my Uzzi in moderately technical and steep single-track.
The traction on this bike is incredible (Hans Dampf front) and the more you lean, the more you are rewarded. The traction is never ending and is an impressive attribute of this bike. The potential negative I can see for smaller or less aggressive riders is it doesn't fall into a lean as easy as my Uzzi or other bikes I've owned. If you don't have aggressive leaning tendencies or are afraid to weight your front, you will find yourself under steering. Lazy steerers should not apply. That said, if you ride it in an aggressive fashion, it is as, of not more, fun in tight single-track as my Uzzi and leaves it in the dust on sweepers. Also, this is the stiffest Intense frame I have owned which also contributes to its positive handling attributes.
The slack head angle and large wheels perform exceedingly well in chunk and at high speed. Not need to elaborate here as this is the presumed benefit of a slack 29er.
Jumping / Playfulness
You can ride this bike like a 26er pumping and jumping the trail, but it feels different. You get a slightly more stable, sailing effect. It is a different feel to a 26, not necessarily better or worse unless your sole intent of jumping is to cross it up on every launch. It is more confidence inspiring while in the air which could be a benefit for a newbie. The short stays and slack angle on this make it feel much more playful than the LTc or Rip9 I demoed last year. Unfortunately, and honestly, I think the SB95 I demoed might have a minor advantage in this area, although very minor. The biggest negative I can see with the 29er platform and the Intense is the manualing. Yes, you can ride the rear wheel but it is not as intuitive as on the 26er. Given the other advantages, and the fact it can be done with just more effort, it is worth the tradeoff.
Compared to what I am used to with my AM bikes, it has a decidedly racy feel to the rear setup. More DW like in firmer off the top, travel disappears in mid-stroke with nice ramp at the end. Granted, I have not sent it yet on a big drop but have not bottomed it out hard to this point. As mentioned above, there is still that nice rollover feel of VPP although not as pronounced as on my Uzzi, Tracer, 6.6 etc. That said, I am enjoying this firm setup as you really feel the trail beneath you vs a more muted ride on my longer travel bikes. The travel will be sufficient for all non resort riding in Colorado and will be perfect for all of Moab, with the exception of the Whole Enchilada. Also, the quality of Intense pivots have been their weak points on previous bikes, not on this one. Looks like they copied Santa Cruz's design and it is executed beautifully.
I purchased one of the original spider VPP bicycles back in early 2003 or 2004. At the time I thought it was for the best bicycles I have ever ridden. Fast-forward nine years. I rode a spider 29 comp for several hours and have to say it might be the best bicycle I've ever ridden. Obviously bikes are very personal in nature. Here is my profile. If it works for me and you have a similar profile it might work for you. I ride many endurance events. I race cross country races. I love long jaunts in the saddle. I am faster uphill then down. I got a 29er because it is so efficient to ride. I find that on a 29er I can keep up with my more skilled friends on the downhill because of the way a 29 or gobbles up rocks. That said, on very steep descents, my Tallboy was a bit too tall. As I added more all mountain riding to my routine I was investigating a bike that would be more appropriate for some of the gnarly terrain I am now riding. I was looking for a bike that would allow me to go downhill even faster without negatively impacting uphill and cross-country performance.
The Spider comp is that bike. First off, the bike is gorgeous. Intense has built some of most beautiful mountain bikes ever and the spider comp is no different. It has some serious bling factor. Okay - the ride: uphill: combination of short chain stays and big tires: you will run out of legs before the bike runs out of traction. The bike will roam a bit so you need to pay attention but that is a small price to pay for the added downhill stability.
The bike does very well descending - it can cut tight turns and the combination of 5" travel and 29" tires eats up baby heads and allows you to take the most aggressive lines through rocky terrain. I was surprised at the turning radius as well - just about equal that of my Tallboy.
The only negative thing I have to say about the spider is I do not understand why there is adjustable travel. It seems like a gimmick. I doubt people could tell the difference between the two settings and more importantly at Max travel the bike performs so well there is no need for adjustment.
If I could not have two bikes I would likely simply decide upon the spider comp. However, since I'm fortunate enough to be able to have two I believe that for pure cross country racing the tallboy is better suited for that task. But not by much.
I am currently riding the new version of the Spider 29 and really like it but I am a bit intrigued by the Spider Comp and considering a upgrade to this :)
If you have some experience with both these frame I would love to hear about it. Especially if the slacker Spider Comp climbs as well as the S ... Read More »
[url=http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showproduct.php?product=85719]Intense Spider 29 Comp Carbon Frame with CC DBair shock Perfect Condition - Buy and Sell and Review Mountain Bikes and Accessories[/url]Read More »
Does anyone know or have a listing of the torque specs for all the frame bolts on a 2012 Spider 29, alloy, not the Comp? I just logged the first 100 miles on my new (2012) Spider 29 and need to pull suspension bolts and blue Loctite them all. Had a few loosen up on me in the past two rides.
I c ... Read More »
So I went down on the trail the other day and managed to land on a good size rock putting a crack in my left seat stay. I'm looking to get a new rear end and I've been quoted $700 installed. Does that seem high? Fair deal? What do you guys think?Read More »