Equipped with 5.5” of seemingly bottomless travel, it’s torque sensative VPP design makes it the perfect choice for all day, go anywhere, endura rides.
With ultra efficient no BOB power transfer, and superior handling, the 5.5 EVP does it all.
Strengths: technical climbing efficiency, overall handling, Nice short wheelbase, decent weight, made in USA
Weaknesses: Some flex, neutral feeling of VPP= slower acceleration
This is my favorite full suspension trail bike, I've ridden all types of brands and suspension designs, but somehow I keep coming back to this bike when I want a ride that I feel I'm in total control of. Great classic geometry and nice tight wheelbase makes this thing handling tight, technical singletrack exceptionally well. Although designs like the DW-Link feel faster to accelerate up the mountain, this bike does what you want, when you want it to, which isn't something I can say about most other bikes I've ridder
Incredible bike overall. This was originally the top bike in my fleet used on occasion, for bike vacations, or when I really wanted to rip it. (I had an Epic that I used for racing). Eventually it became my everyday bike. It was an excellent climber but really liked to dance through the high speed technical stuff.
My setup varied but always high end and settled at around 130mm front fork. This made is somewhat steep for today's geometry's but perfect if that is what you're used to. I racked up thousands of incredible miles on this bike including our local technical rocks and roots type of riding and bike vacations in Moab, Georgia, Vermont, etc.
I eventually picked up a 2010 Intense Spider II and Tracer VP. The 5.5 seemed to fit nicely between them but the geometry made the setup dissimilar, making switching between them a little unfamiliar.
Compared to the other models, it does feel a little more upright and possibly slightly less efficient, but again, once you got comfortable on this bike it could dance with you through high speed technical, climbs and swirling single track.
Last Fall I was ripping through some technical single track and snapped the rear triangle right at the weld in front of the rear derailleur. The Intense distributor took care of me when there were no replacements available and offered me a deal on a new frame. I did get the triangle welded but have yet to assemble the bike. It gave me incredible rides over several years and really owes me nothing. It'll eventually get rebuilt with a lower spec and though mostly "out to pasture" it'll return to occasional use.
Strengths: Great balance of steering and stability. Stays are short enough it comes back on the rear wheel like a champ. Charges hard through everything, squishes big bumps, pedals like a mad man. I actually like it with pro pedal off. VPP system is very efficient. I use the bike for long enduro rides. Longest ride so far White Rim Trail in a day 108 miles so comfortable. Best bike I've ever owned. Built up @ 26 lbs decked out.
Weaknesses: There is some squish under standing power but I'm pretty sure that means the rear suspension is moving.
Love the bike as my go to for everything but cross racing and XC racing. I can't seem to want to convert to 29er despite having ridden tons of high end models. 26er is just too fun.
Bike Setup: XTR, WTB laser/mavic wheelset, Fox RLC
Date Reviewed: April 26, 2011
Strengths: Climbs like a goat, goes down like it should, bike is solid and I wish Intense would go back to making more of them...
Weaknesses: Could be lighter if made of carbon fiber
I already had 2 of them... I have not tried the new stuff of Intense yet. I am not sure if the company is going down but I have noticed that there is always one less bike shop working with Intense... The Ferrari of the Mt bikes...
Intense, yOu need a better website, You need better sales people...
Similar Products Used: Trek Fuel, Yeti 575, Intense Sprider, Turner...
Bike Setup: XTR mostly with Chris king hubs and Mavic Wheels (dont remember the model)
a Cross Country Rider
from Dallas, TX
Date Reviewed: March 29, 2011
Weaknesses: I wish the headtube were a degree slacker, but it's a minor gripe.
I've had more frames than digits on my hands--including 29'ers. This one is my favorite. I still keep other bikes in my small stable(a 29'er), but this one is without a doubt the one that can do it all, and does it so well. I always come off of this bike with a smile. It's hard to explain what makes it so special--It just suits my style I suppose-- plush, nimble, flickable, fast, stiff enough to not shutter in the rough, efficient uphill, awesome downhill, can still fit a water bottle in the triangle(hate that new frames usually can't). Too bad they do not make it anymore, it's a winner.
All the bikes listed in my "similar products used" were great bikes too. This one just tops them in my opinion.
Similar Products Used: Intense Spider, Specialized Epic, Intense 6.6, Kona Dawg, Niner Jet9, Niner Rip9.
Bike Setup: Fox 140R Float(15mm), Sram X.0, Avid Ultimate brakes, A couple of wheelsets, Crank Brothers, Fulcrum
a Cross Country Rider
from Marikina, Phillippines
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2010
Strengths: Excellent built, rear shock Manitou SPV 4 way, killer looks, relative light weight for a 5.5 inch travel bike. Best all around bike and weighs only 27 lbs.
Weaknesses: NONE!!!!!!!!!!!! If you consider tightening the main pivot bolts once in a while not a big deal, then NONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is now my 5th bike since I started riding almost 4 years ago. My riding style evolved from light XC to both aggressive XC and aggressive all mountain\free ride. I like to both climb and descend very fast. I also love taking the odd 3 foot drops or jumps\bunny hops and attack any trail either single track or downhill fire roads. My last bike was a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro 08 with the brain. It sure made me a better climber due to the brain. However, the Stumpy twitches and bounces a lot on very bumpy and fast descends which made me feel very nervous. Got rid of the bike just after one year due to the Specialized rear shock blowing oil through the rebound knob. I was told by the dealer that the advertised Stumpy as a trail bike can't be bunny hopped or dropped any more than a foot.
Now comes the Intense. Israel Dee at John Wilkie bike shop offered me a trade-in on a used Intense 5.5 EVP. Ever since I finally found the frame that matches my riding style and never looked back. The VPP suspension of the 5.5 climbs almost as good as the Stumpy's brain technology. both bike doesn't need to be manually locked out during steep climbs. It automatically locks out when needed and absorbs bumps just when it needs to. The 5.5 though descends like no other bike I've owned. This bike definitely gave me the confidence to climb like a mountain goat and descend like a mad man on any fast downhill rough and bumpy roads. Just go down as fast as you can and not having to worry about a smooth line. You can't ride this bike and not feel the need to speed. It's not for the faint hearted, cruise in the park bike rider. The Talas 32 up front coupled with the Manitou SPV 4 way rear shock sure gives the bike a very plush without sacrificing the feel and control. Some bikes are more plush but doesn't give the feel of "you're going too fast and out of control". This bike wants to be ridden hard, kill or be killed take no prisoners approach. I've taken this bike around the tightest single tracks and swithcbacks and blew a lot of other bikers away. I've done an all day ride and not feel tired or beat up. My bike is an Intense red on a Fulcrum Red Metal Zero all red on black spokes wheelset. I just love the killer and aggressive look of the bike. I will never own a Ferrari but this bike is the closest thing for me to owning one on two wheels. The Stumpy is also an awesome frame but if you want a 6 lb, epic, climbing, descending, single track, switchbacks do it all bike and have the dough, then get this frame. Thats if you can find one as Intense discountinued the 5.5's. Thanks to Jeff Steber.
Similar Products Used: Merida Mats 500, Merida Mission 2000, Merida AM 3000, Specialized Stumpjumer FSR Pro 08
Bike Setup: 07 Intense EVP 5.5 on Intense red colour with full XTR group set; Shimano dcl shifter; Shimano XTR shadow; Sram XO cogset and chain, Wellgo pedals, Fox Talas 07; Thompson elite seat post and stem; WTB Laser V Pro saddle; Maxm MX5 Carbon handle bar with Oury grips and Serfas bar ends; Fulcrum Red Metal Zero wheelset on GEAX Saguaro 2.0 rear and Maxxis Crossmark 2.0 front; Avid rotors with Jagwire brake pads and all Jagwire shifter cable system.
from SLC, UT, US
Date Reviewed: February 26, 2010
Strengths: Bomb proof, reliable suspension, Lateral Stiffness, Great in the climbs and fly's on the DH.
Weaknesses: Rear suspension pivots have a tendancy to wear out and need replacement regularly.
I have thrown everything I have at this bike and it keeps asking for more. I have not been able to push its limits even after taking 7 foot drops onto flat ground. I have had some trouble with the pivots int he rear suspension but the parts are cheap and most bike shops have seen it frequently enough to easily diagnose and fix the issue. I have ridden several other bikes and have yet to find one that compares to the suspension. I love the VPP and dont ever forsee myself getting a different bike. Only an upgrade to the new Tracer. This thing is tougher than a Timex.
Bike Setup: Fow Float RLC, SRAM XO components, Crossmax XL wheelset, Avid Juicy 7 brakes.
a Weekend Warrior
from Heidelberg, Germany
Date Reviewed: August 30, 2009
Strengths: American Built, great attention to detail, CNC work is fantastic as well as the head tube gusset, great welds and craftsmanship, small things like I didn't have to shim the rear IS brake tabs differently because they were aligned from the factory, great riding up or down, I can out ride my brakes on this
Weaknesses: Powder Coat is not great, it stains after every muddy ride, its also flaking under the seat post collar, stickers are cheap, give me laser etching, I hate the RP23 2008 LV so I switched to the HV which is so much better, the LV wrecks the ride. Really sensitive to brake dive and crown to axle heights, more than other bikes I have owned. Slightly flexy in the rear.
Great all mountain bike. If you like the VPP there's some old new stock out there to build a great all mountain bike with this as the center piece. I love it because it can almost do it all. Its perfect for me now that I have the HV RP23 and a Fox TALAS 140mm, supple on the small stuff and deep on the big stuff. I had some issues with crown to axle and brake dive on my Magura, but the Fox fixes all that combined with a King 5mm base plate. Its at home in just about any situation other than a real downhill course or Northshore trail. It climbs well and descends better. I love VPP!! Many guys have complained about bearings, but mine is an 08 and I have ridden in Les Gets France which was the muddiest place I have ever ridden, Lake District England, and Scotland this summer. All those wet and I do mean wet rides and not a peep out of the bearings. We'll see as it gets older I may do the bearings and get a better powder coat on it.
Similar Products Used: RM Element Race, Ellsworth Truth, SC Blur Classic
Bike Setup: Fox TALAS 140mm, RP23 HV, DT Hugi 240 hubs w/ RWS 9/10mm axles, RF Next LP cranks, Phil Wood BB, Candy Pedals, Easton Monkey Light Bar and Easton Stem, King HS, RF Dues SP, Avid Juicy 7's, XTR/XT shifting
a Weekend Warrior
from Denver, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: February 15, 2009
Strengths: Pretty stiff frame, lightning quick steering but is surprisingly not too twitchy on descents.
Weaknesses: Bearings. I have an 05, so tire clearance, the newer ones look better.
Well, I sold my Santa Cruz Nomad fir a little faster steering bike. I initially regretted it because of the travel, but the 5.5 is surprisingly plush and the front end doesn't feel floppy like the Nomad. For the most part, I don't miss the Nomad, which may be my favorite all around bike I've ridden, this is just better suited to where I ride. I previously rode a Blur LT and something just feels better about the Intense 5.5—hard to explain. Climbs great, descends great, pretty light—perfect trail bike. I am sold on VPP and I really want to try the new Tracer VP.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: December 3, 2008
Strengths: Built into 29lb all mountain bike .Climbs well.Singletrack monster.Goes exactly where you point it.Beautiful handling bike that responds well to rider input.Unlike other posters I've had no bearing issues yet after 1200kms(mostly offroad on rough trail/dh)
Weaknesses: Can be a bit scary downhill at speed if youre not on your game.Apparently no warranty on frame as I bought from Greenfish and Intense would prefer me to use a local NZ distributor and pay $4000NZ plus rather than the $2700NZ I paid importing it myself.
Big improvement with VPP compared to single pivot bikes.Heaps more control both down and uphill.Suspect the new Tracer is even better
Bike Setup: Rp23,Pike Team,Avids,mavic 819 with Nobby Nic Tubeless,XT controls/crankset.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 24, 2008
Strengths: Amazing climber, strong rigid frame, very responsive handling
Weaknesses: Have not experienced any
I was very skeptical about spending $2000 on just a frameset. When my '05 MKIII swingarm spiral cracked around the bottom pivot weld, I was forced to make a change. The Intense 5.5 EVP frame with my components is an unusually efficient and stable bike on any terrain, at any speed. From my first ride on it at Big Creek in Atlanta I was impressed. I was considerably faster climbing and descending on trails that I have ridden for years. My riding partners could not keep up, and I am typically bringing up the rear. The difference in control and balance is immediately recognizable, when you pedal the bike responds regardless of obstacles. Be warned, the confidence the 5.5 EVP will instill in you can be dangerous. You will be traveling considerably faster than what you are used to on any trail you have ridden prior. If you are considering a changing out your frame/bike, one built in the USA, bite the bullet and spend the money on a 5.5 EVP, it's worth every penny.
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher
Iron Horse MKIII
Bike Setup: Marzocchi All Mountain fork
Cane Creek Double Barrel shock
XTR drive train
Aeorheat rims mounted on King hubs
Nevegal front, Small Block 8 rear
Avid '08 BB7's
a Weekend Warrior
from Quebec, Quebec, canada
Date Reviewed: September 14, 2008
Strengths: Tons of traction
2.0" stroke shock so you can have a DHX air
Climbs extremly well for a 5.5" travel bike
Downhills are a blast and put a smile on your face
Good bb height
Weaknesses: Standover is a bit on the high side
Could be lighter (FRO is)
A bit expensive but really worths it
This bike is awesome!
It climbs everything while you quietly sit down and pedal with a smooth stroke! Mine weights in at about 30lbs but it feels so much lighter... Handling is incredible at any speed and loves air time !
I was a bit skeptical at first to throw away my Giant Trance and ride a 5.5" bike as my XC bike. It works realy well for me.
The VPP linkage and pivot placements are spot on.
I leave the propedal lever in the "open" position most of the time and it bobs less than my Trance when hitting the pedal strong !
Similar Products Used: A lot !: Giant Trance, Intense Spider, Rocky Mountain Slayer, Rocky Mountain Pipeline, Oryx sptifire and Hurricane, ROcky MOuntain element, Devinci Banzai, etc...
Bike Setup: 5.5 evp medium frame with RP23, RS Revelation U-Turn air, Swiss DT 340 hubs, mavic 819 tubeless rims, thompson Elite post, Selle italia flight, Cross Mark tubeless tires, full Shimano XT drive train (but LX crankset, Juicy 5 (r) juicy 7 (fr), FSA headset, easton ea 50 bar, fsa stem
a Cross Country Rider
from Mooresville, NC, USA
Date Reviewed: July 10, 2008
Strengths: Really plush, build quality, fit & finish, ride, out of saddle sprints
Weaknesses: Stickers & head badge look cheap but so was my Yeti ARC HT and that turned out to be the best bike I had previously owned. The Fox RP-23 is leaking about a drop of oil past the seals after every ride.
First off - before I start into the review I will state the kind of riding I like, that is hilly & fast flowing single track with jumps & moderate drops. So I was looking for a bike that climbs as well as it descends. This bike seemed to fit the bill perfectly from the specs.
To start - my first ride on it was a totally different experience as I came off an FSR & epic which are a fairly firm XC set up and much closer to a hard tail. They are also 2 & 4 lbs lighter in weight.
I thought that it would take some getting used to but much to my surprise it took all of about 15 minutes to figure out how it reacts. The 5.5 is a quick steering tight tracking steed that loves to be ridden from the middle center position. The specialized like to be ridden from a slight rearward bias which tends to unload the front wheel. I attribute this trait to the lower handle bar position (XC set-up) which makes me want to drift rearward to feel balanced on the bike during descents and at speed. It will surprise you as to how fast you can gain speed on the 5.5. It was exhilarating blowing through my local trail, a fairly tight single track that at times has barely enough room for your handle bars to get through in some twisty sections.
When approaching most obstacles on the trail you need to stay seated and power through the section. On turns and downhill sweeps the 5.5 inches of suspension loads up evenly and propel you out of the apex of the turn with little loss of energy. On short climbs you can get out of the saddle and hammer with little movement from powering the chain ring. I have bested my time on my favorite trail the third time out on the bike. This bike was a completely different animal then what I was used to as the bikes I have ridden you want to float over the saddle and shift your weight to compensate for terrain irregularities.
I honed my riding skills on a HT and learned that a disciplined rider can finesse the trail by picking a good line and using a smooth pedal stroke. The difference on the 5.5 is that you can stay seated and just about blow through anything you can find on our local NC trails. I have also taken some 2 -5 foot drops with no problems.
I think allot of the complaints I have read about the bike from other reviewers canbe attributed to expectations of feel from other suspension designs. If you are used to riding a HT or short travel FS this bike will feel like it has too much movement, although in reality it is not the case. I am a previous 4-bar fan but have felt zero pedal feed back from any gear combination in the VPP system. If you are more use to a big hit bike it will feel quicker steering almost twitchy due to the less slack head angle and not as plush. Regardless, to date there is nothing I have not been able to handle on this bike and better yet with no fatigue from the ride.
This is, as billed, an excellent epic all day trail bike.
Best bike I have owned to date and am happy with the choice I made.
Are there better designs available, Maestro, ICT, DW Link, Horst, VPP, yada..yada..yada? Possibly because the technology keeps getting better and better. I think any well executed design can make the differences seem small, it's a matter of tuning, therefore I liken the choice to picking a Porsche 911 or a Ferrari F430- pick your poison because perception is often reality.
Happy trails hope to see you out there ripen it up.
PS. I have also read much about the pivots & bearings. I keep checking them and see no problems to date all is tight. I will write an update review after a full season of riding to report on my experience. Also, Intense has announced a new generation VPP2 bike and will be offering an angular contact retrofit kit later this year for the existing model.
Similar Products Used: Specialized FSR & Epic, Klein.
Bike Setup: Fox Float RLC, Fox RP 23, Sram XO RD, XT FD, Thompson, Titec, Juicy 7, Mavic Crosstrail, Kenda Nevegal Tubeless (about 28 lbs)
a Weekend Warrior
from Torrance, CA
Date Reviewed: June 6, 2008
Strengths: Does everything extremely well
Weaknesses: High maintenance, especially the bearings. Creaks.
The best trail bike out there (the new Intense trail bike is due out later this year). Climbs, handles, and does everything well. Looks beautiful. The only downside is that you need to maintain the pivot bearings at least once a year, and sometimes twice a year. I also have a creak in the seatpost that I can't seem to get rid of.