Lowdown: Intense Spider 275 C

If you have a BMX background, but don't have the fitness to keep up on climbs, the new Spider is a great choice. It's super efficient going up, and a ton of fun going down. Find out more in our full review below.

Build: FactoryWheel size: 27.5
Best use: Trail, four-cross, slalom Weight: 25 pounds
Frame material: CarbonPrice as tested: $9499
Rear travel: 115mm/130mmRating:
4 Flamin' Chili Peppers
4 out of 5
Stat Box


Pluses

Minuses
  • Light weight
  • Expensive
  • Incredibly efficient
  • May be adjustment if riding heavier bike now
  • Playful
  • Tall saddle position in low dropper setting
  • Internal routing plugs back out

Review: Intense Spider 275 C

The original Intense Spider was a welterweight cross-country machine that slowly evolved into a versatile 29er that was still capable of keeping up with the Lycra crowd, yet surprisingly burly. The newest model, the carbon Spider 275 C is intended to carry on that tradition. From putting in miles after work, to hooning on weekends, this little 115/130mm travel bike is built to tackle any situation.

Like the latest Santa Cruz models, the Intense features a lower link that is tucked up above the bottom bracket. This helps increase stiffness, power transfer, and helps shorten the rear end by nearly half an inch.

Like the latest Santa Cruz models, the Intense features a lower link that is tucked up above the bottom bracket. This helps increase stiffness, power transfer, and helps shorten the rear end by nearly half an inch (click to enlarge).​

For a number of years, Intense was the sole licensee of the Santa Cruz VPP suspension platform. That relationship helped to create a run of successful models, but now that the patent has expired, Intense has more latitude with their suspension designs. The latest iteration is the JS Tuned, after brand founder Jeff Steber. Yes, the design still bears resemblance to the newest Santa Cruz models, right down to the tucked up lower link. But ride characteristics couldn't be any different. More on that later.

The new Fox 34mm with Fit 4 damper is an ideal compliment to the stiff carbon chassis of the new Spider.

The new Fox 34 with Fit 4 damper is an ideal compliment to the stiff carbon chassis of the new Spider (click to enlarge).​

The rear travel is adjustable between 115mm and 130mm, with the suspension designed to be more linear in the longer travel setting, and more XC oriented in the shorter travel setting. Up front, suspension duties are performed by a 130mm Fox 34 fork. While many brands would have spec'd a 32mm chassis to help keep down price and weight, the 34 is absolutely the right choice here. It helps keep the front end of this lightweight bike planted through rough terrain, and the new FIT4 damper is one of the best performing platforms we've ridden.

The frame is made using an EPS molding process which produces a stiffer and lighter product. Higher end models will be made using a high modulus carbon that can be thinner in certain areas to help reduce weight, which helps shave 215 grams (or just under half a pound) when compared to the standard frames. The standard carbon with alloy link and no shock weighs 6 pounds (2705 grams), while the Super Light frame with the carbon link (no shock) weighs 5.5 pounds (2490 grams).


Continue to page 2 for more of our Intense Spider 275 C review »



The 240 degree handlebar clamp of the Renthal Apex stem makes it difficult to swap out or reinstall with a different handlebar.

The 240-degree handlebar clamp of the Renthal Apex stem makes it difficult to swap out or reinstall with a different handlebar (click to enlarge).​

There's also little to fault with component spec. Like the rest of the Intense line up, this bike's parts reflect some of the best value for the money across all models, yet manages to retain a custom built feel. The only big miss is the Renthal Apex stem, which is not only one of the ugliest on the market, but a pain to install.

The rails of the stock Fabric saddle are fairly tall when compared to offerings from brands like WTB. Swapping out the saddle and seat post collar will help get the saddle a few mm lower when the stock 125mm Reverb is at full extension.

The rails of the stock Fabric saddle are fairly tall when compared to offerings from brands such as WTB. Swapping out the saddle and seatpost collar will help get the saddle lower when the stock 125mm Reverb dropper post is at full extension (click to enlarge).​

Sliding further back, we also found that during several test riders on our size medium frame we experienced issues with getting the saddle height low enough with the 125mm RockShox Reverb post at full extension. For those with shorter legs, the only solution short of swapping the dropper for a 100mm unit is to install a slimmer seatpost collar or a saddle with shorter rails.

The Intense Spider is available in four different sizes.

The Intense Spider is available in four sizes (click to enlarge).​

In terms of geometry, the Intense has a middle of the road 67-degree headtube angle, standard 23.5" top tube for a size medium, and relatively short 16.5" chainstays. These numbers are similar to several leading competitors and produce a well balanced bike. The one area that really differentiates the Spider is the low standover, which is a boon on steep terrain.

The new Spider is happiest in the air or when manualing through a section of trail.

The new Spider is happiest in the air or when manualing through a section of trail (click to enlarge).​

On the trail, there's little to fault. This bike is an exceptionally efficient climber. What's surprising is that in addition to being fast uphill, it's also fun. This is a bike that doesn't mind racking up air miles. In fact, it prefers to be ridden with one wheel off the ground. You may actually find you spend so much time manualing that your arms grow. While other brands have attempted to create four-cross inspired trail bikes, the Spider actually nails it. This is essentially a carbon slopestyle bike with a slacker head tube angle. It's too bad dual slalom isn't more popular these days, because it's the perfect bike for gate starts and pedaling-heavy enduro races (RIP, Super D).

4x inspired trail bikes make the best trail bikes.

Four-cross inspired trail bikes make the best trail bikes (click to enlarge).​

While it does bear a strikingly similarity to the Santa Cruz 5010 in terms of suspension and geometry, the two are entirely different beasts. The 5010 has chain stays that are .2" longer and a more progressive shock tune (especially when you throw in a larger volume spacer). It's also more of a hard charging trail bike, while I've found that the Spider is a more efficient climber that is easier to both manual and bunnyhop.

For those with a heavy BMX background that prefer bikes that are easy to toss around, demo the latest Intense. It's an easy bike to ride with style and it's also surprisingly fast in and out of the saddle.

Differences between the standard models and the factory edition we tested include the use of titanium hardware.

Differences between the standard models and the factory edition we tested include the use of titanium hardware (click to enlarge).​

The new Spider 275 C is available at four price points. The ultra Factory model we tested retails for $9499, but complete bikes start at $4599. Frame and shock are available for $3199.


For more info visit www.intensecycles.com.