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Intense Spider 29 worth the money?

1343 Views 10 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  sfsean
I am thinking of purchasing a 2008 Intense Spider 29 frameset and I would like some honest feedback. I have looked on these forums and the reviews seem mixed at best. I had not heard of the "flex" issues that some on here apparently think puts this bike in the junk category and others don't feel it's worse than anything else. I would like some honest input. If you just want to dump on Intense or this post please save it for someone else. It sounds as though overall this bike would be fine if not even ideal for the types of trails I ride (upper midwest single track, little to no big drops and nothing that anyone from the mountains would consider much of a hill). I consider myself an XC rider as you can probably guess from description of the trails I ride. Again honest input, good and bad, would be appreciated. Thanks.
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I've never ridden one but one of my buddies here in the local XC race series has one. We're similar in size, 6'3", 210ish. He really likes his and cooks in the tight/twisty terrain we have here in South Florida. He has NO complaints about rear end flex - his only trouble has been a main pivot bolt that has bent twice. Both times, Intense has provided a replacement bolt, the last one being stronger.

If I wasn't smitten with my Sultan - I'd seriously consider one for XC racing.
I don't have one but a buddy of mine (who does not participate on the board) absolutely loves his. He has never mentioned rear end flex and he can absolutely rip on the down hills.

With that said. a 73 degree HTA is a bit steep (especially when paired with the new 46mm offset forks), but he uses an 08 Reba and says its great. He is not a XC racer but more of a recreation rider that likes to push himself.

My experience with a 72.5 HTA was fine with the fox 100mm. Now on a 72 HTA and that seems ok too. There are a few articles out there that say the stability of the 29 inch wheel can offset the steeper HTA's. Its still going to be rider dependent though. If you dont like a fast handling bike, then I would stay clear.
Its definetley a faster handling bike for a 29er. I think thats

good . At least for New England singletrack. If you are a high speed rider you might want to try it first . Otherwise a quality product
Rode one just the other weekend for about 8 miles. I've ridden the 8 miles in question for 24 hours at a stretch on my Fisher 293, so I've got a good baseline. The Intense was very responsive and pretty plush. It did flex though (I'm 6'5" 218). The thought that came to mind repeatedly was that it was like the difference between a butcher knife and a fillet knife - solid and straight forward vs delicate and sharp. I don't think the flex was very detrimental from a power transfer perspective, and depending on you riding style, the ability to carve the tight stuff would probably make up for any perceived power loss.
Spider 29er

mports said:
Again honest input, good and bad, would be appreciated. Thanks.
I'm going into my second summer season on my '07 Spider 29er, and it's been a great bike. I built it up with an '07 Reba 100mm, recently changed out to an '09 Maxle Lite Team 120mm Reba. I weigh 195 lbs, @ 6 ft tall I have a size large, and any flex issues are minor--I can feel some give in the rear triangle but it doesn't affect rideability IMO. And I am fast downhill and even with the new offset of the '09 fork I've never felt the bike was twitchy--it just flat out rails!

I moved from a 26" Spider so perhaps I'm biased towards Intense--that was my first FS bike.
This is another "my buddy has one" posts... A good friend of mine built up an "early" 08' and at the time he was about 250# - obviously putting the bike through it's rounds. He loved/was comfortable with the bike and the quickness of the steering (result of the steep head angle) since he was accoustomed to 26" XC oriented bikes. Just before he built the Spider he built up a Gary Fisher Super Cal F/S and noted how much it flexed, tire rubbing the stay, Flex- he never had any notable issues with the spider though. The VPP susension is a well performing design and he was very pleased with the overall performace mated with the last generation Reba prior to the increased offset-

Keep in mint with Intense they change stuff as they go so model year is a bit misleading (not in a bad way per say). So an early 08 vs a mid or late could be different, even if only just a bit. For instance the 08 that I mention could only use a 2 generation old XT Front derailleur- nothing else would fit.... this was after much irritation and multiple conversations with the owner of Intense- Great customer service but kind of ann odd almost obsolete frame that was "new"-
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I Own One

I am 6.5 and 240lbs and love it. Put on a 120 fork (20mm) good, strong wheelset and DT ratchet steel skewer and the flex doesnt really factor while riding. It actually gives it alittle ZING to the ride especially out of corners.

If you can get it cheap and do these things, l am sure you will love it.

Havent had bolt issues.

Good luck.
Had one for a few months and hated it. The rear end flex is horrid. It flexed so much it would ghost shift constantly. The HA is too steep. Most of the time I was ok but it pitched me over the bars a few times on steep stuff. You may be able to adjust to it but for me it didn't work. The top tube is very high at the head tube junction and I kept banging my knees. I'm 5'10" maybe it won't be so bad if you are taller.

I'm not anti Intense. With that said the only Intense bike I've ridden is the Spider 29 and from my experience with that bike I don't plan on ever buying another one. I'd go with a Niner.
I wrestled with the setup on mine, but I got it dialed and later this summer will hit the two year mark on it. I'm 6-4, 220-ish and get a small amount of flex, but it has never bothered me. The smooth suspension action MORE than makes up for the flex- I've ridden a lot of full suspension 29ers (Lenz, Niner, Fisher, Ellsworth, etc), and the Spider 29's VPP is by far my favorite. The VPP is very susceptible to feeling flexy if the pivot bolts are the least bit loose- you do have to keep an eye on them- but as long as you do that the suspension is amazing.

I did put a +7mm crown race on mine to slack out the front a bit- the head angle is a bit steep for my taste- but that was an easy enough fix. I ride rocky and technical trails up here, so the little bit of extra slackness is welcome. However, I've taken the bike out on plenty of tight, twisty and smooth trails from Long Island to Florida, and the bike absolutely rips on that stuff- the HA makes it way more responsive than most other full suspension 29ers through tight turns.

If you get a good deal on it, definitely go for it.
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Plug for price justification

I don't know if you already have one picked out but I just listed mine on craigslist, the price is a lot lower than new.
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