The Intense Cycles Tracer 275 is the natural progression of their popular Tracer VPP All Mountain bike. The Tracer 275 features 5.5 or 6" of travel (adjustable shock mount) and is made right here in the USA at the Intense factory in Temecula, CA. In fact, that is a key factor that allows the 'small' guy, like Jeff Steber (founder of Intense Cycles) to be able to take a current design, adapt it and refine it for the new 27.5" wheel platform and to be able to offer bikes available now, months before other manufacturers even have their prototypes ready.

Although very similar in design to the carbon-framed Carbine 275, there are a few differences aside from weight and price. The Tracer is longer, steeper and higher than the Carbine. The wheelbase is longer by almost an inch at at 45.4 inches. The head tube is a half a degree steeper at 67.5 and the bottom bracket is lower by .4 inches at 13.3 unsagged. We can't really explain the logic behind these differences other than different design roots for each bike.

In this video, Francis gives us the low down on the Intense Cycles Tracer 275 and how it compares to its carbon brother, the Carbine 275.


The Tracer 275 is very stable at speed and instills a sense of confidence that will have you going big. The VPP design is tried and true and is reason number one for the great climbing prowess of the Tracer 275. Even with the suspension fully open, it is still an efficient climber. As with the Carbine, the VPP design allows the Tracer to corner really well, especially when proper loaded. Possibly the only area that we felt could use a bit of improvement is in the bikes small bump compliance. It handles the medium to big stuff with ease but over some of the smaller bumps, we couldn't quite get the same plushness we prefer. For jumps, drops and hucks the Tracer 275 is awesome as the whole frame is stout. The front triangle is beefy and it is complemented by huge chainstays that minimize any lateral flex. The machine will go where you point it and it will carve a line with minimal deflection





Although the Tracer is a bit longer than the Carbine, it is lower (BB height). Also, the medium Tracer and the medium Carbine are slightly different in size, when looking at the seat tube length. The top tube length and chainstay length are similar, however. One main problem we had with the Tracer 275 was the lack of tire clearance on the rear. The cross brace on the upper swingarm makes for a very tight fit. We do have a a very early frame model and Intense said production models will have more rear tire clearance.

With a real world weight of 30.97, the Intense Tracer 275 falls in the middle of the two other aluminum models in our comparison.



For parts, we were not crazy about the heavy Novatec wheels nor the 3x10 drivetrain. But let's not dwell on that since Intense said they're build it any way you want. And we do think many buyers of this bike will go for a frame/fork combo and build up their dream spec.

What we can really dwell on though is the internal cable routing for the Rockshox Reverb dropper post. This is the best post in the market right now and the cable routing makes that pesky cable hidden and non-moving. It not only adds to the aesthetics of the bike but also to the trail useability of the dropper post.

Tire Clearance

Our test bike was a prototype and the rear tire clearance was prototype tight as it barely allowed a 2.35" Kenda Nevegal. We are pleased to announce that we just got the photos and measurements of the tire clearance of the production bike and it looks dialed. With a 2.35" Nevegal at 40 psi, there looks to be .5 inch of tire clearance.



 

The Intense Tracer 275 comes in 3 sizes (SM, MD, LG) and 4 stock colors for 2013 (Flo-Green, Black Chrome, Works Raw and Intense Red). It also comes in a wide variety of custom colors (another advantage of being a 'small' and agile company). The frame costs $2269 and the complete bike with mostly XT build is about $5049.



Strengths:
  • Super stiff and agile
  • VPP design climbs great
  • Nice internal cable routing for the Reverb Stealth dropper post
  • Made in the USA
  • A confident descender that will make you smile
Weaknesses:
  • Heavy
  • Measured wheelbase is a bit long at 45.4 inches
Conclusion:
It's really pretty hard to fault the Intense 275 as they've hit a home run with this first effort. It descends and climbs incredibly well. It corners well and soars through the air with confidence. The head angle, bb height and wheelsize are just right for an all mountain bike that is designed to make you look good and ride well. The only problem if you get this bike is, it's all on you now since you can't blame the Intense 275 for any lack of ability.

For more information: www.intensecycles.com



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