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Old school BMXer
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
If you've been on this forum for a while, you know I've participated heavily on the Intense forum. In fact, I participate here more than another of the other forums on mtbr combined. I've always been impressed with the handling of Intense bikes, since the early UZZI SL. As an owner of many Intense products, I don't particularly come here to bash Intense or its products. I do believe some of my criticism in the past has lead to some changes.

Again, Intense products to perform at the highest level in the industry, but I think the company suffers from some the worst quality control in the industry. I've known a couple people who have worked at Intense, and they've also made it very clear that Intense will never be any bigger or more successful until they do something about their QC.

I agree.

Let me give you the rundown of my experiences with Intense:

1. UZZI SLX: After the bike was assembled, I stood in front of the bike looking rearward, It was grossly out of alignment. I took the bike to Intense, and they went through all of their front triangles to find the straightest one they had and swapped it out. Although the bike is considerably better, it's still not as straight as it should be. The saving grace, my friend who left there said, is that the VPP bikes are much simpler to align, so the VPP bikes should/will (this was said in the past) be straight.

2. 5.5: Another potatoe chip. In this case, it was the rear triangle that was out of alignment. Once again, Intense swapped it out for a straight one. Fortunately, this one is as straight as it could be.

3. VPX frame 1: The cable hanger for the front derailleur on the seat tube was welded upside down. I spotted that within 30 seconds from removing it from the box. Granted, this frame was one of the first 10 VPX frames shipped out of Intense, so they were probably rushing a bit - the last thing they should have been doing on the first production run.

4. VPX frame 2: The seat tube was poorly reamed. I could see that it was reamed a bit, but not enough. I could only get a 30.9 mm post into the frame about 5 inches. There was some weld at the front of the seat tube that wasn't fully reamed. This actually caused the reamer to go sideways in the tube (actually rearward relative to the frame). After cleaning up the weld, the frame was only reamed about 7", which is useless on a freeride bike (only 4" of insertion and 3" of being able to lower the seat - not a QC issue, but a design flaw). Using an automotive brake hone, I was able to hone the seat tube enough so I could fully insert the proper 31.6 mm post.

5. M3: No problem found.

6. 6.6: The seat tube was not reamed at all. In the photo, you can clearly see that it was not reamed. Additionally, you can clearly see weld protruding into the seat tube. Once again, I spotted this within a minute or two from delivery. I haven't assembled the bike yet, so I don't know what other issues I'll face. (am I evil by starting this paragraph with 6.6.6?)

Some of the above described issues would have easily been found if there was a QC person at Intense who would spend a couple minutes inspecting each frame. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen.

Overseas manufacturers have learned the value and importance of QC, and many of them have become quite good at it. There's no wonder why we don't hear of many QC issues from the mass producers such as Specialized, Trek, or Giant. Despite there being a multitude more of those frames, we read on this board of quite a large number of QC issues with Intense frames.

I was speaking with a soon-to-be Intense dealer (from what he said), and he had heard that Intense may take its manufacturing overseas. I understand that it was possible that he may been confuse, thinking about the Fenix or Carbine road frames. Nonetheless, I think it could be in Intense's best interest to consider having their frames made overseas. Otherwise, they will continue to lose some of the best people they have (employees and customers) because they are tired of the QC problems.

EDIT: I forgot something that is very important here. Intense has always been very good at resolving post-sale issues. Their customer service is the absolute best in the industry, as far as I know. I wish they would focus some of their efforts on QC, so their customer service skills don't have to be practiced so often.

Attached are a couple pics from my VPX and my 6.6. Sorry for the poor quality of the VPX pics.
 

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Black Lion
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I have been away from posting on the Intense forums since I do not currently ride an Intense any longer.
I still lurk on occasion as I think form a visual standpoint Intense makes THE nicest frames on the market. The welds and attention to detail is crazy on Intense frames.

Blaster is a loyal Intense man for sure. Go back and read some of his posts. For him to post this thread must have been hard. Having said that everything he posted is spot on correct. The imperfections on his two frames are doo-doo on a frame of this caliber and expense.

I have owned an Uzzi Sl, a M1, and a couple Tracers. ALL of them had some sort of an allignment issue of some degree. All of which should have been spotted during inspection. As Blaster has already stated Intense was always more than helpful in finding solutions to my frames problems. The point is that the problems should be spotted in house not in the customers.

It would really suck if something as lame as QC problems brings down the fine work Intense has done.
 

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Oh, So Interesting!
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Sounds like they need a competent (experienced) manufacturing engineer to bring them up to date. Unfortunately this type of issue seems to be all too common with what's left of America's manufacturing industry.... a superior product with nagging problems that make you wonder if its worth it. What makes it worse is that it seems like its due to lack of attention and being too lazy to incorporate modern mfg. techniques. One mfg. engineer paid just to make this happen would save money in the long run.

I love my vpx, and I have no issues with it except the seat tube was reamed out very slightly oversize :D
 

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rain rain go away...
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hmmm. i thought a reamer is a very accurate cutting tool designed to remove just a tiny bit of aluminum to get it to an exacting size. it's weird that yours is "reamed out very slightly oversize". :D

yes, good service but i rather have a good product right from the start. Kaizen!
 

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Oh, So Interesting!
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peachy-B said:
hmmm. i thought a reamer is a very accurate cutting tool designed to remove just a tiny bit of aluminum to get it to an exacting size. it's weird that yours is "reamed out very slightly oversize". :D

yes, good service but i rather have a good product right from the start. Kaizen!
Yup, I'm just making it up :p

It could be a matter of opinion, but there is more play than I'd like between the seatpost and the frame with the seatpost inserted to any depth before the reamed section ends. It fits perfectly into the non-reamed part of the frame. Also, the seatpost clamp requires more closing force to hold the seatpost without slipping than with any other bike I've been on.
 

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As far as Overseas QC goes.............well I've said this before in Intenses defense, and I'll say it again.............EVERY frame manufacturer has some degree of QC problems. Take for instance a frame we received the other day (high end carbon road frame) that arrived and had a cable stop riveted on backwards. Oh and then there was the aluminum frame made in a factory "over seas" that was completely assembled when it arrived here and and the cable stop for the rear derailleur was welded on backwards as well ( everyone here had a good laugh about it), and luckily it was an employees brothers bike, so no big deal.
Sometimes the frame you receive from overseas may have been "rushed" through production because someone here in the U.S. needed to make some money selling these bikes and needed them here QUICK! Then steps get missed, maybe the frame is aligned correctly (maybe it's because a robot welded it) but in a rush to get it out the door and onto the boat to arrive here in the states it didn't get heat treated, and 3 or 4 months down the road the rocker arm snaps, or the headtube ovalizes, or it cracks at the dropout. And finally I have to say this and don't take it the wrong way please. These bikes are made in California..........NOT heaven.:D Ride on- E2
 

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K Lives
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Fat Elvis said:
You've either got some seriously bad luck, or your bro at n10s doesn't like you as much as you think. No offense, but the upside-down cable hanger is pretty damn hilarious. D'oh!
funniest one was the 6.6 with the headtube badge applied about 40degrees off center. i remember the owner not letting that stop him from building it up before getting the frnt triangle replaced all because of a stuck-on badge.
 

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Hi Blaster,

Both the frames I bought had few issues, 5.5 with paint on the bearing races and 6.6 with bad headtube. For 5.5, I fixed it myself since the original owner bought it oversea which voided the warranty. With the 6.6, Intense and the distributor did terrific job fixing the problem.

I am totally happy with Intense but at the same time, I totally agree with you.
 

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Hm, I know showa is providing the downhill fork for Honda. I hear they are going to start selling the bike soon. Problem is, though, most Japanese people don't get serious for new cultures, if it is more highly cultural, Japanese (excluding me) gets skeptical.

That is one of the reason why X-games don't get that popluar here in Japan.
 

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Blaster1200 said:
If you've been on this forum for a while, you know I've participated heavily on the Intense forum. In fact, I participate here more than another of the other forums on mtbr combined. I've always been impressed with the handling of Intense bikes, since the early UZZI SL. As an owner of many Intense products, I don't particularly come here to bash Intense or its products. I do believe some of my criticism in the past has lead to some changes.

Again, Intense products to perform at the highest level in the industry, but I think the company suffers from some the worst quality control in the industry. I've known a couple people who have worked at Intense, and they've also made it very clear that Intense will never be any bigger or more successful until they do something about their QC.

I agree.

Let me give you the rundown of my experiences with Intense:

1. UZZI SLX: After the bike was assembled, I stood in front of the bike looking rearward, It was grossly out of alignment. I took the bike to Intense, and they went through all of their front triangles to find the straightest one they had and swapped it out. Although the bike is considerably better, it's still not as straight as it should be. The saving grace, my friend who left there said, is that the VPP bikes are much simpler to align, so the VPP bikes should/will (this was said in the past) be straight.

2. 5.5: Another potatoe chip. In this case, it was the rear triangle that was out of alignment. Once again, Intense swapped it out for a straight one. Fortunately, this one is as straight as it could be.

3. VPX frame 1: The cable hanger for the front derailleur on the seat tube was welded upside down. I spotted that within 30 seconds from removing it from the box. Granted, this frame was one of the first 10 VPX frames shipped out of Intense, so they were probably rushing a bit - the last thing they should have been doing on the first production run.

4. VPX frame 2: The seat tube was poorly reamed. I could see that it was reamed a bit, but not enough. I could only get a 30.9 mm post into the frame about 5 inches. There was some weld at the front of the seat tube that wasn't fully reamed. This actually caused the reamer to go sideways in the tube (actually rearward relative to the frame). After cleaning up the weld, the frame was only reamed about 7", which is useless on a freeride bike (only 4" of insertion and 3" of being able to lower the seat - not a QC issue, but a design flaw). Using an automotive brake hone, I was able to hone the seat tube enough so I could fully insert the proper 31.6 mm post.

5. M3: No problem found.

6. 6.6: The seat tube was not reamed at all. In the photo, you can clearly see that it was not reamed. Additionally, you can clearly see weld protruding into the seat tube. Once again, I spotted this within a minute or two from delivery. I haven't assembled the bike yet, so I don't know what other issues I'll face. (am I evil by starting this paragraph with 6.6.6?)

Some of the above described issues would have easily been found if there was a QC person at Intense who would spend a couple minutes inspecting each frame. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen.

Overseas manufacturers have learned the value and importance of QC, and many of them have become quite good at it. There's no wonder why we don't hear of many QC issues from the mass producers such as Specialized, Trek, or Giant. Despite there being a multitude more of those frames, we read on this board of quite a large number of QC issues with Intense frames.

I was speaking with a soon-to-be Intense dealer (from what he said), and he had heard that Intense may take its manufacturing overseas. I understand that it was possible that he may been confuse, thinking about the Fenix or Carbine road frames. Nonetheless, I think it could be in Intense's best interest to consider having their frames made overseas. Otherwise, they will continue to lose some of the best people they have (employees and customers) because they are tired of the QC problems.

EDIT: I forgot something that is very important here. Intense has always been very good at resolving post-sale issues. Their customer service is the absolute best in the industry, as far as I know. I wish they would focus some of their efforts on QC, so their customer service skills don't have to be practiced so often.

Attached are a couple pics from my VPX and my 6.6. Sorry for the poor quality of the VPX pics.
Hi all.I own a 6.6 frame bought in the Us that I took with me back to Spain. When I built it up , I realized that the frame was not alligned.It was something you could see from any angle. I contacted Intense service and had to send the frame back to the US for realignment paying the trip both ways as the frame was in a foreign country. When the realigned frame came back to me , it was as bad as before.Not realigned , something you could check just installing the rear wheel .Back again to Intense where they changed the frame and sent me a new one.................and the new frame seems alligned bur the truth is that it is not . I love the bike but it seems that having a perfect frame is a matter of luck.
 

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Oh, So Interesting!
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Well, all the happy owners aren't going to post up, I think theres a VERY high probability everything will be fine, and Intense has always been very helpful in any way they can answering questions. This is generally not the case w/ SC, as far as I've heard...

I agree it should be perfect.

I'd go with the bike based on geometry...
 

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davec113 said:
Well, all the happy owners aren't going to post up, I think theres a VERY high probability everything will be fine, and Intense has always been very helpful in any way they can answering questions. This is generally not the case w/ SC, as far as I've heard...

I agree it should be perfect.

I'd go with the bike based on geometry...
Exactly.

My Uzzi arrived with no issues

To the OP, all the bikes with so many problems tells me that Intense must be doing something right for you to go back to them frame after frame
 

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MTBKauai said:
Wow. I was about to throw down $ for a new 5.5 - or - Blur LT. This thread makes me think the Blur is the better call (I've had 3 SCBs with no QC issues).

A $2200 frame should be *perfect* on delivery.
No, the Santa Cruz issues develop *after* you ride the bike, since they're design issues not QC issues. ;)

Never had creaky pivot issues on my Intenses, but you should hear the sounds that friends' Blurs make! ;)
 

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My 6.6, while not the most amazingly aligned thing in the world, is as near as damn it, and just makes it feel as though it was made by a person (fallible) and not a robot (fallible through programming).

I had a Superlight that was so wonky that I had the rear wheel re-dished to get it in the middle of the stays. I didn't return it as it didn't affect the way it rode. None of these boutique bikes are perfect. It's the problem with low-volume manufacturing.

Aston Martin make some lovely cars, but sometimes, the badge on the boot isn't straight... etc.
 

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Anyone had any issues with the rear triangle of the Spider 29er? Mine arrived with a 141mm gap between the rear pivots iso 135mm. I thought it was a one-off problem but I've since found 2 other people with the same issue.

This would be the 2nd design issue with the Spider 29er frame as initially the fork crown would strike the downtube. That got fixed earlier this year.

I've been in touch with Intense about getting a replacement but I've had a hell of a time trying to get it sorted. Both my LBA and myself have been trying to get a replacement for at least a month and we're still at least 3 weeks away from getting it! Not bad for a $2k frame!
 
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