Both the Pro and Factory version of the Intense M16C are carefully spec'd with components that give them the appearance of a fully custom build.

Both the Pro and Factory version of the Intense M16C are carefully spec'd with components that give them the appearance of a fully custom build (click to enlarge).​

Lowdown: Intense M16 Carbon

The new Intense M16 is long and slack enough to win on Sunday, but still fun enough to ride the rest of the week. With only minor adjustments to suspension, the frame was equally at home plowing the steeps as it was hucked sideways. We consider that a major victory. Learn more in our full review below.

Build: Pro BuildWheel size: 27.5"
Frame Material: CarbonPrice as tested: $8,499
Rear Travel: 8.5"-9.5"Rating:
4 Flamin' Chili Peppers
4 Chilis-out-of-5
Stat Box
[TD] Use: World Cup downhill racing[/TD]
[TD] Weight: 34 lbs[/TD]
[/TR]


Pluses

Minuses
  • Race ready machine also capable of getting sideways
  • Price. Carbon is not come cheap. But there is a more affordable alloy version
  • Unique spec provides a custom built feel
  • Long wheelbase can be a handful in tight corners

Review: Intense M16 Carbon

Originally launched as an alloy only model, the M16C is constructed from an EPS molded high modulus carbon frame. It sports 8.5" of rear travel and the geometry was developed with input from former and current World Cup racers, including Shaun Palmer, Chris Kovarik, Luca Cometti, Claire Buchar, and current Intense Factory Race team members Bernat Guardia and Jack Moir.

We normally prefer a taller rise on our DH bikes to help us get over the back, but these 20mm rise Rentals still felt well balanced.

We normally prefer a taller rise on our DH bikes to help us get over the back, but these 20mm rise Rentals still felt well balanced (click to enlarge).​

Complete versions of the M16C will be available in two different trims, the Pro Version (reviewed here) that retails for $8,499, and the eye waveringly expensive Factory Build. A frame only version is also available w/shock for $3,699.

Continue to page 2 to read more from our full review of the Intense M16 Carbon »



The wheels come wrapped in one of our all time favorite tires - the Maxis Minion DHF.

The wheels come wrapped in one of our all time favorite tires - the Maxis Minion DHF (click to enlarge).​

Like many of the new race oriented downhill sleds, the M16 utilizes 27.5" wheels. The Factory model comes stock with Stan's Rapid Rims, which are an OEM only product. We haven't experienced any issues with these machine built wheels, but considering the intended purpose of this machine, we would have preferred to have a welded and internally reinforced rim like the Flow EX come stock.

While Aaron Gwin has proven you can win a World Cup Race without a chain, we prefer the security of a chainguide.

While Aaron Gwin has proven you can win a World Cup race without a chain, we prefer the security of a chainguide (click to enlarge).​

The frame itself is well protected via integrated fork bumpers, molded downtube protectors, and guards along the drive side chainstay.

The frame itself is well protected via integrated fork bumpers, molded downtube protectors, and guards along the drive side chainstay (click to enlarge).​

Unlike the outgoing M9, the geometry of the M16 is not adjustable. However, travel can be adjusted between 8.5-9.5" (215 to 241 mm) via the shock mount.

The best part about a X01 DH? It's freakishly quiet.

The best part about a X01 DH? It's freakishly quiet (click to enlarge).​

In keeping with the racer mentality, the M16 comes stock with an XO1 7-speed drivetrain. For pure lift assist riding, this drivetrain is ideal, but we found ourselves wishing for a little more range for everyday riding.

Both the Pro and Factory version of the M16 come equipped with RockShox suspension, but the Palmer edition is available with FOX components.

Both the Pro and Factory version of the M16 come equipped with RockShox suspension, while the Palmer edition is available with FOX components (click to enlarge).​

For the base settings, Intense sets the M16 with the front and rear suspension pretty open and pretty slow. Up front, that means 25% sag, with 1 air token and ~four clicks of compression from all the way out. For more aggressive riders, they recommend 15% sag and 2-3 air tokens. All bikes ship with one token installed and two in the box for fine tuning.

While internally routed cables aren't always the easiest to work on, we can't deny that they look phenomenal. Especially in this implementation.

While internally routed cables aren't always the easiest to work on, we can't deny that they look phenomenal (click to enlarge).​

Out back, the base setting with a 450-pound coil is two clicks from all the way out on the ending stroke rebound, four clicks for the beginning stroke, and compression somewhere in the middle. Intense recommends running 35% of rear travel, so it's important to choose the right coil and tweak the compression and rebound to suit spring rate.

[IMG alt=" A integrated fender mounted to the rear triangle shields the shock from debris, while still offering plenty of clearance for a 2.5" tire. "]https://reviews.mtbr.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Intense-M16-Carbon-9.jpg[/IMG]

An integrated fender mounted to the rear triangle shields the shock from debris, while still offering plenty of clearance for a 2.5" tire (click to enlarge).​

Make no mistake, the Intense M16 is a race oriented machine with World Cup pedigree. Despite its race derived DNA, its surprisingly versatile. With only minor adjustments to rebound and compression, the handling characteristics change dramatically.


Video: Local shredder Tyler Hanson helped put the Intense M16C through its paces.

For the majority of our testing, we tuned the bike for bike park style jump trails (because our backyard is Santa Cruz), but by increasing the high speed and dialing down the low speed rebound, the M16 felt composed on the gnarliest of rock sections.

Tyler Hanson sending a huge hip.

Test rider Tyler Hanson sending a huge hip (click to enlarge).​

What impressed us most however was how the bike remained stable while still being maneuverable. The ultra stiff frame offers incredibly precise steering, which allows the front and rear wheel end to be placed wherever needed. At lower speeds, however, the long wheelbase of the M16C was a challenge to maneuver through tight corners.

Throughout our testing, we fielded a number of questions regarding how the M16 compared to the Santa Cruz V10. It's not an unfair question considering the shared suspension platform and visual similarities.

The M16 is available in four different sizes: S, M, L, & XL.

The M16 is available in S, M, L, and XL (click to enlarge).​

On paper, there are some minor differences in geometry. The M16 has a longer chainstay (17.5" versus 17.32"), as well as a longer wheelbase, and a taller head tube. Other differences include internal routing (not available on the V10), as well as adjustable geometry (which is not available on the M16.)

Step downs made easy.

Step downs made easy (click to enlarge).​

How does that translate to the trail? We unfortunately haven't spent any time on the newest V10 platform, but I personally own the previous generation. Between those two, it's apparent just how much faster rolling the 27.5" chassis is through the rough and how much more efficient the suspension feels.

To summarize, the new Intense M16 is fast as hell, easy on the eyes, and shockingly versatile. For those who can't afford to live the carbon dream, this American thoroughbred is also available in aluminum. There's also a limited edition Palmer frame that's all dressed up in one of the most famous race liveries of all time.

For more information visit www.intensecycles.com.