Intense has released a brand new 27.5" bike, the All Mountain Tracer T275, which utilizes a full carbon frameset with a geometry that is a more aggressive iteration of their popular aluminum based Tracer 275. It gets its suspension bumped up to a full 160mm, a longer 44.5" wheelbase, a taller 13.5" bottom bracket height and a slacker 66.5 degree head tube.

Chris Kovarick shreds with the Tracer T275

I got my first look at the bike at a press camp launch back in mid January of this year, and afterwards; I got to take the bike out for a spin on the phenomenally fun San Juan trail in Southern California, and I really enjoyed getting to rip down the trail on this sweet piece of machinery. Since then, I have gotten about a month of decent test time on the Tracer T275 to get a good feel for its characteristics. It was primarily tested in my home turf of Colorado Springs (TGap in Palmer Park), and the Pueblo Reservoir South Shore trails, all of which have a Bootleg Canyon, NV feel to them, meaning technical, rocky, gnarly and burly.



Although Intense prides itself on Made in America products, the frames are made in China since they have the best expertise in molding the raw carbon-fiber materials. The frames are built using different layups of carbon fiber for a perfect blending of unidirectional, high modulus, prepeg and glass fiber, which are used in specific locations depending on the design and strength requirements. All the aluminum axles, bolts, linkages and pivots are produced in-house at their Temecula facility on state of the art Haas Automation CNC machines, allowing them great control of the end-product.



The carbon fiber frame is absolutely stunning, and comes with a slew of features including internal cabling, adjustable rear travel, ISCG05 mounts and grease injection points for the pivots. The internal cabling uses guiding tubes to facilitate an easier build, and the internal cabling design gives the bike nice clean lines throughout. The adjustable rear travel allows either the default 160mm or a shorter 140mm, and it doesn't alter the geometry of the bike when the shock is repositioned into the upper or lower hole on the linkage. The suspension duties are taken care of using the dual link VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) design, which they license from Santa Cruz Bicycles.



One interesting design is that they went with an IS brake mount in the rear, which puts the braking shear force into bolts instead of the carbon fiber according to the engineers at Seed Engineering. For maintenance purposes, they use Zerc fittings for grease injection, and they kept bearings on the outside of the frame for easier change outs.

The Factory build kit on my test bike is impeccable, and included the Cane Creek DBair CS rear shock (optional $325 upgrade), SRAM XX1 drivetrain, Rock Shox Reverb Seat post, RockShox Pike RCT3 fork, XTR brakes and ENVE Composites AM carbon rims with DT Swiss 240 hubs. I ended up swapping out the default Maxxis High Roller tires to some WTB Breakout tires since my local trail conditions require something with a bit more traction and a meatier tread design. Outside of swapping tires to my personal liking and maybe some wider bars, the build kit is about perfect, though I must admit the saddle hurt my rear end. The Factory build with the DBair weighs 26.8 lbs and costs a whopping $10,234, but you certainly get a close to perfect parts selection.


Tracer T275SmallMediumLargeX Large
Wheelbase:1124 mm/ 44.25"1149 mm/ 45.25"1175 mm/ 46.25"1200 mm/ 47.25"
Top Tube:560 mm/ 22"585 mm/ 23"616 mm/ 24.25"641 mm/ 25.25"
Chainstay:432 mm/ 17"432 mm/ 17"432 mm/ 17"432 mm/ 17"
Head Tube:100 mm/ 4"114 mm/ 4.5"125 mm/ 5"125 mm/ 5"
Head Angle:66.5°66.5°66.5°66.5°
Reach:395 mm/ 15.5"416 mm/ 16.4"445 mm/ 17.5"470 mm/ 18.5"
Stack:594 mm/ 23.4"609 mm/ 24.0"618 mm/ 24.3"618 mm/ 24.3"
BB Height:343 mm/ 13.5"343 mm/ 13.5"343 mm/ 13.5"343 mm/ 13.5"
Seat Angle (Effective):74.5°74.5°74.5°74.5°
Seat Tube:70.5°70.5°70.5°70.5°
Seat Tube Length:395 mm/ 15.5"445 mm/ 17.5"485 mm/ 19"540 mm/ 21.25"
Standover Height:792 mm/ 31.2"798 mm/ 31.4"802 mm/ 31.5"803 mm/ 31.6"

Tracer T275 Specs

  • Full carbon front and rear triangles
  • 27.5" wheels
  • 140 or 160mm (5.5 or 6.2 inches) of rear travel
  • 160mm (6.2 inches) of front travel
  • 66.5 degree head tube
  • 13.5 inch bottom bracket height
  • 17 inch chainstay
  • 44.5 inch wheel base
  • Frame Sizes: small, medium, large
  • Weight: Frame 5.7 lbs (medium with Fox shock), Factory build 26.8 lbs (no pedals with DBair shock)
  • Colors: Red or Gray
  • Pricing: Frame $3199, Build kits - Factory $9,999, Pro $6599, Expert $5,999

Continue to Page 2 for more on the Intense Tracer 275C and full photo gallery »




Photo by Tim Bardsley-Smith.

Impressions

After spending some time on this bike, the one thing that sticks out to me is how much this bike likes to fly, whether that's on the ground or in the air. This beast is at its happiest when the speed levels are cranked up, and the suspension system is allowed to do its business. Roll the bike down through the chunder, toss it deeply into berms, and let it rip off jumps, and it just feels happy and snappy. I am usually not much of a jumper but this bike made me feel like I could push myself higher and farther than normal. It slices and dices its way down stuff, allowing you to drift and carve with aplomb. The carbon fiber frame gave the bike a wonderful ride, with excellent damping properties, and liveliness and snap. I never felt any hint of slop or flex on this rig, and the stiff frame and wheelset offered great control and stability.

Pull the bike down to a more reasonable speed and it does fine, and it can even crank through some long miles of flatter and mellower singletrack. On the more level terrain, it sure likes to swoop in and out of the berms and ramps and corners, and it comes to life when you hammer down on the pedals and bring it to life with some speed. Time and time again, this bike thrives on being a speed demon, and I really could see this being a perfect weapon for Enduro racing and for those that like their bikes to haul butt.



It has some occasional issues on slow speed upwards maneuvers, when you make a couple of pedal strokes up into a climb or a rock garden or some stair steps or ledges, and the rear-end collapses or chokes down midway into its suspension, leaving you without any platform to continue, and you then you need to manhandle it through the rest of the moves. Although you can perform more technical and trials type maneuvers, the slack head angle and general feel of the bike made it feel out of place, and required more finesse then seemed necessary, though if you had some speed going, you could roll through some things without as many issues. I swapped out to a longer 70mm stem for a couple of weeks, which helped out immensely with some of the squirrelly steering. The climb switch on the Cane Creek DBair helped on climbs, and slower speed and technical maneuvers, but it didn't alleviate the issue entirely. On steep and long unrelenting climbs the rear suspensions idiosyncrasies left the bike feeling sluggish and power draining, especially when powering away with big pedal strokes.

If you were going downhill through the gnar, it was very compliant, and it offered great feedback and stability and steering response. The 160mm of suspension and big 27.5" wheels really help it roll over and absorb obstacles on the trail, greatly aided by the superb Cane Creek DBair CS and excellent Rock Shox Pike.

The clearance between the rear tire and the rear yoke is around 3/8" or so, which should be adequate for most muddier conditions, though it's still not a huge amount of room (refer to the picture in the gallery).



Bottom Line

The Intense Tracer T275 is an impressive bike, utilizing carbon fiber front and rear triangles, which provide exceptional damping and stiffness. The design, geometry and VPP suspension creates a bike that loves to fly down the trail and through the air, making for a fun bike at speed. Toss it down through the chunder and it just effortlessly glides through stuff like it's hardly there, creating a confidence inspiring experience. This bike would be a great candidate for an Enduro racer or riding the Whole Enchilada Trail; anywhere that speed and chunkiness abound. I found that during slow speeds technical maneuvers, it can be a bit of a handful, and it sometimes would choke or collapse into its rear suspension on slow speed upwards maneuvers, especially stair-steps and ledges.

The Tracer T275 feels like it has after burners on when it's launched, and its the happiest at high speed through technical descents. The Factory build kit, which I tested had an absolutely stunning parts selection, although it's definitely expensive at $10,234. The frame retails for Frame $3199, while the build kits include the tricked-out Factory at $9,999, the middle brethren Pro at $6599, and the more moderately priced Expert at $5,999. With any of the build kits, make sure to upgrade to the superb Cane Creek DBair CS, it's well worth the incremental cost.

Pros

  • Fast, gnar-eating performance
  • Light
  • Launching monster
  • Carbon fiber damping, stiffness and strength
  • Factory build - incredible part selection

Cons

  • Expensive - Factory Build
  • Slower speeds technical maneuvers can be a handful
  • Sometimes it chokes/collapses on slow speed upwards maneuvers
  • Maxxis High Rollers weren't ideal in loose and chunky conditions

Specs

  • Geometry: 160mm travel, 66.5 degree head tube, 13.5" bb height, 17" chanistay
  • Weight: Frame 5.7 lbs, Factory build 26.8 lbs
  • Pricing: Frame $3199, Build kits - Factory $9,999, Pro $6599, Expert $5,999
For more information visit www.intensecycles.com


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