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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
thanks to Redstone (Ignazjr) for hooking up the INTENSE demo this evening... and Jeff, the local rep for making the trek out.

i've never been good at review-type summaries, but let me just say that i was duly impressed.

i currently ride (and love) an '00 Tracer (hereafter known as Tracer G1, for Generation 1). ;)

i've heard all the luv about VPP this or that, but i was a skeptic; after all, my Horst-link'd ride climbs like a goat, and word on the street was the mfgs who no longer license the technology mostly don't anymore simply due to the fiscal arrangements, not because the the tech is no good. i don't know if this is true or not (obviously Specialized still churns 'em out). but i digress.

this bike tonight was indeed a climbing machine... the difference is hard to describe, but it did seem to take less effort and just track its way up the mountain. i found myself seated much more and less likely to drop into granny. the other noticeable difference was how smooth it was- of course my bike is now 8 years old, but this bike felt tight and efficient.

fwiw, the trails we hit have a good mix, but are largely technical in sections, both up and down (rocks & more rocks). for those local, we went up sourdough, over to and down south saint vrain, which definitely has some sections where if you're not paying attention, you'll likely get tossed. descending felt solid and "good". fwiw, the only other FS bike i've been on is the new Yeti 575, and it may have instilled a bit more confidence going down w/ its (presumably) slacker angles. that said, i'd love to try the VP in its 6" mode.

i rode a proto (1 of 3) set-up on the lighter side (XTR components), in the 5.5" setting w/ a Manitou 140 up front and QR wheelset. w/ my ATAC carbon pedals, the shop scale had it at 27.4 pounds, compared to my Tracer G1 (XT wheelset) at just a hair over 28.

i only have one complaint about the bike-and to be fair it may be a complaint i'd have on most any other current bike-i must've smacked the pedals at least 20 times (so glad i'm not running the crank bros candys anymore). my bike is setup extraordinarily high, as i'm running the Uzzi SL link and a Revelation 100/130 fork, so my BB height is 14.5"+ (the way i like it). i guess you'd get used to it, but there's no doubt it was pretty d*mn annoying on a trail this technical.

overall my impression was very positive. a new bike isn't in my plans (read: budget) this year, but i will most definitely look at the Tracer VP next year as the first bike on a very short list.

a few pics:

the elder and the youngster
Wheel Tire Car Bicycle Vehicle


yep, it's official
Automotive tire Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Motorcycle Bicycle tire


a little more complicated than Tracer G1 ;)
Bicycle Wheel Tire Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Crankset


this proto is apparently more recent than the one above, so more tire clearance
Bicycle Tire Wheel Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Bicycle wheel


a FRO setup in 6" mode w/ a thruaxle 160 (29.5# w/o pedals)
Bicycle Wheel Tire Land vehicle Vehicle


timer shot in one of the smooth sections
Tire Bicycle Wheel Bicycle helmet Bicycles--Equipment and supplies


bottom line: i really liked this bike; more than i expected... i'm gonna have to push the "new bike envy" deep down inside until next year. :cool:

...now if it only had 29" wheels. :p
(only half joking)

kudos to the INTENSE crew!
 

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Sweet bikes

Thanks for coming out last night, Terry. Sho was fun. Good riding, too. It was fun to have 17 peeps on the ride, all on Intenses, too.

Unfortunately, all 3 Tracers were medium and a bit small for me. I was busy enough that I didn't even have time to hop on one to pedal around. I guess I'll have to grab one from the first production batch to set up for myself. :)

I proudly rode a Tracer several years ago. It was one of the best bikes I've ever had. I'm glad they've resurrected the name. This new bike is everything the Tracer set out to be in the beginning. Adjustable travel, trail bike, and easy to set up for different uses. Sweet!

For what it's worth, the CO rep (Jeff) will have a medium Tracer in his stash soon. We'll be able to line up some more test rides shortly!

Here's a few more pics.
 

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Thanks guys.

Any comments on small to medium bump compliance compared to your v.1 GotDirt?

How about standing sprints? Rearend lateral stiffness? Pedal kickback? (although if you've never ridden another VPP bike it would be hard to compare... but if you didn't feel the pedals stall climbing over square edge rocks and ledges compared to your HL four bar Tracer, then they've cured that problem.

I notice they have the regular Float R on there. No need for propedal? That would be cool. It should display pretty bob free pedalling with the VPP sag set up correctly .

Those new upper and lower links look much stiffer than mine. Hopefully they have the rearend wag solved too.

So are they stopping in Nevada on their way back to Cali, Dave? :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
mikecy said:
Thanks for the review GOTDIRT.
What size frame did you demo? and what's your height and inseam?
Medium
~5'9"
~32"

...i also like long walks on the beach, and a nice Shiraz.
;)

all the protos were M.
fwiw, though my Bontrager hardtails are L, my own Tracer is a M. felt good to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
KRob said:
Any comments on small to medium bump compliance compared to your v.1 GotDirt?
How about standing sprints? Rearend lateral stiffness? Pedal kickback? (although if you've never ridden another VPP bike it would be hard to compare... but if you didn't feel the pedals stall climbing over square edge rocks and ledges compared to your HL four bar Tracer, then they've cured that problem.
I notice they have the regular Float R on there. No need for propedal? That would be cool. It should display pretty bob free pedalling with the VPP sag set up correctly .
overall ride seemed "smoother", so maybe that is due to s/m bump compliance... ??
standing sprints? not on this trail, my friend. ;)
according to the rep, no need for pro-pedal. he even commented that folks might think it is spec'd cheap w/ the R on there, but there is no need (though i see in the other thread by pecusick that they're listing it w/ the RP23 :confused: )
 

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Props to Co

I knew Colorado would show up, Thanks guys. Now we finally have a ride impression of the new bike thanks to the fine folks in Co. I can't wait for mine to show up at Competitive cyclist late Aug. Again thanks for the review. :)
 

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Nice review!

Thanks for the ride report and pics. I hope the burlier lower link equals less rear end flex but I definitely love the look of those polished links as well as the beautiful lines on this bike. I'm just wondering if the large frames will look as well balanced.

I'm riding a large 6.6 and with the lengthy 21" seat tube, the top tube brace is freakishly large and disproportionate. I know it's just aesthetics but for this price point the looks should match the performance. Guess I'll wait and see but this is looking like the next bike for me.
 

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gotdirt said:
Medium
~5'9"
~32"

...i also like long walks on the beach, and a nice Shiraz.
;)

all the protos were M.
fwiw, though my Bontrager hardtails are L, my own Tracer is a M. felt good to me.
Thanks dude.

I'm an inch shorter and wondering if the M or the S would be the better fit for aggressive riding (set at 6" rear and 160mm fork).

You say the M felt perfect for you? or slightly small/big?

Thanks
 

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The raw frame rear tire clearance is much better, how true to size is the Intense 2.25 on there? Lots of people will probably want to run a 2.35 although true tire size is all over the place.

I also wonder if a coil spring will fit with the upper link?
 

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That 2.25 is average to big as far as 2.25's go. Like Terry said, the raw/works bike is the latest version. I think it was just welded up less than 2 weeks ago. It's still a prototype, though. Intense is still making tweaks to the rear end so we'll wait to see on the final rear tire clearance.
 

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Nobodies asked, but how are those new manitou forks? Comparable to the rock shox?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
back for more...

the family vaca this year was to socal (LEGOLAND? been there, done that), so luckily i was able to talk my sister-in-law into loaning me her car for the day and headed directly to temecula. :thumbsup:

got a tour of the factory from mr.intense himself (thank you, jeff); very cool. i've been to the yeti factory and the spot factory, but since intense makes all their bikes here stateside, they've got a much more involved setup (CNC, mills, heat treating, etc.) and bigger space. it was cool to see the whole process from start to finish- i even got to meet fellow TOOL fan rickthewelder and see the space where JS works his magic (of course my lips are sealed about what i may or may not have seen or heard). ;)

leaving temecula, a tracer VP prototype had found its way into my trunk, so it was off to the san juan trail to battle the heat!

i said it before, i'll say it again- this bike rocks. last time aboard in CO (original post above) i had a chance to ride in 5.5" mode w/ a 140/QR up front, so this time the ride was dialed in 6" mode w/ a 160 thru axle. weight was 29# and change, btw. :D

i started at the top of SJT (last time i was out this way i got to ride the spider 29'er, starting from the bottom- also fun!). up top there are some, um, significant technical sections (i.e. rock fields), and i think it speaks volumes that i was able to ride these first time out-segments in some cases which would've caused me to "pause" and walk ahead first to scope out, if on my 4" old-school tracer-all on a new-to-me bike which i had never ridden before! it inspired that much confidence. as i mentioned above, i'm not so great at reviews (as to the details of the how & why), but what i noticed, climbing, is that even though my tracer climbs like a goat, it feels easier on this bike. i think i'm shifting my weight around more, even if subtly, on my tracer, whereas on the VP i just sit and spin. very cool.

my sole complaint still stands, but again it is minor enough because i think i'd adapt- compared to the tweaked geometry on my bike (uzzi link), the BB seems low (pedal smacks), but that likely adds to the stability.

all in all a fantastic ride, and it only made me more sad that a new bike isn't in my budget this fall, especially since just last night i broke the main pivot bolt on my tracer :sad: (i'm picking up a new one tomorrow); but hey, it's 8 years old.

i do know what my next bike will be, and i even know what color- you should see this works / smoke finish... ooh la la! :yesnod:

sadly i didn't think to take any pix in the shop until i returned the bike, so just got the one, and i had so much fun on the ride that i only snapped two there.

thanks again to intense, both for the bike (this specific one and the new model in general) and the opportunity to ride while away from home.

the man himself:
Bicycle Wheel Tire Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Crankset


right off the bat, no time to warm up or settle in (one of many to come):
Bicycle Tire Bicycle handlebar Plant Bicycle tire


the demo steed:
Bicycle Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Plant Tire Wheel


final review after two rides:
(okay, minus 1/4 of a star for the pedal smacks). ;)

cheers!
 

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Sweet! Sounds like a good time and review. I think this is the first time that there has been a photo posted of the old Tracer sitting next to the new Tracer... By the way how does that new Tracer handle the numerous switchbacks at SJT compared with the old?
 

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Thanks for the review Terry, I can't afford a new bike this year as well... I was planning on it but don't have the cash right now. Maybe after I get a (better) job.... :D The new Tracer w/ a 6" fork is near the top of the list for me.
 
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