All posts by riders10bg

Intense M16 Test And Review

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I picked up the Intense M16 from Ryan at Kore North Cycles in Meridian yesterday to do a demo ride day with a test and review. It became very apparent to me that this is as much a review of the awesome customer service and bike set up that I recieved from Ryan as for the bike it’s self.

The thing is, that no matter what bike and components you throw at it, it will ride like crap with out a good proper quality set up. Ryan did an awesome job of this, including setting up the suspension for my weight and riding style. His work and customer service are simply top shelf all the way through. One of the best bike shop experiances a person could ever ask for.

This actually needs to start with a breif history of the Intense DH bikes. For me, the Intense bikes were THE BOMBER bike to ride DH on in the 90’s. It wasn’t just the Intense team guys on them at the bigger races either, but rather the other manufacture’s teams were riding on the M1 frames with Intense Uzzi rear ends and what ever logos to match the teams they raced for. Brian Lopez and Leigh Donovan, in particular raced on these with Mongoose stickers on them. There were many others too, actually too many to list.

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Now today in 2016, the legacy of awesome DH bikes obviously continues. The bike I rode is the Carbon Fiber M16 Expert edition. This is the more affordable package at $4,400 as tested, than the Pro Package at $7,500-$8,500 depending on component and shock/fork packages. In short, is simply the best DH bike I’ve ridden to date. The bar has been raised considerably. The 63.5 degree head angle makes for an extremely stable ride that is simply confidense inspiring. The bike had great manners in the air and was very predictable. A real point and shoot type bike and I like that. The carbon fiber frame and rear triangle are extremely ridgid from side to side. At 39 pounds I had no issues throwing it around. Especially in comparrison to the 50 plus pound DH bikes I used to race back in the day. This thing absolutely rocks.

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Fox 40 forks were matched perfectly to the Fox DHX2 rear shock. There are 2 mount positions for the rear giving 8.5″ or 9.5″ rear wheel travel. I rode in the 8.5″ and it worked great. The 27.5 Sun Rims Helix wheels were ridgid and not too heavy. Maxis Minion DHF tires hooked up really nicely in the soil we have here in the Boise area.

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The Zee Drivetrane with E-Thirteen guide works flawlessly. Shifting was extremely clean as one would expect on a $4k plus bike. I felt zero flex out of the crank set. It all worked just as it should.

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Internal cable routing is clean as can be and keeps those cables inside where they won’t be snagged on anything on the way by.

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Ryan threw on some Diety flat pedals that he had from one of his race team sponsors, Diety in Nampa, and they held my shoes nicely. Great pedals and zero issues.

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The Sram Guide Hydraulic disk braked modulated really well on the 203mm rotors.

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Renthal Fatbars on Renthal direct mount stem were ridgid as can be

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The only negative aspect I could find was that sadly, I had to give the bike back.

If you are doing the winter DH series, or setting up for next season here in the bike building season, this is one that you absolutely MUST check out.

Brundage Mountain

I rode Brundage Mountain in McCall last week and it took me this long to write this one because I have mixed feelings on this one.

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The high point of the area is Hidden Valley. It’s a steep, rocky, technical, hard to ride modern day DH course. I had to actually walk a few sections and I CAN ride. This one is no joke. Great for those expert and above level DH riders who want to get up to speed for Nationals and higher. For the every day rider though, not so much. The very real concern of making it to work Monday morning does come up.

From there, Zorro is the other actual black diamond (expert level) course and it’s a shorter side trail that’s steep, rooty, rocky, and blown out from never being maintained. It was all rideable, but slow and short. High Voltage is labled as a black diamond but is really an intermediate level run and is extremely short at the very top of the mountain where it dumps out onto Elk Trail, the one green (beginner) course. The one blue (intermediate) labled course, Growler, is actually pretty much beginner level and has too much climbing to really be fun for a DH type area, especially if you wear body armor and a full face helmet. Both Elk and Growler are slow moving and pretty good for beginners though and so I do see their place.

That’s everything the mountain has to offer though. There is absolutely nothing for riders who have skills but don’t want to worry about carrying the number to Life Flight or about making it to work Monday morning. For these riders, who make up the vast majority of us doing lift assisted DH riding, I highly suggest either hitting up Tamarack or staying in town to do either the Eagle Mountain Bike Park or doing Bogus Basin, in that order.

Bogus Basin

Yesterday was opening day at Bogus Basin for lift assisted mountain biking. This is a HUGE step forward for Bogus. I’ve raced DH there in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and have wandered why they haven’t done this for over 20 years now.

There is obviously a big demand for this and so Bogus running a lift for us truly is great news. They had the lower lodge open with food and drink, 10 Barrel Brewing was there selling beer, and there was live music too. They really did a lot to bring people in for this and quite a lot of people came. I’d say it was a success in general. My wife hung out watching the show with the music and all while I rode all day.  I got in 15 runs and had a great day for sure.

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Bogus ran chair 1 and this is good because it gives the best access to Deer Point and Shindig trails along with giving people a good access to hitting the Ridge Road to ride Hard Guy or Dry Creek back down to Boise at the end of the day.

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There are really 2 easily accessible trails in the ski area to ride from chair 1, and a 3rd that you have to take the Brewers Byway trail across to the upper lodge to hit and this does involve some climbing in a longer traverse.

Deer Point trail is the easiest trail to ride, but had just so much uphill traffic that it’s not a good choice to be riding down. I’ll probably not go down it again for this very reason. There needs to be a separation of up and down hill trails for the lift assisted riding to really work. It’s the same as in the winter, they do not put the XC ski trails in the DH ski area because accidents will happen that way and it really takes away from the experience for both groups. This is a place where Bogus can and probably will improve.

Shindig was just as easy to access and because it is steeper and harder to go up, it had far less uphill traffic and foot traffic making it a better choice to ride down. It was much shorter and still had it’s share of uphill and foot traffic making it hard to get in good DH runs. It is a good and fun trail, but just far too short to want to spend an entire day riding down. One would get bored of that very fast.

From there, if a person was to traverse across to the upper lodge by route of Brewers Byway and hit the Morningstar Trail, it was even less populated and very fun to ride. A definite beginners flowy trail. It was long enough to be worth the chair ride and really a great place to get started in the world of DH, but not nearly hard enough to keep an advanced riders interest or to justify the traverse across from chair 1 more than about twice.

I’m told by several people that there is a non-sanctioned DH trail somewhere off of the Sunshine cat track, but since it’s non-sanctioned, they couldn’t/wouldn’t tell me exactly where is. To access that, you get 2 choices, take Shindig to the bottom and go up Sunshine to find it, or traverse across Brewers Byway and then double back across Sunshine to find it. Either way, since we are buying a lift ticket, we should not have to traverse all the way across the mountain with climbing involved or have to climb up from the bottom to ride a suitable DH course that we evidently are not supposed to be riding in the first place.

All in all this was a great way to spend the day and was well worth the $25 lift ticket. This is a great first step in the right direction for Bogus Basin and I’d like to personally thank them for offering lift assisted mountain biking. This is a great addition for our local mountain biking community. Now to make this a great destination to bring riders in would be the addition of downhill only bike trails for various skill levels. 3 trails would be a great start, 1 beginner, 1 intermediate, and 1 expert. From there, adding a couple trails a year would be a reasonable request until we have a good local mountain bike park with lift assistance. This would keep me and I’m certain most other riders coming back for years to come and it would also offer better competition to Tamarack for the DH riders business. Running chair 3 or chair 2 along with chair 1 would open up a lot more of the mountain. This would also take care of the over crowding on the trails and help make a better experience for all who ride up here. Chair 2 with chair 1 would certainly open up the rest of the front side of the mountain, or chair 3 with chair 1 would open up the entire mountain including the back side.

To ride back down to Boise from Bogus you have a few options.

Eastside trail down from the lower parking lot to Sweet Connie Trail is very popular. That comes out on Bogus Basin road just above where Dry Creek comes out. It also gives the option of turning off of Sweet Connie onto Chuckar Butte Trail to come out at Hidden Springs or on Peggy’s Trail to come out at Polecat Gulch and Hill Road. 

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From the top of chair 1, it’s a direct line down the Ridge road to Dry Creek or Hardguy with the option of hitting Muhalo trail on the way to one of these.

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KTM Lycan Test and Review

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I had the opportunity to test out the KTM Lycan 274. This is the absolute first KTM to the Treasure Valley of what most certainly will be many. The Boise Bike Wrench is the dealer bringing these KTMs in and Dave was good enough to let me be there for the first bike unboxing, build, and initial rides.

On their dirt bike side, KTM is very good about having their bikes race ready just as they come from the factory and this mountain bike is obviously the same way. This is the base model and Dave has these for $1,700 and change. You really get a lot of bike for that price. It is a 27.5 / 650B. Bike came packaged / protected really well, better than most any I’ve seen. The frame has some of the best looking / cleanest welds I’ve ever seen on a mountain bike.

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 125mm rear travel via 4 bar link is designed perfectly to be totally isolated from both pedalling and braking forces. Rear Rock Shox air shock also locks out. The lower shock mount is on the front of the swing arm pivot and this design really helps isolate the rear suspension from braking forces keeping it fully active in all conditions.

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120mm Rock Shox front has remote lock out as well, making this an absolute XC climbing beast.

It has a solid mix of mostly Deore and an XT rear derailleur. 3 x 10 gearing came stock.

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180mm rotors front and rear are solid.

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The way I rode the bike was totally box stock, all but the pedals. We threw on some really good platforms.

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The bike rode awesome, climbed much better than me. It’s really an all mountain / XC bike as delivered and the ride I gave it was about 24 miles of mostly downhill with a few climbs. We rode from Bogus down to Hidden Springs via Eastside trail, Sweet Connie trail, and Chuckar Butte trail. This gave plenty of miles and conditions to get a solid feel for the bike and see any weeknesses it might have.

The bike rode awesome. Climed well and decended well too. It was very predictable and confidence inspiring through the sketchy rocky sections. The rear suspension package delivered exactly as it should. It just did not bob when pedalling hard and it stayed active under heavy braking conditions too. It gave a really solid feel side to side. I did “land” a jump into a steep sandy rocky spot just wrong and crash (sorry about the scratches on the bike Dave) but that was totally operator error and not the bike.

My over all impressions were extremely positive. I’d highly recomend this bike as is, especially for XC riders. It’s just a good solid performer that will take a rider to the podium and bring a smile to their face.

The only things I’d change are more for personal prefference than anything else. I am more of a DH type rider than XC too, and so my changes would be to set up the bike more for that than the XC set up it comes with. I’d go with a shorter stem and riser bars, a more DH oriented front tire, and probably a 150 or so mm travel front fork just to rake the front out a little more than the 68 degree head it currently sits at.

 

Dave did some more work on the KTM and made a really great bike even better.

The biggest change he made was going to the DVO fork. This was a serious game changer. More plush, more stable, just plain better in every way imaginable. This is absolutely a huge upgrade. This really is no surprise though because DVO comes from the good people who originally brought us the Marzocchi Bombers. The motorcycle technology just plain works and they really out did them selves on this line. The new Vredestein tires hooked up well and really added to the controll as well. A great set up for sure. Very confidence inspiring.

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From there Dave went to the USB powered remote controlled Vyron dropper seat post. Very cool upgrade. Top shelf part for sure. Dave can get you these for pretty much any bike you have.

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 From there Dave tightened up the cock pit with a shorty stem making for a more controlled set up through the rough stuff.

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Dogs On The Trails

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It’s getting that time of year that we are seeing more and more dogs on the trails. This brings up a few things that are really worth noting here.

The first and most obvious for us as MTB riders is to keep out eyes open for the dogs. The very last thing any of us would ever want to do is to have an accident involving or hurting some one’s best friend. To that extent it is also very important for the dog owners to keep good control of their 4 legged friends. This is really a two way street.

For those who like to take their dogs when riding to give the dog a good run, it’s important to bring water for the dog as well as for your self. They can suffer from dehydration just as we can. Be careful when riding with the dogs too for when they cut right in front of you. Falling off the bike would be bad enough, but for the dog, it can be much worse. Running over a dog’s leg for instance would probably be a broken leg and would change that dog’s life in a very negative way for ever.

The next point is for the dog owners to be sure to pick up after their dogs so that it doesn’t become a doggie bathroom. Most are really good about this, but as with most things, it only takes the actions of a few to create a bad name for the many. Carry a bag and pick it up. It’s just the right thing to do. No one wants to step in that.

The Ridge To Rivers folks did a great jon on their maps showing where dogs are allowed off leash as well. Please observe these rules. Again, it’s just the right thing to do. Their map is accessable HERE

We do have rattle snakes in our foot hills, so getting the dogs trained up to avoid snakes is a great thing to do. Also it’s another great reason to keep good control of your pets. Most dogs do not survive rattle snake bites and personally speaking, I love my dog. We also have tics in our foot hills, and so a flea and tic collar is a great little insurance policy. One should also check the dog over for tics after a walk through the trails.

These simple guidelines should really be common sense, but as we all know, common sense just isn’t very common.

Kore North Cycles Teamed Up With Tamarack

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03 April 2016 – Kore North Bicycles and Tamarack Resort have teamed up to make this summer the best summer in Mountain Biking yet!
1st – Tamarack Resort will open it’s lifts starting June 25th and will run every weekend through the summer and season passes are only $99! 2nd Tamarack Resort will be providing the Intense Uzzi as part of their primary rental bike for the best possible riding experience! 3rd The Kore North Bicycles team and family will be will be up at Tamarack Resort working on features and trails stating in may. So with your support, togeather we can make Southern Idaho the Mountain Bike Park destination and Best riding experience yet!