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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Sram Guide Hydraulic disk braked modulated really well on the 203mm rotors.
Renthal Fatbars on Renthal direct mount stem were ridgid as can be
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.