First Ride Review: Intense Spider 29 Carbon

Tossable in back and forth S-turns without feeling too 29er sluggish

29er Cross Country
Intense's 130mm take on the 29er trail bike comes in three builds, including the SRAM XX1 spec'd top shelf Factory build.

Intense’s 130mm take on the 29er trail bike comes in three builds, including the SRAM XX1 spec’d top shelf Factory build (click to enlarge).

The Intense Spider 29 Carbon was a fun bike that my test partner Nate took on the Lakes Loops during our time at Interbike’s Outdoor Demo. These trails a little more XC in nature but still with a couple of rocky and droppy sections to test its rowdy nature. The fit on the size large was perfect, and looking at the numbers this bike compares fairly well to some of the other new-school aggressive trail 29ers such as the Pivot Mach 429 Trail, Ibis Ripley LS, and Evil The Following.

The Spider 29 Carbon’s numbers are a little more mainstream than the Evil, but still reasonably pushed towards the longer/lower/slacker genre compared to 29ers of years past. Top tube length on the size large is 24.5″, reach 17.1″, chainstays are not overly long at 17.5″, head angle is modestly slack at 68.5 degrees, and the bottom bracket is a low 13.2″.

The suspension duties were handled nicely by the new Fox Factory offerings with a Float Evol 130mm shock out back and a very good Float Factory 34 fork in front. I was very impressed with the plushness and control of this 34 fork. It was much better than previous year’s offerings and one of the best forks we rode at the tradeshow demo event. It had very good small bump compliance, decent mid stroke support, and ramped up nicely.

Suspension is handled by Fox’s highly capable Factory 34 Float. The 130mm shock is a Fox Factory Float as well.

Suspension is handled by Fox’s highly capable Factory 34 Float. The 130mm shock is a
Fox Factory Float as well (click to enlarge).

Riding up out of the demo area towards the trails was effortless despite tired legs, as the Spider pedaled without undo suspension movement even in the fully open setting. Out on the flowy, smoother Lakes Loops the big wheels picked up speed nicely and seemed to carry a lot of momentum down through the several steep g-out gully traverses and up the other side with little effort.

A few of these sections drop abruptly with small ledges to launch off. And despite Intense’s own description for the Spider stating, “The Spider 29C is our 29” wheel size, light trail bike built for cross-country and flowy single track…..designed for climbing, cruising and fast trail riding,” it seemed to cross over into more aggressive trail duty quite well. In fact their own promo video (shown below) is decidedly agro all mountain rowdy, showing one of their factory riders destroying some big boulder drops, steep rollers, and mixed chunder aboard the Spider.

I didn’t get the chance to test the Spider in those types of conditions (nor would I have thought to if they were available), but the little sections of mild gnarliness on the Lakes Loops did demonstrate that the Spider is quite capable and comfortable on a wide range of terrain.

High speed handling was excellent on the bermed sweepers and loose flat turns. It was also quite tossable in back and forth S turns without feeling too 29er sluggish. We didn’t encounter any really tight, slow, techy sections on this loop, but it didn’t seem as eager to pop up over things and manual every dip as The Following, nor did it feel quite as agile. But for smoother, fast, flowy nature of this trail, the Spider seemed perfectly suited, yet still able to handle a fair amount of more challenging terrain as well.

Overall, I’d rate the Intense Spider 29 quite highly. I liked it at least as well as the Pivot Mach 429 Trail and Rocky Mountain Instinct. For more information visit www.intensecycles.com/.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Kent Robertson

Kent Robertson (better known to Mtbr forum users as KRob) is just a guy who likes to ride. A lot. Kent’s 52 and has been riding mountain bikes for almost two decades, though he says his love of two-wheeled conveyances began when he was 5. His favorite trail type is any, be it fast and flowy, steep and chunky, or jumpy and droppy. Even a mellow bike path cruise with his wife makes him happy. “If I’m on two wheels it’s a good day.” Kent calls Ely, Nevada, home, but he’s ridden all over the western U.S. from Moab and Fruita, to Tahoe and Oregon, to a bunch of places in between. And while Kent focuses on the ride more than the bike, he’s ridden and tested a ton of bikes and knows what makes for a good ride — and a good bike. You can read more from Kent on his personal website, www.stuckinthespokes.com


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  • Glovett says:

    Spider 29C: It actually climbs better than the Pivot Mach Trail even with 2xs the travel in back & also better than the RM Instinct (about same travel.) It is stiffer with the added brace on the left chainstay & high modulus carbon and climbs like a shorter travel bike…even a hard tail 29er! (But of course with the suspension active if one likes.)
    So it really judges as a better performing bike than either of the others compared once you get to spend a significant amount of time on all 3.

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