Although the Carbine and the Tracer are very similar, they are different in 3 key ways beyond just frame material. The Carbine is slacker, taller and shorter than the Tracer and it is evident that they came from different molds. How do those differences affect the ride quality? Even though both are great climbers, the Carbine is even more so. One main problem we had with the Tracer 275 was the lack of tire clearance on the rear. On the Carbine, that concern is gone, since the cross brace on the upper swingarm is gone. Did this make the rear feel noodley or loose? Not at all.
With a real world weight of 28.82, the Intense Carbine 275 was the lightest bike in our comparison.
Spec’d with the Novatec wheels and Kenda Nevegals is ok. But we think this ride will rock with light All Mountain wheels and Schwalbe tires. We miss the internal dropper post cable routing present in the Tracer 275.
The Intense Carbine 275 comes in 3 sizes (SM, MD, LG) and 3 awesome colors (Flo-Green, Naked Carbon and of course, Intense Red). The frame costs $2799 and the complete bike with mostly XT build is $5549.
The only downsides we had with the Carbine were minor. The Carbine is the most expensive bike in our test group, but carbon bikes are never cheap. The Carbine lacks the slick internal cable routing for the Rock Shox Stealth dropper post, but we will gladly give that up for the gain of being able to run larger tires.
- Carbon lightness, carbon stiffness
- Solid and stable handling, even in the air
- Good tire clearance
- Most expensive bike in our comparison
- No internal cable routing for Reverb Stealth dropper post (like the Tracer 275)
- Odd geometry with high BB of 13.7 inches
We were kind of shocked that Intense had a carbon bike this quick. Usually, carbon at least a year to produce from design to production. But digging deeper, we see that this frame is more of an adaptation of a 26er design. That’s why the geometry is slightly different from its brother the 275. But the only real nit on the geometry numbers is the 13.7 bb height.
But that being said, we rode it and rode it well. It climbed good we were able to rock the descents and do rock gardens and drops that have given us trouble over the years. When it was time to climb, this bike was game too. We applaud this bike and Intense for going ‘all in’ on this wheel platform in such a short time frame.
For more information: www.intensecycles.com