Intense Spider 275 C review

Four-cross inspired trail bikes make the best trail bikes

27.5 All Mountain Trail
The newest addition to the Spider family is a 27.5 model with an adjustable 115/130 mm of rear travel.

The newest addition to the Spider family is a 27.5 model with adjustable 115mm/130mm rear travel (click to enlarge).

Lowdown: Intense Spider 275 C

If you have a BMX background, but don’t have the fitness to keep up on climbs, the new Spider is a great choice. It’s super efficient going up, and a ton of fun going down. Find out more in our full review below.

Stat Box
Build: Factory Wheel size: 27.5
Best use: Trail, four-cross, slalom Weight: 25 pounds
Frame material: Carbon Price as tested: $9499
Rear travel: 115mm/130mm Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4 out of 5

Pluses
Minuses
  • Light weight
  • Expensive
  • Incredibly efficient
  • May be adjustment if riding heavier bike now
  • Playful
  • Tall saddle position in low dropper setting
  • Internal routing plugs back out

Review: Intense Spider 275 C

The original Intense Spider was a welterweight cross-country machine that slowly evolved into a versatile 29er that was still capable of keeping up with the Lycra crowd, yet surprisingly burly. The newest model, the carbon Spider 275 C is intended to carry on that tradition. From putting in miles after work, to hooning on weekends, this little 115/130mm travel bike is built to tackle any situation.

Like the latest Santa Cruz models, the Intense features a lower link that is tucked up above the bottom bracket. This helps increase stiffness, power transfer, and helps shorten the rear end by nearly half an inch.

Like the latest Santa Cruz models, the Intense features a lower link that is tucked up above the bottom bracket. This helps increase stiffness, power transfer, and helps shorten the rear end by nearly half an inch (click to enlarge).

For a number of years, Intense was the sole licensee of the Santa Cruz VPP suspension platform. That relationship helped to create a run of successful models, but now that the patent has expired, Intense has more latitude with their suspension designs. The latest iteration is the JS Tuned, after brand founder Jeff Steber. Yes, the design still bears resemblance to the newest Santa Cruz models, right down to the tucked up lower link. But ride characteristics couldn’t be any different. More on that later.

The new Fox 34mm with Fit 4 damper is an ideal compliment to the stiff carbon chassis of the new Spider.

The new Fox 34 with Fit 4 damper is an ideal compliment to the stiff carbon chassis of the new Spider (click to enlarge).

The rear travel is adjustable between 115mm and 130mm, with the suspension designed to be more linear in the longer travel setting, and more XC oriented in the shorter travel setting. Up front, suspension duties are performed by a 130mm Fox 34 fork. While many brands would have spec’d a 32mm chassis to help keep down price and weight, the 34 is absolutely the right choice here. It helps keep the front end of this lightweight bike planted through rough terrain, and the new FIT4 damper is one of the best performing platforms we’ve ridden.

The frame is made using an EPS molding process which produces a stiffer and lighter product. Higher end models will be made using a high modulus carbon that can be thinner in certain areas to help reduce weight, which helps shave 215 grams (or just under half a pound) when compared to the standard frames. The standard carbon with alloy link and no shock weighs 6 pounds (2705 grams), while the Super Light frame with the carbon link (no shock) weighs 5.5 pounds (2490 grams).

Continue to page 2 for more of our Intense Spider 275 C review »

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  • Dan says:

    “Interesting” that the specifications page from the owner manual (shown in the picture) says “4.48 lbs/2490 g” for that SL frame weight (no shock). I guess someone typed a 4 instead of a 5. Hopefully Intense is less sloppy in other areas.

    PF92 is a standout feature… in a negative way.

    Also: minor point but I wouldn’t describe 16.5″ chainstays as “relatively” short. 16.5 is very short for a bike in this class.

    But then you said it has low standover. It has a claimed 31.1″ standover for a medium frame. That is not low at all (the 5010 has 28.31″ for the Large). But the 5010 (large) and Mojo 3 both have taller seat tubes for the same “reach”, but you complain about the tall seat tube…

    I also found it hard to believe the ride “couldn’t be more different” than a 5010, a bike with the same travel and similar geometry and same linkage layout. Would be interesting to compare it to the Mojo 3. The Mojo’s plus-tire compatibility is a pretty interesting perk.

    By the way, the Knolly Endorphin has one of the lowest seat tube lengths for the reach, and the Hightower is close. I wish Knolly would do a carbon/boost Endorphin.

  • Dan says:

    So if you look at the frame weight, the SL with shock is around 6.1 lbs. You can’t really say that is a particularly light weight for a carbon trail bike.

  • Richard Ramos says:

    Hi, nice Bike, great review, excelent site, i follow you from flipboard, i have a kind of diferent question, im been searching for a while on internet but still doesn’t get a good answer, how do you take this stand bike photos without any support, i am an entusiast of the photography and mountain bike, and i wish to take this kind of great photos to my ride, i hope you can enlighten me, Greetings from Colombia.

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