Intense Spider 29

Pro Reviews

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Price: $1950
Frame Weight: 6.52 lbs
Bike weight (as tested): 27.90 lbs
BB height (measured): 13.19 inches
Wheelbase (measured): 42.81 inches
Rear shock: Fox Float RP23
Rear travel: 4″

Size
Seat Tube
Stand Over Height
Effective Top Tube
BB Height
Head Tube Angle
Seat Tube Angle
Head Tube Chainstay
M 19.0 29.5 23.75 12.5 72.5 74.0 N/A 18.0
L 21.0 N/A 24.75 12.5 72.5 74.0 N/A 18.0
XL 22.5 N/A 25.75 12.5 72.5 74.0 N/A 18.0

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Reviews of the Intense Spider:

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Rider/Reviewer: Francis Cebedo

Strengths:

  • Short wheelbase and steep head angle results in a quick steering bike. This bike is as agile as any 26er around
  • amazing performance in tight, rooty singletrack
  • climbing with VPP design is very responsive, both in and out of saddle
  • rear tire clearance is best in class
  • big, ovalized tubes results in a laterally stiff frame
  • craftsmanship and welds is first-rate
  • the frame seems ready to handle a 120 mm fork

Weaknesses:

  • Steep head angle can be too steep for some. It can result in sensitive, nervous steering in steep descents
  • Rockshox Reba tall knob hits the down tube

Overall Impressions:

This is perhaps the most interesting ride of the lot. The central point of all the attention is the steep head angle. 73 degrees when mated with a 100mm fork. Mind you 26-inch riders that big wheeled tires are really best when steepened just a bit (usually 1 degree). What results is an extremely quick and agile, short wheelbase bike.

Did I like it? Yes. I love tight singletrack and carving through the forest. The steering is quick and accurate and gets me around the tight stuff. Mated with the big wheel, the bike gets over obstacles very well too. The Sypder achieves that rare blend of quickness and big-wheeled rolling ability.

At what cost though? If I did a lot of very steep trails, then this might not be the right weapon. Steering can be too quick or nervous in those situations. It’s easier to get pitched over the bars too with a steep head angle. But for my neck of the woods, it’s not an issue. When the trail gets steep, I just put my weight back a little farther and roll away.

An interesting upgrade would be a higher travel fork. We have a White Brothers 130 mm fork that we will install on this machine. This should slacken it just a bit and lead to perfection for some.

And how did it climb? Impressive! In the saddle, out of the saddle, up obstacles, this machine was light on its feet. With the VPP rear end, the rear suspension stiffened up as I put the power on. It’s really a delight to power this machine up with the combination of VPP and big wheels.

Comfort was very good. It wasn’t the cushiest ride of the group but the suspension performed well on all the rough stuff.

Rider/Reviewer: Ty Brookhart

Strengths

  • Great Climber
  • Fast
  • Light
  • Responsive
  • Impeccable construction

Weaknesses:

  • Hmmmm, expensive
  • Touchy

Overall Impression:

Should I give you the good news or the bad news? Ha, fooled you. No bad news here, only good old American ingenuity and California style wrapped into one super fast 29er full suspension. I have never ridden an Intense bicycle I haven’t fallen in love with, and this one is no exception.

The Spider 29 was the best climbing bicycle I tested. About 15 minutes after getting on the bike we started out on our longest climb of the day and the bike was so surefooted I never missed a beat, even over the wet log pyramids and wooden teeter-totters. The steep head angle really does seem to make a difference. I really felt that I had control of this bike. In the tight turns the Spider handled like a serious cross country race bike and the rear suspension acted so effectively to be almost imperceptible while climbing. No question, the total weight of this bike plays a part in its nimble climbing, but I get the feeling that even with heavier wheels and cranks this bike would still be a mountain goat.

Intense has always made one of the best descending and braking full suspensions on the market, but I can’t really speak to that here. I never truly got to test out the Spider on any real descents and I was anxious to know how the steeper head angle would affect its stability at speed and on the steep stuff. Oh well. So, I’m putting the Spider 29 neck and neck for second with the Ventana El Rey for versatility, right behind the Leviathan.

Rider/Reviewer: Kevin Kirkhart

Then, along came a Spider, which I expected not to like but was pleasantly surprised. The Intense Spider is a single-track scalpel. Its suspension is not plush, but it is a good amount for quick turns and small jumps at race pace. The trail was fast and flowy singletrack with a little two-footer thrown in for good measure. This is where the Spider came alive. The pedaling felt great for accelerating out of turns by stomping on the pedals and leaning hard. The Spider is quick and snappy. Good for those who like to stand and jam on it. For the wee jumps, the Spider sprang forward like a big BMX bike that liked to be ridden hard. The handling is not always so good when it comes to the steeps. On a section of trail that heads down rather abruptly through rocks and trees, the Spider was a bit nervous. It wasn’t uncontrollable, but it requires your full attention. As for the look of the Intense Spider, It was OK. The lines of the bike do not flow and the angles of the Spider seems too steep and compact with all of the linkage kind of smushed together. The look of the bike doesn’t affect its performance, but looks do account for something. We all like our toys to look cool. That said, I like to ride this one more to see if I could tackle the steeps better and exploit its jumping abilities to the fullest. The Spider still has me saying…..hmmm.

Rider/Reviewer: Nick Thelen

In the saddle I can tell an immediate improvement…this ride feels good! (its looks however are not notable). We roll on a short bit of fireroad to another sweet section of twisty ST. Alright! Now I’m getting charged again – the Intense’s overall handling on flowy ST is nice. Acceleration is quick, suspension reacts firm but not sketchy, steering is a little high-strung (but still tracks pretty well). Then we hit steeper descents…this is where the Intense just got plain scary. I am no stranger to endo’s, and I’ve actually gotten pretty good at “landing” & avoiding them…but this bike feels like it’s literally waiting to launch you over the bars like a sprung trap!! It did get my heart going’ pretty good…along with some animated faces and language…OK, time to switch!

click here for MTBR Intense Spider 29 product review page

 

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