The Intense Tracer has been around in one form or another for two decades. The last time it saw a complete reworking was 2014. Built around 27.5 wheels and 160mm of travel, the enduro oriented rig has been a perennial staff favorite for its all-around versatility.
Read our review of the Intense Tracer 27.5 V1 here.
Since that bike launched, however, a lot has happened. Enduro geometry has become more extreme, the patent surrounding VPP expired, and air suspension has finally reached coil like responsiveness.
During the two-year development cycle of the new Tracer 2, Intense took advantage of all these advancements. The end result is a two-wheeled machine that’s more than capable of winning an Enduro World Series race. To learn more about the development, hit play on the video above.
The new Tracer has been slackened out a full degree to 65.5 and travel was bumped by 5mm front and rear to 165mm. The top tube grew by .25-.5 of an inch depending on size, while chainstays stayed compact at 17 inches.
The rear suspension also received an overhaul. For years, Intense was the sole licensee of VPP. Once the patent expired, they were free to explore new ways of using the design. The end result is something they called JS Tuned (named after Intense founder Jeff Steber). For this application, Intense modified the VPP design with something they’re calling an “enduro link.” Peeling away the marketing, what you get is longer links that are claimed to offer a better leverage curve and axle path. We’re particularly curious about the new lower link, which extends over the BB and mounts where you’d normally find a front derailleur.
Other key details include full internal cable routing (done via tubes), ISCG 05 chain guide mount, boost spacing, and built in downtube and chainstay protectors. You also get angular contact/collet bearing system with zerks fittings for maintenance. The one thing you don’t get? Water bottle mounts…
The new Tracer 2 is available in five build kits, as well as a frame only. At the top end is the $10,399 Factory build, which gets top tier Fox Suspension, ENVE rims laced to DT Swiss hubs, a SRAM Eagle drivetrain, Race Face Next cranks, Renthal cockpit, and some tacky e*thirteen rubber. It’s a great blend of high-end parts with just the right touch of flair.
Moving down to Elite ($7999), you retain the top Fox bits (although the shock is no longer Kashima coated), a 12-speed SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain, e*thirteen wheels, and Renthal bits. Still a great mix.
The Pro build ($6999) still gets Fox suspension, but this time they have black stanchions. And instead of 12 speeds, you only get 11. The cranks, however, do get upgraded to Race Face’s Next SL.
The final two builds, the Expert ($5899) and Foundation ($4599), are for the budget-conscious bike buyers. Unlike the previous three models, these frames are a little heavier. They’re built using the same molds, but use a different carbon layup, which makes them more cost effective. The other difference is the upper link. Rather than carbon, these bikes have an aluminum link. Oh, and both are available in a murdered-out color scheme.
The Expert version pictured above gets a Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, RockShox suspension (Lyric and Monarch Plus), and Stan’s Flow wheels. For most consumers, this mix will offer the best bang for buck.
The final build, the Foundation, pairs a RockShox Yari up front with a Monarch Plus shock. It ships with a SRAM NX drivetrain, Shimano Deore brakes with 180mm rotors, and Sun Ringle wheels.
For more info, visit www.intensecycles.com.