2012 All Mountain Bike Tests at Interbike Outdoor Demo

26er 27.5 29er Enduro

Intense Carbine 275

As was the theme of the day, this was a bike we settled for when the bike we wanted was out. Craig had gone to the Intense booth hoping to get a Tracer 275 but they were all out. As luck would have it, someone turned in this beautiful Carbine 275 right when he got to the front of the line. Thanks. I’ll take that!

Our experience last year with the new Cabine 26 set up in 5.5″ trail mode was positive but certainly not for the route we intended. The Carbine we rode last year was a super light XC/Endurance/Smooth Enduro mount….It felt somewhat skittish in the Bootleg chop, both up and down.

Wow. What a transformation! With the bigger 27.5″ hoops and longer,slacker geometry this thing really came alive. I don’t know what else they changed from last year, but this felt like a totally different bike. Descending through the rudely abrupt g-out/grade reversals of Skyline was a lark. This is the only bike I cleaned all these steep, shattered, on-the-edge-of-a-cliff little climbs all day. It just felt so well-balanced and confidence inspiring, the standing attack position just so natural and one-with-the-body. The light weight did not make the bike feel unsettled and out of place but the Carbine felt laterally stiff, efficient, and plush despite its supermodel looks and lack of heft. It tracked straight, lifted its head effortlessly, displayed no flex…….. and was quiet. Score.

Quite a combination of looks, efficiency, light weight, plushness, and flat out solidness all wrapped up into one package. Like I’ve said before, there’s always one bike that really surprises us and this year the Carbine 275 was it.

Here are Craig’s impressions of the Carbine that he posted in the Intense forum earlier.

“Got lucky and caught a large at the end of the day today at the outdoor demo. What a bike! Plows over chunder like a 29er but has the maneuverability of a 26. It was comfortable (Im 6′ with a 34″ inseam), to climb on, just all around fun with ZERO hiccups. KROB enjoyed the hell out of it too! Was by far the best bike I rode today which included a Trance X 29, Stumpjumper EVO 29, Turner Burner, Pivot FB, & RM Element 29 RSL.”

Special thanks to craigstr for hooking up with me for this Demo. We were a pretty good match in size and ability and were only slowed down while switching bikes by having different pedal preferences. He’s a great rider and has a good feel for what’s right and wrong with a bike.

Ready to attack our final descents of the day.

Here he is attacking one of the exposed turns on Skyline.

All in all a good day eventhough I didn’t get to most of the bikes on my list. We still rode some great bikes on some great trails and had a good time doing it. Hard to beat that.

I’ve got a chance to test a few more bikes while I’m in BC in a couple of weeks so look for some more reviews next month. Hopefully I can get to a few of the bikes that escaped us down here in the other BC (Boulder City/Bootleg Canyon).

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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