Intense Primer 29 first ride report

Highly capable steed with 130mm of front and rear travel

29er All Mountain Trail
Intense Primer 29er is just a fun bike to take on any road trip.

The Intense Primer 29 is one heck of a fun bike.

How does it ride?

As we already said, this is one of the best performing Intense bikes we’ve ridden. Suspension is supple on the initial stroke making the ride a delight on the tech climbs of Sedona and on the rocky descents of Demo Forest in Santa Cruz.

Our test bike was equipped with a SRAM 1×11 set-up, but production versions will come with SRAM’s new 1×12 Eagle group. With the bike weighing in at 25.9 pounds with pedals, this rocket will achieve new heights with the smooth shifting SRAM Eagle.

The 760mm carbon Renthal bars was a good match for the bike, as was the short stem. The Fabric saddle was a delight as well, sporting wide, supportive padding with no seams to get in the way.

Jeff is the man behind JS Tuned suspension.

Jeff Steber is the man behind the bike’s JS Tuned suspension.

Unlike some of the other new-breed 29ers (Santa Cruz’s Hightower, Pivot’s Switchblade) the Primer 29 cannot accommodate plus tires. “Not enough room,” said bike designer Chad Petersen, adding that Intense opted to optimize this bike for a specific wheel size, not as a do-it-all rig. For 27.5 Plus fans, Intense recently introduced the Intense ACV, detailed here.

Intense Primer 29er has very good seatstay tire clearance.

The Intense Primer 29 has ample tire clearance at the seatstays.

On the wish list

Our test bike sported Schwalbe Nobby Nics and they seemed to hold the bike back a bit. Meatier, more durable front knobs would really unleash the potential of this bike in aggressive terrain like Moab, Downieville, or Lake Tahoe.

The seat tube on this bike is long so we were limited to a 125mm dropper on a medium bike. Most new bikes allow for 150mm or even 170mm dropper posts, so we’d love to see a shorter seat tube on this bike, too. Taller riders are not affected by this issue of course.

Intense Primer 29er frame is sculpted carbon.

The Intense Primer 29 frame is beautifully sculpted carbon.

Intense Primer 29er has 750mm carbon Renthal bars.

Intense Primer 29 comes with 750mm carbon Renthal bars.

Primer Factory Build
  • Gloss orange/gloss grey: $9499
  • Frame: Primer 29 SL Monocoque UD Carbon Front and Rear Triangle, Carbon Top Link, Internal Derailleur Routing, Integrated protector, Ti Hardware, w/ 148x12mm spacing, 115mm-130 mm travel
  • Fork: FOX Factory 34 FLOAT, 3 Position Lever w/Open Mode Adjust, 29″ boost
  • Shock: FOX Factory Float, 3 Position Lever w/ Open Mode Adjust, SV EVOL, 200×50 mm
  • Hubs: 28 Hole DT Swiss 240
  • Front Hub; 148×12 boost Rear Hub w/ XD Driver, centerlock
  • Rims: DT Swiss XMC 1200 SPLINE 29″ Boost, Tubeless Ready
  • Shifters: SRAM XX1 Eagle, 12 speed
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM XX1 X-Horizon Carbon, Eagle, 12 speed
  • Cranks: SRAM XX1 Eagle, 12 speed, 34T
  • Cassette: SRAM XG 1299 EAGLE 10-50T, 12 speed
  • Saddle: Fabric Scoop Radius Pro
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 31.6mm x 420 mm, zero offset, 125 mm of travel
  • Bars: Renthal FatBar Carbon 20mm – 760mm
  • Brakes: Shimano XTR Hydraulic Disc, 180 mm front and 160 mm rear
Intense Primer 29er at high speed is stable and maneuverable.

Intense Primer 29 at high speed is stable and maneuverable.

Other Models
  • EXPERT build – Gloss yellow/gloss grey: $5899
  • FOUNDATION build – Gloss grey/gloss black: $4599

Bottom line, this is a stunning bike that delivers the riding prowess most folks are looking for today. It can take the adventurous rider on many epic rides and handle rowdy descents. And at under 26 pounds with the spectacular DT Swiss XMC 1200 wheels, this is one fast and agile steed. $9500 is a bit too much for most so it’s good to have the $5900 Expert and the $4600 Foundation builds.

For more information visit Primer bike on Intense website.


About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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