Review: Intense Tracer T275 Carbon

27.5 All Mountain Trail

Intense has released a brand new 27.5″ bike, the All Mountain Tracer T275, which utilizes a full carbon frameset with a geometry that is a more aggressive iteration of their popular aluminum based Tracer 275. It gets its suspension bumped up to a full 160mm, a longer 44.5″ wheelbase, a taller 13.5″ bottom bracket height and a slacker 66.5 degree head tube.

Video: Chris Kovarick shreds with the Tracer T275

I got my first look at the bike at a press camp launch back in mid January of this year, and afterwards; I got to take the bike out for a spin on the phenomenally fun San Juan trail in Southern California, and I really enjoyed getting to rip down the trail on this sweet piece of machinery. Since then, I have gotten about a month of decent test time on the Tracer T275 to get a good feel for its characteristics. It was primarily tested in my home turf of Colorado Springs (TGap in Palmer Park), and the Pueblo Reservoir South Shore trails, all of which have a Bootleg Canyon, NV feel to them, meaning technical, rocky, gnarly and burly.

Although Intense prides itself on Made in America products, the frames are made in China since they have the best expertise in molding the raw carbon-fiber materials. The frames are built using different layups of carbon fiber for a perfect blending of unidirectional, high modulus, prepeg and glass fiber, which are used in specific locations depending on the design and strength requirements. All the aluminum axles, bolts, linkages and pivots are produced in-house at their Temecula facility on state of the art Haas Automation CNC machines, allowing them great control of the end-product.

The carbon fiber frame is absolutely stunning, and comes with a slew of features including internal cabling, adjustable rear travel, ISCG05 mounts and grease injection points for the pivots. The internal cabling uses guiding tubes to facilitate an easier build, and the internal cabling design gives the bike nice clean lines throughout. The adjustable rear travel allows either the default 160mm or a shorter 140mm, and it doesn’t alter the geometry of the bike when the shock is repositioned into the upper or lower hole on the linkage. The suspension duties are taken care of using the dual link VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) design, which they license from Santa Cruz Bicycles.

One interesting design is that they went with an IS brake mount in the rear, which puts the braking shear force into bolts instead of the carbon fiber according to the engineers at Seed Engineering. For maintenance purposes, they use Zerc fittings for grease injection, and they kept bearings on the outside of the frame for easier change outs.

The Factory build kit on my test bike is impeccable, and included the Cane Creek DBair CS rear shock (optional $325 upgrade), SRAM XX1 drivetrain, Rock Shox Reverb Seat post, RockShox Pike RCT3 fork, XTR brakes and ENVE Composites AM carbon rims with DT Swiss 240 hubs. I ended up swapping out the default Maxxis High Roller tires to some WTB Breakout tires since my local trail conditions require something with a bit more traction and a meatier tread design. Outside of swapping tires to my personal liking and maybe some wider bars, the build kit is about perfect, though I must admit the saddle hurt my rear end. The Factory build with the DBair weighs 26.8 lbs and costs a whopping $10,234, but you certainly get a close to perfect parts selection.

Tracer T275 Small Medium Large X Large
Wheelbase: 1124 mm/ 44.25″ 1149 mm/ 45.25″ 1175 mm/ 46.25″ 1200 mm/ 47.25″
Top Tube: 560 mm/ 22″ 585 mm/ 23″ 616 mm/ 24.25″ 641 mm/ 25.25″
Chainstay: 432 mm/ 17″ 432 mm/ 17″ 432 mm/ 17″ 432 mm/ 17″
Head Tube: 100 mm/ 4″ 114 mm/ 4.5″ 125 mm/ 5″ 125 mm/ 5″
Head Angle: 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5°
Reach: 395 mm/ 15.5″ 416 mm/ 16.4″ 445 mm/ 17.5″ 470 mm/ 18.5″
Stack: 594 mm/ 23.4″ 609 mm/ 24.0″ 618 mm/ 24.3″ 618 mm/ 24.3″
BB Height: 343 mm/ 13.5″ 343 mm/ 13.5″ 343 mm/ 13.5″ 343 mm/ 13.5″
Seat Angle (Effective): 74.5° 74.5° 74.5° 74.5°
Seat Tube: 70.5° 70.5° 70.5° 70.5°
Seat Tube Length: 395 mm/ 15.5″ 445 mm/ 17.5″ 485 mm/ 19″ 540 mm/ 21.25″
Standover Height: 792 mm/ 31.2″ 798 mm/ 31.4″ 802 mm/ 31.5″ 803 mm/ 31.6″
Tracer T275 Specs
  • Full carbon front and rear triangles
  • 27.5″ wheels
  • 140 or 160mm (5.5 or 6.2 inches) of rear travel
  • 160mm (6.2 inches) of front travel
  • 66.5 degree head tube
  • 13.5 inch bottom bracket height
  • 17 inch chainstay
  • 44.5 inch wheel base
  • Frame Sizes: small, medium, large
  • Weight: Frame 5.7 lbs (medium with Fox shock), Factory build 26.8 lbs (no pedals with DBair shock)
  • Colors: Red or Gray
  • Pricing: Frame $3199, Build kits – Factory $9,999, Pro $6599, Expert $5,999
Continue to Page 2 for more on the Intense Tracer 275C and full photo gallery »

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on the trail.

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  • Chris says:

    Rear tire clearance looks tight. How do you think it would do in more muddy conditions??

    • Mtbr says:

      Chris- Good eye. The clearance between the tire and the lower yoke on the swingarm is indeed tight and would likely be an issue in muddy conditions if you run a big tire like we did.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Chris – the clearance in the back wasn’t that bad (pinky finger thickness – maybe 3/8″ or so), though not perfect, you should see what my Ibis HDR looks like with a set of Conti 2.4 Trail Kings. I’ll add a picture of the clearance when I get a chance.

  • Peter Eibeck says:

    I truly am grateful for your reviews so let me start by saying thank you.

    I do have one general issue with bikes/reviews lately, the INSANE price tag! I’m sorry, but this precedent is out of control. This has to be one of the most glaring price gauging scheme I have ever seen. When a bicycle becomes more expensive than a motorcycle, any talk of engineering, complexity, or manufacturing costs are simply mute.

    While I can imagine the joy of riding these foolishly priced machines, please do your readers a service and begin reviewing the products which most of us can actually purchase. Maybe as people refuse to review 10k bikes manufactures will get a clear picture, enough is enough.

    • Tom McGraw says:

      Peter, very well stated! I’m with you a 100% I feel as though I’m being squeezed out of a sport I love.

  • SC says:

    Intense really played this one well. Even if you get a turd review, they won this marketing campaign. Invite the media down in advance, wine and dine them, swear them to secrecy, and let them fight to be the first review article to drop on the release date! I have a very hard time believing that we will ever see a completely unbiased review in mountain biking again. That ship has sailed. It’s an awesome looking bike though;-)

    • Brian Mullin says:

      SC – Yes, they did provide a nice 1.5 day shindig, but why wouldn’t I give an unbiased review? Please don’t call out my integrity, that is uncalled for. I loved the speed stability of this bike downhill and most terrain, but had issues with it on slow speed technical stuff, which is where I like a bike to shine. I still prefer my Ibis Ripley.

  • Guy says:

    Why are we attacking the test ride, again?

  • Joel says:

    I enjoy reading these reviews and find useful information there. While my bike is at the $6k mark, I do think MTBR (and other sites) should review the top-of-the-line bikes.

    First, because it sets the benchmark about what is possible for a given era of technology. Many of the components will eventually trickle down so knowing how well they work and how well they work together, is an important part of the process.

    Second, 10K bikes are a reality for some. I don’t know the number in the bike industry but in many other areas the high end is the only growth sector. Obviously, this is about larger trends in our economy and we can easily get off track and political, but the reality is that many people earning over $100k can afford a 10k bike. A few earning much less will also decide to go “overboard.” So such reviews do serve an actual buying purpose. Presumably those with the means for a bike like this may actually be buying more bikes too.

  • Liberty555 says:

    People rightly point out that the prices are crazy. They are. But don’t think for a minute that you need one of these to have fun or go fast. You can always get a model a few rungs down or last year run out.

    I like nothing more than blasting past a poser on his new steed being ridden like it’s made of glass because he’s too afraid to shred. Buy an old banger and ride the wheels off it!

  • 64 Deville says:

    Hey Brian,

    I just bought this bike. Waiting on it to arrive. I weigh 225 packed up and am hell on wheels and parts. I was wondering about the bikes performance in the 140mm setting on days I’m not riding Downieville. Does it help those climbs where the bike suffered?

  • Rob G says:

    I agree on prices being out of control.. but I own an Intense M9 and Carbine 275 both of which I paid less than half of MSRP for by waiting till distributors cleaned out their inventory at the end of year sales, or buying slightly used from those big dollar spenders who have the budge to blow.

  • SlowriderAZ says:

    OK…I know these bikes are outrageously expensive. But, the guys at MTBR and any other publication would be stupid to pass up a chance to test the best bike a company has to offer. Would you want to read a car review on a Prius or a Bugatti? It doesn’t mean you can’t buy a less expensive version. The bike companies make aluminum bikes too. No one says you have to ride carbon to have fun. The reviews are helpful because it lets us know what is possible on a bike. Thanks to MTBR for the great reviews.

  • Dbrookie says:

    I’d love to know how the ride quality compares to the carbine 275? Seems like the difference are pretty subtle for the Pro build.

  • Ted says:

    What exactly is a WTB Breakout tire? There’s no such tire?

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