Intense Cycles used the FSR linkage exclusively for over a decade before switching over the Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) linkage. After spending the last three years on an FSR-equipped bike I thought it was time to make the same switch and see if I saw that light that Jeff Steber, the founder of Intense Cycles did.
Ordered as a frame only, I assembled the Carbine 29 with a smattering of parts that while drool-worthy, produced a build that is far from cohesive. Since the initial assembly I’ve toyed with many of these choices and have switched out many of the components, often multiple times. Not because the bike was lacking, more just because I’m a tinkerer. The benefit of all the changes is that I feel like I have been able to differentiate what positives and negatives came from the parts and which ones came from the frame.
Regardless of the parts hung on the frame I found that the Intense Carbine 29 was a playful bike that loves to be pumped over trail features. When this playful quality is combined with the VPP linkage’s ability to swallow bumps, you get a very versatile bike. This is an important quality for me. I enjoy the climb and the descent, although I will readily admit to liking the descent more; but I also like doing three-hour rides and jamming to the top of a 25-minute climb. The Intense Carbine 29 does all of these very well.
Of course the long wheelbase and slack head angle mean that the bike will never be a quick handling singletrack carver, but then it was never intended to be one. As the first mass produced 140mm travel 29er, the Carbine 29 marks the beginning of a new epoch of 29er shredding; an epoch that bears little resemblance to the Midwestern America optimized hardtails that preceeded it for nearly a decade… this thing rips.
Read the rest of the Intense Carbine 29 Review by clicking on the highlighted link.
This 6/18/14 post was updated 8/11/14 to include a video review.