While Intense has long been famous for its mastery of aluminum, the brand’s carbon models have been turning heads as well lately. Now, with the introduction of the Tracer 275 Carbon, that statement holds especially true.
The aluminum Tracer 275 is certainly no slouch. Garnering plenty of praise for its composed demeanor while making mincemeat out of aggressive trails, it’s a surprisingly capable and well-composed bike. In fact, it’s the aluminum Tracer’s utter competency that has us chomping at the bit to throw a leg over it’s carbon sibling.
By swapping in carbon for aluminum, Intense was able to shed a fair bit of weight from the frame while increasing its stiffness as well. In fact, at 5.7 pounds for a medium frame, the carbon Tracer’s weight drops nearly 30 percent compared to its aluminum counterpart. However, material changes aren’t the only differences separating the two bikes. Tweaking the Tracer’s VPP suspension platform, Intense upped the frame’s travel from 152-millimeters to 160, while ushering in some geometry changes as well
Slackened up by a full degree, the 66.5-degree headtube angle on the Tracer 275 Carbon should offer a bit more stability on wide-open descents, while the steeper seat angle (74.5 degrees) should improve the Tracer’s climbing manners.
In the meantime, we got a hold of Intense Cycles founder and head designer, Jeff Steber to get his thoughts on the new Tracer 275C.
Jeff, we’ve been huge fans of the Tracer and are excited to see all of the buzz around the new Tracer 275c. Could you guide us through the design process of the new bike? What was the driving force behind it?
Jeff Steber: Since we got a head start on getting 27.5″ wheeled bikes to market with the Carbine 275 & Tracer 275 alloy we now had two years of experience to draw on for the new bike and basically it was a fusing of all the best of these bikes and some new we learned along the way. The plan from the beginning was to create a solid segment leader in the trail/ Enduro category.
How does the Tracer 275c differ from its aluminum sibling? What are your initial ride impressions?
JS: The main differences are the travel has been increased to 160-millimeters and more aggressive geometry , internal cable routing , dedicated 142X12 drop outs. Carbon fiber always makes a big difference in ride quality, and the weight savings is a big plus also.
Intense takes a lot of pride in keeping as much production as possible within the US. How did that factor into the design and production of the Tracer 275c?
JS: We are currently making all the CNC machined linkages and assembly bits here in the Temecula factory and all the assembly and final quality control checks are done here also. We’re able to put our attention to detail into these machined parts, and these are some of the details that separate us from the herd.
Materials, frame design and suspension have all evolved leaps and bounds since you first crafted the very first intense on your kitchen table. Intense has managed to stay quite relevant throughout all of it—to what do you attribute that to?
JS: It is very important to stay connected with the market & the culture of MTB to remain relevant , we have been successful at creating & catching new trends. Having our own factory has also been a huge asset . The old saying “Innovate or Die” holds true so we are always tinkering , testing and building prototypes. The fact that I am a frame builder / fabricator doesn’t hurt either.