Intense Introduces the Tracer T275 Carbon

by Brian Mullin on March 18, 2014

It
seems like the 27.5″ wheel size is the new big mack daddy of the
mountain biking world, and Intense Cycles was one of the first to jump
deeply into the fray. Intense has just released a brand new 27.5″ bike,
the All Mountain Tracer T275 Carbon or 275C, 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.

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. 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 over default Monarch Plus RC3), 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: A 1124 mm/ 44.25″ 1149 mm/ 45.25″ 1175 mm/ 46.25″ 1200 mm/ 47.25″
TOP TUBE: B 560 mm/ 22″ 585 mm/ 23″ 616 mm/ 24.25″ 641 mm/ 25.25″
CHAINSTAY: C 432 mm/ 17″ 432 mm/ 17″ 432 mm/ 17″ 432 mm/ 17″
HEAD TUBE: D 100 mm/ 4″ 114 mm/ 4.5″ 125 mm/ 5″ 125 mm/ 5″
HEAD ANGLE: E 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5°
REACH: F 395 mm/ 15.5″ 416 mm/ 16.4″ 445 mm/ 17.5″ 470 mm/ 18.5″
STACK: G 594 mm/ 23.4″ 609 mm/ 24.0″ 618 mm/ 24.3″ 618 mm/ 24.3″
BB HEIGHT: H 343 mm/ 13.5″ 343 mm/ 13.5″ 343 mm/ 13.5″ 343 mm/ 13.5″
SEAT ANGLE (EFFECTIVE): I 74.5° 74.5° 74.5° 74.5°
SEAT TUBE: J 70.5° 70.5° 70.5° 70.5°
SEAT TUBE LENGTH: K 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
  • 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
Photo by Tim Bardsley-Smith
Impressions

After
spending some time on this bike, the one thing that sticks out to me is
how much this bike likes to fly, whether that’s on the ground or in the
air. This beast is at its happiest when the speed levels are cranked
up, and the suspension system is allowed to do its business. Roll the
bike down through the chunder, toss it deeply into berms, and let it rip
off jumps, and it just feels happy and snappy. I am usually not much of
a jumper but this bike made me feel like I could push myself higher and
farther than normal. It slices and dices its way down stuff, allowing
you to drift and carve with aplomb. The carbon fiber frame gave the bike
a wonderful ride, with excellent damping properties, and liveliness and
snap. I never felt any hint of slop or flex on this rig, and the stiff
frame and wheelset offered great control and stability.

Pull the
bike down to a more reasonable speed and it does fine, and it can even
crank through some long miles of flatter and mellower singletrack. On
the more level terrain, it sure likes to swoop in and out of the berms
and ramps and corners, and it comes to life when you hammer down on the
pedals and bring it to life with some speed. Time and time again, this
bike thrives on being a speed demon, and I really could see this being a
perfect weapon for Enduro racing and for those that like their bikes to
haul butt.

It
has some occasional issues on slow speed upwards maneuvers, when you
make a couple of pedal strokes up into a climb or a rock garden or some
stair steps or ledges, and the rear-end collapses or chokes down midway
into its suspension, leaving you without any platform to continue, and
you then you need to manhandle it through the rest of the moves.
Although you can perform more technical and trials type maneuvers, the
slack head angle and general feel of the bike made it feel out of place,
and required more finesse then seemed necessary, though if you had some
speed going, you could roll through some things without as many issues.
I swapped out to a longer 70mm stem for a couple of weeks, which helped
out immensely with some of the squirrelly steering. The climb switch on
the Cane Creek DBair helped on climbs, and slower speed and technical
maneuvers, but it didn’t alleviate the issue entirely. On steep and long
unrelenting climbs the rear suspensions idiosyncrasies left the bike
feeling sluggish and power draining, especially when powering away with
big pedal strokes while seated.

If
you were going downhill through the gnar, it was very compliant, and it
offered great feedback and stability and steering response. The 160mm
of suspension and big 27.5″ wheels really help it roll over and absorb
obstacles on the trail, greatly aided by the superb Cane Creek DBair CS
and excellent Rock Shox Pike.

The
clearance between the rear tire and the rear yoke is around 3/8″ or so,
which should be adequate for most muddier conditions, though it’s still
not a huge amount of room.

Bottom Line

The
Intense Tracer T275 is an impressive bike, utilizing carbon fiber front
and rear triangles, which provide exceptional damping and stiffness.
The design, geometry and VPP suspension creates a bike that loves to fly
down the trail and through the air, making for a fun bike at speed.
Toss it down through the chunder and it just effortlessly glides through
stuff like it’s hardly there, creating a confidence inspiring
experience. This bike would be a great candidate for an Enduro racer or
riding the Whole Enchilada Trail; anywhere that speed and chunkiness
abound. I found that during slow speeds technical maneuvers, it can be a
bit of a handful, and it sometimes would choke or collapse into its
rear suspension on slow speed upwards maneuvers, especially stair-steps
and ledges.

The Tracer T275 feels like it has after burners on
when it’s launched, and its the happiest at high speed through technical
descents. The Factory build kit, which I tested had an absolutely
stunning parts selection, although it’s definitely expensive at $10,234.
The frame retails for Frame $3199, while the build kits include the
tricked-out Factory at $9,999, the middle brethren Pro at $6599, and the
more moderately priced Expert at $5,999. With any of the build kits,
make sure to upgrade to the superb Cane Creek DBair CS, it’s well worth
the incremental cost.

Pros
  • Fast, gnar-eating performance
  • Light
  • Launching monster
  • Carbon fiber damping, stiffness and strength
  • Factory build – incredible part selection
Cons
  • Expensive – Factory Build
  • Slower speeds technical maneuvers can be a handful
  • Maxxis High Rollers weren’t ideal in loose and chunky conditions
  • Sometimes it chokes/collapses on slow speed upwards maneuvers
Specs
  • Geometry: 160mm travel, 66.5 degree head tube, 13.5″ bb height, 17″ chanistay
  • Weight: Frame 5.7 lbs, Factory build 26.8 lbs
  • Pricing: Frame $3199, Build kits – Factory $9,999, Pro $6599, Expert $5,999

For more information visit www.intensecycles.com

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anonymous August 20, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Did you just copy and paste all these pics from mtbr??

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: