Intense Tracer T275 Pro Build first look, review and ride report

JUSTIN LEVY | 25th Jun 2015

Togoparts takes time out to look at the Intense Tracer T275C, more Enduro than you will ever be.

So, yesterday I had a really ordinary ride. You know the type, travelled all the way out to Ubin with a riding mate who is clearly faster than me, feeling a bit tired, misjudging all the lines through the rocks, just couldn’t get any flow happening, just one of those days. Needless to say I didn’t have a hope of keeping up with said riding mate on the day and came away a little dispondent. Sure I still got a ride in which is always good, but it was the kind of day when you think about some kind of change to refresh your energy and enthusiasm. And then I got the call. Singapore has a new Intense Cycles distributor and there is a brand-spankin’ carbon dream bike at Togoparts HQ, just waiting for someone to throw a leg over it. What would you do?

The Tracer has been a legendary trail bike in the Intense line up for years, but this is the first incarnation to be constructed entirely from carbon fibre. And just look at it, smooth, sexy lines and sharp build quality make this certainly one of the best looking bikes around. Numbers wise, the geometry is heading in a more aggressive direction from previous models, with a 66.5 degree head angle and 432mm stays for confidence at speed. It comes in small,medium, large and extra large sizes, all with a 343mm bottom bracket height and the total wheelbase ranges from 1124mm to 1200mm. Make no mistake this is a big bike designed to go fast.

Developed together with Santa Cruz, all Intense bikes feature the shared Virtual Pivot Point suspension technology. Chances are if you are looking at one of these you will have taken a Santa Cruz for a spin before and you can expect the same level of pedalling ability and smooth transfer deeper into the stroke.

The T275s travel is adjustable between 145mm and 160mm travel via a Rockshox Monarch+ Debonair, and our Pro Build demo came specced with a 160mm Pike up front, a perfect match.

(When the grip mount is inserted into the square bracket, a push-lock can be pushed to lock the grip mount.)

Cradling the smartphone

With the cradle on the handle-bar, the last step to take before heading outside to hit the trail is to place the smartphone in the pouch. 

A significant edge that the pouch has over other brands is its capacity to house a smartphone as large as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (with a display size of 5.7”).  Given the popularity of mega-sized phablets, Digidock has acted quick enough to ensure that the pouch is wide enough to wrap today’s largest smartphone size.  Good move, I would say.

In this review, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (with a display size of 5.7”) was used.  Fitting the Note 3 into the pouch was pretty uneventful.  But first-time users would have to exercise more caution when inserting the smartphone into the pouch.  Unseasoned pouches are more rigid and forcing the gadget into the pouch might cause it to slip out from your hands.  Inside the pouch, the Note 3 could still be controlled from the outside.  During my brief seconds navigating the Note 3 via the pouch’s window, touch-screen responsiveness remained sensitive and nimble, and every tap of my finger triggered a response from the Note 3.  This came as a pleasant surprise to me as the pouches that I have owned were not as sensitive as this one.  One more point for Digidock.  

The likelihood of encountering a situation whereby your smartphone slips out from the cradle’s pouch is negligible and almost impossible.  Closing the pouch involves two steps – first by sealing a reclosable air-tight seal and then by closing the Velcro strap – and my attempts to “shake” and “squeeze” the Note 3 out from the pouch were expectedly futile.  Even if the reclosable seal or the Velcro strap is not closed tightly, the other feature would still be able to secure the gadget.

The Waterproof Bike Cradle at play

The experience of using the cradle exceeded my expectations throughout my joyride at the trails in Pulau Ubin!

The cradle’s grip mount held on tightly to the handle-bar, and despite the continuous frame-rattling, the cradle stayed firmly in place.  As hard as it gripped, the handle-bar did not sustain any grip scratch, thanks to the rubbery strip that was placed between the cradle’s grip mount and the handle-bar.  The strength of the cradle’s grip mount was further tested to its limit when a heavy rain came at one point of my ride.  A subsequent visual inspection was made on the rain-soaked grip mount and I was happy to know that it stayed in place without moving a micro-inch.

The grip mount features a 360˚ swiveling system, which allowed me to tilt the Note 3 from portrait mode to landscape mode (or vice-versa).  The swiveling system is probably one of the cradle’s best features as it accommodates both portrait and landscape lovers.  Whilst I am not fussy about the types of screen orientation, I was pleased with the cradle’s tilting flexibility because some apps like Google Maps and Street Directory appeared to be more informative and readable in landscape view.

Given Intense’s background in DH racing it’s no surprise that the new Tracer descends like a monster. It has a very poised feel & deliberate steering to give you heaps of control on the downs and in fast turns. The suspension is very plush, even in repeated high speed chatter, like Bukit Timah’s fast rock gardens. I put this down, in no small part, to the Monarch plus Debonair rear shock, surely the most underrated shock on the planet. The Tracer hooked up on all the big turns in in the very wet week I had it out on the trails. Also worthy of a mention are the X01 drivetrain, shifting flawlessly and with a great range of gears throughout our test, and the ever reliable XT brakes.

Turn the big Tracer to face uphill and you are rewarded with a fantastic pedalling platform in VPP, though this bike still has some heft to lug up the hills. The High Roller 2s may have ample grip but there is noticable drag, particularly from the rear. Our test bike needed a bigger chainring and a faster rolling rear tyre, like an Ardent or Ardent Race, to suit the Singapore trails better. I tested the bike in both travel positions, with the expected results of the 145mm travel setting climbing better, and in this lower setting it still ate up all the rough stuff I could throw at it on the day.

It is fair to say I didn’t really get the chance to find the limits of this bike, everything I hit with the Tracer was simply shrugged off, and though I may have been on the edge myself, the bike just wanted more.

I doubt I will be keeping up with that riding mate anytime soon but man I’ve been having fun bombing those descents on a bike like this, and I am feeling refreshed. It’s a big fun bike built for hammering and going big. If you go hard at home and do some Chiang Mai or Penang tours you are probably already browsing the Nomad/ SB6C/ Spartan category and the Tracer should certainly be on the list, and way up there.

This Intense Tracer T275 PRO, 2015 is retailing at : SGD $9,000
And it is having whooping discount now!

Intense bicycles are distributed and available at:
Crankworkz
81 Ubi Avenue 4
#01-29, UB One
Singapore 408830

Contact details : 6443 3155 / raychoi@crankworkz.com.sg

Webpage : http://www.crankworkz.com.sg 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crankworkz

For more information, please look up details at: http://www.intensecycles.com