Intense Spider 29er mini review

MTB Aussie

Member
Last weekend I had the opportunity to ride the Intense Spider 29er at Bootleg Canyon near Las Vegas. Here is the my mini-review.

At first the bike felt huge, the 29 inch wheels reminded me the first time I sat on a road bike after riding nothing but BMX until I was 17. The upright riding position was also noticeable. I felt more perched on top of the bike that riding it. The cockpit was a little short for me and I didn’t bother adjusting the seat position back since we had limited time and there was riding to do. The frame was a medium. I felt high up while riding, and I related it to a friend as “driving a mini-van” since I was up high and could see everything.

The fork was pretty soft, from memory a Rock Shox REBA air fork that must have been on the softest compression setting and didn’t seem to have much in the way of adjustment. It actually worked well for the rocky sections of trail. The rear shock and suspension action were awesome. Cushy when it needed to be but climbed like a goat without the slightest hint of bob. I had the shock set to pro pedal. I give the bike top marks for climbing, especially since the riding position felt short and upright which would have normally indicated lots of wheelies on the tougher stuff. The 29 inch wheels really do roll over stuff well and tend not to hang up on rocks as much which helps keep the momentum.

There were several switch backs similar to the race course at Ringwood, and the bike (or perhaps just the rider) struggled to get the bike to turn with the big wheels. It seemed off balance as soon as I swung the bars hard. This resulted in dismounts. Some places where I dismounted were due to my fear of falling off the ledges near the switchbacks and coming home in a body cast.

On the downhill’s the bike was pretty good, tracked straight but seemed to wash out on faster corners with lose scree under the tires. It got air well and I hit quite a few of the quick up and down gully’s that you find out there. I felt more comfortable with the air time than I do on my own bike. Perhaps a lack of trees to hit makes that possible.

Opinion: 8 out of 10. The bike wasn’t a dump truck and climbed well. Was it worth the switch from 26 to 29? Nope. But if I had a POS bike now and were buying new I may consider it. Given my next upgrade is frame only and looking to keep my build kit, I’ll be staying with the small wheels.

Cheers,
Tim

PS - my second time at Bootleg Canyon this year, ride it if you get out there. I rented the bike from these guys at All Mountain Cycles. The bike had a slight shifting problem which I fixed for them but otherwise they were helpful. You can learn more about Bootleg Canyon here.

The water in the background of this pic is Lake Mead.

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DANSPANK

Guest
I still think mine is the best thing since sliced bread - I just love it.
 

monteverest

New Member
thanks for the review. i'm considering a 29er but all indicators suggest the big wheel is a bit more sluggish in the tight stuff - precisely the limitation on my prophet that i want to overcome. with a larger contact patch on the 29er comes a larger turn radius perhaps?

the 29er definitely has advantages and on the right trails, it will prove a blast. with time and patience, i think many riders can overcome the larger turn radius of the 29er but i personally do not want to spend time relearning to ride.

P.S. i'm headed to vegas within the next 4 weeks and will hook with the fellows at mountain.
 
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MixMastaMM

Team Bulldog Rider
i'm considering a 29er but all indicators suggest the big wheel is a bit more sluggish in the tight stuff - precisely the limitation on my prophet that i want to overcome. with a larger contact patch on the 29er comes a larger turn radius perhaps?

Bigger tires mean a slacker (read more laid back) head tube angle and a longer wheel base. The slacker head angle will slow down the turning response. Think of a chopper with a long sloping front end. The close to 90 degrees, the quicker and more twitchy the steering will be. A longer wheel base = wider turns. Think 18 wheeler V a compact car.
 

jbogner

NYCMTB: President
JORBA.ORG
Bigger tires mean a slacker (read more laid back) head tube angle and a longer wheel base. The slacker head angle will slow down the turning response.

The Spider 29er solves this by steepening the head angle by a degree over their similar 26er model. Other 29er builders have other methods of quickening steering- Fisher's G2 geometry uses much longer offset forks to increase the amount of trail and speed up steering despite regular angles.

I've owned two 29ers and ridden at least 10. The Spider 29er is the most nimble at carving singletrack turns that I've come across. It's not as solid as some others on very tech descending (like any fast-handling XC bike), but it's a fantastic XC/trail bike.
 

MTB Aussie

Member
The Spider 29er solves this by steepening the head angle by a degree over their similar 26er model. Other 29er builders have other methods of quickening steering- Fisher's G2 geometry uses much longer offset forks to increase the amount of trail and speed up steering despite regular angles.

The Intense definitely had a steep head tube angle and short chainstays that gave a short wheelbase. This is (I think) what gave me the "perched on top" feeling that I described. The bike felt very short on the traiI even compared to my SC. I think a little more time and I would've had no trouble with the switchbacks.

I would buy one if I wasn't looking to upgrade my current ride vs. getting a whole new ride.
 
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