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  1. #1
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    Back in the fold with a Tracer 275!

    Well it's been about five years but I've finally got myself another Intense which will be my 7th in the form of a new Tracer 275 in neon yellow. I've bought it as a frame only to build it up nice and slow over the next could of months, hopefully being ready by late spring. I've bought it to go alongside my 29ers to see what all the fuss is and to cover all areas of the riding that I like to do. My intended build is as follows:

    Large frame
    Rockshox Pike or Xfusion Sweep 160mm
    Hope headset
    Raceface Atlas stem 50mm
    Raceface Atlas Bar in monster green
    XTR 1x10 group set with Raceface NW ring and one up cassette ring
    XT Brakes
    Stans flows on Hope Pro II Evo hubs in purple
    Schwalbe Hans Dampf Rubber
    Rockshox Reverb Stealth 150mm
    Bontrager Evoke RXL Saddle

    Really looking forward to building this up and running it long travel, it kind of feels like I'm at home on an Intense and especially an alloy one.

  2. #2
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    Glad to have you back for another Intense!

    If I can make a recommendation, go for the Pike over the sweep fork. I'd also grab an SDG saddle over the bonty.
    Sam Wilson
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-IntenseCustServ View Post
    Glad to have you back for another Intense!

    If I can make a recommendation, go for the Pike over the sweep fork. I'd also grab an SDG saddle over the bonty.
    This ^ Loving the Pike on my T275. It's the best air fork I've ridden with the most coil-like feel. Which rear shock did you go with? I had a CTD on the Carbine and it was definitely much better than the HV RP23. The CCDBA is a great pair up with the Pike.

    Have fun with the build!

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys! I really like my Pike that I have on my SB95c it's a fantastic fork so to be fair it's probably what I'll go for although I thought my Xfusion Trace was the best fork I'd tried up until the Pikes too so we'll see.

    My frame has the CTD on it, should work well. The Bonty saddle works well for me, took me a long time to find something that I could ride all day without too much trouble, the SDG's are my close second favourites though.

  5. #5
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    Back in the fold with a Tracer 275!

    A quick update on my slow build...









    More to follow soon...

  6. #6
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    Nice.

    FYI, Zee brakes have been on sale at Jenson's for a minute. They're going for $129. I put those on my Intense and love em.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doe Boy View Post
    Nice.

    FYI, Zee brakes have been on sale at Jenson's for a minute. They're going for $129. I put those on my Intense and love em.
    Aah interesting Doe Boy, I was thinking about Zee's, I have SLX brakes on my hard tail and I find them to be awesome, do you think the Zee's would be better still?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J View Post
    Aah interesting Doe Boy, I was thinking about Zee's, I have SLX brakes on my hard tail and I find them to be awesome, do you think the Zee's would be better still?
    I will second the recommendation on the Zee's. I have a set on my Tracer 2/27.5 with 180mm Ice-Tech rotors. They felt a little grabby at first compared to my Ice-Tech XT's. Took less than a ride to get used to the modulation and now I love them. Best brakes for hauling my 200 lb ass to a stop on those long steep descents!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MondoRides View Post
    I will second the recommendation on the Zee's. I have a set on my Tracer 2/27.5 with 180mm Ice-Tech rotors. They felt a little grabby at first compared to my Ice-Tech XT's. Took less than a ride to get used to the modulation and now I love them. Best brakes for hauling my 200 lb ass to a stop on those long steep descents!
    So they're actually more powerful than XT's? This is important for us clydes! Funny you say they feel more grabby than the XT's, Pinkbike actually found the opposite to be true during their tests but it's all pretty subjective stuff I guess.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J View Post
    So they're actually more powerful than XT's? This is important for us clydes! Funny you say they feel more grabby than the XT's, Pinkbike actually found the opposite to be true during their tests but it's all pretty subjective stuff I guess.
    They certainly feel that way to me. As I understood it, the Zee's are supposed to be comparable to the Saint disc brakes in power. 4-piston, Ice Tech, but without the reach adjustment knob and no free-stroke adjustment. Kind of how you might compare the SLX to the XT discs.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MondoRides View Post
    They certainly feel that way to me. As I understood it, the Zee's are supposed to be comparable to the Saint disc brakes in power. 4-piston, Ice Tech, but without the reach adjustment knob and no free-stroke adjustment. Kind of how you might compare the SLX to the XT discs.
    Very cool thanks, I'll go tale a look at some and decide what to do,thanks for your help.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J View Post
    Aah interesting Doe Boy, I was thinking about Zee's, I have SLX brakes on my hard tail and I find them to be awesome, do you think the Zee's would be better still?
    I think the Zee's would definitely be better. I'm 6'5" 300lbs and they provide plenty of stopping power. Like Mondo said, the 180mm Ice-Tech Rotors work amazing with it. Moreover, for $129 at JensonUSA, that's a steal. They are normally $229 and up.

    At that price, I picked up an additional set for my Kona and transferred the SLX brakes from the Kona to wife's Tracer275.

    BTW, your bike looks like an LA Laker should be riding it with the purp and yellow.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J View Post
    A quick update on my slow build...









    More to follow soon...
    that color is pure sex. with the purple it will look great!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mzorich View Post
    that color is pure sex. with the purple it will look great!
    Yeah, but I'm thinking you're gonna need to replace those CB Mallets with these!

    Back in the fold with a Tracer 275!-purple-straitlines.jpg
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MondoRides View Post
    Yeah, but I'm thinking you're gonna need to replace those CB Mallets with these!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That's nice. As much as I love CB DH Mallets, I wish they would offer more than one color. I had CB add a gold spring and end cap to mine to match things up a little. Just J gonna have to source out some purp and yellow parts.

  16. #16
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    Ha ha yeah I've been thinking the same thing, I've just bought a new set of Mallet 3's to go on my Yeti but they are only available in red too! My flat days are just about over, only really ride them in the worst mud or snow, but I could be tempted with those Straitlines or these Hopes for those days!

    Back in the fold with a Tracer 275!-hope-f20-pedals-%5B2%5D-9221-p.jpg

    You'll be pleased to know that I am going with matching purple Hope hubs too!

  17. #17
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    Back in the fold with a Tracer 275!

    Quick update; just got this tonight:




  18. #18
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    Back in the fold with a Tracer 275!

    This has got to be the longest build I've ever done but after a long wait for the Xfusion forks that were promised to me I've decided to put some Pikes on it instead. I've been running them on my Yeti and like them a lot so I'm looking forward to see what the extra travel will feel like.

    My Hope wheels should be here in a couple of weeks then we'll be good to go! I'll post some build pics then.

  19. #19
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    Come on with it man!!!

  20. #20
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    Still waiting on those wheels!

  21. #21
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    Back in the fold with a Tracer 275!

    Slowest build ever but it's getting there!
















  22. #22
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    That is coming out fantastic! Tire's look a little skinny though

  23. #23
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    You better hurry up, by the time you get this done they are going to have the tracer 3
    Looks really nice!
    Once you go slack, you never go back!

  24. #24
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    Thanks guys!

    Hopefully will have it ready next week...

  25. #25
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    That does look incredible. I finally saw one up close in person, oh man do I want one now.

  26. #26
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    I like the chain guard you have. Great build, love my Tracer.

  27. #27
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    Back in the fold with a Tracer 275!

    Thanks for the kind words guys, I appreciate it. 😊

    Well after 6 months of building this bike up nice and slowly I am pleased to say that it was finally finished today and here is the end result:



    I took the bike out for a quick shake down about an hour ago and I am really impressed, the VPP feels like home to me, especially now I've been able to dial things just how I like them. I think that by taking my time over the build, I've been able to really think about how I wanted my setup to end up being. The bike just seems FAST!

    The end weight came out at 30.1 lbs which is where I expected it to be really.

  28. #28
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    Turned out fantastic. Do the alloy models use the press fit bb as well?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeboardorblade View Post
    Turned out fantastic. Do the alloy models use the press fit bb as well?
    No, thankfully for me they are the standard screw in type. Glad you like it, thanks.

  30. #30
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    Nice. It's too bad so many carbon frames are press fit. Did you happen to weigh just the frame or the frame and shock?

  31. #31
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    I did but it was a while back, I think it was mid to high 7's.

  32. #32
    JTB
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    Just J, great bike. How does it compare to your SB95?

  33. #33
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    Thanks JTB, glad you like it.

    It's really early days yet but initial impressions are the kind of things you'd expect really, the Yeti monsters over the trail like nothing else, it really is a fast A-Z all rounder. However when it gets steep or twisty the Tracer just knuckles down and wants to play, it is more manouverable than the Yeti.

    The Tracer is harder to keep the momentum up, again as expected of the smaller wheels. It's also a lot plusher than the Yeti, my one small gripe with the SB95c is it's small bump compliance, considering both bikes use the same shock (although the Tracer has a longer stroke) the Tracer soaks everything up whereas the Yeti can feel a little harsh on smaller stutters etc after a while in the saddle. However, the Yeti does peddle slightly better, it weighs 28.1 lbs compared to the Tracer's 30.1 though.

    I have an 140mm Pike on the front of the Yeti which is as long as I'd want to run on the bike, I have found that the Tracer has less wander than it on climbs which surprised me to be honest as it has 160mm Xfusion Sweeps.

    Both bikes run the Hope Tech Enduro wheels with Bontrager XR4 tyres (2.30 on the Yeti, 2.35 on the Intense), I did this on purpose as I wanted to test them pretty much back to back.

    I run the same saddle on each bike (Bontrager Evoke Ti on the Tracer and Carbon on the Yeti), Raceface finishing kit (same dimension bars, 50mm Atlas on the Tracer and 60mm Turbine on the Yeti), Reverb, Hope vs XT brakes, XO1 on the Yeti and 1x10 XTR with 42T cassette ring on the Tracer.

    The Tracer's XT Brakes are by far the best brakes I've tried, so much better than the Hope's on the Yeti. The XO1 gears vs the XTR seem as good as each other to be honest, obviously there's an extra gear on the Yeti, but I'm happy with both set ups.

    I've noticed a bit of pedal feedback on the Tracer when peddling over square edged rocks, kerbs etc, a trait of VPP though. The Yeti doesn't have this.

    The Tracer fits me slightly better than the SB95c, I'm at that awkward 5'11" height where I can ride either a medium or large, although I always choose to go large, for instance the medium Tracer that I tested in 2012 was far too small for me. But the slightly shorter seat tube, better stand over height and shorter top tube of the Tracer seem a nicer fit and don't have me feeling on occasions like I can't get the seat down low enough like I feel on the Yeti when the trails go really steep. This could also be helped by the fact that the Reverb Stealth on the Intense has an 150mm drop compared to 125mm on the Yeti, so I can have slightly less exposed seat post.

    When I bought the Tracer I feared that there would be a fair amount of overlap in the two bikes, but I put this into consideration when setting up the new bike, I wanted the longer travel forks, shorter stem, wasn't too worried about the weight and wanted to use it for general playing in my local woods that I visit most weekends that are pretty steep and gnarly (Danny Hart's local trails!), so I had a firm vision in which way I wanted to use both bikes and I'm happy to say that it's worked out how I wanted it to.

    The Yeti will be my go to bike for big rides and for going as fast as possible across country.

    The Intense is my play bike and the one that'll get ridden hard without fear of the carbon fibre (I know this is silly but it rarely leaves my mind that I'm riding a carbon fibre bike when roosting the Yeti!). Of course the Tracer could still go on these rides, but my bikes all have clearly defined roles in my quiver, but it's good to have options.

    It's good to be able to test both wheel sizes out, I was surprised that I didn't seem to have to adjust very much from going between the 29 and 27.5 wheels.

  34. #34
    JTB
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    Thanks J, awesome write up! The reason I asked is I have the SB95 but ahve been looking at the Tracer as well (the carbon version though) - always liked Intense bikes. I only had the SB for a couple months after a 8 year hiatus from MTB though. I love the bike, but am wondering what 27.5 would feel like...

    I live in NYC and ride the local north east trails: everything is narrow, twisty and super technical - rocks everywhere, not much flow... So my riding is mostly at low speeds and sometimes I feel like I'm struggling to manouver the bike through all the rocky swtchbacks... I only had it for so long though, so still getting used to it and learning how it rides.

    I do like the suspension on the SB95 though, one of big surprises for me was how well it climbs, even under power, with limited bob.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTB View Post
    Thanks J, awesome write up! The reason I asked is I have the SB95 but ahve been looking at the Tracer as well (the carbon version though) - always liked Intense bikes. I only had the SB for a couple months after a 8 year hiatus from MTB though. I love the bike, but am wondering what 27.5 would feel like...

    I live in NYC and ride the local north east trails: everything is narrow, twisty and super technical - rocks everywhere, not much flow... So my riding is mostly at low speeds and sometimes I feel like I'm struggling to manouver the bike through all the rocky swtchbacks... I only had it for so long though, so still getting used to it and learning how it rides.

    I do like the suspension on the SB95 though, one of big surprises for me was how well it climbs, even under power, with limited bob.
    No problem!

    Well the SB95's strengths are climbing and high speed flow so I'm totally with you on this, in some instances the bike can be a little bit of a handful under certain situations, my Trek Stache feels a little quicker in the twisters but I'd kind of put this down to the longer forks on the Yeti.

    This is my 8th Intense and to be honest the bike does feel like home to me, there are areas that I would miss my big wheels far too much though so at the moment the Yeti is a keeper too.

    My friend who owns the local Intense/Yeti/Trek dealer currently has a T275 carbon, I'll be having a ride of it soon, who knows, maybe this bike will be the best of both worlds?!

  36. #36
    JTB
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    Let me know how the T275 feels... It's getting great reviews and looks awesome (although at the price the Factory build should really come with the new Enve wheels, not the outgoing model...)

    The just anounced SB5c looks interesting too... Decisions, decisions!

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTB View Post
    Let me know how the T275 feels... It's getting great reviews and looks awesome (although at the price the Factory build should really come with the new Enve wheels, not the outgoing model...)

    The just anounced SB5c looks interesting too... Decisions, decisions!
    Yes the SB5c does look good but wouldn't have me swapping either of my bikes for one.

    I'm not in a rush to ride the T275 but just as soon as I do I'll let you know my thoughts for sure. I have a race in a couple of weeks so right now I'm deciding whether to ride the Yeti or the Intense. First world problems! Lol

  38. #38
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    It's been a few more weeks, any updates to your initial impressions?

  39. #39
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    Back in the fold with a Tracer 275!

    Ahem... About that... I kinda sold the bike 2 weeks ago whilst it was still retaining it's value. After a few more miles I found that although the bike felt great, I just preferred the way my Yeti felt as an all rounder.

    Please note that this is no slight on the Intense, it's just I preferred the suspension and wheel size of the Yeti. I think the Tracer basically had more travel than I needed and also was a bit heavier than ideal for my kind of riding. I don't think the wheel size played as much in the decision as I expected it to, the added travel obviously helped there but I just like my bikes to feel snappier, lighter and more spritely.

    Still an awesome bike, just one that ultimately didn't have the place I was looking for it to take in my quiver.

  40. #40
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    Back in the fold with a Tracer 275!

    Everything written by myself on the Tracer stands though, just with a bit of familiarity helped me make a decision that I would ride the Yeti far more hence cutting it loose.

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