I had the chance to hire a Tracer for 2 days, I normally ride a 6.6 and here's a few thoughts on the differences...
I own a 6.6 and Spider and am an Intense fan.
After a week in Vegas on a conference, a buddy and I decided to drive up to Utah and try the trails around Zion National Park.
Bike set up
The Tracer was set up almost identically to my 6.6 with the one exception being that it had a Talas 36 and my 6.6 has a VAN 36.
2 days at Gooseberry Mesa on some of the most technical, but fun stuff Iíve ever ridden.
What I liked/what was the main difference
I felt instantly comfortable on the Tracer. I knew where the BB was and where I would pedal strike by instinct, to me it was exactly the same as the 6.6 in geometry and feel with one very notable differenceÖ. With the 6.6 when you are on the granny side of the gearing, when you stomp down thereís a bit of a mushy feel before the bike picks up. With the Tracer this is completely gone, the feel is instantly responsive, solid and the power feels direct. The suspension improvement was very noticeable. I would not have survived the technical challenge of the slick rock if I was on a lesser bike.
I did like the Talas 36 a lot. Itís lighter than my VAN 36 and felt much better balanced on the bike. The VAN does have a slightly smoother feel and can take bigger hits, but I would give that up for the balanced feel that the Talas gave.
With people making comments on Intense flex, let me first say that on my 6.6 I donít notice the flex or maybe just donít ride in a style where I would notice it and I do not consider flex to be a problem on the 6.6, but while standing next to the 6.6, I can grab the rear, put one foot on the wheel and make it flex. I tried this with the Tracer and it barely moved! Not sure what theyíve done to the rear triangle design, but it was solid!
Was it good enough to make me sell my 6.6 and trade upÖ. No, I still love my 6.6 and although the suspension feel is better on the Tracer, itís not enough for me to warrant the change over cost.
If I was going to buy another bike, would it be the TracerÖ. Absolutely, without even the tiniest doubt! Best bike Iíve ever had the privilege to ride.
Now if someone would bring out a retrofit kit for the 6.6 so that I could get the 6.6 suspension feeling that good, I would snap that up in an instant.
A HUGE THANKS to Fred at Zion Cycles - what a nice guy!!! Getting set up on that bike for a couple of days and riding those trails has made my year!
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