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  1. #1
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    My Carbine SL Story

    I originally wanted to buy a 2014 Carbine 275, but after some advice on this forum, I saw some great deals on Carbine SL frames in the US&A. I was fortunate to get hold of one of the last mediums available from Zach at Bike Bling, and a few weeks later was the proud owner of a stunning frame. I thought staying with 26" wheels would save me around £2000 on my build, as I could use my existing AM Classic/Stans wheelset, plus the great deal on the frame. In the UK, the 2014 carbine has gone up in price, so The SL became an easier purchase decision to make, although tbh 650b is still gnawing away at the back of my mind. I'm no pro, so a sexy 26" wheeler is more than enough for me.......for now.

    Anyways, I'll use the thread to post up pics of my build process, and I'll try to post up some videos of future adventures with the bike. My last Full sus bike was 2010 GT Force Carbon Expert, that was a 150mm 26lb (without a dropper post) bike which I thought was very good. I've weighed my fully built Carbine SL and get it to 25lb 2oz on my mate's fish scales, including Reverb Stealth and pedals.


    The build:
    Intense Carbine SL frame with ISCG tabs and Stealth routing
    Rockshox Pike 26" forks
    SRAM XX1 Groupset with Gripshift
    American Classic Hubs
    Stans Crest
    DT Supercomp
    DT Swiss 10mm Rear axle
    Rockshox Reveb Stealth
    Shimano XTR Trail brakes
    Chris King Headset
    Raceface Turbine Stem 70mm
    Easton Haven Carbon Bars
    Fizik Gobi XM Kyrium rails
    Time ATAC XS Carbon
    Specialized Purgatory Control 2.3" tyres

    I've only had chance to go for a quick spin on it, and it felt fine. I'll hopefully get out soon and do some video of some of the rides. Going to be teaching a workmate how to ride off road, so hopefully give me time to get the suspension dialled down and what not.

    Thanks to everyone on here for their advice on my questions asked.
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  2. #2
    Dude, got any schwag?
    Reputation: TheSchwagman's Avatar
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    Sweet ride my fellow Carbine SL owner!
    Billy

    Speed is sweet, it's like an avenue to
    ... Shredtopia!

  3. #3
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    My Carbine SL Story

    Great set up, and welcome to the club! Love my SL.

  4. #4
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    Yay! You finally got it. Sweet ride

  5. #5
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    Cheers fellas, there's not much imagination to the build, but I wanted summat with little hassle. I like the idea behind XX1 and I've only read about dropper posts being 'essential', I'm yet to be convinced on that one tbh

    I went for the Pike purely based on reviews, the alternative Revelation is only 75g lighter, which isn't much considering I'm 88Kg on a light day. I reckon the additional stiffness is worth the weight penalty.

    I already owned the AM Stans wheelset, but thought I'd try to stiffen the rear end with the 10mm axle. Not sure if I'll notice a difference, the 9mm on my GT Force was never a drama.

    A little bit of me is missing the 650b bandwagon, I wonder if Intense will make an aftermarket 650b SL rear end in the future??? Probably cost a bomb if they did though lol

  6. #6
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    Nice looking ride!

    I doubt you'll see a 275 rear for that frame. They seem to have trimmed their product line and the SL is dropped which is likely why it was such a good deal.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thelma Viaduct View Post
    A little bit of me is missing the 650b bandwagon,
    Same here, but what you get for the price you cant go wrong. Weather permitting get out and get that thing dirty.

  8. #8
    Dude, got any schwag?
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    There's no way that another .75" radius in the wheels is gonna make riding any more fun! My SL is now about 6 months old, yet I got called old school last month for running 26" wheels & a triple. Whatevs. Carbon frame, new XTR brakes, reverb... old school, sheesh.
    Billy

    Speed is sweet, it's like an avenue to
    ... Shredtopia!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by eluv View Post
    Same here, but what you get for the price you cant go wrong. Weather permitting get out and get that thing dirty.
    Yeah that's bang on, I doubt I'd notice a difference anyway, an extra half inch of radius, not a lot really.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSchwagman View Post
    My SL is now about 6 months old, yet I got called old school last month for running 26" wheels
    LOL Same here! Call me old school

  11. #11
    Just A Mountain Biker.
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    That bike looks like a sick good time waiting to happen - beauty!

  12. #12
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    Is 25% sag the sweet spot?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thelma Viaduct View Post
    Is 25% sag the sweet spot?
    I am a better descender than a climber so I'm around 30%.

  14. #14
    Dude, got any schwag?
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    Yes, 25% by design. 30% is good too, but you'll be on the edge of the sweet spot.
    Billy

    Speed is sweet, it's like an avenue to
    ... Shredtopia!

  15. #15
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    Thanks chaps, should be out on it soon, got some decent time off work coming up soon. B-)

  16. #16
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    Right.....I've had the bike a few weeks now and managed a couple of rides. I've not been able to proper rag the f**k out of it yet, as I've started trying to teach an older fella from work some basic mtb riding, I'm no expert as you'll see from my vids, but can do enough to get by, when I'm not crashing ;-)

    My only concern really with the frame has been the quality of the finish on the disc brake tabs, not square, so I had to take it to a shop to sort out. Not great for an expensive bit of carbon, but thankfully not a showstopper as the frame was imported to the UK from the US&A.

    In terms of handling the bike feels a lot more direct and responsive than my GT Force Carbon that this SL is replacing. I kind of don't feel like I'm riding an active full sus bike, it just does the business very efficiently and quietly. It's a difficult quality to quantify, there's no dramas, nothing. The various shock tunings with the RP23 CTD offer enough difference to actually make a difference, but again, the bike just feels happy in any setting. I can't detect any bob when climbing, it's just stuck to the ground, maintaining traction when I'm convinced the wheels are about to spin out. I can't fault the Fox damper, it operates just like it's meant to, zero mid travel wallow like how my GT Force felt, It's so direct, just like a missile I suppose.

    The Pike at the front end is the same really, just does it's job, no need to use the pedal setting, just leave it open.

    XX1 has been amazing, the bike is so quiet, although I did lose the chain twice on 1 very muddy ride. The Gripshift has been a pleasure to use.

    Rockshox Reverb Stealth - first ride out it failed, back to the shop where it was fixed under warranty. TBH I don't think they're required for my kind of riding, it's a hassle and weight penalty where a normal post is more than good enough. I wish I hadn't bought it and just stuck with a Thomson masterpiece or something???

    I'm still feeling a bit of regret that I didn't buy a 650b Carbine, but the SL looks so god damn sexy, it kind of makes up for it, I feel guilty and unfaithful when I dream of a 650b Carbine. This SL will be with me until my 40th Birthday in 3 and a bit years, then maybe I'll buy another.

    Intense!!!! please add 0.5" to the top tube of the medium frame & add internal cable guides.





  17. #17
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    Dude open that thing up. Now that you crashed now you can ride it like you stole it. Love the mud bath. I'll give my left nut to ride trails like that.

  18. #18
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    Yeah mate, I'll get quicker as I learn the route and get used to the bike, early days.

    I lost my front wheel on the crash vid, the following ride I was more careful. It's great to learn though, that route has plenty of challenges to master, getting round in 1 piece is one of them lol

  19. #19
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    Welcome to the Carbine SL club. I bought mine a bit too soon, would really like to have had ISCG tabs like yours. This is my full suspension bike, and I'm very pleased with it. Your videos are real not staged, so I found them interesting. What camera are you using?

  20. #20
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    Sony Action Cam on my bonce. I'm too long in the tooth to want to impress or bull****, I stopped worrying about what others think a while ago, I ride for myself mate, not them.

    The Sony camera is awkward to mount, but to my eyes the video quality is better than the equivalent GoPro. I fancy a Garmin with heart rate output on it next.

    Yeah it's a shame you didn't get the iscg tabs and stealth routing, I'm not using the tabs but hopefully they'll give the frame a bit more resale value further down the line.

  21. #21
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    I'm having to change my cable routing as it's rubbing the frame.

    This has left my rear brake and mech cables too short.

    What cables do I need for XX1 rear mech??? Can I use shimano cables/housing with XX1???

    Cheers, :-) Happy New Year btw

  22. #22
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    My Carbine SL Story

    Just put some helicopter tape under the cable. I'm running my RD cable along the top tube and through the linkage. Very neat setup. A small patch of protective tape on the frame will do the trick.

    Oh...you can use any cables and housings, they're not proprietary.

  23. #23
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    How are you running the rear brake?

  24. #24
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    My Carbine SL Story

    Sorry about the crappy pictures, lighting in my basement is poor.

    Red cable goes to the RD.


    Black is the rear brake line.


    And a clean look without those big ass loops most are running on Carbines.

  25. #25
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    That's how I had it set up, maybe my Carbon protective patches were too thick.

    My mate has got me some expensive 3M black protective tape, it's activated using MEK (Butanone). It's a lot thinner than the patches I was using, I might give that a go and stick to my original routing.

    Thanks for your help.


    edit: just out of interest, how tall are you? I just did a retrospective bike fit calc on competitive cyclist, and it says I need a bike with a TT of 23.6 to 24.1". Maybe I should have bought a large??? But I'm only 5'9", short legs long body I think. But I'd be screwed with a dropper post on a large seat mast I reckon. Maybe I'll get a Yeti next time round???

  26. #26
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    My Carbine SL Story

    I do think the Carbines are a bit short in the TT for a given size but if your comfortable on it, why worry?

    I'm just shy of 5'8" and ride a small with an 85mm stem and setback seat post.

  27. #27
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    This is awesome. I'm just getting set to build up my Carbine SL and these posts have been a great reference. Can you detail how you went about stealth routing your dropper. I can see from the pics where the cable goes (down toward the crank) but how did you feed it into the frame? Thru one of the holes where the bottle cage bolt threads are? Drill a separate hole? Something I'm missing. I'd like to put a Thompson dropper on mine and would really like the new stealth dropper they just released.

  28. #28
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    The latest frames came with stealth route hole and iscg threads. Not sure I've the balls to drill a frame, thanks for thread compliments, good to know it helps.

  29. #29
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    I'm riding one of the earlier medium size Carbine SL frames. It has neither ISCG tabs nor stealth routing. I put a KS LEV dropper post on my bike a year ago, and it works great.

  30. #30
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    erm.....Latest update********

    I've lengthened my stem from 70mm to 90mm as the bars felt too close during slow speed turning stuff, also feels better climbing now with a decent stretch. Maybe I should have bought a large frame for my long torso/short arse legs???

    I'm starting to think dropper posts are not for me, I'm just not using it much, maybe I'm not RAD or SICK/POORLY enough??? I'm plenty flexible enough to move around my bike though, so I reckon they're over rated. Would sooner save 1lb of weight and not have the threat of the Reverb breaking again, I realise that's a controversial statement, but that's how I see it. I also feel more stable on descents with the saddle in close proximity, and I can get on the power sooner for seated climbing without having to burn too many matches.

    I've had to change the routing on my rear mech as the cable had started to gouge in to the carbon fibre shock link, not sure whether to ask SAM about that??? Any input buddy???

    I can't help feeling that XX1 would be even better if Shimano had done it, I can't get the gears 100% of the time, maybe it's the wet muddy conditions at the mo or Gripshift being ****ty???

    And here's a vid of some Yorkshire riding, it gets more interesting near the end with some nice muddy singletrack. I'm riding more than I ever done at the moment and loving it. I've added music to mask my swearing.


  31. #31
    I fix your broken ****!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thelma Viaduct View Post
    erm.....Latest update********

    I've lengthened my stem from 70mm to 90mm as the bars felt too close during slow speed turning stuff, also feels better climbing now with a decent stretch. Maybe I should have bought a large frame for my long torso/short arse legs???

    I'm starting to think dropper posts are not for me, I'm just not using it much, maybe I'm not RAD or SICK/POORLY enough??? I'm plenty flexible enough to move around my bike though, so I reckon they're over rated. Would sooner save 1lb of weight and not have the threat of the Reverb breaking again, I realise that's a controversial statement, but that's how I see it. I also feel more stable on descents with the saddle in close proximity, and I can get on the power sooner for seated climbing without having to burn too many matches.

    I've had to change the routing on my rear mech as the cable had started to gouge in to the carbon fibre shock link, not sure whether to ask SAM about that??? Any input buddy???

    I can't help feeling that XX1 would be even better if Shimano had done it, I can't get the gears 100% of the time, maybe it's the wet muddy conditions at the mo or Gripshift being ****ty???

    And here's a vid of some Yorkshire riding, it gets more interesting near the end with some nice muddy singletrack. I'm riding more than I ever done at the moment and loving it. I've added music to mask my swearing.

    So your rear derailleur housing has been rubbing the upper linkage? How do you have it ran on the frame? We generally run the rear derailleur housing down the side of the downtube and then over the front derailleur mount to meet up with the guides on the drive-side seatstay that bring the cable straight to the rear derailleur.
    Sam Wilson
    Things & Stuff Specialist
    Beer Drinker
    Intense Cycles, Inc.
    Sam@Intensecycles.com

  32. #32
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    I had it running under the top tube to try to keep it looking neater, like you do if using a front mech, some of the earlier pics in the thread should show the routing. The outer had worn away and has left a ~2mm circular gouge in the link.

    I've changed it to downtube routing, I'll keep an eye on the gouge to make sure no cracks develop, but I wouldn't fancy having it fail on some of that fast stuff lol How much do replacement ones cost?

    Cheers, Gaz

  33. #33
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    Another vid, looking forward to the trails drying out.


  34. #34
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    I am 170 cm tall, and have a medium Carbine SL frame with Fox Talas 150/120 CTD front shock, which I run as a 150mm except when climbing. I have an Easton Haven 0 degree 100mm stem and Easton EC70XC 685mm bar, which comes out at about 725 mm with ergo grips. I crashed a while ago and scraped a chunk out the Easton bar (right across the logo).

    As I become more experienced, I am taking more aggressive technical lines, and the nicked carbon bar makes me worry about its safety. So I am changing to a 3T Exsero Team bar (red stripe) which is 700 mm wide. The color scheme matches the Carbine SL really well.

    I find my current bar-stem combination kind of slow in tight quarters, and often run off line. I am thinking of changing to a shorter 80mm 3T Arx Team stem in -6 degree position. I bought the bar already, but haven't bought the stem, because I haven't made up my mind how long it should be - alternatively I could also go for a 90 mm. With the stem at -6 degrees, I think this should give me about the same reach, but should hang my butt over the rear wheel as before. Definitely it will lower my center of gravity a bit.

    Anybody with a Carbine SL have any experience making changes like this? Better to ask here first, because everyone knows the frame.

  35. #35
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    I can't remember if I've said or not??? but I've gone from 70mm -6 deg to 90mm -6 deg and it feels noticeably roomier. Much better in slow speed corners where I felt almost on top of the bars. I might flip the stem next ride too. I'm 176cm, short legs, long body.

    Another vid:

    Last edited by Thelma Viaduct; 03-08-2014 at 06:15 PM.

  36. #36
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    Some more vids, anti-shake switched off on my Sony Action Cam.
    It seems to make a big difference to the footage, not for the better imo.





    Bike has been sweet, going to try the 90mm stem flipped to +6 deg as I've had a bit of lower back ache when riding. If that fails, I'll try the 70mm stem again.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thelma Viaduct View Post
    Bike has been sweet, going to try the 90mm stem flipped to +6 deg as I've had a bit of lower back ache when riding. If that fails, I'll try the 70mm stem again.
    Try riser bars.

  38. #38
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    Settled on a zero rise 80mm Thomson Stem, seems to be the sweet spot.
    Also put Arch EX rims instead of Crest on my AC Hubs, as I was getting too many buckles with the crests.

    Latest Vid:



    Kind of wishing I'd put the money in to a Ripley now, although the bike is still sweet.

    TV

  39. #39
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    Hey Thelma,

    I too have a 80mm stem with a zero-offset saddle. It places me perfectly on the bike.

    I'm glad to hear you are enjoying your SL.

  40. #40
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    still enjoying your SL? How does it climb, efficient, minimal bobbing, CTD or lockout use?

  41. #41
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    I'm still enjoying my SL. I recently rode the San Juan trail (all singletrack, 27 miles with 4300 vertical feet of climbing). The bike does everything well. For the rear shock (Fox CTD, trail mode), it does not bob. It feels smooth on the descents and efficient on the climbs. I use the same mode for both climbing and descending (no lever switching).

  42. #42
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    I've not been on it for a few months, it's had a recent bearing replacement, don't use jet washers. Bought some easton carbon wheels I'll use in the spring. Should really get my pikes serviced too, going to reduce the travel in them to 140mm.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by koertle View Post
    I'm still enjoying my SL. I recently rode the San Juan trail (all singletrack, 27 miles with 4300 vertical feet of climbing). The bike does everything well. For the rear shock (Fox CTD, trail mode), it does not bob. It feels smooth on the descents and efficient on the climbs. I use the same mode for both climbing and descending (no lever switching).
    The SJT is actually Intense riding grounds.
    Progress: Just because we have always done it that way is no reason to keep doing it that way.

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