The new 27.5+ specific Intense ACV is a huge hit with the world's cycling press. Check out the latest reviews here

The new Intense ACV, the Californian brand's first 27.5-plus bike, launched to the public yesterday, but members of the cycling press have been throwing the bike around trails for the last couple of months.

Intense gave Saddleback the honour of launching the bike early to UK tech editors, who gathered in the Forest of Dean at the end of May to try out this top secret new bike. Feedback on the day was great and writers from top online and print publications have had plenty of time to get to grips with the ACV's unique character.

The results are now in and like the Spider 275C's incredible reviews before it, the ACV is certainly a hit. Here's what the press is saying about the new bike. We'll be updating as more opinions go live.

The ACV is available for pre-order now and will ship from Saddleback from mid-August. To find your local stockist, use our Intense dealer locator.

Enduro Mountainbike Magazine

"The general ride out on flat trails matched the sleek look, with way more rolling speed achieved by the fat tyres than expected; we would say just slightly slower on flat ground than that of a decent short-travel 29er, but way quicker than standard 27.5."

"As you all know, Rockshox Pikes and Rockshox Monarch come equipped with climb switches, but we found these to be virtually unnecessary, as the ease of climbing with the bigger tyres was phenomenal."

"Also as climbing moved towards the technical end of the scale where rocks or roots came into play, this was where the bigger tyres came into their own, as the 18 psi pressure aided the rubber to wrap around obstacles, rather than slip across the top."

"This bike was most surprising on the downhills. We wouldn't say it was the fastest bike out there when pointed downwards, but definitely one of the most fun… This thing doesn't just pop off jumps it leaps like a bike possessed with the soul of an antelope on speed!"

"The fun/grin factor of this bike really is 10/10 as you fly down most terrains popping off every single mound and gripping to any un-bermed turns with the precision of an ice skater. Hit medium sized rock sections or big areas of roots and the large tyres just flatten them out, as if they don't exist, only the usual rattle of the chain against the hard protectors giving any sign of the bike complaining. This bike turns and pops so well in the right conditions."

"Intense really do seem to have made some excellent revisions to the earlier generation carbon frames in looks, detail and rear stiffness. This is one hell of a great looking bike and one of the most fun bikes we have ever ridden. Looking closely at the design and shape of the tubing plus the quality of the paint's finish it is evident that Intense are well and truly back in the game with this model and we imagine they will take the plus size market by storm when this bike hits the shops."

Read Jim Buchanan's full Intense ACV review on Enduro Mountainbike Magazine.


"From the sprightly eagerness of the first pedal stroke, to the relative ease with which the ACV likes to be popped and placed with reckless abandon just about anywhere on the trail, you'd be hard pressed not to enjoy this bike from the get-go.

"Get settled on the right tyre pressures (I ran 16psi up front, 18psi in the rear) and rattle into rough, rooty, rock strewn trails and you'll be surprised with what you can get away when it comes to line choice. The big tyres do a great job of smoothing out nadgery, speed-sapping bumps and chunder, offering impressive traction, especially on looser, dry trails or on really technical climbs."

"Push it hard and, providing you can keep air in the tyres, you're rewarded with a lively, playful ride that feels confident and flickable in a wide range of terrains."

Read Rob Weaver's full ACV first ride review on BikeRadar.


"This is the first 'plus' bike that Intense have developed and there has been some real attention to detail from the dedicated rear stays to the twin sided seat stay for extra strength to compensate for the increased force applied by the extra grip that is produced from the bigger volume rubber."

"First off there is an incredible amount of hold and grip from the big volume Maxxis Ikon tyres, and if you look at the lack of tread it's amazing that's there is any grip at all."

"One of the points that were looked upon in the presentation for the A.C.V. is its ability to seamlessly change terrain while riding and this was totally apparent when descending on rocky and rooty sections of the tracks. We have always found the plus size tyre to be confidence inspiring the shape of the bike helped too."

"All in all this is a great fun fast bike that's name tells you all you need to know, Air Cushion Vehicle. If you are a beginner or a pro you could find applications that this bike will shine in."

Read Ieuan Williams' Intense ACV first ride on Dirt.

Singletrack Magazine

"I rode it uphill, downhill, on rocky bits & muddy bits. I carried it up steep, narrow trails in the Lake District, and I rode it back down the other side. I rode it round trail centres, on natural trails and on steep, off camber, loamy, rooty trails. And it was ace. Properly ace."

"Uphill, it was grin-inducingly brilliant. With tire pressure around 16-18psi, it monster trucked over pretty much anything I could find and I found myself hunting out impossible looking rock steps and awkward lines, just to see what was possible. Only very rarely would the rear tire spin out, and by this point the gradient was almost vertical and not even a 50T rear cog would have helped. There was also minimal pedal bob coming from the suspension, which meant I hardly had to touch the lockout on the shock (and I felt no need to try to switch to the shorter travel mode)."

"When the trail leveled off, the ACV picked up speed with ease – the 2.8in IKONs iron out a lot of the smaller trail buzz and flatten those mid sized rocks that try to knock you off course or slow you down. The suspension doesn't wallow either, so in spite of the fatter tyres, the bike is playful and doesn't feel even the slightest bit sluggish."

Read James Vincent's full Intense ACV review on Singletrack World.

Mountain Flyer Magazine

"The ACV is for playing on your local technical nemesis and cleaning sections you've never cleaned. It's for big rides in big country. It's for pushing your limits and opening your eyes."

"The ACV (for Air Cushioned Vehicle) can best be described as an aggressive adventure bike. And, honestly, for all the predictability and banality the greater bike industry could be accused of, I never saw this segment coming."

"We tested the new Intense Spider 275 in April of this year and absolutely loved it. (Read the full review here.) It's the best comparison we have, and the ACV features much of what makes the Spider 275 so good: great geometry, perfectly tuned suspension, the right spec … it's all there."

"Climbing steep and loose terrain on a plus bike is all it's cracked up to be, and descending loose, technical, and steep terrain is just plain fun."

"I was definitely caught off guard by the idea of an aggressive plus bike, but I'm starting to see the point: more confidence in rough terrain equals more fun. Depending on your style and type of riding, the ACV could open new doors for you. Big backcountry alpine rides, desert terrain, and slower technical riding is where they do best. For that sort of riding, Intense nailed the geometry and suspension tuning on the ACV. It climbs steep singletrack better than any other bike I've ridden, and when you point it down, the 66.25 degree headtube angle and tight wheelbase keep it playful. The spec is spot on — that 150 mm Pike will save your butt when you get into trouble and with plus tires 130 mm in the rear is plenty.

"Make no mistake, the crew at Intense knew what they wanted and what they wanted it for when they designed the ACV. If your ride is incomplete without sticking that gnarly rock move or railing the slippery root segment, the Intense ACV will get you there and back with no dabs. It's surprisingly aggressive, pleasantly agile, and will shake up what you thought you might know about plus bikes."

Read Brian Riepe's full review of the Intense ACV on Mountain Flyer Magazine.