Already touted as a Bike of the Year contender, the new 29-inch Intense Primer has received rave reviews from the world's MTB press

Saddleback launched the Primer to the UK press in the lush Forest of Dean at the end of May, while the US press had their own launch amongst the red earth of Sedona, Arizona. This means that bike journalists around the world have had time to log plenty of rides on the US-brand's new flagship 29er.

The result is just what Intense designer Jeff Steber hoped for when creating the bike – a mid-travel trail masterpiece that pairs big-wheel speed with the maneuverability of a smaller-wheeled bike. In short, it'll take on virtually any terrain you can imagine.

Here's a round-up of what the press is saying about the Primer – and why you need one in your life.

Enduro MTB

"Even from the get-go of swinging a leg over and riding off on this bike, it is probably the most agile 29er we have ever ridden! As soon as one pedal stroke is put down the acceleration on this lightweight bike is so noticeable it had our tester wondering exactly whether it was sugar or something stronger he had put on his cereal that morning!"

"Turn this bike up the steepest of ascents and it just eats them up like a fat guy in a pie eating competition! When climbing with other riders upon their heavier more 'duro' 160 mm machines, the climbing capability of this bike is noticed by everybody, not just the rider! Sometimes it can be said that certain 29ers can feel a bit like a tall gate to get up and over the rougher stuff whilst climbing, but with this bike seeming to sit lower by some kind of black magic it's climbing stance and comfort really does offer up bags of comfort to tackle the toughest of climbs."

"Reach down and unlock the suspension, assume the aggressive position of a downhill demon and you are immediately rewarded by a feeling of blissful speed, most befitting of a smaller-wheeled and longer travel bike. We could honestly say that if a rider hadn't noticed the Primer was a 29er, they would never dream they were on big wheels once riding this bike; this thing really is a rocket ship. We tended to find ourselves wanting to push the boundaries of this bike way past it's 'trail bike' domain till it was kicking and bucking as the front and rear were pinged from left to right, totally on the verge of being out of control. Just as we seemed to be about to get kicked off the Primer 29, the larger wheels and plush feel of the Fox suspension would reel the bike back into its correct forward pointing position, with our test rider attacking more and more, clipped in and not giving a rat's ass about how out of control things nearly got!"

"This thing is lightning-fast, super-light, very nimble, launches like a jump bike and has looks to die for!"

"In our tester's opinion, this bike has 'bike of the year' written all over it when it comes to feel and performance…"

Read the full Intense Primer Factory review on Enduro MTB.


"It would be easy to categorize the Primer as a gentleman's trail bike, targeted at the accomplished rider who has a taste for finer things, and it could fulfil that role quite well. We would soon discover, however, that there is a beast lurking beneath the Primer's mild-mannered profile. The Primer 29 may in fact, be the best performing trail bike that Intense has ever made."

"I had planned a short ride, but I was so impressed by how effortlessly the bike worked its way up and down the stepped, uneven red rock trails that I didn't return until the last rays of light were peeking from behind the cliffs. I was climbing better than I had been able to all week, and was breezing technical sections which previously, I had to piece together and remain focused to master. Was the Primer that good? I withheld judgment until I could get the bike home and onto more familiar trails."

"Back home, the Primer 29 put in an equally impressive performance. Its steering was responsive with only a hint the lag that big-wheel bikes typically exhibit when its rider needs to change directions repeatedly. And, its pedaling had a brighter, more efficient feel than any Intense I can remember riding. I had to remind myself occasionally that I was riding a 29er."

"The magic of the Primer's uncanny performance cannot be traced to any single aspect of its construction, geometry or component selection. Instead it is all of those things that make it work - which has me wondering if this bike was a successful design exercise, or a bit of an accident that worked out brilliantly in the end. Either way, it kicks ass. I had to pry the Primer 29 from my fellow test rider's hands to get it back. It's been a while since I've enjoyed riding a trailbike this much and longer still since I'd fallen for a 29er."

Read the full Intense Primer review on Pinkbike.


"Okay, let's get this out of the way now; this is a fantastic bike, as you'd hope. Firstly, although in photos the paint-job can be divisive, it's very pretty in the flesh. And if you really don't like it there are other colours available. But when you pick it up, you can feel where your money's gone – this is a pretty light bike. It's a whisker over 26lbs."

"Pointed up, the suspension does actually seem to do what it says on the tin; there's a good amount of support in the midstroke, and even running at 30% sag (Intense's suggested level) I found that pedalling was so effective that I barely bothered with the lockout switch on the shock at all; the bike was ridden fully open most of the time to no detriment. Descending was a similarly entertaining experience; the bike felt beautifully poised in every situation I threw it down, and responded immediately to any shift in weight."

"Cornering was direct and entertaining, and it's surprising how confidence inspiring it felt when things became properly technical."

"A beautifully poised, beautiful, elegant, fast as hell trail bike, which would be as just as happy on an XC course, or an Enduro one. And yes, it costs eight thousand pounds, so you'd expect it to be good. And fortunately, it is. Very. I'm off to raid the piggybank."

Read the full Intense Primer review on Singletrack.


"Getting the Primer up to speed is a rapid, almost effortless affair. Power delivery is effective and efficient. Get cranking and things feel taut and stiff, and even when pedalling hard out of the saddle there's little movement through the rear suspension, even with the shock fully open. Those light wheels and tyres certainly help here, too."

"Hit a series of successive turns and you'll be surprised at just how hard you can load the Primer down through the pedals, really pumping it through the corner. The punchy, supportive nature of the rear suspension coupled with the Primer's ludicrously low weight means you can pump, pop and launch this bike just about anywhere you want it to go, and it's progressive enough to take a serious thump out back without feeling harsh when you do exhaust all 130mm of travel."

"Point the Primer back up the hill and it'll tackle just about anything your lung capacity will let you try. I found the medium frame well-portioned with a decent amount of room when seated, which let me feel really comfortable on long drags, and thanks in part to that steep seat tube angle it felt more than capable when scrabbling up particularly awkward, technical climbs."

"The story was the same out of the saddle too, where I felt well-positioned and neutral on the bike. This meant things felt confident and balanced when tackling steeper trails, further highlighting just how capable this bike is."

"Overall it seems Intense has delivered another impressive bike into what is becoming one of the most exciting segments of the trail bike market."

Read the full Intense Primer review on BikeRadar.


"There was a real composure and balance to the ride of this bike from the get go, the proof in the pudding was taking it to a local super competitive 'mates enduro race' where the Primer and I came out on the top step."

"Do not be fooled by the lack of suspension travel that the Intense Primer offers, it really does punch well above its weight where you can lock the shocks out to almost rigid to climb to the very top of to the hill and not just descend down a gentle hard packed trail. The Primer that has been in our possession for over two months now has tackled 40+ foot gaps and all of the local downhill tracks and still looks and feels like new."

Read the full Intense Primer review on Dirt.


"This is one of the best performing Intense bikes we've ridden. Suspension is supple on the initial stroke making the ride a delight on the tech climbs of Sedona and on the rocky descents of Demo Forest in Santa Cruz."

"Bottom line, this is a stunning bike that delivers the riding prowess most folks are looking for today. It can take the adventurous rider on many epic rides and handle rowdy descents. And at under 26 pounds with the spectacular DT Swiss XMC 1200 wheels, this is one fast and agile steed."

Read the full Intense Primer Review on MTBR.

Dealer information:

If you are interested in becoming an Intense dealer, please get in touch with your local area sales representative:

South West and Ireland – Oli Hunter – 07917 462225 –

South East – Justin Hoy – 07917 462224 –

The North – Michael Fish – 07917 462223 –