The Intense Spider 275C is an aggressive, lightweight trail bike that can do it all, says the world's MTB press
When the Intense Spider 275C was launched at the end of March, the US brand was so convinced of the new bike's merits that not only had the world's cycling press been given the new machine in advance, but would publish full reviews on day one.
It was a ballsy move that spoke of the Californian company's utter confidence in the Spider, and one that bore out incredible results, with top websites extolling the virtues of this versatile new ride.
Here are some of the opinions that the bike has garnered in just a few short months, with links to the full reviews below.
"Climbing is generally the strong suit for a short-dual link bikes and that's definitely true here. There were plenty of days when I just didn't feel like bothering with even flipping the shock into its middle setting. Fireroad spins in wide open "descend" mode? You bet. The Spider is impressively efficient."
"Intense has created a bike that's light and efficient enough to be raced cross-country, but if that's all you did with this thing, you'd be sorely wasting its potential."
"A lot of bikes get called "nimble" or "flickable". The new Spider 275c, however, is the real deal. You know that line that's too tight for you to nail? That stops being a problem when you're on this bike. I know, that sounds like marketing bullshit, but I kept finding new lines that I'd never even seen before…and I was riding trails that I've barreled down dozens and dozens of times. Moreover, the Spider is the kind of bike that has you aiming for and popping off of every possible little booter on the trail."
"The Spider encourages—begs you, really—to get rowdy on the trail. As a result, there were times, frankly, when I also wound up hitting bigger things at much higher speeds than I should have, given the bike's 130 millimeters of rear suspension. The Spider 275C's suspension is so capable over technical terrain and geometry is so dialed that you might wind up pushing beyond the limits of its travel. On the upside, you'll have a very good time finding those limits."
"Light enough to be raced cross-country, yet capable enough to tackle seriously technical trails. Intense just popped out the proverbial unicorn. If you are looking for an all-mountain or enduro bike that will consistently save your bacon, you should opt for something with a bit more travel. As an all purprose trail bike, however, this thing is way more fun than it has a right to be."
"We were blown away by the top-level build. Highlights include a FOX 34 FLOAT FIT4 FACTORY fork, FOX FLOAT DPS in-line shock, DT Swiss XMC 1200 carbon-rimmed wheels, SRAM XX1 drivetrain, Race Face Next SL cranks, Shimano XTR brakes and a proper wide and short cockpit thanks to the Renthal goods up-front. All these parts are arguably at the top of their game when it comes to performance."
"The Spider 275C is an excellent climber, both in terms of pedaling efficiency and geometry. The cockpit is nice and roomy with an extra half-inch of top tube when compared to the same sized Tracer 275. The front end hasn't wandered on us when things got steep and the rear wheel holds traction well, even when in a very low gear."
"We initially expected a 130mm / 25lbs bike to quickly show its limitations on the descents. We were wrong. The Spider 275C feels like a much bigger bike when things get rowdy. Sure, the short stem and wide 780mm controls help in this department, but we have to give credit where credit is due. The geometry and kinematics of the Spider 275C are excellent. The bike stays composed when things get rough, allowing us to focus on the trail ahead and not worry about what the bike is doing underneath us. With the short rear end and overall light weight of the bike, we found it to have a very playful nature. Picking up the front-end to manual a section or change lines was made easy and we found ourselves doing just that as often as possible. The stiffness of the frame and wheels made cornering on the Spider 275C just as fun as charging a rock garden. And getting on the gas out of those corners was rewarded with extra speed due to its agility."
"Right away, I could feel how light and playful the Spider 275C is. Its geometry lets you push hard, and there's just enough suspension to keep things under control."
"If you choose good lines and ride with finesse, the Spider will get you through surprisingly rough and steep terrain with a grin on your face."
"Climbing performance is very good, with a firm, crisp feel at the pedals and no unwanted movement, even with the shock in the open mode."
"The Intense Spider 275C is another bike proving that suspension travel or even wheel size isn't everything—a well-executed trail bike will perform regardless of these variables, and this might just be the best trail bike Intense has ever made."
"The new Intense Spider 275C will be a quiver killer for many cyclists. The Spider 275C is light and nimble enough to take on an XC ride one day and can easily take on more burly Enduro-like terrain in the 130mm mode the next day."
"With all of the tweaks they've done to the Spider, we have been impressed with it. While in the 130mm mode, the Spider rode uphill with ease and it's clear why Brian Lopes spends so much time on this bike as it can cover a swath of terrain comfortably."
"These bikes are spec'd well from the factory and it is a bike that will roll right from the shop to the trail without modification for a vast majority of the market."
"The Spider 275C pedals well that it can be used easily on an XC ride and feels just as home on the descents."
"The all new Intense Spider is a bike that will have you smiling no matter if you're going up, or down the hill. It can hang on an XC ride with its efficient pedaling while still having the Intense pedigree to descend like a bike in the 150-160mm category."
"In sections of trail with tight, twisty turns and short, punchy ups and downs, the Spider 275C instantly felt right at home, nipping around the steep, tucked-in switchbacks of Laguna's terrain with surgical precision."
"The bike's sure-footed pedaling characteristics, coupled with its stiff carbon frame, made the Spider 275C a relentless climber on both in- and out-of-the-saddle efforts."
Flow Mountain Bike
"From the raw and steep hills of Laguna Beach, California, all the way back to our rocky and fast trails back at Flow HQ, we've spent many heavenly hours flogging this thing, it's been a legitimate dream ride."
"After a good couple months aboard the new trail bike from Intense, we'll happily say this new rig is about as good as it gets."
"The Spider is a lively little bugger, with the magical combination of super-short 419mm chain stays, a slack 67 degree head angle, roomy 445mm reach and a tiny 50mm stem we found ourselves throwing it around the trail with remarkable ease. Flicking around the tight turns with a spritely pop the Spider is a heap of fun to ride, we've enjoyed it so very much."
"When a bike is agile and manoeuvrable like this you can really take charge and put the wheels where you want to. It relishes in the tight stuff, where quick direction changes mean you can pick your way through tight spots or slot between a rock and a hard place, the Spider rapidly darts its way through and readies itself for the next move."
"The JS Tuned suspension has a sweet portion of rearward and vertical axle path travel, you can really feel the benefits of the design on square edge impacts, and when you slam the rear wheel into a rock, momentum is maintained and the speed stays high."
"Picking the front wheel up and holding it there over a rock or hole is a snack, the short stem and close rear wheel really promotes manualling through the rocks. And it pops a wheelie like we'd learnt them properly years ago!"
"If you like to ride hard, shred turns, jump over things on the trail and pump and manual along throwing up roost then this is your bag. It's hard to hide our love for riding this bike, and we can vouch that if you can manage the cost it'll give you the same feeling on the trail."
"Sometimes light bikes are bumped around and pushed off line by the terrain, but I didn't feel this when hitting rock sections and braking bumps. The Spider's inherent properties seem to set it up to absorb the trail's bump and grind, rather than feeding back unwanted sharp feelings to the rider."
"That said, when you crank the pedals there's still an urgency with how this bike moves forward. And in case you were thinking that a bike that takes the edge off the trail will corner like a blancmange, quite the opposite is true – there's plenty of snap and pop to reward and excite."
"When monster trucking through things, bottoming out is virtually imperceptible. It's hard to nail down whether this is the suspension, frame characteristics or a combination of the two, but whatever Jeff Steber and his team have done to the bike, it certainly works."
"All in all, initial impressions suggest there's a lot more to this bike than you might assume from its numbers alone. Swing a leg over it and you may find yourself hitting your usual trails with as much confidence and flair as you would on a bike with considerably more travel. We'd definitely recommend you take the Spider off piste and sample what its very capable chassis has to offer when things get wild."
"From putting in miles after work, to hooning on weekends, this little 115/130mm travel bike is built to tackle any situation."
"This is a bike that doesn't mind racking up air miles. In fact, it prefers to be ridden with one wheel off the ground. You may actually find you spend so much time manualing that your arms grow. While other brands have attempted to create four-cross inspired trail bikes, the Spider actually nails it."
"I was instantly impressed by the bike's agility. We were high above Laguna Beach whipping through densely shrubbed singletrack and in spite of not being able to see what was around the next corner, the Spider seemed to instinctively know where to go. Changes of direction at high speeds seemed effortless, manuals came easy, and it wasn't long before I had a huge grin on my face."
"If there's one thing I can impress upon anyone considering the Spider 275 Carbon, it's to not get hung up on the travel number. If you've been considering some of the latest enduro rigs, 130mm may seem like pretty short travel, but it feels way more capable than the number would imply. After all, it's not just the quantity of travel but the quality. When combined with the Spider's modern trail geometry, you'll find yourself pushing the limits and finding new lines on trails you've ridden for years."
"Pointed up or down, the Spider just wants to go. It's the type of bike that the more you put into it, the more it returns – only it seems to keep on giving after your skill has run out."
"I can't get the Spider out of my head. Ever since "trail bikes" have started to get longer, lower, and slacker I've thought that something along these lines would be my ideal bike. My time on the Spider 275 Carbon just confirms it. Call it the mid-western enduro bike, call it a trail bike, call it whatever you like. The Spider really does deliver on a near perfect balance of capability and pedal efficiency to be the go-to bike for a majority of riders."