29ers go DH: Intense and WTB

by Ben Haworth 34

Intense Cycles boss Jeff Stieber did it because he could. Jeff says…

“Something I have wanted to do for some time & topic of many debates.
With a little help from Manitou / Sun & WTB we have the “2951”
This first proto is in the medium range 23.5 effective tt.
G3 dropout & Head tube
14″ bb in middle, w 64.5 ha @ 0
CS 18.25″
WB 48″
Where do you start with this, so I went with tried & true and we have a bit of adjustability to play with.
Travel is at 7.5 or 8″ with adjustable link.
fork is reduced to 7″
So everyone who has thrown a leg over it is blown away in one aspect or another.
This is just a test project at this point & hope to get some team riders on real tracks in near future. Tires are the biggest issue at this point but if it pans out I am sure Intense Tires will step up for some racing rubber choices.
The 951 frame works well for this as there is alot of room for seatube tire clearance.”




Picture 1

The new WTB Kodiak is exclusive to Niner Bikes. “This tire is the result of our desire to offer the longest travel, burliest production 29er mountain bike, and WTBʼs help with the project has been invaluable.” Niner co-founder Chris Sugai, “WTB knows that there are a ton of riders out there that want a 29er with freeride and downhill capability and their willingness to step up and be the first to make a wire bead, dual-ply 29er tire shows that their passion for the big revolution is genuine”.

WTB Kodiak Tyre Details:
Made with WTB’s High Grip DNA™ rubber compound. The WTB Inner Peace™ sidewall reinforcement for flat protection, sidewall stiffness and keeping tyre damage to a minimum. Wire bead means less bead stretch and better rim retention. 29×2.5″, 1400 grams, 50 Durometer, 27 TPI.

Comments (34)

  1. Looks nice and long and very stable. I like it!

  2. Me too. There’s no arch between the fork sliders though, how does that work, or are they somthing very different I can’t make out on the picures?

  3. This is the first 29er I have seen that looks good. (IHMO)

  4. It does look good, but I’d be a bit concerned about an arse / tyre interface when hanging back off the saddle at full compression.

  5. tthew – They are upside down forks, they never have arches.

  6. Got be good on more swoopy, faster DH courses, rather than the twistier ones.

    And does look rather nice with the flat bars.

  7. I’ve just soiled my pants. I want to play on this.

  8. Yeah, why not? I guess the sort of folk looking for this sort of bike will undoubtedly love it. The rest of us look and go “looks nice/ungainly/stable/stupid/”insert random comment based on nothing more than a picture on a website here”

  9. There is a guy on MTBR who runs his Socom 29er with some custom dropouts and a modified fork. Hes reckons it works pretty well, the only issue being wheel strength on rocky/jumpy courses and current limited tire choice.

  10. “Looks nice and long and very stable. I like it!”

    Looks are deceiving. Same wheelbase as my Socom. Which is admittedly a large, but still. Anyhow, all DH race bikes look long and stable!

  11. I hate DH bikes normally…this looks horny!..I am worried about myself!

  12. @ Militant_biker

    Oh yeah, I can see the sliders behind those shields now I look a bit closer. Ta.

  13. Hideous, looks daft, out of proportion, 26″ is the optimum size, the forks are rubbish aswell feel like they have grit in them. I don’t get the 29er thing at all, I can see it working for someone who is 6’3″ and above because it then make the bike in proportion with them, but when someone of 5’5″ gets on one they look like a clown!

  14. i want to try one in comparison with a 26″ 951 on a few dh courses and then decide

    intense im willing to do that test for you if you are listening??

  15. ignoring how it rides, thats really pretty.

    big wheels suit it 🙂

  16. Looks great, I do like the look of 29ers and have owned a fair few in my time. I guess however that the fact I don’t own one now speaks for itself.

    On most UK DH tracks this will be too much of a handfull in the tight twisty bits that we all love so much. They are just harder to throw into the corners due to the extra rotational force and increased geo-effect due to there weight. They also have a poor effect on the suspension due to the increase undamped weight, and are also slower to acelerate.
    That all said the big wheels really help maintain momentum so they should be faster on the swooping singletrack and open sections, it depends on whether or not they are fast enough to make up the time they will lose on techincal stuff.

    I’d like to try one out.

  17. work of the devil this 29er lark will never catch on

  18. anyone know who makes those handlebars?

  19. Looks like the bars are by FSA Gravity.

  20. This is perhaps the worst thing to ever happen to cycling. It’s a ridiculous idea and makes me wretch.

    Why would DH benefit from big wheels, the main disadvantage of which is technical stuff? It’s a sciencefact that 29ers are utter bobbins as soon as a trail twists or gets even a tiny bit rough.

    If someone can show me a wide, open DH where this bike would benefit other than Sea Otter and the Les Gets 4X I’ll eat a deep fried 29er tyre. Balls to it, a PAIR of them.

  21. “I don’t get the 29er thing at all”

    Have you ever ridden one? I thought it was just another marketing ploy for a few years. Now I have 2 with a third, possibly, on the way. Great for SS, trail riding, XC racing and now, it would seem, DH…


  22. ‘They are just harder to throw into the corners due to the extra rotational force….’
    Grow bigger muscles then.

    It’s brilliant. Somebody will start winning DH a lot on this bike or another like it. Then all the ‘ Its impossible to get round a tight corner y’know, blah, blah, blah’ virtual riders will have to find something else to nurture an irrational dislike of.

  23. Prime example of the Emperors new clothes….. It’s fugly, unnecessary…. and a complete waste of my time!!!!!

  24. hmmm…I hear comments about 29″ wheels being flexier; so if that’s true (I’m 5’6″, 29 doesn’t work comfortably for me, so I don’t ride it, no 1st hand knowledge in that sense) won’t that be even worse with the abuse you’d get from DHing?

    I know it’s a lot to do with the build of the wheel but just seems it would be something which needed more maintenance.

  25. Obvious progression.
    Big wheels roll faster down gradients.
    Ergo this could potentially be THE bike to blast down all but the most technical trails in 2010.
    Give it 12-18 months and they’ll all be building them and the sponsored riders will be winning on them.
    Other manufacturers won’t hang about, if they haven’t already got some new kit on the CAD as we discuss.
    We witnessed all that negative tripe about 29ers from the No-sayers, BM is famed for it, even going back 12-18 months & how wrong they’ve been; just how much egg can people wear on their faces before the reality of the situation and obvious evolution of the sport hits home?

  26. “Grow bigger muscles then.”
    Yes because that solves the gyroscopic effect of a large disc. What reduces it though is a light wheel and tyre things not generally assoicated with DH bikes.

    I’m sure that in a few years the 29″ wheeled DH bike will be relatively common. Until then I hold onto my money cos teh resale value of that bike is gonna be low.

  27. Hmmm – tyres exclusive to Niner Bikes… tear one on your first outing and you can’t get a replacement then.

  28. the question is why stop at 29 if its that much better than 26 why not 31?
    or how about we move out of the dark ages and go metric??

    Ill wait for Dirt to do a side by side comparison of the 26er v 29er 951

    these bikes will sell if palmer rides one

  29. And flat bars are finally back.

  30. 29ers are not evolution, and, contrary to what STW thinks, not common. They’re a very small minority, and the average biker in the street, not the niche-core gaylords on here, isn’t interested. These bikes won’t sell and will be a blundering disaster on the trail.

    If I want a bike to blast down techie trails I want one I can manouvre, not one that turns once it’s had a think about it. There’s no egg on anyone’s faces. perhaps 1 in 1000 bikes sold in the UK are 29er. That’s not success, that’s nicecore hoo-haa for people who always need one more bike, and the marketing department has seen the chance to flog you one.

  31. Given the number of road bikes and hybrid bikes, I’d warrant that the 29er wheel size has a better market share than 1 in 1000.

    s_o was evidently bullied by a 29er owner in the past. If you don’t want to try a modern 29er, you don’t have to. Don’t go hating them in some irrational way just because you don’t ‘get’ them. I’d not have suspension on my bike if I thought it would be like it used to be.

  32. Doesn’t look as bad as many 29ers. Weird though as there was a time when 24″ wheels were tried a lot in DH. I guess it would be used for certain courses, if at all.

Comments are closed.