Sea Otter: Intense Tracer 27.5 and a what?

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We recently brought you news of the new Intense Carbine 27.5in bike, but this was our first chance to see it in the flesh and to chat to Jeff Steber, Intense’s lord of innovation.

It’s pretty when close-up too


Internal dropper routing. All internal paths are sleeved


What do you reckon on the colours? Shall we call it ‘speed ninja’?


Side-on. The Intense Tracer 27.5


That Rod Stewart’s let himself go


The Intense show home


The AD160 – Doddsmobile

Now Intense is proud that all of its alloy bikes are still made in Temecula, California. One of the advantages of that is that prototypes can be quickly made to try out different ideas. Jeff Steber had never tried, let alone built, a ‘Forward Geometry’ bike – akin to Mondraker’s well-known design that runs a long top tube with a zero extension stem. Don’t bash it until you’ve tried it, OK?

Now it just so happens that MBUK journalist, Andrew Dodd, was after a new bike and wanted to see if anyone could make his dream machine. We’ve already seen how Nicolai had made a machine for Mojo’s Chris Porter  with a super-long wheelbase. Doddy was after that kind of thing, so he asked Jeff at Intense, who was happy to oblige. With the tubes taken off the shelf and a couple of bits poached from existing assembles, Steber was able to weld up the frame in a day, leave it to heat treat overnight and Doddy was riding it the next day. This is the kind of thing that Intense is keen for the world to see – that sort of ‘Hmm, let’s try this approach’ that you can do when you can prototype in-house.


Now THAT is a raw finish


Still with neat touches like the rubber dropper orifice


Andrew Dodd 160 and a Jeff squiggle


What wheel size? That wheel size.
Even prototypes get a head badge and decals


And here’s the final thing. It’s very roughly based on a 160mm Tracer, but it’s long. Very long. It’s got a 26.25in top tube.

And it also has a 48in wheelbase. Go and measure your own bike and compare.

Doddy seems delighted about it and you’ll doubtless be able to read all about it in an upcoming MBUK. But in the meantime, here’s a sneak at his new machine.


Doddy’s a tall bloke, but this is another size up entirely


A zero-reach stem finishes up a pretty committing new test machine.



Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (7)

    Here’s to in house production!

    Its a Tracer T275 , not a carbine , its the Carbines big brother 🙂

    Sorry Jeff, it was late 🙂 Fixed.

    I do like a good solid badge

    chipps , wish I was there , looks amazing, I bought one of the last tracer 2’s end of last year they are awesome best bike I’ve ridden. Selling kidneys on ebay to buy one of these t275’s

    It’ll never fit on the van!

    Just 48″ or 48″ and a bit. My FG Nicolai is longer than that and I’m only 5’11” but my TT is 10mm shorter. It must be a steeper HA… Mr Porters is mahoosive!
    Nice to see someone else having a go and AD has been a good supporter of FG, fair play.

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