Jeff Steber is handy with a welder so when you leave him in a room full of alloy tubes and TIG welding gear you can rest assured that he’ll whip out his welding mask, hit ‘play’ on the A-Team theme tune and get to work. Even today, when all production Intense frames are carbon, it’s Jeff Steber who welds up the alloy test mules, and this is his latest.
Yes, it is an e-bike, and yes it does seem to be going through some sort of development process as Steber’s own Instagram account shows at least 3 versions of this prototype Intense e-MTB.
If you visit the Intense founder’s Instagram account and view his e-bike teasers in chronological order you’ll first see that Mr. Steber is attempting to hide the drive system from view (but we’re pretty sure it’s a Shimano STEPS setup) and secondly that the first incarnation of the Intense e-MTB was posted on the 7th June and had its battery mounted below the downtube.
Obviously, this is great for keeping the center of gravity nice and low, but it isn’t great for rock strikes not to mention the aesthetics of the bike. Swipe right though and you’ll see that another proto was already in development and is shown with its battery located above the downtube. Since then we’ve been treated to more teasers.
Although each side shot of the Intense e-Bike prototype purposely crops the motor unit off the bike, we can clearly see the handlebar-mounted control unit in this short video, and it looks exactly like the unit that comes with Shimano’s STEPS E8000 system. Sorry Jeff, but we think the tell-tale yellow power meter gives the game away.
P3 suggests that this next bike is actually the 3rd prototype version that Intense has worked on, and it is now beginning to gain that Intense signature look and feature a more visually appealing, semi-concealed battery design. We’re guessing this is likely what final production bike will look like. Interestingly the above Instagram post includes the tag #noshuttlerequired, perhaps suggesting that this could be a big travel bike made for descending similar to the Specialized Levo Kenevo.
The video also gives us the best look at the rear suspension system so far and shows a VPP system with the lower link attaching to the frame just above the motor cage.
At the time of writing, the above post is the most recent Intense Ebike teaser and shows us version P4 of the e-Bike project. We’re not sure what has changed between this and P3 or if this is simply the P3 mule with that additional top tube to downtube bracing added (as seen in the welding video above), whatever the changes are they are obviously subtle as the overall design remains the same.
The post once again hides many of the giveaway details of the bike although we can clearly see that this prototype is running a Rockshox Deluxe rear shock and what appears to be a Lyrik up front meaning we’re looking at a minimum of 150mm travel.
What we wonder is if Intense does release an e-Bike will it be alloy or carbon? Our gut feeling would say that Intense will stick to their guns and build a carbon Ebike, but what would the price of such a machine be? With Intense cutting pricing since last year, are they able to produce a boutuique carbon e-bike that undercuts the competition?
And what will it be called? Intense bikes are usually named after spiders or guns. They’ve already had the Tazer, so it can’t be that. The ‘Stunner’ maybe doesn’t sound too great – a bit too much like bikini girls, or a nasty crash. The ‘Uloborous’ is a spider that catches its prey using electrically charged threads, but that might be a bit obscure.
We’ll turn the guessing over to you. Or maybe you have comments on Intense and their move into the Ebike world – we’d love to hear your thoughts below.