Intense Releases 2022 Tracer 279

Intense has never done things the right way or followed the status quo. Marching to the beat of their own drum, Intense invited me to ride Chris Kovarik’s personal Tracer 279 for a first lap, long before it was ready to launch. Based on First Ride’s impressions, the Tracer 279 was up to the tasks of pedaling the walls of Whistler and also rallying the bike park.

Since July, the geometry and kinematics have changed slightly for the official launch, but the Tracer 279 retains its 170mm of travel via JS Tuned suspension and rolls only on mixed wheels. Intense also tweaked the carbon layer throughout the extensive prototyping process. This bike took a while to arrive. If you’re a fan of mixed wheels, the Tracer leaves little to be desired; in-frame storage, water bottle mounts, low-mounted coil shock—the list goes on.

Plotter 279 Details

• Intended use: Enduro
• Wheel size: 29″ front / 27.5″ rear
• Travel: 170 mm front and rear
• CHAD downtube storage compartment
• Full carbon frame and top link with Ti hardware
• Flip-chip adjustment in lower arm
• Hidden quick release axle lever
• Head angle: 64 – 64.5º
• Seat tube angle: 77.4 – 77.9º
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Warranty: 5 years
• Price: $5,499 – $7,199 ($3,299 frame only)
• intensecycles.com


Frame details

Intense’s latest enduro creation is a big departure from the last Tracer in terms of looks, aside from the classic seat tube brace and clamp. The new carbon frame uses two counter-rotating linkages, where the bottom pivots around the bottom bracket to drive the trunnion-mounted shock through the split seat tube tunnel. Titanium hardware is used throughout the bike with rubber end caps adding to the attention to detail, and even the top link is carbon fiber.

Under the shock and inside the downtube, Intense has created its own storage solution, adding to the number of manufacturers incorporating an on-board tool cabinet. They dubbed the compartment the CHAD In-frame Storage System in memory of their friend Chad Peterson.

Protecting this area is a large rubber downtube pad that extends almost to the head tube, similar to the material found on the chainstay to keep noise levels to a minimum. Mainstays like the fully guided bottom bracket, Boost hub spacing, ISCG tabs and a threaded bottom bracket eliminate the hassle of maintenance or mechanical work. There’s also a sleek fender to keep debris out of the lower linkage and a hidden lever in the rear axle for tool-less wheel removal.


Geometry and sizing

On the geometry front, there are no numbers jumping off the page on the Tracer 279. At the time of the first lap, Intense was reluctant to reveal the exact “prototype” numbers, even though the carbon molds were unlikely to change shape. The graphics don’t stray too far from my original guesses, but the chainstays have been reduced to 437mm from the 445 I originally measured.

All four sizes from S to XL use the same seat tube angle and chainstay length, which has no adjustability. These sizes place the span numbers at 420, 450, 475 and 500mm with moderately high stack measurements of 622, 631, 640, 649mm.

Angles like a 64 at the head tube and a 77.4-degree seat tube in the flip-chip low position are pretty standard these days and suit the nature of the Intense’s enduro bike well. Placing the chip in the high setting will tilt those angles upwards by 0.5 degrees and gain 5mm of range.


Price and availability

Intense has kept the options simple with two build kits, a moderate option and a high-end option, which will be ready to roll out in mid-May. There is also a frame-only option for $3,299 with an Ohlins TTX22M coil shock and a set, frame, or complete bike, available in two color choices.

Starting at $5,499, the Expert version gets a SRAM NX drivetrain and Code R brakes, Fox Performance suspension, Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR II tire combo, e*thirteen LG1 wheels and Base bar/stem controls 35, as well as an Intense-branded dropper post. At $7,199, you’ll upgrade to the Tracer S with an Ohlins RXF 38 air suspension fork and TTX22M coil shock, Magura MT7 brakes, a mix of midrange SRAM components, and e*thirteen’s Race SL hubs. , noting that Intense is adding Maxxis tires with premium construction DH casings.




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