The winter riding season has brought quite a few surprises regarding products, not least when Intense made the Spider 275C all mountain trail bike available to us for some tests. We have spent the last few weeks intensively (no pun intended) riding it at Punta Ala.
SPIDER 275C Pro Build
|FRAME||Spider 275 Carbon SL Front and Rear Triangle 275” Mountain Frameset, i-BOX Pivot System, Downtube Flak Guard Armor, Internal Derailleur, Brake & Dropper Post Routing, ISCG 05 Mount, 115 -130 mm travel|
|FORK||FOX Performance Elite 34 FLOAT, 130mm, 3 Pos Lever w/ Open Mode Adj, 27.5″|
|SHOCK||FOX Performance Elite FLOAT, 3 Pos Lever w/ Open Mode Adj, SV EVOL|
|SADDLE||Fabric Scoop Radius Elite|
|SEATPOST||Kindshock LEV Integra, 31.6mm x 385 mm, zero offset, 125 mm of travel|
|HANDLEBAR||Renthal Fatbar 20mm x 760 mm|
|STEM||Thomson Elite X4: 50mm|
|HEADSET||Cane Creek, 40, alloy cartridge, 25 mm of spacers|
|BRAKESET||SRAM GUIDE RS, 180 mm front and 160 mm rear|
|GRIPS||Intense Dual Density Lock-On|
|SHIFTERS||SRAM X1, 11 speed|
|REAR DERAILLEUR||SRAM X01, 11 speed|
|CRANK||RACE FACE NEXT, 32T|
|CASSETTE||SRAM XG-1175 10-42, 11 speed|
|CHAIN||SRAM X1, 11 speed|
|CHAIN GUIDE||AU ONLY, E13 XCX|
|WHEELS||DT Swss M1700|
|HUBS||28 Hole DT Swiss 340 ; 100 x15mm Front Hub; 148×12 BOOST Rear Hub w/ XD Driver, centerlock|
|RIMS||DT Swiss M 1700 Spline Two 27.5″, Tubeless Ready|
|SPOKES||DT Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0|
|TIRES||SCHWALBE NOBBY NIC SNAKESKIN, TL-EASY, PSC FOLDING 27.5 x 2.35″ front, 27.5 x 2.25″ rear.|
Weight: 12.2 Kilos
The rear end is sleek and well designed with a SRAM XO drivetrain mounted.
The Race Face Next crankset is super light weight.
The main shock linkage pivot and seat post area are very nicely integrated.
The Spider features high quality spec like the legendary Renthal Fatbar.
A very solid front end.
The rear of the bike is very compact; it manages to sneak in really short 419mm chainstays.
Looking at the Pro Build specs, our version we have been testing comes close in matching it, but there are a few minor changes as we have different tyres, but overall the main components are all the same : wheels, fork, shock, handlebar, drive train etc.
This is a high end bike that is focused on efficiency, and trail riding, we also managed to try the bike with different wheel sets which was an interesting side test.
The numbers put the Intense as a fast reacting, easy climbing trail machine that can be pushed pretty hard.
On The Trail
We rode a significant amount of trail over the last weeks spending time on the Spider in a variety of conditions. The frame is compact, efficient and light. It’s very maneuverable in corners and goes exactly where you want it to go.
The rear end’s short chain stays feels very precise and when you push the bike into corners. The 67 degree head angle is just right for an all mountain bike, but it does feel that the bike can handle some fairly aggressive riding. When things get really steep, the limitations of the head angle compared to an Enduro bike will only make themselves known if you are really pushing limits.
The reach on our large size frame is pretty much perfect, it keeps the rider in an open position on the bike for pedaling uphill and is long enough to provide solid stability in the downhill sections.
Pedaling uphill is very efficient especially with Fox’s Float shock locked out. The uphill, technical rock sections and difficult to navigate steep sections, are all essentially a breeze. The traction that you can maintain is really excellent. The bike flies uphill while the SRAM gearing work.
We switched the suspension to the short travel mode a few times and at that point it was almost like a full on XC bike in terms of maintaining traction while climbing. We could have done with a bar remote for the suspension control if we were being really picky, but honestly the shock is easy to reach and maintains the sleek look at the control end of the bike.
The 130 mm of travel is certainly good enough for most riders uses and to be honest if it gets very rocky and very fast in then the top speed may be limited compared to an all out Enduro race bike, however 90% of riders will find this bike the “do anything” bike in most trail conditions. The bottom bracket height is just right for keeping the center of gravity in the right position. We felt that despite the light weight crank set there was adequate reinforcement low down to provide lots of confidence. We also noted there was no creaking from the press fit bottom bracket, despite the fact we prefer threaded bottom brackets from a maintenance point of view.
The VPP suspension is smooth, compact and low profile with the recessed lower link. It feels like the Intense has perfected their high performance suspension curve. The bike through the whole travel range gives a smooth feeling which is typical of a VPP design yet the Intense maintains a snappy feeling in corners. It does not have that squishy feeling in corners that is known of the VPP system in longer travel options of yesteryear, but keeps the advantages of VPP in rocky downhill sections, because the bike feels like it has more suspension travel than it actually does. VPP insulates the rider from the rough chatter on the trail somewhat.
Cornering is very smooth and precise; the fork and suspension maintains its poise and is easy to find the sweet spot for the body position even when caught off-guard by an unexpected corner. The bicycle is very well planted in corners, yet at the same time its composure is such that even mid corner you can change what the bike is doing, due to the light weight. This feeling is largely credited to the super stiff frame.
The price of the Spider 275C is well reflected in the component choices. Everything is about light weight and snappy responsiveness. Intense have not skimped on anything, the drive train was flawless and responsive. The brakes were on point, even with 160mm discs; the cockpit layout and component choices reflected a bike that can really keep the rider happy ergonomically and also looks pretty darn cool.
Renthal cockpits always stand out; the 760mm of wide bar has a reassuring feel to it, the LEV seat post control is positive and easy to get at. We like the Thomson stem as well, another piece of quality hardware that looks and feel right. The Fabric saddle is an interesting choice that we had not tried before but we liked it. It was comfortable and easy to move around on.
This bike scores high marks as an every day bike. It does everything one could want from a trail bike, it nips up hills with no fuss, descends smoothly and can be taken on a few more extreme excursions if you want.
The price is fairly high for all of this performance, but what you do get is a bike that fundamentally can be purchased and hung on the wall for a few years then taken down, ridden hard while keeping up with the latest bike offerings of the future.
Intense have done an excellent job with the Spider 275C. Quality and composure on the trail with just the right amount of compromise on what’s needed. You wont need to upgrade anything until you wear it out or break something, both situations that are highly unlikely with the quality component build on offer. Visually it’s a well finished bike that will sit there at the top of our wish list of the future.
Test Center @ Punta Ala Trail Center