This month we’ve decided to do something a bit different by opting for two separate bikes from Intense. ALEX MANCINI tested the dope Intense M16 downhill rig.
Intense has long been known for its M-Series downhill bikes ever since they dominated the series back in the 90’s under the likes of Shaun Palmer, Chris Kovarik and Sam Hill. Intense have always pushed the boundaries with their bikes, such as sticking 27.5” hoops on their 951, which was unheard of a couple years ago. The new M16C is no different. With a ridiculous 240mm of travel this is the Monster truck of Downhill bikes.
IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
The overall finish, cable routing and pivot system of the M16C are some of the best on the market. The EPS-moulded frame is also one of the lightest too coming in at 5.22kgs, paired this with its excellent pedalling platform and you have one blazingly fast bike! Don’t go too wild on the pedals though, it has a seriously short top tube which means banging your knees on the stanchions if you try pedalling it anything like a trail bike. I would definitely recommend getting a size larger than what they recommend on the site.
The frame uses a Virtual Pivot Point which has a Super supple beginning stroke to ease you in, good mid stroke support with excellent race orientated characteristics to smooth out the trail with a progressive ending stroke to bottom out. It is surprisingly lively and jumps extraordinarily well for the straight-line demolisher that it is.
I mainly kept it in the “shorter” 215mm travel setting, as there is not too much around SA that requires much more, however I was feeling all Sam Hill like that day and decided to bang it into beast mode. I pointed it down one of the trails and I normally regret dropping into halfway down but assumed the Death grip and dropped in. Halfway down I hadn’t touched the brakes, found myself transferring off anything I spotted and launching into the roughest sections I could find and coming out of them laughing. The M16 had taken a trail that I used to come up with any excuse not to drop into and made it into the most fun I have had in ages.
Ok so this thing can handle anything you throw at it in a straight line, lets now see how it handles the corners. A High BB is needed, due to the large amount of travel, to prevent your cranks digging into the ground when you land those massive hucks it will entice you to hit. This extra height causes some strange steering characteristics which requires some active riding to counteract. However if you can get over the back and keep the front wheel pointed to the finish line, there won’t be much that can stop you or the smile that it puts on your face.
If you’re just wanting to shred switchback berms all day it’s probably not the bike for you, but if you want to get down the rowdiest terrain, fastest and having the most fun the M16 should be at the top of your wish list!!