**Update** We just heard that the Intense Carbine now features ISCG tabs as well as Stealth routing for your seatpost, and they’re in stock in New Zealand right now!

After discovering the joys of the 650b wheel size on the Scott Genius 720, Spoke reviewer and columnist Rod Bardsley decided he wanted to up the bling factor a little so started building his 650b dream bike. Enter the VPP-equipped Intense Carbine. It’s the exact same frame for the 26” model but you buy slightly different dropouts to accommodate the medium sized wheel. The Carbine is an adjustable travel all-mountain bike that flips between 140 and 152mm of travel, other than the adjustable travel everything is pretty standard; dropper post routing, tapered steerer etc. Rod’s been on the bike for a few weeks now and won’t shut up about how rad it is.

Up front he’s put some new 650b Fox 34 Talas forks mated to some weird crazy no-name carbon wheelset (it does have cool stickers)…

We’ve been running XX1 on one of our test bikes since August last year but Rod was feeling left out so decided to step up to the plate and commit, and he hasn’t been disappointed. Although on a little ride this morning he was thinking of having two rings in his arsenal, given how easy they are to change, so has ordered a 28t ring to go with his 32t. The G1 rear dropout system is obviously the key to the switch between 650b and a standard 26″  wheel. But it also means that the Carbine is insanely versatile as the dropouts are available in standard 135 QR, Shimano’s 142 x 12mm as well as Syntace’s 142 x 12 system. And I should have mentioned that the xx1 XD Driver body is mated to a set of sweet Hope Pro II hubs… Yup that’s right if your rocking Hope Pro IIs (which I reckon half of NZ is) then you can now rock XX1!

XX1 cranks…. you’ve seen it all before…

Super low standover height. Angular contact bearings. Some very cool looking carbon, adjustable travel and a boost valve custom tuned FOX CTD rp23. Oh and I spy cable routing for a dropper post too—no stealth hole—which is pretty much the only downside to this whole bike!

Up in the cockpit Rod has decided that 800mm is the new 760mm and is refusing to cut down his very bling ENVE DH bar (attached to a black on black 2013 Easton Haven 65mm stem).  You may note he has customised a nice little doohickey from a V-brake to help improve the cable on KS Lev.

Issue 51 will feature our full review of this bad boy but you can expect Rod to add some initial ride impressions down in the comments section over the next few days…

15 Responses

      1. nice component wish list then, I am still deciding on which dropper though. my old maverick speedball had its ups and downs, and then a lot of downs!

          1. the speedball died long ago, plain old thomson now. only the best spec for you just be careful how you go with those broom handle wide bars!

    1. yep, we can see just how fricken’ RED RED RED it is for sure man. Rad it may be, but I’ll reserve judgement on that till I steal it off ya and go ride it like I stole it. RED!! (and possibly RAD)

  1. seriously though, it’s pretty rad. 27.6 lbs as you see it. seriously nimble and has a very progressive ramp up-loves the big hits. XX1 is sooooo easy.soooo quiet. 800mm bars on a trail bike??? i’m not convinced yet as i have had a few close calls, can someone build some wider trails in Welly please!!! And what about the 650b thing?…i know the truth already, and it’s….shit! is that the time? gotta soon.

  2. Please tell me they are Novatec Hubs. If they are which models? My Carbine did great in the 2W enduro on the weekend. Just need to put the 27.5’s in it now. Thinking of going no name carbon wheels too, hence the question about the hubs.

    1. Noooooooo they are Hope. i dont think novotec have offered 142×12 to the rim company yet. also they only supply with steel axle and freehub body so adds 100g plus. Have a good look at SBC Roval rims, it may help you decide on these rims.

  3. […] lately, after listening to Bardsley going on and on about the medium-wheeled bikes he’s been riding and reviewing. The Rocky Mountain Altitude was one of the bikes that piqued my interest, so when […]

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