Intense Cycles today confirmed what many people have long been expecting: the release of a new 951 EVO downhill platform built around 650b/27.5in wheels. Key features include 216mm (8.5in) of rear wheel travel, reasonably short 445mm (17.5in) chain stays, and an ultra-slack, 62.5-degree head tube angle.
The rolling advantages of bigger wheels has been well documented but the limitations of 29in hoops in terms of handling and packaging constraints are exacerbated by downhill bikes' longer travel. Racers have already been using low-stack front ends to reduce the grip height, and manufacturers have been hesitant to increase chain stay lengths.
27.5in wheels' modest increase in diameter over conventional 26in ones, though, has allowed Intense to apparently inject a bit more speed into its flagship downhill platform, without radically affecting the geometry.
Chain stays grow just 3.5mm to 445mm (17.375in), head tube length has increased a reasonable 13mm (and only on the medium size), and bottom bracket height remains virtually unchanged at 349mm (13.75in). Top tube lengths haven't changed, either, with identical figures posted across the board to the millimeter.
Head tube angle has slackened a substantial 1.5 degrees to 62.5 degrees, though, which also extends the wheelbase around 38mm – both of which should lend even more stability at high speed and on steep pitches.
The switch to 650b required only slight geometry changes
Otherwise, Intense has mostly stuck with the original 951 formula, with the long-running VPP suspension design, burly welded aluminum construction, 83mm-wide bottom bracket shell, a straight 1.5in head tube for use with standard internal cup or angle adjustable headsets, an 83mm-wide threaded bottom bracket shell, a 31.6mm-diameter seatpost, and 150mm rear hub spacing.
Shock fitment remains 241x76mm (9.5x3.0in), too, although Intense is including Cane Creek's fantastic Double Barrel Coil rear shock as stock equipment, so there will be little motivation to swap it out.
Retail price for the bare frame-plus-shock is US$2,900, while a complete 951 EVO with Shimano Zee components, Novatec wheels, Vee Rubber tires, an FSA cockpit, and a Manitou Dorado fork will cost US$6,200.
The first 25 customers will receive a special limited edition finish with 'electric blue' paint, gold anodized suspension links, and matching hubs and pedals. Claimed weight for the complete build as pictured is 17.24kg (38lb).
Intense says the new bike will be available in May 2013.
Intense will build the new 951 EVO from welded 6061-T6 aluminum
“We have spent countless hours designing, testing and fine tuning the 951 EVO," said company sales director Mike Dettmers. "The end result is a bike that will shave seconds off your race run. Every second counts when your total race time is sub-three minutes. The 951 EVO has consistently dropped seconds from our test team's fastest times.”
For more information, visit the Intense Cycles website and watch the video below: