Intense Cycles are ready to accept the new 650b standard, but they don’t want to call it that. Rather, they’re referring to them as 27.5in wheels and they’ve tagged them onto two prototype models for testing – the Tracer 27.5 and Carbine 27.5, both of which were on show at the Sea Otter Classic.
The Tracer 27.5 is all-new and made in Intense’s Temecula, California factory. It offers 5.5in to 6in of adjustable travel, compared to the 26in-wheeled Tracer 2's 5.75in to 6.25in. “We reeled it in a little bit because of the bigger wheels and paired it more to the travel on our Carbine carbon model,” Intense owner Jeff Steber told BikeRadar. “We’re calling it a Tracer 27.5 but it’s kind of its own bike really.”
Steber called out some of the key features of the new model, including cable routing for RockShox’s Stealth Reverb dropper post, a carbon upper shock linkage, and Intense's G1 replaceable dropout system. “We’re just playing around with the carbon top shock link,” he said. The geometry has been modified for the in-between wheel size, with a 67° head angle and a longer front center, when compared to the 26in-wheeled Tracer and Carbine.
Steber expects the new alloy Tracer will be ready for sale sometime mid-summer. “We’ve gotten a really good response,” he said. “We want to do a little more ride time on it. We feel the geometry is pretty dialed but it’s always good to get more feedback, so we have some test mules we’ll be running."
As for the 650b standard, Steber said much of the industry is already behind it, which makes his job much easier. "The neat thing with this segment [650b] is that the manufacturers are a little ahead of themselves on it compared to 29," he said. "There’s actually forks available, wheels, tires; it took a long time with 29 for that."
The Tracer 27.5 debuts Intense’s Reverb Stealth cable routing, among other features
New dropout for Carbine to retrofit 27.5in wheels
Since the carbon Carbine utilizes Intense’s G1 replaceable dropout system, the company were able to prepare it for 27.5in wheels simply by engineering a new pair of dropouts. “If you already have a bike it’s easy to replace the dropout, get a wheelset and then you’re rolling,” said Steber. “You could try it out even.”
The new dropouts skew the bike's geometry metrics by slightly increasing the head angle by 0.5° to 67.5°, raising the bottom bracket to 13.3in and increasing chainstay length from 16.75in to 17in. “The dropout accounts for a full bottom-out in the long-travel [setting] so that you still have tire clearance to the seat tube,” said Steber.
The 27.5 G1 dropout allows use of the middle wheel size on Intense’s carbon 26in trail frame