Intense Carbine SL - First look

Super-light carbon fibre trail bike

Intense Cycles made their first foray into carbon fibre last year with the Carbine. Never ones to rest on their laurels, they've now unveiled a new super-light SL version which loses a little supension travel in return for a full half pound of weight savings.

The new bike, first seen in prototype form at last year's Interbike trade show, can be adjusted to give either 4.75in or 5.25in (120 or 135mm) of VPP suspension travel and boasts a claimed frame weight of just 5lb (medium size, with Fox RP23 shock), compared to 5.5-6in and 5.5lb for the standard Carbine. Intense are aiming it at cross-country/light trail use.

The frame is made in the Far East from high-modulus carbon, with Germany's SEED Engineering once again handling the layup schedules. It's not just the mainframe and rear triangle that are made from carbon – the shock link is too, and there's a smattering of titanium hardware elsewhere to keep weight down.

Intense carbon sl: intense carbon sl
Intense carbon sl: intense carbon sl

Geometry is based around a 68-degree head angle, 74-degree (effective) seat angle and 13.1in bottom bracket height. Frame features include a tapered head tube (1-1/8 to 1-1/2in), press-fit BB92 bottom bracket, direct-mount front derailleur, 135 QR dropouts and routing for a dropper seatpost cable. There are FLK-GRD shields on the down tube and drive side chainstay to protect the carbon, and there's even provision for a bottle cage within the mainframe.

Intense's marketing manager Scott Sharples has been riding a Carbine SL for the past three months and reckons it's "stately, fast, light, responsive and most of all, it has the exceptional ride quality of an Intense". But then he would.

The new bike will start shipping in the spring, when it'll be available as a frameset with Fox RP23 Kashima shock or a complete bike with Shimano Deore XT kit and Fox suspension. The finish will be as shown here – matt naked carbon/red. For more details, visit

Intense carbon sl: intense carbon sl
Intense carbon sl: intense carbon sl

This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
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