Slowly but surely it seems most manufacturers are offering at least one plus-sized bike in their lineup. Intense is the latest to back the fat-rubber trend with its new ACV trail bike.
Intense ACV Pro highlights
- The new, full carbon frame is designed around 2.8in plus tyres
- 115-130mm of rear wheel travel
- S Tuned twin link suspension platform
- Full internal cable routing
- Single ring only
- Built around big rubber
Intense was keen to point out that the new ACV (that’s Air Cushioned Vehicle) is built specifically around plus tyres. Though you can slot a set of 29in wheels into the frame (in fact, the creator and man behind the brand, Jeff Steber regularly does this) it’s not something Intense is pushing as an added feature or benefit.
Tried and tested, SRAM-heavy spec
After testing a variety of different rim and tyre combos, Intense settled on using 2.8in Maxxis Ikon+ tyres mounted to DT Swiss M1600 Spline Two 40mm rims.
Suspension duties are taken care of by a 150mm travel RockShox Pike RCT3 up front and a RockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAir shock at the rear. The brakes also come from the SRAM stable in the shape of the mid-range Guide RS, while the transmission uses a mix of SRAM’s 11-speed components, including an X01 rear derailleur and an X1 shifter.
Ride impressions: lively with plenty of traction
From the sprightly eagerness of the first pedal stroke, to the relative ease with which the ACV likes to be popped and placed with reckless abandon just about anywhere on the trail, you’d be hard pressed not to enjoy this bike from the get-go.
Get settled on the right tyre pressures (I ran 16psi up front, 18psi in the rear) and rattle into rough, rooty, rock strewn trails and you’ll be surprised with what you can get away when it comes to line choice. The big tyres do a great job of smoothing out nadgery, speed-sapping bumps and chunder, offering impressive traction, especially on looser, dry trails or on really technical climbs.
That is, until it rains.
Due to the super low-profile Maxxis Ikon+ treads, if the weather does take a turn for the worse, any traction advantages are soon washed away, and things can get pretty dicey. Thankfully Intense is already talking about shipping the ACV with the more aggressive Rekon tyres in the near future.
Aside from the less aggressive tyre choice, our only other niggle lies with the KS dropper post, which even after a good few rides feels pretty sticky, to the point that it needs a hand to extend from time to time. When it does work its fine; we’re just not the biggest fan of the flex in the remote lever. Intense is aware of this and all ACVs will now be shipped with stealth-routed RockShox Reverb dropper posts, which will no doubt remedy the problem.
In the right conditions though, the ACV is a seriously fun bike, especially in technical terrain. With the right tyres in place, this bike will be a great trail all-rounder.
|Brakes||SRAM Guide RS|
|Top Tube (in)||599|
|Wheelset||DT Swiss 240 Boost hubs on DT Swiss M1600 Spline Two rims|
|Seatpost||KS LEV Integra|
|Saddle||Fabric Scoop Radius Elite|
|Cranks||Race Face Next|
|Rear Tyre||Maxxis Ikon+ EXO 2.8in|
|Rear Shock||RockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAir|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM X01|
|Handlebar||Renthal Fatbar, 760mm|
|Front Tyre||Maxxis Ikon+ EXO 2.8in|
|Frame Material||ACV 27+ UD carbon with 115-130mm (4.5-5.1in) of travel|
|Fork||RockShox Pike RCT3 Boost with 150mm (5.9in) of travel|
|Frame size tested||M|