The EVP 5.5 has a VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) suspension and uses a highly tweaked diamond/oval/round/flared Easton custom tubeset. The back end is a showcase of skilful CNC machining, displayed particularly well by the raw works finish. This unprotected alloy isn’t ideal for a salty British winter, but the 2007 back end has been reworked and de-bridged for better mud clearance. The frame still weighs in slightly heavier than many of its competitors though.
VPP suspension flattens step ups and drops on the trails like a real big hitter, but tightens up and tears off down the trail when you stamp on the pedals. A super-responsive handling character, a relatively short wheelbase and rock solid bolt-through axle Pike fork made this a naturally aggressive bike. The X9 Pro kit from North West MTB centre was equally faultless and purposeful. It gives more feedback and travel than more neutral bikes in the rough, though this won’t suit everyone. Its savage turn into corners can carve around beautifully or catch you out badly, so you’ve been warned.
When you’re on form though, the Intense will happily punch clean through what you can’t fl oat it over, and nail other riders and loose corners alike. On bad days we crashed this bike far more than many of its competitors. Intense is definitely an apt name, but if you’re up for it, it’ll take on anything and it’ll do it all-day long.