Intense Sniper Trail Expert review

Addictively responsive yet impressively confident ride

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £3,749.00 RRP | AUD $7,499.00 | USD $4,499.00

Our review

A brilliant tech-trail racer/ripper for aggro pedal heads after a responsive, interactive ride
Buy if, You're an aggro rider in need of a responsive, interactive ride
Pros: Confidently stable front end and immediately responsive back end; surprisingly big-hit happy; well-priced for a ‘boutique’ bike
Cons: Lots of pedal feedback; back end twist will upset some; buy-direct only
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By adding aggressive steering geometry to its interactive suspension, Intense has created a viscerally-involving bike that’s impressively light and good value too.

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Intense Sniper Trail Expert frame

There are two Snipers: the steeper-angled, 100mm-travel XC and this 120mm Trail version. Both have full-carbon frames built around Intense’s ‘JS Tuned’ twin-link suspension system, with an upper link hanging off the top tube/seat tube junction and a lower link that curves round the back of the bottom bracket.

Reach is a reasonable 445mm on the medium and a progressive 468mm on the large.

Reach is a reasonable 445mm on the medium and a progressive 468mm on the large
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

Intense Sniper Trail Expert kit

Selling direct means impressive kit value, considering the frame is £2,499 on its own.

The Fox 34 FIT4 fork and DPS shock are consistently well controlled, the 30mm DT Swiss wheels are tight and wide enough to increase confidence in the fast-rolling Maxxis Forekaster tyres, and the KS post is a lightweight carbon offering, albeit limited to 125mm of drop.

While you don’t get all the benefits of buying through a shop, Intense UK will set the bike up for you.

Intense Sniper Trail Expert ride impressions

At 12.28kg, the Sniper Trail is noticeably lighter than most trail bikes and its suspension also firms up obviously when you put the power down, so it loves to unleash explosive acceleration at every opportunity.

The relatively long chainstays stabilise the bike up climbs, although the 73-degree seat angle means you have to sit on the saddle nose for really steep sections.

It’s awesome for hustling really hard up, down or along techy trails
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

You can get the unbraced back end to twist under max torque, which race savages won’t like, but this makes for smoother power delivery on loose surfaces and reduces the sting of harder hits.

While you have to time your power strokes to avoid pedal kickback, once you’re off the power the Sniper Trail is noticeably better at carrying speed through square-edged rocks and roots than bikes such as the Norco Fluid FS 1 and Giant Trance 29 2.

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It’s awesome for hustling really hard up, down or along techy trails, with only longer descents eventually making the physicality of its ride start to feel tiring and hard to hold pace on.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Sniper Trail Expert
Brand Intense

Available Sizes S M L XL
Stem Intense Recon, 50mm
Wheelbase (in) 45.98
Top Tube (in) 23.98
Standover Height (in) 30.75
Seat Tube (in) 17.2
Chainstays (in) 17.28
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 13.31
Wheelset DT Swiss M 1900 Spline 30 wheels
Weight (kg) 12.28
Shifters SRAM GX Eagle 12spd
Brakes Shimano Deore XT, 180/160mm rotors
Seatpost KS LEV Ci 125mm dropper
Saddle WTB Silverado Race
Rear Tyre Maxxis ForeKaster EXO TR DC 29x2.35in
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX Eagle 12spd
Handlebar Renthal Fatbar, 760mm
Front Tyre Maxxis ForeKaster EXO TR DC 29x2.35in
Frame Material Unidirectional carbon fibre monocoque, 120mm (4.7in) travel
Fork Fox 34 Float FIT4 Performance Elite, 120mm (4.7in) travel
Cranks SRAM Stylo alloy
Frame size tested M