Suspension Setup: The front and rear Fox suspension makes
setup relatively easy yet extremely tunable. The X2 shock sports
high- and low-speed damping for both rebound and compression,
with a quick lever on the low-speed compression to be used as a
pedaling platform. We set our bike up with a relatively soft 30-per-
cent sag in the rear and 20 percent in the front.
Climbing: The Tracer is a long-travel bike, but that’s not to
say it can’t climb. The bike is lightweight and comes with plenty
of gears to grind to the top of any “transfer stage.” We found
ourselves using the low-speed compression lever on the shock to
firm the suspension on long climbs, which gave us a very efficient
pedaling platform. Since the JS-Tuned suspension doesn’t sport as
much anti-squat as some other suspension designs, this adjust-
ment was a welcome feature. On short and technical climbs, the
bike can charge and simply let the suspension do the work.
Cornering: Thanks to relatively short chainstays, a low center
of gravity and dialed geometry, this bike can handle any turn,
whether it’s high or low speed. The slack head angle makes it
carve with confidence when the tempo is up. We found that the
relatively tall head tube places the rider in a fairly rearward-biased
position, so we removed some of the headset spacers to lower the
front end, which truly unlocked this bike’s cornering prowess.
Descending: While the Tracer is comfortable and efficient on
the uphills, the bike is more at home when the trail points down.
Descending is an absolute pleasure on this bike. The suspension
is plush and active with a slightly progressive feel. The travel is
fluttery and supple on small bumps and seems to keep the rider
higher in the travel than some other Intense bikes we’ve tested in
the past. This mid-stroke support makes the travel more usable on
aggressive trails. The suspension also has a slight ramp at the end
to resist bottoming on drops and big hits, making it nearly impos-
sible to have a harsh bottom-out. As icing on the cake, the bike
JS Tuned: Intense uses a two-rocker suspension design
they call JS Tuned, which is named after Intense founder Jeff
Steber who dialed in the design. It’s reminiscent of some
other designs like the VPP suspension, but the feel is uniquely
Intense. The new Tracer also comes to the table with more
suspension travel than its predecessor to tame the trails.
Speed machine: The new Tracer will climb to the top of
any hill with ease thanks to its low weight and enduro trans-fer-stage-friendly geometry, but that’s not where it’s most at
home. If it were going to eat a long climb for breakfast, it would
then enjoy rock gardens for lunch and fast descents for dinner
with some jumps and drops for dessert.