but we expected that. Point this bike downhill and it practically
shoots out from under you; it’s that eager.
The suspension has a very plush feel that tends to ride deep
within the travel, meaning the M16 has plenty of negative travel to
track the terrain. With the bike set up with 35–40-percent sag,
the rear wheel has a glued-to-the-ground feel that will be appreciated on most trails. Don’t expect this bike to be a dirt-jumping park
bike, but with the right tuning techniques, this machine can exhibit
several different personalities for handling the descents. With a
firmer spring or slightly more preload to decrease the amount of
sag, the bike begins to feel a bit more playful. The bike can be
tuned many different ways to handle a wide variety of descents.
Climbing:;Sorry, Charlie. The suspension is relatively efficient,
which is a good attribute for any downhill bike. There are few
downhill trails we know of that don’t have at least a little pedaling
in them; however, if you’re even considering climbing long steep
hills with this thing, you’re crazy.
Cornering:;Compared to the aluminum version of the bike, this
is where you will see the biggest difference. Whereas the alumi-
num M16 feels like a point-and-shoot sled, the carbon version
is considerably lighter and more nimble. It also doesn’t lose the
high-speed confidence thanks to the awesome suspension and
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
The Stan’s wheels will ship with tubes installed, but every M16
rider should plan to convert to tubeless right out of the gate. Our
test bike came equipped this way, and we never had an issue with
burping air pressure or squirming side walls.
The travel adjustment is a nice thing to have on paper, but we
saw little need for it on the trails we rode. On the steepest terrain,
it could be an advantage, as it does shift rider weight rearward,
and unless you swap springs to compensate, will provide the bike
with even more sag and an even plusher ride. If you’re riding World
Cup-level tracks, go for it. For everything else, plan to leave this
bike in the 8.5-inch travel setting.
Carbon sculpted: The M16 may look
somewhat similar to other carbon downhill
bikes on the market; however, Intense has
set the bar high with their incredibly beautiful tube shapes and attention to detail.
Rather than using simple round tubes,
Intense chooses the optimum tube shapes
for a balance of weight savings, stiffness
The new standard: SRAM’s X0DH seems
to be the favorite new drivetrain among the
downhill crowd. The seven-speed system
has large jumps between gears, meaning
riders have to shift less to feel a noticeable
difference in gearing.
Fun and flickable: The point-and-shoot nature of the previous M16 is
toned down noticeably with this new
iteration. The bike still sports the
glued-to-the-ground feel that most
downhill race bikes have.
Steber-tuned: The M16 Carbon uses
Intense’s newly redesigned suspension
platform that bears the name of the
founder, Jeff Steber. The system uses two
counter-rotating rockers to deliver between
8. 5 and 9. 5 inches of travel depending
on where the shock mounting bolts are