Testing the Intense Tazer MX – a Motocross-Inspired eMTB
While much of the world is in a state of chaos due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bicycle industry has been booming! Bike shops everywhere are completely sold out, no matter the price or sector of riding. Intense Cycles has had deep roots in the moto industry from day one and still to this day they are leaning on the motocross market for some outside-the-box thinking. The motocross racer that gets into mountain bikes wants instant gratification. They want to climb the hills with ease and go fast down the hills. The Intense Cycles team has recognized this so they have partnered with Parts Unlimited and developed the Intense Tazer MX, a motocross-themed pedal-assist mountain bike that is available only through motorcycle dealerships. We have spent plenty of time on the standard Intense Tazer so when the Tazer MX was released we were anxious to throw a leg over it.
The only complaint we had with the fork was its limited turning radius. Because the upper fork tubes can come into contact with the frame in tight corners, rubber bumpers on the tubes are used to eliminate a chance of damage to the carbon fiber frame. Did we really need more turning radius? Not really, as leaning the bike into corners beneath us could make up for the lack in cornering radius, but the set-up can be a problem for newer riders who are more comfortable steering.
Confessions of an eMTB Hater
It all started with a text, “Let’s go to Skypark Sunday.” The Skypark trails are always a lot of fun so I was ready to jump at the opportunity, but then came the next text… “I have an e-bike you can ride.” Being more of a traditionalist when it comes to mountain biking, I wasn’t quite sure if I was willing to cross over that line into e-bike territory. I’ve always been on the side of the fence that considers riding an e-bike ‘cheating’ or that it was not enough of a workout. If there was ever the perfect place to try an e-bike, Skypark is it, so I agreed to give it a shot. I normally ride a trail bike that takes some effort to get up the hill, energy that I’d rather use on the trails down the hill since that is the fun part of a bike park. The Intense Tazer MX allowed me to put in many more laps than I would on my traditional bike, and after several laps on the trails, I realized the smile I had on my face the entire time. Even climbing was fun! I was able to ride more than twice as many laps as I normally would, but at the end of the day, I still felt like I’d had a good workout. The Tazer MX still gives a great workout, but it extends the fun.
My second outing on the Tazer was at the PNG Nutrition Tuesday night ride. Normally I’d never be able to keep up with Mike Sleeter and his crew on my trail bike, but the Tazer MX allowed me to keep pace with the group. I left the E-Step power selection in the ‘Trail’ mode for most of the ride, and the steep hills that would normally have left me far back in the dust, I was instead able to keep up with the group and enjoy the technical downhill trails much more. On the flatter sections of the ride, I dropped the E-Step selector to Eco mode to lower the amount of electric pedal assist. Again, after a 13-mile ride, I had a great time riding and still got a great cardio workout.
My third and fourth rides came in Utah, on the infamous Slickrock Trail in Moab, and the insanely fun and technical Gooseberry Mesa trail in Hurricane. Both trails would be extremely challenging on a traditional bike, but I was able to conquer every obstacle and uphill on the Tazer MX. Making things even cooler was the fact that our entire group – which included Jeremy McGrath – was eMTB mounted!
After four rides on Intense’s Tazer MX, my perception of e-bikes has drastically changed as they open up a lot of opportunities to have more fun on the ride while still getting a workout. While I am not quite ready to sell my trail bike and replace it with an e-bike, it would definitely be an excellent addition to the stable to open up new adventures.
The Tazer MX was a perfect bike on the downhill trails as well. It tracked straight and cornered through the turns smoothly. It handled both the park trails and the steep singletrack in Capistrano and Utah with ease and even in the tighter corners, it turned quickly and smoothly. The weight bias reminded me of my dirtbike and I immediately felt comfortable throwing the Tazer MX into tight technical trails on the edges of cliffs. With a couple of clicks of the compression and rebound to suit my riding, the bike jumped smoothly and was very predictable and easy to move around both in the air and through the corners.
MOTOR: Shimano EP800 Steps Motor
BATTERY: BT-E8010, FOR STEPS, 504Wh. Battery lock w/2 keys
DISPLAY: Shimano Steps LCD, Bluetooth Compatible
FRAME: Tazer Optimized Carbon 29” Front and 275+ Rear Triangle, Enduro link Pivot System, Downtube Flak Guard Armor, Internal Derailleur, Brake, Dropper Post, and Display Unit Routing, ISCG 05 Mount, 150mm travel
FORK: Öhlins DH38 Race fork -170mm travel
REAR SHOCK: Öhlins TTX22M Coil
HEADSET: Cane Creek 40 Series, ZS44/EC49.40
SHIFTERS: Shimano SLX, 11-speed
REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano SLX, 11-speed
CRANKSET: Ethirteen e*spec 34T 165mm BOOST
PEDALS: Black Wellgo
CHAIN: Shimano E-bike, 11 speed
CASSETTE: Shimano SLX 11-42, 11-speed
BRAKES: Magura MT7 Pro (4 Piston) Hydraulic Disc, 203mm Front and Rear
WHEELSET Front: 29” DT Swiss H1700 Hybrid 30mm Inner width, 110×15 MM INCLUDING VALVE & RIM Tape
Rear: 27.5” DT Swiss H1700 Hybrid 35mm Inner width, 148x12MM REAR, 6 BOLT, INCLUDING VALVE & Rim Tape
TIRES Front: 29X2.60, MINION DHR II, FOLDABLE, 120TPI, 3CMAXX TERRA/EXO+/TR
Rear: 27.5X2.8, MINION DHR II, FOLDABLE, 120TPI, 3CMAXX TERRA/EXO+/TR
HANDLEBAR: Renthal Fatbar 35mm diameter 800mm width 30mm Rise
STEM: Renthal Integra 35 Direct Mount
SEATPOST: INTENSE Recon Dropper, 31.6mm, 150mm travel w/Raceface Lever
SADDLE: SDG Bel-Air w/ Cr-Mo Rails
Suggested Retail $7,999 USD