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Trail Tested | Intense Primer 29 Elite Build


Price: $6999

In the world of trail/all-mountain bikes, it’s getting tougher and tougher to find the bike that can truly do it all. Our Swapmoto Live team does a lot of our testing in Southern California where the optimal amount travel would be 140-150mm front and rear, but the issue that most of us have is when the bike parks open in the late spring and summer months, 140-150mm of travel isn’t enough to gain confidence in the bike park. We all want a bike that we can ride locally that climbs like an XC bike but descends like a DH bike when needed. After spending a few months on the new Intense Primer 29 at multiple different trails we’re really happy with the way it performs in all situations. The Primer is a staple in the Intense stable, but for 2020 the brand wanted to streamline its trail bike offerings and did away with several other models and replaced them with three different wheelsize configurations of the Primer: 27.5″, 29″ and a 29 front./27.5 rear configuration. Of course, our desires gravitated towards the 29er as big wheels climb better and roll faster.

The bike is a work of art. While some Intense color schemes have been a little too bright for us in the past, the classy color combo of our test bike is easy on the eyes and looks racy! The carbon frame features beautiful lines, sturdy construction, and a flawless paint job. 

The cockpit was extremely comfy with a 450mm/17.72” “Medium” top tube that was comfortable when both climbing and descending. When it came to climbing the Primer we were extremely impressed with the response of the chassis when applying power to the pedals. The JS trail link system – coupled with the FOX DPX2 shock – allows the bike to accelerate without too much squat or movement that would rob power or slow down our drive while climbing. The 65.9-degree head angle did not hinder our cornering or ability to make tight switchbacks when we were climbing.

Mattia Meneghello

Having established that the Primer is responsive and quick climbing, would it descend just as well? The answer is a resounding yes! After riding multiple trails and types of terrain, we were pleased to find that the stability of the bike was great and the Fox fork and shock were very balanced. A few things that stood out to us were the stability jumping and smashing through rock gardens and rough trails, but going back to the response element, the bike gets back up to speed quickly when powering out of sharp corners. This snappy, aggressive feel comes from the exclusive JS trail link.

The bike is equipped with a great build kit using the industry standard Sram 12-speed, FOX suspension, e-thirteen wheels, Intense carbon bars, Intense Stem and Shimano XT brakes for reliable stopping power.

So should the Intense Primer 29 be your next bike? If your local trails demand a 140-160mm range of travel, it is a bike you should really look into. It pedals great, descends with ease, and you can have a blast each and every time you are riding it. For a moto guy, this is the KTM SX 350; big enough to run with the 450s but nimble enough to ride like a 250…






Donn Maeda

Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.

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