2014 Bible of Bike Tests Roundtable Reels: Intense 951 EVO
Bike puts the new Intense 650b downhill bike on trial by tribunal. What's the verdict?
So many sick bikes. Yet so little time to ride them, let alone argue about them. Here’s the third ‘Roundtable Reels’ discussion video from the 2014 Bible of Bike Tests. What did our testers think about the latest, envelope-pushing incarnation from Intense—a company that has firmly placed its stamp on the evolution of DH. —Brice Minnigh, Editor
Final Take: Built for pure speed and best suited on steeps, this bike should come with a number plate.
In its former life, the Intense 951 was playful, lively and nimble, leaving full-on racing duties to the M9. Not anymore. The 951 EVO has been reincarnated into a focused racer-type, drinking protein shakes and sharing gym time with the Athertons. The trouble is, it lost its sense of humor.
The 951 EVO has a slack 62.5-degree head angle and long 445-millimeter stays, making it stable at speed, but our testers had difficulty manhandling the beast. Getting enough weight over the front proved challenging. When pointed straight this bike gains speed like nobody’s business, but it gets a bit hairy when barreling into a turn without cornering traction.
Intense founder Jeff Steber has always pushed the envelope, and the 951 EVO is a perfect example. Built from the ground up with geometry tuned for 27.5-inch wheels, it is one of, if not the first Goldilocks-wheeled downhill bikes to market. Because of that, there aren’t a lot of tire, fork or wheel options just yet, but that will likely change soon.
Our 951 sported a great spec with a Fox 40 Float RC2 fork, Enve hoops on DT hubs and Shimano Zee drivetrain and brakes. Zee is so impressive that there’s no reason to ‘upgrade’ to Saint.
Our test track in Flagstaff had a few high-speed sections and a few steep sections, but nothing steep and fast, which is what this bike seemed to be begging for. It’s also possible that the new 951 takes some time to get used to before you can truly unleash it.
I saw a video once showing a guy crashing his Lamborghini while making an ordinary left turn. He gave it a little too much throttle and spun out. Cars with that much power take some adjusting and despite conventional thinking, they’re not made for rich guys to be driving around town. Perhaps the 951 EVO is like that guy’s supercar. –RYAN PALMER