First and foremost, the new Sniper is a bike designed for pedaling. But Intense took the ‘twitchy XC bike’ stereotype and threw it out the door. The company then gave the new bike 29-inch wheels, geometry that could pass as trail-worthy and two different travel options to suit riders needs. The Sniper XC comes with 100 millimeters of travel front and back, while the Sniper Trail is outfitted with 120 millimeters.
Long, low and slack. You have heard those words before, but they aren’t usually associated with XC bikes. That is just what Intense ordered for the Sniper though. The reach on a size large is 468 millimeters, and comes spec’d with a 50-millimeter stem. That is a total of 518 millimeters. In other words, the Sniper is really long--when looking at reach. The numbers look a little more reasonable for a cross-country bike when we turn to the wheelbase. The Trail measures in at 1,195 millimeters and the XC at 1,179 millimeters.And since we are looking at numbers, we might as well look at fork offset, which has become somewhat of a talking point in recent times. The Sniper XC’s fork offset is reduced to 44 millimeters. Supposedly this allows for a slacker head angle while keeping handling precise. The Trail option keeps offset at a more standard 51 millimeters. With their prescribed forks, the XC has a head angle of 67.5 degrees and the Trail option is 66.5 degrees. Really the only place where the Sniper isn’t pushing cross-country boundaries is in its seat-tube angle--74 degrees on the XC and 73 degrees on the Trail. Hang on, I thoughts this bike was supposed to take a pedaling-first approach? Don’t worry, it does. The travel already hints at the Sniper being cross-country through and through. And if that isn’t enough for you, the weights should solidify any doubts. The Sniper XC is available in four different builds: Expert, Elite, Pro and Factory. The heaviest of the four (Expert) is a svelte 24.1 pounds with the lightest (Factory) a featherweight 21 pounds. The Sniper Trail, only available in two builds--Expert and Pro--is 25.6 pounds at its heaviest and 24.5 at its lightest. Expert builds are $4,500, Pro is $5,600 on the Trail and $6,000 on the XC, the XC Elite goes for $6,500 and the top-of-the-line Factory build is $8,500. Those prices are reasonable, but Intense did just go consumer direct, and their is stiff competition in that market right now. All builds are available now on the Intense website.