New Intense Carbine SL Adds Carbon Fiber Trail Racer – Updated!

2012 Intense Carbine SL carbon fiber XC and trail racing mountain bike

After unveiling the full carbon Carbine in July, Intense Cycles has followed up with a lighter weight, shorter travel XC/Trail version called the Carbine SL.

Coming in at a claimed at 5lbs for the frame, the SL drops half a pound from the longer travel Carbine. Intense employed several weight saving tactics, including titanium bolts, a carbon fiber linkage and going with a simple 135x9mm QR axle in the rear. All of which point straight toward the XC crowd, but there are a few nods to some serious trail riding, too…

2012 Intense Carbine SL carbon fiber XC and trail racing mountain bike

The Carbine SL uses high modulus carbon fiber and renewed their partnership with Germany’s SEED Engineering for the design. It uses their tried and true VPP suspension design. It’ll be available in March as a frame (w/ shock) or complete bike with Shimano XT and Fox suspension kit.

2012 Intense Carbine SL carbon fiber XC and trail racing mountain bike

Using a flip-flop link, travel is adjustable from 4.75″ to 5.25″ (120mm to 135mm). The linkage arm is full carbon fiber, and it’s all mated up to a Kashima Fox Float shock. The top tube has cable routing for dropper seatposts built into the underside.

2012 Intense Carbine SL carbon fiber XC and trail racing mountain bike

Links are built around burly 15mm collet system axles. Bottom bracket is PF92 like the original Carbine.

2012 Intense Carbine SL carbon fiber XC and trail racing mountain bike

The SL also borrows the Flk-GRD downtube protection with extended lower section, except here it gets a carbon-fiber weave look.

2012 Intense Carbine SL carbon fiber XC and trail racing mountain bike

Unlike it’s longer travel big brother, the Carbine SL’s rear dropouts are not replaceable. They’re molded in and set at standard QR dropouts with 135mm rear spacing. Given the intended use, we’d say that’s fine, and the derailleur hangar is replaceable. Post mount brake tabs would have been nice, though.

UPDATE: Intense’s Scott Sharples says they’re slowly but surely moving toward post mount brake tabs on their frames, this one included, but that being a small company they have to watch the trends for a bit longer before jumping in head first.

2012 Intense Carbine SL carbon fiber XC and trail racing mountain bike

The headtube is tapered 1.125″ to 1.5″ and sits at a nice slack 68º when mounted up with a 150mm fork. Intense built the bike with the option of running a shorter 120mm fork, too, so we’re guessing the Fox 32 TALAS (travel adjust 120mm to 150mm) fork is exactly what they had in mind on this one.

2012 Intense Carbine SL mountain bike geometry chart

2012 Intense Carbine SL carbon fiber XC and trail racing mountain bike

Front derailleur is direct mount, allowing the seat tube and suspension design free reign to get the job done. Like the bigger Carbine, the SL is free of ISCG tabs.

2012 Intense Carbine SL carbon fiber XC and trail racing mountain bike

FULL SPECS LIST:

  • Intended Use: XC / Trail
  • Patented VPP Suspension
  • Fox Factory Kashima RP23 Custom Carbine SL Tune
  • Light and Strong Carbon Fiber Upper Link
  • Titanium Bolts
  • Tapered Head Tube 1.5” / 1-1/8”
  • Composite Bottom Bracket Shell For Press Fit Bottom Brackets
  • Replaceable Derailleur Hanger On A Svelte 135mm Carbon Dropout
  • Adjustable Travel 4.75” / 5.25” – (120mm or 135mm)
  • Dropper Seat Post Cable Routing
  • H2O Bottle Mounts
  • Direct Mount Front Derailleur
  • INTENSE “FLK-GRD” Down Tube And Chain Stay Protector System
  • Angular Contact Bearing / Collet Axle System With Replaceable Zirk Fittings
  • Available Colors Are: Naked Red
  • 5.0 Lbs. Frame Weight (Medium Size) W / Fox Kashima RP23

We’ve requested pricing and a few other tidbits, we’ll update as we get them.

UPDATE: U.S. pricing for the frame with shock will be $2,819.00 and the frame weight includes the shock as suspected.

Comments

King County - 01/17/12 - 9:39am

Looks beautiful, with a thoughtful design.

Steve M - 01/17/12 - 10:27am

I am a fan of anyone who can build their own stuff in house. Wonder how the welders and machinists feel about these things showing up on the loading dock?

Chris - 01/17/12 - 10:53am

Steve, I’m sure they are really annoyed that the company is growing its market share and their job security is increased. So what if the company is making two models offshore? Everything else is still homegrown.

Boing - 01/17/12 - 10:55am

Welders and machinists probably realize that this will secure their jobs……seriously…..with no Carbon product it will be hard to run a highend bicycle brand in the very near future. Look at Ellsworth they´re forced to do same. And at least assembly and alloy parts are still made inhouse….agree on the nice job by the way…..

J ruff - 01/17/12 - 12:02pm

hmmm.. not so sure of the travel spec… 150 front with a 135 rear? If it’s supposed to be XC then why not just optimize the geo and weight for 120?

In my opinion this was a huge mistake and this will end up being a bike that does neither xc or trail riding well.

I_buy_bikes - 01/17/12 - 9:52pm

Where is the XL frame size at ????

fg4 - 01/18/12 - 2:31pm

…and no ISCG mounts. yawn…..

Lush - 01/20/12 - 6:37am

who needs ISCG on a 135mm bike , especially with new Shimano Shadow+ RD and SRAM to come out with similar chain tension technology ? If you ask me, better save the weight …..

xcgeekdotcom - 01/21/12 - 8:54pm

this, my friends, looks like a RIPPER! and just because it is not the common xc nor trail geometry doesnt mean it won’t be …amazingly fast and fun. a bike is made for a situation. here is another bike that will conquer another situation. keep doin your thang intense.

FireLikeIYA - 01/23/12 - 8:36am

“UPDATE: Intense’s Scott Sharples says they’re slowly but surely moving toward post mount brake tabs on their frames, this one included, but that being a small company they have to watch the trends for a bit longer before jumping in head first.”

Seriously? You went from being a high end US manufacturer to having frames built overseas yet you are cautious on whether or not to use post mounts?

Ted - 01/24/12 - 7:45pm

Looks beautiful. Glad they don’t make an XL-now I won’t be tempted to buy one *rolleyes*.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.