The Intense Sniper might be all about fast and light weight, but from the looks of it, it’s still packed with Intense DNA. Stating that “this is no twitchy XC bike,” the two separate versions of the Sniper use short travel frames and forks combined with progressive geometry to create a modern race bike.

Intense Sniper aims at lightweight trail or XC 29" fun Intense Sniper aims at lightweight trail or XC 29" fun

While the XC and Trail builds share many of the same pieces, the two differ in amounts of travel. The XC build sees 100/100mm front and rear, while the Trail bumps up to 120/120mm. The XC bike also gets a fork with a 44mm offset, while the Trail sticks with the 51mm offset to change the handling between the two.

Sniper XC Geo

Intense Sniper aims at lightweight trail or XC 29" fun

Sniper Trail Geo

Intense Sniper aims at lightweight trail or XC 29" fun

Understandably, the biggest differences in geometry come from the longer travel fork with the Trail seeing a slightly slacker headtube angle at 66.5° vs 67.5°. The Seat tube angle also slacks out one degree on the Trail, as well as the BB height raising by .3″ to 13.3″. Along with the slacker angles, the bikes see a longer front-center measurement and use 50mm stems in spite of their short travel pedigree. You’ll also find dropper posts on every build because even XC racers can benefit from dropping the saddle once in a while.

Both bikes use 29″ wheels only, but the Trail bike gets slightly bigger 20 x 2.35″ Maxxis Forekaster tires while the XC bike gets 29 x 2.25″ Rekon Maxxspeeds. Built with Boost 148mm spacing, PF30 bottom brackets, internal derailleur cable routing, and options for standard or SL frame packages, frame weights are claimed to be 4.05lbs – 4.62lbs for a medium depending on the model. Each build also features some form of SRAM Eagle for 12 speeds all around along with the new DUB cranks.

Intense Sniper aims at lightweight trail or XC 29" fun Intense Sniper aims at lightweight trail or XC 29" fun Intense Sniper aims at lightweight trail or XC 29" fun Intense Sniper aims at lightweight trail or XC 29" fun Intense Sniper aims at lightweight trail or XC 29" fun

In total, there are six different complete builds and four colors. The Sniper XC will be available in the Expert Build ($4,499), Pro Build ($5,999), Elite Build ($6,499), and the Factory Built at $8,499. The Trail bike comes in just two builds, the $4,499 Expert, and $5,599 Pro. Frames will also be offered with the Sniper XC SL featuring the usual high modulus carbon fiber, composite top link, magnesium lower link, and Ti hardware for $2,499. The $1,999 Sniper NM frame uses UD carbon fiber, a composite top link, alloy lower link, and steel and aluminum hardware.

Bikes will be available the last week of March, check the site below for complete specs and more.


  1. It’s nice to see that Intense came out with an xc bike but this seems quite off the mark. Who’s going to want to race something with that slack of a head angle? I understand the geo of the trail version but the xc “race” bike looks like a pig compared to other xc race bikes.

    • uh, I’m game. I think you might be interpreting “xc” as the uci version of which very few courses (and people) ride. In the mountain west, this bike looks incredibly promising.

      • When someone says “xc race” the UCI version of it is really the only possibility. There’s no reason to only have 100m of f/r travel if you’re not racing. I’m not sure where you live but my local races are pulling better numbers than ever. I just wish Intense made an actual xc race bike instead of just dropping travel from their trail bike.

        • For a lot of riders 120MM of travel is to much travel, espically when you are riding a combination of paved city path mixed with single and double track. For these long distance riders a 100MM travel bike hits the sweep spot.

          With that being said, I am disappointed that Intense went with a Chinese copy drop link full suspension bike. While this type of full suspension bike is easier to manufacter it doesn’t allow the link to stiffen the suspension in the inital part of the stroke increasing pedal efficiency like the seat post link that Piviot Cycles uses.

          • You mean like every bike they have built since 2003? Its based on the VPP patent that they work with santa cruz on for the last 15 years like all their other bikes, I think they know how to make a leverage curve work. Why would they move away from the formula they’ve been perfecting for that long.

            As for the geo, I’ve ridden other 100mm bikes that climb well but get nervous when pushed hard on tech downs. Now that’s taken care of. Win the ups and the downs.

        • Here is how I interpret current bike categories:

          XC = XC Racing
          Trail = Classic Mountain Biking
          Enduro = Enduro Racing
          AM/Gravity = Gnarly Mountain Biking/Chairlift (ex: PNW)
          DH = DH Racing (also used for Chairlift)
          DJ = Dirt Jump (not competition)
          Slopestyle/4X = Competition DJ/Park

          Most of us who mountain bike are using XC, Trail or Enduro rigs on their local trails. Again this is how I interpret these categories… currently. Next month it could be different.

      • Pretty much everything in the Wasatch (Utah) can pretty much get ridden on a traditional XC bike. XC just means that it corners on a time and climbs like a goat on crack. And is light. Light is good.

    • This geometry is pretty much on par with some other high end race frames. The Scott Spark and new Specialized Epic are pretty close to this.

    • This looks like perfect geo and weight for XC racing to me. Personally I’ve been racing a Scott Spark in the “slack” geo mode + a 120 fork. Still climbs great and descends so much better. This is exactly what I want for racing, light, 100mm, and geometry for faster speeds.

  2. I’ve heard good things about modern Intense frames and the brand is legendary… But the gun fetish names are enough to keep me from being a customer.

    There are too many good alternatives for brands to turn off large chunks of the market with sexist or violent naming or marketing.


    • Intense has always used US Military influence for their nomenclature of bikes. Their first downhill bike the M1 designed back in the late 90s is named after the M1 Garand which was a US service rifle during world war 2. I don’t think it’s a “gun fetish” as much as it’s a nod to the US military, which for a US based company I can support. Not all models are named after guns, they have a model the ACV which is named after an “Air Cushioned Vehicle”, another military term.

      • I stand corrected: weapon and war machine fetish.

        Not everyone who works or has worked with weapons lionizes them. In fact, many of us see them as tools. Useful tools, sure, but tools of last resort.

        But hey, if you think that referring to shooting people (make no mistake: that is exactly what snipers do) makes for a cool bike name rather than a very serious decision made when all else has failed- then Intense has bike for you.

        Naming aside, the bike looks like lot of fun for an XC machine.

          • Mmmm hmm. And the M1 was named for a British motorway, the Uzzi for that kid in The Royal Tennenbaums.

            Listen, I’m not going to change anyone’s mind. And it’s OK to think that guns are cool- they are impressive and powerful. Maybe I’ve just aged out of that sentiment and become more aware of what their use really means.

            As someone in the market for a bike in this category, I’ve explained why the Sniper isn’t on my list. But there’s something for everyone and I’m sure Intense will be fine without me.

  3. In Socal where I live where it’s steep up and down but not overly rocky (w/ exceptions of course). It’s the perfect sled (sniper trail) w/ 66.5º HT/ low BB. Must be a hammer w/ slack/lower travel setup. BIO

  4. I’ve been holding out on a new bike but this one is the one. Great job Intense! This bike will blow out the competition.

  5. Very intriguing bikes. Here in the colorado mountains where just about any ride includes several thousand feet of vertical the weight factor will sell. Nothing wrong with pushing the boundaries of what we think a race bike should be. The trail model would be the perfect bike for my local rides.

    • Primer designed around 130 and 140 fork. Has much heavier frame and 115/130 rear. The Sniper is designed around 100 or 120 fork and is about 2 pounds lighter with only 100 or 120 rear. Other than the name on the downtube I don’t see any overlap. As to “why” both bikes? Probably because Intense saw a great way to make a profit from riders who would like to XC or marathon race on something lighter and faster with a more XC suspension tune then their trail-oriented Primer.

What do you think?