20 June 2008 - 1:06The Spider – Some Thoughts
It’s been my goal to make a solid effort to get the Intense Spider on all of our local trails when weather and time permit. While conditions are less than perfect, the window for riding has been open. I’m having a ton of fun on this bike, but now that the newness of it has passed, I’m beginning to experience some of the bike’s capriciousness.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time fiddling with the rear shock, trying to get the pressure /sag just right. I eventually wound up with 200psi, with the ProPedal set on 2, and leaving it on. This seems to do the rear end of this creature a lot of justice, especially since that once it’s set, no more fiddling (yay!). It climbs amazingly well, and has a springy snappy ride. To me, this is the perfect setting. Funnily enough, a customer from out of state came in with a Spider he had bought elswhere, and I set it up for him. Just one ride later, he also agreed this was the best setting.
Me, 230lbs, sag at roughly 2o%, which is Intense’s recommended setting. I found that the sagged angles of the bike feels far more relaxed than you would imagine, as steep as it’s static angles are. The bike will still steer through just about anything at any speed. This can also somewhat of a drag, as the BB drops as the suspension sags. On my very first ride, the first thing I noticed was sporadic pedal strike. Now that I have it set up in “the zone”, it is far less pronounced, but my feet still tag the ground from time to time.
It’s on sustained high speed rutted downhills however, the bike seems to lack progression in the rear shock. The rear shock has a very short stroke for the amount of travel it has, which leads me to the first thing I would change about the bike (if I were to a> have that power, and b> have only one bike).
I’d do whatever it took to get the shock travel ratio to 2:1. The rear shock seems over worked on big hits, and I have now noticed that the back end seems to wind up on any of our regular local Waterbury rides. Seems to me that a longer stroke shock could handle different types of bumps at varying speeds, which leads me in to the second thing I would change…
…which would be to update the design with the new fancy 15mm axle pivots of VPP2, as seen on new Santa Cruz Blur LT bikes. It would be a welcome addition to the construction of this bike. Our local stuff is quite ledgy, and there were a few times that the rear of the bike felt like it was going a different way than the front.
Despite these gripes, I have no doubt in my mind though, that Intense achieved what they set out to do, which was to create a lightweight race bike, that is dependable enough to get the job done. While this bike is slightly less adequate for our local trails, it shines on others. I’ll be riding it this Saturday on our local race loops, and will hopefully be comparing it to a couple of other bikes.
BTW, I’m totally going to race this bike on Wednesday at Catamount, which will be the first time I get to do so this year. Nat has gotten fast (and cocky!), and needs to be put in his place!