For the past 9 months, a handful of Jenson USA employees put the Intense Tracer 275A Pro through it’s paces. Read on to see if this bike is your future dream bike.
From casual lunch rides to enduro races and weekend trips spent on the trails of Big Bear’s Snow Summit, our Tracer 275A test crew has used (and even gently abused) Intense’s 27.5” aluminum enduro machine to capacity. In this review we’ll compile our general impressions of the Tracer’s ride quality and design, as well as a few things to consider before giving the Tracer 275A a home in your garage.
Frame Design and Build Quality
One thing is apparent with the Tracer 275A, this thing is built to last. Handcrafted in Temecula, California, the Tracer 275A is a prime example of a well-planned and executed American-made frame. From the precision of it’s welds to the fine detail of the Tracer’s bold paint scheme, the Tracer 275A is perfect for riders who appreciate attention-to-detail. The Tracer’s aggressive and agile geometry is paired with Intense’s VPP suspension technology. A true enduro beast, the Tracer 275A is poised to devour rock gardens, carve up singletrack, and attack climbs with confidence. The well-proven 27.5″ wheel size offers the agility of 26″ wheels combined with the added power and stability offered by the 29er platform, resulting in a ride that we’ve found to split the difference adequately. Feedback from one rider was that the Tracer’s top-tube can feel a little short and might limit cockpit options, especially for riders who prefer bikes with a longer than average top tube. Two other limitations to note on the frame design are the absence of a water bottle cage mount and tight rear tire clearance, dependant on which tires you choose to run.
Performance and Ride Impressions
All four of our test riders unanimously agreed that while the Tracer 275A can handle climbing like a champ, it’s most comfortably at home when headed downhill. Climbing performance isn’t less than expected from a 6” travel aluminum trail bike, but it’s not exactly a strength. The Tracer 275A’s VPP suspension platform provides a responsive cushion in the thick of the descent, inspiring confidence in technical situations, and plenty of squish to conquer drops and jumps like a hairy beast. Our test fleet was a equipped with the Pro build kit and there weren’t any complaints about the performance of the Pro build’s SRAM X1 drivetrain (with X01 derailleur). The kind of dependability and accuracy SRAM is known for was just as present on the Tracer 275A as it is with other bikes in the same space. Some riders did wish the stock handlebar was a bit wider, but we wouldn’t consider that a reason to count the Tracer 275A out, as most cockpit components tend to be subjective to rider preference and are likely to be swapped out to accommodate each individual rider.
The Final Spin
Jenson USA Buyer, Mike B. (aka MikeGuyver the Mechanic), testing the Tracer 275A’s cornering skills
Why buy? If you’re mostly a fan of descending, but want something that will handle climbs without much trouble. The Tracer 275A won’t wear you out too much on the climb, leaving you with plenty of energy to absolutely crush the descent.
Mike B. proving that the Tracer stays well-composed when pointed down the hill
Why pass? If you tend to ride diverse terrain and need a bike with an equal climbing / descending balance. If speed in all situations is a primary concern, you would better off with a shorter travel bike that is meant to bridge XC and Enduro performance.
Recommended component upgrade: Wheelset. The stock Stan’s wheels are a little on the soft side. While they are a cost effective wheel that does a great job on a variety of terrain, their overall performance falls short of what would be considered a great wheel.
If this bike was a band, which band would it be? Slayer
Recommended rider: Any rider that climbs for the descent.
What we loved about the Tracer 275A:
- Confident on descents
- Solid build kit
- Agile geometry
- Bold colorways
- Responsive suspension platform
- Handmade in Temecula, CA.
What we didn’t like:
- Minimal rear tire clearance
- No bottle cage mount
- Short top tube
- Not the lightest 27.5” enduro bike around
Weight: 31lb 10oz