The original Tracer VP from Intense Cycles was always kind of a Nomad-lite— it wanted to compete with the Santa Cruz Nomad for the king of the all mountain crown, but in reality, the ride quality had more in common with the Blur LT. We spent several seasons on the original VPP bike, and while we enjoyed it greatly, it had its weaknesses. Intense apparently thought so too, and with the Tracer VP2 added more (and better) travel, putting it more solidly in Nomad territory. It continued to evolve as Intense became an early adopter of 650b and experimented with the midsize wheels, using their versatile G2 Dropouts that gave them the option to run 26″ or 27.5″ wheels.
For 2014, the Tracer has received a full upgrade, and is now leading the charge. In fact, with this iteration, the Tracer finally makes the Nomad look dated—which it is these days… a better comparison would actually be with the current spiritual successor, the Bronson.
We’re big fans of VPP, and what Intense has done with the new Tracer more than has our attention. In essence, everything I would want to change on my Bronson is here on this bike. Shorter chainstays and lower bottom bracket. Lots of standover height means a 6″ dropper post is possible in my preferred size. Beautifully executed internal cable routing means no or minimal cable rub issues. The reach is just right for my height and riding style in a size medium frame. I’ve long wished that Santa Cruz would offer their bikes in a medium/large frame, and this bike is exactly that. In fact, the only thing I’m not psyched on as a Shimano fan, is the press fit BB shell.
Am I getting a bit bummed about my Bronson? Seeing as how I have finally gotten it dialed in, I don’t think so, but the T275 has my ideal specs… and in a sea of Santa Cruz clone bikes everyone here in the Bay Area seems to be riding, the T275 is a stand out looker. Bottom line: I have to try one.
2014 Intense Tracer 275 Carbon Highlights
- Full carbon frame
- 27.5-inch wheels
- 6.25 or 5.75-inches (160 or 145mm) of rear wheel travel
- VPP2 suspension
- Tapered headtube
- 66.5-degree head angle
- 74.5-degree seat tube angle
- 13.5-inch (343mm) bottom bracket height
- 17-inch (432mm) chainstays
- Press fit bottom bracket shell with ISCG05 mounts
- 142mm rear spacing with 12mm through axle
- Factory build measured weight (size Large, no pedals): 26 pounds, 11 ounces (12.1kg)
- Expert build measured weight (size Large, no pedals): 28 pounds (12.7kg)
- Factory Build: $9,999 / Pro Build: $6,599 / Expert Build: $5,999 / Frame + Shock: $3,199
Upsides: Adjustable travel adds versatility. Internal cable routing looks super clean. Low and slack for shredding— thanks to its aggressive, made to go fast modern geometry. The bike is freaking gorgeous.
Downsides:running a piggyback shock means minimal room to stow a water bottle. (that could be a deal breaker for me personally) Not a fan of press fit bb shells. Premium price: $3200 is not cheap or affordable.
<edit: I had to add this video embed when I found it, because it seriously got me all kinds of stoked.>