Trail Tested | Intense Tazer Pro
Like it or not, pedal-assist mountain bikes are gaining popularity and picking up steam, especially now that major players in the cycling marketplace are throwing their hats into the ring. Intense Cycles is a SoCal-based mountain bike brand with heavy roots in the gravity side of the sport, and we've been hearing rumors of an Intense pedal-assist bike for several months now. Intense has also long been a supporter of motocross racing and currently sponsors GEICO Honda racers Chase Sexton and Christian Craig, and we were pretty damned excited when we got an invite from founder Jeff Steiber a couple months ago to join him on a secret test ride of sorts. "Bring your riding gear and pedals," was all he told us, and we excitedly agreed.
The Intense Tazer is a Class 1 (pedal assist, no throttle) e-bike that was designed from the ground up, rather than being based on an existing model and retrofitted to accept a battery and electric motor. The prototype we originally tested in the hills behind the Temecula, California, Intense headquarters was aluminum framed, but the one you see pictured here and that will be put into production as the Pro build has a carbon fiber frame. The most unique aspect of the Tazer is the 29" front wheel and 27.5+ rear wheel combo, which mirrors the non-matching wheel sizes of a motorcycle. The carbon fiber frame is built to work ideally with the different wheel sizes and boasts Fox Factory suspension on both ends with plenty of suspension travel (160 mm, front and rear). The rear suspension is based on Steiber's tried and true Enduro Link pivot system, which provides plush suspension travel with plenty of control throughout the stroke.
At the heart of the Intense Tazer is Shimano's Steps E8000 25KM/H 250W motor, which is by far the most powerful and responsive we've tested to date. In a word, the Tazer hauls ass! Equipped with three settings: eco, trail, and turbo, the Shimano motor matches the power you put into the pedals and basically doubles your solo output; thereby making you twice the rider you would be on a conventional bike. The biggest misconception naysayers have about pedal-assist bikes is that they do all the work for you, but the reality is that they simply enhance the experience you have in the saddle. Yes, it is still very easy to get a great workout on a pedal-assist bike: you only go twice as fast and twice as far on the same amount of effort. As long as you put in the work, the Tazer will go! Though the trail setting was more than powerful enough to make a spin on the Tazer entertaining, we found ourselves blasting around on turbo more than we'd care to admit. Of course, riding with the assist set on eco yields the most miles and time in the saddle, but with as easy as Intense made it to access the battery with the Tazer frame design, packing an extra battery and blasting on turbo on an epic adventure is more appealing.
One of the things we were most impressed by when we first rode the Tazer was its intuitive handling. Thanks to its 29" front tire, the bike rolls over everything you choose to attack, while the 27.5+ tire out back offers cushion on impact and great confidence when leaning into corners. Simply put, the Tazer handles more like a motocross bike than any other MTB we've ever thrown a leg over. The Fox Factory suspension on both ends proved to be more than capable of providing a comfortable ride and confidence-inspiring control in the rough sections of the trail, all the while with excellent balance and minimal suspension bob under power.
So where does the Intense Tazer fit in, and who is the target consumer for such a bike? As we stated earlier, getting a great workout in aboard a pedal-assist MTB is completely possible; it's just way more fun with some help. Oftentimes, the most prohibitive aspect of getting into mountain biking is the element of physical suffering involved, and a bike like the Tazer could allow a new rider to experience the fun and adventure that time in the saddle offers, while at the same time easing them into the physically demanding part of it. As for us—motocross nuts with plenty of mountain biking experience—the Intense Tazer is quite possibly the most appealing bicycle we've spent time on!
The production Tazer Pro is expected to become available on intensecycles.com and in dealers by November 2018. Start saving your pennies!
Intense Tazer Pro
Frame: Carbon Fiber
Motor System: Shimano Steps E8000 25KM/H 250W
Battery: BT-E8010, FOR STEPS, 504Wh. Battery lock w/2 keys
Fork: Fox Factory E-Bike Float 36, 160 mm
Shock: Fox Factory Float DPX2, 160 mm
Front Wheel: 29" DT Swiss H1700 Hybrid 30mm Inner width
Rear Wheel: 27.5" DT Swiss H1700 Hybrid 35mm Inner width
Front Tire: 29X2.60, Minion DHR II
Rear Tire: 27.5X2.8, MINION DHR II
Drivetrain: Shimano SLX, 11-speed
Seatpost: Fox Transfer Dropper 150 mm travel
Brakes: Shimano XT Hydraulic Disc, 203mm Front and Rear