The Intense Recluse has been let loose, and the reviews are in. This is a solid all-mountain bike that climbs as well as it descends. The most evocative description we’ve come across is: “a spider on steroids.” It might make you a brown recluse; remember to not kill your friends on rides.
Travel is a place where people look to determine if a bike fits their needs. The rear travel is 140mm, the front on complete bikes, 150mm. The geometry was designed around a 542mm fork length and 42mm offset.
Intense is a big fan of short stems and shallow head angles. They play with both to get the right ride for the rig, and so it changes depending on the bike’s purpose. Here, they’ve got with a 50mm stem and a 66-degree head angle. they match this up with an effective 75-degree seat angle (72-degree actual), and a wheelbase that’s short enough to make the bike still feel like it’s moving when the going is slow and stable when the going is fast. Helping with this are the 419mm stays, which keep the wheel tucked under you, and also help resist lateral forces.
Helping keep the bike tracking well is their decision to go with Boost spacing for the rear wheel and crank. The 148x12mm thru-axle strengthens the wheel due to more even spoke tension, stiffens the bike thanks to a better bracing angle, and allows for wider tires, too. You’ll need a boost-specific crank to go with the BB92 bottom bracket, but you can choose between single- and double-ring applications, giving you options in terms of gearing and riding styles.
The front derailleur, if you go that way, mounts via a direct mount, which makes installation easy. They also build in ISG 05 mounts for chain guides, if you want to go that way. Cable routing is internal, and there’s even routing room for a dropper post, which would come up from underneath, and go into a 31.6mm round post. The head tube is setup for installing a 1 1/8” to 1.5” tapered steerer fork. The brake mount is International Standard and tuned for 160mm rotors standard. Thanks to their ability to mold carbon-fiber, there are rubber Flack Guards built into the lower downtube and around the right chainstay.
The JS Tuned suspension helps the suspension go farther than you’d normally expect from a 140mm-travel bike, though going beyond normal is what Intense is good at. The rear end pivots on oversized bearings, both radial and angular contact, to keep the system free of lateral slop and never sticking. They even designed in replaceable grease zerks to make maintaining the bearings fast and easy.
For the Recluse, Intense created molds for the front and rear triangles, and then lays up the carbon inside the molds. The advantage of carbon is always the precision of which you can set the shape and apply just the right amount of material in the right place. And then you can modify by changing the quantity and modulus of the plies. As a result, there are three different carbon mixes across the Recluse platform. The lightest, the SL, weighs in at 5.55lbs with titanium hardware and without the shock. the standard 5.98lbs.
The Intense Recluse enables you to crawl over everything.