First test ride Intense Uzzi 2012

After the delivery of various components ordered on the web, weighing and mounting, it is now time to get into real life and talk concretely about THE BEAST and its performance. Here is my feedback after my first ride with my Intense Uzzi 2012. A VERY big thank you to Intense Cycle France and Narbaix for their help and support throughout this project.

Detailed mount available here.

I will try to share with you my impressions on the bike, but also key components:

  • The frame Intense Uzzi, 2012
  • The damper Cane Creek Double Barrel Air
  • Tires Schwalbe Hans Dampf,
  • Brakes Formula R0.

To set the scene, this first test was held on a ride of just over 37km with 500m +D /-D.

Test Ride Intense Uzzi 2012

Test Ride Intense Uzzi 2012

Intense Uzzi 2012 Frame

The M size is perfect for my Size 1.79 m. It is mounted with a 70mm stem and a Reverb seatpost, resulting in a central and neutral position. Bar has 720mm width and 20mm rise, the chest position is ideal. As soon as you sit on the bike, shoulders and arms fall naturally on the controls. Low seat position on the Reverb, you’re comfortable in the bike; in high position, the weight is slightly forward and can be accentuated by the lower 140 position on the Fox Talas, avoiding the rear suspension to bob too much. Ideal for climbing: the bike does not pitch up, even in very steep slopes (see movie). A neutral position is easily found and I am surprised after only a few km to become more and more confident, and start to attack in downhills and the first jumps. You feel immediately at ease.
The position is not tiring and average distances 35-40 kilometers can be done without problems: no pain in the back or shoulders, either in upward or in downward position of the Reverb  seatpost.

In terms of settings, I chose the medium base position of G3 rear dropouts: I had originally planned to put the G3 wheelbase in short position, but with the tires Hans Dampf in 2.35, this left less than 2 mm between the tire and the suspension arm. Given the still largely unfavorable weather, I decided to return to the middle position to ensure adequate clearance. As a consequence, the bike was never stuck despite the mud still very present. The VPP2 provides a good behavior with very limited kickback (22-36 chainring).
Cane Creek headset Angleset has been set with a setting of -0.5 °, to increase the angle from initial 65.5 to 66 °. But be careful: with this headset, the fork adjustment knobs are only 1.5 mm below the downtube!
The 66° setting is right: the bike is never over- nor understeering. It turns better than my Yeti ASR5-C!
For this first test, the bike  is both stable on downhills (thank you the length of the rear and the angle) and agile in single tracks (thank you the right balance and position and the right length of the top-tube), with a remarkable stability in fast curves.

I’m looking forward to my visits in the bike park of the Alps, where compromise stability / maneuverability should be a hit. Meanwhile, in the forest in the Paris suburbs, the bike is placed where you want: it is a weapon to singletrack. A simple pressure on the brake and the rear right triggers a slight drift, controlled, and the bike is placed in pins. Moving on, bike provides self confidence and should help  charging more forward should  improve efficiency in order to progress.

The geometry is simply MAGIC, with a choice of angles and lengths of tubes remarkable.

Finally, the frame is also very rigid. Nothing to do with my Intense 6.6 where the back was flexing, providing some assistance in the operation in turns! Here we are in the realm of strength: there is no sense of strain (despite some washy jumps with approximate landings). The suspension works well in the axis of the chassis, allowing extremely precise steering. When pedaling, the VPP is a real hit: the power is transmitted to the ground, whatever the ground conditions. A real pleasure and devilishly effective. Beware, however: by attacking all the time like the frame pushes you, burn out comes rapidly.

In summary, this is a brutal downhill bike that is a real missile, absorbing everything, the slightest shock to the large root / stump. But the same bike, uphill or on flat, offers a stunning performance despite its travel, thank you the 14.97 kg of complete assembly. I’m sure 50 or 60 km with its perfectly possible, without necessarily having the strongest condition.

Below the first images:

Cane Creek Double Barrel Shock Air 2012

I started with standard settings, or rather « factory » settings for the shock: I did not change the positions of the screws of high and low speed compression and rebound. First attempt to 110PSI in shock: it seems a bit soft, with a sag to 38%. Transition to 120psi, but the SAG remains at 35%?!? I’m confused. Well I decided to take the ride with 115PSI. And finally, for a first run, the results are stunning: front and rear are homogeneous. Both have been used in 96% of the total travel during the trip! Magic.

Rear does not blow through, no break point either: the VPP2 works on top, the shock despite new, seems ready for DH, breaken through, not sticking at all.

Rapid parking test: when dropped from a meter, both front & rear don’t bump at all. And when you press the center of the frame … front and rear sinks simultaneously.

No pro-predal nor locking system, but it is ultimately not necessary: the shock did almost not oscillate. In fact you ride into the suspension and it works perfectly to keep the rear wheel on the ground, using the travel around the 36% of SAG, a happiness! It is a good example of suspensions and kinematic state of the art

The next small point improvement is not on frame nor shock: I must add a little more low-speed compression on the fork. Probably because my riding on the Uzzi is more aggressive than on the previous frame and the fork dives way too much when braking.

Then it will try the bike on very bumpy areas including viewing behavior in series of shocks.
In all cases, the first observation is clear:

  • The Cane Creek Double Barrel shock AIR won his bet: it behaves like a spring, providing smooth & plush suspension, grip and traction.
  • The « standard » setting of the damper is a good starting point.
  • Overall frame + shock is very homogeneous and matches perfectly a Fox Talas RC2 36,180.

Clearly, with such a bike, a podium is feasible a regional DH!

Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35

I chose a pair of Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35×26 tubules Ready Snakeskin, Trailstar for the front (soft compound) and Pacestar for the rear (harder compound). Tires are also a big surprise.
First good news: mounting on Crossmax SX 2012 is very easy. Mounting the first bead of the tire on the rim, NoTubes liquid is added, then mounting the second bead with a single tire lever. Compressor, double « click » and it’s all over! I never had the chance to mount a tubeless tire as quickly. Noticeable, there is tire direction as it is symmetrical.
On the trail, front pressure to 1.9 bar and back to 2.0 for the first run. Second observation: despite a particularly sticky and muddy ground, the two tires ran pretty well without getting stuck.
The tires offer excellent side grip , with a gradual drift, always under control. Differentiated compound front & rear is interesting because the rear tire does not seem hard to roll, passing efficiently power to the ground, not soaking too much energy.

The tough climb in the video shows the astonishing grip of the rear tire on soft ground. The front tire offers the same capabilities while braking, making driving very safe (cumulative to the frame, fork and brake, you can afford to brake very late).
Now the two tires are quite noisy in the dry, we are dealing with such large tires enduro / DH and roll sounds.

Formula brakes R0

Mounted 200mm front and 180mm at the rear, I took them with reach & bite adjustment. This first test may not be too representative as they still need to be breaken into, and also tested on long downhills.
Compared to my previous The One brakes, the most obvious change is their progressiveness:  you can finally brake calmly and without fear a halt blocking the front, especially in slippey conditions. But power is still there, and strong: the more and more you tighten the lever the more it slows down, and even very strong, phenomenal. The power appears superior to The One, probably because you simply dare to brake strongly as it is progressive. It approaches the behavior of Hope V2. In all cases, nose wheelies are easy and safe. If reliability is present (I have not always been very happy with my previous Formula over the long run), this is probably a new reference brake.
More stories to come …


One Response to First test ride Intense Uzzi 2012

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