In the flesh: 2013 Intense Tracer 275

The 'big three' – Giant, Specialized and Trek – make some cracking mountain bikes but there's just something about US ‘boutique' brands like Santa Cruz, Yeti and Intense that gets the heart beating that little bit faster. Maybe it's the race history, the staff's passion for riding… or just the fact some of their bikes look so blinkin' gorgeous! Here's a case in point: the Intense Tracer 275.

We showed you press shots of this 650b-wheeled beauty back in the summer but now we've got one in the office, and with its 'works raw' finish it's like some kind of bead-welded tractor beam, inexorably drawing people over to have a sneaky look. Check out the photos to see what all the fuss is about. More info at intensecycles.com.

Unlike most of its rivals, the Tracer 275 isn't just designed and assembled in the USA – it's built there too. Picture by James Costley-White

Unlike most of its rivals, the Tracer 275 isn't just designed and assembled in the USA – it's built there too

The '275' tag refers to the bike's 650b wheels – a first for Intense (though the Carbine can now be converted to this size). Picture by James Costley-White

The '275' tag refers to the bike's 650b wheels – a first for Intense, though the Carbine can be converted to this size too

The wheel size may be new but those welds are classic Intense. Picture by James Costley-White

The wheel size may be new but those welds are classic Intense

The Fox Float CTD shock gives 5.5-6in (140-152mm) of buttery-smooth rear travel. Picture by James Costley-White

The Fox Float CTD shock gives 5.5-6in (140-152mm) of buttery-smooth rear travel

The Tracer 275 uses Intense's proven VPP suspension layout, licensed from Santa Cruz. Picture by James Costley-White

The Tracer 275 uses Intense's proven VPP suspension layout, licensed from Santa Cruz

Out back are Intense's replaceable G1 dropouts, which allow you to switch between 135x12mm and 142x12mm hubs. Picture by James Costley-White

Out back are Intense's replaceable G1 dropouts, which allow you to switch between 135x12mm and 142x12mm hubs

The Tracer 275's 13.3in bottom bracket height and 17in chainstays should keep things snappy in the corners. Picture by James Costley-White

The Tracer 275's 13.3in bottom bracket height and 17in chainstays should keep things snappy in the corners

With chunky 2.35in tyres fitted, there's not a lot of mud clearance. Picture by James Costley-White

With chunky 2.35in tyres fitted, there's not a lot of mud clearance

Our test bike is fitted with a Shimano Deore XT transmission and brakes, and Easton cockpit kit. Picture by James Costley-White

Our test bike is fitted with a Shimano Deore XT transmission and brakes, and Easton cockpit kit

A Fox 34 takes care of front end damping duties. Picture by James Costley-White

A Fox 34 takes care of front end damping duties

Tyre choice is still limited for 650b wheels. Our test bike has 2.35in Kenda Nevegals, on Novatec wheels. Picture by James Costley-White

Tyre choice is still limited for 650b wheels. Our test bike has 2.35in Kenda Nevegals, on Novatec wheels

The Tracer 275 seen here is Ric McLaughlin's new long-term test bike. Check out his video first look for Mountain Biking UK magazine:

Source: Intense Tracer 275 – First Look from Mountain Biking UK

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