Intense Cycles M9 - 2014 $3,149.00
The Intense M1 was, for all intents and purposes, the first downhill bike that actually mattered. Sure, there were gravity bikes that came before it, but the arrival of the M1 signaled the beginning of downhill racing's modern era. There's a reason that during the '90s, nearly all of the world's best rode M1s, barely hidden beneath their sponsors' paint jobs. The sport has advanced considerably since then, but there's no denying that the Intense M9 Frame is in every way a deserving heir to the M-series crown. If you're willing to dedicate your life to standing atop the podium, the M9 is an immensely capable partner in your quest for glory.
There's occasionally some confusion as to where the M9 fits in, with Intense's shorter-travel, larger-wheeled 951 getting so much attention, so let us clear this up for you. The M9 is built as a World Cup race bike, plain and simple. It's not built to be nimble at slow speeds, nor will it be particularly well suited to recreational bike-park warriors. Its aggressive geometry and longer travel is aimed squarely at keeping you in control when you're trying to shave fractions of seconds on the steepest, roughest race tracks on the planet.
Part of the secret to the M9's ability to flatten terrain lies in its VPP suspension design. VPP employs two aluminum counter-rotating links, which allows it to eat square-edged impacts at wide open speeds, without sacrificing pedaling efficiency when you need to get on the gas. The upper link provides most of the rotation as the bike compresses into the sag point. This yields a vertical wheel path, which you'll notice in the form of a firm feel during acceleration. As the bike compresses deeper into the suspension, the lower link activates, moving the axle path rearward. The rearward axle path is key to letting the rear wheel travel out of the way of the high speed, square-edged impacts.
The suspension is highly adjustable, giving privateers the option to fine tune the bike to the staggering variety of courses you'll see throughout your season. You have the option of 8.5, 9, or 9.5 inches of travel, so you can tailor the ride to Leogang's sculpted dirt ribbons, or take advantage of the added travel for smashing rocks at Mont Saint Anne. The suspension is controlled by a World Cup-proven, Fox Factory Series DHX RC4 rear shock. In addition to having independently adjustable high and low speed compression and rebound, it gets Fox's Kashima treatment for a friction-free stroke.
Like the suspension travel, the M9's geometry is also highly adjustable. Starting at the front of the bike, you'll find a 1.5in head tube with an upper pinch bolt, which makes fitment and swapping of offset headset cups a breeze. That gives you up to 1.5 degrees of adjustment off of the stock 64 degree head tube angle. The bottom bracket height is adjustable from 13.75 to 14.2in, to maximize the planted feel in turns, or give you a bit of extra clearance in rocky sections. While the bottom bracket height is fairly ordinary for a World Cup race bike, when you consider the extra travel offered by the M9, you'll begin to see that it positions you close to the ground, for astounding cornering grip. And Intense's G3 dropout system allows for a half an inch of adjustment in chainstay length, from a neutral handling 17.25, up to 17.75in for warp-speed stability.
When you're experimenting with the razor's edge of control, the last thing you need to worry about is your bike, and the M9's burly aluminum construction instills the supreme confidence needed to ride without hesitation. The use of a formed, seamless down tube ensures correct alignment, and the lack of seams makes it the strongest option for a section of the front triangle that is under tension when riding. What's more, the tube forming enhances its resistance to denting, be it from wayward rocks, or unpadded chairlift hooks. But by using a monocoque top tube, Intense is able to increase the weld area at the head tube far beyond what would be possible with tubular construction. That increased weld surface means a stiffer, stronger head tube junction, and accordingly, the steering precision required to hold your line through rock gardens and greasy off-camber roots. The rear triangle is similarly burly, ensuring that the rear wheel stays in plane with the front wheel when you're hammering turns, instead of standing up under load, as can happen on a lesser machine. And the use of artfully machined shock mounts, pivots, and links ensures perfect alignment, so your suspension cycles smoothly even under high loads. This minimizes rider fatigue, and allows you to put 100% effort into the pursuit of the elusive perfect race run.
The Intense M9 Frame is available in three sizes, from Small to Large, and in the colors Flat Black, Works Raw, Flo Orange, and Intense Red.
Effective Top Tube
Head Tube Angle
Bottom Bracket Height
|S||22.0in||22.5in||15.5in||4.5in||64.0o (+/- 0.5/1.0/1.5o)||13.7-14.2in||17.25/17.5/17.75in||45.5-46.5in|
|M||23.0in||23.0in||16.25in||5.0in||64.0o (+/- 0.5/1.0/1.5o)||13.7-14.2in||17.25/17.5/17.75in||46.5-47.5in|
|L||24.0in||23.5in||17.25in||5.0in||64.0o (+/- 0.5/1.0/1.5o)||13.7-14.2in||17.25/17.5/17.75in||47.5-48.5in|