The guys at Intense were cool enough to let us in on this secret a little early, and I was able to get out for a morning on the new Tracer 275 Carbon. I had ridden the Carbine 275 Carbon last summer, as well as the SC Bronson, while both capable, the VPP suspension has always seemed very dependent on the CTD functions, and just never "snappy" enough with regard to power transfer from the pedals. I won't lie, my first impression of the bike without riding it was, "great, another longer travel VPP bike", thankfully the Tracer 275 proved me wrong.
Before riding that morning, I took a harder look at the Tracer's geo. The 66.5 head angle, 4.5" head tube, 17" chain stays, and 13.5" BB height all had me liking what I saw. Once on the trail, the Tracer 27.5 kept those good vibes going. The claimed weight of the Pro complete bike is 28 lbs, my SB95c weighs in at 26.5lbs, but the Tracer didn't pedal like is was 1.5lbs heavier, and pedaled noticeably lighter than the Bronson. The real surprise was the Monarch Plus rear shock, it provided great power transfer and didn't move in standing efforts (disclosure, I'm 5'7"/140lbs). I left the shock in the open position the whole ride w/ 30% sag. Climbing up the Tracer did well, the 160 Pike only wandered going up the steepest sections. Overall the Tracer was the best climbing VPP bike I've been on, beating the Bronson and the 5010/Solo in terms of pedal induced shock movement.
Descending is what this bike is built to do, and it doesn't disappoint. The aforementioned geometry makes for a stable, snappy ride that handles the steeps without issue. The Reverb stealth dropper post, the ever capable Pike fork, and the Monarch Plus shock worked in harmony to handle the roughest sections of trail, and left me thinking, "I don't even need to pick a line!".
The build kits on the Tracer are what I see a lot of people speci'ng their custom builds with. X01 1x11, Shimano brakes, wide bars/short stem, dropper post, and stout wheels/tires.