2021 INTENSE PRIMER 275 PRO REVIEW
Words & Photos by Cole Gregg
Long before I got this 2021 Intense Primer to review, I had a strong fascination with Intense bikes. I grew up racing the Fluidride Cup in the PNW, which later became the NW Cup. I saw Intense logos and bikes all over the place. This was the heyday of the M3, a bike I saw under many of the top riders and even some of my luckier friends. From then on, I had always wanted to ride an Intense. Fast forward ten plus years and I had yet to throw a leg over one. That all changed when the 2021 Intense Primer 275 Pro showed up at my door at 11am on a Tuesday. By 1:30pm I was already out soaking up some epic PNW loam. Needless to say, I was excited to see what this 140/150mm mountain bike was all about.
The 2021 Intense Primer 275 has a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to geometry. There is an adjustable flip chip that has a Low and Lower setting. In the Low setting you will have a 65.9-degree HT angle and a 75-degree seat tube angle with a 345mm bottom bracket height, keeping the bike snappy on tight switchbacks and agile on the climbs. The Lower setting drops the bottom bracket by 7mm to 338mm and slackens the head tube by .6 degrees to 65.3 as well as the seat tube angle by .7 degrees to 74.3. You also get a 10mm wheelbase increase in the Lower setting.
Our large test bike has a reach of 475mm, which falls right in the sweet spot of not too short and not too long. The Lower chip setting drops the Primer 275’s reach 6mm down to 469mm. At 6’1” I found this to be quite comfortable in all types of terrain, I never found myself wanting more or needing less, it was a good balanced feel. The Intense Primer has 440mm chain stays that give plenty of confidence through high-speed terrain while not sacrificing too much agility on switchbacks, the kick out on Scandi flicks was super predicable.
The Primer 275 frame features monocoque carbon construction technology with a dual strut rear triangle, the upper link is also made of carbon fiber, while the lower is aluminum. Holding all the frame bits together is titanium hardware, something we do not commonly see on OEM spec’d bikes and is a sweet bonus for those weight weenies out there. Speaking of weight, the Intense Primer 275 Pro complete bike comes in at just 30 pounds 15 ounces which is appreciated on longer days. The frame alone weighs just 6lbs 14 ounces. The internal cable routing has tubes for the shifter, dropper and brake cables, keeping this bike ultra-quite on the trail. There are also ISG05 mounts for those that want to run a chain guide.
The 2021 Intense Primer is offered in two build options Pro and Expert.
Our Primer 275 Pro model features a 150mm Fox Performance Elite 36 fork with the Fit4 damper and a 51mm offset. Out back there is a 140mm Fox Performance Elite Float DPX2 with the 3-position adjustment lever. This is a shock that I have been very impressed with and is a perfect fit for an all-around trail smasher, which this bike most certainly is.
Rolling stock comes in the form of 27.5-inch E*thirteen LG1 30mm Enduro race wheels wrapped with a Maxxis Minion DHF up front and DHR 2 out back. Both tires are 2.4” wide in EXO+ casings. E*thirteen also supply the crank and dropper post spec. The cranks are the TRS+ at 175mm in length with a 32-tooth chain ring. The E*thirteen Vario Infinite dropper comes in at 180mm for the large and XL models, and 120mm for small frames and 150mm for mediums. I would have loved to see 200mm droppers on the large and XL though.
The Primer 275 Pro cockpit consists of Intense’s own bar and stem combo, the bars are 780mm Recon Carbon Elite and the Recon Elite stem comes in at 50mm. The Intense grips were better than expected but for my hand size they were a bit thin. They did not cause any extra hand fatigue as they were plenty plush but took a few rides to acclimate to.
Stopping the Intense Primer Pro are a set of four-piston Shimano XT M8120 brakes with 180mm rotors. To keep you smashing through gears on tough climbs there is a Shimano XT 12-speed derailleur out back that worked flawlessly with the Shimano shifter. The XT brake package was a perfect fit for this bike. The XT 12-speed system worked without a hitch for the entirety of the test rides, I never once adjusted the barrel or any adjustments on the derailleur. I am a big fan of index finger shifting so that was a nice bonus as well.