2021 eMTB SHOOTOUT

INTENSE TAZER PRO REVIEW

Photos by Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics

After giving the Intense Primer 275 a very positive review just a couple weeks before our eMTB Shootout, we were excited to see how the Intense Tazer Pro would perform. We knew it was going to be heading into a stacked field with some of the best eMTBs in the game. The bike provides some real fun on the trail and has some great characteristics but, despite having dialed geometry and giving our riders some of the best body position and fun in the corners, we could not get the suspension to perform how we’d hoped on rougher, square-edge terrain. Read on to see how this bike stacked up, where it performs best and how we tried to tune the suspension.

THE LAB
The 2021 Intense Tazer 275 PRO was slotted into our Enduro category sporting 160mm of travel up front with a buttery Fox Factory Float E-Mountain 38 fork with a 51mm offset and 155mm of rear travel managed by a Fox Factory Float DPX2 for our size large. Intense smartly spec’s XL bikes with a Fox X2 to better suit the higher weights of larger riders.  The Pro model we had in our fleet comes in at $7,499 USD while the Expert model lands at $5,999 USD.

As soon as you swing a leg over the bike it generates a very confidence inspiring, comfortable feeling thanks to its 475mm reach. For a size large, we feel wonderfully blends the mix of long enough but not too cramped. On paper this bike seems quite big with its wheelbase of 1,260mm and 450mm chainstays, however it rode remarkably agile through the tight rocky switchbacks St. George had to offer. With its middle of the road 64.9-degree headtube angle, it was bound to navigate those tight sections of trail both climbing and descending with ease. We like seeing brands breaking the mold and not always feeling like they have to throw 63-degree head tube angles on a bike. Through faster sections of trail, you did have to really work to keep your line choice but, we don’t blame the geometry for that. We’ll touch on this more later.

2021 eMTB Shootout: Intense Tazer Pro

Let us talk frame, this fully carbon monocoque chassis features a JS Tuned suspension platform, which is made up of two counter-rotating links that connect the front and rear triangles together. The frame also features internal cable routing for the dropper, brakes, and display unit. There is also a really cool integrated mud guard out back and is something Intense absolutely nailed on the Tazer. Our Pro build comes in at a respectable 51lbs, which is right up there with some of the lightest enduro ebikes in our test, and it rides light to boot.

Tucked inside the frame is a 504Wh battery powering a Shimano STEPS EP8 motor that puts out 85Nm of torque. The polarizing downtube looked like it was plenty big enough to fit a 630WH battery, and we think the shorter range of the 504Wh is a downside for riders wanting to ride farther or live in Boost mode like us. The Shimano Steps EP8 motor was always a pleasure to ride and provided plenty of power when cranking out of corners and a smooth delivery during technical climbs. The on/off switch for the battery was a little quirky, there is a rubberized button inlayed in the downtube with a “soft” press feel, it felt nice to the touch, but was difficult to tell if you pressed it enough to power on the system. To charge the battery there is a cover on the rider’s right side of the downtube that must be removed. While a few of the test riders were not big fans of this, some thought it was a cool feature, especially those that regularly ride in mucky conditions and need to wash their bike regularly.

2021 eMTB Shootout: Intense Tazer Pro

The rest of our Intense Tazer’s Pro build was a mix of e*thirteen and Shimano components with DT Swiss H1900 wheels. Shimano covered both the shifting and braking duties featuring XT Four Piston brakes both front and rear with both rotors being the 203mm in diameter.The derailleur and shifter combo is the Shimano SLX 12sp version, while it’s not XT or XTR, we did not see this as a holdup in any of our riding. The 180mm e*thirteen Infinite dropper offered great height but was our least favorite dropper in the group. The lever requires more energy and force to actuate than others and it felt like the lever throw was also longer. The e*thirteen E*Spec cranks did well, and we like the 165mm length with a 34T chainring. While we did get some pedal strikes, this was not a consistent issue and the 165mm length is a happy medium for this size large bike. The cockpit is all e*thirteen except for the Intense brand grips.

The DT Swiss H1700 wheels come wrapped in Maxxis Minion tires however we changed them out to our test constant to help level the field and eliminate variances on our test bikes. The front wheel comes in at 30mm wide and for the rear 27.5” wheel is 35mm wide and is in line with Intense’s MX philosophy.

2021 eMTB Shootout: Intense Tazer Pro Geo
2021 eMTB Shootout: Intense Tazer Pro

THE DIRT
Climbing: eMTBs are more than capable of getting you up some gnarly climbs, and the Tazer did not disappoint. We found that with that 27.5” rear wheel we were able to navigate extremely tight switchbacks easily. While you do sacrifice some square edge rollover resistance with the smaller rear wheel it was a good compromise that made this bike stand out against the rest of the Enduro category bikes.

Another area the bike stood out, and not in a good way, was how it handled chattery and square-edge bumps. When coming off other eMTBs with softer, plush feeling rear ends, the climbing comfort and planted feel was very different. This is a characteristic we also noticed on the downhills and we will discuss it more there. We played with the shock on the Intense Tazer more than any other bike in our shootout trying to get it right. We played with sag settings, volume reducers and found that completely opening up the LSR definitely improved the ride feel but that “chattery” feeling was still there. The JS Tuned link kept us high in the travel and would say that the upside to this firm feeling suspension is efficiency and speed. So, if you regularly ride smoother trails, fire road climbs or flowy singletrack, this bike will be quick and efficient.

The 75.4-degree seat tube angle kept us in a great climbing position when things got steep. There were no questions about the geometry of the cockpit when it came to mashing up hills. The 450mm chainstays added to the confidence when things got steep, there was no random wheel lifts and traction was excellent when our weight was shifted forward on hill climb challenges.

The EP8 motor was consistent with its smooth power delivery, while it may not be an outright torque monster that the Bosch system is, there was really no feeling of needing more power.

2021 eMTB Shootout: Intense Tazer Pro

Descending: The balanced geometry of this bike made it a confidence inspiring machine when pointing downhill. Something all our testers loved about the Intense Tazer was the feeling of being “In” the bike. When standing in attack position all our testers felt comfortable and powerful. It really gave us the feeling that we were part of the machine and as we turned and leaned, so did the bike. The 27.5” rear wheel made it really snappy through chicanes and allowed us to change lines with minimal effort. For riders coming in on the inside line, the bike worked well as it liked to square up corners and change directions quicker than some of its 29/29 competitors in this category. Slalom-like corners, big sweepers and high-speed berms all make the rider and bike smile.

Getting away from the smoother bits of trail and fun corners we want to talk about something every one of our testers felt and ran into during our time in St. George. Each rider noted that the bike felt very harsh on square-edge hits, skipped the back tire around and caused foot/hand fatigue on long descents. When placed side by side with other eMTBs and coasting downhill fire roads of embedded stone, the Intense Tazer decelerated and hung up more than other bikes and quickly fell off the back.

2021 eMTB Shootout: Intense Tazer Pro

Since Cole just came off the Primer with some great experiences, he took his love of suspension tuning and accepted the challenge to make the Tazer feel better. Before we talk about what we did we want it to be known that we went from 200psi and ended up with around 285psi in the shock, and test rider weight varied from 160lbs to 175lbs. So, quite a lot of psi in there for our weight. We opened the shock up and inspected the reducer size and swapped it out for the largest option from Fox. LSR was dead center, and we put the shock down to 220psi hoping our issue was solved, but it was not. We went back up to 250psi and completely opened the LSC. While this made a difference, the problem was still there. We were continuing to bottom out aggressively and had some crazy feedback in the pedals from the shock. This really takes away from the traction on high-speed flat corners where small chattery rocks lay in wait. After a few days I was able to adapt and expect the rear to pack up and kick out, not ideal but we made it work. I landed on 270psi in that DPX2 to give us enough support while still having some small bump compliance. We know that DPX2 is a great shock and has been one of our favorites in modern bikes, but we feel that it was just not up to the task paired with this linkage. The X2 offered in the XL’s could theoretically provide better ramp up and more fine tuning with HSC.

With that issue aside, this bike was one of the better cornering bikes in the category. It absolutely ripped steep berms as I hoped it would. The reach and chainstay length combo really hit home for me and I would not want anything different in that regard. When it comes to jumps it is livelier than some of the bikes in category like the Niner WFO, but we would not go so far as to say it was the lightest or poppiest in group. You still had to work for those little gaps as you do with most eMTBs. There was one section of trail we hit multiple times that had a 10 to 12 foot stepdown into an awkward uphill rock roller. We were very comfortable scrubbing the stepdown and managed to keep enough speed to triple up and out of the next feature. Depending on your local terrain and ride type, this bike could be a fast, cornering weapon, or not.

2021 eMTB Shootout: Intense Tazer Pro

The Wolf’s Last Word

The 2021 Intense Tazer Pro blends the gap between AM pedaling performance and Enduro capable geometry. The geometry is spot on for a bike of this category and we absolutely love the way we sit “In” the bike when twisting and leaning the Tazer around. Aside from the dropper post and 504Wh battery, the build kit leaves very little to be desired, but the harsh feedback and suspension feel on square-edge terrain, really take away from the bike. Since we spend a lot of time charging at big rocks and edges, the deceleration and discomfort are too big to overlook. If you live in areas with smoother, swoopy and flowy trails and want something that shreds corners and jumps well, then this bike could be worth a look.

Price: $7,499
Weight: 50.14-lbs
Website: Intensecycles.com

SPECIFICATIONS

CHASSIS
Frame: Tazer Performance E Monocoque Carbon | 155mm
Fork: Fox Factory Float E-Mountain 38 | 160mm
Shock: Fox Factory Float DPX2

ELECTRONICS
Motor: Shimano EP8 | 250 W, 85 Nm
Battery: Shimano BT-E8010 | 504Wh
Display: Shimano LCD

COCKPIT
Brakes: Shimano XT 4-Piston | 203mm
Shifter: Shimano SLX | 12spd
Headset: Cane Creek 40
Handlebar: E*Thirteen Base | 800mm
Stem: E*Thirteen Base | 40mm
Saddle: SDG Bel-Air
Seatpost: E*Thirteen Infinite Dropper | 180mm

WHEELS
Wheels: DT Swiss H1700
Front tire: Schwalbe Magic Mary 29 x 2.6″
Rear tire: Schwalbe Big Betty 27.5 x 2.6″

DRIVETRAIN
Cranks: E*Thirteen E*Spec 34t | 165mm
Cassette:
Shimano SLX | 10-51t | 12spd
Derailleur: Shimano SLX | 12spd
Chain: Shimano SLX | 12spd

2021 eMTB Shootout: Intense Tazer Pro

We Dig

Geometry
Build kit
The feel of being “In” the bike
So fun to corner

We Don’t

Harsh rear end suspension
Bulbous downtube
Dropper post lever

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