Canadian Cycling Magazine

Intense Sniper T 29 Elite

Going big for cross country and beyond

- reviewed by Terry Mckall

Going big for cross country and beyond

What is a cross country bike? A few years ago, it would have been a super-light rig with short travel, a hardtail with steep angles. A bike like Intense’s Sniper T, with its 120 mm of travel and 66.5-degree head-tube angle, would have got sideways glances from anyone showing up at the ride in Lycra.

Times have changed. Modern XC racing requires speed down, as well as up inclines. A better way to define a cross country machine might be any bike that wants to cover big kilometres, up hills and down, fast. The Sniper T absolutely fits that bill. With a low weight and efficient pedalling, the bike encourages pushing that little bit harder on the climbs and accelerati­ng out of every corner.

Once you crest a hill, Intense’s long-travel XC bike absolutely flies on the descents. With slack angles and a more stout back end for 2020 model, the Sniper T has your back when the trail gets rough. While the purist, 100-mm travel Sniper XC model shaves weight with an asymmetric rear triangle, Intense added a second vertical strut to the rear triangle of the Sniper T to improve lateral stiffness. The added grams are worth it when you run into the unexpected in a marathon XC race.

While the Sniper T’s progressiv­e geometry numbers – longer wheelbase and slacker head-tube angle – pay dividends in speed and smiles on the descents, there is a trade-off. When it comes to the tightest and steepest of uphill switchback­s, keeping the front wheel down requires some attention. Unless you only ride up corners, the compromise is worth it. The Sniper T carries speed very well through all other turns and over rough trail.

The Elite model comes with the decked-out parts kit you’d expect from a top-end bike. At $8,600, it’s not a l ow price tag, but the bike has components you might expect on a machine that costs more. A Fox Factory Float 34 Stepcast fork provides enough support for aggressive descending, with a Kashima-coated Fox Factory Float dps shock keeping things light out back. Carbon-fibre xcx wheels from e-thirteen and even a KS Carbon lev Ci dropper post match with a XX1/X01 12-speed Eagle mix from sram and Shimano’s always reliable XT brakes. In the Sniper T, Intense has made a bike that is light enough to race and fun enough to hunt koms on your local trails. Whether pointed up or down, the bike is made for speed. The added strength to the cross country bike’s back end matches its progressiv­e geometry and parts build, allowing you to push the pace on the descents. While testing the Sniper T, I rode a large section of the BC Bike Race’s opening stage in the Cowichan Valley. It’s exactly this type of technicall­y challengin­g marathon race, one that ventures well outside the traditiona­l stomping grounds of cross country racing, where the Sniper T is designed to excel.

“Once you crest a hill, the long-travel XC bike absolutely flies on the descents.”

 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada