If the Tazer name rings bells for you, then yes, this is a re-introduction of the name.
However, no longer is this one of Intense’s aggressive hardtail or 4X full-suspension bikes that the name graced back in the day — the new Tazer is the first e-MTB Intense has set its hands to, and with Jeff Steber at the helm of its development, the legendary brand is aiming to make its mark on the market.
An e-optimised chassis
As with the rest of the Intense range, the frame is constructed from carbon fibre and uses its JS Link suspension system. Intense says this has been optimised for e-MTBs, with the additional weight of the motor and battery requiring a slightly different tune to non-assisted bikes.
The frame sports 150mm of travel, but more interestingly, two wheel sizes, with a 650 x 2.8 inch plus wheel and tyre combo out back, and a 29 x 2.6 inch wheel up front. This, theoretically, gives you the precision of a narrower (but still chunky) tyre at the front with the grip of a plus tyre at the back.
The Shimano STEPS battery and motor are located as low down as Intense could manage. Keeping thing simple, Intense uses a standard Shimano battery, hidden behind a removable plate in the downtube.
Few of Intense’s bikes are particularly radical when it comes to geometry, however, Intense has stretched the Tazer compared to the rest of its range — a size large frame has a reach of 475mm, with the 64.9-degree head angle and 450mm chainstays giving a wheelbase of 1260mm. This is fairly long in the grand scheme of things.
This reach is backed up by a seat angle of 75.4 degrees and a BB drop of 12mm.
Nearly top-tier kit
Intense will only offer one Tazer model, priced at £6,899 in the UK and $7,590 in the US. For the money, as you’d expect, the kit is nearly all top-end stuff.
A Fox Factory Float DPX2 shock controls the 150mm of rear wheel travel, while there’s a 160mm Fox 36 Factory fork (the eMTB version) up front with the latest GRIP2 damper offering buckets of control.
The bike rolls on a pair of DT Swiss H1700 wheels. These have 30mm wide alloy rims up front paired with a 35mm wide rim at the back to support the odd-sized tyres. Both wheels are fitted with Maxxis'triple compound Minion DHR in 2.8” at the back and 2.6” at the front.
The shifter, mech and 11-42t cassette are all Shimano SLX. Shimano also provides the stopping power, with its 4-pot XT brakes and 203mm rotors on the front and rear.
To keep pedals from constantly grounding out on technical climbs, Intense has specced a 165mm crank. An e*13 chainguide is also fitted for security in rough terrain.
While most Shimano-equipped e-MTBs use its ‘traditional’ Di2 shifters, with a vertically mounted dropper lever, production bikes (not my test bike though) will come with a toggle shifter for the motor’s modes and an under-bar lever.
A Fabric Scoop saddle sits atop a Fox Factory Transfer dropper with 150mm travel on the large (the small gets a 125mm drop post and the medium a 150mm). Intense’s own finishing kit completes the package.
Intense Tazer e-MTB first ride impressions
At 182cm tall, I was firmly in the large bike sizing range. However, this is a coverall for the entire Intense range — as yet, there is no XL-sized Tazer available.
On a regular trail bike, I would be more than happy with a reach of 475mm, but on the Tazer, riding on the twisty trails around Barcelona, I came away feeling that the bike was a touch too long for my tastes.
Generally, extra length adds stability, but so does additional weight when it’s low in the bike (i.e. where a motor and battery would be). This made the Tazer feel incredibly planted on fast straights and over the rougher trails that I rode during my test ride.
The flip-side of this stability is that when it came to tight, twisty trails, the Tazer required some extra muscling to get it to feel sprightly and agile between the trees. Additionally, this wasn’t helped by the 45mm stem, which on a bike like this felt rather long — dropping it to a 35mm should aid cornering feel and ease the ability to weight the front wheel on loose terrain, boosting cornering confidence.
Your impressions may, of course, differ to my own — if you generally enjoy riding faster, rougher tracks then the longer geometry of the bike could well work for you.
However, other aspects of the bike’s performance left little to be desired.
Once I’d backed off some compression damping from the DPX2 shock, the JS link suspension felt well-tuned. The initial part of the stroke didn’t feel harsh in any way and there felt like there was ample progression in the stroke too — I don’t think I achieved full travel during the day’s riding (with more time I would play around more with the shock’s settings), despite some rather un-refined landings.
As we found with the Canyon Spectral:On, the mixture of wheel sizes feels like a good idea on e-MTBs — while the 2.6” rubber up front is still ‘wide’, it feels like it still has a precise, non-wallowy feel that wider tyres can suffer from, meaning it’s easier to thread the bike through technical terrain. At the back, the well-supported 2.8” tyre boosts grip, helping the bike muscle its way up steep climbs.
I will be getting a Tazer to ride for longer-term testing, and I will have the option of a size medium bike. Other testers on the Tazer launch felt that the medium sized bikes felt much snappier round tighter corners, so I’m looking forward to seeing what option suits me best on my home trails. Look out for a full review soon!