While chatting with another reviewer at Outdoor Demo I asked which bikes he was stoked about and he mentioned the Intense Spider 29comp. Syd (element22) also recommended this bike to me before the show so I knew I had to check it out!
The Spider 29comp is new for 2013 and it’s nothing like the original Spider 29 (why they didn’t change the name is a mystery). With a 68.5-degree head angle and up to 5-inches of travel, this Spider moves away from the XC category and gets much closer to becoming a true trail/enduro bike. As a point of comparison, the “regular” Spider 29 features a 70.5-degree head angle which places it solidly in XC territory (though it does offer up to 4.75-inches of travel).
And that’s just the beginning of the differences between Spiders. The 29comp features a full carbon frame with beautiful internal cable routing. Even the rear derailleur cable is internally routed trough the swing arm! The Spider 29comp is designed to work with either a 120mm or 140mm fork. Intense also added ISCG05 mounts for those running a chain guide.
The Spider 29comp features Intense’s patented VPP suspension system and a G1 rear triangle with replaceable drop outs for a 135mm or 142x12mm rear wheel. The bike I tested featured a 142x12mm rear wheel which was a very nice touch.
Out on the trails at Bootleg Canyon the Intense Spider 29comp was a blast to ride! This bike is a very capable climber thanks to the lightweight build–the naked frame weighs just 5.5 pounds. While the Spider 29comp seemed to bob a bit unlike the Specialized Stumpjumper I tested earlier in the day, I suppose some of that could be tuned out with a proper suspension tuning. Still, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get this bike to the top of the hill.
Once the trails tilted down the Spider 29comp really shined, besting the Stumpy in soaking up the chatter and lofting over rocks. On G-outs this bike bounced back with verve and seemed to add its own momentum to the ride. In the turns the shorter stem really made a big difference in handling; I’m used to riding a 110mm XC-style stem so this was a revelation. The internally routed dropper seatpost was also a joy–I definitely need to get one of these.
The Intense Spider 29comp is a really fun bike to ride and is part of a new crop of 29er trail-ish bikes hitting the scene this year. Like others in the latest crop of long-travel 29ers, the Spider 29comp climbs well enough and is absolutely bomber on the descents. Thanks to the latest tech, the Spider 29comp is lightweight yet it’s still up for rolling over almost anything.