One Year Later: Intense 2951 29er DH Prototype 26

About this time last year, Jeff Steber of Intense Cycles introduced the 2951 prototype to the world...a 29-inch wheeled downhill bike built from a modified 951 frame. Vital MTB visited the Intense factory in Temecula to speak with Jeff about the bike and see it in action.

Here's the video from last year:

Fast forward one year. Had Intense gone further with the bike? Had they tested it more or tweaked it? The answer is yes. Intense is still testing and tweaking the 2951. Craig "Stikman" Glaspell of Intense filled us in on the current status of the bike and sent over these new photos.
  • There are currently 2 prototypes being tested
  • Just because we can, we're testing a 69er version (26-inch rear wheel). The "jury is out" on the 69er set up, but we figured it was worth trying.
  • Intense G3 dropouts allowed adjustment for the perfect bottom bracket height
  • The hardest part of the progression so far is getting racers to actually use the bike in a competitive environment. JD Swanguen (Intense Pro Rider) is really excited about the bike, especially in rocky conditions. With the help of his sponsors, JD may be racing the 2951 in 2011.
  • Tires are still the biggest limiting factor in a competitive downhill environment.
  • CRC Intense team manager, Nigel Page, rode the 2951 prototype at a Southern California test track that is very steep and tight, a place we wouldn't expect the bike to shine. He was impressed by the capabilities of the bike and rode it for a good portion of the day.

One Year Later: Intense 2951 29er DH PrototypeOne Year Later: Intense 2951 29er DH Prototype
Most recent 2951 prototype with 29-inch front and 26-inch rear wheel (aka 69er)

Why not? Intense put a Cane Creek Double Barrel and Manitou Dorado on a Tracer VP 29er with Hammerschmidt. A true, aggressive 29er trail bike.

The future is out there and it seems like most riders who have thrown a leg over the 2951 are surprised and stoked on the potential. Only time will tell (I hope we see more of it in 2011!)

Have your thoughts or views on the potential of this 29er DH rig changed since this time last year? Let us know in the comments.
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  • Varaxis

    3/26/2011 10:34 AM

    Anyone have the lowdown on how JD's run on the 2951 at Fontana SRC Pro DH went? I only know of his result for sure, but rumors are that JD was a bit out of shape and it was a pedally course and he could've easily got a few extra places if he had a bit more aerobic ability.

  • 1tonycaruso

    2/1/2011 2:17 PM

    I rode the Intense 29r at Sea Otter last year. Really loved the bike. Super fast but still hard to accelerate and manual on. The manufactures are really missing what I see as the common sense evolution/ solution for big wheeled dirt bikes, the 650b.

  • Antonis_Virvilis

    1/8/2011 5:32 PM

    I am a lit bit comfuse. The 2951 is the same frame to 951 and the only difference is that there is a dorado with a 29er wheels in front?

  • E_braker

    11/21/2010 12:01 AM

    As an Engineer, years ago I predicted that many people would make this logical transition to 29ers for DH use. I was going to buy a Beefed up Tracer 29(like shown above) or a 951, but have been waiting for the 2951 love child to make its debut (hopefully soon??) I am eagerly waiting with $$$ in hand, am exited for the end product. Please, lets see this come to pass. If not, how close is the geometry to the Tracer? I have taken the pictures and done some analysis from the "visual" bike specs. Please stop dangling this AMAZING Carrot in front of us. Especiallly the blue Doug Henry/Yamaha colors, are you trying to kill us from Bike Lust??? I don't know if I can take it much longer.... Oh, and I like the idea of having the option for a 26" on the rear for certain conditions as well.

  • Morpheous

    11/17/2010 5:44 AM

    The larger wheel makes sense for DH (esp in the front) I would suggest INtense tries a 650B (27.5") approach, you get the benefits of the larger footprint, dont give up all the wheel strength (spokes only 7mm longer), and they dont feel as big or sluggish as the 29ers in steering. I have been running these for over a year on my trail bike with good results. (I just built up a FR bike with 650bs as well. Good stuff.

  • Big E

    11/13/2010 5:59 PM

    This bike is flat out sick! I would love to throw a leg over her!

  • ColoradoDirt

    11/12/2010 7:05 PM

    I am a believer. Bigger footprint, more traction thus more railing. I am not ready to switch out my 26 DH... But if I could afford 2 big bikes, I'd be all in

  • Michael_Dziewior

    11/12/2010 3:56 PM

    Ahh some things will never change, eh? People who donĀ“t like 29ers (and probably haven't even tried one in their size and correct setup) seem to feel an uncontrollable urge to diss the big wheels. I ride a 26" DH bike and a 29er XC bike, and feel more than excited about the prospect of trying a DH 29er.
    Props to Intense for keeping their minds open, unlike some people here.

  • intensecycles

    11/12/2010 7:21 AM

    Before the 29er haters go thinking we gone all 29er crazy, be reminded we currently one have ONE 29er in our lineup of 10 bikes. We haven't gone completely batsh1tcrazy. did see these m9's we did right?,1743/oct292010_intensepix19,12573/intensecycles,2130,1770/Intense_Renault-1,13003/intensecycles,2130

    Thanks to vitalmtb for sparking some good discussion and thanks to all the commenters on keeping the dialog rich.

  • Pininator

    11/11/2010 11:26 PM

    Watching that vid, I'd be a little worried about gnurling my nads on the rear tire if I got too far back off the saddle. Could be a painful learning-curve!

    Seriously, though...interested to see where this thing goes. I could see it having some advantages in certain types of courses.

  • exlax1

    11/11/2010 11:11 PM

    God Andrew VanZuyen is such a beast. There's really no other way to put it. He's nothing less than the sexy love child of a one-night-stand between a male bear and a male werewolf. not too shabby on a moutain bike, either.

  • bpatterson6

    11/11/2010 9:44 PM

    I'd love to take one of those 2951's for a spin down a few trails here in Colorado! I'd love to see how someone like myself who's 6'1 230 would handle a bike with 29er wheels. I've noticed that Maxxis is now offering more tires in 29". Nothing in the DH range like Minions or high rollers or any DH casings. but more XC like Ignitor, Crossmax, Ardent, Ikon, & Beaver. Also now offering welter weight tubes 29x1.9/2.35. I'm guessing that tire technology will catch up in the next 2 years for 29er DH casings if we start to see other companies following suit building frames and more companies like Marz, Fox & Rock Shox making forks for the big wheels. It's interesting and I think there is definitely a nitch for it.

  • swilson669

    11/11/2010 9:28 PM

    29 inch tires = more rubber on the ground at all times, as well as more rotational weight

    on the surface it seems like these bikes cant be good for racing, but it will be interesting to see how companies respond to the faults of a 29 inch wheel in designing their frames and components. however this doesn't mean that these bikes wont rip...we'll see soon enough!

  • zach morris

    11/11/2010 9:10 PM

    personal niner feelings aside, props to intense for your speedy retort and rich history of progression in mtb.

  • intensecycles

    11/11/2010 8:51 PM

    Zach Morris...

    We started Intense Tires in the late 90's, but turned our focus to bikes again and soon sold the licensing rights to Toby Henderson who has ran the Intense Tire and BMX brand for us, for almost 10 years. We can't directly control what tire models are produced...that being said, Toby has begun a proto EDGE Intense tire and we should have them soon.

    Some of you haters might think this is wack, but we are just playing around with it, seeing where it is better. Just wait till we get on the '29er DH Tandem' craze and the '29er Fixie' craze.....sick

  • zach morris

    11/11/2010 8:23 PM

    Tires are still the biggest limiting factor in a competitive downhill environment.

    umm... aren't you a tire brand, intense?
  • Luis

    11/11/2010 2:51 PM

    29 inches? Why? I'll never buy one, sure...

  • brandonschmit

    11/11/2010 12:38 PM

    I haven't laughed that hard in a while. Classic and on target for 95% of those attracted to 29in bikes. That being said, fat, rockered powder skis received the same reception years ago. Take a look at the 2011 ski product lines this year. Nick is spot on in that some instances, larger diameter wheels may be beneficial on certain courses. Would I trade my 26in dirt jumper for a 29in dirt jumper? No. Doesn't make sense. You could argue that 26in is too large based on how good the 20in community is when riding trails/park. When trying to go down a mountain quickly, and putting aesthetics aside, 0%-10% faster times for myself made me take notice. I approached it logically by systematically timing runs (n=3 per bike) down the same course throughout the day on the two bikes I feel very comfortable on (My 26in Specialized Demo versus 29in Lenz Sport PBJ - both weigh in just under 40lbs). It made a believer out of me. 0% on Silky Johnson (which is a testament to turning least I wasn't slower), 5% faster on Cheese It/Tron, 10% on Cougar and around 5% WP downhill course. Perhaps faster riders wouldn't see this advantage? In the few races I've done, I'm about 20% off the fastest course times as a gauge. I still have a lot to learn, wagon wheels or not .....


  • sspomer

    11/11/2010 10:53 AM

    @bturman's youtube vid: "are those the same friends that wear fanny packs and sandals with socks?" LOL

  • bturman

    11/11/2010 10:48 AM

    HAHAHAHAHAHA. Just found this randomly. Entertaining response (not mine) -