Before I received this bike in the mail, I had only ridden one other ebike- a prototype Pivot Shuttle. I only had one ride on the Pivot, but the bike worked pretty gosh dang well. It was set up a bit differently than I’d set up my personal bike, but it was a great all around ride, especially for the desert moto trails we were riding.
Fast forward almost a year, and when I was sorting out my deal with Jenson USA, I asked if they could get me an ebike. I’d actually noticed the Tazer when it first debuted, as it was one of the very first ebikes to feature not just a mullet wheel size combination, but a meaty 2.8 rear tire with a more reasonable 2.6 front. The geometry looked good, the frame was carbon, and they’d done a great job on integrating the motor and battery while still allowing for easy mid-ride battery swaps. Since Joe and I each burned through two batteries on our two hour ride, I wanted to be sure I could carry a spare battery.
Immediately upon hopping on the bike, I really liked it. The weight was not unmanageable. Certainly noticeable compared to a normal bike, but it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t bunny hop or jump the bike.
My first few rides on the bike were really good! The short rear end kept the bike feeling poppy and lively. With the weight of the battery on the down tube, this is really critical. It’s going to be harder to yank that front end up, so the short rear helps.
The higher BB height allowed me to pedal through some rough sections of trails where I’d normally catch pedals. The bike came stock with 165mm cranks, and I’ve also swapped a couple of my traditional bikes over to 165s. The shorter arms provide more clearance, and for me, they make it a lot easier to spin a faster cadence while standing up.
The slack head angle kept handling on steeper trails very within my wheelhouse. I tend to lean bikes, rather than turning the handlebars, and that slack 65° head angle is the same as my Ripmo.
The seat tube angle is quite steep, but not so much as to be a liability. It’s a degree steeper than the Shuttle’s seat angle, and while I do like it on the steep uphills- on flatter, more rolling trails, a slack seat angle can be a nice advantage on an ebike. Wait, what? Yes- if you can sit and pedal your ebike through the rough stuff it’ll track a lot better. Steep seat angles put a lot of weight up front, which is not helpful when you’re bashing through the gnar. Anyhow, it’s a moderate 75° on the Tazer- a good compromise.
The Shimano M8000 motor and mostly SLX drivetrain is a GREAT combo. That 11 speed Shimano stuff is SO SOLID, I find it to be a great choice for an ebike. The cassette is also a close ratio unit, which is another nice detail. Speaking of details, Intense did a fantastic job when they specced this bike. 200mm rotors front and rear, 4 piston brakes, 11 speed drivetrain with a close ratio cassette, 165 cranks, a 2.6 front tire with a 2.8 rear tire but with the same tread pattern, a 30mm wide front rim, and a 35mm wide rear rim. Those details all add up to make this bike ride very well out of the box.
Unfortunately, I did run into an issue with the upper battery mount. It vibrated loose and was no longer connecting properly to the battery. When this happened I was mid-ride, and with minimal prior ebike experience, I hadn’t brought any 2.5mm Allen keys (just a multi tool) and had to ride back to the van without any e-assist. With pedals and the fender, the bike is around 50 pounds, so while the Shimano system has almost no noticeable drag, it’s still a heavy rig to be pedaling. After a quick call to the Intense HQ, they walked me through the pretty easy process of re-adjusting this Shimano mount (remove the plastic cover held on by the smaller screw, then that will expose two larger bolts that determine the adjustment). I’m not expecting the battery to loosen again, and really, any bike equipped with the very popular Shimano M8000 STEPS system could suffer from an experience like this.
I’ve been riding this thing whenever I get a chance, and I’m very excited to try swapping a few parts out to those that I’m more accustomed to riding. Stay tuned for a follow up video!!!
A big thank you to Jenson USA for lining this up!