The Intense Tazer Ride Report

 

I want to give a big thanks to Jenson USA for making this whole thing possible!  Jenson sponsored this video, and was also able to arrange for a loaner Tazer to be sent to me for the last 4 months.  Jenson is a leading online retailer with a huge variety of ebikes, traditional bikes, and all the parts you could ever need.  Also, anything purchased from that link will also help support my channel.  Thank you for your support, and big thanks to Jenson!  I’m also sponsored by Ibis Cycles (I ride their bikes in half my vids), PNW Components, Industry Nine, Shimano, Kitsbow Cycling Apparel, and Kali Protectives.

Nose wheelie
Nose wheelies on the “big girl.” At only 49 pounds, the Tazer is one of the lighter traditional ebikes available. Yes, a Levo SL is lighter, but that’s a very different type of ebike.

I’ve noticed two distinct uses for the ebike.  The first is self shuttling, and the second is riding what I call “terrible trails”.   No, I’m not very good at naming things!

  • For self shuttling, rather than using a chairlift or pickup truck, the ebike is an easy way to get multiple laps in on a hill- usually about the twice the laps of a traditional bike.  This type of use means the bike is being ridden downhill above 20 MPH, and therefore when the pedal assist is not available for most of the descent.  
  • Now, for what I call “terrible trails,”  I’m talking trails that are baby head to basketball sized rocks, stuff that’s basically unrideable on a regular bike. The extra torque and weight of the ebike allows it to get through some insane rock gardens.  Ebikes also make a lot of flat trails a lot more fun.  Instead of plowing along at 5-10 mph, the speeds increase to ~double that.  Instead of a constant battle for forwards progress, you can start to find a flow and have fun through these trails.  
This is an example of a “terrible trail.” The steep grind of a climb and techy flat stuff is rideable on a regular bike, but not exactly fun. The ebike opens this stuff up for a whole new experience. The type of trail you seek out with an ebike should be pretty different than what you’d ride on a regular bike!  At least, that’s the case for me.
SEND! Big hucks are very doable on the Tazer. However, I got a little nervous with the battery placement that far forwards.  I used more high speed compression than on any other of my bikes to help with this.  The Tazer will fall nose down a lot sooner than a traditional bike. Riding style can compensate for this pretty easy, but there is a learning curve.  I am curious to try some of the European ebikes that have a more rearwards biased battery to see if that indeed helps.
Intense Tazer
The Tazer. Available in two colors, black or yellow, I’d personally go for the yellow if I had a choice. Black is fine but shows dirt sooner than a brighter color.

The needs of a self-shuttle ebike are quite different than the terrible trails ebike.  The shelf shuttle bike needs a big fork, something like the 38 or a dual crown. It also needs a steep seat angle for those steep climbs.  The battery position should be as centralized as possible.  Since most of the descending will happen above 20mph, the handling of the bike is critical.  Now for the terrible trails type of ebike, a slacker seat angle can be really beneficial, as it allows the rider to stay seated and pedal through a lot of chunder, using that motor and power for a technical advantage.  A higher BB can allow for more clearance and for earlier pedaling out of turns.  A slightly shorter wheelbase keeps the bike nimble in these awkward situations.  

Nose wheelie close up
See how close that front wheel is to the downtube? The 36 fork is flexing quite a bit with this much load on it. Not a huge deal, but noticeable.
Steep seat angles are great on steep climbs. But they aren’t for every trail! These put rider weight more on the front wheel. If you need to be seated and pedaling through a rough section of flatter trail, then the slacker seat angles are nice.

I’ve only ridden three ebikes to date so this is not some sort of all encompassing review of the Tazer to all other ebikes.  It’s simply my experiences with the Tazer, and I found the Tazer to me much more of a “terrible trails” style of ebike.  Which is a good thing- that’s going to be more applicable to more people than the self-shuttle type.  I did do a ton of self shuttling on it, but I would change a bunch more parts if that was my predominant use for the bike.  

Cornering on the Tazer was good! The weight wasn’t much of an issue at all, and on tighter trails I would start pedaling pretty early, allowing the motor to accelerate and pull me through the turn.

The Tazer is VERY light.  It’s 49 pounds in stock form.  Most of the weight is positioned well, but I did feel the battery was placed a little high and a little forward when pushed hard on really steep and really jumpy trails.  Since I have such a weird riding style of hanging way off the back of the bike, this worked well for me in the turns.  When nosing in on jumps though, it was a little bit of a challenge to feel as confident as possible.  However, at slower speeds, the weight positioning was a non-issue.  And you could say that the slightly slacker seat angle is compensated for with the battery weight being farther forward.  

Battery placement in the downtube. It’s OK there, but man, moving it rearwards would be sooooo cool!

For this style of riding really nasty trails, the VPP suspension did a great job.  This design feels a bit more stuck to the ground, and while pedaling, it maintained good traction, even through rough surfaces.  The leverage ratio is solid for “monster trucking” through sections.  However, as a smaller rider myself, normally I try to jump over as much chunder as possible.  This is why I have such a bouncy riding style.  The VPP can be ridden this way, but I did add a volume reducer to combat bottoming.  I also added quite a bit of low speed compression.  Normally I prefer the DPX2 over the X2, but for this bike, I’d be curious to try it with an X2.  Since I was hunting for more bottoming resistance, I don’t think a coil would be that great, as it would need a lot of high speed compression to keep from bottoming, and that’d likely create a very over-damped feel.  For the terrible trails, you’d want the damping fairly open, and a progressive spring curve, like the air shock with a big volume reducer, would allow for more open high speed settings.  

Tazer shock
The DPX2 shock was a good spec choice from Intense.  I went for a .8 volume reducer to make the suspension less prone to bottoming.  

The stock spec of this bike in the “expert level” trim was AWESOME.  I spent the first month on this bike almost completely stock.  I swapped the cockpit over to my personal PNW Components bars, stem, grips, and Loam Lever.  PNW Components has sponsored me for a few years now, and not only are their parts really comfy, they’re what I’m used to riding on all the rest of my bikes.  

Tazer controls
My PNW cockpit. I’m using a Bachelor 170 post, a Range 45 stem, Range KW bars cut to 760mm, Loam grips, and the Loam Lever.

The first real performance based change I made was to go to the PNW Components Bachelor 170 dropper with a WTB Silverado saddle.  The stock Fox Transfer post was good, but I’m used to 200mm of drop.  The Fabric saddle was quite comfortable, just as comfy as my favorite WTB options.  But it was too tall to allow me at 5’8” to fit the 170 dropper on my size medium Tazer.  Going to the thinner WTB saddle helped allow for more clearance, though it was a little narrow for such an upright riding position as the Tazer.

WTB Silverado saddle
WTB Silverado saddle is the lowest stack height saddle I’ve found to date.

 

By going to the lower height saddle, I was able to squeeze that 170mm post in there. The new Rainier IR would be a GREAT post for this bike too!

I rode both flat and clipless pedals, and since your feet are your throttle, I really do like clipless for this application.  With more practice on flats I did end up getting more used to them, but still, to pedal through the real rough stuff, clips will always be more controlled.  Now for a self-shuttle though, I’d probably stick with flats.

Shimano saint pedal
My current pedal choice- Shimano Saint flat pedals with the bigger pins swapped in. Yes, Shimano has sponsored me for a while now- and I’m honored by that!

Next, I swapped the wheels. The stock DT Swiss wheels were SOLID.  They were stiff and strong and rode very light.  However, the rear hub only had 24 points of engagement.  Going to the Industry Nine Hydra system wheelset meant I had 692 points of engagement.  That was a nice upgrade for the slow, trialsy stuff and meant that I had a bit more control when using boost mode on tight trails.   You can upgrade the DT system to 54 points of engagement, FYI.  I still prefer how solid the Hydra system is, as it’s engingeered to utilize some natural flex to make for a very smooth and reliable engagement.  

Industry Nine Hydra rear hub.

The stock Maxxis Minion DHR II tires were really good.  I rode these in some crazy wet, snowy, and muddy conditions, and they impressed me.  The cornering traction was SOLID and predictable.  I did want more braking traction for our crazy slippery conditions, so I threw my all time most favorite tire, the WTB Vigilante, on the front and the rear.  I kept the stock sizes, so a 29 x 2.6 front and a 27.5 x 2.8 rear.  The cornering traction improved in the wet, though likely wouldn’t be as good in the dry hardpack, and the braking traction was immensely improved.  

WTB vigilante
I ended up running WTB Vigilante tires in a 2.6 up front and a 2.8 in the rear. This was a GREAT combo for steep and loose trails! Probably not as good as the stock DHRII tires for dry hardpack, but we only have dry hardpack for a few weeks in late summer here in Bellingham.
In soft dirt, the deep knobs of the Vigilante hook up well.

For a terrible trails build, the stock mullet wheelsize combo felt good.  The stock 165mm cranks are spot on, and the wider 177mm Q factor is really comfortable for me.  The XT M8120 brakes worked awesome, and the 11 speed SLX drivetrain with the narrow ratio cassette has been SOLID. 

As a terrible trails build, I wouldn’t change much from where I’ve got it now, though CushCore would be a nice upgrade.  I did try the Trust Shout fork, and it did not work well on this bike.  It wasn’t nearly stiff enough for the extra weight of the ebike, and it also made it a lot harder to get the bike airborne.  

The Trust Shout fork was a TON of fun on my Ripmo V2. But on the Tazer, I preferred the traditional, telescoping Fox 36 fork.

I wish I didn’t have to send the Tazer back, but I’m going to work with Jenson to try to get some more ebikes in the shop.  I’ve really enjoyed the Tazer.   It’s a solid trail build that can easily handle some aggressive self shuttling.  The volume reducer in the rear shock helped the rear suspension a ton, and the longer dropper post was a great upgrade.  I can definitely recommend the Tazer as a well sorted eMTB.  Remember, Jenson USA, the sponsor of this video, is a leading online retailer of Intense bikes.  If you want to learn more about the Tazer, or the rest of the ebikes that Jenson offers, please do hit this link!

My old M1, back in 2004, racing downhill at Snow Summit resort in Big Bear, CA. The M1 is one of my all time favorite bikes!

What other ebikes would you like to see on the channel?  Lemme know!

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