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Price: £3,299.00 / From: Intense Cycles,

Intense Cycles is one of those brands that has just got IT, whatever IT actually is. Bursting onto the scene in the early 90s, Intense and its owner Jeff Steber have always done things a little differently to the mainstream. So when news broke towards the end of 2017 that Intense was going direct sale - only in the UK, you could almost hear the collective gasp. For a boutique company that’s occupied a higher-end niche of the market, the move was a surprise to many. Then again, given growing competition from online direct-sale companies, along with more aggressive pricing from the bigger (and arguably better resourced) brands, perhaps it was only a matter of when, not if.

But while there are surely many good reasons for the change, this isn’t the place to debate them. This is a bike test after all, and it’s one that just got a whole lot more interesting. For two thousand very good reasons.

Just a few months ago, a 2017 Intense Primer Expert used to sell for £5,300 in a bike shop. For 2018, this bike (admittedly with a couple of spec changes) is selling for a staggering £3,300. It’s also now shipped free of charge straight to your door (with a torque wrench included in the box to straighten the bars), and because Intense Cycles UK only lists what it has in stock in its warehouse, orders are dispatched within 24 hours of you clicking the ‘buy’ button.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Chipps wonders what comes after the corner after the next corner. International Adventure: Soviet Singletrack: With military restrictions lifted, singletrack trails are waiting to be discovered on the very fringes of Russia. Column: A Glamorous Job: Jason Miles reveals that riding your bike a lot doesn’t necessarily make you healthy. UK Adventure: West Is Best: Pete Scullion goes wild camping on Scotland’s west coast, in the depths of winter. Bike Test: One Click Ponies: James Vincent tests out three bikes from Bird, Intense and Sonder - available to you at the click of a mouse. UK Adventure: Trail Hunter - Peaky Blinder: Tom Fenton seeks out some of the Peak District’s lesser known trails in the White Peak. Group Test: Packing Light: Antony de Heveningham checks out frame, hip and back packs in search of a bag that carries just enough for those local rides. Interview: Staying Ahead, Being Last: Rachel Sokal chats to Olympian and British Champion Annie Last about staying motivated, and cake. International Adventure: Finding Perspective In Lesotho Kristi Stump ponders the gap between her own challenges and those of the people she encounters during the Lesotho Sky stage race Column: Seduced By The TV Remote: Steve Longdon misses the days when we used to ride up hills under our own power and peel our own oranges. Wait, what? International Adventure: Internal Struggle Tom Johnstone nally makes the trip of a lifetime through Iceland’s remote interior. International Adventure: No Mercy In The Mountains Chipps takes a rather taxing holiday in the Pyrenees. Perhaps a change isn’t always as good as a rest… Last Word Barney Marsh admits he’s not getting any younger or fitter. At least he can do something about one of them.