Intense SlopeStyle 2
The SlopeStyle 2 is a new model for Intense Cycles for 2010. It replaces their previous SlopeStyle model with updated geometry, adjustable travel, and VPP2 suspension.
[Intense SlopeStyle 2 Gallery]
The first thing you may notice with the new SlopeStyle 2 is that it looks much like a miniature 951 in its shape. The ride is somewhat similar but in a smaller format.
Up front is a 1.5″ headtube. On this bike we’re running a standard 1.125 FOX 36 Vanilla RC2. We opted to go with a XXC Flush II top cup and a XXIV 1.5″ cup with a 1.5 -> 1.125 adapter crown. This allowed us to tune the bars height nicely on top, but gave a bigger/stronger bearing in the lower cup to help keep things smooth and help give longer bearing life.
The SlopeStyle 2 like the 951 has re-greaseable pivots so you can make sure things stay smoother longer. The lower linkage is reworked and the axles are flush mounted now instead of having a c-clip at the end. This helps give some more room for a chainguide to fit without any modifications. The lower linkage is also a bit different from the previous SlopeStyle in that the center of the linkage can’t get mud/small rocks / or grime wedged inbetween it from the front or back.
The bottom bracket and ISCG-05 tabs are welded fully as well.
Tire clearance is pretty good on the SS2, but it could be a bit more on the lower dropout area. We could easily fit a 2.5 in there, but there isn’t much room if you’ve got an out of true wheel or a very high volume tire for mud clearance. A mud fender of sorts would be nice as well since mud/debris likes to get flung in the lower VPP pivot area from the rear wheel.
The SS2 feels quite a bit stiffer when you’re pushing things in the rear end. This new cross brace that you see above probably has a lot to do with this. If you weren’t happy with the stiffness of the rear end on the older SlopeStyle, this new one might be more up your alley.
Another new feature to the SS2 is this upper link that has two travel positions. The top hole that you see the shock mounted in now gives it 6.5″ of travel. The lower hole offers 6″ of travel.
Up front we have a FOX Vanilla 36 RC2 and it has performed quite well. The coil front end offers good traction over low speed hits and takes big hits just as well. The RC2 offers low speed and high speed compression adjustment as well as rebound. Each knob on the FOX 36 Van RC2 out of the box was smooth and the detents in the adjusters were easily felt. The coil sprung FOX Vanilla fork comes with a few tuning springs to suit various rider weights and you can also quickly adjust the preload on the spring with a nice solid knob on top of the fork. If you’re looking for a fork to match up with a bike like this, the 36 should be on your list.
We bolted up the Cane Creek double barrel to the SS2 and it works quite nicely on here. The VPP2 suspension does feel a bit better than the first generation as it seems to manage a better balance of ride height, better pedaling, and better mid stroke support. In our opinion, the SlopeStyle 2 pedals better than the first SlopeStyle (uphill or downhill), handles rougher terrain better, and has a bit more pop when you need it to jump comparatively.
For wheels, we opted to go with the Mavic Crossmax SX wheels. They’ve held up to the job so far and have been impressive strength wise. The wheelset is easily convertible between 9mm, 10mm, and 12mm. To convert the wheelset out of the box to 12mm you just have to pull out the QR end caps. The wheels have 48 points of engagement to keep things snappy when you need power. The wheels have held up well and only needed some minor truing in the rear. The wheels are a bit proprietary, in that they use specific nipples and spokes, but so far they’ve held up for us.
You can’t go wrong with a Thomson seatpost on any build. Reliable, machined beautifully, and an easy go to seat post. For seat duties we went with a WTB Silverado. Unlike the older SlopeStyle, this new SlopeStyle 2 doesn’t have quite the same amount of seat post adjustability if you’re looking to pedal uphill as well. It is doable, but certainly not as easy as the older versions.
For braking duties we went with the Hope Tech M4 brakes. They work quite well for this type of bike. The external adjusters work smoothly and reach and bite point are easily controlled. If you’re looking for something that has good separation between on and off, these brakes fit the bill nicely. If the stock power is not adequate, you may consider upgrading to aftermarket pads or a more aggressive semi-metallic pad if you’re doing long descents to get some additional power out of the brakes.
The rear brake tabs on the SS2 are recessed so if you get a bolt that fits inside the hole nicely, you may run into an issue of the screws threading in past the adapter and potentially hitting the rotor. We used some Shimano bolts here, as the washers sit against the frame and stopped this from happening.
For the cockpit, we opted to go with the Race Face Atlas FR handlebar, Atlas Stem, and Sniper grip. Each of these parts comes in a melody of color options too so if you’re looking for something to snaz up your ride, Race Face has you covered. The bars come nice and wide at 785mm, so cutting them to taste or running them full width is easily done. The Sniper grips have a nice feel to them. They’ve got a similar feel to ODI ruffians but they’ve been a bit more durable than ODI Ruffians. They don’t have quite as gummy of a feel to them once broken in in comparison though. Check out Raceface.com to see all their color options on the bars and grips, as they really let you get creative in color options.
A Shimano Saint M810 shifter was used and fits the bill nicely on a bike like this. It offers snappy shifts and is a reliable shifter that keeps on ticking.
Moving to the drivetrain we went with Race Face Atlas FR cranks. They come in at a good weight and have proven to be pretty reliable for us. They come in a variety of colors much like the bar / grips. Fitting the cranks was pretty easy and they seemed to have refined their press system a little bit, as these took a little bit less umph to install.
We’ve bolted a ISCG-05 32-36t Straitline Silent Guide to this bike and it has performed nicely so far. The rollers are available to purchase in a variety of colors. We’ve had only a few impacts so far to it but its taken them in stride. The metal bashguard doesn’t seem to deflect impacts the same way polycarbonate bash plates do as once you hit it on a rock or harder surface it tends to marr the bash in some fashion.
The crossbar between the seatstay and the chainstay comes pretty close to the chain in our setup. We could space the cranks out a bit more to help give some more space but its worth mentioning that it is close.
Ah Straitline pedals. These things are great. Tons of grip and a good body behind it to give it some nice smashing protection. They’re not the lightest pedals out there but they’re some of our favorites. Easy to service and tons of grip. The gold pinned Jeff Lenosky edition you see here give the pedals a nice look out of the box. The thin gold plating on the top of the pins where you feet rest doesn’t last long though, one ride and the tops of our pins became a bit more silver.
The Saint M810 rear derailleur keeps on ticking. This one has been on a few bikes and is still going strong.
Gone are the familiar dropouts that Intense typically puts on most of their bikes. Instead, they’ve got a standard derailleur type setup. This helps keeps replacement hanger costs down compared to previous models, but they still are adjustable to take 10mm / qr / or 12mm with the use of the included adapters.
Looking to buy a SlopeStyle 2? Fanatik Bike Co. has got you covered. They’ve got a great staff over there who can help get you lined up with the bike or frame of your dreams.
Stay tuned for our full review of the SlopeStyle 2.
|Intense||Large Slopesyle 2 frame only||
|Intense||Seat Post Collar 34.9||
|Cane Creek||8.5 x 2.5 Double Barrel||
|Cane Creek||SS2 Shock hardware||
|Cane Creek||400 x 2.5″ Steel Spring||
|Intense||SS2 Shock Bolts||
[Intense SlopeStyle 2 Gallery] [Intense Cycles Website]