Here’s our first ever INTENSE Dream Build… the INTENSE Sniper T
For those of you that don’t know, Dream Build is a modern day phenomenon. The brainchild of filmer Gee Milner, Dream Build records the birth of a bike from boxes full of components into a complete machine. Every tiny detail is lovingly shown… fitting, greasing, tweaking, adjusting.
There are no words spoken, very subtle background music, just a mechanic in a workshop carefully, methodically and precisely building a bike. In Norway they have this show called ‘Slow TV’ where millions of people tune in to watch log fires burning, train journeys or people knitting! Dream Builds is ‘Slow TV’ for mountain bikers and people LOVE it. In this modern day and age of super quick cuts and edits the slow (almost natural) pace of Dream Build is a welcome distraction. It’s got a bit of a Zen vibe to it all.
And Dream Build is successful, very successful. In just three years the channel is close to tipping 100 million collective views, with one build just about to hit the magic 10 million mark. So we were of course delighted to find that Gee and his team were featuring one of our frames in one of their builds, our INTENSE Sniper T. The news got even better when we found out that this wasn’t just a random build, but one specifically for mechanic Rick Bailey. Just in case you don’t know, the Sniper is our full-on XC offering, with 29” wheels and modern geometry. The Sniper T is its slightly burlier sibling – a bit more travel (120mm instead of 100mm), riser bars, a dropper post, more aggressive tires, etc., – dare we call it, a ‘downcountry’ bike!
We grabbed a few words with Gee to explain a little more.
So Gee, who is this bike for?
The bike is for the main Dream Build mechanic Rick. Whilst he has mountain biked since he was a kid, the last few years he’s really got into hill climbing and with that comes a mild obsession with weight. We wanted to create a bike that wasn’t just light but was also durable and capable for riding in the Peak District (a wild, rocky, steep, tough and beautiful area of the UK) where we live.
And the spec?
Lots of Shimano. XTR 12 speed (only XT mech available at time of build) mechanical is simple and effective whilst not weighing too much either. We went for the single pot XC brakes, because do you really need massive downhill brakes in the UK on a short travel trail bike? They also have carbon levers which are cool. I’ve worked with Beast Components in the past. They’re relatively small German brand who make some lovely components which have performed flawlessly for me. They also look really striking with exposed carbon. Their wheels are somewhat of a hidden gem combined with bomb proof and cheap to maintain DT Swiss hubs.
Suspension is taken care of by FOX with their step cast fork up front. It’s crazy how skinny this fork looks compared to the new Enduro stuff coming out nowadays, but if you compare it with a standard 150mm travel 32 Talas from back in the day... it looks beefy!
Tires are Pirelli, which again I would also say are a hidden gem of the cycling world. I think people are always quite apprehensive about going away from the popular tyre brands, I know I was, but the Pirelli range absolutely rips. Of course they don’t make a DH/full-on Enduro tyre just yet, but I have been seriously impressed by their rolling resistance and abilities in the wet and mud around here.
What were the reasons for Rick choosing the Sniper T?
The Sniper T seems to be at that ‘sweet spot’ for mountain bikes at the moment. And yes, I did use the word ‘mountain bike’ and not ‘Downcountry’ or ‘XCDuro’ or whatever phrase is currently being used. For the kind of riding we do here where you’re out pedalling for hours on end, having a short travel, capable bike seems perfect. I honestly believe that the vast majority of UK riders would be happiest on this kind of bike. It’s a bike that allows you to enjoy the mountains, putting the ‘mountain’ back into mountain biking I guess.
The Sniper T is also a slight step up from the XC race ready rig that the normal Sniper is. The little bit of extra travel just allows you to get away with more on the descents, without losing anything when you need to go up.
INTENSE is an iconic brand for you?
INTENSE was always an iconic brand to me and I think for pretty much everyone of my age and older. Not only were the bikes being raced at the highest level by some of the best riders in the world throughout the history of mountain biking, they also looked seriously cool. The first ‘proper fancy’ mountain bike that any of our group of riding friends got when we were kids was an INTENSE Tracer VP. I just remember that stunning red paintwork and I wanted one of my own so bad. I guess that was when ‘XC bikes’ were starting to be rideable and fun downhill rather than the terrifying death traps that they had been in the years previously. We had some cool memories and rides with my friend riding that bike, I hope he still has it.
Have you ever owned an INTENSE?
Nope, but one day I will.
Do you have a favourite INTENSE bike from over the years?
My friend’s Tracer. If only every bike had that paint job.
Has the success of Dream Build taken you by surprise? It has gone crazy with how successful it has been.
Yes and no. Whilst it was a bit of a gamble and I took some risks setting the whole thing up in the first place – smashing my overdraft on very expensive bike components being the main risk – I thought it had the potential to be a winning formula, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken that risk. Of course whilst I was optimistic, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised and overwhelmed to some extent at just how big Dream Build has become. It almost seems like it is its own genre. It’s pretty cool looking back on everything and how much has been achieved. I’m definitely proud of what I, with the help of others, have achieved.
INTENSE SNIPER T ‘DREAM BUILD’ SPEC
|INTENSE Sniper T, Medium
|FOX Factory Float 34 SC, 120mm
|FOX Float Step Cast 34, 120mm
|Beast Components Riser 15mm bar
|Beast Components MTB
|SHIMANO SLX (because we couldn’t find an XTR one)
|SHIMANO XTR, 12 Speed (only XT mech available at time of build)
|SHIMANO XTR XC Race
|Beast Components MTB
|FOX Transfer, 150mm
|SHIMANO XTR, 172.5mm
|SHIMANO XTR, 34 T
|SHIMANO XTR, 10–51
|Beast Components XC30
|Pirelli Scorpion XC RC
|Cushcore XC 29 inserts, Muc-Off sealant