I gone done a thing...2002 Intense M1


Old School Hero
I'm sure some of you will have seen this for sale recently. It was originally up for too much money, and if truth be told I still paid too much for it given how much the market's on its arse, but I sorted it for a price I was willing to pay and that's the main thing. If truth be told I thought I'd missed the boat on getting an old M1 back in the stable, although what I paid for this would have picked me up a full bike pre-Covid. In fact in early 2018 I saw a white one like this as a full period build with 888's and Hope brakes for about the same price as this cost me for just the frame but at the time I was about to take voluntary redundancy from work and had six months of climbing in the alps planned, so I wasn't exactly willing to spend the money, even if in time I probably would have been able to sell just the components off for the cost of the full bike. Oh well, c'est la vie. At least the white wasn't as desirable for most as the red was, whereas for me it was the only colour to have!



So it turned up today and I was actually pleasantly surprised by the condition, I think it's in better state than mine was after the first season on it, the bearings all seem original and still in great shape, and the paint is good too although someone's done something daft with polishing the edges of the chain stays so I'll need to sort that.


The bump stop on the Progressive 5th Element needs a replacement too as it disintegrated completely when I pulled the spring off. I used to service these shocks myself back in the day but it's been a while and I don't have the necessary clamps any more, so I'll see if I can find a bumper that I could warm up and squeeze over the end eyelet. If that fails I'll just suck up the cost and get Jake down at Sprung Suspension to give it a rebuild like he did to the Manitou Swinger on the Rotec as all the seals are still available, albeit not as a single kit! I'll not shim stack it though as I never had the M1's shock rebuilt away from the SPV/platform valve setup. There's also no Ti spring, just an underweight steel thing at 350lb which makes me think it's really not had a hard life. Annoyingly it wasn't that many years ago that I sold the Ti spring I originally had on mine, especially as most more recent examples are pretty short compared to the RCS/Progressive ones.


Kit wise for building it up I've pretty much got all the stuff I need, albeit it will mean pillaging the pile of parts I've got for the Animal 222 rebuild, but as that still needs repainted and some revised decals printed it's further away than this is so all's fair and all that. When it was first built it was an absolute ticklist of top drawer stuff; X-Lite, Easton EA70, MRP, mk1 Boxxer World Cups with nickel stanchions, Chris King etc. Wheel wise I have some spare 36h Hope Pro2's but they're too recent, albeit visually similar to the original 6 bolt Bulbs I was running, and they're running mk2 EX823 rims too. I also have Mk2 Mavic Deemax's that I actually did run briefly on mine, so they may be the interim choice, but then again I'm missing the adaptors for a non-12mm hub. That said they're easy enough to machine up on the lathe.

Back at the end of '02 I was riding for Sandy Wallace Cycles and had been for a few years. He was a great guy and really looked after those who didn't take the piss. I'd got my previous Animal 222 from him and was looking for its replacement. I briefly borrowed a Yeti DH8 through a friend who was racing for them at the time but after two months it was riddled with more cracks than an SNP budget and so I looked at something different, and the M1 was top of the list. I'd ridden with Pagey the summer before when he was running the proto frame with the bolt on seat tower which used the earlier FSR monocoque with modifications to run the longer 9.5" Progressive shock and the bike just seemed so trick and factory, back when bike stuff seemed all exciting to 16 year old me, and it had left a lasting impression. I've still got the receipt from the original build.

Compared to all my other builds which have been documented on here post-build, this one is very much going to be an 'as I go' kinda thing. I've got some Hayes brakes, the original stem and cranks, and a seat clamp I can take from the M9 as I never ran it on there originally. Things I'm looking for if anyone has them or knows where to find them (at reasonable prices):
- Easton EA50 31.6mm seat post with the red/yellow logo
- Easton EA70 Monkeybars in grey with 2.5" rise
- MRP World Cup 2
- Race Face Signature ISIS 118mm BB
- Rock Shox Boxxer World Cup (original 7" lowers + Nickel stanchions), or just the Nickel stanchions.
- Tioga Nicolas Vouilloz signature saddle

It also gives me somewhere to stick this chain stay protector that's been on numerous toolboxes for the past 20 years!

The frame number shows this to be an early one. So early it was still being made of parts from the first generation of FSR frames. The first gen could use all the holes on the swing link to adjust HA and BB but because of the size of the 5th shock this wasn't possible on this version, only the top two holes on the link. This one has been machined away post-anodising which also points towards an early batch. They removed the threads from the lower hole too on this one so you didn't end up clouting the piggyback on the underside of the seat tower, even though this one had the hammered dent applied to the underside to help clearance.


I was thinking about replacing the yellowed decals (any hints for removing the yellowing?), but they're otherwise in good shape so I think I'll leave them be. Aftermarket replicas are close, but things like the metallic silver bits are impossible for most producers to replicate which swung it for me.

First day out on the original:

Probably the following winter at an Inners Brass Monkey race:

This was a full page pic in Dirt Mag back in the day (pretty cool that I've had a few full pagers over the years and my dad got a cover shot), and thanks to Mike it also made an appearance in Intense's recent history review that they were posting on their US site and instagram:
Looks in lovely condition, must have been a very light rider for a 350lb spring.
Didn't notice my new decals don't sparkle till you pointed it out :mad:.

There is just one thing you are missing:LOL:
Looks in lovely condition, must have been a very light rider for a 350lb spring.
Didn't notice my new decals don't sparkle till you pointed it out :mad:.
Yeah, stock was 400lb and at 75kg-ish I was running 400-450lb (lighter on smoother tracks like Inners etc, heavier on Fort William/Rheola/Bala etc), and I was relatively smooth! Didn't stop me snapping many sets of seat stays and cracking a set of chainstays though.

Which era of decals did you go for? These '02's should have sparkly silver, and the circle pattern grey carbon effect should be sparkly too. On the '03's it's an actual carbon effect and that has a sparkle. I have the same 'problem' with the repros I've got for the Tazer; the yellow is too pale, almost citron, whereas it should be much deeper, and the silver is just grey. It's missing detail around the lettering too. I'm not complaining though, I bought them knowing their limitations, and given you can't get originals anymore it's the best I can do!

There is just one thing you are missing:LOL:
View attachment 841423
Not. A. Bleeding. Chance. 😂
Mine is a 2001 medium that I bought from new and came with the vanilla shock with a 450lb spring, though I later bought a 550lb and 650lb when I decided to turn it into a freeride bike, Didnt have much in the way of decent hills locally and ended up most of the time digging and riding a local quarry.
Luckily never had anything serious go wrong on mine beyond regularly bending shock bolts and some dings and dents.

Bought the decals a while back off ebay before I decided a respray was in order , they were the only ones and seemed pretty much as I remembered (Though I removed all the stickers when I first built it as I used to ride in some pretty dodgy areas) I should have the originals on an old toolbox at my dads somewhere but they are likely trashed. IMG_20240419_140600.jpg
I'm guessing they're replica given the printed head tube badge? Who did you get them from? I used an '03 set like that on an old helmet once, and then when I polished the M1 used the later '03 yellow graphics as by then the '02's were NLA. I'd like a genuine set of the '02's but they're pretty much unobtanium these days. All those old frame decals I trashed for toolboxes, helmets and such. And of course the set I gave to my mate too who then promptly sold them 🙄

Their from a Hungarian guy on ebay, he has 01 02 and 03 sets and I think his are the only ones on ebay.
I put all my m1 one stickers on my toolbox and stuck a load of halo cherubs and royal racing stickers that I got from the nec bike show on the M1. unfortunately threw out most of my old mbuk, dirt mags and stickers years ago, only have a few left that have m1s(including the mbuk M1 review) or bikes I really liked.
Well I had some time today as I needed to catch up on sleep and so didn't have too much planned, so to avoid wasting the day I decided to throw some parts on this as I worked out I pretty much had everything I needed. The forks are junk. Good looking junk, but junk nonetheless. No seals, no oil, ruined bushes and scored stanchions. And the steerer is too short.


Originally I had World Cup Boxxers from the first year where they offered more than one model. This was identical to the Team with adjustable compression and rebound damping but was spiced up with some Nickel plated stanchions. I've been keeping an eye out for a set of these but not seen any so may have to settle for teams - these 2000 spec ones fitted here are both completely shagged, and destined for my Animal 222 that I'm going to get around to rebuilding one day. The 5th Element shock here has already revealed itself to need a rebuild as it needs a new bottom out bumper. It's also sticky as anything. I used to rebuild mine with a much softer o-ring to reduce friction and it made a noticeable difference and actually worked well with the platform valve. I will rebuild this but unlike the Manitou Swinger on the Rotec I'll not be shim-stacking it to replace the platform/SPV as I never ran it like that originally, and I actually thought the valve worked well with this bike. Or at least it did with the better o-ring fitted!






I had an M952 GS XTR mech in the box for the Animal 222 so that was taken out, as was the matching RH shifter, and I put them together with a set of Race Face Northshore XS cranks in 5x110mm BCD non-compact and 165mm length. They're heavily used but as 99% of that use was on my original M1 that seems appropriate. Unfortunately I've lost/inadvertently sold the matching 63/118mm Signature DH ISIS BB so a spare Sunrace 113mm one has been fitted for now. The MRP is also an original, but was on my 222 and was a Slalom Type 1 with the twin rotating plates which I did actually run on this bike for a bit when I had completely destroyed the original larger World Cup Type 2. However, the shorter axle has meant that for now I can't run the inner plate - type 1 devices used two full plates bolted to the crank and were compatible with elevated stays while the more expensive type 2 used a slightly different boomerang and a c-shaped inner plate that was attached to it rather than the crank. I'll track down a World Cup 2 at some point as I'd like to fit this slalom device to my 222 when I eventually get it built up. New rollers came from Jamie Lynn. No pedals on it yet but I've got some original Atomlab Trailkings there which I picked up for a tenner last year.


Originally I had a Chris King Steelset. Two reasons for not going down that route this time; a) they're bloody expensive and like rocking horse shit, and b) they're stupidly overkill unless you've already got a rawled out frame. The head tube on this is thick, long, and it took three of us to get the original in. I had an FSA Orbit MX in the box which I've fitted for now but I'll keep an eye out for something more appropriate, not least because this one appears to be a piece of Chinesium fake crap, annoyingly. The upper bearing cone and top cap just don't work together. I might be able to put something together that works around this but it's still going to annoy me. Perhaps a silver aluminium CK will do the trick. The bourbon one looks good but is rare, recent and stupid expensive for a wall hanger. The stem is a Steve Peat signature 50mm thing and the original I had back in 2002, and while the Easton EA70 Monkey Bar is what I ran originally, I always used to use a 50mm 'High' rise and these are low. There's a set of nearly new Intense branded ODI hard core grips in yellow which look a little multi coloured with the red forks but will look fine when they're replaced with some Team/World Cups in what Rock Shox called 'Raw' but I always thought looked more like duck crap. The seat post is from my M9 so won't be staying. I'll hunt out an original 31.6mm Easton EA50 per the original, and find either a Tioga Nicolas Vouilloz signature saddle, or more likely (because they're a lot easier to track down) a Selle Italia SLR saddle which I used later on in the bike's life. Clamping that in place is the original X-Lite seat post clamp, and stacking the stem to the right height are some of the original X-Lite spacers I've still got.




Wheels, tyres and brakes
Pretty much everyone who was racing in the UK at the time used Hopes, Hopes or Hopes. However, I just wasn't a fan. I'd had the original DH4 Pros on the 222, and then Enduro 4's with the same lever, and they just never seemed to be as good as they should be. Back then the only notable people using something different were the MBUK team on Hayes Mags. As one of their riders was one of the lads I was always racing against I was suitably convinced to make the jump. And man what a jump it was. A consistent bite point, way more power, way less maintenance. Win. At the time Hope's biggest rotors were 185mm which meant that there was no option to keep the 5 bolt Big'Un's on the 222 so I had to also change to 6 bolt mk2 Bulbs. So when I was building this bike up it made sense to just get another set of them so I had a spare set of wheels. Those are all long since sold, and Mk2 Bulbs are pretty rare these days.




In the rather sizeable stash of 'crap I don't use' I've got some 36h Pro2's in 135mm and a 32h set in 150mm but neither of these are ideal (I also have a rather useless 150mm mk2 Bulb). The latter set of Pro2's won't fit as this frame is still 135mm, and the former set are built into some matching mk2 Mavic EX832 which also don't match the build. D321's, D521's or Atomlab Airdrop rims were all I ever ran on this. I do have some 32h Sun Singletracks there which were the team rims for many races because of their puncture resistance, but again, I don't have some matching hubs for them, and I never ran them anyway. These Deemax's actually saw most of their life fitted to my Cove Stiffee and have done at least 10k km, but they did get used occasionally on the M1 so for now they'll do until I work out a better option; I feel it needs to involve Mavic CD grey anodising! The tyres are Intense Edge 2.35 4 ply which were a more open and deeper treaded copy of the Michelin Comp 24 (there's very little new in this world). Back in the day everyone thought they were too heavy but these days they're only the equivalent of the Michelin DH22 and 34, and I ride 'xc' on them now! However, in fitting these I was reminded of why I stopped racing them; they blow off the bloody rim at the drop of a hat, with today's reminder of this happening in the workshop as I was trying to seat it at less than 40psi!


These Hayes aren't in the best of shape but they'll do, although I'll need to change the front caliper out. They're not my original set as they're all rather trashed, and working spares on eBay are rather rare, but the biggest issue is that the front caliper is a 68mm rather than 74mm post mount fit. Handy for the 68mm Manitou lowers I've got, less helpful at this moment in time. So it looks like I'll need to rebuild one of my old ones to work. I took artistic licence and also fitted a set of GRC long lever blades I had from back when I was racing for Rotec (GRC was Sully's original company). They did actually get fitted to this bike but only much later. Like I said, artistic licence ;)

Other bits
When new these frames came with two sets of dropout adapters. The first were straight spacers to fit 12mm bolt through axles, and the other were to allow the use of a QR/10mm rear wheel. This frame came with neither, and the necessary adapters for the Deemax wheels are currently in use on the Tazer. However, that Tazer came with a 12mm axle, and some of the aluminium washers for it. And then I had an idea. a 12mm OD/10mm ID piece of aluminium tube was found on Amazon for a fiver and two short 10mm lengths were cut from it. These were then glued into the 12mm adapters I did have. Problem solved. Oh, and I fitted the pukka THE/Intense chainstay protector.




So there you have it, a built bike. It definitely needs some further work to make it rideable but it's a start, and hopefully the motivation to sort out the bits that are less than ideal. I still maintain that people getting into riding these days don't appreciate how good they've got it with easy to put together componentry, but maybe that's because I'm spoiled with the high end kit? Either way, I maintain my point! Maybe one day I'll ride it, but I suspect I'll just be disappointed. The best bit with this is that once I've got the 222 built up I'll have examples of all four of my first DH bikes.