Words: Mike Rose
Photos: Bernat Guardia
Bernat Guardia is our ‘main man’ on the ground in Europe. Ex-Downhill World Cup racer, now ambassador, product developer and marketing guy for a few selected brands, he is also an integral part of INTENSE and everything that we do.
We checked out his M29 downhill bike late last year, but he has just received his 2021 Tazer Pro, our top of the range eBike… so we had to take a closer look. Bernat has a whole host of co-sponsors that support him, so this build is a little bit special and definitely not ‘off-the-shelf’.
My first question has to be, what is a fit and healthy guy like you doing riding an eBike? I thought eBikes were just for the old and lazy!?
Well that’s what we all thought before actually riding one. This eBike thing is freaking fun, it just adds ridiculous climbing speed to your rides and even a fun factor to the climbs. All my life I’ve been pedalling up just to get to the best descents, now with the Tazer eBike I can actually have some fun going up. So it’s good times both ways, up and down.
What are some of the features of the INTENSE Tazer, and are there any changes from previous years?
MX style wheel size (29/275), 160mm front travel and 155mm on the rear. The biggest change this year is the new EP8 motor from Shimano, it runs so smoothly, and is lighter and more powerful. I gotta say that it’s quite a change.
Many pro riders use eBikes as a training tool. What do you mainly use yours for, fun, training or is it a mixture of things?
Well if I was still racing this would be one of my most important training tools. It’s cool to see our pro riders like Aaron Gwin and the team in North America, and in Europe Julian Steiner, Francesco Colombo and Mariano Mari being so excited and putting so many hours in on the Tazer. You can add so many more hours to your technical training without spending lots of time climbing. For me now it’s all about the fun factor. Since I retired from racing I’m on a very basic plan, if it’s gonna put a smile on my face, I’ll do it, if I’ll be suffering I won’t do it. So you can imagine I ride the Tazer a lot.
People always ask the question “how far can you go until it runs out of battery?” Now I know that there are many variables (terrain, power mode, weight of rider, input of rider, tire choice, etc.) but how long or far do you normally ride before you need to charge up again?
So I have two different ways I use the Tazer. One is for long rides using ECO mode and spending all day going to places where with a normal bike it would be almost impossible to do it, and I can spend 4-5 hours out in the wild. And then the other, which is my favorite, BOOST mode for like one and a half hours, hitting all the descents without stopping at all. It’s faster than shuttling by car and you avoid chairlift lines.
As a sponsored rider your bike is not like the complete builds that people can buy on this website. What are the main differences?
Öhlins suspension, E*thirteen carbon wheels, slimmer Maxxis tires, Fizik eBike specific saddle, ODI grips and that’s pretty much it.
The most notable thing has to be the fact that you are using Öhlins triple clamp downhill forks. What is the thinking behind that decision?
Since adding a bit of weight is not a big issue on an eBike I wanted to build the bike just based on performance, without having to worry much about adding a few grams to the build. The team at Öhlins have cut the travel of the fork to 170mm to keep the great geometry of the Tazer in place, and I can tell you that this thing rips.
And a coil shock on the rear?
Again performance, I wanted to experiment a bit on this build and coming from a DH racing background I find that enduro or trail bikes are not always stiff enough for my demands. So on this build I wanted to have a sturdier bike that’s ready to charge. That’s why it has the triple clamp fork, coil shock and a pair of E*thirteen carbon wheels, which are well known as being one of the stiffest sets on the market.
We know that you are an ‘old school’ downhiller, is that why you go for the classic Maxxis High Roller tires?
Well yeah, this is what I’ve been using all my life, so I know the tires very well. Although I do ride other tires from Maxxis, like the new Dissector or Assegai, I never get to that confident point that I have with High Rollers… old man issues, haha!
Are there any other features or special things about the bike that we should know about?
Fizik has this cool eBike specific saddle, which has a shape to better absorb impacts and it’s also shorter and wider to give more control on the bike. Funny we oversee some stuff like this sometimes, and they actually make a difference when riding.
|INTENSE Tazer, size L
|Shimano Steps EP8
|Öhlins TTX22M Trunnion, 525lb Spring
|Öhlins DH38 M.1 170mm
|E*thirteen Race Carbon
|E*thirteen Plus 50mm
|ODI Elite Pro Lock-on
|Cane Creek 40 Series
|Shimano XT 200mm
|Fizik Terra Aidon X3 145mm
|E*thirteen Vario Infinite 180mm
|E*thirteen e*spec Plus 165mm
|E*thirteen e*spec 34T
|E*thirteen Helix R-12 9-50T
|Crank Brothers Mallet E
|E*thirteen e*spec Race Carbon
|Maxxis High Roller II, Double Down, 2.5