This week’s Reader’s Rig comes from Los Angeles-based architect Mark Owens, who shares a look at the 2017 Intense Primer he’s used for enduro racing, XC coaching, and bikepacking. Learn more about Mark and his full-suspension rig here…

Words and photos by Mark Owen

Hello, I’m Mark. I grew up in rural Western Pennsylvania in the 1980s. Like a lot of kids during that time, I discovered MX and BMX, and that led to a lifelong love of everything with two wheels. I was lucky to be able to race all over the country and eventually get my first job in a bike shop. I bought my first MTB in the first week working there and have followed the N+1 mantra ever since. I moved to Los Angeles immediately after high school as much to ride and race my bikes and to attain a couple of architectural degrees.

Intense Primer

For my day jobs, I work in an architectural firm in Los Angeles and teach architecture and interior design at two local Universities. For most of the past 30+ years, I have been racing DH or Enduro and riding dual-sport motorcycles. The past five years, I suffered some big injuries, and I really wanted to try some other disciplines. I started coaching a NICA XC team and getting into bikepacking, and I was able to make my first three trips in 2020. The BCT in AZ was one of the best cycling experiences I have ever had, and I also attempted the Stagecoach 400 that year. I did the first 140 miles in 2 days before figuring out I would not make it in my allotted time. I’m really looking forward to meeting more people in the bikepacking world and doing events or just creating my own adventures.

  • Intense Primer
  • Intense Primer

My current bikepacking rig is a 2017 Intense Primer. It’s a bit of an obscure choice, but I’ve always been a fan of Jeff Steber’s design process and aesthetic, and it’s the only bike I own with under 165 mm of travel. Although I described my obsession with building the quiver above, if I were going to own only one bike, this would be it. I have used this bike to race enduro, coach XC, do long singletrack epics, and finally got all the bags made and outfitted it for multi-day adventures as well.

Intense Primer
  • Frame 2017 Intense Primer
  • Fork RockShox Pike 140mm w/ Push Industries internals
  • Rims Industry 9 Trail 245
  • Hubs Industry 9
  • Tires Maxxis DHF 2.3″ (front) / Maxxis Agressor 2.3″ (rear)
  • Handlebars Easton Havoc Carbon 760 mm
  • Headset Cane Creek
  • Crankset Truvativ Descendant Carbon 170mm/28T
  • Pedals Shimano XTR Trail
  • Cassette e*thirteen 12-speed 9-50
  • Derailleur SRAM GX
  • Brakes Shimano Saint 4 piston
  • Shifter(s) SRAM Gripshift GX
  • Saddle SDG Formula FXR
  • Seatpost Rock Shox reverb Stealth 150mm
  • Stem Race Face Atlas 50mm
  • Front bags Rockgeist Barjam
  • Frame bags Rockgeist custom frame bag, Medic, and top tube bags
  • Accessory bags Race Face stash wrap for extra CO2s and tube
  • Electronics Exposure Six Pack light, Rylo handlebar-mounted 360 camera
  • Other accessories Topeak Modula Java cages and Versa Mounts on fork

So far, I prefer bikepacking on technical singletrack, and this bike climbs like a billy goat and descends almost as well loaded as it does bare. I spent a lot of time getting it pared down to the minimum and run a medium CamelBak to allow me to bikepack without a seat bag so I can drop the seat the whole way down for technical descents. That said, on this last big trip, I managed to carry a chair on the fork leg and will not go without one in the future. I’m really looking forward to meeting more bikepacking enthusiasts and doing events and creating extended adventures.

  • Intense Primer
  • Intense Primer

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