New bike: Intense Factory Alloy 20

I am riding a 20, and it is good. Impressions from the first ride:

Lee Loves Cornering dot com.

The bike: Intense Factory Alloy 20. This thing is straight out of the box and a lot of love for less than $700.

The reason: I’ve been rocking the Intense Factory Alloy 24 and loving it. Chris Powell (pro MTB/BMX racer and mechanic for Olympic medalists Mike Day and Jill Kintner) is consulting on my BMX book. When he saw a bunch of skill sequences featuring the cruiser, he informed me that cruisers are kind of lame. Real men ride 20s or something like that. Good to know. I had to get a 20, learn to ride it then re-shoot the sequences.

The benefactor: Lars Thompsen runs Trail Head Cyclery in San Jose, CA — my favorite shop in NorCal. Lars is a good man and a great supporter. When I told him what was going on, he sent the bike. Thanks Lars!

The impressions:
I rode the 20 with the boys at The Fix this weekend.

– Wow, it’s quick! Way quicker than the cruiser, which is way quicker than the P.3, which is way quicker than the SX, which is way quicker than the Stumpjumper, which is way quicker than the Enduro, which is way quicker than the Demo 8. It’s all relative.

– It rewards perfection. When you time things right, it is a rocket ship. The pump is ridiculous!

– It punishes imperfection. When you time things wrong, it’s like hammering an anvil.

– Everything is subtle. If you lean back too far (or at all) when you manual a pair of rollers, the front end is out of control. But if you get it right … SO SWEET!

– The bike is super fun. I’m gonna ride it today.

braaap with little bs …

Easing into an effortless but alarmingly quick manual.

I didn’t expect to jump this roller-table, but the speed told me too. Yeah yeah, I know I’m stiff.

Check out the crush factor on the front tire. That’s with 50 psi. No wonder strong, fast BMXers run 60+.

11 replies
  1. Lars Thomsen says:

    Yea Lee!

    I’m not man enough to rock the 20″ yet. Still on the learning curve with my Factory24… Which is WAY quicker than my P.3

    Stoked you dig the bike!

    By the way, Day got silver, which is still BADASS!

  2. Justin says:


    About six weeks ago I rode a 20″ for the first time in 16 years (I am 33). Then I bought it. They are great fun.

    My brother-n-law and I built a pump track in my wife’s parents’ backyard several months ago. Its not mathematically correct but its fun and pretty fast with adjustments we’ve made over time.

    For me, the 20″ has increased the enjoyment level tremendously (I am still proud of my P3 but the new bike is definitely my preferred pump track and driveway tom-foolery ride). Your assessment of the reward and punishment of these “potentially wiggly” little suckers is spot on. They can roll for days or spit you over the top if you’re not paying attention. And I think that’s why they are so fun.

    My brother-n-law was skeptical at first but spent most of last Sunday on my bike! And I have been buying bmx mags to supplement my normal reads.

    Maybe we’ll shoot you some pics and vids of our track. We have some exciting rebuild plans should the remnants of Gustov wash us out. I think it will be ok.


  3. Keith says:


    Cool bike, but the reflectors need to go, the rule book clearly states no reflectors!

    Mike Day won Silver, which as Lars indicated is badass and Jill won Bronze and considering she was riding on a bad knee is also badass.

    Done any BMX racing on the 20″ yet?

  4. Justin Brown says:

    I’d love to be able to ride a 20 again, but my fat arce and lame skills would spell CRASH AND BURN. I’ve been out of BMX for a while, but I’m considering a 24 and my son is getting into it. Keep the round side down.

  5. leelikesbikes says:


    ABA rules say reflectors are legal as long as you also have helmet mirrors, which I would need to track your devious self.

    I have not raced the 20 yet, but I will soon.

    Rode it today at The Fix. Miscellaneous pumping, manualing and jumping capped by 50 laps of pump track love. The big bike is easier over that many laps — it forgives mistakes!

  6. Chris says:

    Many, many years ago my main riding buddy (and chief competition) calls me to say he bought a new trail bike. I am now certain that he will win the pace war. As I had destroyed both my DH bike’s AND my XC bike’s rear deraillers in the previous day’s DH practice, I am not racing DH and so I schedule a trail ride with him and turn up on the only bike I have left – my BMX. He shows me his new bike and I am defeated before we put in a single pedal stroke. We start on our favorite trail: super tight and smooth that trends ever so slightly downhill for some miles. It is the first time I’ve ridden my BMX on an XC trail and to my astonishment I’m keeping up with him! I also can punch that super-high cadence I could only ever achieve during the periods I was racing BMX. Now it’s on and we both throw down! I’m on him like glue. He breaches the limit of traction on a corner, I take him on the inside, now he’s on my tail. I gain a little on him at each and every one of the corners this trail constantly bombards you with, but I have every root, divot and bump locked in memory like I’m playing Wipeout 2097. Eventually he is out of earshot in these closely spaced pines and I am RIPPING this trail like I never did before, just me and my BMX. I’m wearing the grin AND the crown!

    Mind you, I died on the loooong fireroad back to the cars. And I never rode a BMX XC again.

  7. Eric says:

    Nice Bike Lee!
    I got to hit a BMX track a couple of days ago and took my DMR with freshly installed Fox Fork, for this fat old guy (turned the big 4-OH today) with a jacked ankle the cush was nice. I miss my 20 inchers when hitting the skateparks with my kids, ALOT!

    Keep on Braapin’!

  8. Jay G says:

    I really like everything I’ve seen and heard about the Intense Factory Alloy 20.

    Last November I got my 11 yo son and 8 yo daughter into racing here in the Tampa FL area. He’s currently 2nd in the state trailing by 150 points, and my daughter is 1st by a margin of over 2000 points. On 10/4/08 I renewed my NBL license after not having raced BMX for 28 years. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and decided to give it a shot again. I bought a helmet, gloves and renewed my membership card I had in a photo album from 1977. I started in 1976, NBL# 5931. I took the leap mainly because another dad at the track who races said that I could use his Redline Flight Pro XL 20″ since he’s only racing his 24″ for the summer session.

    So the evening of 10/4 I got my 40 year old butt back on a BMX bike and raced at St. Petersburg BMX. Thought I was going to die, but I did it, and I didn’t crash. I then raced again on 10/10 at Sarasota BMX on the Redline again. I did a spectacular endo in the third moto, but aside from that it felt great. Much better than the first race the week before. So I’m hooked again. I’m taking my kids to the races anyway, so why not race myself… as long as I can stay out of the hospital.

    To the point, I really like the Redline Flight Pro XL 20. It’s faster than I can take the jumps right now for sure. But, I really have my sights on the Intense Factory Alloy 20. I also like the Intense Factory Carbon 20. Unfortunately they seem to be impossible to find.

    Thanks for the review of the bike. Sounds like exactly what I want. It also sounds like a apples to apples comparison to the Redline Flight Pro XL 20, but probably lighter in the front end with the alloy forks. Some how, some way I will be getting a Factory Alloy 20 by November 1st when the 2009 Florida State championship series starts. Thanks again.

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