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trail test

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trail t e s t mba 80 Polygon Collosus TX3.0 A s a community of riders
trail t e s t mba 80 Polygon Collosus TX3.0 A s a community of riders

Polygon Collosus TX3.0

A s a community of riders we can be a bit conservative; no-one wants to be the first to try a bike from a new brand just in case it turns out to be a waste of money.

With a retail price of $2,999, our

test bike absolutely screams value. The

brakes, wheels and 2x10 drivetrain all come from Shimano’s XT range. You also get a Fox FIT-damped TALAS thru-axle

There’s a reasonable chance you may have never heard of Polygon bikes; they don’t feature in US mountain bike media, they haven’t had a world cup winner (yet),

for you, we’ve decided to be the guinea

fork, RP23 shock and an X-Fusion drop- per seatpost—that level of gear is utterly unheard of at this price point. If you’re on a tighter budget, the TX2.0 will set

and until recently you couldn’t buy their

you

back just $1,999 and comes with a

bikes in Australia. That doesn’t mean they

mix

of Shimano kit from Deore to XT, a

haven’t been around. Based in Indonesia, they’ve been making bikes since 1989 and they are probably the biggest bike brand

simpler Fox RL shock and a Marzocchi 44 fork. At 3,260g for the 18.5-inch frame

in South East Asia.

and

shock, the weight is slightly above

As part of a global expansion program they’re now selling bikes in Europe, Japan, and down here in Oz, too. Luckily

pigs, and have been riding the Collosus (their spelling, not ours) TX3.0. It’s the upper spec level of two 140mm travel trail bikes in the Polygon range.

average for this type of bike. Even so, the excellent parts spec on the TX3.0 keeps the complete bike weight to a very respectable 13.56kg, and that’s including a set of 400g Shimano XT Trail pedals. With such good gear and sharp pricing on what is an unknown brand, some may think it’s worth buying the TX3.0 just for

the components—strip it down and sell the frame. However, this would be doing yourself and the bike a disservice, as we quickly discovered. Before riding the TX3.0 it’s worth taking a quick walk around the bike to check the details. Up front there’s a short, tapered head tube topped by a Syncros 70mm stem and 710mm wide handlebar. Out the back you’ll find a 142x12mm thru-axle and post mounts for the rear brake. Full length outer cables and a ‘carbon fibre’ mudguard for the shock keep everything working smoothly after monsoonal downpours. A semi-relaxed 68-degree head angle keeps the geometry reasonably current and they’ve included ISCG tabs for a chain guide. The lightly hydroformed frame is neatly welded, nicely painted (okay it’s white, but still…) and features plenty of standover clearance. A clear plastic stone guard on the downtube is another tidy touch that

we really appreciated. Everything about the TX3.0 suggests that this isn’t just a generic ‘out of the catalogue’ frame, but rather that the folks at Polygon have got their fingers on the pulse—it seems to include all the details that today’s riders are after. You even get a spare derailleur hanger, a small multi- tool and a shock pump adaptor thrown in for good measure. The latter is needed because, in an effort to keep the frame weight low and centred (which is a good thing for handling), the engineers at Poly- gon have squashed their FS2 suspension system into a very small space down near the bottom bracket. Clearance is so tight around the shock that most pumps won’t fit onto the valve without said adaptor— not such a great thing for trailside tuning. Although there’s plenty of clearance either side of the rear tyre, the lower bolt attaching the mudguard doesn’t leave much space for the crown tread of larger rubber. If your trails are pre- dominantly dry, it’d perhaps be worth removing the guard altogether to gain some extra clearance. The TX 3.0 only comes in two sizes, which we’d probably equate to a small and a medium. Because the actual seat tube angle is quite steeply raked, you do get a substantial increase in the effective top tube length as you raise the sad- dle. So if you’re normally on the border between a medium and large frame, you should be okay with the 18.5-inch TX3.0. If you’re on or over 185cm, how- ever, stop reading here, because at this point Polygon doesn’t make a Collosus

to fit you. We suspect this is due to their previous focus on the generally smaller- statured Asian market, but it will need to be addressed if they’re serious about expanding globally. It’s also worth noting that currently, Polygon bikes are only sold through one retail store. Whilst they will ship bikes nation wide for no extra charge, it’s not the same as checking the bike out in person before you buy—especially when there may be concerns relating to frame sizing and alike. This is mitigated to an extent by their ‘free 14-day test ride’ of- fer which allows you to return the bike if you aren’t happy—just make sure you retain the original packaging in case it needs to go back.

SquaShed in SquiSh

Polygon has made quite a song and dance about their new FS2 (Floating Suspension 2nd Generation) suspension platform. The design is a very unique take on the short-link four-bar layout, in that firstly the shock is attached at both ends to the links themselves rather than the front or rear triangle, and secondly in that the lower link pivots concentri- cally around the bottom bracket. We’ve not seen anything quite like it, and if you read the marketing spiel from Polygon it apparently defies gravity (and all other laws of physics), propels you forward without pedalling, and even packs your lunch for you before you head out riding. We’ve perhaps become somewhat cyni- cal of all the marketing hype that accom- panies the ‘latest and greatest’ suspension

design, and to be brutally honest we weren’t expecting much from the Poly- gon. What a surprise, then, to find that despite not being magically filled with unicorns and fairy dust, the suspension on the TX3.0 really does work very well. In the saddle there’s no need whatso- ever for ProPedal to be applied, and even out of the saddle efforts result in very little suspension bob. The shock move- ment is minimal enough that you just wouldn’t bother fiddling with the shock settings. This is a very good thing, as the shock is so cramped between the suspen- sion links that flipping the ProPedal lever is virtually impossible without stopping,

1. at 710mm across, the Syncros

riser bar will be wide enough for most and it’s a good match for this style of bike.

2. While it doesn’t come with a re-

mote for the dropper post, the cable fittings are already in place. The X- Fusion post is convertible, so you can always fit a remote lever as a future upgrade.

3. a nice touch—the Polygon comes

with a spare derailleur hanger and thru-axle nuts.

4. The lower link on this short-link

four-bar suspension system actually pivots around the bottom bracket.

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It’s great to have a dropper seatpost on this style of bike, enabling you to get the most out of the suspension travel on offer.

5. Most new bikes ship without ped-

als. if they are supplied, they’re often budget crappers (a technical term). not the case here—XT Trail pedals are a great inclusion.

6. With thru-axles at both ends and

post-type brake mounts, the collosus ticks all the modern design boxes.

7. a short (70mm) Syncros stem

keeps the steering sharp.

8. Tight and low—the FS2 suspension

system is really shoehorned into a compact space.

and even then you’ll want a young child

as a riding buddy so you can make use of their slender fingers. Going from small to large, the bearings on the TX3.0’s lower link are absolutely huge. Although some people will tell

you that size isn’t everything, it certainly

doesn’t hurt, especially when it comes to increasing the prospects of long and trouble-free bearing life! It’s also nice that the clamshell that secures the front bearing around the bottom bracket threads into replaceable trunnion nuts, so a stripped thread costs a few dollars instead of destroying your frame. The Collosus’ suspension does a very good job of maintaining traction on

climbs, and has that ‘stuck to the ground’

feel that ensures you’ll find grip wherever

your tyres and skill level allow. On flats

and

downhills the TX3.0 remains supple

and

responsive to small and medium

sized impacts without feeling inefficient,

and it ramps up enough towards the end

of the stroke that more aggressive riders won’t be left wanting more travel. Braking performance is also quite neutral over uneven terrain, which helps to further enhance the feeling of predict- ability required to start pushing your

sharp pedal input enthusiastically, and

there’s no reason you couldn’t punch out

a few 50 or 100km rides in relative com-

fort on board the Collosus—if your legs are up to it you might even throw down

a sprint finish!

Polygony in acTion

As briefly mentioned earlier, the FS2 suspension used on the Collosus TX3.0

occupies a very small space just above the bottom bracket. By keeping the weight of pivots and suspension components very low and centred, the theory goes that the bike’s frame will ride much lighter than

it actually is, especially when changing

direction rapidly. We certainly found the TX3.0 to be quite a nimble feeling bike, and it was very happy to be thrown into consecutive left-right turns at speed. There’s virtually no flex in the front triangle, so the bike responds well to steering input, and when combined with the tapered steerer fork it isn’t fazed by off camber sections or rutted sections of trail. There’s a little bit of flex where the compact rear triangle and main frame come together, but it’s on par with most other bikes on the market, and it certain- ly doesn’t feel noodley to ride.

riding limits a little further. We actually found the TX3.0 a quite willing and capable bike when pointed downhill, so

It’s great to have a dropper seatpost on this style of bike, enabling you to get the most out of the suspension travel on

you

need to bear in mind the head angle

offer. Personally I’d prefer if the X-Fusion

and

shortish wheelbase will be limiting

Hilo came with a bar-mounted remote

factors in just how hard you can chase

(even at a slight price premium), as tak-

the

DH crew. Although it’s not a feathery

ing a hand off the handlebar at the start

XC

bike by any means, it responds to

of a sketchy section just doesn’t seem all

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9. Shimano XT brakes, complete with finned iceTech pads and rotors are well up to the task.

10. Fantastic to see a dropper post as

standard spec.

11. Make sure you hold onto this valve

extender—without it you’ll struggle to get a shock pump onto the valve.

that smart to me. The post on our test bike also needed a bleed after the first

ride to stop it ‘sagging’—this was a rela- tively quick and easy task, but one a new bike owner shouldn’t have to perform. Enough whining about little things, because there’s plenty of good stuff to focus on. In particular, the geometry of the TX3.0 is well suited to aggressive trail riding, neither too slack for tight switchbacks nor too steep for fast and rough descents. The relatively short 430mm chainstays keep it feeling taut and lively under power as well as making

it easy to loft the front wheel skywards

when required. Of course the small frame sizes and corresponding short wheelbase make the bike feel even more nimble than you’d expect (if you’re at the top of the size chart), and we think the Col- losus would be a great bike with which to challenge your mates to some friendly 4X racing. Combine this geometry with the wide/ short handlebar and stem combo, and

you’ve got the recipe for a whole lot of fun whilst still having enough control to

rein things in should they start to get a little out of hand. If you want to take on

a king of the mountain challenge, drop-

ping the TALAS fork to its shorter travel

setting steepens the geometry enough to get you up just about anything without the front wheel wandering excessively.

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The Shimano XT components all per- formed flawlessly as you might expect. Those who prefer wide rubber may find the rims (21mm internal) a shade on the narrow side, but anything up to 2.3-inch

tyres should be fine. The genuine UST rim bed also means that tubeless conversions are easy and super reliable. Although some people may not be fans of cable routing under the down tube it does keep things looking neat, and it’s much better to have to replace a shift cable or brake hose than try to repair

a massive rock dent in your frame. It’s

becoming quite rare these days to see standard water bottle mounts on a mid- travel bike, but with the polygon you can nip out for a quick blast without taking your hydration pack—nice for a quick rip on a hot summer evening.

colloSal Value

Perhaps the best thing we can say

about the Polygon Collosus TX3.0 is that

it rides like a really well sorted 140mm

dually from any of the better known brands, it comes equipped with great trail-worthy components, and it’s an absolute bargain to boot. No, the basketballers aren’t currently going to be able to fit one and no, the weight-weenie crowd aren’t going to like it; nor are those who like to brag about how much their bike cost rather than how well it rides. If none of these sound like you, and instead you’re looking for a capable, jack of all trades bike, then it’s definitely worth a look. At worst you could sell the frame, hang the parts on something else and still come out in front, but once you

ride the Collosus we think it’s unlikely you’ll bother. Polygon may be new to Australia, but if the Collosus TX3.0 is anything to go by they definitely deserve your attention.

is anything to go by they definitely deserve your attention. article by Steve hinchliffe Photography by

article by Steve hinchliffe Photography by John hardwick

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Thumbs up • awesome value • Surprisingly capable suspension • comprehensive parts spec Thumbs down
Thumbs up
• awesome value
• Surprisingly capable
suspension
comprehensive parts spec
Thumbs down
• crammed in shock placement
• limited sizing
only available through
one store
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SPeciFicaTionS Frame FS2 Hydroformed Alloy Shock Fox RP23 140mm travel Fork Fox TALAS 32 RL
SPeciFicaTionS
Frame
FS2 Hydroformed Alloy
Shock
Fox RP23 140mm travel
Fork
Fox TALAS 32 RL 120/140mm travel
Headset
FSA Gravity 1 1/8 - 1 1/2
Handlebars
Syncros AM 25 riser 710mm
Stem
Syncros FL V2, 70mm
Shifters
Shimano XT
Front Derailleur
Shimano XT
Rear Derailleur
Shimano XT
Cassette
Shimano XT 11/36 10-speed
Chain
Shimano XT
Cranks
Shimano XT 26/38
Bottom Bracket
Shimano XT
Pedals
Shimano XT Trail
Brakes
Shimano XT Trail
Wheels
Shimano XT Trail
Tyres
Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.25
Saddle
Fizik Gobi
Seatpost
X-Fusion Hi-Lo dropper
Weight
13.56kg including pedals
(18.5-inch frame 3,260g)
Available Sizes
16.5, 18.5-inch (tested)
Price
$2,999
Distributor
Bicycles Online (02) 8005 7467 /
www.bicyclesonline.com.au