Polygon XQUAREONE DH
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos David Mcfarlane
In 2017, the NAILD R3ACT platform was revealed to the public aboard Polygon’s Xquare One EX9. The bike and design were met with seemingly equal amounts of fanfare and confusion. While the keyboard warriors worried about how the design looked, reviewers praised the suspension design for its efficiency and performance. The NAILD R3ACT system is truly something different, but as we reviewed the Xquare One EX9 we could only wonder when we would see the design on a DH bike. Our answer is here.
A collaborative effort was made between Polygon bikes, NAILD (the suspension system designers) and World Cup downhiller Mick Hannah to develop a downhill bike centered on the R3ACT linkage design. The ultimate goal was to create a bike that would give Mick the greatest chance of sitting on the top step of the World Cup podiums, but the bike would still need to be suitable for the full spectrum of riding abilities so that it would reach production.
According to Polygon, “When we started designing the new XQUARONE DH bike, we wanted to make a bike that is fun to ride.” That goal influenced their choice to use 27.5 wheels instead of the more race-oriented 29-inch wheel.
The unique frame is fully carbon fiber and weighs 8.8 pounds (with shock). The top of the line complete weighs less than 32 pounds. Thanks to Polygon’s close relationship with NAILD, they’ve been able to work together closely to integrate several key features into the new XQUARONE DH.
To keep the back end short and stiff, Polygon designed the bike around 440mm chainstays with Super Boost 157mm rear wheel spacing. To further increase rear end stiffness, 34mm Torque Caps are used to keep the rear wheel tracking straight and true.
Polygon took the feedback from the EX9 trail bike, where concerns of excessive flex resulting in shock binding were highlighted, and beefed up the necessary bits. It is good to see Polygon has made a very conscious effort to reduce the possibilities for unwanted torsional flex. The large hardware, stout linkages and torque caps on the rear wheel all contribute to a very stiff sounding system on paper. I was excited to see how it would do on the trails.
The XQUARONE DH utilizes 225x75mm Metric shocks with a Trunnion mount. Like Polygon’s XQUARONE EX line of bikes, the DH models utilize the NAILD R3ACT 2 Play system. While the platform is the same, the DH frame uses a different tune to better handle the rigors of downhill riding.
“The Fox Factory X2 shocks are custom-tuned with incredibly light damping circuits to give us the famous R3ACT ride our fans have grown to love. By reducing the damping restrictions in the shock and allowing the suspension design’s kinematics to handle the heavy lifting,” says Polygon.
Geometry figures are conservative by 2018 standards, with numbers comparable to a 2015 YT Tues. That said, the evolution of downhill bike geometry has not been as dramatic as the trail and enduro segments. Similar geometry is still used by many brands.
After learning so much about the bike and it’s design, it was time to hit the dirt to see what the bike could really do.