2023 BUDGET BIKE ROUNDUP
POLYGON SISKIU T8 REVIEW
Photos by Max Rhulen & Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles / Treeline Cinematic
SUB-$3K ROUNDUP MADE POSSIBLE THANKS TO:
LEATT & VERSUS TIRES
The Siskiu T has been in Polygon’s lineup for a couple of years now, but continues to sit comfortably amongst the crop of budget full suspension mountain bikes. Though the price has crept up since it was released, at $2,599 the Siskiu T8 is still a relatively well-spec’d bike for the money. We had a few gripes with its performance as stock when we tested it for a standalone review last year, but even so we were keen to get in the mix for our Budget Bike Roundup, as an option that still has a lot of appeal. Read on to find out how it stacked up, and if our past experience with the Siskiu would allow us to unlock some better performance.
• 135mm Linkage Driven Single Pivot Suspension
• HTA 65.5
• STA 76.5 (effective)
• REACH 480 (Large)
Price: $2,149 (T7) – $2,599 (T8 tested)
We covered the unchanged Siskiu T8 extensively in its review, so we’ll keep this relatively brief.
The Siskiu T8 is a budget trail bike available in either dual 27.5” or 29” options depending on the frame size, with 135mm of Linkage Driven Single Pivot suspension in the rear and a 140mm fork up front for the 29er, or 140mm rear and a 150mm fork on the 27.5. The frame is made of aluminum, which is given internal cable routing and a beautiful metallic paint job to suggest some premium quality.
Size Small is 27.5” only; Medium has 27.5” or 29” options, and Large and XL sizes are 29” only. All 29” frames share a 65.5-degree head angle; 76.5 degree effective seat tube angle; slammed 39mm BB drop; and short 430mm chainstays. The size large tested, which Polygon recommends for riders from 5’7” – 6’1” (172cm to 185cm), has a 480mm reach; 621mm stack height; and short 415mm seat tube length to allow for most riders to fit a long travel dropper seatpost. The total wheelbase adds up to 1219mm, middle of the range in this budget bike roundup.
The Siskiu T8 included in this Budget Bike Shootout is the top spec Siskiu model out of the two-model range. The spec remains unchanged, but like many bikes across the industry, the price tag has risen to $2,599. Suspension duties are handled by a Fox pairing, with their 140mm travel 34 Rhythm fork and a Float DPS shock with “special tune”. Drivetrain duties are handled by Shimano with their SLX 12spd groupset, using a 10-51T microspline cassette. The brakes are Tektro’s 4-piston HD-M745s, which stop on 180mm centrelock rotors on both ends. There’s a Tranz-X dropper post in 150mm for S/M and 170mm for L/XL sizes, and a pair of Schwalbe tires as standard. However, for this test all of the bikes were equipped with Versus tires to give consistent performance across the board. Rounding out the spec is a host of Polygon’s in-house brand Entity components, with their 35mm diameter XPERT alloy cockpit; XTENT saddle; and XL2 disc wheelset. The large Siskiu T8 tips the scales at 34.8 lbs.
The Polygon Siskiu returns for another group review! The Siskiu T7 was a top contender and tester favorite in our last roundup, and not much has changed. We now have the Siskiu T8 here for test, and the 135mm aggressive trail bike was a comfy, supple ride. Getting the Siskiu setup for the trail was easy. The grips and cockpit were one of the more comfortable in the Budget Bike Roundup, but many of our testers had to re-adjust the Tektro Orion brake levers. The brake levers themselves are quite long, so finding the proper placement for your fingers will be crucial for all riders.
When it comes to climbing on the Polygon Siskiu, the bike might not shine as bright as its descending ability, but it was no slouch. At this price point the Jamis Faultline and the Norco Fluid are better climbers, however they have less suspension travel and give up some of the descending ability found with the Siskiu. The suspension platform and shock tune created a small amount of pedal bob, rewarding a smoother pedaling technique instead of mashing on the pedals hard. This one deficiency is offset by the comfortable seating position and descending capability of this Polygon.
The Siskiu positions the rider in a very neutral stance that felt very comfortable on jumps and bigger hits straight out of the gate. The Siskiu T8 was predictable through all terrain offering up a thoughtless riding experience. When riding at higher speeds and through rocky terrain the Polygon was stable and easy to direct over obstacles. Some of the testers were even under the impression that it had more suspension travel than it did… This bike packs a punch! However, riders can find the limit of this bike when trying to blitz technical sections of trail or hit features that are better suited to a longer legged machine. It’s easy to forget that the Polygon Siskiu is only a 135mm trail bike, as its capability and composure can often lead you to thinking otherwise. As trail bikes go, riders have to push pretty hard to make this bike flinch.
The Shimano SLX drivetrain that is on this bike and a few of the others seems to perform better than the comparative SRAM SX and NX combinations. The 4 piston brakes are a welcome touch, offering plenty of power to slow down with ample modulation to prevent locking the wheels. The Fox 34 Rhythm fork is smooth and controlled, and the Fox Float DPS shock has a custom tune which undoubtedly contributes to the sensation of more travel than the 135mm number.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Overall, the Polygon Siskiu T8 is a great bike and ranks highly in the budget market, representing great value at $2599.00. It is best suited for riders that love the descent but are looking for a capable trail bike that’ll still happily winch up the hill.
Weight: 34.8 lbs
Frame: ALX Trail | 135mm
Fork: Fox 34 Rhythm | 140mm
Shock: Fox Float DPS | Special Tuning | 210x55mm
Brakes: TEKTRO HD-M745 | 180mm centrelock rotors
Bar: Entity XPERT Alloy | width: 780mm | rise: 20mm | clamp: 35mm
Stem: Entity XPERT Alloy | length: 35mm | clamp: 35mm
Seatpost: Tranz-X 30.9mm | S/M:150mm | L/XL: 170mm
Saddle: Entity XTENT
Wheelset: Entity XL2 Disc
Front tire: Schwalbe Hans Dampf
Rear tire: Schwalbe Hans Dampf
Cassette: Shimano SLX CS-M7100 | 10-51T | 12spd
Cranks: Shimano MT-510 | 170mm
Shifter: Shimano SLX SL-M7100 | 12spd
Derailleur: Shimano SLX RD-M7100 | 12spd
4 piston brakes
Tektro Brake Levers
Requires precise shock settings
LEAVE A COMMENT | WIN FREE STUFF
Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack and get the latest news and read the latest reviews on the top mountain and electric mountain bikes.