Ask Mick Hannah what he thinks of the new Polygon XQUARONE DH and he doesn’t hold back, “It’s one of the first bikes in my career that’s really blown my mind.” Coming from someone that’s been around bikes as long as Sick Mick, that’s saying something. But it’s not just Mick. After convincing his sister to give the new bike a try, Tracey Hannah shaved 10 seconds off her best ever time in the Garbanzo DH at Crankworx Whistler in her first week riding it.
NAILD R3ACT 2 Play
It’s no secret that Mick has been aboard something new for a while now, though Polygon did their best to camouflage the prototype. After riding the Polygon XQUARONE EX enduro bike, that initially got Mick exited about the possibilities of building on the same suspension platform but with more travel. A lot more travel. While there are longer travel DH bikes currently available, the Polygon XQUARONE DH still checks in at a whopping 218mm. Then consider that it only runs 18-20% sag, and you’re left with a bike that still has almost 175mm of usable travel.
When asked about the amount of travel, Darrell Voss who designed the NAILD R3ACT 2 Play suspension system said that while the frame runs a different kinematic than the previous bike (called Hit It), travel changes are pretty easy to incorporate into the overall design. With the XQUARONE DH they wanted to see how far they could push the length of travel while maintaining pedaling efficiency – and Darrell thinks they still haven’t found that limit.
Yet, for the massive amount of travel, the XQUARONE DH has impressive pedaling characteristics without affecting the suspension performance. As Mick put it, “the bike works so well under power I just need to get strong enough to pedal more.”
Like the original NAILD R3ACT 2 Play, the XQUARONE DH relies on an air shock with very little damping. While unorthodox, Darrell said the ultimate goal is to reduce pressure build up while getting the rear wheel up and over obstacles and down the other side faster, all while keeping the wheel in contact with the ground for better traction. With less energy going into the damper per bump, it doesn’t affect the suspension as much as you progress down the track, giving you more consistent performance all the way to the bottom. It’s that faster suspension action in the rear that Mick says has him running a faster fork to keep up with the rear of the bike in both rebound and compression.
However, that suspension design revolves around an air shock so no coils here. Darrel said that to make the system work with a coil shock, you would need a very special shock with a very high ramp up at the end and it would be something consumers couldn’t just pull off the shelf and make work. However, the Polygon UR team mechanic John Stout doesn’t mind since he points out that coil springs aren’t always consistent. Air springs can be tuned exactly with the right tools. Because of that the XQUARONE DH relies on a 225 x 75mm metric, trunnion mounted, custom tuned Fox Float X2, though Mick Hannah races on a custom shock from SR Suntour.
The XQUARONE DH also uses a similar frame design to the XQUARONE EX, though thanks to the angles it’s arguably more visually appealing. When talking about a DH bike with 218mm of travel, special attention needed to be paid to making sure the frame was adequately stiff so Polygon started with a full carbon design front and rear.
While the NAILD R3ACT 2 Play suspension components look familiar, changes have been made even since Mick’s prototype to increase the stiffness with thicker links and stronger hardware. The frame still makes use of the frame slider which is housed inside the rear swingarm. The massive tube has a seal to keep crud out of the inside, but it’s not a shock – just a slider that helps guide the swingarm. There’s also the same built in bleeder valve on the swing arm to release any pressure that builds up in the slider over time.
One of the most interesting frame additions to increase stiffness comes at the rear axle. The frame makes use of SuperBoost 157mm spacing (same as DH 157mm spacing, but with wider flange spacing for stronger wheels), but additional stiffness is granted through the use of a Torque Cap only on the non-drive side. The 34mm wide cap is meant to increase the surface contact of the hub to the swingarm for increased stiffness out of the 12mm rear thru axle.
The XQUARONE DH features internal cable routing for both shift and brake housing with cables entering right at the head tube.
A pressfit BB92 bottom bracket is used to make the BB shell as wide as possible, and ISCG 05 tabs allow chainguide use.
Post mount disc brakes are found at the rear along with the 157 x 12mm rear axle.
The frame also includes a mandatory rear fender and a downtube protector to keep the massive downtube from cratering on any rocks.
And while many companies are exploring wagon wheels for DH racing, Polygon wanted to stick with 27.5″. While part of the overall goal was to get their pro athletes down the hill faster, at the end of the day this bike is meant to allow the average rider to have more fun on their bike. Whether that’s clearing a trail they didn’t think possible, or just being able to blast more laps in the bike park, 27.5″ wheels seemed like the answer to “make a bike for the common rider that can still lay down Top 10 times.”
As for the weight, Polygon claims the frames come in at 8.8lbs (with shock) with complete builds capable as low as 32lbs. When asked what his race bike weighed, Mick said he honestly didn’t know, stating, “It’s the first bike in my career that I don’t know what it weighs. I just don’t care.” He went on to say that “we don’t operate on opinions. The stop watch is all that matters. The XQUARONE DH is just faster.”
Offered in four sizes, the XQUARONE DH includes a 63° head tube angle, 73° effective head tube angle, and 440mm chainstays.
Pricing and availability
Offered in two complete builds, the XQUARONE DH8 starts at $4,999 with a RockShox Boxxer RC Debonair fork, Fox Performance Float X2 rear shock, and a SRAM GX 1×11 drivetrain. Move up to the XQUARONE DH9, and you’ll get a complete Fox Factory suspension with a SRAM X01 DH 1×7 speed group and top end components for an impressive $6,399. The frame is also available as a frame only at $2,999 or a frame and fork at $4,399. All models will ship out by the end of October.
Stay tuned for first impressions!