Swiss brand Bold Cycles walked Sea Otter with a prototype of their newest enduro mountain bike, sharing it with KS Suspension as a platform to show off that brand’s new integrated dropper seatpost concept. The Bold Unplugged is that new bike, and it keeps the option of an integrated dropper, along with a hidden rear shock and some clever geometry adjustments. Actually, it adds a couple more…
The bike gets 165mm rear travel, and can be paired with forks from 160mm up to 180mm. They’ll ship with 170mm Rockshox forks, but look for DT Swiss suspension to be an option at some point. It’s a full carbon frame, laid up around a silicone internal mold to keep the inside walls smooth and avoid crinkles and potential weak spots. Claimed frame weight is 2.4kg without the shock.
Since then, they’ve added more chip options to tweak the BB height and headtube angle.
The chips sit inside of the rear pivot, essentially elongating the chain stays. They’re mainly to allow different size wheels and tires rather than actual geometry adjustments, the goal being to keep the BB height the same regardless of what you roll on. Use a 27.5×2.4 to 2.8, or flip the rear chip and make room for up to 29×2.6 wheels and tires. From Level 1 to Level 4, there’ll be a 20mm BB height change as the chainstays get longer, setting the BB lower with taller wheels and tires. Chainstay length changes from 433.0mm out to 443.64mm.
With a 170mm fork, the wheel base goes from 1,226mm (27.5) up to 1254mm (29er). But that’s not the only adjustment…
They also added external sag setting markers, making it much easier to check than with the Linkin’ Trail’s internal indicators. Vents near the shock, at the head tube and below the BB help move air over the shock to keep it from overheating.
A new, tool-free cover plate uses magnets at the top and a dialed knob to secure it. You don’t have to fully remove the knob, and it’s easy to turn and tighten with full finger gloves on. This makes it much faster to make changes to your rear shock:
They run a remote lockout to the shock, and have foam cable covers on the housings and brake hose to prevent rattle. I did hear a good bit of noise while riding, though, but they said it was most likely the chain slapping the chainstay and that they’ll be switching to a different material there to silence it.
KS’ integrated dropper seatpost uses a standard outside diameter, so you can swap in any dropper post you want. The integrated version attaches to the frame via that bolt on the back of the seat tube.
Bold created their own chain guide and lower chain suck prevention system so they could make the pivots and BB shell as wide as possible. The protective material wrapping around the chainstay is what they’re going to change to better absorb noise and chain slap.
The other adjustment comes at the front of the bike. The headset sits inside a cup that has two different positions to change just the head angle, giving them a total of eight different positions. The cups are keyed both top and bottom, so you simply rotate them 180º and drop them in.
Head angles swing a full 2° on paper, but the effective difference when on the bike is 1.5° because the wheelbase stretches and the ends up angling the fork back a half degree once it’s sitting level.
The cockpit comes from Race Face, and uses Rockshox’s TwistLoc rear shock lockout remote.
Bold Unplugged First Ride Review
I rode the Bold Unplugged at Bike Park Serfaus-Liss-Ladis in Austria, which is an amazing place. It’s just four years old, started by a local after visiting North American bike parks, and has an impressive range of trails ranging from somewhat kid-friendly up to amateur DH. There’s also a kid-sized pump track, practice jump lines with a treadmill lift, and more. Most impressive? The area is simply packed with family friendly activities, many of them free or extremely (surprisingly!) affordable. Honestly, the area is a model for what ski resort towns could be in the summer.
Now, about the bike…
On the very first berm section, the bike’s playful nature was immediately apparent. It popped between turns quickly and easily. Geometry has a lot to do with this, but my hunch is the low center of gravity helped out quite a bit, too. I rode a size large, which was close enough to fitting well thanks to a long top tube. As soon as I had the option, I ducked off the berms and into the natural trails, where the roots and rocks felt more like home.
Here, the bike felt planted and capable. My test bike had the new DT Swiss fork and shock installed, so half my attention was on that (separate review coming soon for those), but the bike provided an instantly familiar platform on which to test them. And that’s a high compliment…it didn’t require any special handling or exhibit quirks I needed to get used to. I could just point the bike down the mountain and go. That said, I didn’t climb with it at all. And actually very little pedaling. But with a lockout switch at the handlebar, the option is there to firm things up as needed.
First impressions are good. Enough so that I’d recommend trying them out if you get a chance. it’s a unique design that grabbed attention in the lift queue and performed well tearing down the mountain.