But in the realm of more extreme terrain: big boulders, chainring-crunching rock gardens, multiple roots, bike park-style riding – and in the case of highly-urbanized Singapore ? stairs and square-edged ledges or drops, an extra inch of travel is more often than not welcomed. But can long-travel and technical agility co-exist with an efficient cross-country geometry ? and more crucially, a design that can be ridden for long durations?
Enter the 6? travel Colossus AXX, a dedicated all-mountain rig that places itself squarely in the ?big-hit, do-it-all? full-suspension genre. The Colossus is available in two sizes (centre-to-top) ? 16.5? and 18.5?, and comes in either White or Black. Lighter than a freeride bike and with more uphill-friendly geometry incorporating proven suspension technology in a lightweight frame design, Polygon have skirted past the trailbike craze (currently the fastest-growing segment of mountain biking) and introduced a worthy challenger into the all-mountain arena.
The first thing that draws attention on any all-mountain bike is its suspension design. The Colossus boasts a full-floating rear shock concept reminiscent of the long-travel variants of Dave Weagle?s DW-link suspension. This reduces the impact of pedaling-induced forces that tend to sap energy and momentum when pedaling through technical sections. The frame?sports?a clean, open profile; where most other manufacturers? all-mountain bike frames ? several with multiple linkages – are nothing more than glorified, heavy single-pivot designs, the Colossus? design takes a different tack. The rear triangle is a one-piece unit welded and attached to the top and bottom gold-anodized linkages via large bearings. An ample sloping toptube gives loads of standover, with a support bracket between it and the seattube for added strength. Lower down, the front derailleur is a standard bottom pull variant which sits on a bent seattube ? which is itself reinforced and gusseted at various pivot attachment points.? ????
Our test bike came equipped with Syncros? ?Grunge? line of components: a 70mm, 5 degree positive rise stem, 660mm-wide riser handlebars, and a 31.6mm diameter seatpost. Suspension-wise, rear-shock duties were taken care of by a prototype Boost Valve-equipped Fox RP23, while the front end? boasted a Fox TALAS 36 R with a tapered steerer turning on a semi-internal FSA Gravity DX Pro headset. Bonus touches included eye-catching white Polygon platform pedals (which matched the colour of the fork and handlebars) and a Fizik Zerk freeride/DH ?specific saddle. A full XT groupset drove a set of tubeless Mavic Crossmax SXs wheels – run with 2.35? Maxxis High Roller LUST tires and 185mm rotors. Full-length cable housings ran neatly from the bars and along the underside of the downtube.
Given its freeride-lite nature, it is somewhat a pity that the Colossus frame is not equipped with ISCG mounts for frame-mounted bashguards or chain guides, nor replaceable rear dropouts for 10mm or 12mm rear thru-axle options.
For test purposes, we raised the saddle height till optimal leg extension ? as per cross-country-style bike fit norms. We also replaced the platform pedals with a pair of Crank Brothers Candy SLs. We found that the best settings for the suspension were 25 per cent sag for the fork (at 160mm, or full travel) and 30 per cent sag for the rear shock. We felt this gave the best balance of plushness without the risk of bottoming out on the bigger hits and drops.
Straight and level pedaling while seated reveals that the suspension design does indeed work to minimize pedal bob, even with the ProPedal turned off. The Colossus? suspension design utilizes chain tension to cancel out suspension-induced pedal bob. This is optimized when the chain is in the middle ring ? where the chain would spend most of its time anyway ? by virtue of the lower pivot point being inline with the top of the middle chainring. The Boost Valve-equipped RP23 is a large volume design ? light enough and well-suited for epic days out on varied terrain. We felt that more demanding terrain (where shock heating could become an issue) would warrant the use of a heavier-duty shock such as a Fox DHX Air 5.0.
The litmus test of an all-mountain bike takes place during seated, sustained uphill inclines. Apart from weight, initial-stroke suspension bob is unavoidable on such a long-travel rig ? even one with bob-minimization linkage designs and stable platform technology like Fox?s ProPedal. On the Colossus? tail end, leaving the ProPedal off actually affords the rider heaps of traction both in and out of the saddle, particularly on stair-step climbs with numerous hard edges; we turned it on only to test its effects. The technical climbs were where the TALAS fork really shone on the test bike. We were particularly impressed with how the headtube angle increased to 68? when front travel was reduced to 100mm, giving the Colossus tame front wheel handling characteristics on the bumpiest and loosest of climbs.
The TALAS at full travel gives the Colossus a slack 66? headtube angle ? perfect for blitzing downhill runs and dropping off large objects. Without further ado, we pointed?it downhill. Descending ? with heaps of pedaling in the big chainring thrown in ? is a breeze. The?Colossus is extremely stable at high speeds and easy to handle through high-speed sweeping turns. Chattery, high-frequency bumps feel smoothed out through the mid-stroke, especially with the RP23 set to ?1?, the most plush setting. The biggest drops in excess of four feet must be tackled with finesse and a good eye for technique ? for the Colossus is, after all, not a pure freeride bike. Still, steep terrain in general is so much fun on this bike due to the ease with which it can pop a manual: run-of-the-mill two and three-foot low-speed drops can be tackled with nonchalance. In the bush, this responsiveness translates into executing extremely predictable skids and drifts, with no noticeable pivot-borne flexing issues – even when leaned over hard into the sharpest of switchback turns. On the front, the stiffness and precision afforded by the 20mm thru-axle fork and wheel combo inspired confidence in all situations, and especially in the lumpiest of conditions.
One of our test days included a very muddy and slippery ride on steep, technical trails. Over here, the tubeless Maxxis High Rollers got our thumbs-up as the go-to tire of choice for extreme conditions riding such as were present that day.
Inevitably, we had a wish-list of after-market parts that would make this already good stock-spec bike great. A travel-adjustable seatpost for some extra space on the gnarlier sections of trail; a big-ring bashguard would have been awesome protection for any double chainring drivetrain on this bike; and finally, a TALAS fork with more adjustability (such as the RC2) would be the ideal complement for the Boost Valve-equipped RP23 rear shock.
The stock Colossus AXX boasts an impeccable and dependable component selection, giving it heaps of true all-mountain performance. A neutral geometry gives it plenty of legroom for long days in the saddle, whether pointed up a mountainside, or down it. And this is at a price point that leaves enough cash in the bank for a full-face helmet and some body armour (things one would inevitably need to ride this bike to its full potential). This is one bike that can proudly hold its own against other brands-name bikes.