Stepping up on their efforts to grab part of the highend market, Polygon is back in 2007, with a complete range of high performance bicycles that can seriously challenge the best of the industry’s big brand names.
Among these are full suspension XC/trail, downhill, full carbon XC hardtails, and full carbon triathlon bicycles to fill almost every possible niche. The other models may be reviewed in the near future, but first we take a look at their flagship full carbon XC hardtail, the Cozmic RX 3.0.
The Cozmic RX 3.0 is an impressive looking carbon hardtail that will not look out of place next to a Scott or Trek equivalent. With a weight of 9.7kg (minus pedals), it is impressively light without having to resort to extreme weight weenie products. The Taiwan made frame, like most carbon frames, is a sight to behold in its lustrous carbon weave pattern. The white and gold graphics lend a very subtle classy look which differentiate it from the sea of fanciful bicycles. With details like an oversized downtube, beefy bottom bracket junction and a wishbone seatstay, it shouts stiffness and efficiency. But will it be painfully rigid? The tight tire clearance around the seatstay and chainstay might pose mud clearance problems should the rider go for more substantial rubber than the 1.95″ standard Panaracer Trailblaster tires. Other clean and thoughtful details include the replaceable rear derailleur hanger and the triple top tube cable routing.
The drivetrain and braking departments are all taken care of by the latest generation of Shimano XTR M970 components. The latest Dual Control shift/levers is particularly interesting, however we shall leave that to the complete review on the XTR which will available shortly. The wheelset supplied for this test is also from Shimano’s XTR range, for the purpose of reviewing the latest XTR offerings. The actual bike will be sold with Mavic Crossmax SLR, the cream of the crop wheelset from Mavic. The rest of the bike was dripping with high end parts from Ritchey and Fizik. The whole bike is equipped to stand wheel to wheel with other competitive XC bikes on the start line of a race.
Polygon has also made a wise choice in choosing the Rockshox SID team for this bike. It is neither the plushiest nor the stiffest XC fork on the market, but it is plenty stiff and lightweight for XC racer types. A remote poploc is mounted on the lefthand side of the handlebar, allowing the fork to be locked out on the fly with a simple push of a thumb. However, due to the poploc’s release button, the remote lever could not be mounted completely flush against the dual control shifters. The SID team was reasonably plush for its purpose, but being a heavy rider, it left me wishing for something more capable of soaking up big bumps.
With such a light and stiff frame, the bike just sprints off effortlessly with the first push of the pedal. The oversized construction ensures the bike is stiff during jamming out of the saddle. The whole frame felt stiff during hard sprints and yet maintains its capability to damp out small trail buzz, making it easy on the butt. The larger frame (17.5″) also goes someway in helping the comfort level too. All these being said, the RX 3.0 is still a hardtail, so do not expect it to absorb the larger hits like a full suspension bike.
With short chainstays of 16.75″ and a roomy 22″ top tube, this bike just rockets up relatively smooth climbs. The dry XC biased Trailblasters did not have sufficient traction in the wet months of December and January, which saw some record rainfall in years. Ironically, the narrow profile of the tire allows it to cut through the soft sections of mud and getting traction beneath the mud without slowing down significantly.
Descenting from slopes, the bike’s carbon makeup helps somewhat in deadening the bumps; but like most hardtails, its still a sketchy affair. The rider will definitely have to get his/her weight out and behind the saddle for the legs to absorb the bigger bumps.
The oversized Ritchey handlebar felt very racey, but lacked backsweep for leverage up long grinding climbs. Adding barends or swapping for a set of low riser bars should solve the problem. A particular component I have to comment is the Fizik Nisene saddle. Being a longtime user of the Fizik Gobi saddle, I was abit hesistant about the ‘flat wooden plank’ profile of the Nisene initially. But the Nisene proved to be more comfortable than the Gobi, particularly when sitting in the nose section up steep climbs. The saddle is also narrow enough for easy position shifts. My only gripe is the lack rear ‘lip’ which makes it difficult to push against the saddle to gain extra power when spinning up gentle climbs. In additon, the plastic piece underneath the nose which was designed to help with portaging the bike over obstacles proved to be too slippery for its purpose.
The Polygon Cozmic RX 3.0 has everything you need to be competitive in XC races, with no-nonsense top end components that do not compromise on weight nor performance. It behaves like every XC carbon hardtail on the market should, providing stiffness and trail buzz absorbing capabilities with no bad traits. However, I have yet revealed the best feature of this bike, which is the price. At $4550, it is alot easier on your wallet when compared to similiar offerings from big name bike companies. For privateers seeking a competitive XC machine to weekend riders who have a carbon fetish, the Polygon Cozmic RX 3.0 would require your serious consideration when shopping for your next bike.