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Polygon has long been renowned for its recreational and road bicycles, but it is only of late that they have launched their Royale series, which targets the higher-end consumer market that was untapped for so many years by Polygon, up till now.

Togoparts.com recently had the pleasure of reviewing the Polygon Tyrano. Hopefully this latest review on the Jaxx Team Issue will further enlighten riders to true Polygon quality and attention to detail, mated with top-notch component selection. All this from a bike company more well known for their recreational series of bikes, including the range commonly seen as ?rental? bikes along East Coast Park.

The frame

We were pleasantly surprised when we received the bike; the decals and the colour combinations matched so well that we could not wait to hop onto the bike! The entire frame is constructed from reinforced carbon fibre, making it light weight yet strong.

The rear end uses a wishbone (spelt ?Whisbone? on purpose?), which brings great stiffness, and minimized flexing on the trails. This is different compared to the A-stays normally seen on other bike models, which tend to flex in various degrees under trail impact.

The frame is set to a race-ready geometry, and is very suitable for the compact-sized Asian body type. After all, this is a frame designed for Asians, by Asians!

The specifications

Our review bike came with a full 2004 XT disc groupset, Shimano XT WH-M765 tubeless wheelset, Ritchey WCS stem, riser bar and setback seatpost, and a Fizik Nisene saddle. The wheels were fitted with a pair of Panaracer Trailblaster 26 x 1.95 inch tubeless tyres. A Rock Shox SID Race provided front-end suspension. The whole setup looked real good, but what about the ride? Read on to find out more?.

The ride

Decked with so many goodies, it is only fitting to coin the term ?team issue? when referring to the Jaxx. The ride is smooth overall, and we came away convinced that the full potential of this bike can be exploited in the hands and on the legs of a skilled rider.

Frame:

The Jaxx Team Issue has a slightly shorter-than-average wheelbase, due to its short chainstays. Our 16-inch sized bike (center-to-centre) also has a relatively steep head angle and a 21.5-inch top tube, giving it a compact geometry, which translates to agile handling and snappy acceleration, be it on climbs or descents. The ride characteristics are so reminiscent of my little race machine sitting at home! One shortcoming is that, the crown of the fork could not clear the downtube entirely. This is a concern especially when you are doing descents at high speeds and crash while losing control. The crown might hit the downtube, possibly rendering the bike unsafe for future rides due to the lightweight frame material that is used in frame fabrication.

Drivetrain:

The guys at Polygon cycle have offered 2 gruppo options of either the Shimano Deore XT or XTR 04, both featuring Dual Control Shifters with disc brakes. Our review bike came with the Deore XTs. As a dedicated Gripshift user, it definitely takes some time for me to get warmed up to something ?alien? like the Dual Control Shifters. Having gotten the hang of it, they proved great to use, with additional thumb shifters for riders who may not be used to flicking up the shifters. Then said, the thumb shifters can be removed by unscrewing the bolts with an Allen key for those who do not require them. The fancy thing about these Dual Control Shifters is that you can shift and brake instantaneously (which sadly, I can?t do it on my SRAM/ hayes combo). It is really helpful in cases of either attacking climbs or descending, and you do not have enough time to react by reducing speed and/ or shifting into a smaller/ larger gear. The Deore XT Hollowtech II cranks are light and of good quality. Overall, no complaints for the drivetrain, although we sometimes wished we could have gotten the XTR version of the bike!

Wheels:

Again, Polygon has offered 3 choices of either: Shimano XTR WH-M965, WH-M540 or WH-M765. The review bike came with WH-M765. Unlike its predecessor the WH-M575, the wheelset is strictly disc-only, and can be run on tubes or tubeless unlike the restriction of tubes only on the M575. The wheels feel light, particularly due to the low spoke count and the nipple-centered hub design, which was initially found only on the M965t.

Tyres:

The Panaracer Trailblaster 1.95-inch tubeless tyres deliver very little rolling resistance, and have adequate grip on hardpack and fireroads. However, mud clings to them like a magnet to a fridge door, and the side knobs do not inspire confidence during cornering. If you decide to use these tyres in trails like Bukit Timah, run them at a relatively lower pressure.

Fork:

Polygon has chosen the SID race, presumably in an attempt to lighten the weight of the bike and the front end. Suspension performance is what one would expect from a top-end air fork. However, the flex due to a shorter lower leg and the lack of lockout of the SID race affects our rating for the front end. We feel that a Fox Float RLT or a Marzocchi marathon SL (if unrestrained by a budget) or a Marzocchi MX series fork would fill in the gap up front much better. What this bike sorely lacks is a competent fork to bring out the best performance in this whole setup.

Cockpit:

The Ritchey WCS seatpost provided had one fatal flaw; it was too short! There was only 130mm of the seatpost inside the seat tube. We discovered that the seatpost was cut due to the seat tube having some sort of a ?stopper? inside that prevented more of the seatpost from being inserted into the seat tube. As a result, and given my long legs, we could not safely raise the seatpost to suit my height. We feel that for a more racy look, the riser bar can be replaced with a straight handlebar. The grips, when we gripped them hard, kept twisting, but this can be fixed by spraying a little paint or hair spray in the gap between the handlebar and grips. The 90mm 5 degrees Ritchey WCS stem was minimalist in design, and served its purpose well. We liked the Fizik Nisene saddle immensely, as it was very soft and comfortable to ride on.

 

Conclusion

We loved the Jaxx Team Issue the moment we saw it – for its colour coordination, component kit, and handling. I was unaware that Polygon had such a great secret weapon up its sleeves, as I had never caught any recent news about Polygon coming out with such a great mountain bike as the Jaxx. The kit on the bike makes it worthy to be called an ?out-of-the-box-racer?. It is competent both on and off road with a compact geometry and near-top-notch components. For a more race-oriented setup, we suggest losing the riser bar and acquiring a straight bar for a much more aggressive riding posture. Additionally, although replacing the SID Race fork would imply a replacement high-end fork of more weight, you will find the tradeoff for increased performance and confidence in place of weight-savings worthwhile.

To conclude, this bike is an excellent choice for those budding racer-wannabes and pros alike. With a great kit and performance at a competitive price, and almost nothing to upgrade, this is a great bike either to start your racing career on, or, to hone your technical skills and satisfy your speed freak needs.