20 Nov 2018

Bikes like the Polygon Siskiu N9 are making it harder and harder to justify forking out twice as much for a bike - the performance gap is getting pretty small! It may not be the most refined or smoothest ride, but damn it ticks a lot of boxes, especially when you consider the price tag.

The not-so-minor details

Product

Polygon Siskiu N9

Contact

Price

3699

Weight

14740

Positives

Smart component choices.
Great fork and shock.
Geometry that most riders will feel instantly comfortable with.
The price, obviously!

Negatives

Short travel dropper post.
No water bottle mount.


What makes this bike special?

It’s not just the price, though at $3699, this one is hard to beat. Even when stacked up against other direct-to-the-consumer brands like YT, this bike holds its own in sheer value for money terms.

The frameset is far from revolutionary, all aluminium, with a simple faux-bar suspension system. But this bike isn’t out to deliver earth shattering ride qualities or wow you with intricate construction; it’s built to give the weekend warrior a super reliable shred sled, with the money invested wisely into the areas that count.

It cuts a mean shape!

Standout points?

The choice to fit high quality suspension items is laudable – popping a FOX 36 and DPX2 shock on this bike must have made it a stretch to hit this price point, but it is hugely beneficial to the ride. SRAM’s GX Eagle drivetrain is a rarity at this price point too, so top marks there. Great tyres, mounted to wide rims, and powerful brakes are all must-haves for this style of bike, and Polygon have nailed it.

It’s a super solid frame too; not a creak out of it, and after all our test riding the pivots were perfectly tight.

Polygon wisely invested in a great FOX fork and shock.
We’ve had niggles with GX Eagle occasionally, but it was a treat on the Polygon, giving us all the gear range we needed.

Would I be foolish to buy this bike as an all-rounder?

We don’t think so. It’s geometry isn’t as extreme as many Enduro bikes, so it’s actually quite comfortable in slower speed singletrack, and doesn’t steer like a bus, making it more suitable as trail bike than a lot of similar travel bikes. You won’t take any KOMs up the local hill climb, but who cares?

It’s built to give the weekend warrior a super reliable shred sled, with the money invested wisely into the areas that count.

Is it a worthy race bike?

Certainly! Pop a chain guide on it (the ISCG mounts are there) for added chain security and get amongst it. If you’re looking for maximum stability, consider up-sizing your frame, as it’s not a particularly long bike in the context of modern Enduro race bikes.

All the finishing gear (bars, stem, rims, seat and grips) is from Entity, Polygon’s in-house brand. It’s all just fine, except for the grips which twist when wet.

What about wheel size options?

Our test bike is a 29er, with 160mm of travel, though you can also get this bike with 27.5 wheels and 170mm – but – only in a size small or medium. For us, that’s not an issue as 29er wheels are our preference for mowing down rough trails. If you’re a big rider and want the nimbleness of small wheels, you’re out of luck.

Hello Mary! There are few more aggressive trail treads than the Scwhalbe Magic Mary. It’s a great tyre, and the Snake Skin version here is tougher than the standard tyre with its lighter sidewall.
TRP’s Slate four-piston brakes. The levers are fairly moto and not terribly refined, but the power and feel is good.

Any niggles?

The brake lever clamps and shifter/dropper lever don’t play together very nicely, so cockpit set up was a bit fiddly. Our test bike also had a bit of cable rattle, but we’ve been assured this has been resolved in more recent production runs, with foam sleeves over the internal cables.

As we’ve noted in the video, the size medium bike we reviewed only has a 125mm-travel dropper post, which is a little short. We’re happy to note that Polygon have taken this feedback on board, and 150mm droppers will be fitted in future production runs. Good to see a brand listening to the consumer!

The TRP brake lever clamps don’t play perfectly with the SRAM shifter or dropper post lever.
The Drive SI dropper post worked flawlessly, but we’d have liked longer travel than the 125mm here. New versions of this bike will get a 150mm dropper.

What would you change?

We’d be looking for a faster rolling rear tyre. The Magic Mary is massively grippy, but in the soft compound it rolls a little slowly out back. We’d keep it in the shed as a spare, or for when we’re heading to Maydena. We’d also swap the grips; they feel nice, but as soon you wash the bike or go for a wet ride, they squirm around on the bar. Trés annoying.

Any areas where it suffers?

Just the climbs really. You’ll be using the compression lever on the shock to get the most out of this bike on the ups, as it bobs a bit without it. Swapping the rear tyre, as we’ve suggested above, would help somewhat. The actual frame geometry is well suited to tapping out a long climb, with a steep seat angle ensuring you’re not too far behind the bottom bracket.

The suspension gets a little choppy under brakes, but no more so than other faux-bar suspension designs we’ve ridden.

Big wheels, big travel, small price.

Standout ride qualities?

It’s predictable! The handling doesn’t require you to consciously shuffle your weight about to keep both tyres biting, or need super steep or rough trails to feel at home either. While the suspension isn’t a ground hugger, it is supportive through the mid-stroke, giving you plenty of pop when you want to get the bike dancing about the trail.

A lot of bikes with this kind of travel and big wheels can be pretty dull until you crack the sound barrier, but the Siskiu is an easy bike to get along with when you just want to cruise too.

We found the frameset to be laterally stiff, and well put together, with everything staying rock solid.

Should I consider it?

100%. If your budget requires change out of four grand, then you’ll struggle to find more bike for the cash than the Siskiu N9. Bicycles Online actually offer a 14-day test ride period on their bikes too, so if you don’t like it, you can send it back for a refund. Give it a whirl, we say!