Antidote Carbonjack - First Look - Dirt

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Trail and Enduro Bikes

Antidote Carbonjack – First Look

Handmade carbon, 160mm travel, rare. As good as it looks?

We were blown away by the Antidote Darkmatter, one of the best DH bikes we’ve ridden this year. How does their 160mm travel enduro bike, the Carbonjack, stack up in this highly developed category?

Words: Sean White Images: Steve Jones

Yeah, that’s right, the Darkmatter took us by surprise and had us itching to get more time in on this bike from Poland. We kept it for as long as we could and naturally were keen to explore other bikes in the Antidote range. The Carbonjack a bike with 27.5″ wheels, 160mm of rear travel has stiff competition. The 2017 Dirt 100 is stacked with good examples of these bikes – all with well honed geometry, up to date sizing and sorted suspension and damping. The YT Capra, Transition Patrol and Evil Insurgent are all carbon framed bikes that are both proven dynamically and hugely desirable. Aluminium equivalents such as the Commencal Meta AM and Orange Alpine 6 are also likely contenders for your enduro shopping list. So how does the Carbonjack, a hand-crafted carbon frame from a small builder in Europe compare against these benchmark bikes? As we found this year with the steel framed Starling Murmur, we need to be prepared for surprises. Quite frequently, these more esoteric and custom options from true craftsmen show they can not only produce a stunningly finished bike but one that blows us away on the trail.

FRAME AND SUSPENSION

‘A full enduro package, 160mm of travel, slack geometry, short rear’ – these are Antidote’s words to describe the Carbonjack design. They’re familiar words too, ones that we hear frequently and as we roll into the 2018 model year the ‘long, low and slack’ mantra is becoming a standard which few brands dare stray from. But many would say there is some work to be done on frame sizing. With both development and production done in house, Antidote (just like Nicolai, Orange and Hope) can tweak their designs as and when needed and are constantly testing and evaluating.

It’s handmade carbon all the way with Antidote. The only aluminium here is on the CNC’d linkages and the custom pivot bolts. The frame construction is a monocoque carbon and Vectran composite from Toray, one of the leaders in this material. Antidote use this in both the front triangle and the swingarm and the shaping and finish of the frame show some real work and love has gone into the production of this frame. It is light too – with a medium size frame weighing 2.6kg.

This 160mm frame has no rear pivot on the chainstay or seatstay and currently uses a ‘non-Boost’ 142x12mm hub spacing. It’s a linkage driven system with the shock sitting at 90 degrees to normal and mounted behind the seat tube. A custom fit mudguard protects the shock. It’s clear that there is plenty of attention to detail on the Carbonjack. Cable and hose routing for the rear brake and gears are external with the dropper hose going internally.

Antidote give a lifetime warranty to the first owner of their frames.

GEOMETRY AND SIZING

There are three sizes available with the Carbonjack – M, L, and XL. There is a consistency that runs through the measurements that are worthy of note and differ a touch from others in this 160mm category.

The head angle sits at 65 deg (a YT Capra is 65.5 deg) but interestingly the head tube remains usefully low at 115mm on all three frame sizes. With the largest (XL) of the frame options having a lengthy 480mm reach (a Capra in XL is 458mm) and a seat tube measurement of 500mm, the dimensions will certainly please riders around six feet tall and just over.

The bottom bracket height is 1mm different to the Orange Alpine 6 but the chainstays are longer at 438mm. Both the Alpine and Capra measure 430mm for the rear centre.

So, although the rear of the Carbonjack is short, the overall wheelbase of an XL bike is reasonably lengthy at 1244mm, with 1213mm on a size L.

SPECIFICATION

With an Antidote it’s always going to be a custom build. Our test bike arrived with a component spec that they feel compliments the ride quality and attitude of this 160mm travel bike. There’s a touch of carbon exotica here with the Enve rims and Candy Ray bars (a partner brand to Antidote) – we’ll see how these wheels play with the ride quality of the frame.

Otherwise, it’s a case of pick ‘n’ mix your chosen hardware for a build that suits how and where you ride. A full test to follow.

PRICE: €2990 (no shock) or €3990 (with a Cane Creek Double Barrel)

antidotebikes.com

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