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Trail and Enduro Bikes

Bold Linkin Trail LT – First Look

Sleek lines and a hidden shock from the Swiss

The Linkin Trail LT is the latest addition to the Bold Cycles range, the bikes with the hidden rear shock. How does this long travel carbon 29er from switzerland stack up against the best in this category from the US and Europe?

Words: Sean White  Images: Ieuan Williams

BOLD CYCLES LINKIN TRAIL LT – FIRST LOOK

With only a few years of development and bike production behind them, you may well be unaware of this small Swiss brand and its bikes. Bold’s design concept is to hide the rear shock inside the seat tube of a full carbon frame protecting it from water and filth. It also gives clean lines to the bike and the finish and detailing is typical of what you would expect from a Swiss company. Rolling on 29″ wheels (with a 27 Plus option) Bold offers a 130mm travel Linkin Trail Classic or this, the bigger hitting LT model. This longer travel LT model uses the same suspension platform as the Classic but dishes out 154mm of rear travel with a 160mm fork up front.

With many brands now offering a longer travel 29″ wheel enduro bike for 2018, this Bold bike has plenty of competition. Here we take a look at the frame, suspension, geometry, sizing and spec. We’ll report back with a full test in October.

FRAME AND SUSPENSION

The ‘unique selling point’ that Bold offers with its bikes is the hidden shock, called IST  – Internal Suspension Technology. Bold has designed the carbon mainframe around the rear shock which is held vertically in the seat tube. It claims that this design not only brings clean lines and water, dust and mud protection but other benefits too – increased stiffness being one of them. So how does this system work? Is it user friendly or just a gimmick that looks good in the showroom? The Linkin Trail LT is certainly a very well presented bike with great attention to detail and a very slick finish.

Let’s talk access to the shock first. It’s tucked away, so how do you adjust the air pressure and damping controls? The lower part of the down tube has a removable hatch (two allen bolts to remove, so tools are required), revealing the custom DT 414 single can air shock. The air valve is easy to access with the rebound dial tucked in there too and it’s not a difficult job to remove it for servicing or inspection. Bold and DTSwiss have worked closely on this shock and currently this bespoke damper looks like the only option – no upgrading here. With the move to this longer travel bike, Bold feel that this custom rear shock is up to the job in hand. A small hatch on the side of the seat tube allows the sag to be viewed and calculated with the aid of a supplied guide too but you’ll need a friend to help though. It’s a touch different to the norm but it’s no real issue. A twin-lever remote unit controls the two position lockout, with the cable running through the frame. With the 1×12 transmission of the test bike, the left-hand part of the handlebar was filled with this lockout lever and the remote for the KS dropper post. All the cables and hoses are ducted neatly though a port in the head tube, with additional holes that Bold suggest help with airflow to the rear shock.

The frame is full carbon, including the rear swingarm – both the chainstays and the seatstays. A tried and tested ‘Four-bar’ style suspension layout is a reassuring starting point with a short rocker driving the hidden rear shock. It’s a clean layout and on a first ride feels stiff and very responsive.

Bold uses a BB92 bottom bracket on the Linkin Trail LT with a 148mm Boost spaced rear dropouts. It is compatible with 150mm or 160mm travel forks.

GEOMETRY AND SIZING

It’s almost always the case that we are going to look at the geometry charts before we even get to ride a test bike. It’s here that it is easy to make assumptions and with just three frame sizes available (S,M,L), our large Linkin Trail LT test bike looked on paper a touch small when compared to bikes such as the Trek Slash, Specialized Enduro 29 and Intense Carbine.

With a head angle of 67.1°, reach of 436mm and a wheelbase of 1193mm, the Bold’s figures seem a little more in keeping with a shorter travel bike, although Bold’s size guide suggests that riders up to 193cm (6′ 4″) tall. A 2018 Trek Slash by comparison measures up 65.6° HA, 459mm R and 1247mm WB. The trend may well be towards ‘long, low and slack’ so how will this Swiss bike compare dynamically to some of the most capable big-hitting 29″ enduro race bikes? A full test should reveal all.

SPECIFICATION

Out test bike arrived with a well sorted spec. SRAM XX1 Eagle 1×12 transmission, SRAM Guide RS brakes, DT Swiss XM 1501 wheelset (with 30mm internal diameter rims), premium grade Maxxis rubber with a RockShox Lyrik leading the way. With decent dimensions on the RaceFace cockpit and a long stroke KS dropper post there is nothing we feel needs changing immediately.

The Linkin Trail LT is available as a ‘frame only’ option and also in a SRAM GX Eagle spec. UK sales are currently direct from Bold Cycles in Switzerland.

PRICE: £4290 (as tested)

boldcycles.com

For the UK: uk@boldcycles.com or 07775 786709

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