“So here’s our new 180mm all-mountain bike. You’re going to climb it 4,000 feet this morning. Oh, and you have to run it wide open and there’s no lock-out lever.” Safe to say I was sceptical at the start of the launch for Polygon’s new flagship enduro bike.
Photos: James Smurthwaite/Dennis Yuroshek
This bike means a lot to Polygon. For years, the Indonesian brand has been chasing the competition, working inside the box of the latest trends. For the first time, they want to do something new. The result is the Square One, a bike that they believe will revolutionise how we look at mountain bikes.
The concept has been in designer Darrell Voss’ (of Klein and Suntour fame) head for 25 years. When Polygon approached him to design them a bike in 2010, he found the company who could finally make his vision a reality.
It’s instantly eye catching. Chunky single stays are dominant feature along with a green-on-green paint scheme that make it look like a sci-fi military vehicle. And no, despite appearances, there’s no hidden motor in that chunky tube above the bottom bracket – more on that later though.
So what’s different? Voss thinks that the bike industry has an over-reliance on damping, claiming it looks for progress in terms of shock technology, not in kinematics. The climbing-switch is his biggest personal bug bear. He sees it as a lazy shortcut from designers who don’t really understand how to build a proper suspension platform.