Choosing the right frame for your bike is one of the hardest tasks you will face when purchasing the components for your dream machine. This very decision will impact both the style of riding on your new enduro bike and the choice of mountain biking discipline, in which your bike will offer you the best advantages. In this article we will review the most interesting models of bicycle frames available on the market and discuss their biggest advantages.
Polygon XQUARONE and revolutionary R3ACT 2PLAY
XQUARONE EX9 is offered by Polygon Bikes, a producer from exotic Java island. Having more than 30 years of experience in the market, this company has won over the fans of gravity mountain biking. Their flagship product is the enduro frame XQUARONE EX9.
In its heart lays R3ACT 2PLAY – an innovative rear suspension system. Even its very shape is totally unique, being slightly bent, somewhat like a cat’s claw. This solution provides perfect housings for all inner routing of gear and brake cables, but the true masterpiece is the suspension system controlled by the pivoting stanchion. As you probably know the performance of each enduro frame depends on the main bearing located at the bottom of the frame, but Polygon replaced this mechanism with a pivoting stanchion anchored to the bottom of the main frame and to the swingarm supported by two large bushings. This unique system was patented by Polygon and is currently used also by Merida.
So, why constructors at Polygon put so much work into this product? Their goal was to make EX9 behave on the climbs in the same way as a regular hardtail enduro frame, so as not to waste your energy. That’s why, even with 180 mm rear suspension, it guarantees efficient riding performance in any direction you go – up or down. So what should you get – enduro or trail bike? If you decide to buy EX9, this question is no longer relevant!
YETI SB150 and clever Switch Infinity
Even though real Yeti remains to be unseen, YETI from the biking world each year is getting more and more popular. The best proof of this is SB150 – 29” enduro frame.
What is it then that makes this frame stand out from the crowd? Most of all the extraordinary Switch Infinity system, designed in direct cooperation with Fox. With this system, the rear triangle of the frame is not “rigidly” mounted but instead, it fixed to a special connector that moves over two parallel stanchions, resembling those you can see at forks. Their construction is also similar – surface covered with Kashima coating, a flagship product of FOX. Looks complicated but the Switch Infinity system is fitted with seals ensuring hassle-free handling of the entire suspension system.
How does the YETI enduro frame perform? As you ride ahead, Switch Infinity moves freely, minimizing at the same time any energy losses from pedalling. When it comes to a rough ride, SB150 will also not disappoint you. The suspension smoothly absorbs any shocks, and the rider has the impression of endless rear travel. It’s a well-balanced construction which makes this bike poppy and easy to climb at the same time but to feel this comfort and performance you will have to look a bit deeper into your pockets.
Evil Wreckoning and Delta System
Evil is making intriguing and unique constructions, but this frame will also get you a huge range of suspension travel and almost total “anti squat”. What does it mean? With classic enduro frames, much of the kinetic energy generated during pedalling is being wasted by suspension work. Many bike manufacturers developed smart and modern systems to minimize that effect, but Evil response called DELTA is something else. Thanks to the efforts of Evil engineers, Wreckoning is not just another full suspension enduro frame that enables the rider to climb efficiently without compromising the manoeuvrability of the bike but also a semi downhill rig that will give you more confidence on the descend than on any other bike. Why is that? The answer is simple – creators of Evil brand were previously involved in downhill racing as engineers and designers so now you can feel that spirit in their flagship enduro frame – the Wreckoning.
The bike was designed with a bit rougher style of riding in mind so it will be an ideal choice for riders, who are more interested in the fun of going down rather than climbing up. Having said that, it does not mean that Evil won’t perform well on the climbs. That’s simply not true! It’s just that everybody knows descending is more fun!
Getting back to Wreckoning – it’s a first-class 29” enduro frame with complicated multi-link suspension which allows the damper to work remarkably smoothly, giving the rider full steering control over the bike. This makes climbing up as easy as pie, and you have more energy to race ahead towards your destination. Unfortunately, there is no rose without the thorns. The complex construction of this suspension makes it easy for the twigs or bigger pebbles to get trapped within. Thankfully, this happens very rarely, and getting rid of the obstruction should present no problems. This frame has been also equipped with an internal cable routing system and build-in rear triangle cover, which protects your pricy equipment from scratches or knocking sounds.
Transition Patrol – coil at its best
Patrol is an enduro frame designed with one thing in mind – to guarantee big doses of endorphins to the rider. It is trying to be a universal machine with balanced geometry but what it does the best is fun. This makes Patrol a great choice for both descending and climbing. It is possible thanks to the GiddyUp system, which increases rear-wheel traction on technical sections, and at the same time improves the bike’s ability to absorb shocks from smaller bumps.
Enduro frame with coil shock? Despite huge technological advancements in the field of air shock absorbers, many producers and riders still prefer to use conventional coil systems. This system delivers fully progressive suspension, and its look is much more aggressive so you can be sure it will attract a lot of attention from other MTB enthusiasts met on the trail.
We should also give some praise to the internal cable routing system and built-in protector of the frame and rear triangle. Although at first glance frame construction might seem a bit banal, its craftsmanship by Transition is nearing perfection. You will find the proof of it in wide similes of Patrol Coil owners and favourable reviews in the biking-dedicated magazines.
Find your Mojo with Ibis Bikes
Mojo HD5 is a 27.5” enduro frame dedicated to riders, who enjoy biking in various conditions. Urban riding? Bike park? Or perhaps an exploration of the woods on a lazy Sunday afternoon? Mojo will perform well in all these places and conditions.
This unconventional carbon fibre enduro frame weights as little as 6.50 Ib (2.95 kg). And that includes Fox DPX2 damper! This frame was designed to provide suspension travel of 153 mm at the rear and 160 mm at the front and is dedicated to 27.5” wheels. It supports tyres of maximum width 2.6”.
The rear suspension is powered by the DW-LINK system designed by mountain biking guru Dave Weagle. The system uses, instead of traditional bearings, a swingarm which is pivoting on special bushings, and that makes the entire construction lighter and stiffer at the same time. On top of that this system also requires less frequent service intervals than competitors.
Like every modern enduro frame, this one also includes an internal cable routing system and built-in frame varnish protectors. Additionally, there is room on the inside of this frame to mount the cage for the water bottle, inviting you to make longer trips.
Pivot Switchblade – more universal than a Swiss army knife
If you are looking for a new bike and struggling with the decision between trial and enduro bike you should worry no more. Fitting neatly into this category is Pivot with Switchblade system – a four-bar suspension with independently moving rear triangle. A bike built upon this frame has unique characteristics of performance thanks to a bit of bike witchery delivered by flip-chip you can find in the bike’s upper swing arm. The flip-chip allows you to change geometry settings and to lower your bottom bracket position. Switchblade is a perfect choice as a base for the versatile enduro mountain bike. It handles superbly well both challenging terrain conditions, and technical uphill sections. Even in the hands of a less experienced rider, this bike guarantees a precise and smooth ride.
Switchblade is everything you need to fall in love with mountain exploration on two wheels. This enduro bike provides great support during pedaling without any negative impact on the way your suspension is working on your way down the hill. It also offers many capabilities of adjustment to fit the rider’s needs.
Switchblade frame is also quite universal as you can fit it with 27.5- or 29-inch wheels. An interesting point is that Pivot’s frame enables the user to choose a hybrid system of “reverse mullet” type. In this system front wheel is 29”, and at the rear, a smaller-sized rim is used – 650b. What’s in it for you? A larger wheel at the front improves the bike’s ability to compensate for any bumps on the trail and to go over larger terrain obstacles, while a 27.5” rear tyre optimizes the manoeuvrability of the whole construction.
Antidote to any problems – Antidote Carbonjack
Antidote is a fresh brand in mtb industry focused on gravity bikes and for last few years they have been doing nothing but improving their enduro and downhill machines to provide us product which is both a good looker and awesome performer. Antidote designers have appetite for bigger audience so soon you will see trial and gravel bikes in their upcoming offer. It is worth mentioning that all of Antidote enduro frames are made of high-grade carbon and been designed with racing in mind. What distinguishes their frames from the competition, is four-bar floating suspension system. Both parts of the frame are connected by special wishbone, which makes the whole system even more sensitive. Designers call the geometry of this frame a “golden ratio geometry” which in practice means the optimal mass distribution between rear and front wheel.
Carbonjack is currently available in two versions – 27.5” and 29”.