Well isn’t this exciting! Rotorburn is very proud to offer a top notch review platform and can now add the first full bike review to the list. A long time sponsor and friends of the site; Bicycles Online have gotten in touch and offered us a chance to test and review some of their range. The first in this series of reviews is the Polygon SisKiu T8 dual suspension 29er.
Bicycles Online is an Australian owned online store that offers mountain bikes, roadies, parts, bike accessories and gear you can wear. Being an online store, they offer an experience that is specially designed to ensure you get the best knowledge on the products you’re sourcing. The fun part of this review is I get to partake and demonstrate to you what the experience involves by sourcing a bike online, having it show up in a box, assembling it and hitting the trails!
Did I pay for the bike you ask? No, I didn’t. This is a review to give you a gauge on how the process works. Buying a bike online is seemingly a daunting thing because it’s relatively new. I’ll admit that I’ve had concerns about some facets of buying online but this process, albeit a generous offer from Bicycles Online for us to take part in the whole chain of events, has been a total breeze and an absolute pleasure. Let’s get started!
Item: 2018 Polygon Siskiu T8 dual suspension mountain bike
From: Bicycles Online (click here)
Purchase Price (approx): $2,999 (RRP $3,499) with free freight included in the Australian metro areas
Usage: Mountain biking
Product outline: This bike is aimed at trail riding and all day enduro riding. I’ve spent some quality time on this bike on some very varied terrain and about the only thing I wouldn’t recommend for is hard hitting downhill trails. It is a very capable bike on a techy, rough trail with some big climbs in between, it manages the high speed stuff with ease and is fine for going for a cruisey ride with the family on easy trails.
Spec stand outs: -The bike come in two wheel sizes that apply to the size of the frame you buy, thats smart. I have the XL to test and review and it is 29” wheels. You can get a small or medium frame in the 27.5” wheel or a 29” wheel is available on medium, large and extra large frames.
-The frame is alloy with 140mm of travel on the XL 29er frame.
-Suspension wise, the Rockshox pairing of Revelation RC Air 140mm travel forks and the Deluxe RT3 air shock is perfect. You get a common feel of stability across the whole range of travel by pairing the same brand front and rear. The forks are boost spacing too, giving you that extra width in the hub.
-The drive train is a 1 x 11 Shimano SLX with a boost crankset housing a 32 tooth narrow wide driving a Sunrace 11 to 46 tooth cassette. That is a ton of range!
-Component wise, you’re stacked with great looking Entity parts. The handlebars are a mellow feeling alloy 780mm bolted to the nicely sized 45mm stem, the saddle is the super comfy Entity Assault and the XL2 tubeless ready rims on sealed bearing hubs make for a nicely kitted finish.
-Tyres on all wheel sizes are the Schwalbe Nobby Nic, 2.6” on the 27.5 and 2.35 on the 29er.
-Brakes are Shimano M365
-Being the norm nowadays, the Siskui comes with a dropper post. This model is the Tranz X 150mm dropper with zero offset and is 30.9mm.
The full bike spec can be seen here
Warranty and support: 5 year frame warranty, online sales support and follow up support in Australia through Bicycles Online.
Delivery: I had the pleasure of dealing with Bicycles Online for only a few days before we agreed on the test and review process and the bike was shipped from the Sydney warehouse the same day. It was a road service delivery and I had the bike box delivered two days after it left, that doesn’t even give you enough time to get excited and work yourself up! It’s worth noting that once the bike box is out of the stores hands that it’s literally out of their hands and in the hectic world of transport, some things can lead to a delivery taking a little longer. Not for me this time though!
Assembly: I’ve put together 3674523623874 bikes, I have all my own gear and know a thing or two but................... I’ll make this simple: Anyone can assemble this bike, it is almost completely assembled and only requires a small amount of time to get it ready to ride. Don’t fear that you won’t have the tools you’ll need either, this comes with a toolkit! You get a spanner with your 13mm, 14mm, 15mm and 16mm head and a nifty T piece with a Philips head fitting, a torx and allen key fittings. You’re all set!
I take a lot of pride in the assembly of bikes and am very careful when I pull the whole thing out of the box. My recommendation is you don’t disassemble anything until it’s out of the box. Just remove the non bound boxes and then lift the frame out with the wheels still attached. The care taken to maintain the great finish on this bike is impressive too as each loose part is held in place with a nifty padded block wrapped up by a Velcro strip, it shits on the cable tie idea!
My first aim is to get the bike into a bike stand. In this case, you can remove the front wheel Velcro and clamp the top tube but I prefer to work on the bike with the seat post fitted in the work stand. Being a bike with a dropper post, you do need to insert the post and attach the cable actuation to the base of the post. That’s bloody easy too, the cable is set to the correct length so just attach the cable head to the actuator on the base of the post and put the dropper post into the frame and bolt it up. Don’t be concerned with the remote lever just yet, we’ll get to that.
Once the bike is in the stand you only need to put the pedals on with a 15mm spanner. I say pop some grease on the thread if you have it, makes it easier to remove later when you need to. You then remove all the bound parts held on with Velcro straps and bolt the handlebars into the stem and chuck the front wheel on. Again, put some grease on the front wheel axle, it’s a moving part of sorts and greasing always helps. The bike comes with some manuals for other parts and some reflectors. They are for you to put on if you feel the need.
You will need to fit the dropper post remote to the handlebars. I run it on the left side and a few tweaks with the cable tensioner on the remote will have the response of the post feeling perfect in an instant. Have a read over the instructions for this part before you tackle it if you haven’t installed one before.
Is the assembly easy? Yep, anyone that has a basic idea of what tool is needed to do and obvious job will have no hassles at all doing this. If you’ve never assembled a bike then this will reduce your heart rate as it is a breeze and not as involved as you think, it really is that easy and can be done in under an hour.
First impression: The first impression on any bike is what we call “the car park test”. You get on the bike, you bounce around, you pedal it a few times you raise and lower the post and you squeeze the brakes. Don’t just lob up to a trail and launch the biggest gap you can first go, get a feel for it and learn the controls first. This is always a good starting point to do the roll around then run over the bike with your tools and nip a few things up if needed. As far as first impressions go, this thing is very well balanced and doesn’t feel as cumbersome as many of the 29er bikes I’ve ridden making it a good first roll around. The XL frame size is spot on which is a relief as some XL’s feel too stretched for me and I juggle between a large or an XL. I’m 6 foot 4 inches though so you’d assume and XL is correct but not always the case and it pays to know the advice you get on frame sizing is accurate.
Part of a proper first impression is a proper trail ride though because a car park test doesn’t tell you anything about the flavour of a bikes style. I picked a predominantly XC style trail with some adjoining fire road climbs and rough descents. I’d checked the fork and shock air pressures and set the Deluxe shock to the pedal setting knowing the first part of the ride is quite a smooth pedal. After the warm up phase and getting my body position right on some single track, I hit up some flowy descents in some tight trees, the thing replied very promptly to all the lines I chucked it at, almost seemed like it was too agile to be a 29er.
Adjustments: You’re really spoilt for choice with adjustments you can make, mainly on the suspension. The frame is set with no options to change axle position, head angle or shock position but you can enjoy the benefit of dialling the shock to suit your ride. Of course you have the obvious air pressure adjustment but you also have the lever on the shock to adjust the compression. Simply put; you flick it to the pedal position for the smoother ride that you want your pedal stroke to count on, you can have it on the lockout setting to almost entirely firm the rear end altogether or you can chuck on the open setting which is best suited to the fun stuff! Learning what each flick of the lever does and matching it with the right air pressure is fun to master but it’s always a personal preference.
The Revelation forks offer the air spring setting and also rebound via the adjuster on the base of the drive side leg. You also have the easy to access compression adjustment on the same leg that firms the fork up to almost lockout but has 12 clicks in between to dictate how firm or plush you want it. The fork also comes with two tokens installed which are again a preference of how you want your fork to feel. Personally, I like to run tokens, they suit my riding style but knowing about token’s is a science that your are best off researching.
Longer term: I’d like to spend more time on this bike but have crammed over 100km of riding into it in the couple of weeks I’ve had it. I’ve got a fair few rad loops and single line descents that I’ve rallied it on and it’s owned all of them. On the longer rides, it’s comfortable and I haven’t had the tingling palms or numb butt that you get on some other steeds. I’m a big maintenance guy and this has only needed a few goes with the multitool here and there but none of the crucial pivot bolts or drive train parts have needed adjustments with a torque wrench, they’ve stayed tight the whole time. It’s a dream to work on too, everything is accessible and obvious. Some small things that impress me too are the ease of cleaning the bike after a ride without losing skin off your hands trying to get into tight spots, it fits on each bike rack I used nicely and it is stacked with reliable branded quality parts.
Pros: Very accessible via the Bicycles Online website, great spec’s on a very affordable bike, feels amazing to ride, doesn’t need to have a ton of parts upgraded, very comfortable through great design, you can test ride the bike for 14 days to make sure your size is right! The finish on the bike is exceptional, it is very nice to look at and makes other big name manufacturers look slack.
Cons: The grips roll around, replace them with lock ons. It isn’t assembled but is so easy to assemble and a very enjoyable experience.
Do I recommend this bike?: Yep, no question. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than an equally parted bike in the same target riding audience and it is well built, the finish is immaculate and it’s a bloody great bike to ride.
Would I change anything?: Bikes are priced to sell and often leave room for some lower end parts to be upgraded. This isn’t overly obvious on this bike, it’s cheap enough that you know you are getting on a well built bike that is totally reliable making it almost amazing value for money. My initial preference was to upgrade the dropper post and the brakes but at no point in any riding or maintenance did I have any trouble with either of the parts. Admittedly, I have cared for the bike and been careful not to put it into situations where I’ll fry the brakes but thats not the type of riding you’ll find on every trail and it’s only there if you look for it. As the bike is, I’d only swap the grips for some lock on’s with a bolt on each end of the grip, thats all. Thats how well it is setup.
Summary: I didn’t come across any stuff on the trail that the bike didn’t like. I had feared it may be a little too twitchy with the bigger wheels and a little less travel than what I would usually go for but nope, it feels as capable as some 150mm travel bikes and geez does it feel light to ride! It’s just under 14kg on the scale which is neither heavy nor light but for an XL, big wheels, alloy frame kitted out with all the right tools for the job, this bike gulps everything up with ease. The geometry is spot on, it never felt like it was out of control in any scenario and the important things like the drive train and suspension actions all worked flawlessly. I’m actually astounded at how good a value this is when we’re used to looking at stuff that can be an extra $1000 for the same spec and pretty ordinary geometry. It’s been researched and proven and developed really well and is a bloody pleasure to ride. The common things that are almost a myth regarding 29ers are now just that with bikes like this; a myth. There’s no trouble hitting lines that need you to jump out of sections to keep speed, there’s no cumbersome long heavy hauls up a climb, there’s no right angle fork rake to scare the birds out of the trees and there’s no massive wheel flex that was so announced when 29ers came along. Instead, we’re rewarded with a trail bike that feels like a well specced 26” wheeled bike that was everyone’s favourite “back in the day” but with the subtle refinements that a bigger wheel and correct development to match. How do I know it’s’ so well balanced? Well, the climbing bob is pretty much gone, the preference to run rebound a little slower without copping the wallowing in mid travel is gone, I can come into a tighter turn with some pace and wash speed off by nearly locking both brakes to be sideways and flick it into and out of the turn etc etc, it’s just that well balanced and I still think there’s room to fine tune it before I send it back. Of course, each bike is built for a certain discipline and as is the case with any bike in this kind of range, it isn’t a downhill race bike, it isn’t a dirt jumper and it isn’t a trials sor road bike. It serves its purpose very well; exceedingly well as a trail bike that’ll tackle all the stuff you want it to without throwing out the front door.
The Brand: I think it’s worth mentioning some things about the brand Polygon. In my travels around the world riding bikes, there’s a few common brands that you see everywhere and surprisingly to some; Polygon is one of those brands. They produce close to a million bikes a year and have been designing, building and engineering bikes for over 25 years. Have a think about that..........one million bikes a year. Thats impressive. There was a time when people in Australia considered Polygon to be a lesser quality brand or they didn’t have that cool street cred factor that made you want to buy one. Marketing is a key in all of this and nowadays we see the Polygon brand being hauled around by amazing riders at the pro level. There’s the United Ride Team charging the downhill world cups on Polygon, there’s winners of the Red Bull Rampage now riding Polygon, there’s entries in the Enduro World Series on Polygon, dirt jumpers are on them etc etc. This is a major layer in the field and they produce great quality that should be considered in any purchase and now even more so as they are at the forefront of the online bike sales system that is becoming all conquering. We’re lucky to have the brand available to us through Bicycles Online here in Australia and I encourage you to jump on the site and do the maths when you’re thinking of upgrading your bike, looking at new parts or just grabbing some new gear. My experience with them at this level of reviewing their great gear has been nothing short of exceptional, courteous and prompt. I have no complaints and have some of their gear on my shortlist and even have some change up my sleeve to grab some other temptations.
Thanks very much Bicycles Online and Wayne Marsh Images for the amazing quality outdoor photos!