Round One: Polygon's $3,299 Collosus N9

Round One: Polygon’s $3,299 Collosus N9

Polygon’s new Collosus N9 appeared for the first time in all its urban camo painted glory at Sea Otter this year, with the IFS suspension layout first seen on the Mt. Bromo eMTB. The bike has 29er wheels front and rear (not compatible with mixed wheels) and 170mm travel. After a season of enduro racing and refinement, it’s available now, with an aluminum frame and a $3,299 price tag that stands in stark contrast to the ultra-expensive carbon machines that have been released recently.

For the price, Polygon has put together a great set of parts. Suspension is handled by a Fox 38 Performance fork with a Grip damper and a 230x65mm Float X2 shock. SRAM Code R brakes with 200mm rotors help control the gears, and Shimano takes care of the shifting via an XT derailleur, SLX cassette and XT cranks. Unfortunately, these cranks are 175mm long, which may not be ideal for riders on rockier terrain. 2.6-inch-wide Schwalbe Magic Mary tires are mounted on Entity rims with an internal width of 35mm.

Details about Collosus N9

• Wheel size: 29 inches
• Travel: 170mm
• Aluminum frame
• 63.5º head angle
• 77° seat tube angle
• 435mm chainstays
• Sizes: S-XL
• Weight: 39.25 lbs / 17.8 kg (size L)
• Price: $3,299
polygonbikes.com

This all adds up to a sizeable 39.25 pounds (17.8 kg) – Collosus seems like a very fitting name given those numbers.
Frame details

The frame of the Collosus is visibly sturdy; everything from the front shock mount to the double-butted swingarm feels like it was built to take a beating. All of those links and the position of the shock take up valuable water bottle space, which means only a “regular” sized bottle will fit in the front triangle. Still, it’s better than nothing. There’s also no in-frame storage or accessory mounts to be seen. Another missing feature is a universal derailleur hanger, something that will likely become more of a “must have” if the rumors about SRAM’s next-gen drivetrain are true.

There is a ribbed chainstay protector, although it is a bit short – extra coverage forward of the chainstay would help prevent paint from being chipped off by the chain. The brake, derailleur and dropper lines are internally routed, although there’s really nothing inside the frame to stop them vibrating – luckily I didn’t notice too much noise on my test bike.

It’s nice to see that the Collosus comes equipped with a chain guide and bash guard, because smashing a chainring is a good way to put a damper on a run. There is also a frame guard on the underside of the downtube to protect it from flying rocks or truck tailgates.

Geometry

Most Collosus geometry numbers are in line with what has become the standard for this category. The head angle is slack, 63.5 degrees with a 170mm fork, reach is 480mm for size wide, and the seat tube angle is 77 degrees. The chainstays are on the shorter side at 435mm across the board – they don’t change with each size, a practice more and more companies are adopting.

Suspension design

Polygon seems to have an affinity for suspension designs that are a bit different from the norm – there was the wild looking floating double link FS3 design back in 2014and the even more extravagant aesthetics of Square One EX9 with its R3ACT suspension in 2017. The Collosus keeps the trend alive, though the overall look probably isn’t as polarizing as these other two examples.

It uses a version of the Independent Floating Suspension (IFS) design first seen on Polygon’s Mt. Bromo eMTB. The concept is that the two lower counter-rotating short links can be used to dictate axle trajectory, while the seat stays and toggle link are used to adjust lever curve or progression. All of these linkages can make it easier for designers to get the suspension characteristics they want, but it also means there are 16 cartridge bearings to track, and the lowest bearing set is directly in front of the rear wheel, where mud and dirt will end up on a sloppy ride.

Anti-squat percentages are quite high, hovering around 121 percent at sag before gradually dropping as the bike goes through its travel. The scaling of the graph makes the progression pretty extreme, but in reality it’s around 19%, which is pretty typical for a long-travel enduro bike.

Journey impressions

To anyone who says weight doesn’t matter, I encourage you to give Collosus a try. I’ve spent a lot of time – years, really – riding bikes in the 40-pound range, and I’m nowhere near a heavyweight, but I’ll admit it’s a little harder to put together the motivation to get on a long pedal on such a heavy bike. Who knows, maybe I’m just getting soft.

Yeah, I realize the Collosus isn’t a very expensive carbon fiber miracle bike, and I’m willing to loosen it up a bit in the weight department given its price and solid parts kit, but 39 pounds is still pretty big. I can’t help but wonder how much weight and hassle would have been saved by going with a proven Horst Link layout, rather than sticking to the links required for the IFS suspension layout?

Weight aside, the Collosus Is pedal well, especially for a bike with 170mm of travel. The suspension is quiet enough that I didn’t feel the need to flip the Float X2’s climb switch, and even on longer rides I was perfectly content with keeping it in the open position. The chainstays are on the shorter end of the spectrum, but the steep seat angle and slack head angle work together to help keep the bike from feeling like it wants to loop on steep climbs. Although it’s a pretty solid and loose bike, I didn’t find it too hard to maneuver in tighter switchbacks or more technical sections – it’s really the slow rolling tires and the overall weight which gives it a more subdued feel when climbing.

When it comes time to descend, the Collosus isn’t the fastest initially, but it feels very solid and ready for anything once it’s up to it. The rear end is quite stiff, and this trait combined with the shorter chainstays makes it easier to engage and disengage the rear wheel in tight corners, although this comes with slightly reduced traction and stability – at times it looked like the rear of the Collosus wheel was more likely to slide around a bend rather than draw a clean arc. It also doesn’t have the plushest, floatiest suspension feel; it will take the edge off the rough stuff, it just doesn’t erase those biggest hits the way some other bikes in this travel rack do.

Overall, the Collosus N9 offers great value when it comes to parts spec, and the geometry won’t hold it back as long as you keep it pointed towards steeper, more technical trails. Weight is the biggest downside, though that’s not much of an issue for riders who spend most of their time climbing inside a shuttle van or sitting on a chairlift.


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