You know what is hotter than the pending Australian summer? This 2019 Polygon Siskiu N9 from Bicycles Online! This is the Polygon enduro bike we’ve waited for and boy does it deliver!
When you make a shortlist of things you want when looking at your next enduro bike you’ll ask is it long travel? Tick. Is it super plush dual suspension? Tick. Can I ride it up the dreaded climbs a bunch of times? You bet! You want it to be half the price of bikes with a similar spec? Have it! Is it possibly the nicest frame design matched with a bang on set of colours? You bet!
The 2019 Polygon Siskiu N9 is Polygon’s flagship enduro bike. As a compliment to acknowledging sizing, the bike is available with 29 inch wheels on the medium, large and extra large size frames and 27.5 inch wheels are available on the medium and the small. The frame is alloy boasting some eye catching smooth straight lines with 160mm travel on the 29 inch wheel versions and 170mm on the 27.5 inch smaller frames. Its Boost spacing on the frame & forks with the complete bike in medium weighing 14.6kg. The Siskiu comes with a 5 year warranty on the frame and of course the parts are full manufacturer warranty. This all comes delivered to your door in a precisely packed order from Bicycles Online with an oh so easy and minimal assembly required.
Honestly, the preparation done to make the assembly on your end easy is exceptional, don’t ever hesitate buying something from Bicycles Online in fear of the assembly being tricky, they’ve made it almost too easy!
The parts bolted to this thing are awesome and intriguing at the same time. Keeping you glued to the trail is the amazing combination of a Fox 36 Rhythm air fork on a 15mm axle matched with an almost coil-esque feeling Fox Performance Float DPX2 also sprung by air. Typically you’ll spend a few hours between your workshop and the trails tinkering with the suspension settings to get the best position and even though that is the case with this rig, once the sag is set then the next time is spent flicking dials to totally maximise the great feeling Fox suspension. This is a long travel bike and for me riding the large, I did not feel like this bike is cumbersome and hard to get around any of the trails I tested it on. The nifty compression adjustments you can make on the fly to the fork and shock make any line so manageable and the bike is amazingly capable.
The large I rode has 29 inch tubeless ready Entity XL2 wheels on one of my favourite tyres; Schwalbe Magic Mary’s! Stainless spokes and sealed bearings in the Entity hubs guarantee you a quiet smooth roll.
You’re hanging onto the Entity components in the Xpert line of bars and stem with a generous width and short stem keeping the control in your hands. Again sticking with Entity, the saddle is the Assault and is bolted to an EXA Form Drive 150mm stealth dropper post. I have not ridden a bike with this post before and am always skeptical of anything not so commonly known. Does it kick that elusive goal of a reliable dropper post with a nice lever action? Yes! It worked flawlessly for the month that I spent throwing this bike around with a predictable lever drop and return speed and nice progressive control of the lever.
Drivetrain wise, the Siskiu N9 packs the SRAM Eagle 12 speed cassette with the favoured 12-50 tooth range. The crankset is a 32 tooth Truvativ narrow wide on Boost spacing. Straight out of the box, the Eagle tune was perfect and only needed a slight adjustment on a climb a week in on the barrel adjuster to make the downshift a little more crisp. Actually, the Eagle drivetrain has been and is absolutely flawless for me, not much more to say.
Now, I’m known as being very picky and fussy on dropper posts and brakes. We’ve said the EXA dropper post is a winner but what about the brakes? Can the new whizbang TRP Slate 4 piston hydraulic brakes have a place on my shortlist of desired brakes? Well, yes and no. The lever feel is bloody nice and doesn’t have the clamp on clamp off feel of a Shimano, has the graduation you may be used to on a Hope brake but doesn’t offer the stopping power of a SRAM Code or Guide. I like the feel of the hydraulic system and aesthetically; the TRP’s look really nice. I had no need to bleed the system to gauge an idea on that process but did put the brakes through some pretty intense stops and it didn’t grab me (pun intended). However, keep in mind my preference is for very touchy brakes and big power, that isn’t everyone’s flavour and with that in mind I had some renowned Shimano brake fans try the TRP’s and they loved them, loved the gradual feel yet the initial modulation as well. If you’ve not heard much of the professional riders using TRP brakes then jump on their site and look at the Athlete section, there’s a few pages worth of more world cup level winners on there than most souvenir programs for a current race series contain. That speaks in volumes for the worth of the TRP brakes.
On the trail: A 29er enduro bike. They’ve been around for ages and many a naysayer have been converted from a 26” or 650B wheeled bike and totally love the bigger wheels. The big sell is the increase in grip with bigger wheels, less surface angle of the tyre to interfere with obstacles and holds speed better etc etc. Honestly, that stuff goes out the window on the side of your head when you’re riding a 29er, it feels instantly varied from smaller wheels and while each wheel size has it’s positives and negatives in comparison to other sizes, I’ll keep it brief and say 29 inch is bloody fun. It climbs just fine, climbing for ages to get to the top of a mammoth descent is fine and even the same as smaller wheels, it jumps just fine and turns and stops just fine. Why make a bigger wheel if it does the same thing you ask? You get options to make your choice is why and I say a big pat on the back is deserved to the manufacturers who offer wheel sizes according to the size frame you buy. But you know what? This wheel size thing is old news and I’m all about the good times on bikes and that is exactly what you’ll get plenty of on this amazing endure bike.
To make it climb a little more comfortably, I varied the height of the stem to keep the front end down on some steep climbs and that was about it. I can usually fit nicely on a large frame but XL is my correct size. This frame in large was a bit smaller than other large sizes I’ve used and I was closer to the bars.
This made it good in some ways for control but a little tight in other spots. I’m seasoned on the Eagle drivetrain and loved the compression adjustment on the shock to stiffen the rear for the ups. I did actually delay some planned rides as it was super wet in sunny Coffs Harbour and I didn’t want to mash the linkage bearings with gritty wet dirt. It worked in my favour though as the bulk of the testing I did was on drying yet still moist forest dirt. I did a few loops of a local XC trail that has some alternate lines that require a long hike that’s too steep to ride that get you to a super steep short line that barely gets ridden. Covered in mulch, loose doughy dirt and bermed from the days gone by, the Siskiu ate it to pieces. It was the first steep techy line I’d dropped into on this bike and felt glued enough that I could push it a little harder. This is where I found the brakes to not bite like I’m used to with other brakes so I backed off a little and enjoyed the rest of the sweet features of the bike. New tyres are always a treat but especially new Magic Mary’s, I just love them on a gravity bike!
The longer flat ride out was something I really only do on a hardtail and to my surprise, the Siskiu held its own nicely in moto ruts and seriously weathered trails. I do love climbing on a hardtail and comparing that to any dually, let alone a long travel dually is a big ask. The bonus you can rely on is with rear suspension you’ll always have the tyre on the ground and not bouncing around, big win! As far as I can say, using this bike as a capable XC kind of machine is just fine and makes the gravity fed sections of a ride so much fun.
Lets not beat around the bush though, this bike is intended to get you to the top of the downhill’s with minimal fuss and to make you grin and holler on the down’s. Holy smokes this thing loves fast open stuff! I sampled it on some other renowned local downhill trails and it truly excels. The drops, the jumps, the low speed slippery techy sections and the twisty upright stuff between trees are no hassle for the Siskiu, it loves it. To my surprise, I was actually a little less fatigued after five shuttled runs on this bike than I am on a 650B and even though I measured no time, the bike feels quick and nimble enough that I’d have no hesitation in getting on a 29er for my next enduro bike.
The icing on the cake riding wise was how well it handles on a smooth groomed trail loaded with G out turns and pokey jumps. I ran the suspension on mid compression and firm compression and it damn near spat me off out of two turns purely from the extra grip and the speed it holds. Of all the places I thought a long travel 29er would feel sluggish, it really surprised me and the other Gents who chucked a leg over. Consider this: You have a turn on a trail that you can ride no brakes, get a sweet drift and roost the guy with the camera behind the berm. I hit this turn several times with that in mind and nope, no drift or loss of traction and amazing exit speed. I was even getting out of some turns quicker and overjumping the next line of jumps. That was the last ride I did on the test and really feel as though it is a gravity addict.
Pros – The price! Its under $4000 and kicks arse. The colours are exceptional and look fantastic with a renowned top shelf finish from Polygon, the spec list is top of the class and still cheaper than most other brands, the Entity branded components are great.
Cons – Not really a downside but the large frame size is on the smaller side of large for length between the steerer and seat. The quad piston TRP brakes don’t have the bite of some other brakes. The paint is mint, I’d spend a few bucks on buying some frame protection.
Summary: Make no mistake, this bike is a total bargain. You will not find a new bike delivered to your door with this quality spec and Polygon finish in any land. Again, it’s under $4,000 and comes with a slick warranty shall you need it. The dealings with Bicycles Online that I’ve had have been perfect with no hassle or fuss and just facts and good chats. The varied wheel sizing depending on the size frame you buy should be the standard for all builds nowadays and is common with Polygon, that gives you some options especially if you’re a medium size frame buyer.
Performance wise, I can’t really fault much and would probably only consider changing brakes if I had no success with a brake bleed to get more bite. As I said though, I’m fussy with brakes and by no means should you read this as me saying the brakes are junk.
I’m a long time Rockshox user and adore their forks. I’ve been so stoked to get on some Fox suspension again and have some instant admiration for it and can now say that if I was going shopping for a new bike that I’d not be fazed by either brand. The rear shock has been a stand out on this bike for me as this thing has amazing rear grip and very well balanced. The forks are a perfect match too and with more time to tune it I’d really only want to iron out some of the initial dive the forks have on a sudden stop, maybe my riding style could adapt too.
All in all, the whole experience of browsing Bicycles Online, getting in touch with the friendly staff and discussing which bike suits what application through to hitting submit on your credit card details is a pleasure and in stock items arrive so fast, sometimes overnight to Northern NSW from Sydney. Its been an absolute pleasure and even though I expected great performance from this bike, I was pleasantly surprised at just how capable it is. It would stand proud against any vessel being thrown around enduro trails and very much look a standout strapped to the next shuttle trailer.
Thanks very much Bicycles Online and congratulations Polygon for bringing great bikes to the riders for great prices.