Polygon Helios C6.0 Disc - Bicycles Network Review
The sales blurb on the Bicycles Online website sounded promising: “The C6.0 Disc is designed for the long distance group rider, charity rider, Gran Fondo enthusiast, or anyone who just wants a serious road bike that doesn’t push your body to the limits like a full-on race bike.” The review bike arrived a month before the Tour Down Under; Merry Christmas to me! Christmas morning in Adelaide was a great day for riding and I was granted some time-out by my family to take the Polygon for a spin to familiarise myself and get the fit just right. It didn’t take long to bed the brakes and, I have to admit, they came up to speed pretty quickly. It surprised me with how well they worked in modulation and in power compared to my hydro disc setup on my Volagi Liscio2. This was going to be good, I thought, just the tonic I needed to get some serious k’s in before the TdU. The first ride was to get settled and get my position right before tackling the hills and ramping up the training. One of my first impressions was how solid the rear end felt – certainly not the compliance that I was expecting for a long distance bike, but it was still early days.
The Polygon C6 Disc is a full carbon monocoque frame and fork with in-house brand finishing equipment (alloy bars, seatpost and stem are branded ‘Entity’). The mechanical equipment is courtesy of Shimano and includes the full mechanical Shimano 105 (5800) groupset coupled with BR-R517 cable disc callipers and RT-66 centrelock rotors (160mm F&R). The rolling stock is also supplied by Shimano again; you get their newly released, entry level 11sp road disc wheelset, the RX31. The wheelset is shod with quality Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tyres (& tubes) in 25C width.
The finishing kit of house branded (Entity) equipment from Polygon tends to be more functional than outstanding, as you expect at this price point. The bike seat however was remarkably comfortable (I am really particular about seats) and remained on the bike for most of the test. If I was picky, it was slightly flat for me, but was well padded. The alloy seatpost was topped with one of the better clamp systems that I’ve come across. Generally, it’s a royal PITA to fit/remove a saddle or adjust, but this clever system used two bolts in a perpendicular friction style setup that was easy to make adjustments with, and pretty good when I changed the saddle. I only wish I could transplant this to my current ride. The alloy bars, on the other hand, I didn’t like at all – the shape, deep drop, transition to the hoods and lack of flat upper section had me really wishing I could spec something different – then I remembered the price. The bars would be one of the few changes that I would immediately make to this bike if it landed in my garage.
With a little regret, I had to pack the bike up so that it could be returned to Bicycles Online. The Helios demonstrates that you don’t have to spend a lot, nor have a Shimano Dura Ace or SRAM RED groupset, to get a capable and versatile bike. It also showed me that some cable operated disc brakes work damn well. For many cyclists, this bike will do more than they require of it. Do not be put off because Polygon is not as well known as Giant, Specialized, Trek or Cannonondale. From my experience you can put the Polygon on your list of bikes to look at, followed by the accessories which you can purchase with the money you have saved. It could be a nice pair of cycling shoes, or a great set of bike lights that will let you ride safely at night as you rack up those km in winter.