First ride: Polygon’s $3,299 Collosus N9

Polygon’s new Collosus N9 debuts everything it is Painted urban glory camouflage at Sea Otter this year, complete with the IFS suspension layout first seen on the Mount Bromo eMTB. The bike has 29-inch wheels front and rear (not mixed-wheel compatible), and 170mm of travel. After a season of Enduro racing and refinement, it’s now available, with an aluminum frame and a $3299 price tag that stands in stark contrast to the expensive carbon machines that have been released recently.

For the price, Polygon has put together an impressive parts package. Suspension is handled by a Fox 38 Performance fork with grip damper, and a 230 x 65mm Float X2 shock. SRAM Code R brakes with 200mm rotors help keep speeds in check, and Shimano takes care of shifting via an XT derailleur, SLX cassette and XT cranks. Unfortunately, these cranks are 175mm long, which may not be ideal for riders in rocky terrain. Mounted on Entity rims are 2.6-inch wide Schwalbe Magic Mary wheels, which have an internal width of 35 mm.

Collossus N9 details

• Wheel size: 29 inches
• Travel: 170 mm
• Aluminum frame
• Head angle of 63.5 degrees
• The seat tube angle is 77 degrees
• 435 mm chainstays
• Sizes: S – XL
• Weight: 39.25 lbs / 17.8 kg (size L)
• Price: 3299 USD
polygonbikes.com

It all adds up to 39.25 lbs (17.8 kg) – Collosus seems like a pretty apt name given those numbers.
Frame details

The Collosus frame is distinctly sturdy; Everything from the front shock mount to the dual swingarm make it look like it was built to take a beating. All of those connections and shock positioning take up some precious water bottle real estate, which means only a “normal” sized bottle will fit in the front triangle. However, it is better than nothing. There is also no in-frame storage or any accessory mounts to see. Another missing feature is the universal derailleur hanger, something that will likely become more of a “must have” if rumors about SRAM’s next generation are true.

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There is a ribbed stanchion guard, although it is a little short – the extra coverage towards the front of the chainstay will help prevent the paint from being chipped by the chainstay. The brake, derailleur and dropper lines are internally routed, though there isn’t anything inside the frame to keep them from vibrating—thankfully, I didn’t notice much noise on my test bike.

It’s nice to see that the Collosus is specified with a chain guide and bash guard, because grinding a chain is a good way to put a damper on a racetrack. There is also a tire protection on the underside of the down tube to keep it safe from flying rocks or truck gates.

Engineering

Most of the geometric figures for the Collosus align with what has become the standard for this class. The head angle is recessed, 63.5 degrees with a 170mm fork, reach is 480mm for a large size, and the seat tube angle is 77 degrees. 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 slightly different from the norm—there was the FS3’s double-link, floating-looking design. Back in 2014and even more aesthetically pleasing Square One EX9 With R3ACT suspended in 2017. The Collosus maintains the trend, though the overall look likely won’t be as polarizing as these other two examples.

It uses a version of the IFS (Independent Floating Suspension System) design first seen on Polygon’s Mt. Bromo eMTB. The concept is that the two short, opposite-rotation links can be used to dictate the path of the axle, while the seatposts and swing linkage are used to adjust the lever curve, or the amount of advance there is. All of these connections may make it easier for designers to achieve the suspension characteristics they want, but it also means there are 16 cartridge bearings to keep track of, and the lowest bearing assembly is located just in front of the rear wheel, which is where mud and dirt will end up on a sloppy ride.

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The anti-squat percentages are fairly high, at around 121% in the sag before gradually decreasing as the bike goes through its travel. The graph scale makes the progression seem a bit extreme, but it’s actually about 19%, which is fairly typical for a longer-travel enduro bike.

riding impressions

To anyone who says weight doesn’t matter, I encourage you to get your Collosus outside. I’ve spent a lot of time — years, really — riding around bikes in the 40-pound range, and I’m a long way from being a weight, but I’ll admit it’s a little hard to muster up the drive to get out on pedaling so long on a bike this heavy. Who knows, maybe I’m just the softest.

Yes, I realize the Collosus isn’t a great expensive carbon fiber bike, and I’m willing to lower it a bit in the weight department considering its price and hardware combo, but at 39 pounds it’s still pretty chunky. I can’t help but wonder how much weight and complexity could have been saved by going to the tried and true Horst Link layout, rather than sticking to the links required for the IFS suspension layout?

Weight aside, Collosus Do Good pedaling, especially for a bike with 170mm of travel. The suspension is quiet enough that I didn’t feel the need to flip the climb switch on the Float X2, and even on longer shooting trails I was perfectly content to keep it in the open position. The chainstays are on the shorter side 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 lean in on a steep climb. While it’s a fairly large slack bike, I didn’t find it overly difficult to maneuver through tighter switchbacks or more technical sections—it’s really the slow rolling tires and overall weight that give it a quieter feel when heading uphill.

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When it’s time to descend, the Collosus isn’t the fastest out of the gate, but it feels solid and ready for anything once it’s up to speed. The rear end is quite stiff, and this trait along with the shorter chainstays makes it easy to slide the rear wheel in and out of tight turns, though that comes with a slight drop in traction and grip – at times it felt like a rear colossus that was more likely to slide Wheeling through a bend instead of carving a clean arc. It also doesn’t have the plush, cool-feeling suspension; It will take the edge off the rough stuff, it just doesn’t erase those bigger hits the same way some of the other bikes in this travel segment do.

Overall, the Collosus N9 offers great value when it comes to parts specs, and the geometry won’t dampen it as long as you keep it downhill on steeper, more technical trails. Weight is the biggest downside, though this may not be a huge concern for passengers who spend most of their time climbing inside a shuttle vehicle or sitting in a wheelchair.


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