2017 Pinkbike Awards: Innovation of the Year Nominees

Dec 6, 2017
by Pinkbike Staff  
PB Awards

Innovation of the Year Nominees


"Clever" is often confused with "creative." We anticipate clever. Clever drives the string of peer-powered improvements the industry feeds upon. Creativity is a more uncertain and risky path. To inject a fresh idea into the mainsream, to present a product that has yet to be accepted by the sport's elite, to overturn convention - those are the attributes that define the innovator.

Our three nominees for Innovation of the Year sprang forth from very diverse brain trusts. Specialized Bicycles (no surprise there) got the nod for their WU double-articulating dropper seatpost that retracts the saddle to the angle preferred by downhill competitors. That was an easy choice.

PB's second candidate rocked the industry like an earthquake. Darrell Voss' Nail'd R3act rear suspension looks and operates like no other. Beginning with an unapologetic revival of elevated chainstays, his kinematics fly in the face of convention, but the pedaling performance of his ridiculously long-travel design defies argument.

Our third nominee hails from Switzerland. BMC's new Speedfox cuts a conservative profile that belies a different take on the mid-travel trail bike. Its Trailsync dropper seatpost is linked to the shock's low-speed compression control. Raise the post and the shock is switched to the "firm" setting. Lower the post and it automatically switches to "open" mode. It's a simple concept that transforms the trail-riding experience.









Why it's Nominated:

It could be argued that dropper seatposts were not invented for descending. They were invented for climbing, to reduce the time and the suffering required to get to the next descent. BMC's Trailsync embraces that reality by coupling the action of its integrated dropper post with the shock.

Trailsync debuted on BMC's 120mm-travel Speedfox 01 29er, and it breaks a number of rules. For starters, the dropper mechanism is integrated into the seat tube. It's a dedicated system. The dropper's mechanical stop is dirt simple: a spring-loaded pin that indexes into one of three holes in the post. And, the shock's remote compression dial is linked to the seatpost, not the handlebar-remote lever. If that sounds complicated, it isn't.

Trailsync reduces complexity, mechanically and for the rider. It offers the three most useful saddle heights with a resounding click: fully extended; an intermediate position, one inch lower; and completely dropped. There is never any confusion, because the post is linked to the shock, and the handlebar remote lever only operates the post. The result is a one-touch lever that makes the bike do exactly what you want at the precise moment when you need it.

From the First Ride:
bigquotesTrailsync is like a gateway drug. It's so easy to get used to and in only one ride, you'll want more. Its action is instant, and the loud "thwack" sounds it makes at full down and topped-out modes leave no question that the saddle and rear suspension is exactly where it needs to be. I began to use the dropper lever almost as much as my shift lever. RC







Why it's Nominated:

We're all accustomed to how a dropper post typically works - depress a lever and the seat can be dropped vertically, remaining in the same orientation for the entire stroke. It's a different story with Specialized's Command Post WU. The saddle clamp is articulated, so that the seat tilts backwards as it retracts (up to 14 degrees). When it's up, your bike pedals in the classic cross-country position. When its down, you descend in the configuration you'd choose for DH. Gravity riders stay low and well off the back when dropping into steep chutes, and having the saddle lined up with your body in dicey situations can afford a substantial measure of control when it's needed most.

You will soon be able to have your own WU for around $425 USD, as long as your seat tube accepts a 34.9mm post. The cable-actuated mechanical internals offer 14 indexed stops and its travel is 115 mm, slightly less than Specialized's ubiquitous 125mm-stroke Command Post. That said, Specialized advertises the WU at 150, claiming that the tilting mechanism has the effect of greatly extending the dropper's stroke. Measuring from the saddle's sit-bone area, the WU supports that claim. With riders demanding more and more travel from their posts, Specialized's post could make it possible to get around frame design constraints by requiring less room to provide the same effective amount of seat drop.

Bottom line for the WU is that enduro has pushed development to the point where trail bikes are closing in on the descending performance of DH bikes. Specialized has invented a dropper that puts the saddle where it needs to be to complete that task.


From the First Look:
bigquotesI found myself wishing for more drop, but the WU was far more comfortable on the downs than a standard 125mm dropper.AJ Barlas







Why it's Nominated:

"Suspension damping is friction, and while some damping is essential, any amount of friction is going to slow you down." The words belong to designer Darrell Voss, who thought it was ridiculous that bike makers were using damping forces to mitigate any number of ills related to pedaling feel, ride height, brake dive and bad frame design. Voss maintained that bikes would roll faster and pedal more efficiently with suspension kinematics that favored drastically reduced suspension forces.

Clearly, Voss and the bicycle industry were on different paths. While he was fleshing out a proof-of-concept suspension design, elite-level enduro and DH racers were upping their spring rates and cranking in their dials to the point where an average rider could barely move the O-rings of a pro racer's bike.

Voss went public with his invention in 2017, partnering with Polygon and Marin. His R3act suspension could not have looked more alien - a large monostay swingarm that terminated on a tubular sliding element, hinged to the frame. By comparison, the slender aluminum control links that drove the shock and established the suspension's kinematics were dainty. Polygon's Square One - a 180mm-travel all-mountain trail bike was first to market, and it was scoffed at by influential members of the media, most of whom had cut their teeth on more conventional (one might even say, "inbred") enduro machines.

The proof, however, was in the riding. As promised, Voss' novel design pedaled as well or better than its most-respected contemporaries - and all the while, its incredibly smooth suspension followed every contour on the trail. One by one, the critics were silenced. If there were remaining doubts, the success of Polygon's R3act powered DH prototypes under Tracey and Mick Hannah put them to rest.


From the Review:
bigquotesThis Polygon has to be one of the most charismatic and contradictory bikes of the last decade, and how it performs matches that description as well. It's a hard bike to pin down given that it pedals with the efficiency of a decent trail bike but possesses downhill rig descending capabilities...Mike Levy




Two wildly different takes on the neoclassic dropper post and a rear suspension design that defies contemporary logic. Judged by the criteria set forth in the first paragraph, PB's three nominees easily qualify as innovations in the most creative sense. They break convention, divide popular opinion and provide fresh, creative solutions. But, which is the most innovative?








184 Comments

  • + 137
 If none of the innovations introduced a new standard, they’re all winners
  • + 26
 I'm not going to lie that polygon is the best thing I have ever ridden (better than sb6 new nomad, wrekoning ect.)
  • + 38
 @thedriftisreal: let's be honest, the sb6 isn't the best bike to begin with haha.
  • + 5
 A new standard is the new standard
  • - 1
 @thedriftisreal: how much time did you have on each of those rigs? I want to try and ride a Polygon but my shop doesnt carrry them. Loyalty. Ride EVIL
  • + 2
 @thedriftisreal: How did it get on with jumps? As I understand it, the supple suspension is great for staying planted on the ground, at a bit of a sacrifice of platform for jumping. Did that sway you, or is the tracking so good, you'll let it slide on jump performance a bit?
  • + 14
 What? The one-piece, 3 spoke carbon wheels didn't even get nominated?
  • + 3
 @thedriftisreal I had a totally different experience with the Marin. Definitely a good bike for some riders, but the flexy rear end and high AS made it feel far less capable than my Slash. Of course, it pedals fantastically well - and much better than the Slash - but why on earth would you drag so much bike around if you care more about climbing efficiency than descending prowess?
  • + 1
 @ReformedRoadie: it's a good month!
  • + 0
 This category is like Alien vs Predator, whoever wins, we lose
  • + 57
 The R3ACT wins by default. A 115 mm dropper and a bike that decides how your suspension and dropper post are operating shouldn't even be nominated.
  • + 2
 Amen to that!
  • + 54
 Seat height suspension control is brilliant. You can easily forget what position your shock switch is in, you never forget what height your seat is. Well done!
  • + 19
 So one innovation is about using the lockout all the time yet another innovation is saying the only reason you’d lock your shock is because of a poor suspension design
  • + 19
 Yet there are times that I do not want the correlation between the two. I like my dropper and remote lockout to remain two distinct entities.
  • + 3
 @moose-tastes-good: look its paradox o clock
  • + 2
 I disagree, i think a 1:1 ratio is destructive but a three position is beneficial. I'm not too keen on the design, but if trailsync locks out at full extension, goes to medium compression/rebound mode in a slight drop and full open at full drop, then the design is golden. I use my dropper at full extension (almost over extension - for efficiency purposes) only on fire road climbs and the climb switch correlates. Whenever I'm on technical terrain my post has some drop (and i wish i had a switch to reduce rebound for those times) I can't ride tech with my post all the way up, it's too high. Lastly drop = full open. I'd buy into a system that can manage all three. Call it suspension trinity.
  • + 4
 @moose-tastes-good: Bingo. I'll decide how firm my shock should be, thank you very much. I rarely, if ever, switch to firm mode... but I guess that's what I get for buying a bike with an efficient suspension design.
  • + 1
 DAMNED! I had this idea many weeks back already. To me, it only makes sense on long travel bikes. A 140mm trailbike should have a good enough linkage design. I have an idea, how to adapt that function to a Propain Spindrift. Maybe i will work it out next year, when i own one.
  • + 1
 Ya I dont really get it. I want suspension on climbs, not lockout. And I want damping on descents, not wide open. Personally I set it and forget it. Seatpost on the other hand, up down up down up downetc
  • + 24
 Have yet to try it, but the specialized dropper post seems to be a solution to an issue no one has yet to admit. I hope this catches on but seeing as its specialized patented, I think it will be a specialized offering only.
  • + 62
 Seems more to be a solution to an issue that dosnt exist.....
  • + 7
 @NeedDirt2ride: I agree with you on that one
  • + 15
 oh it exists. More than once I have caught my shorts on my seat. Never complained about it because well, Droppers are already so much fucking better then manually adjusting a seat post that it seemed like a silly thing to bitch about.
  • + 3
 @NeedDirt2ride: It existed for me until I gave up tilting the seat back for every single downhill (which coincided with buying my first dropper - I keep it in halfway house mode now). Try riding downhill with your seat pointed up and you'll understand.
  • + 2
 It'll be spesh only probably due to patents, but I think it is a really nice feature.
I haven't seen any other people doing so, but I long ago started leaving the saddle screw not fully tightened, so I can tilt it a bit by hand, then go back to climbing position just by sitting in the tip. Makes a difference to me, the back of the saddle doesn't catch in the pants anymore and support/push with inner legs is much better
  • + 5
 @ismasan: mad solution
  • + 2
 Bunch of Spec riders I know do not like it. Nice concept, but extra hardware keep the saddle as a whole higher.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: hahaa, naa, it may seem, but absolutely no way it moves accidentally when riding, it takes both hands and a bit of force to move it.
  • + 1
 @ismasan: and there was me effing around with Allen keys for the best part of 20 years...
  • + 0
 @BenPea: seat pointed upwards is nice on inner sides of my thighs
  • + 1
 @ismasan: My giant contact has that "feature" built in since a big crash, wonder if Giant has a looming court action
  • + 1
 @NeedDirt2ride: classic specialized bullshit
  • + 1
 Its weird seatpost hight is getting steeper so it's less of an issue. I wonder why the considered this and not the structure bike.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: correct
  • + 1
 I just recently learned to STFU until I try something in real life.

I rode this thing and it's very friggin' awesome. I went back and deleted all my posts where I derided the WU. I had to eat crow.

People get too stuck on the numbers (e.g., 150mm effective drop, blah blah), but you just have to ride it and realize that you're trying to get the rear of the saddle to get out of your way; if the 150mm applies to how much the REAR of the saddle drops, then it doesn't matter what the rest of the saddle is doing. That, or you aren't in proper riding position if you're concerned with what the tip of your saddle is doing on a steep pitch.

Reminds me of the early-2000s computer wars, where the only metric people were concerned about were how many megahertz your CPU ran at. Who gives a flying F!
  • + 23
 I don't really understand the point of this WU dropper system. I just feel like it add more complexity to the bike in order to solve something that is not really an issue. I mean, what is the amount of time you spend on the saddle when going downhill?
  • + 5
 I'll second that. Maybe it's because I don't enduro - but basically if my dropper is down, I'm standing up.
  • + 6
 The point is that when you drop the back of the seat, you effectively gain more space above it, since your crotch is above the rear part of the saddle when standing on the pedals.
  • + 4
 Longer dropper shorter ST....and a pony
  • + 8
 @Pedro404: thats fine, but a 170mm dropper with corresponding seat tube length would mean even more room...
  • - 1
 @inked-up-metalhead: and this technology + a 170mm dropper would be even more room. This is innovative because it solves problems for short legs, long seattubes, etc.
  • + 2
 @Pedro404: And if you land a jump a little too forward you'll have an exciting new career singing castrato, or a really nice time if you're into that sort of thing.
  • + 2
 I agree with you for the most part on this, but there are times when i've been on some monster descents and there might be a short smooth section where i could sit comfortably and this would provide some much needed relief. But yes, for the majority of people you won't access a 4,000' descent very often...
  • + 5
 @brianpark: I'd like to see collar to rail measurements before making this claim.
  • + 1
 They made the post bc the enduro bike can only take 125 and people won't buy it. Cheaper than redesigning the frame.
  • + 3
 @kperras: agreed Ken. Looks like the increased drop from the tilt mechanism is offset by the added length to fit the tilt mechanism on the post.
  • + 3
 @brianpark: ok so why didnt specialized make it a 170mm drop with it? oh thats right because their frames seat tubes are still stuck in the 00s, and its a band aid for a problem they are causing by not lopping 2 inch off and speccing a 170+ dropper. im not disputing it has some merits, but shit like this where you can already get a bigger drop is not innovative in my mind, whereas if it was a 170 drop to give 205 effective and theyd reduced their seat tubes by 2 or 3 inches across the range, that would be because itd make the seat dissapear, not still in the way at a slightly better angle.
  • + 1
 One button. Drop my seat and rotate it, rotate my bars slightly, open my rear shock, extend my fork, reduce tire pressure, increase tire size and add another ply and make knobs bigger, take a piss for me etc...
  • + 1
 You answered your own question. The point is that you want the saddle out of the way when going downhill, so the goal is ZERO time spent on the saddle going downhill! And in the event you do want to touch the saddle for a quick bike check, your shorts aren't as likely to get caught on the back of you saddle when doing so. I was a skeptic until I tried this thing. I was converted. Got one on my Wreckoning.
  • + 1
 for a DH bike you typically have a pretty aggressive backward tilt, gets the wings of the seat out of the way for getting over the back of the bike. the dropper mimics this effect, but allows a flat seat when you're sitting. I've never really found my seat in the way with my trail bikes in the down position, but if other companies offered this i'd be interested to try it.
  • + 20
 The two droppers seem like the next logical steps in dropper post design/integration. If BMC and Specialized didn't do them this year someone else would do them next year. The R3act seems a lot more out-of-the-box and contradictory to the current path suspension is on so it gets my vote.
  • + 4
 I'll second your post, too ;-) I like the R3act concept - and the Tantrum bike, too. Both are pretty wild and show that there is life beyond the current suspension designs.
  • + 17
 As an owner of one I can confirm:

Wu Post ain't nothing to f$%k with
  • + 10
 That Polygon was incredible. Pedaled like my Fuel (no joke, literally PR'd a steep climb that I'd raced on my Fuel the day before), and was cloud-level plush on the downs. Found myself shoving it into and through fat roots just because I knew it could take it.
  • + 10
 Same experience for me. I spent a couple weeks riding on the Polygon Xquare One on my home trails this fall.

Climbing: They detuned the compression setting as much as Fox would let them as I understand it and it is still too much LSC even when fully backed out (I also used a ShockWiz to confirm what I was feeling). You soon realize why it's climbing like a XC whippet is because it is just so efficient it is not relying on the shock to help with that side. Go on a smooth trail and there is no shock movement under power until you hit the tiniest bump then it freely moves.

Downhill: on the same trail system they've allowed us to build some jump lines and there is a reclaimed quarry section that is super rocky. Get it in there and it is super plush and won't break traction.

I live in the midwest where by no means do I need a 180 mm bike to ride the local trails. But then after riding it I thought now there's no downside to that much travel if it climbs better then the normal 140 mm bikes I ride there and monster trucks the downs. I got some others to check it out too and they were blown away.

Also seeing Tracy Hannah crash, be unconscious for a moment, get back on and still get 3rd at Worlds loosing by only 1.95 sec....what would she have won by without the crash? And crushing it on the same design during Crankworx Whistler almost 11 sec on Garbo and the Canadian DH...something is going on there. Mick and Tracey went from testing at Whistler to switching over to the new design with only weeks to go till Worlds, something special is going on to do that.
  • + 4
 @sprockets: I second the part of Mick and Tracey. I guess the least thing a WC rider would do is to change anything on their bike, but they changed to a new bike instead of riding the bike they've raced for the whole season. What I know is the new DH bike they rode were the very handful of prototypes existed at that time. That means something. Both of them didn't win the race in the end, but we definitely saw another level of them at that race and I will say that level up was mostly brought by the new DH bike.
  • + 9
 KNOCK KNOCK!

Who is it?

It is Randy, the marketing guy! We need to talk it is urgent!


Randy:
"Hey, it looks like people are not buying our Enduro Award Winning bike anymore because it can only take a 125mm drop. We need a 150mm. Make it happen!"

Engineer:
"Yes! The riders have been asking for it, we start working on the new frame design asap!"

Randy:
"Wait what?! We don't have the budget for that. All the assets have been located to e-bikes developing. Just figure something out so we have a 150mm dropper, ok?!"

Engineer:
"Sorry it is not possible"

Randy:
"Maybe we can make a tilting post like the one from that chinese e-bike commuter we have in the Innovate Lab"?!
Right!? We can say the rear drops to 150!!"

Engineer:
"Sure, but it is going to be by far the heaviest post on the market. It will only work on 34.7 and it will have too many pivots. Reliability may be an issue. the seat will be higher on the front and it wont be possible to seat on the post unless it is full extended. No sure why anyone would buy it."

Randy:
"Don't worry about sales... Smile
We take care of that.
We work our usual magic with a press release and ads.
It is not really for aftermarket.
We just need for our bikes. Now.
Most of our costumers are beginners, they can't tell the difference.
They will read 150mm dropper and voila!

Engineer:
Yes sir.
  • + 0
 Specialized patented it like five years ago...
  • + 7
 Definitely the Naild R3Act suspension. I've ridden the Polygon Square One about a dozen times now and it's simply amazing. It was the absolute perfect bike for Moab! I almost forgot I was on a 180mm travel bike until I hucked it off rocks and it was as plush as can be.
  • + 7
 Hello everyone!
I’ve just had a quick read through most of the comments here and it’s fun to see people’s thoughts and ideas. The comments from people who’ve had the opportunity to ride the R3act system are all consistent with each other and also with my personal experience. The comments from those who have not ridden it are also consistent with the questions I had myself when I was first introduced to it. I have not ridden the Marin. It wouldn’t surprise me if it had a little too much flex, but that is something quite basic to solve these days.
As for my experience. It’s the easiest bike I’ve ever ridden. You don’t need to know what you’re doing to set it up. Just set your sag and ride away. I use my Xquare 1 for all my road, XC and Enduro riding and never change anything. I love bike riding and that bike does 90% of my bike riding. Of course if you are a die hard XC racer the 180mm version is not for you. If you are a die hard downhiller you need a DH rig. This conversation is not about the specific models that have been released so far, but about the capability of the R3act system and for me it is the most exciting innovation of my career. Both by the stop watch and by the smile it puts on my face.
  • + 2
 "for me it is the most exciting innovation of my career. Both by the stop watch and by the smile it puts on my face."

Heck of an endorsement considering you've been visiting National and World podiums in BMX and MTB since the mid 90's. Stoked to watch you and the whole UR team rip it up for the coming season.
  • + 2
 @sprockets: Thanks mate!
  • + 3
 what a classy review, with awesome results to back it up.. agree 101%.. still waiting for a chance to ride one though.. knock knock @renanzendy and @pagitomy Smile Smile Smile
  • + 6
 We've had a few of the Polygon Square Ones with the Naild R3act system on our demo fleet. Almost everyone who's tried one comes back not just amazed, but "Here take my money" amazed! It pedals like a trail bike but can also handle about anything your downhill bike can and is pretty low maintenance. Definitely a winner in our book!
  • + 3
 NAILD R3ACT is the innovation winner for me. It's one thing to use your 2D kinematic suspension software downloaded from the internet, play with arcs and pivot points like you have just discovered spirographs. It is an entirely different thing to come up with a new innovative kinematic, prototype, test, commit to production tooling, get spec'd on major OEM bikes, deliver your new product out into the market to rave reviews about how well it works, while leaving people head scratching at the same time. Congratulations DV and the NAILD team! Looking forward to riding this bike and forming my own opinion on how it performs.
  • + 5
 I appreciate the other nominees, but after spending time on the Polygon i can honestly say that it is the most innovative thing this year, or for many years... when something is doing the impossible, when its doing things simultaneously that you have always been told were mutually exclusive it really blows your mind... reviewers dont know what to make of it... there is not frame of reference based on any other bike out there... its like, if all of a sudden you could see next color past violet, how could you describe it? would you even recognize that what you were seeing was amazing?
  • + 2
 what would you make of the bikeradar review though as it suggests there are some pretty bad issues with it.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxJWjt3RTlM
  • + 4
 @rabidmonkfish: his comments are pretty specific to the Marin bike. The polygon version is different, especially when you consider that it's short links are stiffer. I have only ridden the polygon, but I know guys who raced the Marin all season and despite these few details thought the bike was amazing nonetheless. You can have any number of configurations of a suspension system and bike geo and it's going to make these bikes unique. The 2015 norco range, and the specialized enduro both are horstlink bikes but have huge differences between them. You wouldn't say that because one of these bikes has some things about it you don't like that horstlink system is bad. (Ppl feel the specialized shock configuration side loads the shocks and ruins them, or that the range has way too much anti squat and to slack seat angle) The strengths are there in the system and it's going to be up to each manufacturer to design a bike around it that hits their own specific targets.
  • + 10
 R3ACT FTW
  • + 5
 Both the Hannah's performances at Worlds should tell you all you need to know about how the R3act suspension performs under speed. The fact that it also climbs better than anything with even close to comparable travel and you have a bike that can do just about anything.
  • + 5
 I don't know - all of the R3ACT reviews I have seen have been pretty tepid, including the one here on PB. In fact I saw a video review from one of the british mags that tried to be even handed but I still interpreted as being one of the worst pro reviews I've ever see of a bike. Most of the reviews tend to say "Yeah, something different is going on here, but not sure it works all that fantastically". I'm of the school that its not that different from standard designs, just implemented in a strange way. I've yet to really see anyone rave about it.
  • + 6
 you must not be lookin very hard, it's a very highly praised bike.
  • + 3
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: from what i've read, the design gives anti-squat through the whole length of its travel. that sounds AWESOME until you realize that it also means pedal kickback through the whole length of its travel.

i can see why it gets such middling reviews.
  • + 3
 @xeren: post a link to any review that says there is pedal kickback through the whole length of travel.

Part of the problem with reviewers and reviews is that when something comes along that doesn't fit their current world view, they have a hard time wrapping their head around it. If they don't spend enough time with it to understand how and why it works and how that relates to what they are used to or expect, they are less likely to provide a qualified point of view that does it justice.
  • + 0
 If they would show the rear axle path it would be clear if it's actually different besides the marketing stanchion thing
  • + 0
 @greglikesspecialized: that was lazy (and gosh I've never seen "here let me google that for you" before) and didn't answer the question. Point out where any of the reviewers who spent time in the saddle complained about pedal feedback.
  • + 2
 @Hyakian: you are the one who doesn't understand. There are three ways :
1 positive pedal kickback
- suspension squats when you pedal (
has no positive effects and
therefore it
does nearly not exist.
2 no pedal kickback
- suspension squats because of the
Acceleration and weight shift
- chain doesn't influence the
suspension and other way round
3 negative pedal kickback
- suspension extends when pedaling
- does counter the weight shift
(Forces eliminate each other)
- suspension doesn't move under
pedaling
- pedal kickback

Whatever you chose it's always a compromise. What the react claims to be is impossible. With the react design you have no difference to what is possible with a conventional design. It's just that marketing stanchion what makes it different. The bike may be still pretty good when it's dialed correctly and well engineered.
There is a way to get rid of pedal pedal kickback and squating suspension under weight shift and that is a well designed damper system. But that's a different story...
  • + 1
 @emptybox:
Presumptuous.
I understand perfectly well, perhaps better than you.
Have you ridden the bike?
Do you understand how it works for personal experience?
No?
  • - 3
 @Hyakian:
No I haven't ridden the bike. As I said it may work well.
I think you mention your personal experience with the shock or the placebo effect. Also your personal experience is based on what you are used to. Maybe you are used to bikes wich are poorly engineered. I don't say it's bad. I said the advertising is bad and wrong and I pointed out why.
Once again: the pedal kickback depends on the distance between the contact point chain/casette and chain/chainring. Actually how the distance changes trough the travel. The distance can get longer. It can get shorter or it remains the same. So now if you think you understand it better tell me the 4th magic way? I'm waiting
  • + 3
 Most of the reviews have been very positive what are you on about?
  • + 2
 @emptybox: There's a fourth. I don't have first hand knowedge of the Polygon design but I do of the Tantrum. It'll likely be next years category winner. Maybe even multiple categories. No bullshit.
  • + 3
 @Hyakian: the review bike radar did of the Marin wolf ridge talked about pedal kickback and it’s easy to see why. The suspension on the thing has well over 200% anti squat in the hardest gear. Yes, the Marin or Polygon would be great for people who want loads of travel but don’t have trails that need it but as anything more than mile crushing trail bikes they are out preformed by everything else on the market simply because the suspension kinematics of the R3act suspension have a huge negative impact on downhill performance.
  • + 1
 @Eatsdirt:
All i can image for a fourth way is maybe something canyon tried on the sender where you can disengage the drive train.
And maybe there's the perfect anti squat at the sag point and further in the trevel there's nearly no pedal kickback. That would be possible and a good solution but the rear axle path would be awkward and when you believe in commercials marketing it's a absolut bad thing. And for that the rear axle path needs to be a pretty extreme s-shape (like some santas have but more extreme)
The rear axle path it propably an arch with changing radius aka vpp.
  • + 0
 I don't believe the hype at all. The most important thing with modern bikes for climbing is the weight and rolling resistance of the tires. Any bike with 180mm of rear travel and mini-DH as its intended purpose needs some pretty heavy tires with meaty tread and stout rims. That will kill the climbing ability of any bike, even a hard tail.

And riding with virtually no damping? I've had the damping go out on my manitou travis DH fork back in the day, and its so out of control that its scary. Vital said this of the react design, but tried to hide it and cover up their experience of how poorly it handles.
  • + 2
 @emptybox: Get your head wrapped around the chain/bump forces of the Tantrum and how they affect ride height/geo and activate suspension. It has minimal chain growth and no crazy axle path. Might take riding it as it did for me.

There is a fourth.
  • + 1
 @Eatsdirt:
There is either negative or positive or zero. Everything else is imaginary. But maybe that is too COMPLEX for you Wink
  • + 1
 @emptybox: Imagine that there might be things you do not understand nor have researched... or most importantly having ridden. If you had, you wouldn't getting all uppity. Just sayin. You're not the only one though, plenty of internet engineers don't have a handle on it either.

In reality zero fvcks are given to what you think, I was just trying to enlighten you.
  • + 2
 @emptybox There's another possibility regarding PKB in correlation with AS. That sliding swingarm is actually a way to make a variable suspension kinematics. When pedalling, the chain tension makes it so that the system kinematics have high AS. When coasting, lack of chain tension makes the kinematics change with low AS and low PKB.

It baffled me the first time I ride it. How come a bike is so much plush when coasting yet so firm when pedalling? After some time contemplating, I think that variable suspension kinematics is one of possible explanations. Maybe @renanzendy @pagitomy could explain it better. Wink

CMIIW, other bikes with some kind of pedal-induced variable suspension kinematics are Kona magic links and Tantrum.

Well, either that or the manufacturer has a way to harness unicorn and rainbow power.
  • + 1
 @rifu:
Sorry yes, I was wrong about that and that is clearly genius. I mean tantrum and the konas. They both have a not fixed rear axle path. BUT if you remodel the polygon you will clearly see the axle path is fixed. Fact. Therefore it can't be that system. I say it again I don't want to say the bike is bad I just want to say that the marketing is bs. Wich is often the case and when you read the comments you see how well they did fool everybody.
@Eatsdirt
I try very hard to understand and research a lot.I even remodeled the design. You are the one who only defends his beloved bike and believes their marketing without questioning if they are right.
  • + 2
 @emptybox: My experience is based upon having worked in this industry for a long, long time. Having worked side by side with suspension developers and ridden most of the (mainstream) suspension platforms, and more bikes than I can count that were (by most other observers accounts) very well engineered. Have I ridden everything? No, however I have more than enough experience on a broad range of platforms and time in the saddle to be able to notice the nuances and differences (the good and the bad) between them.

I know the concept of this system is hard to grasp on paper (and perhaps the related marketing effects this one way or another), I struggled with it to, however the proof is in how it works IRL. This is why I keep asking if you have ridden it.
  • + 2
 @Hyakian:
Have you read what polygon says on there website? They don't even try to explain why it's better. They just say that it's better. I remodelled this design in catia ( professional 3D software) and there is nothing special about it. They literally just swapped a bearing for a stanchion. Yeti did it befor. Basically same design but with different anti squat.
Well personal experience is bad to argue with because everybody has their own. I argue with the facts. Eg. Bike radar says they feel the anti squat. You say you don't. What is right? Maybe it depends where and how you ride. As someone said that bike is designed for people who don't charge hard and don't have rugh trails but want more travel. People who go on long rides and want
a efficient bike but still a bike wich can handle big drops.
  • + 1
 @emptybox: You're pretty funny thinking that you can tell me about a bike I've actually ridden and whether it is "right". I did not model it from an internet pic. I RODE it. Marketing is bullshit, just like your model, but you'll figure that out eventually.
  • - 1
 @emptybox: Lol - JMO, But Polygon's web site falls short in terms of how they communicate and discuss the product... Not a huge surprise really all things considered. You can believe what you like, model things all day long, and take subjective reviews by editors as "fact" and draw all the conclusions you want. Fine with me. However, making statements and presenting them as absolutes without actually having experienced something IRL yourself is over reaching. All that said, you've already made up your mind, have established a bias that will effect your experience regardless, so, you know, never mind.
  • + 1
 @Eatsdirt
I never said something like the bike is "right" I said the whole time that the marketing behind this is wrong and I tried to proof it.
You defended polygons marketing and now you tell me it's wrong. Start thinking before you write something! I can tell you something: you don't figure out how stuff works by riding it. Have you figured out how a car engine works by driving the car? Same goes for bikes. You just feel more of the feedback.
I say this is not innovative because
1. There are already bikes with a stanchion (yeti)
2. There are already bikes with high anti squat. Maybe this bike has even more but that's still like saying a 2mm longer wheelbase is innovative.
You say it's innovative because
1. "It feels different " than what you are used to
  • + 1
 @Hyakian:
This is right but doesn't say anything about that bike and if it's innovative or not
  • + 1
 @emptybox: Not once did I defend Polygon. Haven't ridden it, don't have an opinion either way. I spoke only about the Tantrum and you insinuated that I don't question whether the marketing is "right".

"You are the one who only defends his beloved bike and believes their marketing without questioning if they are right."

Just to clarify, so you don't get confused. Tantum: I did question it with a solid dose of skepticism. Then I rode it.

Get your shit together man.
  • + 1
 @Eatsdirt:
Sorry I thought you wanted to say that the polygon has a similar design to the tantrum. I was wrong if you didn't want to say that
  • - 1
 a ton of small penises in this comment thread
  • + 3
 @hamncheez:
Now one more
  • + 5
 R3act is truly innovative, where the other two are questionably valuable refinements. Not sure I want a R3act bike, and I hate the stupid name, but it’s not like anything before.
  • - 1
 The suspension has potential. Execution needs to be better :

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxJWjt3RTlM

Wait until 2nd or 3rd gen to see how it evolves
  • + 3
 @ibis315: wow that makes it sound really really bad i mean the wobbly rear end would put me off the most even if i didnt already dislike the looks.
  • + 0
 It's a bike with high anti squat. We had something like that before. That new "innovative " idea us to run less damping. This bike has the same or even less potential than common suspension designs with high anti squat.
  • + 9
 R3act for the win.
  • + 0
 The suspension has potential. Execution needs to be better :

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxJWjt3RTlM

Wait until 2nd or 3rd gen to see how it evolves
  • + 7
 Watching the mechanic struggle to fix a brand new Spesh seatpost on a demo day fitted to a 6k Enduro. "Wu" indeed...
  • + 8
 So a mechanic had a hard time with a brand spanking new seatpost that they likely have little practice with? Why didnt you step in and fix it?
  • + 5
 "...it breaks a number of rules...a spring-loaded pin that indexes into one of three holes in the post." really PB, this is considered a rule breaker? using the design of the first mass produced dropper post?
  • + 4
 R3act to play should be the winner in a market influenced by bogus innovation and standard modifying innovation which nobody wants this system defies all rules yet with the rider's best interest in mind not the brand or factories interest. Therefore it should win because it gives us riders something we have been searching for not something that is being forced upon us!
  • + 4
 Gotta be the new Polygon suspension design FTW. I have an original command post on my son’s bike and the thing is horrid. I ride a Thomson elite dropper and you’d be hard pressed to get me buy any other dropper. The thing is simply reliable and flawless 2+ years of year round riding, too many crashes to count. The thing just keeps on working. The Reverb on my wife’s Bronson??? Not so much so. Problematic to say the least. So I’m a bit biased in the dropper thing. So the new suspension design intrigued me.
  • + 3
 Well this is a no-brainer: Nail'd R3ACT for the win! I've been lucky enough to ride the Polygon Xsquare1 a bunch this fall and it's unbelievable- truly like nothing else I've ever ridden. I never expected to be able to cruise up long, steep climbs with 180mm travel (with no compression damping lockout), and then shred descents like I was riding a DH bike. The greater possibilities of this design in different applications will make the R3ACT suspension design a serious contender for "Innovation of the Decade." Well done, Voss!
  • + 3
 I think the biggest technological innovation of the year was how an existing mechanism was used rather than how an existing mechanism was changed. Technology is, after all, not just component, but the interaction between the component and the user. Making seats that tilt back is an idea that was going to come out sooner rather than later anyways, but it doesn't amount to much, other than not sliding off the front of your bike on some downs. If you look at the vision ratboy has had in changing the way a trail bike can be used, now that is an innovative technology, albeit only on the user's end.
  • + 0
 As an engineer, I guess in a disappointing sort of way, this means that the biggest yearly change in bicycle technology came from marketing rather than engineering. Oof.
  • + 3
 Naild system hands down over these kooky seat post variations. They are not on the same level of innovation of the Naild/react platform.
Having experienced it and ridden it first hand, this will be a game changer. Of course there was always the initial comments and opinions as soon as it was released, even from myself when pulling the frame out the box for the first time. but not one to judge a book by its cover, the proof was in the riding. This does exactly as it says and is sold to do so in all the reviews. Having ridden one myself over a long period of time now, I was dubious to start with but it definitely doesn't feel like your slogging a 180mm trail bike around, the pedalling platform and efficiency is ridiculous compared to other reputable trail bikes currently on the market.
I think the real proof of the pudding was they Hannah's testing the DH version of the Naild back to back with their existing DH bike and both never went back since. The clock doesn't lie!
  • + 3
 Am confused. Why would the Wu dropper be more comfortable on the downs than a conventional 125mm dropper.

I thought the idea of a dropper was to move the seat out of your way. I drop mine but don't then sit on the seat. Why would you do that?
  • + 5
 I don't get Voss' conclusion. Having a wheel track the ground perfectly is not the fastest option, it's the most comfortable one...
  • - 1
 no, it's the fastest. If you don't feel the bumps, you aren't being affected as much as if you could feel them.
  • + 1
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: If you don't feel bumps, you can't choose lines precisely. If you hug the ground, your wheel and the suspension take every obstacle fully and you are therefore slowing down, instead of skipping over holes.
  • + 5
 The reason for suspension is traction, period.
  • + 3
 @Hyakian:
No. What about handling? Especially when you are jumping. How the bike reacts. Suspension is good for many things
  • + 1
 @jzPV:
When you don't feel the bumps anyway it doesnt matter what line you take
  • + 6
 @emptybox: Handling is a function of maintaining traction
  • - 2
 @Hyakian:
In some cases yes. Propably most of the time. But not when you take off and when you land. Because grip doesn't matter when you ride a straight line and jump
  • + 1
 @jzPV: ummmn, I choose lines by sight, not by feel.
  • + 1
 @rcybak: ok choosing is the wrong word. hitting a line is better.
  • + 3
 I probably have more riding time on this suspension platform (Marin Wolf Ridge) than anyone else. And I have many other of the latest bikes, yet I don't want to ride them anymore because the Wold Ridge is easily a better bike. Climbing is excellent for a 160mm travel bike, better than many at 120mm. It's very neutral from long gradual climbs to super steep hopping up stair-steps and what have you. It's super efficient and the only thing holding it back it that it's just under 30 pounds. Yet the really amazing this is what other have been saying here. It descends better than most, and yes if not ALL 160mm bikes out there. And again note the comments on how it follows the terrain contours. It's floats even though the rear tire is so well in contact, that it pushes off the back sides of bumps. This increased traction simply makes the bike more controllable for higher speed. Some comments are about how this sticking to the ground makes jumping and pop off obstacles more difficult. At first, yes, but after some adjustment it's easy and better as it lands much more gracefully and more tolerant of coming down off center much more. Also note the comments on the much lower shock damping. An over damped and less efficient shock that never needs platform switching is a thing of the past on this bike. The more I ride it, the more anything else feels dead and pin-balled down the trail in comparison. The R3act suspension feels much more efficient in every way. I have many other very nice, current bikes, yet I do not want to ride them anymore. Now compare this to two unproven dropper posts. Both concepts are new and easily not enough riders have evaluated to know if they will go anywhere. On the other hand I feel the R3act suspension has been ridden by quite a few, and the press cannot hide that they say it does what people like myself and others say it does. And although editors would have a tough time saying it, the core concept show that it easily performs better than anything else out there. Forget the misguided comments on how it looks, or perhaps it might be a bit too flexy for some. This is the first iteration of this suspension and it's just going to get better.
  • + 7
 Can someone direct me to where we the riders vote on which is best
  • + 4
 I would give the Specialized WU should get an innovation award just because you don't have to take the seat off to add pressure. (Can you tell I have a KS dropper?) Facepalm
  • + 1
 thought you might have had a reverb... :s
  • + 5
 Rode the Polygon out at Dirt Demo this year. What an amazing bike. This is a one bike that everyone must try at least once.
  • + 2
 My take.

The BMC is a novel idea but I prefer to choose suspension settings and dropper post position independently
The Wu i great but it adds complexity. Also how many bikes have a 34.9 seat tube bar the latest Enduros?
The Bikeradar review of the Marin version of the Nail'd suspension was poor to say the least. Is the Plygon version flex proof?
  • + 4
 Definitely the Definitely the Naild R3Act suspension. If only because its the only one that is innovative. The other 2 are just daft ideas backed by big marketing budgets
  • + 2
 I'm biased because I work on development of the Marin Wolf Ridge. My job is to evaluate... certainly not be a cheerleader. My job is to complain, to give constructive feedback. I also test alot of other products which is an important part of what I do. I decided to work for Marin on the R3act suspension bike because simply, I was very impressed. I'm very critical of suspension and what I like is a bike that climbs efficiently, yet I'm not a natural descender so I also want a capable bike going down too. And I live in Arizona and the rougher the better. The bottom line is the Marin Wolf Ridge is easily the best of both. Excellent climbing and climbing traction with no unwanted compression and best of all an over-damped (inefficient) shock is now a welcome thing of the past with this bike. The descending performance is like what others are saying here: it follows the contour of the terrain to the point that anything else is bouncing around in comparison. Downhill traction is at a whole new level. Although getting it to pop over and off just requires some adjustment. Once the adjustment is made, landings and many other traits are much more appreciated. The bottom line is that it's made me a more confident and better descender. Let's just say I have some other very good bikes and I don't want to ride them anymore. So to compare what I consider a revolutionary suspension to two unproven and really being proven by enough riders as to the usefulness.... the R3act suspension should be an easy choice.
  • + 5
 As far as delivering on the promises made by said innovation, how does R3act not win?
  • + 1
 The Mountain Bike community is small, in comparison to so many other industries. We should be celebrating innovation whether good or bad. These weren't developed overnight or in a bar on a night out drinking. Carefully engineered over years and put out on the public forum in the hope that this one will be successful.

Thank you to the brave ones, sleepless nights and countless disappointments so that maybe this time this one will work. When I look back to my very first bike when I was 3 and a half years old to the bikes that we can ride now, I am thankful for the innovators who never gave up even though there was sure to be many failures along the way.

I can personally only vouch for one of the innovated products as its the only one I've tried; Darrell Voss' Naild R3act suspension - The Polygon XQUARONE. The first time I heard that we were going to have a new bike and it would be a bit different I was thinking " oh dear ". I don't much like change, when it comes to parts on my bike or frames I'm not much up for changing things, I like to keep my old gloves, helmet, knee pads etc. So something as out there as the new Polygon was going to be a shock for sure.

Sure enough, I got to try the bike for myself, hesitantly'! I took the Morzine lift as far as it could go then continued on the bike riding up up and up. Anyone who really knows me knows that I hate riding uphills, yeah I ride up hills for training but I don't ride up hills for fun. I found that this was an easy way to get up the hill, I finally understood why people enjoyed riding up hills; the wind in your hair, sweat dripping down your face, legs burning, such a good sensation. Finally I have found a bike that minimized the struggle I felt riding up the hill, the platform stays the same whether you are on flat ground or hit an up hill, and the best thing was when you hit the single track with rocks and roots it wasn't such an intense struggle to giddy up over the obstacles, the rear end of the bike kind of moments over the terrain to create a smoother riding experience over the technical, single track, up hill riding.

I guess the most importan part for me in trail riding is the down part, never have I ever been on a bike I've enjoyed riding down that gets me up the hill in, at least, half a good mood. I guess I never understood climbing for hours up a hill to ride the same bike down.

When I was told my Xquareone had 8in of travel in the rear end I said “you can get stuffed" I ain't riding that up the hill. However, after riding it up ^^ and still having energy left in the tank, I had nothing left to do but test this bad boy on the downs. Man was I shocked, tbh at first I thought I had a flat tire, I literally pulled my bike over and felt for a flat ( very common I've since found out ) and nope, I still had full air pressure. I continued and realised I wasn't used to having this kind of traction in the rear, and it literally felt like my tire was sticking to the ground like I had a flat. I committed to jumps and drops and huge turns, like never before, I had the most amazing time that I've ever had on a trail bike. No wonder, with the suspension of a downhill bike its like being on one.

Out of the box I was shocked at the look of the bike, "oh dear" is exactly what I thought. Have you ever judged a book by its cover? A person by there looks? Then later realise that you have forgotten what they look like because the book was such an adveturous read? Or the person has a personality that shines like the sun!

The Xquareone has an adveturous personality and shines like the sun, I can't see what the bike used to look like I can only see how it makes me feel.

Tracey Hannah
  • + 4
 R3act. My vote. Never asked for my dropper and shock to sync and my current dropper works just fine.
  • + 3
 Oh and lets not forget the prototype Polygon DH frame with R3ACT was on both the Men and Women podium at World DH Championships this year.
  • + 1
 Next thing you know my car (bike) will want to parallel park itself and auto brake on me when something is in the trail... I will have to watch a HUD with a video pointed where I'm going... what about a dropper with ejection button Smile
  • + 1
 I've had this idea for a while but not the means to make it happen:
MTB with either manual or auto controllable, wireless, and 100% integrated:
Suspension, Seatpost, gearing, tire pressure, and geometry.
All of this technology exists already. Suspension controls like Scott's dual system, but controlled with servos. Remote seatposts already done by magura and now BMC, gearing XShifter or Di2, tire pressure ADAPTRAC or WhiteCrow hub, Geometry like Canyon shapeshifter.
The tire pressure hubs are big an heavy and would need advancements.
Inclinometer, Accelerometer, processor, servos, wireless control.
In its ultimate form the rider would just ride, geo/suspension/seatpost/gears/tire pressure would all adjust in real time depending on the angle and speed and size of bumps, even condition dependent possibly... thoughts?
  • + 5
 My bet: NAILD nails this one.
  • - 4
flag ibis315 (Dec 6, 2017 at 15:49) (Below Threshold)
 The suspension has potential. Execution needs to be better :

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxJWjt3RTlM

Wait until 2nd or 3rd gen to see how it evolves
  • + 4
 @ibis315: I just downvoted the three times you copied and pasted your lame comment
  • + 4
 specialized paying for another innovation award...
  • + 4
 Have a Marin Wolf Ridge Pro...have to go with the NAILD R3ACT.
  • + 4
 Huh.. interesting
  • + 1
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxJWjt3RTlM is this why react should win? still i do think its better than the other 2 options though.
  • + 4
 R3act is the real deal.
  • + 4
 SPENGLE!
  • + 1
 That had to be the most entertaining comment section on PB
  • + 3
 lol it's more "pinkbike enduro/all mountain awards"
  • + 1
 does someone own a r3act bike here??
I've been looking for user reviews, to compare with the amazing reviews it had on the media, but no luck
  • + 4
 Polygon
  • + 3
 Polygon rules!!!
  • + 2
 I'm surprised the pool noodle didn't get nominated.
  • + 2
 I'd like all three of these innovations on one bike
  • + 1
 Naild R3ACT Suspension hands down. The rest represent incremental improvement upon existing concepts at best.
  • - 2
 Every nominee just upped the level of fragility and complexity to an otherwise wonderfully simple machine.



“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”

― Albert Einstein
  • - 1
 Unfortunately bike industry is run by people with a business degree, not Einstein.
  • + 0
 That Specialized seatpost is a genius idea. Hopefully they license the design to other brands...
  • + 2
 nice bike
  • + 1
 Seems we could have all three on one bike. I want ALL the things!
  • - 1
 Had the Naild R3act system had a better name and a better look, there would be far more people rooting for it.
  • + 0
 How about the introduction of bullet proof wheels due to Boost hubs? LOL
  • - 2
 None of these... I doubt any of them will become a consistent thing... sadly
  • - 2
 This is all shit! where is the real article. this is a joke? right???
  • - 2
 Safe to say that this year was not very innovative.
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