Bionicon Edison Ltd 0 in my back garden
1996 is where it all started, somewhere in Germany. Over here in Europe Germany has the best name for engineering, maybe that came from such badges as BMW, Mercedes and who could forget such legendary feats of engineering as the VW Caddy Pickup?
Do not let your sister get into this car..
For this bike test I should 100% concentrate on how the frame, shock and forks look and perform. I can’t though, yes we all know how good SRAM X.O is but what can you say about a seat post, seat and a pair of handlebars? As long as they are reliable, feature lightly on the scales and don’t look like Sylvester Stallone’s mom, then you're on a winner and the podium is beckoning for you on this bike.
New to me on this rig were the Schwable Nobby Nic Tyres. Are they really worth £40.99 each? They come in a triple compound with the same “Evolution” carcass you see on the Racing Ralph which makes these BIG 26x 2.4” tyres spin faster than a Zanussi spin dryer. Almost square, blocky and spaced out knobs reminded me slightly of a Maxxis Swampthing and these stuck to the trail like sh1t to a blanket, 10/10. Tyres covered? Check..
Wheels, after seeing the big boys hit up the UK National Points Series - NPSDH.com and the World Cup circuit onboard DT Swiss Rims I wasn’t 100 percent confident on these pretty white rims. Good job they were Alex Rims then and not DT Swiss, we spent many a hot and dirty weekend together rolling along like a dream on these DT Swiss 340 Hubs as they were absolutely faultless. Top marks for the big chrome DT sticker in there that shines all day long.
The next really impressive components were the Formula Oro K24 Brakes. 2008 will be a vintage year for Formula with the release of “The One”.. That said these K24’s worked too well, on a dime every time and you will love the tool free lever bite adjuster that’s located just by the lever hinge and out of harms way.
Now to the real deal, this innovative frame, shock and forks package. First off checkout the Bionicon Double Agent front triple clamp forks. Look, no stem! Just a beautifully flat, machined and light top crown is GENIUS! This means the bars are already starting off in a low position which gives you an optimum riding position. Remember we all rode riser bars back in the 90’s? That’s because we had no front suspension or a set of Manitou Mach IIIs with 3inches of travel with elastomers made of Playdo / Plastercine.. 2008 and we have double that travel upfront and yet you still see some dumb ass riders on the trail with riser bars and seventeen spacers under their stem.
Flat as a witches t1t..
Two external revolving and adjustable clamps act as a stem meaning you can dial the bars into whatever position you command.
Now because that top crown throws itself forward by some 50mm, the second crown down has to as well but why? Here is the answer, you can now turn the bars 90degrees around that tight spot mid trail, not possible with a conventional triple clamp fork. That all sounds great but doesn’t that mean the front axle is about 8ft away? The simple answer to that is no, the front axle is on a straight rake under the front forks, therefore there’s no forward throw. Compare this to your conventional forks with a small throw forward on the top crown and then add the forward/offset front axle from the lower fork leg then there is no real difference between that and the Bionicon is there. Now we're all singing from the same hymn sheet!
Have a look at that fork brace, flat with two hollow slits, for strength and lightness or somewhere to slip your zip ties through for your home made inner tube/mudguard bodge..?
I’ll start with my one and only complaint about this bike, the finish. Aesthetically she looks a dream, the matt white finish is different and gives the bike an understated edge. What it doesn’t do is come clean and shine, she took ages to clean and get sparkling after every ride. Perhaps I should blame the British weather, I’ve not been out on her in the dry after all. It’s rained constantly since New Year, so much that last time I hit the trails over Cannock Chase I swear I saw an Ark in the distance. Now if that’s the only complaint let's dismiss it now, it will be summer soon..
Main Frame - I forgot to mention that low stand over height
Well almost, the Cable rub on the frame under the top tube took the white paint off better than a Black and Decker Sander yet didn’t affect the head tube area which usually shows the first signs of wear and tear due to some neatly placed clear stickers.
This single pivot design is located on a lump above the bottom bracket that extends back from the down tube. Therefore an interrupted seat mast extends down and splits around the shock unit and back down to the main down tube. As you can clearly see there is no paint rub here as that frame split doesn’t stick out too far and definitely doesn’t catch your inner heel or leg whilst pedaling.
Split Seat Stays
The head tube hosts a standard flush as you like 1 1/8th internal headset that lies as flat as a pancake, real nice. Remember those Mach III’s?
Settings for the front and rear suspension are clearly printed on top of the top tube whilst the down tube shows recommended air pressures to run for your rider weight. Therefore no need to “RTFM” - Read The Fu..ing Manual as they say in Silicon Valley. That rear shock has two settings on the down tube some 10mm apart. I had it set forward giving me a tighter head angle and shorter wheel base for here in the U.K on the slower technical trails. If I was heading on my summer holidays to Benidorm via the French Alps then back a setting meaning a longer wheelbase and slacker head angle. Much better relaxed angles for more descending and faster average speeds.Now for the real jewel in the crown that makes this bike the best bike ever..
The rear shock and how it works seamlessly with the front forks and changes the geometry for the track ahead.
The system consists of the shock adapter and a suspension cartridge that are connected to the thumb shifter by air lines. These hoses run out of the top of the fork leg and under the handlebar so they are away from any trouble. Surely that’s a weakness though if they were to come undone? The forks and shock would deflate if we had a leak, well I guess so. Roger at Bionicon said to me they have only had one failure in Bionicon's history when someone crashed big time. He proved this by picking the bike up and swinging it around my living room by the air hoses, enough said.
So how many buttons or levers do I have to press, pull and engage?
Relax, just one, even I could use this system. The air is floating around between the front forks and rear shock via those air lines. When you come to a climb you stand up and lean forward and press that orange button. The front fork compresses from anywhere between 3 and 6 inches and also makes the head angle steeper for climbing. Now the air from the fork shifts to the rear shock cartridge which extends itself and stiffens up. This means the seat rises and your legs are at optimum pedaling length and the suspension's locked up and you can now attack that climb like a mountain goat.
Extended shock in uphill mode
Also note unlike metal sprung forks when you wind them down you compress that spring and get a stiffer feel. On the Bionicon Double Agent air forks you can go anywhere between 3 and 6 inches and you will still get the same buttery smooth feel.
Now once at the top you can look back at your mates, flick them the bird and press that magic orange button again. Lean back with your thumb on that button and the forks will now extend to the full 6 inches with the air that was rammed into that rear shock. That’s a slacker head angle, exactly what you need for the descents as this will slow down the turning of that front wheel. The rear shock cartridge extension slides back in which means the geometry changes even more as the seat drops down for a lower center of gravity and allows you to hang off the back of the bike. When that extension swallows back into the rear shock the suspension still unlocks and you get the full 5.5inches (140mm) of travel and you can now descend as fast as your index fingers allow you.
Shock in DH Mode
Benefits of the above are that there is now no need for a gravity dropper seat post or to drop your seat every time you come to a steep descent, just pop that button and she lowers automatically from the change in geometry. I had to measure this for you and the seat lowers 3 cms. Not much to shout about until you stand on the bike and the 30% sag kicks in and that seat drop is dramatic.
How many times have you got too excited at the top of a climb knowing you are about to go down and forget to unlock the forks or rear suspension? Everyone is bombing down the hill and you dare not lean forward or down, one handed (Think about your Collar Bone) to re-adjust so you can keep up with your mates? I must have done that a thousand times, but with the Bionicon just lean back and press that orange button (Turbo Boost) and like Michael Knight in KITT - Knight Industries Two Thousand the opposition will be eating your dust.
Let's wrap this up for you:
There you go, five minutes is up. If you want to enjoy your riding even more there is no more to say except go and test one out and make your own mind up.Forks
- Bionicon Double Agent 70-150mmShock
- X-Fusion 02 PVA (50mm)Headset
- Bionicon F.I.TStem
- Bionicon Twin LockBars
- Bio Al 2024 25.4mm clamp size. 660mm wide with 8degree riseBrakes
- Formula Oro with 180mm Rotors
(US and Canada will be fitted with Avid Juicy 7s
- SRAM X.OFront Derailleur
- Shimano XTRear Derailleur
- SRAM X.OCranks
- Truvativ Stylo Team 44/32/22Saddle
- Selle Italia Filante
(US and Canada will be fitted with WTB Shadow V
- Bio Al 2014 Light 31.6mm in a 350mm LengthCassette
- SRAM PG-990 11-34Chain
- SRAM 991Hubs
- DT Swiss 340Rims
- Alex XD-Lite Spokes
- DT Swiss 2.0-1.8Tyres
- Schwable Nobby Nics 2.4
to learn more.
Here is a crystal clear 90 second visual explanation of how this bike really works.
Price: U.K £2,610.00
Bionicon - Canada
Bionicon - USA
Bioconon - UK:
Si “Superfly” Patonwww.Descent-Gear.comwww.NPSDH.com
In all her glory