Mick Hannah's Prototype Polygon - World Champs 2013

Aug 29, 2013
by Mike Levy  

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Mick Hannah's
Pietermaritzburg Polygon

WORDS Mike Levy
PHOTOS Paris Gore


The 'Pietermaritzburg Polygon' would be a fitting name for Mick Hannah's 26"-wheeled South African race bike, a machine that Mick and the rest of the team have been working hard to develop all season long, but that Polygon has no plans to turn into a production bike. Sure, some distance between yourself and the bike might trick you into thinking that the blacked out rig is a standard Polygon Collosus downhill bike, but that'd be like saying that a Nissan GT-R isn't quick enough to make you scream like a little girl in fright just because it doesn't look like a Ferrari from 100ft away. You'd be foolish to think that, just like you'd be foolish to think that Mick's secret weapon is a warmed over Collosus.
bigquotesThere's a few guys up there on smaller bikes, but I feel like I can ride my proper downhill bike and feel as confident as I normally would on it because it is pretty much my regular downhill bike. I mean, it's light enough, fast enough, pedals really well, so I think that it's a really competitive bike here. - Mick Hannah
It starts with the bike's special race-focused aluminum tubing, which the team readily admits plays a role in this frame not being what they'd want an average rider using for multiple seasons. For one or two big races, though, under the watchful eye of Mick's mechanic, it is just one design point that many teams happily embrace to give their racers an edge. The search for ever lighter weights can sometimes go too far, though, as the team discovered when testing revealed a slight loss in lateral rigidity at the bike's rear end during runs on the Pietermaritzburg track. If it was your average rider, at your average downhill race, that might not mean much simply because there wouldn't be much to do about it. Then again, this isn't your average bike, nor your average race weekend. A machine shop was quickly tracked down, and a block of aluminum was turned into a stiffer lower suspension link for the bike. That explains the link's raw look, then. Problem solved. Geometry is, as you probably expected, also different than what is used on the Collosus. Slacker and lower, no doubt. The finished bike is claimed to be just under 34LB, and Polygon's goal of providing Mick and the team with a new bike that, while giving them advantages over the Collosus in terms of weight and pedalling abilities, doesn't force them to adjust to an entirely unfamiliar machine. Will this strategy pay off? We'll all know in a few days time.


Mick Hannah s Polygon Photos by Paris Gore


Suspension Design: The production Collosus employs a dual link design, and a closer look at Mick's bike reveals that it does as well, although the positioning of the links, pivots, and shock are completely different than what is found on the production bike. Both of the prototype's links are shorter, with the lower unit not rotating around the bottom bracket like on the Collosus. The bike's shock position has also changed from a laid down angle to standing upright, although it still "floats" between the upper and lower link rather than mounting to the front triangle on one end. Why the change? The team were happy with the bike's suspension performance, and especially its progressive ramp up that helps prevent bottoming, but they were looking to increase its efficiency when it came time to throw down the pedal strokes. The new layout is said to accomplish exactly that, while also contributing to further weight loss. Like many racers, Mick has been using a special FOX air shock during practice, and although he is still undecided as to if he'll race with it, the team were forced to make some modifications to the frame in order to create enough clearance for it throughout the bike's travel. That's why they call them prototypes, though, isn't it?


Mick Hannah s Polygon Photos by Paris Gore

Drivetrain: Not surprisingly, Mick runs a custom seven speed cassette that allows him to pick and choose the exact gearing that he wants for a given track, with a stack of Shimano cogs making up his range. There is no spoke guard, though, an add-on that most racers who run shortened cassettes can be seen using. His derailleur may appear to be a standard XTR unit, but a second look should have you wondering why you've never seen an XTR derailleur with such a short cage. The Hutchinson United team isn't officially sponsored by Shimano, thereby giving them some freedom to tinker with components that other works-level teams might not have, which is why there is a custom shorter cage on an otherwise stock XTR derailleur. Lighter than Saint, and the right length to boot. Up front, Mick would usually run a 36 or 38 tooth e*thirteen chain ring, but the balls-out speeds of the Pietermaritzburg track see him using a larger 40 tooth option. That's likely a handful of teeth more than a rider of standard human strength would require, by the way, and something that Mick wouldn't know about.


Mick Hannah s Polygon Photos by Paris Gore


Components: Wheel and tire setups are a hot talking point in the build up to this weekend's race, with many riders running a combination of 650B wheels (Mick's race bike uses standard 26" wheels, don't forget) and less aggressive rubber, at lest on the back of the bike, that will allow their bikes to roll faster and carry more momentum. With nearly zero chance of rain, and not many sections that require the braking forces found on tracks like Val di Sole or Fort William, the Pietermaritzburg course is ideal for such things, and Mick's Polygon is no different. His rear tire is a yet to be named prototype from Hutchinson that, while certainly bearing a resemblance to the Squale mounted up front, has been designed to shave time through faster rolling. To this end, its knobs are not only lower than usual, but also more tightly spaced, therefore creating a larger contact patch and less of a tractor tire feel. The tire's casing is special as well, with rigid downhill walls on the sides and a more compliant section over its crown, a combination that gives it support and flat protection while shaving a fair bit of weight compared to a standard downhill tire. Up front, Hannah has decided to go with a surprisingly small
volume 2.3'' Squale, Hutchinson's newest production downhill tire, with it mounted on Mavic's Crossmax Enduro front wheel, used to save on some rotating weight. A more standard Deemax is used for the rear wheel. Spank and Crank Brothers make up the bike's cockpit, and a set of Formula brakes slow it down. One standout bit is the custom carbon fiber XTR shifter mount, a small item that probably only shaves a few grams but is likely to be sought after by a good portion of readers who appreciate such things.


www.polygonbikes.com
www.hutchinson-ur-team.com
Photos by Paris Gore


119 Comments

  • 156 2
 sik rig for sik mik
  • 26 249
flag Joebohobo (Aug 29, 2013 at 15:47) (Below Threshold)
 *Sick rig for sick Mick
  • 11 5
 he needed that in Canada, i bet that would have given him a nanosecond to win, don't get me wrong i love smith and i am glad he did, but you cant help but feel bad for sik.... he was so DAM close!!!!
  • 5 5
 That rear shock looks squishy!
  • 5 10
flag c4mtb (Aug 29, 2013 at 16:57) (Below Threshold)
 it reminds me of the old gambler, mostly because of the large tubes in the center of the bike.
  • 4 4
 carbon mount, siiiickkkkkk. anyone know if someone has these in production?? I DO APPRECIATE!!
  • 5 3
 Go sik mik, bring on the rainbow J
  • 6 1
 Holy mother of linkage systems
  • 2 0
 Yup could have gained that .90 of a sec... His reaction was like loosing a lottery ticket. :-)
  • 2 1
 "he needed that in Canada, i bet that would have given him a nanosecond to win...."

Let's try to pay attention. He raced this frame in Andorra, MSA, and Crankworx.
  • 1 0
 He did use the crossmax for the air dh so it looked like he used up thoses miliseconds
  • 1 0
 it was his whips at the end - no whips MIK! Straight as an arrow !
  • 1 0
 for me the suspension looks like ANTIDOTE Lifeline in poorer edition Big Grin

In carbon with sick stickers Smile

fstatic0.mtb-news.de/f/o5/43/o5436o02diwu/large_AntidoteLifelineCarbon-byOliverRoggenbuck1.jpg?0
  • 52 1
 Lets just hope that new link doesnt cause issues during the race. Otherwise sik miks a polygoner.... ... i'll get my coat
  • 16 0
 Would love to see Mik get the win, he has been chomping at the bit for years.
  • 15 0
 love the position of shock...like a moto
  • 14 4
 Once a real Dh bike wins the race, can we stop will all this jibber jabber and get back to real bikes on real man tracks please?
  • 9 1
 Good lookin' rig. Can't wait to see what other awesome new bikes come to light at Worlds.
  • 8 0
 Now this i like
  • 1 1
 Best downhill bike ever! Look how simple it is!
  • 7 0
 finally some 26 rims i've been waiting to see them here for ages
  • 2 0
 yeah they are getting rare these days Wink
  • 3 0
 Aussie magazine [R]evolution just posted a web edit with Mick talking about this bike, and he goes into a fair bit of detail about his set-up. Check it out: revolutionmtb.com.au/revotv-inside-the-pros-bikes-mick-hannahs-world-champs-custom-rig
  • 1 0
 Nice! Thanks for posting that
  • 4 0
 this question may look noobish but what clipless pedals does mick uses on this bike ?
  • 1 0
 yer im wandering that 2 maby there a prototype?
  • 4 0
 CB Mallet
  • 2 2
 Crank Bros Mallet
  • 15 1
 Crank Bros Mallets, not a prototype... unless he's got some aerospace bearings in there that increase the durability of crank bros pedals...
  • 2 0
 Look like Mallet DH to me?
  • 1 0
 oh so they are just looked different to me on the side
  • 2 0
 I understand why the company name is "polygon"... no round tubes, polygonal shapes ewerywhere, even the piece between seat tube and top tube is a triangle. But the wheel stay round.
  • 3 0
 This bike is absolutely sick! The definition of "bike porn". And yes, I want that carbon clamp.
  • 4 0
 Those forks are so slack, they look like they want to lie down.
  • 1 0
 Would love to know what the deal is with that XTR shifter mount. Nor because I'm that much of a weight weenie. But I'm running Formula R0's and they don't allow much space for my standard Saint shifter.
  • 2 0
 I hope sik mic wins it. Love the way this guy rides, he makes it look easy every time he's on the bike. Also love that he's a 4X master... Go Mic!
  • 2 0
 The front triangle is sooooo hot. One of the most sexier with Intense M9! Sick rig!
  • 2 1
 Rear swingarm itself (not suspension design) has a few similarities to an Intense M9. Overall thats a very clean looking frame.
  • 2 0
 40T !!! c'mon mick, WIN this race! fast, safe and FUN final run.. hopefully.
  • 2 0
 not many carbon bikes on the DH scene this year compared to 2012 Go Mick!!!
  • 1 0
 Wow, aluminum builds are getting light.
Any bikes out there with BRASS welds ala some werks moto bikes?
Bike needs some magnesium xtr trail brakes.
  • 1 0
 We get it. everyone's running super long, lightweight 650b bikes because south africa isn't a techy dh track. do you really need to frontpage an article about every rider?!
  • 2 1
 Cry all I can see is those mismatched wheels. Jokes it looks it looks sick.
  • 2 1
 'The tire's casing is special as well' yep, they call that the Schwalbe supergravity casing!
  • 1 0
 The suspension setup is very similar to that of the Antidote Lifeline, pretty cool.
  • 1 0
 just wait for a rock to get kicked right smack into that beautiful kashima coating
  • 1 0
 I wonder what they weight is? with the enduro front wheel, it looks as though it should be very competitive.
  • 1 2
 That's a great looking bike. I just wouldn't want one because the rear shock is in a bad place for rock hits and mud. I mean, if you don't have a sponsor and a tech to fix your bike every ride, it might be a problem.
  • 2 0
 Hence it being a special prototype for champs specifically built around PMB, right?
  • 2 0
 I'm sure they could fit a mudguard, too, but they probably they decided it wasn't worth the weight, especially on a track like pietermaritzburg.
  • 2 0
 hopefully pinkbike will review the polygon collosus dhx bike
  • 2 0
 Loving the GT-R reference Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Did you know that the polygon is a bike from Indonesia?
Polygon has existed since 1989
  • 1 0
 Dam. Nice bike! Seev those cranks, super short.
  • 1 0
 ohhhh my giddy god that is like a new version of sex! ahaa dig it
  • 1 0
 Perfect bike ecxept those long brake and shifter lines...
  • 1 0
 I WANT THAT CUSTOM XTRRRRRR....
  • 1 0
 Give 'em hell Sick Mik!!!!
  • 2 1
 nicest worlds bike so far!
  • 1 0
 All those overpriced Bikes,so shit
  • 1 0
 40T?! Dear Lord that HTA looks slack as hell.......
  • 1 0
 Now that is a linkage I like the look of!
  • 1 0
 Is there any distributor in Europe for Polygon?
  • 1 0
 Yes,there is
  • 1 1
 What a difference with my whizz 90 frame ? look like similar link cage designs .....
www.pinkbike.com/photo/9784170
  • 1 0
 aluminium frame and 26'' wheels ... thats how i like it
  • 1 0
 Pretty sure that set of bars has something special about them too.
  • 1 0
 art.
  • 2 3
 So the team is saying that the average rider needs carbon tubing for multiple seasons? That sentence sounds weird.
  • 9 0
 I think they mean this bike uses extra thin aluminum.
  • 7 0
 Correct, just that Mick's bike uses lighter weight aluminum tubing. Sorry, that isn't all that clear in the article now that I've re-read it.
  • 2 1
 I thought that might have been what they meant, but was unsure.
  • 4 1
 "It starts with the bike's aluminum tubing, which the team readily admits plays a role in this frame NOT being what they'd want an average rider using for multiple seasons."

The team admits that the alu tubing is not to be the answer for average rider for seasons, cause it is too light / weak.. ..aimed for racing only and specialy designed this way.

This is logical sentence, because there is the word "NOT". I don't understand why it may sound weird. Mike Levy's article is professional as always and I don't know why he is sorry.
  • 2 1
 Well it sounded like they might have been praising carbon fiber for multiple seasons. The main issue is that it began at the start of the article without going into depth about the aluminum being strong in the first place and I agree that Levy is a professional, but it was just a little mistake.
  • 5 1
 Because he's a professional writing for educated people, unfortunately his pinkbike audience is on average just slightly above illiterate.
  • 2 2
 You guys are being ridiculous. All that I'm saying is that he made a mistake by putting that sentence at the beginning. It is improper and loses the audience quickly. Also, he is not writing for educated people because he is a professional writer that knows his audience is largely average readers. I'm 15, in community college, and tested out of reading comprehension. This is why pinkbike is becoming so stupid. It's a whole bunch of guys who think they know what they're talking about, but they don't. If you guys like Mike Levy so much, why don't you guys stop harassing people? I hope you're reading this too @jedrzeja!!!!! For the record, I like the article, but that sentence needs to be put somewhere else...
  • 1 0
 @general-lee There is hope behind the Ocean.
@Alex Don't worry and learn hard.
@Mike Levy Please keep on writing sophisticated.

I have to admit I was almost sure that I would get a score of negatives because of my previous note.
  • 2 3
 I dont understand why a xtr derailleur is used. A saint doesnt weigh much more and its less likely to get fucked up
  • 5 0
 Different shift feel. XTR and Saint use different springs IIRC
  • 1 0
 Which one feel snappier, xtr or saint?
But i do like the simplicity of a short cage..
  • 1 0
 Sell please!
  • 1 0
 best colorway!
  • 1 1
 what brand is that chainring *_* so sick
  • 5 0
 ...it says right on the ring.
  • 1 0
 yeah i posted this too soon
  • 1 0
 kill it mick!!!!!!!
  • 1 1
 I wish i had a downhill bike cant afford it Frown
  • 1 0
 Poor stanchion
  • 1 0
 THATS A DOPE BIKE
  • 1 1
 He has changed this bike like 30 times this season!
  • 1 1
 Looks a Bit similiar to a Mix of a commencal and norco
  • 1 0
 CARRRNNN MIK!!
  • 1 0
 wow his stoked
  • 1 0
 BIKE GO BOING!
  • 1 0
 Tidy
  • 2 3
 I see a certain amount of gambler in this
  • 3 0
 I see some Intense.
  • 2 0
 Whatever it is it looks sick and I want one
  • 1 0
 Agreed :-)
  • 1 0
 Pushing the shock more like an Evil with that almost-Delta link actuating the shock
  • 1 1
 Its a VPP
  • 1 0
 not really
  • 3 5
 VPP patent infringement, me thinks
  • 7 0
 Not really...
  • 1 1
 It has two short, counter-rotating links. Top link rotates clockwise (when bike is facing left), and bottom link rotates counterclockwise. It is exactly a VPP
  • 1 0
 dont think there's VPP patent in South Africa?
  • 1 0
 Very true. Anyways, most international and local patent laws say you can't profit without compensation; I don't see them selling this frame any time soon
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.042160
Mobile Version of Website