A high main pivot and concentric bottom bracket linkage delivers 200mm of travel.
While Eurobike does have their strange fashion show that's equal parts scary and interesting, there is no award for having the most beautiful bike in the venue. If there were, it would surely go to Antidote's new Darkmatter downhill rig that's manufactured in Poland. The 27.5'' wheeled Darkmatter's good looks will come as no surprise to anyone who's familiar with the bike that it's replacing, the equally gorgeous 26'' wheeled Lifeline.
• Intended use: downhill
• Rear wheel travel: 200mm
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Carbon frame made in Poland
• Lifetime warranty
• MSRP: 5,000 - 5,500 EUR
The 200mm-travel Darkmatter is an entirely new design from the ground up, with a wholesale change in suspension design compared to the Lifeline and its FDS linkage that compressed a vertically positioned shock from both ends. Instead, the Darkmatter employs a linkage that rotates concentrically around the bottom bracket shell to work a Cane Creek shock that's bolted to the bike's down tube. The high main pivot provides a reward axle path, Antidote says, and the reason for the change in design from the Lifeline was to improve braking traction and stability through more consistent handling when on the binders.
How so? Antidote claims that braking forces cause the bike to squat into its suspension travel towards the sag point, which keeps the geometry in check. ERMAHGERD
The bottom bracket linkage is especially impressive looking, despite this particular bike still being considered an unfinished prototype. The burly concentric rocker appears to only be attached to one side of the bike's bottom bracket shell, but it actually extends half way into the shell where another bearing resides, completely hidden from view. Antidote says that while this setup makes for a very unique appearance, it's also extremely difficult and expensive to manufacture; they plan on making around twenty limited edition Darkmatters that use this setup before going to a more conventional rocker link that pivots on bearings at each side of the bottom bracket shell.
The Darkmatter's relatively high main pivot makes running an idler pulley a necessity, and Antidote has also machined their own heavy duty pulley that looks like it'd be at home on some sort of tank engine. It isn't adjustable in height, though, as the company says that designing in a slotted, vertical adjustment would allow for too much flex in what is an extremely vital part of the drivetrain.
Instead, Antidote manufactures different sized idler wheels that can be swapped in and out to adjust how much drivetrain forces affect the bike's suspension. Not as quick as loosening a bolt to reposition the idler pulley, but more reliable, claims Antidote.
When it comes to geometry, a large Darkmatter frame has a 445mm reach and 610mm top tube length, and all three sizes have the same 435mm chainstay length and 63.5-degree head angle. The bike's down tube is shaped this way to help rocks glance off rather than allow for direct hits. Shift and brake lines run inside the frame.
And how much is it? Manufacturing the carbon and kevlar/Vectran-reinforced frame in Krakow, Poland, means that there's no way it can compete price-wise with even what most people would consider high-end downhill frames being made overseas. Antidote doesn't have final pricing quite yet but is expecting it to cost between 5,000 and 5,500 EUR for a frame which, in a way, makes the carbon Darkmatter the Pagani of Polish mountain bikes. Queue calculators worldwide being used to calculate exchange rates.