Bold are a Swiss company who are very happy to do things very differently, as the name would suggest. Their design is moving away from the well-trodden path and - good news internet - it definitely doesn't look like a Session! Bold seem keen to establish itself as more than a mere novelty, and after Scott acquired a majority share in the Swiss brand
, make no mistake Bold mean business. So this certainly isn't Bold's first bike, or even its first Unplugged. Rather, this is a new take on their enduro platform. Since Scott's acquisition, they've been busy. In 2021 they released the new Linkin trail bike.
Bold Unplugged Details
• Wheel size: 29" or 27.5/29"
• Carbon frame
• Travel: 160 rear / 170mm fork
• 63.2 - 64.5° head angle
• Angle adjust headset
• Flip chip and wheel-size chip
• Chainstay length: 437mm
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Price from $8,999.99
That bike, although shorter-travel and lighter than the Unplugged, had some of the same features. Most obviously, a shock competely housed within the frame. Since Scott came on board, you might have also seen the Spark and Genius also go down a similar route. However, there is one major difference in that the Bold bikes hold their shocks horizontally. This low-slung mounting means that they can benefit from a large post insertion depth.
This bike has 160 mm of rear travel and is paired to a 170 mm fork, and is made of the same HMX carbon that you'll find on other Scott bikes. The frame's suspension design is referred to as Internal Suspension Technology Virtual Pivot, or IST VP, which focuses on keeping the frame weight low. The main pivot rotates around the bottom bracket, and the three-piece lower assembly has a yoke that drives the rear part of the shock inside the frame. Ensuring the correct preload on this assembly is vital and requires a special tool that comes with the bike.
Bold's design hopes to make accessing the shock easy enough to not put off those wary of over-complicated design. In some ways, they've done a good job of placating those concerns with a button-operated hatch that opens up to reveal the head of the shock. From there, you can access the compression and rebound adjustment, as well as the valve to pump the shock up. The shock in the frame is essentially a modified Fox Float X.
There is a lot
to talk about with the Bold. Let's start with the front of the bike.
The bike uses a one-piece Syncros Hixon carbon bar and stem. The bike's cables are all routed through the headset, but when the shock is in the frame that's hardly surprising. While that might well put off riders who want function over form, the adjustable headset should recapture their attention. The Syncros angle adjust headset has two plastic cups that, depending on their orientation, can offer 1-degree of adjustment. There is also a flip-chip on the upper stay of the rear triangle to make smaller adjustments to the geometry, around 0.3 of a degree to the head angle and 8 mm to the BB height. That flip chip is housed within a secondary, larger chip, which can adjust the frame between 29" and 27.5" rear wheels. For a frame that screams "gimmick" in one breath, there are a lot of reassuring and pragmatic features mentioned in the next.
Should you enjoy spiting Mike Levy from afar
, and actively enjoy using climbing switches on your shock, Bold has you covered too, albeit in a slightly more convoluted manner. With the shock housed within the frame, the only way to adjust it on the fly would be a remote lever, and that's exactly what you get. The remote, which thankfully avoids the pitfalls of Scott's TwinLoc system, has three positions. It not only adjusts compression but also air volume which can effectively provide geometry as well as suspension adjustment.
The frame also features a Save the Day Kit. This is a whole sleeve that slides out the shock door. On there, you have pretty much everything you need for trail-side fixes. There is also a tool located on the inside of the door. and Bold has also included a tool that doubles up as a lever on the rear axle for quick adjustments. The rear axle tool features a T25, T30, and 6 mm Allen key. All of the Bold-made hardware uses the Torx system, however, on what is an expensive bolt it would be nice if they'd swapped out any allen key fits on the cockpit to also fall within the same family of fittings.
There is also a discrete chain tool and plenty of slap protection to hopefully keep your chain on and quiet, irrespective of what you're riding. Both bikes in the range use AXS shifting, and this frame isn't compatible with a standard mechanical derailleur as it has nowhere to house the cables.
The geometry of the Bold is quite aggressive, and not just in the most obvious ways. Normally, when we're talking about new bikes we focus on the head angle, and although it can be as slack as 63.2 degrees it's not the figure that jumps out to me. In fact, the figure that catches my eye is the 644 mm stack on the large, which is combined with a 25 mm rise bar in that size. This is comparatively high and when coupled with the shorter-than-some rear end of 437 mm it's likely going to be a bike that is very happy to weight the rear wheel, while also going to give the rider plenty of opportunity to scoop up the high front end.
That large stack number is also paired with a long reach figure. For small, medium, large and extra-large, the reach goes 425, 460, 490 and 520mm respectively. Although these figures are quite large, thanks to that high front, the effective top tube is relatively middle of the road in respect to its sizing. The seat tube angle is also given as 77.8 degrees. This is quite on trend for an enduro bike although the geometry chart doesn't stipulate what BB mode that's running in. It's also worth noting that this bike uses the same shock technology found on the latest generation of Scott bikes. What this means is that as you click up the compression setting between open, traction and closed remote settings, you'll also be adjusting the volume of the air shock, meaning that it should ride higher in its travel and keep the seat tube angle steeper still.
Going between wheel sizes, Bold does a great job of keeping it consistent with only one or two dimensions changing, and when they do it's by as little as a millimeter.
Models & Pricing
Frames are available in two colorways and sell for $5,999 USD.
The Bold offers a lot for an enduro bike. The internal shock, high-grade low-weight carbon, and aggressive angles certainly captured my attention. While I've only spent a few weeks on the bike as Squamish wakes up from winter, some things are very apparent. Firstly, due to the high front, long reach, and short-ish rear center, it feels as if there is quite a lot of bike in front of you. Naturally, that lends itself more to steep trails than flatter ones.
The suspension seems to offer a relatively middle-of-the-road feel. It's somewhat disappointing to not feel a bit better small bump sensitivity in the open mode, especially considering you have the option to temper the shock's sensitivity on the fly. Riding it, it definitely seems to be a bike that's more at home cruising on fire roads than scrambling up technical singletrack - which is very different to the Linkin 150 that offered heaps of traction. That said, I'm going to take the next few rides to explore setup to see if I can negate this issue.
When carving through steep turns, however, the Bold comes alive. It's hard to imagine core mountain bike riders ever looking at a bike with fully internal everything as aggressive or out there - but the Bold is just that, and offers geometry that will make you feel at home when you're riding steep committing trails.
I look forward to reviewing this bike in full in the coming months.
also did you expect someone with the username rickybobby18 to know the difference between switzerland and sweden
“Looks like a Svenson”
Here's a photo of the main pivot bearing. It's absolutely massive, and the carbon housing it's in is very stout by the feel of it.
@iridemybike: Sup homie!? Hope you're still getting some shredding in!
Next year they'll have the option on the $20k build
One less bike to put on my list, although the $6k frame price pretty much took care of that first.
But I agree on the shimano stuff it really doesn’t matter. It’s all basically the same and works great!
Maybe more to the point it really doesn’t matter. A loan dropper is gonna get the job done better than a transfer or AXS post.
Spec matters and it’s dumb that this is so spendy, but some spec choices make a performance difference and some don’t. This is one where it doesn’t make a difference.
I believe that SLX and XT are identical except for the labeling. All that being said, I notice zero difference between my XT and XTR setups as I have both on different builds.
Stopped reading after that sentence.
Legitimately terrible design.
This ain't Amsterdam, Vince.
Do you pronounce scone like scone or scone?
The gen 2 twinloc actually sat nicely beside the axs button
But then I saw the frame only price was more than my l current entire bike at $6k, and realized that there was no use complaining. I’ll never even be considering this.
That said personally the geo looks pretty good, other than the chainstays. I personally think tall stacks in larger sizes should usually be accompanied by long chainstays to keep some weight on the front tire. But obviously that’s a personal preference.
Left hand side of handlebars: Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Except the rear derailleur. Gotta look clean, y’know?
With some 3HP electric stoppers, aint nobody getting that wheel turning!
My god! And the pinkbike comment section would eat it right up! They'd flame the shit out of it, but you'd see them on 80% of bikes in the parking lot within the first year. This is a magnificent grift, we're really on to something big here.
But I would still prefer fully external cables on any bike…
Would be good to know what is modified and, more importantly, how long Fox have committed to providing the proprietary spares
NUDE tech paired with reconfigured damper adjust & air valve orientation. Pseudo proprietary
I think this article got it mixed up...
And a key thing is that I can swear that you're supposed to be able to service this with the same service kit as for the regular ones. But future Unplugged/Genius owners reading this - please confirm it before getting a kit, as mentioned it's just what I remember from an extremely information packed evening.
Also love irony of a bike that takes wires away on the right side of the bar then has to add them to the left side of the bar for lockout's sake because of an internal shock.
Comical that someone would pay this much for a bike. With supply chain glut markdowns and layoffs you can get a nice SLX-equipped carbon bike for just under $4k now brand new.
Same. In have AXS on two of my three bikes. Zero issues in two years. Also can add in three other bikes ive built for an uncle and my dad running AXS, both had zero issues last season. Firmware updates and remembering to charge the batteries on way to trail with a USB outlet is a thoughtless process. People who complain about AXS are either making shit up or have no personal experience with it.
Now, the clutch on the AXS derailleur is not as stiff as the mechanical derailleur, but I can live with a little chain slap.
Hey I also agree, there will always be a place for mechanical shifting. I love my XTR 12 speed, so crisp and direct! But i also like to de-clutter. And AXS provides it! Now, if they could make an AXS shifter have the tactile feel of a mechanical shifter, that would be amazing!!!
Don’t get me wrong I like the lack of clutter and I like electronic shifting, Di2 is so nice - it shifts crazy well, is reliable and feels great but obviously doesn’t have the range of AXS. Problem is Bluetooth tech just seems to be unreliable at the best of times. I mean goddamn my Bluetooth speaker is finicky as f*ck a lot of the time, and that’s pretty inconsequential. There’s no way I’m putting my trust in a Bluetooth derailleur to keep doing its thing miles into the alpine/backcountry
I know a number of people that have had their AXS components fail for no reason, sometimes at critical moments. It’s not for me.
Easy fix, buy a few spare batteries and carry them with you. Super small and weigh nothing. If you are already buying the AXS groupset, then what is another hundred dollars in spare batteries?
Does the frame look good? Probably. Is it gonna be an unpractical piece of shit to work on and does it put completely unnecessary restrictions on components selection just for the sake of vanity? You know the answer.
"Modified" or "proprietary"? From the pics (since you didn't mention the modifications), it looks like this shock won't fit on some other bikes, and a normal shock might not fit on this bike... sounds like what used to always be derided as "proprietary".
And pretty sure it's a "modified" Float X, not DPX2.
I’m sure someone is gonna buy this Swiss watch bike, but it ain’t coming home with this guy … and I’m certainly in a position to buy one.
So hey, big bike guys, you all wanna sell bikes?
Stop messing around with fancy tech and hidden lines/shocks/etc, folks who can afford a bike like this are not interested in this nonsense.
I can buy as much bike as the market can offer, and I choose to ride a Canfield Lithium and a Zerode Taniwha.
Just think about what you’re doing, this isn’t a contest, you’re not gonna sell a bike that costs more time/money to fix than a comparable low tech bike.
Just saying …
absolute mind boggling why brands use low stack/short headtubes
What even is the "tri-lock" system, and what are the pitfalls? The remote on this looks exactly like a Scott "TwinLoc"...
Though I thought you were talking about the remote specifically... "The remote, which thankfully avoids the pitfalls..."
Ps. F**k Integrated stem/bars
That's a Bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for em.
I would imagine ancillotti scarab carbon to look like this