Curious riders would often ask, “How does it ride?” Well, it rides just how it looks; light, stiff, and fast as hell! Basically, the harder you push, the more you get out of the bike. I’d imagine it’s kind of like driving a supercar. I’ve never driven such a machine, but they have a specific purpose; to go around a race track rapidly. You definitely have to be switched on to make the most of it.
You’ll find the most traction when you start pushing into corners opposed to just rolling around them. Whipping the bike through consecutive turns and changing direction isn’t a chore, even in the 29er setting. Plus, that 45mm stem/48mm fork offset combo kept the steering evenly controlled for my taste compared to longer options.
I’m usually a fan of mullet bikes, and although I did appreciate the smaller rear wheel on steeper sections for extra butt clearance, I found the overall bike was more evenly balanced with the longer chainstay and bigger rear wheel. There was a slight disconnect in the mullet configuration that made the front center feel too long in comparison to the rear half. I could see the MX option playing nicely on the next frame size down though where the front and rear centers are closer in numbers.
Generating speed, whether sprinting or pumping the ground is exceptionally rewarding. The latter isn’t a characteristic that most high-pivots are praised for, but there was something special about how the Darkmatter produced speed. The idler position transmits all the power to the rear wheel with high anti-squat values (greater than 140%) and the axle path is primarily rearward, but does revert directions towards the very end of the travel.
At lower speeds, the suspension is firm off the top but offers great support and predictability through repeated steps. Towards the end of the leverage curve, the progression ramps quickly and works well with the EXT Arma’s hydraulic bottom out to never feel a mechanic stop at full travel. There’s no massive weight shift forward when you get on the brakes either. The suspension remains active with an anti-rise value around 110%, which is lower than most single high-pivot designs, but higher than some Horst-link bikes.
We did have a little hiccup with the brake mount hardware. Two bolts feed into the machined adaptor from the bottom of the chainstay and use set screws to further increase the range of the post mount bracket. Those small grubs screws wandered loose on the first few rides, but a splash of loctite quickly solved that.
Other than that, the Darkmatter did well mechanically, however, that small disk that protects the bottom out bumper on the shock did produce the odd rattle on the otherwise silent Darkmatter. It’s also worth noting how transparent Antidote is with their suspension kinematics and readily available technical documents.
Changing the lower link is straightforward and the shock is very accessible. Almost too accessible. The 90-degree lower mount positions the reservoir outside of the downtube. One on-looker raised concerns of damaging the shiny cylinder in the event of a crash, but it’s tucked behind the crank and never impeded my feet while pedalling.
*puts an Antidote bike next to an Orange bike*
Pinkbike comments: wow that is the ugliest peach of trash i've ever seen
*kink in the downtube of an Antitode*
Pinkbike comments: SO GEORGOUS WOW
I also find the newest generation Unno's pretty hideous.
But what do I know ? I think Atherton's look super good.
Antidote kink: Well executed
I should've just watched the video. Damn you, autoplay!
We are now the Antidote dealer for western Canada, if you’re looking to build up a Darkmatter for this summer, drop us a message and let’s build your dream bike.
"stiff, light, and fast and hell"
"bomb through square hits on blow up trails"
Supercar engineering, go kart sub-editing.
Old 29/29 technology, Expensive, noisy, harsh off the top, not the easiest bike to pick up off the ground, doesn't like going slow, and its not the best looking bike!
oh, get me one now....
Serious contender for the best looking bike of all time.
Is it really that hard to add 10 mm of travel for a 29 setup?
It's fugly to boot.
Seems dark to me.
*Well, these are in fact "affordable" to many people, it's just not a reasonable price to pay given other options.
What Matt said about the stiffness all makes sense looking from the outside. The EXT shock has a very rigid construction, the leverage ratio starting at 3.1 and potentially an over built, rigid carbon construction all leans to make the ride feel stiff.
I've done some testing with an EXT and DHX2 back to back while using data acquisition. Even at the same front/rear axle speeds the EXT created MUCH more feedback into feet and hands. When comparing their construction, the CNC body of the EXT vs the cast body of DHX2 and the EXT shaft is twice the size of the DHX2, all of these are big factors to consider when looking into "feel" of a bike.
Perhaps look inside the shock.... You know at the shim stacks, the port sizes, the base valves.
What a bloody mong.
Dude must be an absolute mtb god to feel the difference between cast and machined shock bodies lmao