Where's the Shock? Bold Cycles' Unplugged Prototype - Sea Otter 2018

Apr 20, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  
Bold Bikes Unplugged Prototype. Sea Otter 2018.


Bold made their entrance into the mountain bike world three years ago with the launch of the Linkin, a 130mm 29er that caused no shortage of second (and third, and fourth) glances due to its design, which hides the shock inside the frame. A longer travel version was the next addition to the lineup, but now Bold are preparing to take things even further with their upcoming Unplugged model. The new bike has 29” wheels, with loads of tire clearance for big tires, and up to 165mm of travel depending on the chosen geometry setting.
Bold Unplugged Details
• Wheel size: 29"
• Travel: 161 - 165mm
• Carbon frame
• Integrated dropper post
• Head angle: 63.5° - 65° w/ 170mm fork
• Adjustable BB and chainstay length
• Availability: Late July
www.boldcycles.com

The shock is still hidden in the frame, but Bold have taken steps to make it easier to reach without needing any tools. The access plate is now attached to the underside of the downtube by two magnets, and further secured into place by a bolt that threads into the outside of the bottom bracket shell. Additionally, while prior bikes used custom DT Swiss shocks, the new frame shape provides enough room to fit a shock with a piggyback reservoir, in this case a RockShox Super Deluxe.

What exactly is going on inside the frame? The Unplugged uses a Horst Link suspension design - the upper link has a bell-crank style shape that attaches to what would typically be the bottom of the shock inside the frame, with the top of fixed to the downtube using a trunnion style mount.

Even up close it takes a moment to wrap your brain around how it works, but once it clicks it makes total sense.
Bold Cycles LTD
A look at the inside of one of Bold's earlier models.

Bold Bikes Unplugged Prototype. Sea Otter 2018.
Bold Bikes Unplugged Prototype. Sea Otter 2018.

Bold Bikes Unplugged Prototype. Sea Otter 2018.
A magnetic cover keeps the shock out of the way of mud and grime, but can be removed without tools to adjust air pressure and other settings.


Bold wanted to provide riders with plenty of options to configure the bike's geometry exactly to their liking. To that end, the headset bearings sit in a retainer that can be rotated to change the head angle by 1.5-degrees, resulting in a head angle of either 65-degrees or 63.5-degrees with a 170mm fork.

Match those numbers up with the 160ish millimeters of rear travel and the Unplugged looks like it could be quite the machine on the descents. The head angle isn't the only geometry figure that's adjustable – there are also four bottom bracket height and chainstay length positions, changes that are accomplished via a set of chips that sit where the chainstay is attached to the seatstay.


Bold Bikes Unplugged Prototype. Sea Otter 2018.
The are clever little details everywhere on the Unplugged, like this little fin that's designed to keep the chain from slapping against the derailleur housing.
Bold Bikes Unplugged Prototype. Sea Otter 2018.
A set of flip chips allows riders to pick from four different chainstay lengths.

All of the housing is routed internally, a feature that works with the hidden shock to creating an exceptionally clean looking bike. Bold will also be offering a dropper post that's fully integrated into the frame, a concept they worked with KS to execute. That post will have up to 150mm of drop on the medium and large sizes, but for riders looking for more drop, the post can be unbolted and replaced with a standard 31.6mm post.

The final stages of development on the Unplugged are currently underway, and if all goes to plan, this stealthy Swiss machine should be available by the end of July.


Bold Bikes Unplugged Prototype. Sea Otter 2018.
Unplugged is the best way for a mountain bike to be.



MENTIONS: @SeaOtterClassic


Must Read This Week

138 Comments

  • + 137
 If James Bond were to have a mountain bike
  • + 121
 And it will cost a pretty Money Penny ....
  • - 14
flag OGC Plus (Apr 20, 2018 at 11:28) (Below Threshold)
 ...
  • + 18
 @OGC: ooooofff, right on Q
  • + 1
 Bold cycles... Octopussy
  • + 31
 It's Bold...Bold Cycles.
  • + 26
 @cthorpe: i wonder if the price will scare The Living Daylights out of me
  • - 19
flag Pinkxello (Apr 20, 2018 at 11:58) (Below Threshold)
 Sup with the us price on a Canadien site?

...
  • + 0
 @manchvegas: More like Pussy Galore
  • + 9
 @skidlydid: Will cost a quantum, no solace
  • - 3
 I now have an Evil Wreckoning for sale...
  • + 30
 The shock is For Your Eyes Only.
  • + 11
 I didn't think this design would be possible, but I will Never Say Never Again.
  • + 8
 it sure looks like Bold have a......goldeneye for detail.
  • + 21
 My surgeon said that I should stop aspiring to ride bikes like this but I said Dr. No
  • + 6
 It’s an Oddjob.
  • + 6
 Before people claim this tech will make the Skyfall, and nimble Goldfingers will be needed to access the shock, I can only say: Live and Let Ride. Enjoy the journey while you can, and Die Another Day.
  • + 4
 these puns are shaken not stirred
  • + 12
 @skidlydid: The Man with the Golden Pun
  • + 1
 (sorry meant to upvote)
  • + 11
 Looks like a Moondraker
  • + 5
 Should have hidden the chain, derailler and cranks
  • + 0
 This design sure has me shaken...
  • + 1
 now that IS Bold, sweet bike & wondering where they hid the machine guns Razz
  • + 1
 @cthorpe: they all do tho
  • + 86
 How would you check sag on this thing?
  • + 14
 Valid question, not sure why the downvotes. I'm curious too. X-ray glasses sold separately? Bike looks rad otherwise. Would ride in 27.5
  • + 10
 probably the same way you would check it on a dirt bike
  • + 1
 No math major but you could probably measure from rear axle to a point on the frame (seat tube) and use a ratio to figure the sag. Maybe make a special tool with markings on it.
  • + 10
 Now that I look at the frame again, maybe even markings on the upper pivot that correspond to shock travel.
  • + 1
 @slabba53: That sounds like a hoot.
  • + 3
 Shockwiz
  • + 1
 Measure from rear axle to a fixed point (like the seat) while fully extended. Then measure from seat to axle while on-board and subtract the difference. Like a dirt bike, it means you need a 2nd person to measure while you sit.
  • + 1
 Valid question for sure. If they're smart they could put sag index markings on that giant rocker pivot. It would work just the same.
  • + 2
 Valid question. My first thought was heat retention as well. Shock can get mighty hot without air flow
  • + 4
 With a set of tarot cards
  • - 3
 Wtf is that Question, they can print the marks around this big bearing, so you can look at proper sag at the rear wheel, not just at the shock, which is a proper way to further adjust it. Sick of rider lookin at sag at the damper, where you have a constantly changing leverage ratio ie 3)% at the shock != 30% at the rear axle.
Just sayin'
  • + 1
 I've seen gauges the frame itself and referenced to a "ruler" mark on the swingarm, I cant recall the name of the company though...
  • + 27
 Never mind where’s the shock!! Where’s the bottle??
  • + 52
 It's not installed, but there are mounts for a cage on the top of the downtube, where they belong.
  • + 25
 Probably integrated
  • + 27
 Integrated hydration system. Water is stored in down tube and you suck it out with a straw...
  • + 9
 @Leo48333: What are you, a triathlete or something???
  • + 7
 But, but, straws kill turtles!!!!!
  • + 3
 @Leo48333: that’s already a thing in the Specialized Shiv s-works tt bike...
  • + 9
 @zsandstrom: no I’m a tridurolete
  • + 2
 @Paul7189: and the giant trinity. I get to work on those damn things.
  • + 1
 hidden also inside the frame
  • + 1
 @Leo48333: gotta love the integration
  • + 0
 @Paul7189: why tho
  • + 14
 this with a pinion gearbox would look so good
  • + 4
 Good luck getting it all to fit.
  • + 10
 No one ever asked: could I hide my unsightly rear shock if I am willing to make working on my suspension much more difficult?

Bold, however, has boldly answered the question: yes you can!
  • + 3
 I feel bike design has sort of peaked, I guess the differences between mainstream bikes is minimal in appearence and performance. For a design to be noticed it has to appear different, hence the search for almost pointless changes to stand out, even if it is to the detriment of function. It's the same with smart phones.
  • + 4
 Have you asked yourself why you need to work on your suspension in the first place? What if it never got contaminated with muck? What if?
  • + 13
 "unplugged is the best way for a mtb to be" EMTB skepticism right there.
  • + 6
 passive aggressive for sure lolol
  • + 1
 You could probably remove the shock and fit an engine if it makes you feel better.
  • + 10
 Looks pretty trick to me, I approve,
  • + 6
 Had the 29er version at the shop last year and it was a looker. Also didnt even bat an eye to doing all day laps at Coast Gravity Park. This bike is up there with UNNO for me.. Brilliantly designed and executed.. well done BOLD
  • + 6
 I'm really picky with suspension setup going back n forth with volume spacers and trying to different sag setups and what not. I love the clean look of this but for someone who likes to geek out trying different setups this just isn't gonna be a bike I cant get along with.

@mikekazimer
Do you know if there has been any talk about adding sag measurements along the upper rocker around the bearing to allow riders to see what their sag is at? Maybe it's already there I just can't see it from the photos. A small detail that would be very beneficial.
  • + 4
 Wouldn't this just give you more ways to geek out and try different setups? 4 chainstay lengths, and 2 headtube angles gives you 8 geometry setting to try, and then you could geek out with perfect suspension setups for all 8 geo's. You can still adjust the shock all you want, but it might take you 5 more minutes to make each of the changes.

As for the sag, they have a guide that lines up with a marking on the frame to measure sag. Seems easier that busting out the tape to measure sag on a shock without a guide on the stanchion.
  • + 2
 @pacificnorthwet: ah yes so there are sag gradients on the frame. Makes sense they would have thought about this. Couldn't see so figured I'd ask.

My other question is, does this design only work with the trunion super deluxe? The new fox DPX2 shocks have their compression and rebound dials on the sides and I'm interested to know if you could reach them.
  • + 1
 @2bigwheels: Yeah I bet adjustments are a huge pain with some shocks. This super deluxe looks like it would be simple enough though.
  • + 7
 The fact that you have to flip the bike over and take off a cover just to adjust rebound is enough to put me off, looks rad though
  • + 11
 How often do you really change the rebound on your shock once you get it dialed initially?
  • + 3
 @pacificnorthwet: Round these parts we have a bunch of slopestyle type bike parks, most riders run slower rebound for them than they would on the trail. Also most people live and ride around 5-6000' but the top of the lift at resorts are around 11000' so you often change air pressure in the shock. Not the end of the world, but I could easily see people pulling that cover off 3 times a week. Probably not a big deal in other parts of the world.
  • + 8
 I want
  • + 4
 I can't.
  • + 7
 Please post a video of the suspension cycle
  • + 3
 Definitely cool, and a very interesting design, but it's really hard for me to believe that the benefits of having the shock inside the frame outweigh the disadvantages.
  • + 1
 I'm intrigued by this bike but I could find no prices whatsoever on their website for any of their bikes. Maybe I'm daft but I've been using the internet for a while now. I did find a page talking about how you could buy them online but no links. I'm curious what they cost. I also noticed the reach on their current long travel 29'er is only 436 in large, so will have to see the specs on this new frame (which is also not mentioned on their website that I could find). Maybe because I am browsing in English ?
  • + 3
 On mtb-news.de you can see the quite ingenious adjustable headset design which was introduced by newmen components at eurobike. No more aligning angleset cups.
  • + 4
 This guy seems to really know his way around a bike Wink www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwGd2NcOnWI
  • + 4
 Concealed carry permit... for a shock
  • + 1
 Fixed the head angle finally. The linkins geo held it back and saw reviews be fairly bleak. Keen to see where this goes and reviews. If it's a slightly more trail friendly wreckoning then curious.
  • + 1
 Pretty sleek. I'm just wondering how much of a pain it is to remove the shock should you need to get it serviced or something. I do like the idea of it though. Very cool, and clean looking.
  • + 1
 "Bold wanted to provide riders with plenty of options to configure the bike's geometry exactly to their liking."

But the internet told me that modifying my bike's geometry will ruin it!
  • + 2
 Sweet bike. I REALLY does look like an E- bike though.
#catchinhateonthetrails
  • + 1
 Yes...thankfully that is another example of innovation. Im still realing over that Scott Gamblesession. What i cracking looking design this one is though. Nice one!
  • + 3
 If you can’t see the shock, how you gonna stunt at the parking lot?
  • + 1
 How do you reach the upper bolt on the shock because if you can’t then what would happen if the shock died. Other then that it looks clean I would love to try one.
  • + 4
 Set it and...forget it?
  • + 3
 Slick.
  • + 1
 Holy adjustments batman!! I'm stoked to see just how far these guys are pushing his adjustable your bike can be!
  • + 1
 In order to determine the SAG, it has a scale with SAG display around the link axis
  • + 1
 Looks pretty but is there a handle bar switch to open, trail and lock out ?
  • + 2
 oh, it's swiss? does that mean it's carbon is neutral?
  • + 1
 very sleek looking. Not sure how practicalit is if you like to play with settings
  • + 1
 That's cool looking and clean, needs a air intake vent or scoop on that dowtube to cool down the shock, but pretty cool.
  • + 1
 Looks amazing!!! 160+ travel for a 29er, this will be a monster truck machine tup
  • + 2
 Will a standard 27.5 version be available?
  • + 2
 So how does one check their sag on this?
  • + 1
 Just tried to look at their bikes on their website and its crashed. The unique design is driving views.
  • + 1
 This bike looks pretty Bold.
  • + 1
 Do i need assos kit to ride this swiss sex machine?
  • - 3
 It's like a bike, but it's used one of those tummy wraps being sold on facebook.... CUTE!?!?!

NO thanks, I like my bikes in the same way my wife likes me... junk hanging out all over the place ready to rock. If my wife had to flip me over and tickle my tummy to get to my junk, then remove a bunch of shit, the feeling would be so gone.

I feel like there's a new guy that walked in the door and saw bad ass suspensions as an eye sore... wtf... I'm not paying hundreds of bucks for eye sores, they are shocks, and I want to be able to use my hundreds of dollar parts without a surgery o.p.
  • + 1
 You amazing Swiss, please make a downhill bike next.
  • + 1
 Now that is one very good idea
  • + 1
 Would be willing to try little longer travel 650 version.
  • + 1
 Such a clean and tidy design!
  • + 1
 hmmmmmm i dont hate it. slight e-bike vibes but looks rad!
  • + 1
 Same on the E bike vibes... could come with an optional motor insert. I don't like how the BB area is chunky and the Head tube area is skinny... It seems like they are mosly doing it for looks... and now it looks disprportionate. It is cool that they got it all to fit in there though.
  • - 1
 Certainly a bold move to drop a bike like this given the harshness of the PB comment section. They've got to be unplugged from reality.
  • + 1
 Long travel 29er! Well done and looks amazing!
  • + 1
 The pivots just need capped to trip out everyone on trail
  • + 1
 Looks awesome
  • + 1
 Unno challenger.
  • + 1
 Beautiful!
  • + 1
 Oi oi cheeky
  • + 0
 Also @pinkbike fix your stupid comment rating system.
  • + 1
 Pretty rad!!
  • + 1
 MTB Unplugged
  • + 1
 That is just awesome.
  • - 1
 It looks super cool and it's probably fine for most XC riding, but I wonder how hot that shock gets after a long descent
  • + 0
 Was thinking the same thing. My DPX2 gets almost too hot to touch with more than 2-3k, and they used a structurally important location to tuck the piggyback in. And after reading about how Santa Cruz re-laminated a frame with a conventional oven...
  • + 3
 That may be a concern. The concept does however leave room for maybe some active cooling. That is, what if the suspension is designed to also actively drive air through the chimney shaped housing of the shock (which obviously needs openings at the bottom and the top)? That may actually give you more effective cooling than the ambient air flowing past a shock when up to speed, as seen on conventional bikes. I expect they must have foreseen this concern.
  • + 2
 maybe they'll add some cooling air intakes on the next prototypes if a closed frame really cause heating problems
  • + 11
 There are ports in the head tube that are designed to allow air flow through the frame to prevent exactly that issue.
  • + 9
 XC?? It has 165mm of travel, 170mm fork, and slack head angle. Riding XC with that much travel and slack geometry sounds like torture.
  • - 1
 @fredro: I know, I meant the concept of an integrated shock. If anything, it's probably better for xc stuff because it limits dropper options somewhat.
  • + 4
 Do those same ports allow water to flow in the inside of the frame ?@mikekazimer:
  • + 0
 @squagles: Water would just drip out the bottom, It's mud, dust and other rubbish you should fear. I'm not trying hard to hate on these guys btw. Maybe go for a coil instead?
  • + 5
 @siderealwall2: they should add a swat style burrito box so you can have a hot lunch after a long descent.
  • + 3
 @arden0: Excellent idea! Actually, I'd just fill it with water and have a whistle on top. Once the water boils, the whistle blows. Pop in a tea bag and voilà, you can actually enjoy a proper picknick halfway the Megavalanche. Considering the number of Brits attending these days, a tea break halfway should be essential.
  • + 1
 @arden0: Burrito? Nah, I'd have to opt for sag aloo.
  • + 1
 this is a weakness of of their trail bikes ...
  • - 3
 Too vertical travel path ?
  • - 1
 but why
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