Formula 1 and supercar buff Mike Levy called the original Darkmatter
, the Pagani
of Polish mountain bikes and the revamped version doesn't stray far from that metaphor with its striking looks of raw carbon. Every bit of the production takes place under the watchful eye of Antidote's builders in their factory located in southern Poland, but the exclusivity of these artisan bikes isn't all that makes them standout.
Already ahead of the high pivot trend, Antidote has stuck to their original design with a minor tweak to the axle pivot, and of course updated geometry with larger 29" wheels. There is an MX link available for those that need the extra clearance or wish for quicker handling. The 29" rear wheel has clearance for 190 mm of travel, whereas the 27.5" will produce the standard 200mm of travel, most of which has a rearward axle path.
• Wheel size: 29" (27.5" rear option)
• Rear travel: 190 mm - 29" / 200 mm - 27.5"
• Monocoque Carbon & Vectran Composite
• Noster Kinetics (high pivot swingarm with concentric axle pivot)
• 63º head angle
• Sizes: M, L, XL
• Weight: 3.35 kg (size L with all protectors)
• Price: 9,999 - 10,049 Euro
• Frame kits: 4,999 - 5,999 Euro
Adding to the boutique build, Antidote offers multiple options for build kits with luxurious suspension, premium parts, and custom paint work - be sure to check out the some of the builds in the gallery here
. Suspension brands that are experts in coil sprung shocks like EXT
and Ohlins are staples in their team and prototype parts specifications, much like their equally stunning Carbonjack
First and foremost, the sight of the 29" wheels bring the revised Darkmatter up to modern downhill racing metrics continuing with Antidote's special blend of monocoque carbon and Vectran composite materials. Although the suspension layout appears to be the same as before, the seatstay pivot has been moved to a concentric location around the axle. Speaking of axles, the hub spacing steps away from the long standing downhill standard and follows suit to enduro bikes at 148 mm.
Other areas that have been tidied up are the idler pulley, which doesn't sit directly on the pivot and now has an integrated guide. The Noster Kinetics kinematics are tuned to yield a high anti-squat starting at 110%, something less common for a DH race bike. Antidote states that the suspension performance remains stellar in any terrain with no compromise, but still offers low pedal kick back.
As mentioned, the 27.5" link will give an extra 10 mm of travel and regardless of the wheel size, but Antidote advises the use of a coil shock due to the built-in ramp to control bottom outs at the end of the specific leverage curve. Like most high pivot designs, the main benefit is the rearward axle path that has a magical ability to erase bumps and the Darkmatter boasts 20 mm of rearward wheel travel with the larger rear wheel and 26 mm with the mullet setup.
Tuning all of those kinematics is simple thanks to the yoke that extends from the link rotating around the bottom bracket and holds a standard 250 x 75 mm length shock. The shock also sits at 90º to the traditional orientation, which is particularly useful for the EXT Arma that requires a hex socket to adjust its compression dials
And how can you talk about a DH race bike without mentioning anti-rise? The Darkmatter's anti-rise also starts above 100%, encouraging the bike to sit equally in the travel - a trait that some criticize for making the suspension feeling harsh, while others argue the balance and geometry are retained and pose a larger benefit.
Debuting in 2016, the first version of the Darkmatter was ahead of the game with suspension design, but the geometry unfortunately fell behind. You know how this story plays out; longer, lower, slacker. Just looking at the side profile of this futuristic bike, you can tell the geometry is up to scratch as the reach of the medium sized bike now measures 445 mm, the shortest of the three sizing options. That number jumps up in 30 mm gaps to 505 on the XL and pushes the wheelbase well over 1300 mm - 1321.5, to be exact. Even though the chainstays jostle between 449 and 442 mm depending on what rear wheel you opt for, they remain constant over all sizes. Resting at a common 63º, the head angle is best paired with the shortest fork offset possible, according to Antidote.
Models and Pricing
This frame is less than ordinary and so you can expect more than ordinary pricing - cream of the crop artisan carbon-mache. If you're searching for just a frame kit (frame, seat clamp, rear axle) without any paint work, that'll set you back €4,999. Additionally, there are suspension packages on tap with shocks from EXT and Ohlins for €5,899 and €5,999, respectfully, as well as frame, fork, shock options. Those would included a Fox 40 paired with the EXT Arma V3 for €6,999 and the Swedish gold package from Ohlins with their DH38 M.1 fork
and TTX 22 shock
There are complete bike prices listed as well utilizing the same fork and shock combos listed above, but just one finishing kit. Those parts would include SRAM Code RSC brakes
and an XO1 DH system, Industry Nine Grade 300 aluminum wheels, a Maxxis Minion DHF and DHR II pair, and Antidote's own 35 mm clamp handlebar.
For those who opt for the 27.5" rear wheel option, the extra link will come at a cost of €199 and custom paint pricing will have to be discussed with Antidote.