All Bionicon full-suspension bikes have variable frame geometry that’s adjustable on the fly by simply pressing an orange button on the handlebars. On the Supershuttle the head angle can be tweaked by a full six degrees (73 degrees to 67 degrees) while riding. The button actually controls the flow of air between a negative air chamber inside the fork and a piston screwed to the end of the shock shaft. Body weight is needed to push air from one end to the other but all you need do to steepen the head angle is lean forward, press the button and the fork drops down. Pop the button again, sit back and the whole bike rotates backwards. And it’s not just one extreme to another; you can also fine-tune the angles with small weight shifts and pushes of the button.
The fork on the Supershuttle 2 is a Double Agent dual crown with 150mm of travel that drops down to 70mm in the steepest setting. It’s a dry fork so needs lubricating regularly; it’s air sprung and has an Automatic Air Channel Rebound Control as standard. This is the linked springs acting as air dampers, but we’ve not had a good experience with air dampers over the years so we upgraded to an Oil Rebound Cartridge, which sells for an extra £102. This damper unit still feels a little basic but recently we’ve been sent a newer model with adjustable IFP pressure that feels much better. Bionicon says the reason for these plug-in cartridges is simplicity and ease of servicing. “We don’t like the idea of dealers having to send other forks back to
the manufacturer to get serviced,” it says.
Bionicon makes four suspension frames with the geometry adjust system, the Golden Willow is a four-bar design but the other three, including the Supershuttle, are single pivots. On this bike the main pivot is in a similar position to an Orange 5, so it pedals well and offers impressive bump absorption. There’s a stack of standover clearance with this frame design but, while we have no doubt it’ll stay in one piece, the reinforced seat tower and forward shock mount aren’t the sleekest pieces we’ve ever seen.
On the trail we used the geometry adjust a lot more than we thought we would. It’s compact, reliable and takes full advantage of the Supershuttle’s 6 inches of front and rear travel. But we have our doubts about whether on-the-fly geometry adjustment is really all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe it’s
just right to accept that a bike that’s great downhill won’t climb that well. In terms of suspension action we also think the Double Agent fork isn’t in the same league as a Fox 36 or RockShox Lyric, which is probably why Bionicon has just unveiled a Double Agent with a through-axle, 170mm of travel and a better lubrication system and damper.