Carbonjack the ripper
Antidote is still making these frames themselves, by hand in Poland, and has just introduced the big wheel version: the Antidote Carbonjack 29.
Until now, if you’d wanted to get a bike from Antidote, it was frame only – choose online from the Darkmatter or the original Carbonjack, then build the bike up at home. That’s fine for riders with the time, skills and inclination, but what about the rest of us? Well, the new Carbonjack 29 could open up the brand to more riders; there are two build options, with either Öhlins TTX coil suspension or Fox Float XT – with an air spring, of course.
It’s also a 29er, with 10mm less travel than the smaller-wheeled Antidote Carbonjack, which brings it firmly into big trail bike territory and the reach of more riders… if they can handle the hefty price tag. How big? €7,199 for a fully built bike with Fox suspension, while the frame and Öhlins TTX shock is €4,399.
Antidote appeared on our radar back in 2016 with its first production bike, the Darkmatter downhill bike. Handmade in Poland, it boasted 200mm travel, a high-pivot idler, lifetime warranty and stunning good looks. The follow-on bike was the Carbonjack, still rocking 27.5in wheels but toning down the travel to 160mm. We reckoned it crossed the line between enduro and DH with its amazing suspension.
The bike is built from a type of carbon-fibre called Vectran, a material Antidote offers has exceptionally rigidity, minimal fragility and high impact resistance. It’s the use of Vectran that lets the Carbonjack 29 achieve its striking frame design, characterised by the use of cutaways and thin tubing. The letterbox shaped slit at the bottom of the down tube is made possible thanks to Vectran, which retains its strength better than other types of carbon-fibre in slimmer-profiled tubes.
The tech doesn’t stop there: the brand’s own FDS suspension eschews shock mounts on the front triangle and the swingarm too, to help with stress distribution, and instead you get a floating damper with the shock actuated from both ends. That’s not unique but it is useful for Antidote because it can more easily adjust the leverage rate.
The shocks in question are from Öhlins or Fox, as mentioned earlier, but there’s no EXT option, as featured on the Carbonjack. Antidote said it had planned to use the Italian suspension brand and will offer it as an option in the future, but Covid-19 meant it had to put those plans on hold, but it’ll bring back this option when things settle down again.
Trick suspension isn’t the only thing the Carbonjack 29 has going for it, there are now four sizes with reach measurements stretching from 430mm in small to 510mm in size XL. The geometry itself looks sorted to us, with a long, low and slack layout, and Antidote says the proportions between the front and rear triangles are absolutely spot on. It calls this Golden Ratio Geometry – we’re not sure how that fits with the fixed length back end though, as the front and rear proportions change with each frame size. How this affects the handling remains to be seen; look out for a First Ride soon.