This exquisite full carbon 29er stashes its shock away within the seat tube
The Swiss are obsessed with purity and order, and these values are exemplified by the Linkin Trail from Bold Cycles.
This exquisite full carbon 29er stashes its shock away within the seat tube and the result is a frame that’s cleaner than a stream on the Matterhorn and a shock that’s better protected than a Geneva bank vault.
The shock is driven by a rocker link, only with half of it hidden from view and gives the Linkin Trail 130mm of travel, although there’s also a long travel version available that extends this to 154mm. It’s neat, it’s compact, and, as you’d expect from a Swiss company, beautifully precision-engineered.
There’s a catch, though. Getting the suspension set-up is a long-winded process and you’ll need the help of an assistant.
Firstly you have to remove the shock cover at the base of the down tube and expose the sag window.
Then you have to get your friend to check the hidden link angle with a special protractor while you’re on the bike.
Consequently, you have to be really motivated to make any kind of change to air pressure or damping on a ride.
27.5 Plus compatible
Another point of interest is that the Linkin Trail is fully compatible with 27.5 Plus tyres, giving you a choice of wheel and tyre size depending on your riding style and local terrain.
That the Bold Linkin is a stunning bike is in no doubt. But does it ride as beautifully as it looks?
Well, if you value pedalling efficiency above all else, you won’t be disappointed. The Bold snaps instantly out of corners, rips along under power and you can get out of the saddle and jump on the pedals with all your might and it won’t upset the suspension.
Bold has built a sturdy, lightweight chassis, too, so it’s responsive without ever feeling frail or wilting under pressure. This urgency is amplified by the three-position lock-out remote, which lets you firm the compression damping for smoother trails and climbs.
There’s a trade-off for all this typically Swiss efficiency, however, and that’s in terms of bump compliance. The DT Swiss X313 shock simply doesn’t give the kind of supple performance we’ve come to expect from the current crop of Fox and RockShox units.
Consequently the Bold skips rather than sticks, hunting for grip in turns and needing a firm hand over washboard roots and rocks.
And because the geometry is fairly conservative, with very average figures for head angle, wheelbase and bottom bracket height, you end up wrestling with the bike on rough descents and high-speed singletrack.
While we couldn’t hold it back on the climbs, we never really felt at one with the bike, or built up the confidence to release the reins and take flight on the descents.