With striking looks, innovative frame materials and unusual suspension design, the Antidote Woodsprite isn't your average trail bike

Product Overview

Antidote Woodsprite


  • Great looking frame with a top class glossy finish. Progressive and taut feeling ride, climbs like a rocket. You probably won’t see another bike like this on the trails.


  • Fox Float X is the wrong shock for this bike.


Antidote Woodsprite first ride review


Price as reviewed:


If you like your bike to have eye-catching looks and innovation aplenty, then the Antidote Woodsprite will certainly catch your eye. This lightweight trail bike features a unique rear-mounted shock design and space-age frame materials and looks different to a lot of the best mountain bikes and trails bikes out there – but the proof, of course, is in the riding.

Need to know

  • Lightweight trail bike with 135mm travel, handmade from carbon fibre and space-age Vectran, in Krakow, Poland
  • Smart FDS suspension design uses a unique rear-mounted shock, driven by a rocker link and optimised for coil shocks
  • Carbon shock mudguard, titanium or alloy bolts, integrated seat post clamp and internal cable routing.
  • Super supportive and progressive ride feel, twinned with lightweight frame, wheels and components

Every full suspension mountain bike I’ve ridden in the past two years has its shock mounted inside the front triangle somewhere. OK, so Specialized and Santa Cruz like to split the difference and have it poking through the seat tube, and Bold prefers to hide its shock inside the downtube, but they’re still very much attached to the front half of the bike.

This is going to lead to a bike that feels very different to everything else out there

That makes the new Antidote Woodsprite very different, the shock sits behind the seat tube in a setup Antidote calls its Smart Floating Damper Suspension ( Smart FDS) and delivers 135mm travel. There’s a single rocker link driving the top of the shock, while the bottom is mounted to the chainstay assembly. And all this is happening in the void between the rear wheel and the seat tube.


Striking frame design

In theory, this is going to lead to a bike that feels very different to everything else out there, not least because it increases the chainstay length to 454mm.

The Woodsprite certainly looks very different, and I’m not just talking about the unusual shock placement. It’s made in the brand’s factory in Krakow with something called Vectran, a polycarbonate fibre, which is sandwiched between layers of regular carbon fibre. Antidote does this to add strength, with Vectran purported to be stronger than carbon or even steel. So even if you manage to crack the frame during a big crash the Vectran layer will hold the frame together.

It’s strikingly beautiful close up, with the fibre weave highlighted by Antidote throughout the bike, while the tubing profile can be slender and look delicate because of that reinforcing Vectran layer. The shock is protected from spatter with a carbon mudguard – although it doesn’t quite come high enough to totally cover the shock – while the bolts are titanium or alloy, and the seat post clamp is integrated into the frame.

You will almost certainly not see another bike as nicely made as this one. The only thing missing is fully internal cable routing, as it exits at the bottom of the downtube, loops under the BB and enters the chainstay.

Suspension design

But let’s get back to the suspension. The layout is actually a simplified version of the FDS design I first rode back in 2020 on the Antidote Carbonjack 29 trail bike. That’s right, I was slightly disingenuous at the start, I’ve ridden one other bike where the shock isn’t inside the front triangle. The Carbonjack suspension looks pretty similar, but uses a twin-link design with a BB centric lower link, where the shock was actuated from both ends.

This time around with Smart FDS, Antidote has switched to an ABP/SplitPivot style design, moving the concentric pivot from the BB to the rear axle. The bottom of the shock is now anchored to the chainstay, so it is still a floating design, but to a lesser degree. Antidote says that because the Woodsprite has less travel – 135mm versus 150mm – it could get away with simplifying the design, making it lighter for the rider and easier to build for them, all without sacrificing stiffness.

All manner of shocks will fit into the Woodsprite, the bike I tried uses a non-stock Fox Float X Factory 210x55mm shock, but Antidote will spec an EXT Storia Lok V3 coil if you want, an Öhlins TTX coil, a RockShox Super Deluxe, or a Fox Float X2. Chances are you’ll be buying the bike through Antidote’s new UK distributor though, Pacesetter Bikes, which will offer a different spec and suspension choice which has yet to be finalised. Demo rides are available from Swinley Bike Hub in Berkshire.

How it rides

It’s been two years since we rode the brilliant Antidote Carbonjack 29, a bike that sent me giddy with its sensuous good looks and ability to motor down the trail faster than I’m really comfortable with. The Woodsprite also has that same incredible turn of speed, it surges down the trail with urgency and claims free speed on anything with support.

I found myself pedalling more out of corners on the Woodsprite than I usually do, not because it felt slow but because the bike desperately wants you to crank up the pace. It’s taught, it weighs next to nothing, it’s incredibly stiff and very direct.

The Smart FDS suspension works for you here too, it feels very progressive to me, it sinks into its sag point easily then holds you in the right position to conserve the bike’s geometry and maintain your speed. It’s a weapon on the climbs too, thanks to that chassis stability and long chainstays. At first glance the seat tube looks too relaxed to propagate decent climbing power, but because it starts way forward of the BB the saddle actually ends up in a good forward position.

Pretty much all the spec on the Woodsprite is an aftermarket choice by the new UK distributor, and it won’t be an option on the built bikes so I won’t spend any time discussing it then. However I can’t help flagging up the new Mavic Crossmax XL S 29 alloy wheelset, which feels really responsive and lively, and perfectly suited to the bike.

You’ll probably have worked out that the Woodspite is not a comfortable ride then, I did find myself getting bounced and beaten up on rougher trails, and I paid dearly for the stonking speed you take from smoother sections of trail. It’s by no means incompetent here because the geometry is good, with a reasonably slack head angle, and low enough BB. But following a Whyte T140 RS with identical travel it was immediately obvious that the Woodsprite I rode is no pumped up trail bike – while the Whyte glided over rough terrain the Woodsprite seemed to get hooked up, rattling its internal cable routing like crazy.

What’s causing the rough ride then? It’s possible that by changing the design to Smart FDS has changed the suspension feel, but I doubt it could have had such a drastic effect because in many ways it is similar. Likewise, the frame is made from identical materials, while we know from past testing that the Race Face Next bar is comfortable, meaning neither can account for the rough ride.

I removed the Float X shock to check nothing was impinging on the free flow of the back end, but all felt smooth and easy. Antidote told me it recommends customers opt for a coil shock when speccing the bike, and that means either the EXT Storia coil or Öhlins TTX coil because both have been revalved specifically for the Woodsprite.


This makes sense because the bike is very progressive - add to that a relatively short travel at 135mm and even the biggest volume air shocks are going to struggle to get full travel. In my opinion then, the Float X is not the shock for the Woodsprite. This is a real shame, because I feel like I had fleeting glimpses of the true Woodsprite, before it disappeared.


Frame:Vectran/carbon, 135 mm travel
Shock:Fox Float X Factory
Fork:RockShox Lyrik Ultimate, 150mm travel (44mm offset)
Wheels:Mavic Crossmax XL S, Michelin Wild AM2/Force AM2 29x2.4in tyres
Drivetrain:Shimano XT 30t crankset, 170mm, Shimano XT derailleur and shifter
Brakes:Shimano XT 4-piston, 203/203mm
Components:Race Face Next 800mm bar, Race Face 50mm stem, Brand X Ascend 170mm post, Fabric Scoop saddle
Weight:14.2kg (31.3lb)
Sizes:M, L, XL
Size Ridden: L
Rider height:6ft 1in
Effective SA:76.4 (@750mm)
BB height:341mm
Down tube:745mm