It’s not all about the clever, hidden shock: Bold has borrowed the best bits from Scott and made the Unplugged a triumph of suspension feel and design.

Product Overview

Bold Unplugged Pro


  • Active suspension and aggressive geometry makes for a fun and comfortable ride. Best looking bike of 2023 so far, with clean lines and hidden shock


  • The price. Needs more low-speed compression if you are thinking of racing enduro. Pro model deserves a higher spec Fox fork


Bold Unplugged Pro first ride review


Price as reviewed:


The Bold Unplugged Pro is an enduro bike from the brand famed for its clean, sleek design and hidden shock, and for 2023 it gets a redesigned frame, more travel and down tube storage. So how does all this translate to on-trail performance, and is it good enough to be judged one of the best enduro bikes?

Need to know

  • Bold’s enduro bike gets a redesigned frame, with hidden horizontal Fox Float X shock.
  • Frame travel has been increased to to 160mm and paired with a 170mm fork.
  • 29in wheels on L and XL sizes, mullet for S and M.
  • Increased standover height, with longer dropper posts on all sizes.
  • Clean lines, thanks to Syncros Hixon one-piece bar/stem and SRAM AXS shifting.
  • Two models, Pro with Fox fork and Ultimate with Ohlins, or a frame, shock and bar/stem only option.
  • Downtube storage with a Save the Day tube/pump/tool wrap

The Bold Unplugged Pro has seen a frame redesign for 2023, with a focus on moving the weight lower to get the bike more manoeuvrable

Bold is all about the hidden shock that appears on all its bikes, the new Unplugged Pro notwithstanding. It makes them clean looking, defines the brand and leads to some interesting design decisions.

It takes more than a concealed air can to make this one of the best enduro bikes on the market today though, and as such the Swiss brand has learnt from its owner Scott and incorporated some of the best design features from the likes of the Genius and Spark.

Shock is still hidden inside the frame, and now in a completely horizontal position. Air spring valve and rebound and compression damping is accessed by removing the cover

How the suspension works

The Unplugged still uses a twin-link suspension configuration but frame travel has been increased by 10mm to 160mm, where the lower link pivots around the BB shell. It’s not a unique approach, but Bold does things a little differently because the shock is located horizontally and obviously inside the frame.

With no shock o-ring visible, Bold takes advantage of the lower link by adding a magnetic sag/travel metre which rotates around the BB shell. This means you can still accurately set the shock pressure without grovelling on your knees with a thin torch clamped in your teeth. Frame/shock access is via a big downtube protector or storage door. It’s secured with a little push button magnet that’s easy to use, and inside you can easily access the air valve and rebound dial on the Float X shock.

Bold’s Save the Day kit is stashed up the downtube, it fits in snugly and doesn’t rattle as you ride

No internal storage would be complete without the accompanying tube and tool wrap, in Bold’s case it’s called the Save the Day Kit. Inside is a pump, tube, tyre levers, multitool with Allen keys and spot for a chain quick-link. And just to make things easy, the removable rear axle lever doubles as a tool with a 6mm Allen key, T25 and T30 for essential fettling.

New frame for 2023

The frame is completely new for the 2023 bike, it’s made from HMX carbon fibre front and rear of course (the same carbon Scott uses, in fact) but the bike looks noticeably lower to the ground, almost as if the BB area is sagging down between the two wheels. Standover height is far superior too, the top tube has dropped down by a good 10cm, while the seat tube barely raises its head above the level of the fork brace. The frame and shock weigh 3,899g without the internal tool wrap.

Bold has built in rubbery protection all over the inside of the rear triangle to remove any chain slap

Bold has kept the space inside the front triangle though, by pushing the downtube further forwards and growing the BB area, lending the bike a real e-bike look. Because there’s no break in the seat tube and the shock sits horizontally below, there’s tons of space for the longest of dropper posts, with Bold opting for the big 34.9mm seat tube diameter to allow for maximum strength and reliability. Then there’s the bottle cage, which sits in a traditional shock position, very low in the downtube.

Add that ground-scraping low architecture up and you can see Bold has gone to some lengths to get the weight as low down as possible on the Unplugged, the thinking being that by keeping the weight central you get a more manoeuvrable bike. It’s not all about shifting the weight around though, there are stiffness gains to be had because the pivots, linkages, shock and BB are all much closer together, while the shorter links are lighter too.

Choose between two geometry settings with a flip chip on both seat stays: Bold also recommends putting the bike into the high mode when changing to a mixed wheel setup

Sizing and geometry

With a 340mm BB height the bike is just as low to the ground as it looks, and it’s backed up by suitably relaxed and aggressive geometry throughout, led by a 63º head angle. You can alter this with the bike’s adjustable geometry, called VarioTec which uses flip chips on the seat stays to drop or raise the BB height by 5mm, with corresponding cups in the headset to give +/-1º of head angle adjustment.

The size large and XL bikes come as full 29ers (small and medium use mixed wheel sizes) but you can mullet them and use the flip chip to keep the bike’s geometry comparable.

TracLoc helps the bike climb by reducing the travel and increasing the damping, holding the bike in a higher position and making pedalling more efficient

Tracloc climbing modes

Scott bought Bold back in 2019, giving the big Swiss brand access to the internal shock design that now flourishes on its enduro, XC and lightweight e-bikes. But the technology exchange goes both ways with the Unplugged now employing TracLoc suspension adjustment.

Using the handlebar remote you can toggle between three modes on the shock to adjust the damping and ride height and tune the suspension to the trail. Descend mode is fully open, Ramp Control reduces the travel to 60% of the 160mm on offer while increasing the compression damping, and Climb mode is as close to a full lockout as you’ll get.

Scott’s influence doesn’t stop there, as there’s a Syncros one-piece bar and stem straight off the Genius, and the rear brake hose, dropper and TracLoc cable now feed into a little hole in the headset.

It’s certainly a neat solution to the bird’s nest of cables that would otherwise sprout from the front of the bike. Combined with the fact Bold doesn’t use TwinLoc and therefore has no need for a cable to lock out the fork, and Bold’s use of SRAM’s wireless AXS shifting on both bikes, the front of the bike looks as clean as the hidden shock.

The Bold Unplugged Ultimate has a paintjob that looks something like concrete. In person it’s stunning

The Bold Unplugged range

There are just two bikes in the range, both with the same Carbon HMX frame, wireless shifting and Float X Nude Piggy Back Trunnion shock.

The Unplugged Pro comes with a Fox 38 170mm Performance fork, SRAM AXS 12speed GX shifting, Shimano SLX brakes and 203/180 rotors, and costs £8,999.

The top end Unplugged Ultimate uses an Ohlins RXF 38 air-sprung fork, SRAM X01 AXS gears and Shimano XTR brakes. There’s also a frame and shock version too if you want to build it yourself, and it comes with Syncros bar/stem combo and Save the Day Kit. It costs £10,999

There’s also a frame only option, which comes with the Fox Float X Nude Factory shock, the Snycros Hixon IC bar and stem and dropper post, and the Save the Day kit. At £5,999 it sounds like a hell of a price though.

The Unplugged Pro has sensitive suspension that helps it keep grip and speed over roots and loose ground

How it rides

Forget about how it rides, how good does this thing look? With two near-identical ellipses forming the front and rear triangles it’s curvy and satisfying to the eye, while the very low stays and chunky BB area give it a modern and fast silhouette.

A few years ago a big BB on a non-e-bike would have looked ridiculous (think Marin Mount Vision), but now we’re in the electrical age it just looks modern and normal. Just as the hidden shock does. I’m not usually a fan of a one-piece bar and stem, but on the Unplugged it’s almost necessary to complete the clean, cable-light look. Bold, you’ve created a beauty.

Spanish rocks and hardpacked trails didn’t faze the bike’s comft demeanour, while 2.5in tyres front and rear certainly don’t hinder this either

Active suspension

It’s nearly as beautiful to ride as it is to look at though, never has the term active suspension been more appropriately applied. With the bike in Descend mode it floats downhill and makes all trails feel like primo loam. The fact I rode the bike in some seriously chunky rocks in the south of Spain only makes me more impressed with the bike and how light-feeling the shock tune is.

The only problem comes when you over-jump something or land too deep into a compression, there isn’t enough ramp up to save your feet from blowing off the pedals.

It’s certainly active on the climbs too, until you use TracLoc. Thumb it into this middle setting and the increased ride height of the bike and reduced damping help its efficiency and ability to get up both smooth and techie stuff. The levers are confusing for sure, but when you eventually hit the right one you’ll be rewarded with a crisp climbing machine.

A Performance level Fox 38 doesn’t belong on a Pro model bike costing close to £10,000. Bold needs to spec this bike with a Grip2 damper-equipped fork

Performance fork is a let down

My complaints are few; the Performance level Fox 38 fork doesn’t really belong on a bike with the Pro moniker. I think for this much money the Unplugged and its potential buyers deserve something better, it needs the Grip2 damper from the Performance Elite. And of course it’s stacks of cash.

Bold Linkin 150

Bold doesn’t just make big travel bikes of course, it’s also launched new versions of the Linkin 150 and Linkin 135, both taking advantage of the new frame and suspension architecture.

The Bold Linkin 150 is trail bike rather than an enduro machine, as such its got 150mm travel, but uses the same frame ethos as the Unplugged

The Linkin 150 LT naturally has 150mm travel and uses a 160mm RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork, hence the Long Travel moniker. The internal shock is a RockShox Nude RL C3, and the bike runs on a wireless SRAM AXS GX drivetrain, uses a Shimano XT four piston brake, Syncros Hixon IC bar and stem and dropper post. It comes with the Save the Day kit and weighs in at 14.7kg. There’s no UK price for the bike at the moment.

Next in the range is a 150 Ultimate, the travel is matched at 150 front and rear, the bike uses a Fox 36 Factory fork, Float Nude Factory shock and SRAM AXS XX1 drivetrain. Shimano XTR brakes do the stopping, and you also get the same Syncros bar, stem and dropper setup, and Save the Day kit. It weighs a svelte 13.4kg and costs £12,299.

The Linkin 150 Pro has 150mm travel fore and aft, and uses an Ohlins RXF M.2 Air fork, and Fox Float Nude T shock. The bike gets the same cockpit and Save the Day Kit, and uses Shimano’s XT four piston brakes. It weighs in at 14.95kg and costs £7,999.

Bold Linkin 130, an overgrown downcountry bike, or a short-travel trail bike?

Bold Linkin 135

Now we get to the short-travel trail bike end of the new range, the Linkin 135. Top of the pecking order is the 135 Ultimate, it’s got a 140mm Fox 36 Performance Elite fork, and boasts 135mm travel using the same Fox Loat Nude T shock. The drivetrain is a mix of SRAM AXS X01 and GX, and there are Shimano XT four-pot brakes, Syncros cockpit and dropper and a Save the Day kit to round it out. The bike weighs 14.55kg and will set you back £9,699.

The Linkin 135 Pro gets the same travel, but uses a RockShox Pike Select RC fork and Deluxe Select shock. The drivetrain is SRAM GX, while the cockpit and extras carry over from the Ultimate. It costs £6,999 and weighs 14.4kg.

Finally, there are framesets for both the Linkin 135 and 150, they include the Fox Float Nude 5T Factory shock, Syncros bar, stem and dropper, weigh 3,099g and cost £5,499.


Bold’s latest tranche of bikes are marvels of engineering might. We didn’t get to ride the short travel bikes, but the Unplugged sacrifices raw speed for a fun riding experience. That’s a great choice, as it’s not designed as a race bike. Besides, if that’s your calling there’s always the Scott Genius. Does the rider gain anything from choosing a hidden shock? The visual impact is clearly the biggest boon, but there are some undoubted material benefits, chiefly protecting the shock from contaminants, particularly useful in these rain-drenched times and the lowest possible centre of gravity. Scott and Bold have something of a symbiotic relationship going on, and I for one hope it flourishes.


Frame :HMX carbon, 160-100mm travel
Shock :Fox Float X NUDE PE EVOL w/ Scott TracLoc, three position remote
Fork :Fox 38 Float Performance, 170mm travel
Wheels :Syncros Revelstoke 2 carbon wheelset, Maxxis Minion DHF EXO+ 29x2.5in tyres
Drivetrain :SRAM GX Eagle DUB crankset, SRAM GX AXS derailleur and shifter, SRAM XG-1275 10-52t cassette
Brakes :Shimano SLX M7120 4-piston, 203/180mm rotors
Components :Syncros Hixon iC Carbon 780mm one-piece bar/stem 40mm, Syncros Duncan 200mm post, Syncros Tofino Regular 1.5 Ti saddle
Sizes :S, M, L, XL
Weight :15.8kg (34.8lb)
Size ridden:XL
Rider height :6ft 1in (185cm)
Head angle :63.2º
Effective seat angle:77.8º
BB height :340mm
Chainstay :437mm
Front centre :880mm
Wheelbase :1,317mm
Seat tube :470mm
Top tube :661mm