A nippy little bike
For our Hardtail of the Year test we picked the £750 Polygon Xtrada 6 model with the smaller wheels and single chainring drivetrain.
If you go looking for the Xtrada 6 on the Polygon website you’ll see there are four versions of this bike – with 29 or 27.5in wheels (both using different fork travel) and either a 1×10 or 2×10 drivetrains.
All four options rock the same frame, which is nicely finished and has some sleek manipulation and tube profiling to save weight and add stiffness. On the trail it’s really reactive to rider inputs and is one of the quickest bikes uphill, encouraging you to get out of the saddle and go for it.
It isn’t quite as capable on the way back down but with its wide handlebar and stubby stem, it’s easy to fling round corners and pop over small jumps. It’s also pretty comfortable due to those lithe seatstays and smaller diameter 27.2mm seatpost adding some rear-end flex. Unfortunately, due to the water bottle bosses on the seat tube, you can’t put the seat down that far, unless of course you lop a bit off the bottom of the post with a hacksaw.
In terms of specification and handling the Xtrada 6 can’t compete with the top two bikes in this category, but it’s a nippy little bike that has some modern touches. To up its standing, the frame really just needs to be longer and maybe a little bit slacker.