Polygon Xtrada 6 2x10 first ride review

How does this sweet-riding frameset shape up on the trail?

Available with a choice of wheel sizes and transmissions, Polygon’s Xtrada 6 impresses on less technical terrain, with a good-quality ride and an up-to-date cockpit that gives fast steering reactions. Unfortunately, the geometry comes up a bit short when it comes to getting rad.

Polygon Xtrada 6 2x10 spec overview

  • Frame: ‘ALX’ aluminium
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCR 32, 100mm (4in) travel
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore w/ Prowheel Vortex cranks and Sunrace cassette (2x11)
  • Wheelset: Araya DS700 rims on alloy hubs
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Tough Tom Active Line 29x2.25in
  • Brakes: Shimano M315, 180/160mm rotors
  • Bar: Entity Xpert, 760mm
  • Stem: Entity Xpert, 35mm
  • Seatpost: Entity Xpert rigid
  • Saddle: Entity Void
  • Weight: 14.03kg (30.9lb), large size without pedals

Polygon Xtrada 6 2x10 frame

Extensive shaping of the  Xtrada 6 frame pays off in the form of a lively ride feel
Extensive shaping of the Xtrada 6 frame pays off in the form of a lively ride feel

Polygon is relatively new to the UK but it dominates the massive market of its Indonesian homeland and surrounding areas. It's also got a history of making frames for other medium to high-profile brands, and that experience shows on the Xtrada.

While the 44mm head tube is set up with internal bearings for the straight-steerer fork, it’d be a simple job to fit an oversize lower bearing if you wanted to upgrade to a tapered fork.

The extensively hydroformed (pressure shaped) alloy tubeset also includes a tapered, flat, hex-shaped top tube and a curved, squarish down tube that flares out at the bottom bracket (BB) for extra stiffness. Tapering S-bend rear stays smooth out the ride over rougher ground.

Gear cables and the rear brake hose are routed internally through the mainframe, and the front mech is a direct-mount version. The IS, rather than post mount, rear brake attachment is a bit dated, though, and there’s not much clearance for mud around the 29x2.25in tyres.

It’s a quick-release (QR) skewer rather than a 142x12mm bolt-thru-axle holding the back wheel in too, but that’s the case on every £750 bike I’ve tested this year.

Polygon Xtrada 6 2x10 kit

The 760mm bar and 35mm stem contribute to snappy handling
The 760mm bar and 35mm stem contribute to snappy handling

While the small frame size comes with 650b wheels and the XL with 29in, riders who fall between the two extremes can choose whichever size they prefer or best suits their proportions.

The big wheels on my test bike added extra rolling smoothness, and the Schwalbe Tough Tom tyres (basically a cheap version of the old Nobby Nic design) are okay for the money.

You can also choose a 1x10 transmission version of the bike (with reversed frame colours) if you want to be a bit more modern. Either way, the Shimano Deore brakes are basic and wooden-feeling but reliable.

The coil-sprung Suntour XCR fork gets a lockout for smooth climbs but struggles to cope with bigger hits and is heavy too. The skinny 27.2mm seatpost gives some spring under the saddle and Polygon has fitted a super-short 35mm stem and reasonably wide 760mm bar.

Polygon Xtrada 6 2x10 first ride impressions

Together with bigger-than-average saddle layback, an already slack (sub 72-degree) seat angle gives the Xtrada a lively and light bar feel. Put that on top of a 69.5-degree head angle and it’s quick to nip and tuck between trees on tight singletrack.

The frame itself is impressively lively in the way it responds to smaller bumps too, skipping over roots and rocks. It’s enough to make the Tough Tom tyres, which have felt wooden on other bikes I’ve tested recently, seem relatively smooth too.

That makes it a lot of fun to twist, turn and tweak through old-school, low-speed, self-propelled natural singletrack. The choice of hard-compound 29er tyres means it carries speed well when cruising, too.

It’s quick to nip and tuck between trees on tight singletrack
It’s quick to nip and tuck between trees on tight singletrack

Unfortunately, the Xtrada struggles when the trail starts getting steeper and lumpier. Polygon’s claim that its ‘FWG’ geometry is more progressive for aggressive trail riding literally doesn’t measure up. The head angle is super-steep by modern standards and the reach is short (435mm on the large), so the bike soon feels nervous and twitchy as speed or the downward gradient increases.

Combined with the really short stem, the short reach also cramps breathing space significantly if you’re giving it full throttle up a long climb or in any other potentially competitive situation. Overall weight is 500 to 1,000g heavier than is typical for the price and category, too.

The fork surrenders control quickly even over moderate-sized hits and, while the larger wheels help smooth out smaller impacts compared to 650b hoops, the Xtrada is soon on the defensive in more demanding terrain, whatever the cockpit might suggest.

Polygon Xtrada 6 2x10 early verdict

Smooth-riding frame with wheel/gear options, but fork and geometry let it down on rougher trails.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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