The all-mountain Holy Grail of adjustable geometry and suspension at the touch of a button? That'll be a Bionicon then...
All-mountain bikes are meant to be adjustable enough to tackle any terrain, but most still exhibit compromises. The approach of a small German company called Bionicon with their Edison bike looks set to change that. Some all-mountain bikes have easy-reach levers to independently adjust the front and rear suspension, and some have different shock mounts that adjust suspension travel, feel and geometry. However, Bionicon offer a big button that adjusts everything at once, so you can instantly set yourself up for radical descents or climbs, and every terrain type in between.
We'll have an in-depth test with more detail in issue 211, but the basic function involves two air lines in the down tube linking the fork and the shock. The button on the handlebar allows air to flow between the fork and shock. If you press the button and lean back, the back end drops and the fork lifts, slackening the geometry for steep drops. If you press the button and lean forward, you can compress the fork and lift the back, setting the geometry up for steep climbs. Or let it settle somewhere in between.
The head angle can shift between a slack 67 and a super steep 74 degrees, but the really clever bit is that, as the geometry shifts, the bottom bracket height and suspension travel and feel stay constant. This is because the movable air is kept apart from the air that's used to set the fork and shock performance, in terms of spring rate. Like most bikes of this type, you set about 25 per cent of available travel as sag by adjusting air pressures. The X-Fusion rear shock has an effective rebound damping lever, but everything in the Double Agent fork comes factory set.
The Edison frame has a single pivot back end and the triple clamp air fork is fairly light. The overall weight is just under 30lb (13.6kg), but the climbing geometry helps it to keep up with far lighter bikes. We've never come across a single bike that handles steep climbs and steep drops as well as this. Check out www.bionicon.com or call +44 (0)1202 518069 for more information.