Kingdom Hex - first ride review£2,765.00

Titanium and full suspension find harmony at last

BikeRadar score4.5/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

The Hex from Danish bike designer Kingdom is a truly unique machine. Not only is it a genuinely on-point titanium enduro rig, it’s also the only Ti full-sus we’ve ever tested that rides really, really well.

Frame and equipment: head-turning looks, spot-on spec

The plain-gauge 3Al-2.5V chassis costs about the same as a premium carbon frame yet, at 3.15kg (6.9lb), weighs the same as much cheaper alloy ones. But Ti has a unique character that goes beyond simple numbers.

The upper and lower linkages are carbon, with titanium pivot bolts:
The upper and lower linkages are carbon, with titanium pivot bolts:

The upper and lower linkages are carbon, with titanium pivot bolts

The suitably regal winged head badge on the tapered head tube and big, beautifully welded and curved main tubes give the Hex a clean look and car park conversation starter appeal. It’s single ring specific (no ISCG tabs), the seat tube is drilled to take a ‘stealth’ dropper post, the upper and lower linkages are carbon with titanium pivot bolts and the chunky replaceable dropouts are recessed to hold a 142x12mm hub. For 2015 it also gets an extended top tube to work with Kingdom’s own super-short stem.

A large down/head tube gusset helps keep things stiff and on point up front:
A large down/head tube gusset helps keep things stiff and on point up front:

A large down/head tube gusset helps keep things stiff and on point up front

Kingdom also provides the weirdly wiggly 780mm Sparta titanium bar, which is heavy at 325g but fine if you stop staring at it. There’s a choice of shocks, all of which are custom tuned by UK-based TF Tuned. These range from X-Fusion’s 02 RCX to RockShox’s Monarch and Monarch Plus, Cane Creek’s DBair and DBair Inline, and the Fox Float X we got. The remaining kit consists of a RockShox Pike fork and SRAM X01 transmission, Guide RSC brakes and ROAM 50 wheels wrapped in Maxxis High Roller II rubber, all of which is spot on for flat out trail riding.

Ride and handling: a Ti-powered revelation

We weren’t expecting great things from the Hex. Titanium is great for making naturally sprung, flowing, floating hardtails, but every Ti suspension bike we’ve ever ridden (with the potential exception of Lynskey's Pro650 FS-140) has been too flexy to push properly hard. That meant every successive turn and drop on the Hex was a revelation.

Ti and suspension haven't often played well together, but the hex is a real exception:
Ti and suspension haven't often played well together, but the hex is a real exception:

Ti and suspension haven't often played well together, but the Hex is a real exception

The sturdy mainframe puts the front wheel exactly where you want and holds it there however rough the trail gets. The usefully short (436mm) rear end chops and hops around easily, but tracks solidly when carving a turn hard. Better still, there’s a definite ‘damped’ vibe running through the whole frame. The bigger the drop or rougher the rubble heap, the more the smoothness and eerie quietness of the Hex separates it from the clattery feel of alloy or impassiveness of many carbon machines.

The twin-linkage suspension combines with the custom tuned rear shock, frame feel and 2.4in rubber to make the Hex feel more like a 160mm (6.3in) than 145mm (5.7in) travel bike over big stuff. Contemporary long and slack geometry locks it into corners, and at under 14kg it still climbs and accelerates well enough for big days in the big hills or short sprints with a number on your bar.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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

Related Articles

Back to top