Bionicon Edison review£2,094.00

Clever alternative to the masses

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Bionicon’s unique on-the-fly geometry adjustment has proved itself reliable and useful to ride-fettling fans. It’s not without its costs though. The Edison's weight and suspension quality just aren’t competitive.

Ride & handling: Unique features, but performance is off the pace

There are plenty of 67/68-degree downhill-style trail bikes about which can be steepened for climbing by locking the fork down, but the Bionicon is the only one to keep the same bottom bracket height for ground clearance, rather than just dropping nose and cranks.

The unique rear shock and Double Agent fork are pneumatically linked via a button on the bars. By leaning forward or back while pressing the button you change head and seat angles by five degrees between downhill slack and steep for climbing.

It’s an easy system to use too, with only occasional pressure resets needed to keep it in trim. In the right super-technical climbing situation it can be the difference between cleaning a climb and falling short. Hefty tyres and slack angles make it a reassuring descender on smoother trails too.

The rest of the time though, the suspension just isn’t as smooth or controlled as its competition, especially on rough and rocky terrain.

For every climb the angle change helped on, there were many more where the 30lb-plus weight, short top tube and repeated kneeing of the fork top brace when out of the saddle hindered the ride.

That said, if you like the Bionicon concept, switching to a new saddle, folding bead tyres and other lighter kit would soon get the Edison to a competitive weight.

There’s a lot of bright ideas under your nose on the edison: there’s a lot of bright ideas under your nose on the edison
There’s a lot of bright ideas under your nose on the edison: there’s a lot of bright ideas under your nose on the edison

Frame & equipment: Head-turning, angle-juggling alternative to the masses

Bionicon have developed a revised Edison frame for 2009, with geometric hydroformed tubes taking the place of previous round pipes.

Tri ‘spoke’ braces supporting the seatmast over the long shock and gussets up front keep its head reinforced to handle the twin-crown fork.

The rear swingarm pivots on broadly spaced bearings on top of a big T-block piece between the middle and big ring.

The unique frame, rear shock and fork eat into the budget, and while the rest of the kit is okay (SRAM X.7/X.9, Truvativ Firex cranks and Formula K18 disc brakes), it’s more in keeping with a £1,700 bike than a £2,000 rig.

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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