Kingdom’s stunning titanium Switch frame builds on the success of the Danish brand’s shorter-travel Hex – and is designed to be ridden even harder.
Tidy Ti frame and handbuilt shock
Although it shares its twin-link suspension design with the Hex, the Switch gets an additional direct-mount shock linkage. Kingdom claims this makes it less progressive in the last part of its 160mm (6.3in) of travel.
Related: Kingdom Hex
There’s a good choice of shocks, including the fancy handbuilt PUSH Elevensix damper we tested. The welds are neat, as is the internal cable/hose routing (though we found the latter a little rattly). Other details include a threaded BB shell, replaceable dropouts and Ti pivot and shock bolts. The Switch has been designed around a single chainring, with no provision for a front derailleur.
The handbuilt push elevensix shock is a fettler’s dream, with twin compression circuits:
The handbuilt PUSH Elevensix shock is a fettler’s dream, with twin compression circuits
Kingdom wasn’t shy of splashing the cash on our test bike, adorning it with some seriously spendy kit. ENVE carbon rims, Chris King hubs and SRAM X01 gearing are just a few of the highlights here (see spec list below for the full rundown).
One for the fettlers
It took us a little while to get our heads around the Kingdom’s Elevensix shock. The twin independent compression circuits offer tool-free high and low-speed damping adjustment, and you can adjust low-speed rebound too. As we spent our time on the Switch winching up and razzing down, we opted for a firm, fire road-friendly ‘climb setting’ and a more supple, bump-eating ‘downhill setting’.
The frame is as neat and beautiful as you’d expect:
The frame is as neat and beautiful as you’d expect
Our downhill setting took some time to get sorted. After playing about a bit we ended up with a back end that felt planted through smaller chunder but pattered through braking bumps with composure. When things got really ugly it ramped up pretty early though, and could feel unsettled on bigger repetitive hits.
Upping the fork pressure slightly and increasing the low-speed compression helped balance the bike, but in really rough sections we didn’t feel we were getting the most out of the 160mm of travel. It was a different story on fast, undulating trails though, where the Switch felt lively but controlled, and was happy to skip and pop up and over obstacles with relative ease.
On fast, undulating trails the switch felt lively but controlled :
On fast, undulating trails the Switch felt lively but controlled, breezing over obstacles
The stiff ENVE wheels can be loaded hard into turns for maximum exit speed, and the quick pick-up of the Chris King rear hub means you can put the power down with almost instant results. In tightly spaced, linked turns the 350mm BB height did mean we had to work harder to keep things fluid, but you do adapt to it quickly.
Point the Switch the other way and a quick flick of the shock’s lever means (in our setting, at least) next to no pedal bob and a relatively easy potter back up the hill. At 14.38kg (31.72lb) it may sound a little hefty, but it climbs easily enough. Our early sample was 6mm shorter than the production bike, and that extra length should make things even more comfortable during long, seated climbs.
Specs as tested:
Frame: Ti-3Al-2.5V titanium alloy, 160mm (6.3in) travel
Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air, 160mm (6.3in) travel
Shock: PUSH Elevensix
Drivetrain: SRAM X01 (1×11)
Rims: ENVE M70
Hubs: Chris King
Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary TrailStar 27.5×2.35in (F) and Maxxis High Roller II EXO 27.5×2.4in (R)
Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC
Bar: ENVE DH, 800mm
Stem: Burgtec Enduro MK2, 35mm
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
Saddle: Fabric Scoop
Weight: 14.38kg (31.7lb), medium size without pedals