The 5 Most Innovative Mountain Bikes of 2017: Reader’s Choice

1. Marin Wolf Ridge / Polygon Square One

Marin Wolf Ridge (photo: Aaron Chamberlain)

“Wait a second, aren’t these two different bikes from two different companies?” I can’t sneak anything past you guys! The answer to the question though, is “yes and no.” Marin and Polygon share an owner and their new bikes share the same unique suspension platform — the Naild R3ACT – 2 Play. And just so you don’t think we played with the numbers, you overwhelmingly voted for the Wolf Ridge as the most innovative bike of the year. The Polygon was not far behind either. Since it’s the suspension platform that makes these bikes so innovative — and they’re sharing that platform — it made sense to mention them together.

A 3D printed model of the R3ACT – 2 Play suspension platform (photo: Aaron Chamberlain)
Polygon Square One (photo: Aaron Chamberlain)

Here’s a brief explanation of the platform from my first look article on the Wolf Ridge:

R3ACT – 2 Play is a four-bar design, but it’s unlike anything else out there currently. Both bikes use an elevated monostay (swingarm) in place of a conventional rear triangle. Inside that swingarm is a sliding stanchion tube that extends and compresses to counter pedaling forces. The kinematics of the platform are claimed to be so efficient that Marin and Polygon had to get Fox and RockShox to strip out most of the compression and rebound damping from their shocks.

Marin opted to build a 160mm travel 29er with the platform, while Polygon chose 27.5 wheels with 180mm of travel. With that much travel you’d be excused for chalking up both as enduro bikes. However, Marin and Polygon insist that when using the R3ACT – 2 Play system, the amount of suspension travel no longer defines a bike’s category. If the claims about the new bikes are true, that would indeed be innovation.

Most Innovative Mountain Bike Honorable Mentions:

Which mountain bike do you think is the most innovative in 2017?

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