Bold has updated its original Linkin trail bike format for 2022, redesigning the enclosed suspension setup, giving it some pretty progressive geometry and adding a whole host of neat integrated features.
The Linkin was Bolds first bike to market back in 2015 and created quite a stir, the Swiss brand's bold design with its integrated shock was unlike any of the other best trail bikes of the time. Since then Bold has released an LT version as well as an Enduro-ready Ultimate in 2018. Since then Bold has been quiet although the team has clearly been busy. The majority stake purchase in Bold by Swiss sports giant Scott, saw the following release of the new Scott Spark RC which the Bold team clearly had a hand in designing.
Now it's the turn of its own carbon Linkin trail bike and Bold has stuck with the internal shock design and performed a serious geometry overhaul to bring the Linkin up to date.
While the new Scott Spark uses the same internally mounted vertical shock placement used in Bolds existing bikes, the new Linkin gets a horizontal shock orientation. The Internal Suspension Technology (IST) uses a virtual pivot point suspension system which Bold claims to keep suspension feel, pedaling, and braking performance optimal with a kinematic that's tuned to give "supple small bump sensitivity and therefore exceptional traction characteristics, perfect support in the mid-stroke and a controlled deep stroke for perfect bottom out control."
The IST system also allows Bold to use extremely short linkages for improved frame stiffness and reduced frame weight. By mounting the shock in the belly of the downtube it keeps the center of gravity low to aid handling while also giving enough space to run a 200mm dropper post in a slammed position. While Bold offers the Linkin in two travel options, 135mm and 150mm, both frames are actually the same with suspension travel being altered by switching out the inner linkage at the bottom bracket area.
For those who frequently ride in wet conditions or want to extend shock service intervals, inclosing the shock within the frame should keep the shock dirt-free, maintaining suspension performance and extending the life of your seals. Obviously enclosing the shock does add some complications in setup but Bold has considered this. A cover on the downtube allows access to the shocks adjustments. There is a sag and travel indicator externally on the frame so you can set your bike up correctly as well as monitor how much travel you are using on the trail.
Bold has added a suspension lockout system called Tracloc as well. Controlled via a cable-actuated lever on the handlebars, Bold says "TracLoc allows you to not only change compression damping, but also to change the spring curve, dynamically altering the geometry of the bike". Although Bold doesn't provide any details regarding how this system works mechanically, it's most likely that Tracloc borrows Scotts Twinloc technology which closes a chamber in the shock increasing progressiveness and in turn, causing the shock to sit higher in its travel. There is a third fully locked-out mode too. Unlike Scott's Twinloc system which simultaneously adjusts the shock and fork, it appears that Tracloc only controls the rear shock.
Progressive new geometry
Beyond the physical frame updates, the Linkin gets an overdue geometry update and a lot has changed since its last update in 2017. The changes have taken it from numbers that would be considered modern cross-country these days and replaced them with some properly radical figures. Not only that but the Linkin offers a head angle adjusting headset and that can alter the head angle by an effective one-degree and, at the rear, a Bold VarioTec flip-chip changes the bottom bracket height by 6.3mm.
In its low/slack setting that means the 135mm bike with a 140mm fork has a 64.4-degree head angle, 77.7-degree seat angle and a 334mm bottom bracket height. With 150mm travel front and rear the numbers are similar, 64.2-degree head angle, 77.4-degree seat angle and 340mm bottom bracket height. As both bikes use the same frame and rear triangle the 460mm reach and 434mm chainstay on a medium frame are the same for both travel options.
Integration is everything
Bold has clearly spent a lot of time thinking about integration on the Linkin, beyond the internal shock, neat suspension travel indicators and geometry adjustments there are a number of other notable additions.
Bold has specced Syncros new Hixon bar, the trail version of its new Fraser iC SL integrated cockpit, which keeps all the cables neatly organized and feeds them into the frame through the stem.
Syncros also supplies its Matchbox SL-CT Multi-Tool which is stored by the bottom bracket underneath the downtube cover. There is also a Save The Day kit containing almost everything you need to deal with a puncture out on the trail. Stashed in the downtube, again accessed by removing the downtube cover, the Save The Day Kit houses a spare tube, mini pump, tire levers and has a spot for spare chain quick links. To top it off, the rear axle leaver has a T25, T30 and a 6 allen key all in one that can adjust the majority of bolts on the bike, including all pivot hardware.
Bold Linkin specs and pricing
Bold offers both the 135mm and 150mm bikes in two build options: Ultimate or Pro.
The Linkin 150 Ultimate has a Fox 36 Float Factory Grip 2 Air 150mm fork and Fox Nude 5T Factory EVOL Trunnion shock. The drivetrain is SRAM's wireless XX1 Eagle system while Shimano's XTR brakes bring the bike to a stop. The bike rolls on DT Swiss XMC 1501 Spline CL fitted with Maxxis Minion DHF and Dissector, both 2.6in.
The Linkin 150 Pro is almost a full house of Shimano's XT groupset with the exception of Race Face's Next R carbon cranks to save a little weight. Fox still handles the rear suspension and upfront you get an Ohlins RXF36 m.2 Air fork. DT Swiss wheels of the Ultimate are switched for Syncros' Revelstoke 1.5 wheels although the tires stay the same as the Ultimate.
Including the Save The Day kits, weights for the 150 Ultimate and Pro are claimed to be 13.4kg and 14.3kg respectively.
Fox handles the Linkin 135 Ultimate suspension with a Fox 36 Float Performance Elite Grip 2 Air 140mm fork and Fox Nude 5T EVOL Trunnion shock. The drivetrain is a bit mix-and-match with a SRAM X01 Eagle AXS derailleur, GX crankset, GX cassette and GX AXS shifter. Braking is handled by Shimano four-pot XT brakes on big 203/180mm rotors. The wheelset is DT Swiss XM 1850 Spline and Maxxis quick but grippy Dissector tires in 2.6in are fitted front and rear.
Finally, the Linkin 135 Pro has a RockShox Pike Select RC Air fork paired with a RockShox Deluxe Select RL3. The drivetrain is a mechanical GX Eagle setup from SRAM and the stopping equipment is Shimano's SLX four-piston brakes. As with the Ultimate, the Pro features Dissector tires which are fitted to Syncros Revelstoke 2.0 wheels which have a 30mm internal rim width.
Bold states that both the 135 Ultimate and Pro weigh in at 14.3kg including the Save The Day kit.
All the finishing kit for both the Ultimate and Pro models comes from Syncros' catalog with all bike featuring the Hixon bar, Duncan dropper, Tofino seat and Syncros Eco Sealant.
The Linkin is also available as a frameset option (with or without a shock) which includes an impressive amount of kit. The frame includes a Fox Nude 5T Factory Evol shock, Syncros Hixon iC Carbon (with grips), a Syncros Duncan dropper post, Link kit for 135 & 150mm travel, Tracloc remote control shifter kit, Syncros Acros Pro headset system, Save the Day Kit and a Syncros rear axle. Frame only weighs in at 3099g plus an extra 400g for the Save The Day kit.
Pricing and availability for the Linkin is still to be announced.