With its shock hidden inside the frame, the Bold Linkin Trail caused a sensation when it was introduced. With the Bold Unplugged, the Swiss brand has upped its game once more, introducing a potent bike with radical geometry. We’ll tell you if the bike lives up to its promise, and which boxes to tick in the configurator.
“It doesn’t fit”, says the guy helping out. Because of its substantial size, the wheels of the Bold Unplugged hang over the edge of the gondola doors, but in the end, somehow it manages to squeeze in. The Unplugged confidently sits in the ranks of the new breed of super long and slack bikes. The highlight of the carbon frame isn’t the sophisticated geometry though; not visible at first sight, the shock is hidden inside the seat tube, offering 164 mm of travel via the rear linkage and ensuring a super clean look. The dials of the Bold Unplugged are all set to speed. So we put it through its paces on tough enduro stages and bike park tracks, to explore the full potential of the 13.87 kg carbon bike.
The hidden shock is accessible via a service flap on the down tube, and thanks to the integrated sag indicator the initial setup is quick and easy. Liners around the internally routed cables and a sophisticated chainstay guard eliminate annoying noises, and the integrated chain guide also shows the Swiss company’s attention to detail. Flip-chips allow you to change the position of the Horst-Link and thus adjust the chainstay length and bottom bracket height to your preference and wheel size. The Newman Double Spin headset will let you adjust the head angle by 1.5°.
The Specifications of the Bold Unplugged
Using the online configurator, you can customise the build of the Bold Unplugged. Besides basic choices like 27.5+ or 29″ wheels and a 170 mm or 180 mm travel fork, you also have the choice between long and slack or even longer and slacker geometry. Depending on the spec, the Bold Unplugged costs from € 3,366 for the frameset, € 4,707 for the entry-level model and € 8,415 for the top of the range. Our 29″ Unplugged featured a GX Eagle drivetrain, Rockshox Super Deluxe shock and a 170 mm Lyrik RCT3 fork.
Although the configurator allows you to select almost all components of the Bold Unplugged, we would like to see more options for some of the components, such as the tyres. You’ll also be able to choose the seat post length, so upsizing shouldn’t be a problem. Top!
Fork RockShox Lyrik RCT3 170 mm
Shock RockShox Super Deluxe 164 mm
Brakes SRAM CODE R 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle
Seatpost Kind Shock LEV INTEGRA Carbon 175 mm
Stem Race Face Turbine R 32 mm
Bars Race Face Next Carbon 800 mm
Wheels DT Swiss XMC 1200 Spline
Tires Maxxis HighRoller II 3C MaxxTerra EXO
Weight 13.87 kg
Price 7,093 €
The SRAM Code R brakes weren’t able to convince us as they are too weak for the Unplugged. Unfortunately, there are no heavy-duty stoppers à la Code RSC or Shimano Saint available in the configurator. The DT Swiss XMC 1200 Carbon wheelset only makes sense on the Unplugged if you primarily intend to use it for long trail rides. The carbon rims are too flimsy for proper enduro riding. We recommend selecting a sturdier and more affordable aluminium wheelset.
The Bold Unplugged in Detail
The Bold Unplugged positions the rider in an aggressive, stretched position, despite the short stem. The seat angle of the Unplugged is super steep, allowing you to pedal efficiently from above. The new RockShox Twistlock lets you firm up the shock, suitable for long asphalt sections as well as short climbs on the trail. Climbing with the Unplugged, therefore, is super relaxed and very fast for a bike of this class. Even when the climbing gets technical and steep, this carbon bike doesn’t slow down. With our geometry setup (long chainstays, slack steering angle) the front wheel sticks to the ground and the rear linkage generates a lot of grip at the rear. In narrow corners, however, the extremely long wheelbase takes its toll and you might struggle to stay on the trail.
For a bike of this class, the Bold Unplugged climbs outrageously well.
Saddle down, shock open and sleeves up; going downhill the Bold Unplugged is on the attack. As a rider, you’re positioned right in the middle between the wheels. Thanks to the enormous wheelbase, there is plenty of room to move and balance your weight between the front and rear. However, this is only ever necessary on extremely demanding and steep terrain. Roots, braking bumps, rock gardens and smaller obstacles don’t worry the Bold Unplugged one bit. Even at high speeds the bike willingly holds its line and remains squat on the trail. Nevertheless, the suspension offers enough support to launch off of things. It’ll also keep you informed of what is happening under the tyres. With messed up lines and hard hits, however, the Super Deluxe shock gives up its travel a little too easily, noticeably bottoming out. You can fix this by adjusting the progression curve of the shock with volume spacers.
If you’re looking to push the Bold Unplugged to its limits, you’ll have to go hellishly fast.
The long chainstays help keep the front wheel sufficiently weighted so that the Unplugged masters high-speed corners and berms with ease. On the brakes, the Unplugged also keeps the wheels tracking and in control. Only on super tight, winding trails do you pay the price of the geometry, having to muscle the Unplugged around obstacles.
The Bold Unplugged not only looks super fast, it is super fast. The potent geometry inspires confidence even in the most demanding terrain, enabling you to carry a hell of a lot of speed on the trail. On top of that, it’s a very capable climber. The top spec Bold Unplugged is very expensive, but if you check the right boxes in the configurator you’ll be able to get yourself a potent bike at a fair price.
+ Highly adjustable geometry + Integrated design
+ Super silent
– Too little choices in the configurator
– Hard to evaluate used travel
More information at:boldcycles.com
Words: Felix Stix Photos: Valentin Rühl, Felix Stix