a Cross Country Rider
from Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Date Reviewed: November 23, 2011
Strengths: Lightweight for the amount of travel, durable, fast, adjustable suspension, versatile bike for cross country and downhill terrain.
Weaknesses: Any major suspension issues have to be serviced through California distributor since front fork and X fusion shock are unique to Bionicon only.
I recently joined up with a group of all mountain riders who have been urging me to get a bike with more travel. When my lightweight Stumpjumper FSR Expert got stolen it came time to decide if I was going to upgrade to an all mountain rig. I wanted something that was lightweight enough so that I could enjoy my favorite XC rides yet with enough travel to handle the shuttle runs that my all mountain buddies liked to do. I heard about BIONICONS adjustable suspension system and just had to buy it.
The initial rides on this bike were awkward because I couldn't figure out how to fine tune the magic travel adjust button. If I adjusted the suspension all the way down for a climb, the extreme angle of the bike brought my legs in close and robbed me of my leg power. If I forgot to adjust the suspension from downhill mode coming into an uphill, then my front tire would bob off the ground.
After a little getting used to, I now dust my buddies on the uphills, and can lead the pack on the downhills. They all comment on how light the bike is compared to their pricier all mountain Yetis. One of them is now considering getting out of his Yeti and into a Bionicon Alva.
If you are the type of rider that uses lockout or adjusts your pro-pedal settings while riding..... then this bike will be great for you. Also if you are torn between a lightweight bike and a beefier bike with tons of travel, then this bike is the best of both worlds.
On the other hand if you hate fidgeting with bike settings except switching gears, stay away. The front fork, rear shock, and headset are custom built for this bike. If your intentions are to eventually upgrade those parts...buy another bike.
Similar Products Used: Previous bikes were purely XC bikes. This is a mix of many bikes so I have to say there is nothing like it.
Bike Setup: Double Agent Fork, Fusion O2 PVA, Elixer 5 Disc brakes, Alex Rims XD lite, Truvativ Fire X Crank Arms , Shimano XT front derailer, SRAM X9 rear, Kenda Nevegal tires 2.35". Bionicon Stem, Seatpost and handlebars.
a Weekend Warrior
from Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Date Reviewed: February 16, 2011
Strengths: Weight, Climbing, Downhill, mid-size hits and fast turns
Weaknesses: Stem configuration - too close to my knees in climbing position. This is unrelated to the bike size, it more related to closing down the frame dimensions. Not a huge issue.
I spent most of my younger years as a professional BMX park geek, but ported my interests into mountain biking once I hit my 20's. I struggled to find a bike that was capable of hitting all terrain while giving me the flexibility to freeride.
The most important feature is the suspension. I was pretty skeptical at first, but once I understood how to operate the hydraulic shock adjustment system, I found that I was using much less energy in the downhill and even less energy for the climbs. It's amazing how reducing the frame dimensions on the fly will expedite your ride. This bike helped me keep up with my buddies who ride everyday.
a Cross Country Rider
from Laguna Niguel, CA
Date Reviewed: January 31, 2010
Strengths: Everything! Frame construction, shock, fork and build kit
Weaknesses: Cable routing over rear shock, easily fixed by lengthening the cables
If you want one bike to do everything... This is it! Climbing is extremely efficient with no noticeable pedal bob. Adjustable geometry works amazingly well. Descending is a Dream. The fork is buttery smooth. I have ridden this bike pretty hard for over a year on a variety of terrain with no complaints. I was skeptical at first about the hydraulics, but they work flawlessly. I have ridden Bionicon's Super Shuttle and the Golden Willow (both great bikes)- the Edison fits perfectly in the catagory as the perfect back country do it all machine.
Similar Products Used: are there other bikes like this one?
Bike Setup: Bionicon's 0 build- great set-up
a Cross Country Rider
from madison, wi, usa
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2009
Strengths: Change angle of attack and frame geometry on the fly via a simple button. Makes the bike well suited for climbing, rolling or downhill terrain.
By leaning forward and putting the bike geometry into climbing mode it made climbing steep hills much easier, you can stay seated to keep traction in the rear while your weight is shifted forward to keep the front wheel down and the rear shock feels tighter allowing for better pedaling efficiency.
When in rolling terrain you can shift to a neutral position so the front and rear shock provide balanced bump absorption.
Downhills you can shift the seat way back and the front shock elongates to give you a really slack position to allow you to soak up bumps and keep you from flying over the handlebars. I was able to go much faster downhill than I would on a fixed geometry bike.
Weaknesses: slight pedal bob in the rear, a little heavy total bike weight around 31lbs, but not bad for all mountain.
Would weigh much less with mid/high level components.
The bike is a blast to ride while on vacation in Oregon. If I lived in a mountainous area I would buy one of these bikes for sure because its radical dynamic geometry help master big climbs and downhills. As I live in the flatlands of wisconsin, I think I will stick with a lighter cross country rig.
Strengths: on the fly adjustment. plush feeling, tracks well. absorbs drops without any discomfort.
Weaknesses: .... didnt find any
i only demo'd this bike for 1 hour, but im buying one very soon. the adjustment is incredible and the bike descends like its on rail. tracks really well, super stiff forks. the pedaling is efficient and the bike makes very little noise.
the edison ltd 3 is only £1450! two bikes in one. simply amazing.
Similar Products Used: marin rift zone, heckler. ( my current bike is a cube ltd pro)
Bike Setup: edison ltd 3 stock
Randy van Vliet
a Weekend Warrior
from San Fernando Valley
Date Reviewed: September 22, 2007
Strengths: Triple crown forks, excellent 6" of travel, the magic button for adjust rake on the fly for climbing or descent, excellent geometrey for carving, light weight at 31.5#'s actual with 1.5 pounds of that being platform pedals in a large frame. Nobby Nic or Big Betty's by Schwalbe tires are top notch, incredibly good in rocky, dry or desert conditions with traction. Performance Oro K-18's stoppers with semi metallic pads are outstanding at getting me stopped.
Weaknesses: Needs an adjustable seat post like a Gravity Dropper, which is killer for being up when climbing, and lower or down when doing descents. Maybe an option?
Demo'd one, bought one less than a week later. I'm at close to 45,000 vertical feel, 10,000 ridden, 35,000 shuttled, in 3 weeks of ownerhip. Demo one, then you'll know how valuable that adjustable magic button with adjustable frame geometry is is when climbing. It's two bikes for the price of one.
I give it 5 chile's, everything on the bike is top notch in it's price range... I expect with the EURO at over $1.40 US, and the public catching on to the value of these bikes, that the intro pricing you currently see is not going to last long.
a Weekend Warrior
from Ridgecrest, CA
Date Reviewed: September 21, 2007
Strengths: On the fly adjustable suspension. Light frame, very stiff.Handles very well, just point and GO!!
In a word, Awesome. With the "On the fly" adjustable suspension, it's like having two bike's in one. Perfect for those who ride "All Mountain". For those of us who have to ride up hill, this bike is the ticket. Just press the magic button on the hanle bar and lean forward a bit, to compress the fork, and head up. Once you've reached the top press the magic buton again and lean back, to extend the fork, and you're ready to fly.The suspension is infinatly adjustable. Bottom Line - This is a great bike. Confidance Inspiring, very fun to ride. If you're thinking of buying one, buy it you won't regret it.
Randy van Vliet
a Weekend Warrior
from Mammoth Lakes, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: September 3, 2007
Strengths: Bike is amazingly light for the amount of components on it, was very impressed with accuracy of tracking, the ability of the bike to carve and respond instantly to turn input without wash out of front end in some of the most demanding dolomite while downhilling. The adjustable geometry of the front end for climbing on the fly takes some getting used to, this being a 3 hour demo ride, I'd love to spend more time on the bike. If you get a chance to demo it, dont be surprised if the bike sells itself... It's that good.
Weaknesses: Very much used to the dampening of my Honda CR450F, there is something missing in the dampening in the front end, especially in the whoopdees-do's on some of the single tracks I ride.
Absolutely one of the best rides I've ever demo'd as a multipurpose bike. More rugged for downhill than it's brother which is lighter and more cross country suited. Fits the bill perfectly for my adrenaline rush needs for single track downhill, stump alley tree runs in the mountains, with the required climbs to enjoy it one you reach the peak.
Well equipped for the price range. Need to find a way to make the scratch to get this bike, perhaps a few Sage fly rods with go on the blocks on Ebay. ;-)
Similar Products Used: None, just hard tails with a couple of inches of dampening from the late 1990's.
Bike Setup: straight from the factory, not familiar with all the components. According to Paul, who allowed me to demo this bike, it's a Large frame 2006 with 2007 components on it.
a Weekend Warrior
from Darlington, UK
Date Reviewed: May 21, 2007
Strengths: Incredibly stiff frame, the suspension system makes down hilling easy and up hill childs play, good level of equipment for price. Great handling.
Weaknesses: The forks juddered a bit under light braking and corrugations, but this might have been a reflection on me setting the forks too hard and a combination of brand new forks.
We took the Golden Willow and the Edison for a blast around Castle Howard (thought this was an ideal combination without getting too technical).
Cutting to the chase, we are going to buy two Edisons. Steve at Abbey Cycles is a real font of knowledge and can't do enough to help us without being pushy. What he doesn't know about suspension design could probably be written on the back of a stamp and judging by the bent fingers, lumpy wrists and multitudes of battle scars he is well versed in the intracacies and pain of downhill, competitive racing.
I took the Edison out first, but we had to go through the set up procedure first (Steve will set it up if you ask, but prefers to let the customer see how it all works and can get closer to their ideal set up). It took a bit of head scratching as I dont have a bike with fiddleable bits and setting up air springs is totally new.
In the end I probably set both bikes up with the forks on maximum pressure because I was slightly confused at which point to measure the pressure (I know now so it would not have been such a problem).
I can only compare the bike to my to the FS Scott FX2 G Zero (£1100 back in 2002) and the demo bikes from Guisborough Cycles (Orange 5 pro, Marin Mount Vision and Specialized Stumpy FSR Expert) so bare with me.
Both bikes come well equiped and these are the base models. Sporting Formula K18 discs, Sram X9/X7, Truvativ Fire X, Alexis rims on DT Cerit hubs.
The first thing you notice is that despite many people commenting that they look like Halfords Specials, in the flesh they look well made and detailed).
Getting on with the ride details, it was obvious from the start that this is do it all sports bike of an MTB. The frame is very compact and incredibly stiff and road riding felt very easy compared to my bike and better than the Orange 5. Its difficult to compare to the Marin and Stumpy largely because the Marin I tried was using a very thin light tyre on the rear and the Stumpy had small block Kendas, but I felt the Stumpy was the better road machine.
After about a mile on the road I was beginning to want to set the bars and seat position a bit better. The bars were so easy to move, just an Allen key allowed fore and aft adjustment, or up and down without worying about stem length (dead easy).
Setting of on the first bit of track (hard packed stones), the bike really flew, feeling really lively and absorbing the bumps easily. The ride was as good as the Orange or Marin but just felt more secure, again the Stumpy had the edge on ride comfort on the rippled areas.
Next was the first bit of 'horse hooved' bridleway, there was no need to slow down as I would on my bike, it just seemed to ignore the ruts completely and I felt that the other bikes I have tested didn't manage that. The steering is incredibly accurate, it goes where you want very precisely and it seemed that it was a lot more competent than I was.
Single track, rocks and mud were all tackled easily and the bke never went off line. What was staggering was the first real climb. The start of the climb is pretty rocky and is followed by a steep pull up really badly eroded hillside (its difficult to walk up ). Usually I congratulate myself for getting over the rocky bit before taking to pushing. This time the bike didn't flinch over the rocks, infact it was if the ground was smooth, I shifted the bike to climbing geometry with a quick press on the button and a drift of the front brake and I was a third of the way up the climb before it got the better of me. This showed the benefit of the adjustable geometry as this would have been impossible on my bike.
Finally I arrived at the only bit of downhill on the route. Its not too difficult, but its bumpy and loose with a couple of tight bends , deep ruts and some big rocks. I shifted the bike into downhill mode by pushing the button and leaning back. Suddenly it all made sense in this mode, it made me feel invincible and I hit the second corner (usually a slow totter) at speed, so much so that I almost overshot and had to really lean the bike. None of the bikes I have tested felt they could do this, it felt like on of those transformer toys as it suddenly became a full on downhill racer. This was not some toy that could take on a bit of downhill, this was something that could (in the right hands) excel in serious company.
Bad bits........well the only thing I did notice was a bit of chattering over hard packed small ruts when braking gently, but TBH the bike has only done a few miles and the seals were still pretty tight and my lousy set up probably did not help. The brakes squealed a bit as they were also just bedding in, but were incredibly powerful and easy to modulate. Gears were typical sram, efficient and accurate, nothing much else to say.
The GW was off to a rocky start. I dont know what went wrong but somehow I managed to get the rear shock totaly locked out and could not get the pump onto the valve to check the pressure. So I sorta, pressed the valve in by hand to release the pressure along with a face full of damping oil. Putting the bike on the deck without any weight on the suspension allowed access to the valve and I got it sorted.
It is a pretty good looking bike in comparison to the Edison. However I dont really like the sort of curly 'old fashioned' lettering on the bike. The gold and black reminded me of the John Player special cars of the 70s and those curly letters seemed to be going for the retro look of bikes like Hetchins and Mercian.
The GW is a true 4 bar Horst link system and came with the rear shock of the upgraded model which uses a combined lever to actuate rebound and lockout. The Horst Link is licensed by Specialized.
From the off it felt different. Despite only being a pound or two lighter than the Edison it feels lighter still. The Edison feels like an average XC machine, the GW feels more like a full on racer and has the same ride characteristics as the Stumpy. It feels very smooth and quick which is probably also down to the lighter tyres and rims. It climbs like a cat and feels more like a road bike, so much so that you cant really believe it is going to manage anywhere near as well as the Edison. It is also has a more stretched out cockpit which hints at long days in the saddle with comfort.
It displays similar characteristics to the Edison once off road, but it lags slightly when tackling rougher stuff although it certainlty is every bit as good as the other bikes tested, its just that the Edison is in another league.
Why did I choose the Edison over the Golden Willow ?
It was an easier decision than I thought. The bikes I have been testing all have good and bad points, the GW fits right into that group. It rides and climbs as well as the Stumpy and exceeds it on rougher stuff as it feels less'off and on' in the suspension department. If I had not ridden the Edison, then I would be signing over my money for the GW about now as I feel it is better than the Stumpy in many areas and equals it in others. But the Edison is so much more, it climbs almost as well as the GW and they are neck and neck in other ways despite the weight advantage. But when you set the orange button on the Edison to the downhill mode........whoa, that suddenly changes things. It will allow me to progress to tougher things without feeling out classed, its compact frame just feels right and it inspires confidence while still being able to excite on less entertaining stuff. Many road testers have said that the GW is a true 'do it all machine', but the Edison is closer to that ideal. It nods its head in the direction of competetive XC machines but its not where its heart is, when your not going for tenths of a second this bike feels every bit as good at touring the fells as the best around, but switch to harder stuff and it not only nods in the direction of downhillers it positively leaps.
Both bikes have a degree of customisation available direct from the factory. This will even apply to the frames..my wife needs something more specific. For the money £1825.00 list for the base models which are well equipped certainly stacks up well. Add the adjustable geometry and in my eyes it is no contest.
Similar Products Used: Orange five pro 07, Specialized Stumpy FSR expert 07, Marin Mount Vision pro, Scott FX2 G Zero 2002?
Bike Setup: Bionicon/X fusion shock and forks, Formula K18 brakes, X9 rear, X7 front and X7 shifters, Truvativ Fire X c/set, Swiss DT Cerit hubs and Alexxis DP20 rims.
from San Luis Obispo, Ca
Date Reviewed: April 15, 2007
Strengths: Light and stiff, solid feel for a bike this weight. Don't know the exact weight, but it felt really light. Travel adjust is key....
Weaknesses: can't think of anything right now...
So heres the deal: I went to sea otter this year to race dual slalom and downhill and had my bikes stolen from the bed of the truck the night before the race. I show up and do a practice run or two on a hardrock sport, not much fun...my buddy took me down to the bionicon demo area and we talked with Mic, Paul and Brian. The were gracious enough to let me borrow the edison to practice and race in the sport class of dual, as well as do a few practice runs on the DH course. Right off the bat I felt very comfortable on the bike. I ran through the pump track and the ride zone once at sea otter to get used to it, then took it up and qualified 6th on it. Ended up getting 6th overall on it after only 3 total rides down the course on the bike. If not for a slipped pedal at the bottom, I would have been in the top 4.
I dropped the travel down a little on the fork for ds and it worked perfectly, bashing gates with ease and taking the jumps and drops in stride. I raised the travel back up for DH and it was great, able to pedal and keep my speed throughout the course. Unfortunately due to rider error and rider size (240lb), I tacoed the rear wheel on the bike after dropping 4 feet to flat into a rut, and the guys didnt seem to mind at all. If I hadn't felt bad for breaking one of their bikes already, I would have taken the supershuttle out for my dh final run. As it was I got 8th in sport, with a huge thanks to bionicon for letting me borrow the bike for practice or else I wouldn't have known the course.
I must say these guys were awesome in making great bikes, and more importantly, making what could have been a very sad weekend into a happy one. Thanks again, and my roomate and I hope to be riding an Edison or super shuttle soon to replace our stolen bikes.
Similar Products Used: Jamis dakar XLT, heckler, old style enduro
Bike Setup: Stock, brand new demo ride
a Weekend Warrior
from San Luis Obispo, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: April 6, 2007
Strengths: The "On the Fly" geometry/travel adjustment via a button on the handelbars is truly amazing. Bike weighs 31lbs, but doesn't feel like it. Climbing: While riding, press the button on the bars then lean forward to drop the nose up to 4 inches -- this bike climbs like a mountain goat. Descending: While riding, press the button on the bars then lean back to return to a full 6 inches of plush front (and rear) end travel -- the bike descends like a banshee, inspiring all the confidence of a much bigger DH ride. The front fork is dirt-simple to service, and it takes only about ten minutes to do a complete clean and lube.
Weaknesses: It's tough to think of anything I don't like about this bike. I guess the only negative would be that I had to replace the bushing/reducer that connects the rear shock to the frame after about four months of daily, hard riding. I noticed a slight knocking while climbing, and the loose bushing turned out to be the problem. The guys at Bionicon are great, though, and it took just one phone call to resolve the problem. They immediately sent out the new part with instructions on how to do the swap, and the bike has performed flawlessly since.
Bottom Line: This bike can handle any type of terrain you throw at it, and because it's such a confidence inspiring ride, I'm having a blast riding ever more challenging trails. For me, it has truly put the FUN back in riding. Being able to adjust the bike's geometry/suspesion on the fly while riding -- as opposed to having to stop and mess with knobs on your fork -- is truly an amazing innovation. After just a couple of rides you get used to being able to make adjustments up, down, or anywhere in between while riding, and once you've experienced the benefits of the technology you won't be able to live without it. It has helped me to dramatically improve my riding, and I can't imagine ever owning another bike without it. I expect other manufacturers are watching closely and will either license the technology from Bionicon, or innovate with something similar.
Mic, Paul, Brian and the rest of the guys at Bionicon US are extremely helpful. I met them at a demo day in San Luis Obispo and took two different bikes out for a spin on our local trails. I rode the Golden Willow (a bit lighter, slightly less travel, more XC oriented), and the Edison. Both were awesome, but I ultimately decided to go with the Edison. Contact Bionicon to find out where they are demoing bikes and take one for a ride -- I think you'll be blown away by how the bike performs. If you are in the San Luis Obispo area and want to join me for a ride, shoot me a note at: email@example.com. I can ride most any day of the week.
Favorite Trail: Morning Glory, Cuesta West Ridge, MDO
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Purchased At: Art's Cyclery, San Luis Obispo
Similar Products Used: Previous bike was a K2 Lithium 4.0, which was okay for XC but doesn't even belong in the same league as the Edison in terms of all mountain riding. Most of the guys I ride with have either Blur LT's, Nomads or Enduros, and having ridden their bikes I wouldn't trade the Bionicon for any of them. In fact it is THEY who are usually asking to swap for my bike on some gnarly climb or descent... At least one of them has had the smarts to switch to an Edison himself, and I expect others will follow when they get tired of looking at our rear ends all the time...
Bike Setup: 2006 Bionicon Edison LTD 1. The only change I've made was to swap out the shift levers for SRAM X.0 grip shifters.
a Cross Country Rider
from Southern California
Date Reviewed: October 26, 2006
Strengths: Truly on-the-fly adjustable geometry and travel, without lowering bottom bracket height; ridiculously simple serviceability of the double-crown fork, light for a six-inch travel bike, excellent handling characteristics for both climbing and downhill. Very little bob on climbing, but still fully active travel for hits. The stem design is their own (now copied by Specialized) and is adjustable for length and angle. Excellent construction and welds on the frame, and it's durable. In over 3500 miles of riding, I've only recently had to change the rear shock bushing.
Weaknesses: If you set the bike in the extreme forward (climbing) position and are NOT actually climbing, the handling gets a bit twitchy and it feels like the pedaling becomes inefficient and harder. But then you just tap the button, go back to a more relaxed position (geomoetry), and it rides beautifully. Not really a weakness, but a chance for rider error. I've never had any problem with the air system, though I know on the newer bikes the air hoses that control the geometry adjustment have been beefed up. Some people think the cockpit looks a little busy with the extra button and pneumatic hoses, but for what they do, they're worth having.
This the most amazing bike I've ever ridden. Like all the Bionicons my green machine (it's a custom paint job) has the adjustable on-the-fly geometry and travel adjustment. It's a system that allows you to adjust not only the front fork travel from 6" to 3", but also the bike's geometry and handling, all at the touch of a button. Both the head and seat tube angles can be set anywhere through a range of about 6 degrees, simultaneously, without lowering the bottom bracket height. It's something that you can't really appreciate until you've tried it. I was a skeptic at first, coming from a Fisher Sugar 1.
The bike is pretty light for a six-inch travel bike with a double crown fork. I think mine is under 29 pounds. Servicing the double-crown fork is ridiculously simple, and only takes a 5mm allen screw some grease, and about ten minutes to do. I've done it four times in two years (I probably should do it more often since it's so easy, but the fork has been fine). Even if I never used the geometry change, the bike handles really well. It's only on steeper climbs that I use the full geometry adjustment. On long steady climbs, I run with the geometry just a little forward of the downhill position, and that seems to work really well. The fork is plush and solid feeling, and the bike tracks and handles quite well. The rear shock from X Fusion has a rebound dampener that I usually run at 12 or 1 o'clock position. I rarely use the lockout. The rear shock been smooth and consistent, and I generally top off the air in both front and rear shocks about once a month.
It's great to see Bionicon getting more recognition in the U.S., something they've had for a while in Europe. I've been extremely satisfied with mine, and will be glad to see more of them on the trails. It has helped me take my riding to another level, especially downhill. This year (2006) I rode the Colorado Trail, all 460 bike-legal miles of it, on the Bionicon (there are pics and other posts in the Passion forum about the trip). It performed really well through mud, rain, and over 70,000 feet of climbing and 400+ miles of single track in 15 days. I've also taken it on some of the most technical downhills around, Tunnel Trail in Santa Barbara, and the Flying Monkey trail in CO with ten foot and bigger drops, without any problems. It has handled everything I've thrown at it. The Germans have designed a bike that's incredibly versatile, that downhills as good as anything else I've ridden in it's class, and is still light and versatile enough for true all-mountain riding.
Similar Products Used: I tried the Heckler, and liked it. Test rode an Ellsworth truth, and a few others. In the $3000 price range, most of the bikes I've tried are pretty decent, but none had anything like the adjustability that the Bionicon bikes have. My previous bike was a Gary Fisher Sugar 1, which was a great, lightweight cross-country bike, but for all-around performance, the Bionicon beats it hands-down.
Bike Setup: Bionicon Edison, Small Frame, Bionicon Double Agent fork, SRAM X9 drivetrain, Magura Julie brakes, truvativ cranks, spinergy disk wheels, gravity dropper seatpost, Schwalbe Fat Albert tires.