At a Glance
The Bold Linkin is a fine example of what is possible with modern technology. Full carbon frame, with the rear shock integrated inside the frame make this the most state of the art bicycle frame out there at the moment.Buy Trail Bikes on
About the brand
Bold Cycles is founded by Vinzenz Droux, a mountain biker with an engineering addiction (or the other way around). Based out of their HQ in the Swiss town of Biel, they engineer ultra high end mountain bike frames.
Back in May 2019, Scott Sports took a majority share in the company, but it remained fully independent. The idea behind the merger was for Bold to be able to access their marketing assets and massive Scott dealer network while keeping their own management and R&D department.
On the environmental front, there is nothing to be found on their website. No carbon recycling program, no sustainability plan or anything. You can do better Bold!
The bike we tested is a special build so we will be focussing our review on the frame itself only. The Bold Linkin is available as a frameset and a complete bike. The complete bikes come in a total of 4 different configurations. A ‘Pro’ and an ‘Ultimate’ spec are available in both 135mm and 150mm travel options.
The frame however is exactly the same for both travel options. It is just the custom link that determines the frames travel, and the best part is it doesn’t require a shock with a different stroke length.
When purchasing the frameset, both links are included and when purchasing the complete bike, the link is sold separately. We didn’t have time to change a link ourselves, but it looks fairly straightforward to do. It does involve removing the cranks, so it’s not a job to do trailside.
First thing you notice on the Linkin is the super short seat tube. Even on our L sized frame, it was only 425mm! Because there is no rear shock or pivot points on the seat tube, you can also insert the seatpost incredibly far into the frame. A 200mm dropper post slammed all the way into the frame is no problem for the Bold. Great news for smaller riders that struggle to get their feet on the ground!
The reach on the Bold is quite long with 490mm on the Large and the chainstays measure in at 434mm. These numbers make for a roomy cockpit and snappy handling. The head angle is adjustable by about 1 degree, varying between 64.4 and 65.8 degrees.
Besides the hidden shock, the Bold comes with a few more cool features. Hidden in the downtube there is the ‘Save the day kit’. A magnet holds the Syncros minitool in place, and with one move you are able to pull out a tool roll that includes everything you need (pump, spare tube, chainlinks etc) to fix most trailside issues.
First thing that came to my mind when seeing the frame design was how do you set the sag on this thing? Of course they thought of that, and the frame comes incorporated with a sag and travel indicator. To adjust the air pressure you need to pop off the downtube cover. You don’t need any tools for that though, and the valve is easily accessible too.
If all this radness isn’t enough, you can also change the BB height by 6mm using a flip chip. To ensure good climbing capabilities Bold came up with TracLoc. This system gives you remote levers on the handlebars to manage the sag and compression in several ways. Whereas most systems only increase low-speed compression in an effort to gain pedaling efficiency, TracLoc allows you to not only change compression damping, but also to change the spring curve, dynamically altering the geometry of the bike. In Traction mode, the shock is not only firmer, but it has dynamically less travel. The bike sits higher, maintains a steep seat angle for those climbs, and becomes more agile.
Out on the trail
First impressions of the Linkin were good. The position on the bike feels balanced, centered but not too stretched out. Even with the short seat tube, I managed to adjust my saddle height properly for my lanky legs, albeit with the post extended to a maximum (I am 188cm with a 86 inseam).
I’m definitely not a fan of too many levers and switches, but the TracLoc system worked beautifully, and although it’s not aesthetically pleasing the ergonomics of the levers works great. It turned the climbs into a breeze too, especially on the steeper singletrack climbs this bike showed its worth. The rear triangle and suspension system makes this bike very stiff, transferring power directly to the rear wheel.
Pointing the bike down a hill, one of the most satisfying things to do with your time, did not disappoint either. For a bike with relatively short travel, it stood its ground on the rocks and roots of my local. The suspension has good small bump sensitivity, and is nice and progressive in its travel. The beefy Fox 36’s kept pushing the rear end to its max on the rough stuff, not surprising for a 150mm travel fork.
Tight twisty trails were a joy to ride on this bike. I felt really balanced and the bike was easy to maneuver around tight corners. On the slow tech stuff, I felt very confident.
When the speed picked up, the shorter travel and steepish head angle were the limiting factors. It never felt twitchy or nervous, but some bikes just shout ‘FASTER!’ at you when you break the 40km/h mark in the rough stuff and the Linkin is definitely not that type of bike. I’m sure though, that the 150mm travel version set up with some beefy tires will feel much more at home at speed.
The Bold is definitely not your average ride. The frame design and manufacturing precision really are cutting edge as you would expect from a Swiss company. All the features are functional and well thought out. The geometry is modern, but nothing too extravagant to put the average rider off. It climbs fantastic, descends well and feels most at home on playful, flowy trails with the odd tight hairpin or two.
There is one elephant in the room though. The price. The Linkin definitely is not cheap, then again they never tried to be. If you love to have something special, something with amazing engineering, great allround handling and you don’t mind the price tag, the Bold has your name on it.Buy Trail Bikes on
This review was in Issue 68 of IMB.For more information visit Bold Cycles
By Jarno HooglandJarno's life has revolved around two wheels ever since he swung a leg over his first BMX at age 4. After a BMX and DH racing career, he moved on to work for bike shops, distributors and brands before ending up in the editors seat at IMB. Based in the ultimate testing ground in the Swiss mountains, he runs his guiding operation and makes sure every IMB issue is filled with top notch content.