My new bike: Polygon Path X5

It feels like starting blog posts with “so I crashed my bike” is going to be a thing. So anyway, I crashed my new bike. Down a cliff, in the bush.

I think this means it has enough wear and tear on it for a review, but lets starts with why.

There’s several reasons:

  • Alex has a cool bike
  • I want to be able to carry more shopping home easier
  • I’d like to visit further away cafes without having to carry my backpack
  • Bike camping? Bike camping
  • I’ve been riding a lot more and can justify the investment

So JSON is great and all. I’m still going to do the rebuild and respray. However JSON can be quite limiting. With no panniers I have to wear a backpack if I need to transport anything. The geometry isn’t well suited for my bad back. I want to ride places that wouldn’t be suitable for JSON.

Alex last year found a great deal. The Cannondale Quick 1. A flat bar bike, nice geometry and Shimano 105 group set for $1,600. My initial thought was “I’ll just copy her”, however it seems that the Quick 1 was sold out in most places.

I went exploring other options. Things that were appealing to me were:

  • Group sets that weren’t low end (Shimano makes this so so very complex)
  • Brifters / dropbars
  • Mounting points for panniers
  • XL frame size
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • No suspension
  • Aluminium frame
  • Sub $2,000 AUD

This combination was surprisingly hard to find. The two bikes I did find were the REID Granite 4.0 and the Polygon PATH X5. The Granite 4.0 was out of stock in XL and I could only find the PATH X5 online through bikesonline.

I was extremely nervous about buying a bike without giving it a test ride before however good reviews and a promise that it could be returned in 30 days if it didn’t fit it seemed like something worth trying.

Olive green bike resting against tree with pannier rack and trunk bag installed

I am incredibly happy I did because this bike feels so good to ride. The geometry fits me really well, and it has a Shimano 105 group set, drop bars and hydraulic disc brakes. Assembly was a breeze. Somehow this thing has even survived me riding it off a cliff. Total shipped was $1,834.

The first thing I did was load up the bike with accessories. I’ve splurged a lot here because I want this bike to work for me. I’ve gone with the Topeak MTX pannier rack - allowing for the trunk bag to quickly be put on and removed. However I’ve actually been using Tourbon clip on backpacks. This allows me to stash my laptop and work equipment quickly on the bike and have a decent bag to carry it around the city.

Olive green bike with backpack pannier resting against park bench overlooking the yarra river

For visibility I’ve fitted Garmin UT800 front light and Gardia R300L rear light. I picked these purely because I wanted to play with ANT+ lights. I really don’t recommend anyone spending this sort of money on lights. At least for me the ANT+ integration is a bit clunky and it does feel very much like a gimmick more than a feature. However what does stand out is the Gardia R300L radar. I didn’t realise how much I’d love the radar functionality. It is able to detect approaching vehicles from fairly far away and in a noisy city environment this is super handy when you don’t notice a car sneaking up on you.

Now the bike isn’t flawless, but it’s pretty damn close. The first is mudguards. For some reason the mounting hole you usually find where rim brakes are is 90 degrees from where I expected. This results is mudguard selection being very limited as a lot of mudguards will want to mount here. The other issue is the rims are entirely nameless. I assume that they aren’t tubeless ready as if they were they likely would be advertising it, so if I do go down that route I’ll probably have to rebuild the wheels.

I mentioned bike camping. This is one of the reasons I wanted to get a gravel or hybrid bike. While we have the LandCruiser to explore far away places, I wanted to test the idea of staying at places a little bit closer to home. With VLines fares capped at $9.20 the concept of taking my bike on the train, riding to camp site, and exploring the area without the need of a car seems super compellingly. I’m a bit away starting one of these journeys but I’m getting close, so stay tuned for that.