ANTIDOTE CARBONJACK REVIEW – F1 CAR LOOKS AND RIDE

An all mountain assasin built with love in Poland

ANTIDOTE CARBONJACK REVIEW

From a relatively small workshop in Poland, the passionate team at Antidote Bikes hand-builds carbon fiber bike frames that look a bit more unique than your average ride. Everything is done in-house—from the initial frame molds to the final laying of the carbon. With a raw (or optional custom paint) finish and an exotic-looking rear linkage, the Antidote Carbonjack 29 is a bike that rides as well as it looks that shouldn’t be pigeonholed into a single category.

The 150mm of travel and FDS linkage provided a supportive and comfortable climbing platform.

 

FRAME

Made from hand-laid monocoque carbon and Vectran composite with anodized 7075 aluminum links and titanium screws, the Antidote Carbonjack’s frame has a unique look, to say the least. Boost rear spacing (12x148mm) and 29-inch wheels make swapping parts easy, and internal cable routing in the main frame keeps things tidy. A custom Antidote brake mount sits at the back with the option to mount 180mm or 203mm rotors and keeps the caliper tucked behind the seatstay tube.

Up front, there is a 65-degree head tube angle and a reach of 480mm on our size large. The effective seat tube angle sits at 74.6 degrees, which is a bit slacker than most bikes, and the chainstay length across all four sizes is a constant 450mm.

One highlight of the frame is the custom rear mudguard that is Velcro-attached to the chainstay and seatstay bridges, which is very effective in preventing mud buildup. In this protected space, the rear shock sits uniquely at a 90-degree angle to the usual with the help of a small shock extender, which gives easy access to all shock adjustments and dials. Another highlight is the creative and effective chain slap and frame protectors that are neatly integrated into the areas where the chain can contact the frame.

COMPONENTS

Our test Carbonjack 29 retails for $10,885 with a SRAM mechanical X01 Eagle drivetrain. There are five other build kits available from Antidote utilizing parts from Shimano, EXT and Ohlins, ranging in price from $10,335 to $11,544 for the Ohlins-equipped X01 build. Our build came with SRAM Code RSC brakes with a 200mm front and 180mm rear rotor.

SRAM’s mechanical X01 drivetrain worked without fail and the integrated frame protection kept things quiet.

Unfortunately, the i9 wheelset never arrived with our test bike, so we have been utilizing a set of Revel’s excellent RW30 rims on i9 Hydra hubs with a 2.5-inch Maxxis Assegai up front and a 2.4-inch DHR II in the rear, both in an EXO+ casing and a 3C Maxx Terra compound. A 185mm BikeYoke Revive 2.0 handles dropper-post duties, and a WTB Silverado saddle keeps things comfy.

 

SUSPENSION

Antidote integrates its Floating Damping System (FDS) linkage into the 150mm of travel in the Carbonjack frame by using a short-link, counter-rotating system with the rear shock fixed to both of the links. It features a unique, inverted floating shock design that moves at both attachment points while giving easy access to shock settings. By not having any shock mounts in the front triangle or swingarm, they claim that stress forces are better distributed and small-bump sensitivity is increased.

Sag is supposed to be set to 30 percent. Our test bike was spec’d with a 210x55mm Fox Float X2 Factory shock and a Fox 36 Factory Grip2 fork with 160mm of travel. Like other Factory options from Fox, the Float X2 and 36 Grip2 feature high-/low-speed compression and high-/low-speed rebound adjustments to precisely tune the suspension characteristics.

CLIMBING

As soon as we started climbing with our test Carbonjack, we could feel how firm and efficient it felt. Power feels very direct when pedaling hard, and we never noticed any kind of significant pedal bob. Steep fire roads were tackled with (relative) ease, and we never felt the need to touch the climb switch on the X2 shock, which is a good thing, because it’s not the easiest to actuate while in the saddle.

Tight and technical climbs proved to be a little difficult and cumbersome with the long wheelbase of the Carbonjack, but with a bit of technique, we were able to negotiate these sections without too much worry.

At times, the seat tube angle did feel a bit slack over the rear end, but sliding the saddle forward in the post clamp was able to abate some of this feeling. Overall, for a bike with this type of riding in mind, it is an excellent climber and something we wouldn’t mind taking out on long all-mountain days.

ON THE RIDER
Lazer Jackal Kineticore Helmet ($219.99);
Goodr Wrap G Sunglasses ($45)
Pearl Izumi Elevate Pants ($170)
Canyon Short Sleeve Jersey ($45)
Specialized 2FO Roost Flat Syn Shoe ($120)

DESCENDING

While Antidote touts the Carbonjack as an all-out enduro race bike, this may not be exactly spot-on. It is still an incredibly capable platform and can handle almost any terrain, but there isn’t the same steadfast feeling that some longer-travel frames have where you can point and forget, partially due to only having 150mm of rear travel. The Carbonjack possesses a refined feel and a poppiness that many long-travel enduro bikes do not. It lets you put the bike where you want while still giving you the confidence and stability to carry speed.

We would more loosely define it as a long-travel trail bike rather than an enduro race bike, but obviously anything you put between the tape can be considered a race bike. Adding to this poppy feel is the perceived weight; the Carbonjack feels light and agile. On more mellow trails and jump lines it did not feel like a longer 150mm bike and carried speed much better than expected. It feels very much like a true mountain bike, something that you can ride on almost any trail with confidence and precision.

At just over 33 pounds, the Carbonjack felt very planted on rough and rowdy sections of trail.

WHAT DID WE LOVE?

The biggest standout with the Carbonjack 29 is its versatility. While slated as their enduro race bike, we found that the bike was a much more well-rounded machine and handled the wide variety of terrain we threw at it very well. Big days on the pedals were handled without complaint, steep and chunky descents flowed by, and sessions at the local jumps came without a second thought; it truly is an all-mountain bike that isn’t picky about what it rides. The light nature of the bike made it very fun and responsive while still being suitable to a wide range of riding styles.

WHAT DID WE HATE?

While the Carbonjack was outstanding in most trail conditions and terrain, tighter and more technical sections (both climbing and descending) are where this bike can struggle. At higher speed or when carrying a bit more momentum, it is not a problem. However, at slow speed and when trying to maneuver through tight sections of trail is when the Carbonjack felt a bit cumbersome. The long wheelbase was difficult to get around sharp and slow corners at times, but the lightweight nature of the bike helped with this.

When climbing, the story was similar. The bike felt like it got caught up on some technical and tight ascents, and the wheelbase felt cumbersome for the suspension travel. Again, this was helped slightly by the bike’s weight, which let us clear these sections with a bit of technique, but this could be an issue for some riders. The seat tube angle also felt quite slack when climbing, and we had to consciously shift our weight forward on steeper climbs. Moving the saddle all the way forward in the seatpost clamp helped mitigate this slightly, but a steeper seat tube angle would be the golden ticket.

BOTTOM LINE

While we understand the importance of putting bikes into different categories, Antidote classifying the Carbonjack 29 as an “enduro racing weapon” may be misleading. The Carbonjack is truly an all-mountain bike that can ride varied terrain and trails with confidence. While this bike can still be raced with poise, we think this sells it quite short for what it can really do. It can go anywhere and do anything, and have a ton of fun doing it.

This is the bike for those looking for a unique and true all-mountain machine that is seemingly built with true craftsmanship. It’s a direct and poppy-feeling bike that gives you the feedback to put the wheels where and when you want. While born and bred enduro racers may not jell completely with the Carbonjack 29, it is an exotic and unique-looking bike that is incredibly capable and versatile and is offered in a wide range of build kits.

ANTIDOTE CARBONJACK

www.antidotebikes.com

CATEGORY: Enduro

WHEEL SIZE: 29″

SUSPENSION: 160mm (front), 150mm (rear)

Price: $10,885
Weight: 33.05 pounds (without pedals)
Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
Frame tested: 150mm travel, monocoque carbon & Vectran composite
Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory, 210x55mm
Fork :Fox 36 Factory Grip2
Wheelset: Industry Nine Enduro S Hydra
Tires: Maxxis Assegai & DHR II (29×2.5″ front), (29×2.4″ rear)
Seatpost: BikeYoke Revive 2.0 (185mm travel)
Saddle: WTB Silverado chromoly
Handlebar: Antidote 35mm, 810mm
Stem: Industry Nine A35
Grips: ODI Reflex Lock-On
Headset: Cane Creek 40 ZS44/ZS56
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
Rotors: SRAM Centerline, 200mm (f)/200mm (r)
Rear derailleur: SRAM X01 Eagle
Shifters: SRAM X01
Crankset: SRAM X01 Eagle
Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB
Cassette: SRAM XG-1295, 12-speed, 10-52T
Chain: SRAM GX Eagle
Chainrings: 32-tooth

GEOMETRY SIZE LARGE

Head tube angle: 65°
Reach: 480mm (18.9″)
Stack: 634mm (25.0″)
Effective seat tube angle: 74.6°
Bottom bracket height: 344mm (13.5″)
Chainstay length: 450mm (17.7″)
Wheelbase: 1259mm (49.6″)

 

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