After battling around the Adelaide Hills on my clapped out 25 yo mountain bike, recently I decided it was time for an upgrade. Over the years probably the only thing left of the original bike was the frame, and even that had some drill hole and attachments that weren’t original.
The beauty of looking for a bike these days, is of course you can do all your research online first, before heading to a local bike shop to try. Or do what I did, and just purchase direct online from a reputable Australian bike store like BicyclesOnline.com.au.
What Bike Do I Need?
The first thing I needed to decide is what type of bike I needed. Firstly, I needed a mountain bike, but what type? I was initially thinking of a gravel bike, where essentially it’s a hybrid between a rod boke and a try mountain bike. Most have drop handle bars but the sturdiness of a mountain bike, larger tyres, longer wheel base, and versatile handling.
I do mainly sealed roads, gravel, tracks and trails. I’ve always had mountain bikes so I decided to keep going down that path. Initially I was looking at the Trek range of mountain bikes, but in the end decided on the Polygon Cascade 4.0 – 2020 model. The decision basically cam down to price and availability. There we some other bikes I was interested however the wait time from ordering to delivery was up to 6 months in some cases due to delayed shipment and Covid restrictions. The Cascade 4 was around the price range I was interested in $600 to $800, and also was ready to order and ship.
I ordered online and the bike arrived in about 2 weeks.
The Polygon Brand
Polygon is actually and Indonesian brands and now has it’s HQ in Europe. Don’t be fooled though into thinking that it’s a lower quality brands. It is a value for money brand, but the quality for the price is exceptional.
Cascade 4.0 Specs
- Weight: 15.1 kg
- Frame: Alutech XC Sport 27.5″; Aluminium
- Fork: SR Suntour XCE, 100mm Travel
- Drivetrain: Shimano Altus / Tourney 3×8 Speed
- Speed / Gears: 24 speed
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tourney TX800 8-Speed
- Brakes: Hydraulic Disc Brakes
- Wheelset: Double-Wall Alloy Rims 32H, QR Alloy Hubs
- Seatpost: Entity Sport, Alloy
- Price: $619 + GST
Buying a bike from Bicycles Online is certainly a very easy and seamless experience. The box turned up from a courier on our verandah. All I had to do was attach the wheels, handle bars, pedals, and seat and we were ready to roll.
I did expect the bike to feel a little lighter than it does, even though I knew is was only about 15kg. To offset that though, the first feel of the bike gives a feeling of robustness. I tend to be quite hard on my bikes and this feeling immediately gave me some confidence I had made the right decision.
The concept of the bike is to be versatile for ough conditions but also provide the comfort for everyday riding. It’s has really nice ground clearance due to the taller build. It’s a hardtail mountain bike so the addition of the SR Suntour XCE fork provides a very smooth ride. The 100 mm travel is just enough. The fork also has a pre-load adjuster.
This is one part of the Cascade 4 that I really like. The combination of the Shimano Altus on the front, and Shimano Tourney on the back cassette really makes this bike smooth to change gears with no jumps or delays. So far I’ve given this bike quite a floggin both on road and some tough trails, thinking I might be able to find a weakness in the gear changes. With a cheaper entry level bike like this, generally you may find that one area that is lacking is the quality of the gearing. Not on this bike. It’s as good as you’ll find on much more expensive mountain bikes.
Brakes & Handlebars
With the hydraulic disc brakes at both ends, the braking is very smooth, and balanced. The only thing I did notice was that the factory default setting on the front brakes were a little softer than I typically like. After some adjustment I’m now happy with the feel. This is not significant a we all have different preferences when it comes to the braking feel.
If anything I might change, is for my riding the style, the handle bars are a little wider than I’d like. Again I was able to adjust the feel I wanted by adjusting the seat height, which helped the overall posture and feel. I’m also one for a softer style seat. This is something I may change on this bike in the future as it is a little stiff.
One thing I love about this bike in the heavy duty KENDA 27.5”X2.1” tyres straight out of the factory. The give massive surface area ground cover and super comfortable. Double walled alloy rims also give it a robust and sturdy feel.
The Polygon Cascade 4.0 from Bicycles Online is a great entry level bike priced competitively at around $619 + GST. With high quality specs and a robust, sturdy design and fell, this bike certainly will give it’s more expensive compatriots a run for their money on trails, gravel or road.