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Polygon Xtrada Mountain Bike Review

Are you new to mountain biking? Are the trails in your area fairly smooth? If so, the Polygon Xtrada might be a good option for you.

This entry level mountain bike will get you rolling without breaking the bank. It’s a capable climber, and the parts are durable enough that you’ll get plenty of use out of the bike until you decide you love mountain biking enough to upgrade.

gray and red polygon xtrada mountain bike in front of a white garage door

Review In A Nutshell

Pros:

  • Climbs well given its weight
  • Feels fast on smooth trails
  • Durable components
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Great value

Cons:

  • Fork feels harsh on rocky terrain
  • Heavy
  • Not set up tubeless
  • 2×11 drivetrain adds weight and complexity

Price & Where To Buy:

Gets You Out On The Door And Onto The Trails

If someone were to ask me how much you should spend on an entry-level mountain bike, I’d probably say $2,000. That said, the Polygon Xtrada is less than half of that, and for someone who just can’t stomach a few grand, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with it.

Compared to a $2,000 hardtail, the Xtrada is going to be heavier, have a less comfortable suspension fork, and lack any “extras” like a dropper post. But, if you’ve never ridden a $2,000 bike, you really won’t know what you’re missing.

What I like about the Polygon Xtrada is that it provides a pathway to mountain biking for new riders and those on a budget. I know lots of women who are interested in trying mountain biking, but don’t really know if they will love it.

Who wants to invest a ton of money in a sport you’re not sold on?! The Xtrada provides the opportunity to get a bike that will get you out on those green, beginner trails where you can start gaining fitness and skills.

mountain biking on the polygon xtrada mountain bike

Feels Fast and Snappy, Even Climbing

I love a good hardtail mountain bike, but the hardtail I usually ride (a Chumba Sendero Ti) is a $7,000, 20 pound hardtail. Coming from that, I wasn’t sure that I was going to love the 33 pound Polygon Xtrada. (Yes, we put it on the scale).

polygon xtrada hanging from a bike scale

In fact, I put off riding the bike for as long as I could. But when I finally took the bike out for a spin, I was shocked about how speedy and capable I felt on it. Despite its weight, I felt fast on this bike!

Flat trails and climbs were surprisingly easy, and the bike felt snappy and responsive. The clock doesn’t lie and I did my usual lunchtime climb on this bike just as fast as I usually do.

I really appreciate this, because I feel like many new riders on heavy bikes decide they don’t like riding just because their bike is sluggish. While the Xtrada certainly isn’t winning any light bike awards, no one can accuse it of feeling slow.

polygon xtrada mountain bike out on the trails

Descending On Rocky Trails Wasn’t My Favorite

If I was sold on the bike while climbing, reality came crashing back in on the downhills. While the Xtrada managed reasonably well on smooth descents, throw in a few rocks and bumps, and the 120mm Suntour fork definitely hit its limitations.

I had to slow WAY down to safely navigate obstacles, and my arms hurt from the harsh suspension. In fact, it was so rough that I got a lot of audible chatter as well.

kristen riding downhill on the polygon xtrada

The sub-par suspension fork on this bike is probably the biggest con. It doesn’t have the same plush feel as a higher end fork.

If you’re sticking to smooth, green beginner trails, this may not be that much of an issue. But as your skills progress, you’ll likely want to upgrade to a more comfortable ride.

The one thing that I did appreciate about the fork is the lockout. You can turn the dial on the fork upper to the “lock” position to make it more efficient for big climbs.

Durable Components

When folks buy a “budget” mountain bike from Amazon (or similar big retailer) they’re usually buying a bike with off-brand, sub-par components. The last thing a newbie needs is a derailleur that doesn’t shift well or a wheel that’s bent.

The good news with the Polygon Xtrada is that all the components are durable. They are certainly the base level product, but come from reputable brands, and won’t leave you stranded on the side of the trail.

Of particular note are the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. Many bikes at this price point have cheaper mechanical disc brakes that don’t offer the same stopping power as hydraulic brakes. This is a major win.

The bike also has a Shimano Deore drivetrain which is the gold standard for good quality entry-level bikes. It makes nice clean shifts and is reliable. That said, the bike does have a 2x system where most modern mountain bikes have a 1x system. This means that there are two chainrings up front rather than a single chainring. This does add some weight and complexity. (If you upgrade to the Xtrada 6 or 7 they both have a 1x).

What The Bike Is Missing

It’s no surprise at this price point that the Xtrada is missing some nice to have features. In addition to a more supple fork (as mentioned earlier), the biggest drawbacks are the lack of a dropper post, tubeless-ready wheelset, and thru-axles on the wheels. All of these are the norm on modern mountain bikes.

Like all bikes of old, the wheels on the Xtrada have tubes. This makes it much more likely that you’ll get a flat tire than you would with tubeless tires. You (or your bike shop) can always convert the wheels, but that’s additional cost and effort. Additionally, the wheels have old-school quick release skewers which don’t have the same stability or safety as the more modern thru-axle design.

Finally, the bike doesn’t have a dropper post. A dropper post allows you to move the saddle down quickly for easier descending. You might not miss this in the beginning, but as you progress, you’ll likely want one. While it’s not surprising at this price not to come with a dropper, it is more surprising that it doesn’t have routing to allow you to add one later on.

When You Might Want To Consider Spending More

The Polygon Xtrada is a no-brainer for a new rider on a tight budget. But, if you think mountain biking is going to be your *thing*, you might want to spend a little more up front to get a bike that will progress with you longer.

Plan to go mountain biking a couple times this summer? The Polygon Xtrada is all you need. Plan to join a local mountain bike club and start riding 3 times per week? Spend somewhere in the $2k range to get a bike that’s going to meet your needs as you get faster and improve.

Sizing

I am 5′ 5 1/2″ and per the Polygon size chart, I chose the size medium frame. The bike comes in size S, M, L, and XL.

The small frame comes with 27.5″ wheels, the XL has 29″ wheels, and the M and L frames come with the option of one or the other. There are all kinds of arguments about which size is better, but I wouldn’t spend too much time stressing about it either way.

The one thing worth noting is that the bike does not come in an XS frame, so if you are 5’1″ you’ll have to look elsewhere. The rest of us should be able to find a good fit.

the author riding the polygon xtrada down a mountain bike trail

Ready To Go Out Of The Box

In the United States, Polygon bikes are sold direct-to-consumer through BikesOnline.com. This means that it comes in a box to your doorstep rather than to a bike shop.

Fortunately, we unbox and build a lot of bikes, and have to say this was one of the easiest unboxings we’ve had. Everything was securely packaged in the box and there was no damage.

You do have to install the front wheel, handlebar, pedals, and seat but these are all easy to do even if you’re not mechanically inclined. We did not have to mess with the brakes or drivetrain, everything was in good shape and ready to ride.

Polygron Xtrada Vs The Competition

A popular bike in the same price bracket is the Specialized Rockhopper Sport. (This was actually my first mountain bike many, many moons ago).

At $750 (suggested retail), it has many of the same components as the Xtrada including the disc brakes and fork. Like the Xtrada, it comes with 27.5″ or 29″ wheels depending on the size and has internal cable routing. It does have a 1x drivetrain that I prefer, as well as internal routing to add a dropper post.

Those factors might give the Rockhopper a slight edge, BUT you’re more likely to find a good deal on the Xtrada. At the time of this writing, for example, the Xtrada is on sale for $500 at BikesOnline. Given that kind of discount, the Xtrada is a no-brainer.

Other Stuff Worth Mentioning

  • Internal cable routing. The cables for the derailleurs and rear brake are internally routed. This helps keep things clean and tidy and is something I appreciate.
  • Bottle cage mounts. There are mounts for two bottle cages on the frame. Many bikes only have mounts for one cage so this is a nice-to-have.
  • Cross-country tires. The tires on the bike, while off-brand, have good tread and roll smoothly. The 2.25″ width is well suited for cross country riding.
  • Quick release seatpost collar. Since the bike doesn’t have a dropper post, I appreciated that it comes with a quick release seatpost collar which makes it reasonably painless to lower and raise the saddle height.
  • Saddle and pedals. Like many bikes, the pedals that come with the Xtrada are basically throw away pedals. You’ll definitely want to upgrade them with something better. Additionally, you’ll likely want to upgrade the saddle to something more comfortable and better suited to your body. I’d plan on factoring these two upgrades into the purchase price of the bike.

Bottom-Line: A Reliable “Beginner” Mountain Bike

I’ve ridden bikes that are lighter, faster, and come with a price tag that makes my eyes water. Jumping on the Polygon Xtrada, I thought I’d be longing for my usual ride, but guess what? This bike surprised me. It might be heavy, but it doesn’t feel sluggish.

Sure, it’s got a few areas where it can’t quite keep up with the pricier steeds – rocky downhills can feel a bit like a rodeo ride, and you might find yourself daydreaming about upgrades. But it’s a starting point, a way to get you hooked on the trails without having to sell a kidney.

The Polygon Xtrada is for anyone who’s been on the fence about mountain biking. It’s for the curious, the adventurers-on-a-budget, and frankly, anyone who wants to see what all the fuss is about without diving too deep into their pockets. It’s a gateway to bigger rides, better skills, and maybe, just maybe, a lifelong passion for hitting the trails.

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About The Reviewer

kristen bonkoski

Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.

An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.

Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life.  Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son.  If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.

Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.

IG: @femme_cyclist