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Polygon Siskiu T8 Review

The Polygon Siskiu T8 is a solid all-around trail bike and one of our highest rated budget-friendly models.
The component specification or build of each bike varies significantly and is a huge factor that affects each model's overall performance. The Polygon Siskiu T8 has a great build.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $2,499 List
Pros:  Nice component spec, well rounded performance, versatile
Cons:  Came with wrong size dropper post, moderately heavy
Manufacturer:   Polygon
By Jeremy Benson, Kyle Smaine  ⋅  May 6, 2019
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87
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 9
  • Fun Factor - 30% 9
  • Downhill - 35% 9
  • Climbing - 35% 8

Our Verdict

Polygon is one of several bike brands that is operating with a consumer direct sales model. This allows them to skip the middle man and pass the savings on to the consumer so you can theoretically get more for your money. This is the case with the Siskiu T8, an affordable mid-travel trail bike that has a build and performance that far exceed the asking price. The Siskiu put up a good fight for our Editor's Choice Award with an excellent well-rounded performance and capable composed trail manners. It was bested by the Yt Jeffsy this time around but still earned our Top Pick Award. This bike climbs well, descends even better, and truly impressed our testers for a bike in this price range. This bike is a solid value and a great entry-level trail bike that does it all well.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Siskiu T8 is a great trail bike that punches above its weight class.
The Siskiu T8 is a great trail bike that punches above its weight class.

Should I Buy this Bike?


The Siskiu T8 has a great all-around performance and was a close runner up for our Editor's Choice Award. This mid-travel trail bike is comfortable and downright fun to ride up, down, and all around. It doesn't particularly excel at any specific thing, it's just good at everything. The more we rode the Siskiu, the more we grew to like it and it quickly became a tester favorite for its consistent and well-rounded performance that responds well to rider input and doesn't hold you back from getting after it. The geometry is modern, but far from extreme, and the 140mm of front and rear wheel suspension feels balanced and performs better than most bikes in this price range. High speeds or low speeds, mellow or gnarly, we didn't find a situation where the Siskiu felt out of place. This is one of only two bikes in this review that our testers felt truly comfortable riding as hard as they could, a huge compliment for such an affordable bike.

The Siskiu gave the YT Jeffsy AL Base a run for its money, but in the end, it was the Jeffsy that came out on the top step of the podium as our Editor's Choice Award winner. The Jeffsy also has a build and performance that far exceed the asking price, and this well-rounded trail slayer feels a little more playful than the Siskiu and costs around $200 less.

If speed is your thing then we'd point you towards the Cannondale Habit 6, a long and slack model that has seemingly no speed limit and thrives on fast and flowy trails. The Habit isn't quite as capable of a climber, but it sure is a blast at speed. If you're seeking the most impressive value, the Giant Trance 3 is almost as capable and fun, but with a significantly lower price tag.

The Siskiu T8 won't hold you back and it doesn't cost a fortune either.
The Siskiu T8 won't hold you back and it doesn't cost a fortune either.

Fun Factor


When asked what he thought about the Siskiu, one of our testers said, "I couldn't wipe the smile off my face". It's true, we all saw it, he was grinning ear to ear while riding this bike. Our testers love riding bikes, but this isn't the typical response when testing the bikes in this price range. Feeling 100% confident in a bike and its components really allows you to focus on riding and not thinking about the bike keeping up with your intentions.


The well-rounded performance of the Siskiu T8 is one of the main reasons this bike is so fun to ride. Whether you're just cruising or trying to beat your own time on a descent, the Siskiu feels composed and ready for whatever comes your way. The quality component spec doesn't hurt and certainly helps this bike feel more shred ready than most of the other bikes in this review. It's not the most playful bike on descents, nor does it feel comletely glued to the ground, it strikes a nice balance where it likes the occasional side hit and really wants to just rally down your intended line.

"I couldn't wipe the smile off my face." The Siskiu T8 is really a blast to ride.
"I couldn't wipe the smile off my face." The Siskiu T8 is really a blast to ride.

When the dust settled, we rated the Siskiu at the top of the pack along with the YT Jeffsy for its consistently entertaining ride. The Jeffsy is just as well rounded but has a slightly higher propensity for getting off the ground. Another of the most fun bikes in this review is the Kona Hei Hei Trail. The Hei Hei leans a little more towards the XC side of things, but it's as playful as any bike in this review making it a blast to ride.

Downhill Performance


For most riders, their primary reason for riding is ripping the descents. The Siskiu T8 is no slouch on the downhill and can hold its own far better than most people would expect for a sub-$2500 bike. If our testers stoke levels were any indication, this bike inspired the confidence to charge on the descents with a balanced feel that worked well at all speeds and trail types and never made us feel the need to hold back.


A bike's geometry is one of the biggest factors that influences its downhill abilities and Polygon nailed it with the Siskiu. They gave it a modern numbers without going to extremes with the length of the wheelbase or reach which helps to explain why it performs so well all-around. The measured head tube angle of 66.25-degrees hits a good sweet spot that is slack enough to charge into rock gardens or steeper trails while not being too slack resulting in sluggish handling. The 1194mm wheelbase is moderately long, not so long that it loses playfulness or struggles at lower speeds or in corners, but long enough that when combined with the 438mm chainstays give it excellent stability at speed. Our testers agreed that the geometry felt dialed and there wasn't anywhere this bike didn't perform well on descents as a result.

There's no need to dial it back on the Siskiu. It inspires the confidence to charge.
There's no need to dial it back on the Siskiu. It inspires the confidence to charge.

The Siskiu's build is one of the most impressive in this review, another factor that really works in its favor on descents. The suspension is slightly higher-end than all of the competitors, other than the YT Jeffsy, and it feels balanced, relatively plush, and sturdy. The RockShox Revelation fork has larger stanchions and a stiffer chassis than forks like the Recon found on other models and flexes less under braking and steering, plus it is more tuneable. The rear suspension design and shock feel solid, supportive in the mid-stroke with a progressive ramp up to the end of its travel. This suspension generally worked very well, though we found it to be a little harsh in high-frequency chop, adjusting the air volume spacers could likely fix this issue.

This bike performs well at a huge range of speeds.
This bike performs well at a huge range of speeds.

The cockpit setup is dialed straight from the box and we didn't feel the need to make any changes. We were dismayed by the shorter than advertised dropper seat post that came on our test model, but that didn't take away from this bike's downhill prowess. Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires haven't been our favorite in the past, but we were surprised to love the way they performed on this bike. The width of the rims seemed to pair especially well with the tire width and gave them a nice square profile that maintained excellent cornering traction and exceeded our expectations.

Uphill Performance


The Siskiu complements its stellar downhill abilities with a solid climbing performance. It's not a featherweight XC bike by any means, and at 31lbs 8oz its right up there with the heavier models in this review. It really doesn't feel all that heavy, actually, it felt like one of the fastest rolling and easiest climbers of the bunch.


It has a somewhat middle of the road geometry that puts the rider in a comfortable seated pedaling position. The 74.5-degree seat tube angle feels appropriately steep and puts you almost right above the cranks for solid power transfer. The reach is moderate at 448mm so you don't feel too stretched out or too cramped, and steering input feels very direct and not prone to wandering. The 1194mm wheelbase is a nice length that never feels too long and is quite capable in low speed technical and tight terrain.

It's no slouch on the climbs and the Nobby Nic tires provide good climbing traction.
It's no slouch on the climbs and the Nobby Nic tires provide good climbing traction.

The rear suspension is relatively active, especially at the very top of the stroke. While seated and pedaling it didn't result in too much bobbing, although more than the YT, when out of the saddle the suspension movement was more noticeable. The three position compression damping switch helps to reduce pedal bob and we found the middle, "trail", setting to feel somewhat more efficient for extended periods of climbing.

Build


The Siskiu T8 just barely squeaks into our under $2500 review and is the most expensive model in this test with a quality component specification to match. This bike comes ready for action and you won't need to upgrade or change anything about it before heading out to ride. In this price range, a few hundred dollars goes a long way when it comes to components and the differences in performance can be quite dramatic. This is the case with the Siskiu and the YT Jeffsy AL Base, both of which have superior builds and performance compared to the other models in this review. One interesting thing about the Siskiu is that it comes with either 27.5" or 29" wheels depending on the frame size. Small and medium frames are offered in 27.5", and medium, large, and XL frames are available in 29".

The RockShox Revelation fork is beefy and tuneable. The RockShox Deluxe RT3 rear shock is fantastic.
The RockShox Revelation fork is beefy and tuneable. The RockShox Deluxe RT3 rear shock is fantastic.

The 29" wheeled Siskiu we tested has 140mm of front and rear wheel travel. Polygon has spec'd a nice-for-the-price RockShox Revelation RC fork up front. The Revelation is beefy and stout feeling, especially when compared to some of the flimsier forks found on bikes in this price range. A RockShox Deluxe RT3 Debonair shock handles the rear suspension and is highly tuneable with an adjustable air spring, rebound adjustment, and a 3-position compression damping switch. This setup feels nice and balanced front and rear.

The 2.4" Schwalbe Nobby Nic's front and rear provide lots of air volume and predictable and solid performance.
The 2.4" Schwalbe Nobby Nic's front and rear provide lots of air volume and predictable and solid performance.

The Sisikiu has a handful of their house branded Entity components attached to it and this includes the Entity XL2 wheelset. These tubeless compatible wheels have a nice modern 30mm internal rim width and feel relatively damp and burly. They've spec'd a matching set of Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires in a 2.35" width. When paired with the wide rims, the Nobby Nic's have a somewhat squared off profile and provided heaps of traction when climbing, braking, and cornering.

Polygon has a bunch of Entity components including the nice short stem  wide handlebar  and comfortable saddle. The dropper post works well and has a nice 1x under-mount style lever  though our test bike came with a 125mm post when it should have come with a 150mm version...
Polygon has a bunch of Entity components including the nice short stem, wide handlebar, and comfortable saddle. The dropper post works well and has a nice 1x under-mount style lever, though our test bike came with a 125mm post when it should have come with a 150mm version...

The cockpit setup also consists of numerous Entity components. They've put a nice modern 780mm wide handlebar and a short stout 45mm stem on the front of the bike. This combo is comfortable and provides responsive handling. The Entity saddle was more comfortable than we expected with a good width and medium density padding. The saddle sits atop an unbranded dropper seat post that is supposed to have 150mm of travel. For some unknown reason, our test bike came with a 125mm travel seat post, and out testers found themselves extending it beyond the minimum insertion line to fit on the bike, not ideal. The dropper itself worked well and we liked the under-mount 1x remote lever that it comes with.

No complaints about the Shimano SLX 11-speed drivetrain  the shifting is crisp and precise and we had plenty of range.
No complaints about the Shimano SLX 11-speed drivetrain, the shifting is crisp and precise and we had plenty of range.

A Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain is a nice touch. The 11-speed drivetrain shifts crisply and precisely and we found the 11-46 tooth cassette and 32-tooth front chainring to offer adequate gear range for virtually all situations. The Shimano BR-MT500 brakes are nothing fancy, but we found them to work very well on this bike and provide good stopping power.

Best Applications


Much like our Editor's Choice Award winner, the YT Jeffsy AL Base, the Siskiu T8 really knocked our socks off for a bike in this price range. It has a very solid all-around performance and feels comfortable on the climbs, descents, and a huge range of trail types and conditions. This is a great bike that performs well at a range of speeds and can be ridden more aggressively than many of the other models in this review thanks to its quality component specification.

The Siskiu is a good budget-friendly option for the rider who wants to be at the head of the pack.
The Siskiu is a good budget-friendly option for the rider who wants to be at the head of the pack.

Value


With a retail price of $2,499, the Siskiu just makes the price cutoff and is the most expensive model in our under $2500 review. Despite being slightly more expensive than the competition we do still feel that this represents a good value considering this is one of our highest rated models with a great all-around performance and a quality build for the price.

The consumer-direct Siskiu is a killer value with performance and components that other brands have a hard time matching at this price.
The consumer-direct Siskiu is a killer value with performance and components that other brands have a hard time matching at this price.

Conclusion


It was a tough battle for the top step of the podium in our under $2500 mountain bike review. In the end, the Siskiu T8 was just narrowly edged out by the YT Jeffsy but it remains one of our most highly regarded bikes in this price range. The Siskiu performs well on both the climbs and the descents, at any speed, and in any type of terrain. This bike is far more capable than you'd expect, with a build and confidence inspiring trail manners that exceed the asking price. If you're looking for an affordable trail bike that can do it all well we don't think you could go wrong with the Siskiu T8.

The Siskiu T8 is one of our highest rated budget friendly trail bike models. This is a solid choice for riders who really want to get after it.
The Siskiu T8 is one of our highest rated budget friendly trail bike models. This is a solid choice for riders who really want to get after it.

Other Versions


Polygon makes the Siskiu T8 in both 27.5" and 29" wheel sizes depending on the frame size. Small and Medium frames are offered with 27.5" wheels and come with a 150mm travel fork. Medium, Large, and Extra Large frames are available with 29" wheels as tested.
-The Siskiu T7, $1,899, has the same geometry as the T8 model we tested but comes with a RockShox Recon fork, X-Fusion 02 Pro rear shock, a 10-speed Shimano XT drivetrain, and Shimano BR-MT365 brakes.
-The Siskiu N8, $2,699, is a more enduro style machine that has 160mm of rear and 170mm of front wheel travel, slacker geometry, a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain, and beefy Schwalbe Magic Mary tires.

-The Siskiu N9, $2,999, has the same geometry and travel as the N8, with beefier Fox suspension, a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, TRP Slate T4 brakes, and Schwalbe Magic Mary tires.


Jeremy Benson, Kyle Smaine