Polygon may not be a name that crops up often in the Australian cycling scene but that may change soon if they produce more bikes like the Helios 800. Polygon make a full range of bikes from bmx to triathlon machines and they've been improving their selection for over 12 years now.
Sitting a couple of rungs down from the top of their road bike ladder is the Helios 800 which BikeExchange have been putting through its paces for the past few days.
The Helios 800 is a full carbon frame bike packaged up with some of the best componontry available and redefines the phrase 'bang for your buck'. It's tricky to define the exact customer of this bike. The Helios 800 is available at a snip under $2000. So that places it firmly in the budget of those looking to get onto a full carbon bike in the sub $2k category but we've found it to be far more capable than anything that can be considered “entry level”.
The frame uses T-700 carbon which is a very similar weave to that you will find on some high-end models. Weighing in at under 900grams for the frame (medium frame) the Helios 800 proved more than stiff enough to cope with the everyday abuse we could throw at it. Offering up a BB91 bottom bracket, power transfer is near perfect through to the pedals. The carbon fork is a striking design that doesn't taper towards the hubs which offers a benefit, both in aerodynamics and in stiffness.
The componetry on offer on our test Helios is hard to find at this price range. Full Shimano Ultegra running gear offers smooth and precise gear changes and stopping power that breeds confidence with every tug of the levers. The Fulcrum Racing 1 wheel set provides pin sharp feedback from the road whilst remaining stiff enough to withstand all the lateral forces we could muster.
Despite being such a stiff frame, the Helios 800 eliminates the worst of the road buzz through a Ritchey seat post and fizik saddle, again not a common sight in this section of the market. Ritchey also play their part in offering some carbon up front too, with their WCS logic handlebar and stem. This setup rewards the rider with sharp turn and point steering as well as some further rigidity when turning up the power.
On the road the Helios 800 is a fantastic package that is almost impossible to beat for the price. We found the k's being eaten up effortlessly and in joyous comfort on a Sunday morning cafe ride but the character also held its own with some much more expensive 'rivals' when the effort level was raised.
So this leaves us questioning whether this bike is aimed at those entering into road biking for the first time who want a bike that they won't outgrow too quickly or those who are outgrowing and want a high spec bike that is at the next level waiting for them? Either way the Polygon Helios 800 is a winner all round.
Reviewed by Chris Bremner
To search for Polygon Helios 800 bikes, click HERE
To see a video review of the Polygon Helios 800 Road Bike click HERE