I introduced the Origin 8 Paladin 29′er here and also did a brief test ride on the bike at Bootleg Canyon during Interbike which you can read about here. Now I will get into some of the technical features of the bike and give you another “First Impression” on this swank looking carbon fiber hard tail.

On Test October 002

But First…. I mentioned in my introduction that I had made some changes to the set up. As it was sent to me, the Origin 8 Paladin wasn’t heavy, at a bit more than 23lbs, but I knew the wheels and tires were really not what most riders would use on a frame and fork of this caliber. (Not that you couldn’t, I just thought it was unlikely.) So, in an effort to better reflect on the attributes of this frame, (namely- lightweight possibilities), I went ahead and traded out the wheel set for an old Edge, (now Enve), carbon wheel set and new tires. (We tested the Edge wheel set here.)

Now with Bontrager 29-1 tires on the Edge/Enve wheels, the weight has come down to a paltry 19.1 lbs. That’s with the Shimano pedals installed, ready to ride. (And with tubes, alloy handle bar, alloy seat post, and heavy brake set.) So, now that I have the weight down to a “respectable level” :) , I will continue on with the “Out Of The Box” section of this report.

On Test October 004

Geometry: The Paladin carbon frame and fork feature pretty reasonable numbers for a hard tail bike. Nothing too out of the ordinary here. Let’s take a look….

Size 19″ medium (tested, a 17″ and a 21″ are also listed as being available)
Seat Tube: 482.6mm
Top Tube: 610mm
Head Tube: 125mm
Seat tube angle: 73.0′
Head tube angle: 71.5′
Chain Stay: 450mm
Seat Post dia: 31.6mm

My checks on the measurements seem to bear out the provided numbers here. By the way, the wheel base is 1100mm and the fork axle to crown is 470mm. I didn’t get a fork offset figure on this fork.

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The Build: The Paladin came decked out in a white motif X-9 group and is a 2 X 10 set up. The bottom bracket on the Paladin is the BB-30 standard, (not Press Fit 30 on this one), and the brake caliper mounts are IS type. The brakes here are the Clarke’s which J&B Importers brings into the U.S. market. october testing 11 018
The brakes have a nice red anodized blade which is a tasteful offset to the black and white theme here. Origin 8 parts figure heavily in the cockpit with stem, bars, grips, seat post, and flashy white, black, and red motif saddle bearing the marque of the “8″. These parts are black for the most part, (with the exception of the saddle), and work off the graphics on the frame well. The wheels, just to recap, are Edge/Enve rims laced to American Classic hubs with DT Swiss Aerolite spokes.

The build is pretty straight forward, (with the exception of my wheels here), and is reliable, workable stuff that shouldn’t be temperamental, or problematic. The wheels have proven themselves under several different testers and over a long period. No worries there either. A lightweight, no fuss, no muss flyer? Yes, it would be apparent that is the case. At least outside of the frame, and we’ll aim to see about that!

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The frame itself is another example of the way carbon fiber can be shaped and molded which results in organic, over-sized shapes which are a direct opposite of bikes like the Milwaukee Bicycle Company 29″er we are testing here. The frame uses the fast becoming familiar internal cable routing, all through the top tube and seat stays. (I would dread changing out cables!) We also have the tapered head tube with accordingly tapered steer tube carbon fork here as well. Everything looks big and beefy, but is lightweight, obviously.

Speaking of looks, the bike gets nods of approval whenever it is seen by folks. It would seem that the black and white graphic treatment comes off as “classy looking” to most who see it. I’d have to admit that Origin 8 did a pretty nice job with regard to the overall look here.

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First Impressions: The Paladin was a bit overwhelmed in the rocks of Bootleg Canyon due to the rigid fork, and I decided to cut the ride short, since without a suspension fork, and with a bike that was so light and quicker handling, the prospects of a crash seemed pretty high to me. More about saving my skin there than the bike’s handling. ;) I did say the bike seemed short-ish, but now upon further inspection, I have found it to be very close to what I would set it up with as far as stem, saddle set back, etc.

Now I think what I felt was the shorter axle to crown in combination with the rigid nature of the front end. Most hard tails we rode were higher in the front, and used longer, 100mm travel forks. Now on my local trails I can feel that the Paladin is not as twitchy as I was thinking it may be, but there is no doubt that the bike is a bit more of a handful with the rigid fork. Even though this fork is somewhat compliant, (in relative terms, of course), the rigidity of the Paladin’s front end makes the bike rather nervous in the rougher parts of the trail. It would seem that a bigger tire, compliant rigid fork, and forgiving bars are still not enough if the frame itself is not giving you a hundredth of a millimeter of flex.

That same rigidity is met by my legs as I pound on the pedals on this bike. No flex that I can determine exists here. The BB-30 bottom bracket doesn’t necessarily reveal any more efficiency that I can tell, but it certainly isn’t flexy, and the bike goes when the pedals are pushed hard. In terms of saddle feel, so far I would put the frame on par with many other carbon hard tails. That is to say, it does a decent job of killing off higher frequency chatter, but…….it is a hard tail. ;)

The difference here can be partially traced to the 31.6mm alloy seat post, which has far more stiffness than the seat post on the Raleigh Talus Pro Carbon, (being tested here) which has a seat post which exhibits significant flex. Taken into account, the rest of the Talus is very similar in ride feel to the Paladin. More time will be needed in the saddle to sus out more concerning this, and that’s just what I plan on doing. Stay tuned for a Mid-term Update coming soon….

Origin 8 sent the Paladin carbon bike for testing and review at no charge. We are not being bribed or paid for this review. We will strive to give our honest views and opinions throughout.