Kingdom Switch – The Shiny Stage Smasher

This review was part of our ‘Greater than the Sum of the Parts’ article where three member of our UK team built their own custom bikes to suit there very different riding styles.

When my creation was finally built, it was the prettiest and most amazing bike I had ever put together. Built around the super-rare titanium 160 mm Kingdom Switch frameset, I didn’t know whether to ride it or wear it around my wrist for a rap video! I spent hours checking it out in the stand, amazed by its unique looks. Normally I can build any bike with ease, but the Di2, with all its joints and wires needing to be fitted internally through the frame, bars, and stem, left me stumped, so the local bike shop had to step in! I could have quite easily gone with a standard bar/stem combo and left the wires out on display, but the quality Pro Tharsis cockpit, with its cable integration, offered a cleaner and more integrated style.

Kingdom Switch Titanium Enduro

There seemed to be a bit of getting used to things in the cockpit; the bars have a different rake than I’m used to, and the brakes are sharp as hell. The Maguras were chosen because they are simple, powerful, and the pads are very easy to change with their magnetic fitment. However, I’m used to the smooth control of Hopes, so the savage bite of the Maguras is something that will take some getting used to.

Kingdom Switch Titanium Enduro

The X-Fusion Metric fork really soaks up everything well, I mean exceptionally well – I knew from the moment I heard the new Rough Cut damper was going to be inserted that they would be a fair match for the legendary Fox 36. Sporting a hefty 180mm of travel, they never seem any harder to climb despite their extra travel. (I tend to avoid races with tons of flat stages nowadays anyway.) As I climb up the ascents on this 31lb (14kg) race machine with all its plush travel, I’m amazed by just how well it pedals with the incredible dual-circuit Push ElevenSix shock’s climb switch engaged, oval Absolute Black chainring, 42-tooth XT cassette, and Maxxis’ rear Minion semi-slick tyre.
Climbing with the Push coilover actually feels easier than using an air shock on the ups, with absolutely no bob even when standing. I had heard amazing reports about this high-end shock and knew it wouldn’t let me down; I certainly wasn’t disappointed, even though it comes in with an extra pound (1/2 kg) of weight.

Kingdom Switch Titanium Enduro

The gear shifting of Shimano’s XTR Di2 is just a joy to behold: so smooth, so efficient, and ridiculously accurate in its indexing. This just adds to this bike’s bling appeal, as it clicks through every gear change with a similar sound to that of a digital camera taking a snap. I have been testing the Di2 for some time in every condition and have realised it’s not just a fad – it really is that good.

This bike gets noticed in a big way. So many people look at it, asking what make it is and where it’s from… and I have to admit to being an eternal show off, so I like the attention it draws. When talking of bling and performance, let’s not forget the wheels: Enve’s M60s fitted to Chris King Hubs are not exactly the cheapest out there, but these things rip, stay true, and are light and stiff as hell.

Kingdom Switch Titanium Enduro

So as they say, “The proof is in the pudding,” and when you aim the Kingdom Switch downhill that’s when the reward is at its greatest. The DH bike feel of the Push shock rocking 160mm of the plushest rear travel mixed with 180mm on the front is insane, and when you add into the mix the feel of the bump-soaking titanium frame and slack 65 degree head angle (with the longer fork) this makes for one hell of a ride.

Editor’s Note:
Jim pushed a little too far and went down hard, breaking his ankle. He is looking forward to getting back onto the Kingdom Switch to tame the titanium beast.


Kingdom Switch: Kingdom’s brand-new, 160mm travel big-hitter handmade out of blingtastic titanium.


XTR Di2 Absolute Black oval ring XT 42/11 cassette: The Di2 is indexing perfection, light as hell, and as the rear mech hugs the cassette, there is a reduced chance of rock strikes.


Enve M60: I love these, as they are stiffer and give a much more precise line, plus they are noticeably faster on the rolling speed.

Maxxis HR2 and Minnion SS: Great rubber for fast rolling with lots of trustworthy grip.


Magura Raceline MT7: Rare like the frame, powerful enough to stop a truck, and with very easily replaceable separate pads for simple maintenance.


Push ElevenSix shock: Best of both worlds – DH bike performance on the rough stages with a climb switch to help on the ups.


X-Fusion Metric: This is the big-hitting 180mm version fitted with the new Rough Cut damping system.


X-Fusion Hilo SL: This appealed to me with its 150mm of drop, easily maintainable cable operation, and its unique trigger, which only needs a steady tap from any direction to operate.


Pro Tharsis Trail Carbon Di2 compatible: 35mm stem for ultimate control and bars cut to 760 mm. This Di2 combo hides any unsightly wires in their special little slots.


Ergon GE1: The wider shaped grips, my favourite by far for extra security and comfort at high speed.

Additional: I am running a Fabric Scoop saddle on the Kingdom Switch (mega comfortable, waterproof, and well built). Frame and mud protection is from my usual favourite of Rockguardz – their sleek little carbon frame guard and mudguard are light, strong, and the best looking out there.

People talk of titanium having too much flex, but believe me this really isn’t an issue – this thing soaked up everything in the vertical and is seriously stiff laterally. It takes everything you throw at it with ease. This is truly an amazing bike with capabilities far beyond my skill limits, and I look forward to a future of pushing this machine as far as I can to see exactly what it can do.

Other bikes from this feature: Liteville 301 | Kinesis MAXLIGHT FF29

Words: Jim Buchanan Photos: Trev Worsey

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