Pyga OneForty650 Pascoe X01 review£4,095.00

Rugged South African hooligan gets a subtle rerub

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Bikes from South Africa’s Pyga Industries are still a rare sight on global trails. If you find yourself behind a Pascoe though take a good look – because it’s likely you’ll soon be eating its dust.

Frame and equipment: slightly slacker with new complete builds

The Pascoe was already one of our top workaholic trail bikes, and the 2015 model gets tweaked cable routing and a half-degree slacker, angled headset-compatible head tube.

On South African builds, Pyga specs a 150mm fork (the same length as the one we tested this time out, and 10mm shorter than the Pascoe we put through its paces in 2014) making for a 67-degree head angle. Pop a 160mm model on instead, like the RCT3 Pike that our last OneForty650 Pascoe was fitted with, and you'll be looking at 66.5 degrees.

The seat tube is shorter and slightly steeper than previously too, but the frame still only comes in three sizes.

SRAM takes care of the stop/go kit with a mixed x01/x1 drivetrain and guide rs brakes:
SRAM takes care of the stop/go kit with a mixed x01/x1 drivetrain and guide rs brakes:

SRAM takes care of the stop/go kit with a mixed X01/X1 drivetrain and Guide RS brakes

The ISCG mounts, PF92 bottom bracket, Syntace X12 rear axle and perfectly custom tuned Monarch Plus shock squeezed between chunky forged rocker link and extended chainstay tips all carry over.

The big kit news is that Pyga now offers complete bikes. There's one with SRAM’s new 1x11 GX groupset alongside the X01/X1 model here, with eclectic but effective finishing kit. This builds a reasonable weight bike that’s midway between boutique and big brand pricing.

Ride and handling: eerily composed trail destroyer

If we had to sum up the ride of the Pyga in one word it would be ‘quiet’. That might sound odd when describing a seriously technical trail tool, but whatever we threw the Pascoe at it remained utterly, almost eerily, composed. We certainly don’t mean dull though. In fact, when it comes to the job of finding the ragged edge limits of a bike, such a nonchalant response to our usual envelope-pushing trail sections is a definite provocation.

That meant we were soon sprinting headlong into stepped descents that we normally roll into with the brakes covered, and taking geology-ignorant straight lines through the sketchiest river rock gardens on big backcountry descents. The result was a series of descent PRs and Strava KOMs not just bested but smashed into pieces, yet still the impeccably floated 140mm (5.5in) back end made most 160mm bikes we’ve ridden feel noisy and needy.

Hop aboard the pyga and you'll soon be smashing the shortest route across most obstacles nature can put in your way:
Hop aboard the pyga and you'll soon be smashing the shortest route across most obstacles nature can put in your way:

Hop aboard the Pyga and you'll soon be smashing the shortest route across most obstacles nature can put in your way

The handling is equally well balanced. The Pascoe certainly isn’t downhill slack but it’s stable enough to fly into sections at full gas without stumbling, and fast reacting enough to keep the Onza treads constantly keyed into maximum traction even on suddenly tightening sheep-track lines.

Compared with the stiffest bikes in category there are moments when you can feel the front end flex slightly as you try to clip the most aggressive apexes. But that can actually help traction and certainly reduces hand and forearm ache on epic descents or big hill days.

It’s equally impressive under power too, staying essentially bob-free through the pedals, so we actually preferred to leave the shock’s compression damping fully open for extra traction on most climbs. Pyga has totally aced the all-rounder balance of the Pascoe, whether you’re into backcountry epics or blowing black runs to pieces. We haven’t been as reluctant to stop riding a bike and send it home for ages.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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