South African company Pyga Industries – the brainchild of famed frame designer Patrick Morewood and Leatt cofounder Brian Hopkins – has announced two new shorter-travel carbon 29ers to complement its current range of trail bikes: the 95mm-travel Stage for full-on cross-country competition; and the 126mm-travel Stage Max for marathon racing. They’re expectedly sleek and light but it’s the progressive geometries and novel rear-end design that promises to make both bike an absolute hoot to ride.
Pyga has built both bikes with unusually long and slack front ends, with the Stage sporting a 68.5-degree head tube angle and the longer-legged Stage Max wearing a 67.5-degree front end. On average, cockpit reach is also about 15mm longer than mainstream competitors for what Pyga says is handling characteristics more in keeping with modern trail bikes.
Pyga says the new bikes are intended to handle ideally with 70mm stems
“When designing this bike, our focus was on creating a bike suitable for pros as well as the general rider,” Morewood told BikeRadar. “We therefore felt that a slacker fork angle was in order. To achieve this, we needed to extend the reach and therefore shorten the required stem length. A 70mm stem may not be regarded as short, but in stage racing or marathon terms it is. The Stage Max can be comfortably ridden with 50mm stem.”
Things get even more interesting out back with what Pyga calls ‘Plus 5’ wheel and dropout spacing. In contrast to Boost 148 – where the rear dropouts are symmetrically spread apart by 6mm and the chainrings pushed outward 3mm to match – Plus 5 keeps the chainrings exactly where they are but offsets a standard 142x12mm rear wheel 5mm to the driveside.
Both the Stage and Stage Max feature rear ends that are offset 5mm to the driveside
According to Morewood, this creates a more balanced chainline across the cassette range while also yielding a stronger wheel thanks to the more balanced spoke geometry and tension, somewhat similar to what Cannondale claims with its most recent F-Si hardtails.
In addition, Morewood claims that his Plus 5 setup does a better job of increasing wheel strength than the emerging Boost 148 hub standard, plus it doesn’t require bespoke wheels (although it does require that the rear wheel be redished to keep the rim centered).
“The common misconception with Plus 5 is that Boost does the same job, but it doesn't,” Morewood said. “In my opinion, Boost was designed primarily to accommodate the 27.5+ wheel size, to allow for more tyre clearance while retaining shorter chainstay length, thus the need to add 3mm to the chainline.”
Patrick Morewood contends that Plus 5 produces a more logical chainline than Boost 148, plus it doesn't require new wheels
“It would be counteractive to use Boost 148 as the problem of non-centered chainline would not be addressed,” he continued. “I also believe that a Boost 148 wheel is not as strong as an almost undished 142x12mm wheel. Most of the strength comes from even spoke tension on both sides of the wheel. This is particularly important when using light gauge butted spokes and nipples.”
Whatever your opinion of the Plus 5 concept, the rest of the Stage and Stage Max looks mighty appealing.
Like on the OneTen29 trail bike we reviewed (and loved) last year, Pyga fits both frames with faux-bar, single-pivot rear suspension designs with pivot positions carefully selected to yield a markedly sprightly feel under power. Clevis-style dropout pivots with large-diameter cartridge bearings promise to keep everything tight (and quiet), and removable front derailleur mounts will allow for either single- or multiple-chainring drivetrains.
There's room in the main triangle for two water bottles
Internal cable routing is featured across the board, and despite the very compact front triangles, there’s room for two water bottles inside the main triangle – a key feature for marathon racing, in particular. Pyga says that either frame will accept tyres up to 2.3 inches wide.
Full carbon fibre construction throughout keeps the claimed frame weight for the shorter-travel Stage down to just 2.3kg (5.07lb, large size, including shock, rear thru-axle, seatpost clamp, and derailleur hanger) while the Stage Max is only barely heavier at 2.4kg (5.29lb).
The brake caliper is intentionally mounted on the seatstay instead of the chainstay
Pyga will begin delivering large-sized frames in October exclusively to South African customers to start, with medium and then extra-large sizes to follow shortly thereafter. International availability is expected to begin around January 2016.
Pricing for both models is still being finalised.
For more information, visit www.pygaindustries.com