Chromag Stylus review

Burly Canadian all-rounder

Our rating 
2.5 out of 5 star rating 2.5
GBP £3,049.00 RRP
Custom build
Chromag Stylus Custom

Our review

With a 170mm fork, the Stylus is too high off the floor and had me practically tiptoeing downhill
Pros: Sturdy, super-solid frame can handle plenty of abuse; relatively comfy ride for such a burly hardtail
Cons: Cornering feels more ‘teetering’ then ‘planted’; long fork causes dramatic increase in effective frame reach as it moves through its travel, pulling your weight forward
Skip to view product specifications

Chromag is a brand from British Columbia with a strong, rider-focused image and a wide selection of steel and titanium hardtails. The line-up includes super-slack and stretched-out machines like the far-out, 62-degree head-angled Doctahawk, and this do-it-all Stylus – aimed at mountain riding plus a bit of jumping and mucking about.

Advertisement

Made using Chromag’s most robust tubeset, the frame should handle heavy landings and rough terrain. The steep-seat-angled Stylus is designed to both climb and descend, with the focus on hitting whatever drops, gaps and sends present themselves along the way.

Chromag Stylus frame

Chromag Stylus
DT Swiss’s super-smooth E 1700 wheels are comfy, fast and a cut above the competition.
Mick Kirkman

The frame is constructed from thick-walled 4130 chromoly, with a stubby head tube and zero-stack headset that mean you can get the handlebar really low if required.

This head tube also features extra-thick material and flanges to resist the additional loads from longer forks. The butted and tapered tubes have a distinctive kink at the top/seat tube junction and a special ‘Yokel’ chainstay plate – a CNC’ed yoke allowing extra driveside tyre and chainring clearance.

The Boost rear end is 148mm wide, with tiny CNC-machined dropouts and a steel brace on the non-driveside. While the 63.5-degree head angle is similar to other hardtails I had on test — at least when the fork is fully extended — the Stylus has less bottom bracket (BB) drop.

Chromag Stylus kit

You can only buy the Stylus as a frame, and you’ll need to contact Chromag directly. Its UK parts distributors Hotlines built us this custom bike with some superb components.

Fox’s latest 170mm 36 Float fork with GRIP2 damper is sophisticated and controlled, offering sorted tracking and calmness over the roughest repeated hits. The oversize Chromag bar and stem combo is also top-drawer, and brings razor-sharp precision to the steering. I’d forgotten how un-ergonomic the older plunger-style remote for RockShox’s Reverb dropper post is though.

The 30mm (internal) DT Swiss E 1700 wheels spread and stabilise the latest, improved WTB tyres nicely for good comfort, plus the alloy rims feel smooth over bumps and roll/accelerate really fast.

Chromag Stylus ride impressions

Chromag Stylus
An MRP upper guide prevents the chain from being jiggled off the chainring over rough terrain.
Mick Kirkman

The Stylus is designed to work with a 150 to 170mm fork. My bike’s 170mm fork made the already high BB even taller, which all testers commented on, and became a defining aspect of the Canadian machine.

Next up is its near-15kg weight, which impacts on getting uphill rapidly, although the seated climbing position is excellent for extended efforts.

The wide stem, 35mm-bore bar and thick-walled tubes make for a solid-feeling ride, with huge directional stiffness and precise steering.

Thankfully, because the Fox fork is so refined, the ride is way smoother than expected from such a burly frame. In fact, despite the Stylus being optimised for durability, in terms of vibration reduction and ‘rattle-factor’, it delivers a quiet, calm ride over smaller chatter, and rolls fast on smoother trails too, with a reassuringly dull feel to the chassis.

Thud harder into rocks and roots in the roughest sections, though, and it’s clear the frame is rock solid, so there’s an unyielding sensation when landing big drops and jumps.

On steeper technical trails, the Stylus’s tall BB and long fork left me feeling way too high off the floor. When cranking stood up I felt tipped forwards, and when the trail difficulty ramped up I was more nervous to ride down some of the steeper chutes and corners, due to the unnerving sensation of feeling like I was being pulled over the front. A shorter-travel fork would help, but not fully remedy this.

The Stylus had me taking my feet off and ‘sketching’ down trail sections I was confidently flowing through on other bikes, which indicates just how unplanted I felt and how low on-board confidence levels were.

Advertisement

Chromag Stylus geometry (L)

  • Seat angle: 75.2 degrees
  • Head angle: 63.5 degrees
  • Chainstay: 16.89in / 41.9cm
  • Seat tube: 17.01in / 43.2cm
  • Top tube: 25.51in / 64.8cm
  • Bottom bracket height: 12.91in / 32.8cm
  • Wheelbase: 48.23in / 1,225mm
  • Reach: 19.06in / 48.4cm

Product Specifications

Product

Price GBP £3049.00
Weight 14.92kg (L) – (without pedals)
Brand Chromag

Features

Available sizes S, M/L, L
Bottom bracket Shimano Hollowtech II
Brakes Shimano Deore XT M8020, 203mm/180mm rotors
Cassette Shimano SLX, 11-46
Chain Shimano
Cranks Shimano Deore XT M8000, 32t
Fork Fox 36 Float Factory FIT GRIP2, 170mm (6.7in) travel
Frame Butted 4130 chromoly
Handlebar Chromag Fubars OSX, 800mm
Rear derailleur himano Deore XT M8000 (1x11)
Saddle Nukeproof Warhead
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth, 170mm
Shifter Shimano Deore XT M8000
Stem Chromag BZA, 35mm
Tyres WTB Vigilante Light/High Grip 27.5x2.5in (f) and Tough/Fast Rolling 27.5x2.5in (r)
Wheels DT Swiss E 1700 Spline 30 rims on DT Swiss 350 hubs