Pyga bikes are the latest project to come from South African suspension bike supremo Patrick Morewood, and the OneTwenty650 is the 120mm (4.7in) travel, intermediate-wheeled sibling of the equally self explanatory OneTen29. You shouldn’t let the short travel fool you though, this bike is a genuine giant killer.
Ride and handling
If any bike ever had a Napoleon complex, it’s the OneTwenty. However hard we rode it into stuff, it never once got baulked or blown off the trail and it consistently recomposed itself after drops quicker and straighter.
It always seemed to have enough extra space and grip left to pull any cornering line in even tighter and exit even faster than seemed plausible.
It’s not just a case of it having a fantastic front end either. Yes, the 780mm Boobar is an absolute crowbar when it comes to levering a bike through the tightest roughest lines, but it’ll also make any frame with flex issues feel like wet lettuce. The same applies to the super stable, grippy-as-hot-chewing-gum Trailstar compound Hans Dampf tyres.
Hard as we ripped the OneTwenty round corners and wrestled it against the grain of the trail, it never once stumbled or flexed off line. Even when we switched to a 740mm bar, to check it wasn’t just the Boobar effect, it stayed locked on whatever trail target we picked, however dirty the dogfight.
Equally, the peerless hard turning, impact erasing, ‘you don’t even realise it’s moving apart from the fact you can’t feel any of those rocks you can see’ performance of the OneTwenty’s BOS fork is undoubtedly a stunning piece of suspension hardware to have up front. If the rear end of the bike isn’t totally on point, though, it’s the equivalent of daring the shock to go skinny dipping and then hiding its clothes.
Do that to a shock delivering 20mm less travel than the Deville and with most bikes you couldn’t embarrass the back end more. However the cunning rear pivot placement and floating shock mount of Pyga made a point of dismissing any speed killing debris or sphincter twitching drops with equal contempt to the fork.
It seemed to take pride in using as few strokes as possible in the process too, so even with only 120mm (4.7in) of wheel movement we rarely bottomed out and never felt it obviously when we did. Despite clocking the excellent Strava descent splits, it always felt safe and didn’t pinch flat during testing.
Whichever chainring you’re in, the OneTwenty also pedals with an equal contempt to all the usual trade-offs between bounce or traction. It went up properly technical climbs like it had a winch on the bars, leaving the single pivots spitting traction and spinning their wheels whether we were max torquing or smoothly spinning.
If there’s one criticism we could level, it’s that it’s got no obvious character traits or flamboyant feedback through the pedals or bars, and we had to push way beyond our usual parameters to get it feeling sketchy enough for a ‘near-miss’ thrill. Once we’d realised what it’s implausible control levels let us get away with and started fully exploiting it, though, we never stopped grinning.
Frame and equipment
The heavily reinforced tapered head tube, big curved down tube, squat standover, massive reinforced upper extension of the asymmetric seat tube, stout rear stays, Syntace screw in 142x12mm and super short, chunky cut rocker linkage all tally perfectly with a bike that punches well above its travel.
The Monarch rear shock ‘floats’ between linkage and extended chainstay tips rather than the mainframe and the frame will take a 130 to 140mm fork too.
According to Pyga, ISCG mount will probably be fitted to future frames but at least the conventional bottom bracket means you can use a plate mount chain device and the semi internal cable routing is neatly done. Pyga don’t produce complete bikes, but where it’s relevant we have referenced the kit here.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.