Review: Pyga Stage Max

The Pyga Stage Max is the bigger brother of the Stage marathon/ cross-country bike. With the Stage already adding some spice to the race bike category, we were keen to put the Stage Max to the test to see what it has up its sleeve.

Pyga Stage Max 1.jpg

 

The Frame


The biggest deviation from conventional design is what Pyga are calling Plus Five. A re-engineering of the rear end to correct what they believe is a huge flaw in bikes, the chainline offset. What they have done is offset the whole rear end of the Stage Max by 5mm on the drive side and in doing so reducing the chainline offset from 49mm to 44mm.

 

Why the change? Patrick Morewood explained that when the 49mm chainline offset was introduced mountain bikes were using 8-speed cassettes. The measurements then meant that the chainline was centred but as 9, 10 and 11-speed cassettes were introduced the centre chainline has shifted. The result on an 11-speed drivetrain with a 49mm offset is that the centre chainline is out by two gears. No need to worry about a new standard though, Pyga have emphasized that Plus Five is not a new standard, as all they have changed is their frames. The hubs, axle width, and wheels (aside from a change to the dishing) all remain unchanged.

 


Pyga Stage Max 9.jpg

Pyga Stage Max 11.jpg


What are the advantages of the Plus Five chainline offset?

 

Better shifting: The centred chainline and less harsh chain angles improve shifting. Poor shifting is often blamed on the drive train manufacturers, when Pyga feel that as frame designers and engineers they should take responsibility by improving the frame design.

 

Less component wear: They were also concerned about excessive wear when riding on the 11th gear (the “granny”) on a 1x11 system. When riding the Stage Max in your 11th gear the chainline is equivalent to being in your 9th gear on other bikes sporting a 49mm chainline. This significantly decreases the angle at which the chain engages the front ring in the top gear.

 

Improved rear wheel strength: Plus Five also means that the rear wheel is no longer dished, with spoke length being equal on either side of the wheel leading to improved wheel strength.

 

Pyga Stage Max 1 drivetrain.jpg

 

Heading out on my first ride, I was a surprised by how well the medium frame fit me. I couldn't find any markings and thought the guys must have made a mistake and sent us a large instead. It was only when I got home and looked at the bike's geometry online that I realized that the medium Stage Max has a healthy reach of 430mm, putting it closer to some large frames out there.

 

The only thing I would like to see tidied up is the routing of the cables on the underside of the bottom bracket. They seem to be quite exposed and it looks a bit untidy, especially considering the clean lines of the rest of the bike.

 

Pyga Stage Max 15.jpg

 

Specifications


Full Carbon fiber frame and rocker
29" wheels
126mm rear travel / 140mm fork
Can take 2 water bottles inside frame
+FIVE chain line concept
Sizes: M, L, XL
Internal and external routing for all cables including a shock lock-out.

 

Components


Pyga have really nailed the component choice of the Stage Max "GX PIKE RC" build on our test bike. It features a full SRAM GX 11-speed drivetrain with a 32T chainring. The only personal change I would make is to swap out the fairly thin Race Face Half Nelson grips for something with a bit more squish. Other than that, every piece of kit deserves its place on the bike. Shifting was good and the impact of the Pyga's +FIVE chainline offset was noticeable, with less cross chain when in granny gear. The fork is a Rockshox Pike RC with a 140mm travel and, as one would expect from a Pike, its performance was top notch.

 

Full Specification List:

 

[spec_list][spec_list_row='Frame']PYGA Stage Max[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Rear Shock']RockShox Monarch RT3[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Fork']Pike RC 29 140mm[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Brakes']SRAM Guide RS[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Rear Derailleur']SRAM GX 1x11[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Shifters']SRAM GX 1x11 Trigger[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Crankset']SRAM GX 1400 175 32T[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Bottom Bracket']SRAM BB Pressfit 89.5mm[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Cassette']SRAM XG 1175 10-42[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Chain']SRAM PC1170 11S[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Wheelset']SRAM Roam 40 29"[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Tyres']Maxxis Ikon 29x2.25 (Tested with Onza Ibex 29x2.25")[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Headset']Canecreek CC ZS44/ZS56[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Handlebar']KORE Mega riser 760mm[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Stem']KORE Cubix 50mm[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Grips']KORE Ikon Lock On Grip[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Saddle']KORE Durox Saddle[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Seatpost']SRAM Reverb Stealth 125 30.9[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row='Weight as tested']Actual Weight: 12.25kg (Size Medium as tested)[/spec_list_row][/spec_list]

On the Trail


Bike ridden on
  • Bottelary Hills Green and Red Loop starting from Zevenwacht
  • Meerendal
  • Jonkershoek Red & Neverending Story
The 760mm handlebar and 50mm stem places the rider in a commanding position and, thanks to the healthy reach, there is enough breathing space to move around. Climbing is good with little to no sign of bob or any pedalling inefficiency, which allowed me to keep the shock fully open for most of my rides. The more enthusiastic marathon riders may opt to run some form of pedalling platform as it does firm the rear up and, perhaps more importantly, makes the bike sit a little higher in its travel.

 

Despite never feeling super fast, the Stage Max took some climbing PR's on my usual "review loop" around Bottelary Hills. I put that down to a bit of excitement, as I was loving my time out there on the Stage Max, which could have added a couple of watts to the mix. It also helps that the all-in weight is only 12,25 kg which is very good for a trail 29er sporting a no compromise build and only around 750g heavier than the racier Stage.

 

Pyga Stage Max 14.jpg

 

On less manicured trails, the Stage Max continues to impress. With the pivot placed near the rear axle, the Pyga Stage Max comes as close to a split pivot as it could and in doing so does an excellent job of keeping the rear suspension active under braking through the rough stuff, helping the rear wheel to stay in contact with the trail.

 

Pyga Stage Max 8.jpg


Pyga Stage Max 17.jpg

Pyga Stage Max 16.jpg


The beauty of a bike like this is that as soon as the terrain becomes varying it is happy to play the all-rounder game, easily switching between an able climber and single track slayer. The thoughtful component choice also means that the bike is not let down by any single part and as a complete package, it just gets the job done.

 

Single track manners are very good and the bike will be well suited to most of the trails in South Africa. The Stage Max rides like a live-wire and does not mind quick direction changes and being wrestled around. Thankfully the fork and rear suspension keep up through the rough stuff, adding to the bike's playful nature. The bottom bracket height does give the bike a bit of an "on top" feel, but results in fewer pedal strikes and with the overall balance of the bike as good as it is, I wouldn't want to start tinkering with the geometry.

 

Verdict


Pyga Stage Max 2.jpg

 

Pyga made the Stage Max to be a "marathon bike on steroids, for trail riders that want to ride marathons" and I couldn't agree more. It must have been tempting to knock another degree off the head angle and drop the bottom bracket a few more millimetres, but the intention of this bike was never to fight it out on the EWS circuit. The Stage Max takes the speed of the Stage and adds a further dose of fun and trail confidence to the mix. The outcome of which is a 29er trail bike that will comfortably do duty at your local enduro, trail park, or marathon race.

 

Pros

  • A very versatile and lively ride
  • Component specification is spot on
  • As bang up to date as it needs to be
  • Great all rounder
  • Solution to carry two water bottles in the main frame is quite clever
Cons
  • Grips were too thin for my liking
  • Routing around the bottom of the bottom bracket is untidy




19 Comments

Mawbs, Oct 17 2016 03:21

Sooo whats the bottom line on that machine ??

BaGearA, Oct 17 2016 03:28

I really like the idea of not having to dish my rear wheel...

nonky, Oct 17 2016 04:59

how much?  Is this supposed to compete with the Camber or equivalent?

 

 

 

A mate just bought a Pyga Stage (his 1st pyga) and he absolutely LOVES it. 

Plentipotential, Oct 17 2016 05:09

Grips can be fixed, anyone sorted that very untidy cable routing?

Iwan Kemp, Oct 17 2016 05:24

Sooo whats the bottom line on that machine ??

 

https://www.bikehub....89?source=topic

 

how much?  Is this supposed to compete with the Camber or equivalent?

 

 

 

A mate just bought a Pyga Stage (his 1st pyga) and he absolutely LOVES it. 

 

R75k

Iwan Kemp, Oct 17 2016 05:26

Grips can be fixed, anyone sorted that very untidy cable routing?

 

Thing is with the routing as is you will need a bit of slack as it would need that extra length when at full travel. Some brands recommend ±25mm around the BB. Not a huge issue, or issue at all really. Just doesn't sit well with my OCD

Odinson, Oct 17 2016 05:29

Nice looking bike. Generally, I'm not a fan of bikes that have different travel numbers back and front, but it isn't always a deal breaker.

 

But I'd much rather take a Jeffsy!

EmptyB, Oct 17 2016 05:58

Just dont have R75k lying around.....wish I did!

Tatt, Oct 17 2016 10:08

Cable routing on mine after close on 4000 kay's.  No issues or damage.

 

 


Attached Images

  • 20161017_220257_resized.jpg

JXV, Oct 17 2016 11:57

So the cable routing under the BB looks scrappy.....but the internal routing wasn't used?

Lighthouse, Oct 18 2016 08:23

Awesome looking machine. I know very little about the tech side of things, what does dished wheel mean and are the spokes not equal in length?

JXV, Oct 18 2016 08:59

In normal rear wheels the hub flanges to which the spokes attach are off centre to make space for the cassette, so the spoke angle is flatter on the drive side. The asymmetrical spoke angles result in the term "dish". This makes for higher spoke tension on drive side and makes the wheel less stiff than it could be but centres it in the frame. On the Stage the frame offsets the whole rear axle/hub assembly 5mm to drive side so the wheel rim must be shifted 5mm to left relative to the hub/axle in order to keep it lined up with the bike frame's centreline.

This equalises spoke angle and tension somewhat making the wheel potentially stiffer for same average spoke tension.

If converting an existing wheel the spoke lengths change less than 1mm so it may not be necessary to change the spokes if they are still healthy (but wiser to fit new if they are well used).


Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

Gen, Oct 18 2016 09:13

It's a beautiful bike[emoji7]

Speeltyd, Oct 18 2016 10:43

Really considered this bike - took it for a full day spin as well, and enjoyed it.

In the end, bought the Specialized Camber Comp Carbon, fitted carbon wheels and XT brakes and still has R10k change.

Lighthouse, Oct 18 2016 10:53

In normal rear wheels the hub flanges to which the spokes attach are off centre to make space for the cassette, so the spoke angle is flatter on the drive side. The asymmetrical spoke angles result in the term "dish". This makes for higher spoke tension on drive side and makes the wheel less stiff than it could be but centres it in the frame. On the Stage the frame offsets the whole rear axle/hub assembly 5mm to drive side so the wheel rim must be shifted 5mm to left relative to the hub/axle in order to keep it lined up with the bike frame's centreline.

This equalises spoke angle and tension somewhat making the wheel potentially stiffer for same average spoke tension.

If converting an existing wheel the spoke lengths change less than 1mm so it may not be necessary to change the spokes if they are still healthy (but wiser to fit new if they are well used).


Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

Fascinating. Thanks for this info, never actually thought about it, now I know.

awesme, Oct 18 2016 11:10

awesome ride :)

 

Have had mine now for 7 months.

 

G

Headshot, Oct 18 2016 02:34

I like this bike. Pity about the sky high price. its unaffordable to most. Carbon should be getting cheaper, not more expensive.

Pipsqueak, Oct 19 2016 02:48

how much?  Is this supposed to compete with the Camber or equivalent?

 

 

 

A mate just bought a Pyga Stage (his 1st pyga) and he absolutely LOVES it. 

Camber would compete with the Stage. The Max is a bigger balled machine.

xnadu, Oct 21 2016 11:21

Stunning bike - if wishes could come true