Review: Pyga Stage

In April 2015, we huddled excitedly around a mysterious cloaked bike from Pyga Industries. We knew that under the black cloth sat an all new carbon marathon machine. As the craft beers flowed speculation grew wilder and the stories taller until Patrick Morewood unveiled the Pyga Stage to us, and the world.

Pyga Stage-1.jpg

 

The Stage is Pyga’s take on what a marathon / cross country bike should be. A longer reach and slacker head angle to provide more stability in corners and on technical descents. Pyga came out swinging with an ultra-progressive geometry. At a time when slack in XC terms meant a 70 degree head angle at best, the Stage, at 68.5 degrees, turned some heads. Fast forward twelve or so months and we see some of the major bike manufacturers following suit with their cross country / marathon line-up. The longer and slacker formula is fast becoming the new standard for cross country bikes with Pyga on the leading edge of this new wave.

 

To the delight of all marathon racers, the full carbon frame supports two bottle cages, one mounted on the underside of the top tube and another in the standard downtube position. Along with their twist on geometry, Pyga also introduced the “plus five” chainline concept. The bike’s rear end is offset by 5mm towards the drive side to allow a better chainline resulting in improved shifting performance and less wear on your drivetrain. In order to achieve this the rear wheel is dished evenly providing a bonus of added stiffness and strength to the wheel.

 

Pyga Stage-8.jpg


Pyga Stage-10.jpg

Pyga Stage-9.jpg


Other smart touches include a removable front derailleur mount to provide two-by versatility and a super clean frame when running one-by. Internal routing further accentuates the smooth, clean lines which define the frame.

 

Specifications


Most commonly known as a custom build frame kit company, with the Stage model Pyga introduced some “factory spec” builds: a top end SRAM XX1 / Rockshox RS1 / Monarch XX / PYGA Carbon wheels and a lower spec SRAM GX / Rockshox SID XX / Monarch XX / SRAM Roam 40 wheels. Although our test model is not strictly a factory spec build, it features a smattering of components common on both builds: most notably the same Rockshox SID XX 120mm up front and Rockshox Monarch XX as on their second tier build, a SRAM XO 11 speed groupset (arguably on par with the XX1) and the PYGA 29” carbon wheels.

 


Pyga Stage-2.jpg

Pyga Stage-3.jpg


On the trail


Climbing aboard the Pyga Stage for the first time does take some getting used to. Coming from a typical marathon bike the Stage is noticeably slacker, yet the lengthened top tube (622mm on the Large model as tested) means the position is very familiar and still suitably aggressive. The key change lies in the feel and response of the steering thanks to the slackened head angle. The more stable feel initially came across as being a bit cumbersome at slow speeds in comparison to the Stage’s more twitchy competitors. Very soon though, I was embracing the stability and security it offered.

 

Despite the more “trail” feel the Stage climbs impressively well. In full lockout you can smash away at the pedals eeking out every watt with hardtail-like efficiency. For most climbs though, the suspension platform offers a fine balance between traction and limited energy loss when opened up. Facing tricky rocky climbs the unweighted front end helps to quickly pop up over obstacles. On seriously steep climbs though I did find my position required a more aggressive adjustment than usual to ensure enough weight over the front wheel to keep in contact with the ground.

 

Pyga Stage-5.jpg

 

On technical trails, steeper descents and anything with a bit of speed the tweaked geometry really comes into it’s own. The slacker position and longer top tube places you comfortably within the cockpit rather than precariously on top of it. With less weight over the front wheel I had far more confidence in steep drops and comfortably glided through technical rocky sections. The 120mm up front does provide a little extra breathing room compared to the many 100mm peers in this class, adding to the confidence you carry when tackling anything tricky.

 


Pyga Stage-11.jpg

Pyga Stage-6.jpg


The Pyga Marathon29 carbon rims and Onza Lynx tyres did a lot to help the stability and comfort on rough terrain. With a 24mm internal diameter the Marathon29’s offer a few extra millimeters over typical rims in this category which, coupled with the 2.25” Onzas, provide heaps of stability and traction. For marathon or cross country racing you’d possibly want to look at a lighter, faster rolling tyre as the Lynx are on the heavier end of the scale, perfect as an all rounder, but the weight is noticeable on longer climbs and open roads.

 

When it comes to corners the Pyga Stage doesn’t disappoint. Even with my seatpost jacked right up to marathon standards the bike feels incredibly agile, yet planted through turns and berms. Again the long and slack design along with the low standover height pay dividends. There’s just a natural balance and low feel to the bike which enables you to carry speed and maintain traction through tight turns.

 




16 Comments

awesme, Sep 29 2016 07:28

June

 

Was it not 2nd week in April... I remember the black cloth... and I remember my look and then look I gave Pat and Mark when they removed it, and my reaction and immediate submission to major expense...

 

G

 

 

In June 2015, we huddled excitedly around a mysterious cloaked bike from Pyga Industries. We knew that under the black cloth sat an all new carbon marathon machine. As the craft beers flowed speculation grew wilder and the stories taller until Patrick Morewood unveiled the Pyga Stage to us, and the world.


Click here to view the article

 

Plentipotential, Sep 29 2016 07:32

Proudly South African!!

Nick, Sep 29 2016 07:32

June

 

Was it not 2nd week in April... I remember the black cloth... and I remember my look and then look I gave Pat and Mark when they removed it, and my reaction and immediate submission to major expense...

 

G

 

Correct. 16 April it was. I think we got confused with the official launch date of the bike to the press, which was in June.

awesme, Sep 29 2016 07:37

... I've ridden mine now for just over 6 months... 

 

Did the longest ride the past weekend, and loving every m I ride on it.

 

G

Odinson, Sep 29 2016 08:05

Stopped reading at "craft beers".

Milkman, Sep 29 2016 08:30

Looks like the perfect stage race bike . But no small ? 

Slowbee, Sep 29 2016 09:22

Is there one to test ? Say over 5 days ... in december ? But the bike will be needed for the next 2 - 3 months ?

ians, Sep 29 2016 09:25

The Stage is really an awesome bike. I'm going to let mine loose at the Berg & Bush Descent next week, the perfect machine for those trails.

Gen, Sep 29 2016 09:53

Yoh guys. Last year at the BnB I spent the Friday just staring at the stage and the stage max, and was trying to figure out how to break my bike so that I could use one of them for the event as they were the back up bikes Pyga were supplying.. but my bike would not cooperate and remained bomb proof.[emoji39]

EmptyB, Sep 29 2016 10:10

Happy as a pig in sh*t with my 110....but wouldn't say no to this!!!!

Chris Newby-Fraser, Sep 29 2016 10:14

How would this rear suspension stack up to the older Gary Fischer Superfly (before Trek introduced the rear axle pivot mechanism). I am wondering if this bike still exhibits too much 'bob' when ridden with force, which then has to be controlled by a stiffer shock setting resulting in a too firm ride. I currently prefer the Horst link used by Specialised and the Maestro by Giant because it does control the bobbing well without compromising suspension travel

Bos, Sep 29 2016 11:41

Looks like the perfect stage race bike . But no small ? 

I think it purely comes down to the numbers.

 

Carbon moulds isn't cheap.

Unlucky

Tatt, Sep 29 2016 12:10

Bike doesn't bob, I don't think the rear shock cable lock out is required at all on the Stage.

 

Best rear suspension is still the full floater on the One series, I struggled to use it all on my 110, vs my Max which I  can regularly use it all.

 

Tom

JohanC, Sep 29 2016 12:39

Looks like the perfect stage race bike . But no small ? 

 

I've also asked for a small for sometime..

Tatt, Sep 29 2016 12:42

I've also asked for a small for sometime..

 

Just out of curiosity, have you ridden the bikes available? 

 

Tom

Slowbee, Apr 06 2017 02:38

do those cables from the bottom of the frame not get damaged when riding ? Are they not susceptible to bashing from stones and stuff from he front wheel?