Chromag Aperture Hardtail Review

Dec 5, 2011
by Mike Kazimer  
TESTED
CHROMAG
APERTURE
HARDTAIL
WORDS Mike Kazimer

The Chromag Aperture is the Whistler based company’s midweight hardtail designed for all-day adventures over challenging terrain. Available as a frame only, the Aperture can be built up as light or burly as the rider wants. Our test bike was outfitted with a durable mixture of all-mountain components and weighed in at 28 pounds. With modern geometry that is based around a five or a six inch travel fork, and stainless steel ISCG 05 tabs for running a chain guide or Hammerschmidt crankset, the Aperture is a big step forward from the classic steel hardtail of years gone by. Chromag’s lineup of steel hardtail frames consists of six models, with the Aperture, Stylus and Monk being hand made in Taiwan, while the Samurai, Sakura and Kamui are handmade in Chromag’s British Columbia factory. Chromag sells the Aperture as a frame only for $730 USD.

Chromag Aperture
  Built with modern geometry, ready for a five or six inch travel fork and complete with ISCG 05 tabs, the Aperture is intended for experienced riders who seek a simpler definition of the all-mountain bike.

Chromag Aperture details:

• Intended use: all-mountain/trail/mixed terrain
• Custom steel tube set
• ''Midweight'' construction
• Stainless steel ISCG 05 tabs
• Chromag CNC'd machined dropouts
• Cable guides for Hammerschmidt routing
• Handbuilt in Taiwan
• Standard 1 1/8th head tube
• Available in four sizes
• Frame weight: 5.65lbs
• MSRP $730 USD

chromag Aperture. Photo by Brad Walton
  Little details like the polished head tube badge (left) and CNC machined dropouts add a unique element to the frame. The Aperture's derailleur hanger is not replaceable, but the stout, CNC machined dropout (right) seems capable of surviving many encounters with immoveable objects.


The Aperture has a standard 1 1/8'' head tube - no tapered steerers or angle adjusting headsets on this ride. The head tube angle sits at a relatively forgiving 68° with a 125mm fork, and changing the angle is only possible the old fashioned way, by changing the fork travel. I set up the Aperture with a 150mm travel 2012 RockShox Revelation that is adjustable down to 120mm to preserve the bike's stock handling. Seat post size on the Aperture is 27.2mm, a very common size when dealing with steel tubed frames. Although, with telescoping seatposts’ popularity skyrocketing, this size is becoming less common - nearly all dropper posts come in 30.9 or 31.6 sizes. However, there are a couple of companies who do make smaller diameter adjustable seatposts, so this shouldn’t be a deterring factor for those seeking on-the-fly seatpost height adjustment. The frame's finish is excellent, with the welds very clean looking and a paint job that is designed to last.


Climbing
With a short stem and a 150mm fork (albeit adjustable down to 120mm) there were concerns about the possibility of “chopper flop,” the symptom which occurs when the fork on a bike feels too raked out and wants to flop from side to side at slow speeds or when pointed up an incline. This turned out to never be an issue - the bike was designed around a longer travel fork, and the front end on the Aperture felt stable, even on steep, twisty climbs. The RockShox Revelation has a dual position feature which allows travel to be reduced to 120 mm, but we actually found that we preferred the more upright position offered in the 150mm setting. Running the fork at 120mm dropped the front end and caused our weight to shift too far forward. Surprisingly, we simply didn’t feel as balanced while climbing as when travel was set to the lower 120mm height.

Cruising through the forest aboard the Chromag Aperture

The seated climbing position was comfortable - upright enough to avoid overloading the wrists and hands, while at the same time maintaining proper weight distribution. It did take a few rides to find the best body position for standing on steep pitches. When standing, the Aperture’s short chainstays make it necessary to focus on keeping weight over the rear wheel in order to avoid losing traction. At first, particularly on loose uphills, the rear wheel would occasionally spin out when we stood up to climb. We eventually found the sweet spot, and the number of uphill spinouts decreased. On rolling terrain the Aperture was grin inducing. It begs to be pumped into compressions, and then sprinted up hills. After spending so many hours pedalling full suspension bikes, it’s refreshing to stand up without feeling the bobbing and sagging inherent in many full suspension designs.


Descending
The Aperture comes to life when the terrain starts to point down. With its relatively slack head angle, short chainstays and 12.25'' bottom bracket height, the Aperture knows how to get down. Even on high speed, wide open sections, terrain where a hardtail would be expected to flounder, the bike held its own in a confidence inspiring manner. Credit is due, in part, to the chromoly tubing used for the frame. This tubing provided a noticeably more compliant ride while maintaining excellent lateral stiffness. It wasn’t that it felt like a full suspension bike - it doesn’t - but that we didn’t have to think about it at all. It did its job without complaint, allowing the focus to be on the riding and not on the bike.

Cruising through the forest aboard the Chromag Aperture
  Hardtails have a place in every rider's quiver. They reward a smooth riding style - monster trucking through rock gardens is not going to happen on a hardtail. Plus, the lack of moving parts means less maintenance, and more time on the bike.

Slower speed, tight, technical trails were the ideal terrain for the Aperture. It responded quickly to rider input, an important characteristic when slime covered roots lurk only a few inches on either side of the trail. It was also easy to maintain forward momentum - pumping the bike into compressions kept the bike rolling forward without losing speed. Some of our most memorable moments on the Aperture occurred on trails with steep downhills into short uphills. Pushing the bike into the g-out at the bottom of a hill and then sprinting up the other side was a reminder of how fun mountain biking can be. The feeling of effortlessly carrying speed uphill made us laugh out loud. The Aperture proved itself to be a capable jumper as well. The slack head angle and short chain stays made taking off easy, with none of the twitchiness encountered on more cross-country oriented hardtails. Once airborne, the bike remained easy to control - a little body language and it would line up perfectly to meet the landing. The lack of rear suspension made it easy to pop over root sections or double up natural rollers, but care needs to be taken because the bike will certainly punish mistakes more so than a full suspension rig would.

Cruising through the forest aboard the Chromag Aperture
  With Chromag's factory so close to the foot of the world's most famous lift-access mountain, it's no surprise that Chromag makes bikes intended for Whistler's signature terrain - steep climbs followed by steep descents, punctuated with roots, rocks and loam.

Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesWith the lift-served biking season having come to a close, and rainy weather being the norm, now would be a good time to start refining skills which have grown rusty after a summer spent piloting long-travel full suspension bikes. An all-mountain hardtail like the Chromag Aperture is a great off-season steed of choice for epic adventures. Grab some friends, fill a pack and head for the hills. The Aperture is an excellent do-it-all hardtail, a trustworthy frame built for a lifetime of long backcountry rides. No, hardtails are not for everyone, but they add another dimension to the experience that many of us have long forgotten about. - Mike Kazimer

www.chromagbikes.com

All photos by Brad Walton



119 Comments

  • 60 8
 Non replaceable D- hanger is a huge turn off.. I would much rather snap a 15$ hanger than a $200 XTR.. And a spare hanger takes up no space in a bag.. I smash enough stuff that I value the replaceable hangers.
  • 8 3
 Yeh I know what you mean, What were they thinking?
Replaceable dropouts are standard on almost every decent bike.
  • 6 1
 Yup I am with you on this, even like replaceable dropouts would work, but for a company as high up as chromag you think they would include this feature.
  • 24 4
 Its very common on steel bikes and It's not really an issue, if you're worried buy a shadow rear der and practice not hitting crap / crashing. I've straightened integrated hanger once, its not a make it or break it deal at all.
  • 3 5
 and the awesome 30.0 seatpost Wink
  • 9 4
 @T-woot
I know you can straighten a steel hanger.. I have done it many times.. but I would much rather buy 4 hangers and replace them as needed rather then have to straighten a frame multiple times and eventually end up with a used up frame.. and yes the Shadow ders are nice but I have seen a few of them come through the shop broke too.. no Der is invincible.. Point being that, Cromag is a company that knows what the hell its doing and it would not have taken that much more work to throw a replaceable hanger on this bike, and saving a der and possibly a frame for $15-$30 is a no brainer..

And the Practice not hitting crap/crashing means your not riding hard enough.. haha
  • 12 5
 In the 6 years I've been seriously riding I've finangled my way into working in my 2nd shop now. I've seen more snapped road hangers then mountain hangers, again this are alloy hangers, vs. the steel that is much more adapt to being straightened up. And I've never had to replace a hanger of my own, even after some really rough crashes. Replaceable hangers are NOT a must, they just aren't, its a feature but it doesn't make you faster, doesn't make your bike any better/not, and 27.2 seatpost is fine.... ks and x fusion both have droppers for it. or just get a nice thomson, even lighter then the 30.0
  • 1 0
 It may be true that replaceable hangers aren't 100% essential. The market for these 'hardcore' hardtails seems to be getting more and more saturated, certainly here in the UK, and because they have no rear suspension it makes them all the more similar. Therefore, small details such as a non-replaceable hanger, a 27.2 seatpost and a standard headtube make so much more of a difference so I, personally, would probably not take the risk.
  • 2 1
 after 2 der's and 3 hangers on my hardtail.... a second of thought wouldn't even go into buying a frame without replaceable hangers, granted the bike looks sweet, but its a big investment to have to keep bending it back into place.... it would have probably taken a few hours to design a hanger to fit and wouldnt actually need any alterations to the frame other than a few threaded holes for the hanger to bolt too.
  • 1 2
 Seatpost 30.0 is terrible with choice,u have to forget with adjustable seatpost!!
  • 19 2
 Christ guys, how many hangers/derailleurs do you guys go through to turn it into a bitching issue? In my 6 years of trail riding I can only recall maybe once or twice I've minced a derailleur or even a hanger to any considerable extent. Pushing your limits doesn't mean twatting your derailleur every god damn ride.
  • 15 1
 In twenty plus years of riding over a hundred or so different frames in titanium, carbon, steel, aluminium and magnesium I've needed to replace a grand total of TWO hangers.
  • 18 0
 Mech hangers were designed to save aluminium frames and not your blinged up 200 dollar mech,if you bust expensive mechs maybe use some common sense and buy a cheaper mech ?
  • 2 0
 ^this.
  • 3 1
 From my experience in Arizona where we have tons of derailliure killing rocks the replaceable hanger is a nice concept if done right but for me the derailliure usually snaps first anyways. Now because it's steel it most likely wont bend as easy saving you from having to straighten it out. Now just buy x9 instead of XO and your only spending about 30 b ucks more than buying a new hanger all the time.
  • 2 0
 Agreed. FR/DH I've gone through more der's and hangers than I'd like to admit, but XC/AM very few (back east rogue sticks tend to jump up occasionally on ripping descents and ruin your day). Worst one ever- riding Porcupine Rim solo with a gnarly storm approaching- did a drop I shouldn't have and wrapped my rear der with chain around the space between spokes and cassette. Ripped the threads right out of the dropout AND pretzeled it (not to mention ripping out ~8 spokes). Nothing like un-clusterF'n while getting pelted with hail!! The SC Heckler's dropout was like 75$ and caused me to sell it!!!
Wonder if they offer crash replacement option for if you tweek it?
Great review Mike- very succinct, and Brad- sick shots!!
  • 7 0
 To everyone obsessed with the derailleur hanger: The vast majority of steel frames do not have replaceable hangers. Why? Steel is more malleable than aluminum, meaning that if you bend the hanger, it's very simple to bend it back without damaging the dropout. Aluminum is more likely to break than steel if you try to bend it, which is why most aluminum bikes have replaceable hangers. I've worked in shops for 10+ years and have only seen a couple of steel hangers that couldn't be straightened due to damage caused by an enormous impact, like getting hit by a car. The non-replaceable hanger is not a big deal. -Mike Kazimer
  • 4 0
 I've owned various steel hardtails (including a Chromag) and the gear hanger is such a non-issue. What would I prefer, some crappy aluminium hanger that bends if you sneeze near the bike, or a thick steel hanger that you could run over with a truck? Granted steel hangers can bend, but there's no fatigue issues, so just bend the fecker back! Alu hangers weaken every time they are bent.

As for adjusting the head angle, you can buy 1 1/8th adjusting headsets if you really want to. Slack seat tube angle and no 30.9 post is a bit of a pain though.
  • 1 0
 I would much rather have a cheap $15 hanger that I could replace on the trail and not have to ever worry about having to bend a steel hanger back if the shit hit the fan out on the trail.. Just my opinion.. I know that steel hangers work fine and can be bent back, I just am a proponent of bikes that have hangers for the sake of possibly saving a Derrailuer and for the ease of repair on a replaceable hanger. Us shop guys have Der Alignment Gauges that make Der hangers straight in a second, but having to straighten a hanger with out one, while still totally doable, is alot more work then just throwing on a new hanger and will never be 100% perfect unless you have a DAG..

And on a hardtail like this, replaceable dropout for running SS would be a huge selling point. I am will to bet that 50% of the people out there that have multiple bikes and have a hardtail as a second bike have or will want to SS it at one point.. I am just saying that for a $700+ steel HT frame, I personally would like to see a replaceable hanger and dont see why replaceable dropouts wouldn't be a selling point they were looking to achieve on this frame..
  • 1 1
 If your cheap cast hanger goes then it's more likely to chuck the mech into the spokes costing you more,my point was that aluminum hangers aren't to save crazy priced mechs but were and still are meant to save expensive aluminium/carbon frames.
  • 1 0
 in regards to the falling thing. i like to say, if you got balls, you'll take falls.
  • 2 0
 Or lack of balance. You think Mark Weir falls all the time? Good riders don't snap hangers on a regular basis SORRY.
  • 1 0
 seat tube is like the trek ticket.
  • 1 1
 so why the heck are there replaceable and non-replaceable hangers in the first place?
  • 2 0
 To save the more expensive aluminium/carbon fibre frames.
  • 1 0
 sorry didnt catch that, what are they for again?
  • 4 0
 they put replacable hangers on aluminum and carbon frames cause carbon only has flex, not bend, so it would snap. and aluminum isnt as easy to bend back into place, but it doesnt bend as easily either.
  • 1 0
 now i get it. props!
  • 1 4
 Good riders snap everything all the time. Thats why pros need a support crew with truck full of parts. And a mechanic working night and day replacing broken this and that. I havent snapped a derailer hanger since 1988. Guess what that was a steel non replaceable hanger on a giant iguanna. Ya back in the day iguanna was a decent bike. Have fun welding your hanger back on instead of spending $10. They making a huge statement though, dont buy this bike.
  • 1 0
 It's steel it will bend back,pros are also paid to test stuff to destruction.
  • 1 3
 I well aware of steel potential, own 2 steel bikes now. You bend it once and next time it going to snap. Heat and bending fatigue steel. Try bending a bent bolt. It looks good but will snap 10 times easier now.
  • 2 0
 Your comparing a mass produced cheap bolt to a cromo frame ?
  • 1 2
 I talking about steel, you ever heard of it. They use it on frames and bolts. Usually they put it on a frame so you end up destroying the non replaceable hanger and have to buy a new one.
  • 2 0
 Until you understand the concept of different grades of steel this discussion is pointless.
  • 5 0
 Steel is Real
  • 5 0
 Steel is an word for ANY metal alloy where the primary ingredient is IRON. There are many many different steel grades, and Chro-Moly alloys like the ANSI 4130 series commonly used in bicycle frames are but one of them. Every time you change the alloy formula or how its processed, you can get different properties out of it. Just because a steel bolt snaps after ten bends does NOT mean the same will happen with part of a 4130 CrMo frame. I'd use the long full word version of the alloy name but it'd be obviously lost on a moron like shishka. I'm not sure he'd be able to pronounce that many letters in one breath.
  • 1 0
 stay civil stay civil
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: ah that makes sense!
  • 17 0
 It’s not a new debate. Replaceable vs fixed. Making steel frames, we opted for fixed. In 7 years and over a thousand frames, we haven’t had a broken hanger yet. A replaceable hanger might save a derailleur. It might not. Often you end with both a broken derailleur and hanger …and hangers that can actually save a derailleur can be flexible enough to compromise shifting. Then there are complications that come with detachable parts and the additional hardware they require. Less hardware if possible, is a good thing.
The seat post size on this frame is 27.2, not 30.0.
  • 2 0
 I love my Stylus. If your that worried about your derailer hanger maybe go with a aluminum frame with a replceable hanger. If you can balls up and ride the hardtail go with the best kind out there. Chromag. Ps. My ks post works just fine.
  • 1 0
 What he said
  • 13 0
 Too many people are making a big issue of the non-replicable hanger. Bike marketing says you need one and for some reason you believe it. Not really the case of steel hardtails. If you bend it you just straighten it back up and carry on. Alloy frames aren't as malleable so it's a good idea to have replaceable hangers on them but it's not something I would lose sleep over on a steel frame.
  • 1 0
 A serious impact could ovalize the hanger and strip the threads... granted, thats much harder to do with steel over aluminum.
  • 1 0
 yeah but you can only straighten them 3 or 4 times at most. but ive only bent a hanger once and it was replacable, but i still just bent it back.
  • 6 0
 What can I say for Aperture? I bought it this July. I had couple of full suspension bikes before. This bike is the best thing I have ever bought. It climbs well and descends even better. Geometry is perfect! Not to mention the quality and perfection of Chromag’s manufacturing!
  • 5 0
 All i can say if you get one you won't be sorry, this bike rides like a dream .It can handle anything your 140-160mm bike can,exept it's more fun to ride,I love that feeling and the feedback of the trail it gives you,if you feel like it's time for a change,a change for the better and are looking for new challenge in your biking this is it,,but don't take my word for it, go test one i guarantee you you'll love it...that deraileur hanger thing is really not an issue
  • 5 0
 That price is extremely high for a steel hard tail frame that's made in Taiwan, the Transition TRANS AM would be a better choice. You can run it single speed too, as the drop-outs are interchangeable.
  • 1 0
 Not gonna lie, I loved my TransAM! Had to get ride of some bikes and unfortunately let the Transition go... pretty bummed about it. This bike looks like a definite competitor... but I liked the interchangeable/horizontal dropouts. Plus it's a bit cheaper.
  • 1 0
 I got a Trans AM about 6 month ago and love it. If you have been riding a full suspension for a while and have been considering a hard tail for a change do it! Riding it is a lot of fun and will turn all the trails you know into something new. Since my trails aren't getting any harder but my skills have increased, I found going to a hard tail a great way to make the trails harder and more fun. I am considering a Pugsley next.
  • 2 1
 Yeah, $700 for a steel frame made in asia it's a joke.
  • 1 0
 if you get a pugsley, i hope you dont downhill on it. that would be a disaster.
  • 3 0
 Why is every one freakin out about the frame not having a replaceable derailleur hanger? I cant recall any steel frames that have them anyway. Also I would rather have a steel hanger that is much less prone to breaking then an aluminium one sheering off, sending it into your wheel. As I recall replaceable hangers came about when frame manufacturers started using aluminium in their frame designs (early days had no replaceable hangers), and people were snapping lots of hangers on their aluminium frames making them useless.

I guess if you were a total noob-sauce you could strip out the threads by haphazardly installing a derailleur.
  • 2 0
 haha, noob-sauce
  • 3 0
 Even though a few Chromags are made in Taiwan, they are made in the absolute best factories Chromag could find. I own a Stylus and the thing is a beauty. Able to withstand Bike park laps and still cruise up a hill no problem. I do not think I have EVER broken a hanger or bent one on any of my rides going back to 1996 so this is a none issue for me...besides its steel and can be mended easy. And also note that that their high end Made in Canada go for $1200 or so for a TRL, the finish and polish that goes into the frames is second to none IMO. And just search for a video with Jiyna and Chromag to see what they are really capable of....
  • 1 0
 I was thinking the same. Considering buying one. On top of nice gear, the support from the company seems pretty darn solid.
  • 2 0
 I like it but for the price it would be hard not to get a Ragley or and On-one. My Summer Season was loads of fun, about the same, weight had loads of mud tire and disc clearance and was only £169.
  • 1 0
 Yea but on-one is super fugly. Sorry all their frames are as ugly as a hardtail can be. Latest Blue pig has a bit of retro touch which is not for everyone's tastes as well. But the Piglet is the way to go! I love the Ragleys solutions. A frame that is not cheap but with better tubing is Cotic.
  • 5 0
 Do you get Weighted Companion Cube with it?
  • 1 0
 I really like the idea of a all-mountain hardtail with a longer travel fork. Been looking at On-One 456's and Ragley Blue Pig's, this looks nice. It's between 3-400$ more expensive than those cheaper options - I would hope this is a bit higher quality. (the two Ragley's I have seen have had some sloppy welds) and you would be knowing the extra money supports a "local" company
  • 2 1
 i know you're canadian badass (etc.) mountainbikers, but seriously, talking about climbing features on a frame when not even having installed a granny is foolish. and yes, there are mountains out there that you simply can not ride uphills w/o granny or a gear ratio really near to it, no matter how much power you have.
besides that: stop whining about the hanger, you can't even fit a hydraulic dropper post - knock out argument.
  • 4 0
 Thank you for calling us badass mountain bikers.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, non replaceable hanger is a deal breaker for me. I know many say it's not needed and I know one piece is stronger. But $15 for peace of mind is very nice. I have worked in shops for 8 years and have replaced many hangers and also have had to tell a few people the whole bike is done for, not just the derailleur. Why not do it?
  • 1 0
 I have owned Chromags for about 4 years and I am a hack and never have had a prob with the hanger. I have had a Stylus and now I own an Aperture. I am sure there is cheaper hardtails out there but Chromags are superior for many reasons here are a few. The Chromag crew- I have never met a bunch of guys who are so knowledgable and laid back, which in this industry is refreshing. Attention to detail- Every frame is looked over and if it isn't perfect Chromag dont sell it. Looks- The bike looks damn sexy, you can't deny it. This bike is an all mountain machine, loves to go up and down. If you dont like the Chromag and you want a Ragley or on-one or DMR go get one.
  • 1 0
 I have owned Chromags for about 4 years and I am a hack and never have had a prob with the hanger. I have had a Stylus and now I own an Aperture. I am sure there is cheaper hardtails out there but Chromags are superior for many reasons here are a few. The Chromag crew- I have never met a bunch of guys who are so knowledgable and laid back, which in this industry is refreshing. Attention to detail- Every frame is looked over and if it isn't perfect Chromag dont sell it. Looks- The bike looks damn sexy, you can't deny it. This bike is an all mountain machine, loves to go up and down. If you dont like the Chromag and you want a Ragley or on-one or DMR go get one.
  • 1 0
 just to wade in and spout out more on the der hanger issue (cus ive nowt else better to do) ive snaped 1 derailleur and 2 hangers on my hardtail this year, the replaceable hanger seems to be a good frame saving idea.
  • 1 1
 I think a lot of the "I never replace a hanger" "I do all the time" thing depends on where you ride and how you ride. I live in the rockies, they are rocky and I ride fast and crash often, I've snapped a few hangers and slightly bent others. And we all know, metal fatigues even doing slight re-aligns over and over will weaken it over time.
  • 2 3
 Looks like it would be fun to ride a few times but not to own. For $750 for a 26" frame, why not just get a SIR9 for the same price or less? I built up a Jamis Dragon 29er. Reynolds 853 frame, 21" big ol frame with an all mountain build that weighs in at 27 lbs. One pound less then this build and its an XL 29er steel frame.... I've taken my hardtail down plenty of gnarly descents, done some freeride and gaps on it as well, enough so to call it an all mountain ride. If you're buying a steel hardtail you have every reason to go 29. This isn't a review its an advertisement, just like the 'review' of the reverb a few days ago. Just my 2 cents.
  • 2 1
 Agreed, the "reviews" are here are a lot more like press releases.
  • 3 0
 Keep in mind, for smaller dudes and dudettes 29" is not an option (while it perfectly makes sense for you, since you are using a 21" frame anyway).

Also, I had every reason not to go 29" when I put together my current hardtail AM rig, even tho I'm not short. It's just personal preference, I like beefy 26" rims with fat tires.
  • 2 1
 Not true, this is a figment of the past, 29ers fit all sized riders. The 29er specialty shop I worked at, the main mechanic was super short and rode a small framed 29er just fine. Saying big wheels mean you have to be tall is ridiculous. Thats like saying grown ups can't ride bmx bikes, or that since I'm 6'3" I shouldnt ride a 26? No, if you don't want to accept that a 29er is rideable because you think you are too short that is fine, but its not true.
  • 2 0
 All I'm saying, imagine a girl @ 150 cm/45kg. Moving around a heavier config by default does not seem to justify what you are saying. Chances are she wouldn't like it that much compared to that of a 26er bike. I'm not short, but a 29er would weigh more (and yes of course I could use smaller tires on the 29" wheels, but when it comes to hardtail descents, low pressure fat tires play a big role - for me at least, since we are talking about personal preferences). If I'd want to to roll over stuff effortlessly, I'd use a full bouncer. I simply prefer the trade-off a chunky tire fitted on a smaller rim over a skinny tire fitted on a bigger rim.

If you don't want to accept that a 29er is not the ultimate choice for everyone, let it be, but it's true.

Btw the bmx example was quite out of range. It failed to deliver.
  • 2 0
 Funny, I sold a 15" Trek Mamba WSD today to a woman, she was 5'4" and she fit it perfectly, Trek even offers a 14" frame, which a woman that is 5' tall would fit fine... 29er tires aren't just skinny either, I run 2.1-2.3's depending on what I'm doing, and what bike I'm on. Tires are set up tubeless for low-pressure and high traction. Wider tires on a skinny rim is kind of pointless because your tire is going to be compressed slightly vs if you were to run a wider rim, meant for a wider tire.. Also, my steel 29er hardtail weighs a lbs less then this chromag bike and its an XL frame, weight isn't an issue either. 29ers roll over stuff effortlessly indeed and maintain a larger tire imprint holding better grip between your bike and the trail... its a fact. You don't have to like the 2-9 but I bet you haven't ridden one.
  • 1 0
 Seems like you are missing the points I make while you also misinterprent what I write (smaller rim [=26"], NOT a narrow rim). Also, anything less than 2.35" is skinny for me, can't help it. As I wrote previously, FOR ME, 26" + fat (high) tires are way more comfortable, than big wheels with somewhat thinner rubber on them (while the actual hub-to-ground radius difference is not that significant given one does not fit 2,35-2,5 tires on a 29er). I also ride lots of "rollercoaster" style stuff where the 26" outshines the 29" since it's easier to slow down or accelerate... it's a fact.

It's fine that you sold a that bike to that lady and it adds to your personal expereince - but in mine, I found women around the same height you mentioned preferring smaller wheels (and generally more 'compact' bikes) for more maneuverability and the fact that it reacts quicker due to this is how physics works.
  • 2 0
 I think the bigger point you 29er nuts can't grasp here is that this isn't a review of some steep XC geometry frame meant for riding 24H races and california type singletrack with lightweight wheels and less than 4 inches of fork travel. Its a review for an ALL MOUNTAIN category hardtail meant for big mountain trail riding, north shore BC type stuff with a 5 to 6 inch travel fork and large heavyweight wheels. As such, 5.6 pounds of frame is a very reasonable weight because many of us are old enough and have enough time in the sport to have been around and doing those same sorts of trail rides steel framed bikes TWENTY years ago which didn't have this sort of tire clearance, weren't geometry or heck, even really structurally compatible with suspension forks at all, and whose frames actually weighed even more.

The Pugsley for that matter while still a 26" wheeled bike is intended for snow riding, maybe sand also. It is not up to the same sort of riding as the Aperture though. With a wheelset change it can be pressed into dual-duty as a 29er XC bike(due to its tire diameter clearance) but that isn't exactly a cheap proposition either. Pugsleys themselves are NOT cheap. That they share parts with some DH component standards (like the 100mm shell BB) does NOT make them DH bikes though.

And as to sizing of 29ers.... 5'4 isn't really truly short. I know adults down BELOW 5' tall who mountain bike, and without going into serious custom building there is no way in hell to fit them to a 29er comfortably. Any shop staffer that tries and convinces such a customer that she fits their in-stock small size Niner is committing fraud and doing a great diservice to the customer, especially if they happen to be new to mountain biking. Because nothing will turn a rider off the sport faster than spending a lot of money on a bike that doesn't fit them properly, and that maneuvers like a dump truck under them as a result.
  • 2 0
 Something about the 2nd picture makes it look just wrong. Maybe the way the seat is slid right the way forward Frown
  • 3 0
 You are correct, I'd say the rider needs to drop one size. One drawback (or feature depending on how you look at it) of this frame is the very slack seat tube angle. If you have long legs, it's going to push you way way back when the seat is at full climbing height. This sort of seat tube angle only works for me if the effective top tube is relatively short.
  • 1 0
 You're right, the seat is slid forward. I have long legs, so when the post is fully extended (which it's not in this picture), I tend to feel like I'm a little too far back if I don't scoot the seat forward. All my bikes end up kind of like this - it's just due to my own body geometry. As far as sizing, I'm 5'11" and ride a large Aperture. It fits great - I wouldn't want to go smaller or larger for my riding style. - Mike Kazimer
  • 3 2
 The hanger may be a turn off, but its a steel frame so it shouldn't be a problem. This bike isn't designed for someone who bashes it into shit on rock gardens anyway.
  • 1 0
 Wow, the frame looks really very-very good. But I don't think, that the dropouts will live long, two or three huge crashes and it is dead.

Oh, the color is soooooo sexy))
  • 1 0
 I've ridden a steel hardtail (Block Cool every ride for a year and had no problems bending my hanger back ne ways the drop out looks bomb proof
  • 2 0
 Why not ?... www.Stantonbikes.com ,Do it all Hardcore Hardtail.. Oh and in Dirt 100 this year..
  • 2 0
 Right, Stanton Bikes Slackline 853. I have one, and I love it so much.
  • 1 0
 Not having a replaceable hanger is a big turn off for me and the top of the seattube is ugly and just doesn't look right, but the rest looks good to meSmile
  • 2 0
 Making a note here, huge success
  • 3 0
 So 90s!
  • 1 0
 Bô biclou, Evan va rouler avec? Wink

lp1.pinkbike.org/p4pb3207133/p4pb3207133.jpg
  • 1 0
 I like it that in the days of slack and low nu school hype, someone is releasing an "epic" hardtail still based on 120 fork.
  • 1 0
 Nice bike! I loved my ht when I had it but my back didn't. I was great for winter riding, nice simple and fast.
  • 1 0
 I like it, I like it a lot... but, would I swap it for my current www.cotic.co.uk/product/BFe ?

no
  • 2 0
 the design teams task of the day: "let ruin some knees, gents"
  • 2 0
 I want one now Cry
  • 1 0
 seems like very nice am ht Smile
  • 2 2
 Wait, is the fork adjustable down to 120mm? I am not sure if you mentioned it.
  • 1 0
 Aperture or Honza?
  • 2 0
 Lovely photos!
  • 1 1
 hmmm not a great fan tbh it looks like a realy old raleigh frame just with a sick paint job and gd parts on it :/
  • 1 0
 ok, cool bike - but where are the portals ?!
  • 1 1
 Every frame should have some kind of zero stack headset. 1/18 is outdated shitty technology.
  • 2 0
 How is 1 1/8 outdated shitty technology?
  • 1 0
 because with zero stack headsets you can achieve a lower stack height leaving room to put more travel in the same amount of space, and have more room to raise or lower your bars on your steer tube. 1.5 headtubes are also better because there is more surface to weld to which the frame stronger for very little weight difference. you cant fit a 1.5 fork in a 1/18 headtube but you can fit a 1 1/8 fork in a 1.5 headtube. personally im not a big fan of 1/18 campy style headsets, i think they break and wear out very easily, but they still achieve lower stack height. 1.5 zero stack headsets on the other hand have really stood up to some serious use for me, i think that every mountain bike should have at least be tapered, if not straight 1.5
  • 1 0
 Its chromoly... you don't need more surface area for welding... the material itself is twice as strong as even the best grades of aluminium alloy used in bike frames. As to lowering the stack height... it lowers it by at best 20mm. That's not much at all and can easily be lost using one particular brand of fork over another. Methinks you really don't understand frame design at all beyond what magazines tell you.
  • 1 0
 thats still 20mm in the right direction. and the magazine comment, im just gonna pretend you are just getting a little carried away typing and arent actually a shithead.
  • 1 0
 the photos in this article are just fantastic,well done Brad !
  • 1 4
 Oh noo they deleted my comment what am I going to do now. All I said was designing a frame with no replacable hanger is a mistake and the moderator laid a egg in her pants. Listen up lady the free speech will be heard , even if I have to jump thru this computer and say it up in your face. Everyone on here saying the same thing but they delete my comments. I must be pushing the right buttons if people getting tight like that. Maybe cromag slipped the moderator a cool $20 and a 40oz kokanee to delete comments that make they company look bad. This whole article making them look bad so blame them for that.
  • 2 1
 Free speech doesn't apply on privately owned web forums. You want to be a member here, posting for free, you follow the guidelines and rules on posts. If the mods choose to delete your comment then they may do so. You think you have some sorta right to post whatever drivel you want, go start your own blog or web forum someplace. But bear in mind also that courts do take stuff written online into consideration in libel lawsuits.
  • 1 5
flag shishka (Dec 9, 2011 at 7:44) (Below Threshold)
 Free speech applys anywhere i at because i stay in usa. You canadian fancy lads dont like it then keep your site canada only. It is my right to say hey thats a stupid idea with no derailer hanger and guess what everyone else on here agree. You guys are terrified of my words so i get censored. Meanwhile others saying the same thing or worse. It really not that serious, again all i said was no hanger bad idea. All the closet case tight asses get bent out of shape. The courts, your talking about liable and i on bike site talking about hangers. You obviously have no clue about anything. Well thankyou for getting insulted that made my day.
  • 2 0
 No it doesn't... US Courts have ruled that the first ammendment right to free speech is not guaranteed on private forums on the internet, regardless of where they are based or where the members post from. But many americans don't seem to even understand what the ammendments actually read and mean, so I am not surprised that you fall into that group. And I'm sorry if the facts about the first ammendment to your own constitution are a problem for you to be bothered to even know them correctly, but you're the one who whined about free speech in the first place so if you cannot stand being corrected on a subject you're ill informed about, then you shouldn't be posting on the internet at all.
  • 3 0
 Uggh, sorry for my fellow countryman. Sometimes it's downright embarassing to have that little flag by my name.
  • 1 3
 Did you bleach your butthole before or after your head? Your like the guy fieri of mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 Its a nice looking bike
  • 1 0
 I want one so bad!
  • 1 0
 Sick..!
  • 1 0
 Sweet
  • 1 1
 strait up down
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