Bike Check: Taj Mihelich's Chromag Stylus

Jun 8, 2020
by Dan Roberts  
Taj Mihelich Bike Check

Taj Mihelich. For some of you out there this man needs no introduction. Maybe you already know him from his BMX history. If not, put the kettle on and click play.


For others, maybe you know him as Pinkbike's cartoonist, always looking at our mountain bike obsessed world with a humorous tint to his glasses. Part of me thinks we should actually make a comic book from all the work he has graced us with every Sunday. Remember those things? You can't pinch to zoom on a piece of paper. He also just finished doing animation for a TV series based on Anthill Films' Return to Earth movie that debuts on Outside TV next week.

Perhaps you even know about Taj through Fairdale, the American bike brand that came about originally as part of a blog for his long time sponsor, BMX brand Odyssey. Not many bike brands can site their origins in cartoons. His story of cycling over the Alps, from Geneva to Strasbourg is a brilliant read for anyone thinking that you can't bikepack in a set of Vans. He and his friend, Chris Cotsonas of Fairdale, finished their trip at the Vans BMX Pro Cup event in Stuttgart, where Taj's cartoons were used around the whole event.

However you know him, or perhaps if you're learning about Taj for the first time, his recent bike build sparked our interest and what ensued was an undiluted look into the mind of an incredible rider approaching this world of mountain bikes from a different perspective.

This is a closer look at Taj Mihelich's Chromag Stylus.





Taj Mihelich Bike Check
Details
Height: 6’1" / 185cm
Weight: 249 lb / 113kg
Hometown: Houghton, Michigan
Model: Chromag Stylus
Frame Size: M/L
Wheel Size: 27.5"
Suspension: Rock Shox Yari 150mm
Drivetrain & Brakes: SRAM 11-speed, Code brakes
Cockpit: Chromag
Wheels & Rubber: Spank hubs & rims, Maxxis tires


Taj Mihelich Bike Check


Maybe we could start on the history of your MTBs and how they failed/succeeded and ultimately helped you find what you wanted for this bike.


I tried MTBs a few times before I moved to Houghton, but mostly with comic results.

The BlkMrkt team came to my old ramp in Austin. They convinced me to try one of their bikes. First time ever on an MTB. I pumped one of the bowl corners, jumped the box and the fork broke. Like the actual front wheel came off the bike and I got body slammed.

Later, I did a small stint riding for Giant. They took me to Whistler for my first ever MTB ride on trails. It was amazing, but, first round down the hill and my fork broke. This time the legs extended out full length, but luckily not off the bike. I didn’t know better and kept riding it for a while until a mechanic saw it.

Giant sent me to a contest at Rays MTB to ride dirt jump MTBs. You guessed it, first hard pump up a ramp and the fork broke. The legs shot out again and luckily not off the bike but this time would not go back in, just stayed extended. I think Adam Hauck had some extra fork for me to use.

Anyway, that started me off on a lifetime of fork failures and didn’t exactly hook me on MTB riding. I think it has something to do with how you generate speed on a BMX through pumping super hard. Forcing a suspension fork to deal with that is asking a lot. Oh yeah, Fox are sending me a 38. Lots of knobs to figure out but hopefully finally tough enough!

As far as MTB goes, I didn’t give it a serious go until after my back surgery. I originally thought of it as exercise. Like road biking but away from cars in the woods. I really resigned myself to not being too moved by it but at least it was on a bike if I could no longer ride BMX. However, riding down hills is fun of course. And so is going uphill in its own way.

At some point I started to figure out that suspension could be a help rather than a hinderance. When I realized that I could corner with this seemingly unreal amount of grip I really started to get it. This was something an MTB could do better than a BMX and an experience I’d never felt before. I get the tires to grip by really forcing the bike down into corners. It feels like a reverse bunny hop into a corner. To BMXers I describe it as trying to wall ride on the side of a parking block. You have to really jam your tires into it to make them stick, but if it works the tires hook up, you get a pump and come out of the corner a lot faster than you went into it.

More and more I started enjoying going faster and faster and learning the capabilities of the bikes. My back injury has finally healed up enough that I can make it through the mellow dirt jump line too! In recent years I have come to really love mountain bikes. Different than BMX, in that I don’t ride around looking for ways to be creative on my bike, but still really fulfilling and fun.


You‘ve mentioned that the full sus bikes you had left you feeling bored. Where do you think that comes from?


Full sus feels a bit boring to me because I feel less involved with the ride. I mean, I spent pretty much 30 years of my life developing bike handling skills on BMX. For 15 of those years it was my actual job, just ride all day and try to get better.

When I get on a big travel 29er bike I feel like I just hang those skills up and become a passenger on the bike. I suppose I could ride absurdly fast to challenge myself more, but then I feel like I need more pads and bigger helmets and stuff. And a crash at that speed is the end of the season for sure.

Let’s face it, I’m 46 and have gotten kind of fat, but what I seem to enjoy most is scratching the itch to tap into riding skills not necessarily setting record times or pushing things to the limit. On a hardtail I feel like the ride is a lot more alive. I don't get sore or achy or anything from riding a hardtail.


You’ve mentioned before about how hard you are on parts. And flexing a Yari around speaks volumes about that! Bending MTB cranks too! Was that also part of the reason for a hardtail, something more robust?


I bounce back and forth on bikes a bit. Full sus makes sense in my head but just doesn’t seem to capture my heart. I do have some pretty gnarly trails to ride. Some of the Copper Harbor downhill stuff, right up the road from me, can get kind of hairy. But it’s still rideable on a hardtail and, aside from a few parts where I start bouncing around so much I can’t really see, I can mostly keep up with my friends there.

Out my back door are the Michigan Tech University trails. On a daily ride I hit up the dirt jump section for a while, then a fast and flowy downhill section with corners like a pump track, a few nice climbs and some more XC-ish stuff. I, like everyone, want a bike that can do it all since I ride all that in a single ride. I guess I’m not willing to compromise the bike’s performance on the fun stuff, though. I do, and maybe this is backwards, kind of want a full sus bike for XC rides. I like the idea of just planting my butt on the seat and zoning out on longer rides without having to get out of the saddle for every root and rock in the trail.


Taj Mihelich Bike Check


What pointed your direction towards the Chromag Stylus?


I had a few people suggest getting a Stylus and then while I was with the Pinkbike Field Test in Whistler I saw someone with one next to me in the lift line. I was on some $6,500 brand new Field Test bike and I was jealous of the guy with the hardtail.

I hit up Chromag to see if I could land a [washed up old] pro deal and they suggested a trade: one of my signature bikes that they would add to their lunch bike cruiser fleet and I would get the Stylus.

I spoke with Ian, the owner of Chromag, and he said that at 6'1 I'd probably be on a large sized frame but I could get away with a M/L. A smaller bike I can whip around always feels good to me. It is a little cramped when I'm sitting down pedalling, but jumping and descending I'm grateful for the extra agility. He also said that if I was worried about the slack steering angle (my BMX bikes had a 75º steering angle) I might, though it would be a bit unusual, try an angle set headset to steepen it a bit.

My bike has a prototype Wolftooth angle set headset that they gave me. It came with two top cups, one flush and another sits up higher. I put the taller one on because someone told me I might want a few spacers on the Stylus. The bike is almost too stable, but when you start going fast it really comes alive. One of the coolest feelings on this bike is in bermed corners…it has this amazing way of tracking when you really lean it over. It feels so much like a rad curved wallride I tried to film it for this bike check with my GoPro but sadly the footage appears to be of some fat old guy dawdling through the woods!


Taj Mihelich Bike Check
Fork
Pressure 120PSI
Tokens All of them
Compression A few clicks up from "-"
Rebound Don't fiddle with the knobs you know nothing about!


What’s your fork setup?


I know I have all the tokens, I have absolutely no idea on the rest. I specifically bought the Yari because it has the least number of knobs and dials on it. Pressure is 120psi. I have the compression set a few clicks up from "-".

You'll probably think I'm joking but I've never touched the rebound knob. I broke a few forks messing with the knobs, turning the lock on either thinking the bike felt better or by accident, so I try not to touch those! I promise to take the time to learn it all when the 38 fork shows up.


Taj Mihelich Bike Check


What about the drivetrain? There are some interesting parts on there that we don’t see so much of in MTB.


The Profile Elite cranks are pretty special. Just really pretty craftsmanship. I used to get flow from Profile back before I started to ride for Odyssey. None of the Odyssey cranks fit a 73mm bottom bracket so I was lucky to still have friends at Profile. I had to grind the ends of the spider arms down to make a 32t chainwheel fit, but just a tiny bit.

The Ti spindle was a bit scary because Ti spindles used to be so sketchy in BMX. But it’s 22mm and I think this feels much less mushy then what I had ridden before. I thought the stainless chainring was an over the top addition to a crank set that is chrome with Ti and silver aluminium BB. All the metal!

I guess the 11-speed stuff has worked well for me and I keep replacing cassettes and chains and derailleurs piece by piece when they wear out. One of these days everything will wear out at once and I'll finally get a 12-speed setup, but I've never felt like I was missing gears.


Taj Mihelich Bike Check


Which brakes are you running?


I upgraded to SRAM Codes this season because Mike Kazimer is always talking about them and they're the first brakes I'm learning to use with one finger as they are trustworthy. Hard to break the two finger BMX braking habits.

Note for BMXers: If you are a BMXer of a certain age, from back when there were brakes on a BMX, I’d recommend SRAM brakes. They seem to have more modulation than other brakes I’ve tried. If, like me, you might tend to lean on your brakes with a feather now and again while manualling that extra brake feel is good.


Taj Mihelich Bike Check


What about the cockpit and touch points? Do some of those parts come across from the BMX roots?


Chromag also sent me bars and stem. I asked them for whatever was stiffest. 35mm diameter arrived. Good and safe feeling. I hate when I can grab the bars and flex them in my hands while standing still. Carbon bars are terrifying to me for this. I cut my bars down, possibly a bit too much. I don't suggest deciding where to cut your bars after spending an entire winter on a road bike on Zwift. Probably should have spent some time riding the bike outside first.

TMAC pedals are absurdly expensive but I really like them. I don’t think I would have liked them on BMX, but they work great for MTB.

Dropper is a One-Up at 205mm drop. It looks kind of silly at full mast but I love that I can slam it to the frame when I'm on the jumps.

I have big hands and I like to be able to move my hand position on the bars so I try to find wide grips. These ODI ones are a little wider than most I could find.

Oh yeah, I twist my grips a lot to make the bike do what I want it to. I used to constantly tear my grips off my BMX bikes. Lock-on grips are a saviour for me on big bikes. I like that these have locks on both sides of the grips. Some of the grips that only have locks on one side slip when I ride them.

Spank also got me the Oozy saddle. Seems good and comfortable to me.


Taj Mihelich Bike Check


Being so tough on components, which wheels did you go for?


Spank hooked me up with rims and hubs which I laced myself. I asked them for whatever was stiffest and they sent Race 33 rims and Hex Drive hubs. In my BMX days I used to tension my spokes before every good ramp session. They just couldn't be tight enough and I could feel them starting to mush out when I pumped hard.

When I read about wheels with "compliance" I don't really understand it. I have problems flexing the rims into the rear triangle or forks when cornering on most all bikes. I'm searching for stiffness so I don't have to tame down my riding for fear of flexing the wheel into the frame so bad it is like hitting the brakes. The new Hex Drive hub has a good freewheel buzz... loud but not obnoxious.


Tires seem to have been a tricky story for you, trying to find the right ones and the right setup?


I have a Minion DHF front 2.5WT tyre (25-30psi) and an Aggressor 2.3 rear (32-35psi). Both with the thick casings and tubeless. My local bike shop, Rhythm, was brave enough to let me set them up myself! I managed it without a huge mess like normal.

I got a lot of "good" tire advice via my Instagram and I think because I’m so hard on everything I ended up with thick casings, but they feel really dead and slow to me. I’ve been noticing that I keep adding more and more pressure to try and speed them up. I know I’ve got them much too high by most people’s standards and I think once I get back to normal sidewall tires that will go down a bit.

Pressure changes with what I'm riding too. These are home trail pressure which are pretty smooth and corners are bermed, so grip is less important. When I go up to Copper Harbor, which is much more legit downhill with rocks and rougher corners, I have to bring the pressure down to get grip. This isn't too weird for me as you do the same in BMX, except it was 110 psi on ramps and 80 on dirt!

Whenever I dip below 30psi in the rear I rip the tires off the rim or feel it rolling over in corners. To be honest, I probably should be looking to pump track racers for bike set ups because that is how I enjoy riding corners, even though I ride the same bike for everything else.


Taj Mihelich Bike Check


The tire story seems to not have a solution yet. What other options have you been looking at to have good support but less of the wooden feeling? Have you dabbled with tire inserts?


Never messed with inserts. I feel like with how much pressure I run they wouldn’t do much. I think it is just the sidewall mostly. Though that Aggressor tire in that 2.3" width is much too squared off to be a good cornering tire on my bike set up. Maybe back tire cornering isn't a big deal for a lot of people? I want the knobs to wrap further around the sidewall. There’s this knife edge feeling you get on a lot of tires where you’re on the corner knobs and then roll off them on to the sidewall and the grip just vanishes. There is a covid shipping delay but the local shop ordered in some 2.4/2.5" rear tires for me to try (DHR II and a High Roller with Exo casing). There is about nine more parts to the tire name but I’d have to look it all up… I think it is just the casing that bugs me. Odd that the entire bike needs to be stiff but I want the tires to be more compliant?





A big thank you to Taj for his incredibly interesting words about his Chromag, setup and history. Look out for more of Taj's cartoons and animations on Pinkbike in the coming year.




151 Comments

  • 233 1
 My favorite bike check yet. Legend.
  • 73 0
 "More Rabbit | More Turtle" was awesome
  • 7 0
 I can't think of a better one.
  • 105 0
 dare not touch the rebound knob. laced his own wheels.
  • 11 0
 Yeah, super interesting to hear all of his comments and the way he specs his bike based on his BMX roots.
His PSI #s are legit....and I thought I was a holdover still running 25/27 trail and 27/29 for DH...he makes these look soft!
  • 4 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: and from this day forward this is what adjustments shall be called!
  • 4 0
 He's excellence and graceful aging defined
  • 6 0
 @schwangster: should I add more rabbit or turtle??
  • 2 0
 Pretty sick that he chose Sensus without even knowing how core it was. Taj is the man!
  • 1 1
 Love these articles by Taj.. And most wheels flexing into rear triangles... Seems alot of brands need to re think strength within MTB.
  • 4 0
 Taj is awesome. My favourite video was Forward when I bmxed. Probably burnt out the VHS tape.

(My fat finger hit the - and I’m horrified that it won’t change to a +. Damn tiny icons)
  • 45 1
 Omg the cartoon at the end. Might as well go back to bed because nothing is going to happen today that is better than that.

Also about to google chromag bikes. With this kind of press I think they owe you another bike Big Grin
  • 8 0
 I totally relate to this, first time putting on tubeless tires I had so much sealant on the floor, I was worried that there was none left in the tire. Such a mess.
  • 3 0
 You should absolutely check out Chromag. I owned a Stylus and it was the best hardtail I've ever owned. Fast, fun and flickable, even with a 150mm fork on it. I sold it since I'm full squish for most of my riding, but I did build up a Monk for DJ that is now my second-favorite hardtail. Great company, awesome frames. Super bomber.
  • 1 0
 @TyPierce: bikes look amazing. Head angles are a bit slack for what I'd want
  • 28 0
 Chromag: "What kinda geometry do you want for your MTB?"
Taj: "Just take an S&M Holmes and beef it up a bit"
  • 18 0
 Absolutely poring over this bike check. Taj is a legend, and I really appreciate where he is coming from in bike setup! Good to know that the Stylus can take an Angleset, as a steeper-than-stock HTA is also something that I am interested in.
  • 3 0
 I'm in the process of designing a custom frame to basically be this bike. 15-20mm shorter reach than trendy, 66.6* HTA, steep AF seat tube and the shortest possible chain stays and a 140-150mm fork.

Modern trendy geos make me feel over biked, even in BC.
  • 2 0
 @ottersy: Sounds super fun. My bike is from 2015, 67* HTA, 420 chainstays, 140 fork, and the reach is very short compared to modern bikes.

I keep searching for the perfect modern hardtail frame, but nothing is quite what I'm after. 66.5* HTA, 415-425 chainstays, 130-140 fork, 380-400mm seat tube, 435-440 reach would be ideal IMHO.
  • 2 0
 @hiljentaa: Large Transition Throttle is close. They're on closeout
  • 3 0
 @ceecee: Dang, that looks pretty rad actually. Thanks for pointing it out. I am pretty opposed to carbon though.

I wish Transition would make hardtails again. I used to fawn over the TransAm demos at The Wheel Mill!
  • 3 0
 @hiljentaa: in my mind...: "Ragley Piglet" is what you're looking for ;-) . Same Geo in Alloy and cheaper parts: Ragley Marley 1.0

(HT 65,5 (unsaged) CS 425mm , ST 420mm (sized M), Reach 435mm) So what?
  • 1 0
 @NiklasRausch: That one is very close to ideal, though this year's paint scheme is unfortunate. Waiting patiently for Ragley to restock frames!
  • 3 0
 I just built up a Chromag Wideangle, the Stylus' slightly lighter, steeper HA brother (65 vs 64). It is a blast! It's my first 27.5 bike after two 29er's, and I don't plan on going back to the wagon wheels anytime soon, smaller wheels are just more fun.
  • 2 0
 @hiljentaa: and that "very close to ideal" can be "exact the ideal" if you cutting down 2cm from that steel-ST. Don't know, but seems to me like it's possible maybe.. Wish you good luck!
  • 18 0
 All respect! Admittedly had no idea of his BMX background, thanks for the really cool video link. And THAT'S what a crankset should look like!
  • 13 0
 Profile might make the best cranks in the world. They built a company on their cranks reputation.
  • 3 0
 @filmdrew: I don't have elite arms, but I do have a long ti spindle and race arms in shed. I'm thinking they may need a shot on the hardtail. . .
  • 2 0
 @Doogster: Ghetto eeeWings. I would totally get some of these for my bike. I wonder if there is a direct mount version.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: I have a rennen spline drive sprocket, but it is for a 19mm spindle. There are a few bmx companies that make 22 mm spline drive sprockets. I cannot find any over 30 teeth though.
  • 18 0
 Hearing all the comments about how he flexes EVERYTHING on a bike makes me sad for my own riding skills Frown
  • 17 0
 Great perspective from a guy who really knows how to have fun on a bike Smile Thanks Totally Awesome Jumper!
  • 2 0
 Tangled Affro Jel. That blue frame colour was awesome!
  • 12 0
 @Tajlucas I used to have a UGP shirt that you designed. In the center was a flame, which personified a human, surrounded by the rest of the animals on the planet. They were all angry at the human flame. How apropos for these times. I would like to have that shirt again, it got lost somewhere between 97-99. Please tell me you have the original drawing.
  • 12 0
 No matter how old I get, I'll always be a fanboy for Taj's riding. Always. It makes me happy to see him still riding a bike and enjoying it.
  • 10 1
 F*ck yeah!! Met Taj a few times down at 9th Street trails when I live in Austin back in 2006-07 or so. Super chill and genuine guy. My wife and I moving to a place right in town in Bentonville soon and are looking to pick up a few townie bikes....looks like Fairdale bikes will be top of the list! Shred on folks #gorideyourbike
  • 10 1
 I think the flex most people are searching for from bars, wheels, and other parts do not apply when you are an absolute unit at 250lbs. His stiff parts probably flex more than the 'compliant' parts for someone ~170lbs I've never heard of anyone breaking that many forks...
  • 17 0
 Shared a ramp a few times with Taj. If you were on the deck when he was riding, you could feel every single piece of wood flex when he pumped. Just an absolute beast and one of my all-time favorite riders. Legend.
  • 5 0
 Yeah, literally NFL linebacker dimensions. It does make me feel good about my concerns at 220lbs though.
  • 9 0
 Taj is 100% a legit Legend. His impact on BMX culture cannot be under estimated.
Way way back in the early 90's his sections in various BMX vids were genuine bench markers - if imitation is the best form of flattery - Taj had legions of followers pushing to emulate him.
  • 5 0
 i think owed ever bit of clothing and etnies shoe i saw he was wearing overtime a new magazine came out! haha! all time fav rider ever for me!
  • 6 0
 @TomsiR: Etnies need to bring back the Trauma shoe!!
  • 1 0
 @nojzilla: agreed!!!!
  • 12 1
 I need (2) of those stickers on the chain stay for my bike !
  • 11 0
 My god those cranks are beautiful...
  • 1 0
 Yes sir they are but....Im on my 4th BB and its a 21 or 22mm and I don't think theres anyone else that makes that size BB. If there is I would love to know because I love my Profile cranks.
  • 1 0
 @nug12182: they make 19mm and 22mm spindles, so any Euro BB type should work for BSA frames.. Dartmoor has some for example
dartmoor-bikes.com/hardware/bb-s/euro-pro-ex-bb
  • 3 0
 @nug12182: Do you have the spacer over the spindle set up correctly? I was going through bearings too quickly on my 20'' bike when I was side loading the bearings too much. I put a couple thing washers over the spindle with the space and everything is snug, and the bearings are giving me no trouble.
  • 1 0
 @Doogster: I think my problem is I need 5mm spacersfor the BB. Fingers crossed that works.
  • 1 0
 @likehell: Thanks buddy
  • 1 0
 @nug12182: hopefully that works. Do your crank arms bind up when you tighten the arms?
  • 1 0
 @nug12182: intrigued to get some for my Enduro now.. still have some old ones on my BMX
  • 1 0
 @Doogster: My frame has a cinch BSA that the guy that installed it used as a spacer.(dumb idea) Instead of putting 5mm of spacers on the BB. So with just the BSA as the spacer it made the spindle cover not snug,actually it was loose in there.Sucks because when those bearings go they freaking GO!That sound is god awful!
  • 1 0
 @nug12182: is your BB breaking or wearing out? I have an S&M euro BB that has Chro Mo cups as I have broken the alloy ones before.
  • 2 0
 @nug12182: get shimano bb and knock the bearings out and use a bmx 'spanish' bb, they are like a mid bb but smaller OD - 37mm I think, they will press into the shimano cups, and are available in 19mm or 22mm spindle options. You will need a longer tube spacer or or some washers to fill the gap between sides once assembled though.
  • 7 0
 I’m 21 and have ridden a lot of bmx yet disgraced with myself to say I’ve never searched up Taj’s riding before now. That video was awesome and it’s really cool that’s he’s found mountain biking too!
  • 7 0
 I think you can be forgiven, Taj was big when you were still in nappies.
  • 7 0
 I'll give you a pass due to your age, but you are now required to watch Taj's part in Forward. If I had to show someone one video part as an example of what BMX means to me, that's the part.
  • 2 0
 @pnwpedal: Great trip down memory lane. We used to play that tape in the bike shop where I worked some 20 years ago. Bonus cattledog in the opening moments of that clip.
  • 2 0
 @pnwpedal: 100% with you - a true BMX cultural moment that section!
  • 5 0
 Awesome to know that WolfTooth has anglesets in the pipeline. My Works Components one is fine but looks chunky as heck and isn't sealed all that well. And another vote here for making everything but tires and suspension as stiff as possible. I'm only 190lbs but I still don't like feeling things go all noodle-y.
  • 6 0
 Really glad to see Taj on Pinkbike and riding MTB. I grew up watching his video parts and prints in Ride BMX. Always wanted a Taj Hoffman frame. Dude has some of the most stylish tables and turn downs!
  • 6 0
 That video is probably the best thing ive watched in a while. Bloody awesome, love the cartoons! would be dope as a sticker pack.
  • 4 0
 Taj, aboustle legend! I had a hoffman taj in poop brown with blue stickers. i loved that bike! I moved over to mtb when my back cant take it anymore from bmx riding. I understood what compliance meants when it comes to bike parts. some stuff flexed too much its scary.
  • 3 0
 His hoffman bikes video part of rolling the flowest rhythm section in a standard neighborhood park got me in BMX! The style was insane!
  • 3 0
 @bermdweller: I was already into BMX for a while, but that section is awesome.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=myzdNqwnsB0

I remember seeing the tailwhip sequence shot (in the magazine interview above) as the back page of an old Albe's catalog/'zine. That's where I was exposed to Taj and his killer style.
  • 2 0
 @sd351: cheers bigtime for finding that youtube clip - the memories!!!!!
  • 2 0
 @bermdweller: To be fair, I had watched it recently so I knew it was out there.
  • 4 0
 That was a lot of fun. Quite the setup. This goes to show how silly it is for the industry (companies and media) to tell us what our bikes should be like. Also, steepest brake lever placement ever? I remember having them straight down like that on my BMX years back. Good stuff.
  • 7 0
 Hey PinkBike....How about selling some "More Rabbit!" and "More Turtle" Taj stickers? I'd rock them!
  • 6 0
 I can't help but appreciate the humble attitude that Taj has. What a great example for bikers of all ages.
  • 3 0
 One of my favourite bike checks so far!
@Tajlucas - your mileage may vary, but on my Chromag Primer I tried CushCore in the rear with a DHR II and I've never noticed the tire folding over in a corner since then (although I only weigh 150lbs).
  • 7 0
 Beauty!!
  • 2 0
 Good to see Taj riding my favourite bike! For a while I had one of his old hand me down t1 Bmx frames with a cracked top tube, I have no idea how you crack a top tube, but if that chromag survives it’s good enough for anyone.
  • 6 0
 Rad bike, radder read, thanks Taj and PB.
  • 7 0
 MORE TAJ ALWAYS!!!!!
  • 2 0
 Taj is definitely on the Mt. Rushmore of BMX, absolute legend status! When I transitioned from BMX to MTB I had an almost identical set up, I had a 27.5 hardtail, I didn't feel any difference in the fork when I messed with the settings, my levers were pointed straight down, my tire pressures were insane and I broke everything. Now I ride a Megatower, I'm super picky about my suspension set-up, my levers are parallel to the ground and with Cushcore I run stupid low tire pressure... I still break everything.
  • 4 0
 Taj, you are an inspiration ! Never stop doing what you do brother. THANKS !!!!!
  • 3 0
 Anyone who knows anything about terrible one, did you get the same massive smile when you saw the t1 sticker on the chain stay as i did!!?!?! moment of 2020 for me! haha!
  • 1 0
 This really speaks to me. I like how he sets up bikes since it's similar to how I set them up and I completely understand his feeling that hardtails are more fun. I hope his knees and hips keep holding up so he can keep on hardtailing.
  • 1 0
 all of this resonates with my experience as a BMX guy turned MTB. full suspension bikes are weird and I have no interest in them. I run my tires pumped up "too hard." I had "compliance" in my handlebar.
the string or broken forks is a mystery to me though. I rode rigid forks for years and finally caved to suspension up front, but I have never broken a fork.
  • 1 0
 For those doubting the HTA... all I can say is on my 160mm forked Primer with 64 degree HTA, it's STILL one of the best climbing bikes I've ever ridden. The front end doesn't wander or pop up easily. It's planted and steers remarkably well, even on tech climbs. The geo sounded extreme to me too until I rode it. Chromag makes some damn good bikes and parts!
  • 1 0
 Dude! We’re about the same size and That’s such a similar story/setup as I just did with my Wideangle I built this past March... simple and tough (with a few subtle differences in exact parts and colours). It’s such an awesome bike.
  • 1 0
 Taj is a monster.

Anybody ridden both the Wideangle and Stylus? I'm torn between the two. I actually had my LBS order both frames so I could compare in person. But I'd love to hear rider reports.
  • 1 0
 I love that a rider of his standing is running a Yari fork and 11 speed! Awesome inspiration and surprisingly I get his thing about flex. I bent several forks in BMX and only my DH forks felt really stiff. I also had a problem with cranking hard on one of my XC bikes and the tire would run even though I got the rim tried and tensioned a few times. Annnd I still run 40 PSI on my trail bike tires!
  • 4 0
 Excellent video and bike check. Thanks!
  • 3 0
 Great bike, great bike check. I love my Chromags. Saw Taj at Backyard jam in Hastings years ago very inspirational rider !
  • 4 0
 I never rode bmx so hearing how it impacts mtb was interesting.
  • 2 0
 For a brief second glanced at the "Details" and thought, this bike is a dog, it weighs 113 kg?! Sorry, been a long day (with no biking).
  • 1 0
 He is a unit at 250lb. I wonder how much of it is beer..
  • 2 0
 I love the arch of the Taj story. I never realized who he was before his pinkbike cartoons. What a warrior spirit. seriously impressive person. Bikes rule.
  • 1 1
 Taj is a legend, but I'm not understanding why he can't find parts to accommodate his riding style. If you're 150 lbs and railing corners at 20 mph, you're basically subjecting the parts to the same stress as someone 250 lbs hitting corners at 12 mph. There are a lot of heavyweight thrashers out there without issue, so somebody get this man set up with a proper spec!
  • 2 0
 But he's 249 lb...
  • 1 0
 @stepy: Oh, well in that case some Rhino Lite wheels and an inverted Rock Shox RS-1 fork should do the trick.
  • 1 0
 Never been into BMX, so interesting learning about Taj.

Is no-one going to mention the angle of those brake levers? Is that a BMX things as well - it looks horrifically uncomfortable.
  • 3 0
 Brake levers will get outta your way when they got steeper, thus more room to twist your wrists and make your table tops/untrundowns easier and look better in my experience, and less likely to accidentally grab on them and give you a face plant after a no hander. I'm pretty sure Taj still got all those basic tricks in his bag so it'll be better for him to keep those levers steep, plus habits always die hard.

And yes steep brake lever was common on BMX when BMX brakes was still a thing.
  • 1 0
 @ts080: You learn something new every day - thanks for that.
  • 2 0
 when you pump so hard that your fork lowers are like "nope, we're outta here". What a legend. Love the stylus, defo my first choice if i were to buy an aggro HT
  • 1 0
 I loved the stylus, I also loved the explanation of why and how. I enjoyed Taj's comics every sunday, thanks. Your video makes you seem like a nice, interesting guy. Nice content.
  • 3 0
 On sram its actually a jackalope not a rabit
  • 1 0
 Somebody skipped kindergarten clearly. Wink
  • 3 0
 Great video and article. Thanks.
  • 3 1
 put the kettle on? cmon this is pinkbike not single tracks Smile

But seriously the article was great nice job
  • 8 0
 Sorry, I am British after all.
  • 1 0
 @dan-roberts: Awesome article! such a sick video too
  • 2 0
 Curious about that Wolftooth headset.. Looks like it may work with integrated headsets (Specialized)?
  • 3 0
 Taj from Wide Awake Nightmare. That was a great video.
  • 2 0
 Damn that's so cool. I'm like a clone of him, but shittier. Fucking awesome.
  • 2 0
 Greatest bike check ever! Also agree that with 11 speed I have never felt outgeared!
  • 1 0
 Love the cartoons on top of the images. It would be super awesome to see a whole series like that! The rabbit/turtle one is great.
  • 1 0
 Had pics of Taj on my wall as a kid-- Was always one of my favorite riders. Stoked to see he's still after it. Big ups! Still inspiring.
  • 1 0
 "The Ti spindle was a bit scary because Ti spindles used to be so sketchy in BMX."

Yuuup! I recall bending at least two or three of them before giving up.
  • 1 0
 @chyu: yup... twisted splines too!
  • 1 0
 Nice, I see very little steve-o influence on the bike/build.. He's convincing for sure
  • 3 0
 Legendary !
  • 1 0
 Legend! what a video, also love that this dude lives up in the UP, represent!
  • 1 0
 Anyone have experience with those Spank wheels and new Spank hex hubs? Look pretty solid for the price
  • 1 0
 Refreshing take on MTB gear. Taj is focused on how things feel to him, with his own logic and reasoning.
  • 2 0
 Damn. That was beautiful.
  • 1 0
 Total legend of mine growing up and still is. Great story and a sound guy. Good luck in all your future endeavours TM!
  • 2 0
 I just came here to say that Houghton is super rad.
  • 1 0
 6/1 & 250. Macho man. No wonder he’s breaking all those forks. I rode the 97 Hoffman taj for 22 years
  • 1 0
 Even ignoring the fact that I love a good “do it all” hardtail, this was the best bike check ever.
  • 1 0
 Really appreciated the look into the life after pro for a guy I enjoyed watching ride like a beast back in the day. Props.
  • 1 0
 144 comments so far and no below threshold. That says something right there about the guy.
  • 1 1
 I’ve been lusting after a Chromag for a long time now and this makes me lose control.
  • 1 0
 I need that chainstay decal.
  • 2 0
 @Someoldfart. That’s a Terrible one bmx sticker! Taj use to co-own with Joe Rich.
  • 2 0
 Got the same one on my top tube. Makes for good motivation on long climbs
  • 1 0
 this dude needs to run tubes
  • 1 0
 Such a good video and article. Had no idea about your history Taj!
  • 1 0
 Aren't those sensus grips?...not ODI
  • 2 0
 I believe ODI makes the Sensus grips. Just wavy ODI Longnecks really.
  • 1 0
 Great to see Monty in the video briefly!
  • 1 0
 How aboot a link to Taj's part in UGP's Faces video? \M?
  • 2 0
 @sd351: CLASSIC!
  • 1 0
 Sick rig Taj! I love the augmented photos - too cute.
  • 1 0
 I wonder what Taj thinks about e-bikes Smile
  • 1 0
 a lot of ghost ectoplasm in that bike shop
  • 1 0
 Secret prototype top cap that misspells wolf tooth?
  • 1 0
 wolf toot.. ha i missed that.Taj is a rad guy and funny to boot.I'm sure he's done some editing with a sharpie.
  • 1 0
 Wow, that gave me goosebumps.
  • 1 0
 Awesome.
  • 1 0
 GOAT!
  • 1 0
 This was great!

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2020. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.025149
Mobile Version of Website