The Guy Who Designed Chromag's Doctahawk Hardtail Explains Why It's So Long & Slack

Feb 16, 2019
by Clark Lewis  
Photo credit Ian Ritz
Photo credit: Ian Ritz

Remember that wild Chromag hardtail that debuted a few days ago? You know, the one with the chopper-esque head angle that makes most downhill sleds look dated? While the Doctahawk is built by Chromag, the long and slack geometry that sets it apart was conceived by Clark Lewis, a Whistler local known for his prowess on a hardtail. The concept and benefits of longer, more relaxed geometry have been covered many times, but things change a bit when you start to apply those same principles to a hardtail.

Below, Clark explains the reasoning behind his namesake's geometry.

My name is Clark Lewis, and I'm an emergency physician who has been riding hardtails with the Chromag crew in the Whistler area for fifteen years. I designed the geometry of the new 'Doctahawk', which is a PC version of my well-earned nickname, Doc Tomahawk. I've been riding it since last spring, alongside two other Chromag riders on similar frames, in the gnarly, steep, rough, janky, and awkward terrain that it was designed for.

There seemed to be a lot of interest and misconception around the Doctahawk's geometry (shown below) which I wanted to address here.


Keep in mind the difference in "dynamic" geometry between a hardtail and full suspension bike. I'd argue that I'm not far from the equivalent modern slacker/longer full-suspension rig. Only the front sags on a hardtail, so when you're riding, both the SA and HA are steeper than their static numbers; much steeper descending in steep terrain, but the rear can't sag while climbing.

Photo credit Ed Witwicki
Photo credit: Ed Witwicki

On a full-suspension bike, where the rear sags a bit more than front, both SA and HA get slightly slacker on flat terrain, slightly steeper descending, and often much slacker climbing. Consequently, to get similar dynamic ride geometries, a hardtail can get away with a slacker SA, but needs a much slacker HA.

In other words, the Doctahawk's 77° SA and 62° HA have a similar dynamic feel to me as the Pole Machine (79° SA, 64 HA°), which I rode briefly last summer and liked very much. It's quite different to my friend's Nicolai Geometron which was set up with 77° SA and 61° HA (I wished for a steeper SA, but found the HA simply ridiculous, at times laugh-out-loud entertaining, but just a handful at other times).

Also, remember that the dynamic feel of any bike is a result of the overall geometry, plus many other factors (tires, suspension setup, stem length, 'bar width, ride style, etc). Two bikes with disparate geometry can have a similar dynamic feel, while others with similar geometry can feel very different. The static numbers are just a part of it.


My Climbing Theories

1. Steep STA and long reach will keep me in a more powerful pedaling position and mitigate front wheel lift on steep climbs.

2. "Cockpit length", aka effective top tube length, will feel "normal" despite the long reach because the steep STA brings my bum closer to my hands when seated.

3. Chainstay length is a negligible factor in hardtail climbing performance (longer stays are more important for full-suspension climbing, but that's off-topic).

4. The new Lyrik 180 is only slightly taller than the old 160, so I should be able to run it with slightly more sag to achieve the same dynamic ride height (ie. bar height when you're on the bike sagging the fork).

5. A shorter offset fork may help mitigate front wheel wander on steep climbs with such a slack HA.

6. Long wheelbase will require more dynamic input to get around tight switchbacks.

This bike climbs ridiculously steep terrain with zero front wheel lift, even with a 180mm fork. I don't feel "stretched out," even with the extra 50mm reach (compared to my previous bike), because my bum is more forward. I planned to run a short stem, but after trying stem length from 10-60mm, I settled on 50mm to increase front wheel pressure for cornering in mellow terrain.

Interestingly, there was no difference in climbing performance between the two versions of the frame with a 20mm difference is chainstay length (I spent half of last year on each frame, and preferred the longer CS version mainly for descending). The shorter offset fork did quiet down the front wheel wander, but I didn't find the longer offset fork troublesome, even with the front wheel so bloody far out front. We have plenty of awkward tight switchbacks that were easily managed with wide steering and the odd front wheel "lifty" for really tight corners.

One negative; there's a bit more hand pressure on long mellow climbs or flat terrain, but I got used to that, especially after switching to a higher rise bar.
My Descending Theories

1. I want a shorter ST length to leave room for a 170-200mm dropper post to get the saddle completely out of the way for very steep terrain.

2. Longer reach shifts my weight forward, moving weight off the rear wheel which is helpful for increased comfort on a hardtail in rough terrain.

3. I want as much travel as possible up front to make "riding the fork" while descending more comfortable. The extra mid-stroke support of the new Lyrik will allow for this without excessive diving.

4. I want a much slacker HA to feel comfortable riding in that more aggressive forward attack position without fear of going over the bars, especially with all that travel to cycle through.

5. The long wheelbase will help keep the bike calmer in fast rough terrain.

6. Front and rear center "imbalance" is less troublesome in real life than it is for some people on the interwebz, as is the imagined "problem" of disparate front and rear travel (if you ride both hardtails and squishy bikes you know this is silly. They really don't feel that different, and the hardtail just needs more energy/input/finesse).

7. Longer reach may make wheelie's more difficult, but I can mitigate that with good technique and relatively short chainstays.

This bike is a monster truck on descents, and it's far more comfortable at speed and in rough terrain than my previous hardtails. To get the most out of it, I ended up running DH casing Minion DHF 2.5'' tires front and back all summer and just dealing with the extra weight while climbing. The rear end requires less energy to control with my weight more over the front. Evidence of this came in the form of final tire pressures - I ended up at a nearly-balanced 22psi front/23 psi rear, instead of my previous 20/30; a big difference in comfort and traction. The new Lyrik damper stands tall in steep terrain. I went over the bars zero times; it never even felt close. Wheelie's were slightly harder, but I got used to it quickly.


On the negative side, the bike MUST be ridden aggressively and with a lot of pressure on the front wheel, otherwise it'll just run away on you and you'll lose traction. There were some scary moments early on where I got lazy and "sat back" to try to rest... Bad idea. The trails I prefer riding generally demand your full attention anyway, and I'm a trail "smasher" at heart, so this is fine with me. Consequently, there is more demand on your upper body, so do some extra push-ups.

The only thing I'd change is perhaps a taller head tube (more than one inch of under stem spacers is ugly), and this spring I'll try an Angleset to see what 60 to 61-degrees feels like... Because why not? 62 feels "just right", but who's to say that the limit isn't a bit further.

Photo credit Ed Witwicki

Author Info:
clark avatar

Member since Oct 11, 2000
4 articles

  • 266 3
 Recruiting an emergency physician into your riding group sounds like a solid game plan.
  • 66 3
 With a name like doc tomahawk. He may be the one who needs saving...
  • 10 2
 Clark needs looking after more than anyone most of the time! ha! I still remember his state on the upper loop of comfortably numb deep into the Chromag 10th annv event...
  • 31 1
 It is. We had an ER trauma technician we used to ride with who closed up a huge gash in a guys shin in the first hour of riding the Monarch Crest trail in Colorado. He cleaned the guys wound, numbed the area with some lidocain, pulled out a surgical stapler from sealed package to close the wound, then wrapped in gauze and tape. Ride saved.
  • 2 0
 @flipfantasia: hahaha almost forgot about that.
  • 1 0
 @flipfantasia: that was a trip...
  • 2 2
 Especially if you need a tomahawk style intubation. Bad a$$ airway move
  • 11 0
 @bicycle019: "ride saved" - priorities straight right there
  • 123 7
 In a day and age where you can find almost ANY bike to suit your style within many subcategories the result is more people bitching about bikes they likely have no intention of ever buying than ever before, dude shouldn’t have to explain shit the geo speaks to what a bike is intended to do, and seems
common knowledge that Chromag is not some janky ass newcomer to MTBs for f@cks sake...haha
  • 44 135
flag gwhalen3 (Feb 16, 2019 at 15:08) (Below Threshold)
 I agree. But, can you please use proper punctuation and sentence structure from now on? Thanks! Language is not low, long and slack like mtb.
  • 47 11
 @gwhalen3: Grammar police really are huge jerks according to science -
  • 47 31
 @Rubberelli: People who write articles like that are dumbasses, everyone knows that.

I know, people don't like having their mistakes pointed out. It should be viewed as an opportunity to better oneself.

The way I look at it, Pinkbike is a free education. You never know - a grammar mistake pointed out for free under no pressure could get you your next promotion.

I personally would never promote anyone who thinks that your = you're, for example.
  • 91 7
 @jaame: your crazy if you feel your being educated hear
  • 5 3
 @SlinkySammy: hilarious! Smile
  • 10 6
 @gwhalen3: You shut ur filthy mouth when ur talkin to us!
  • 6 55
flag Dustfarter (Feb 16, 2019 at 21:26) (Below Threshold)
 @SlinkySammy: True. Otherwise you'd know the difference between "here" and "hear".
  • 57 0
 @Dustfarter: jokes are tough
  • 3 3
 @gwhalen3: props for that!
  • 10 1
 @Dustfarter: Oh no. Their are some people on hear who have no sense of humour!
  • 4 0
 @Dustfarter: write over ur hed bud!
  • 3 1
 @Dustfarter: r/whoooosh
  • 2 0
 I would be really interested in the topic, that why on a full suspension bike is the chainstay length more important than on a hardtail.
  • 1 1
 @brcz: I don't know; I feel like chainstay length might be more important on a hardtail if anything, since shorter chainstays put more of your weight over the rear wheel where you have no suspension. If you somehow designed a hardtail where your bottom bracket was right on the rear axle, you would feel 100% of every impact to the rear wheel directly through your feet. But if instead you positioned the bottom bracket so it's exactly half way between the front and rear axles, then your feet would only feel maybe half of the impact force coming from the rear wheel since about half of the weight on your feet would be distributed over the fork.
  • 2 7
flag tall (Feb 18, 2019 at 11:37) (Below Threshold)
 @SlinkySammy: you're and you're
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Exactly. Not to that degree anyway. What are they talking about?!
  • 1 0
 @jaame: there to self absorbed to have a grate cents of humour like the rest of us.
  • 2 1
 @dlxah: he specifically said chainstay aren’t important for climbing.

When descending he basically wants to be leaned over in a push-up position with a ton of weight in his hands, which is why he has a huge reach. That takes weight off the rear wheel to make it softer while letting him weight the wheel.
  • 2 0
 @Blackhat: I was replaying to somebody who claimed that chainstay length doesn't matter as much on a hardtail as it does on a full suspension bike. But to your point while a longer reach could help, it doesn't negate the fact that a longer chainstay length helps as well.

Imagine a couple of extreme scenarios: one hardtail with 0mm chainstays (i.e. the BB is literally concentric with the rear axle), and another hardtail with 1m long chainstays. Both bikes have the same reach, stack, head angle, etc. and only differ in wheelbase and chainstay length. Which bike do you think will transmit more of the trail to your feet while descending? Obviously the bike with the 0mm chainstays, since your feet will feel 100% of every rear wheel impact (minus whatever small amount is absorbed by the tire and rear wheel).

Longer chainstays on a hardtail are almost like having a tiny bit of rear suspension, because they reduce the amount of vertical displacement at your feet for the same amount of vertical displacement at the rear wheel. They can also allow frame designers to tune additional compliance into the rear triangle thanks to that extra length. Add in the fact that longer chainstays and a longer overall wheelbase are going to make the bike more stable regardless of whether it's a hardtail or full suspension, and the benefits are even further compounded if you're after a comfortable, composed feeling hardtail.

Note that Clark even mentions in the article that he "preferred the longer CS version mainly for descending". Obviously longer chainstays come with some tradeoffs and aren't going to be for everybody, but I don't think there's really a compelling argument against longer chainstays generally being more stable and comfortable all else being equal.
  • 1 0
 @dlxah: You were replying to someone who asked a question about the designers thinking. It was a good question that correctly represented the designers words. I was just pointing out that the designer was speaking specifically about climbing, but your counter example was descending.

Anyway, I'm not trying to argue with you really. Just pointing out that while your concerns are reasonable the designer addressed them using another approach.

I think that the "suspension" effect you point out is WAY below other factors in determining chainstay length. The desired stability/nimbleness and the effect on weight distribution when your weight is going through your feet are much more important than less than 5% change in bump input at your feet. If that's so important you're willing to change the handling characteristics, they make these really nice bikes called "full suspensions" that address the issue directly.
  • 55 5
 For everyone from the RADGNAR of BEND, BOULDER and SARNIA ONTARIO or flatbuttistan please insert your "but whyyyyyy" comments here
  • 10 1
 "but whyyyyyy?"
  • 8 1
  • 8 1
 Lee, is that on Trailforks? hot right now. lol
  • 8 1
 "I don't like that all the trails in my area are flat and boring and other people in other areas ride steep and challenging trails."
  • 1 0
 London Ontario, UWO baby!
  • 1 0

For realsies, I had zero expectations of seeing both Sarnia and UWO mentioned on the Pinkbike comments tonight haha
  • 1 0
 I have Sarnian heritage. My apologies for passing it along to my children.
  • 2 0
 @JTepic: @Stickman1029 Sarnia Milton, and the mad sickness of Simcoe have put out some riders with INSANE senses of humour.... and bike -handling competence.
  • 32 4
 Pretty cool insight. I dig the bike and think pinkbike should get one in for review
  • 13 2
 I agree that a review by someone other than the designer would be informative
  • 1 0
 I'd love to review this bike. Sounds radical.
  • 1 0
 @hardtailparty: yeah its sweet you ever get one?
  • 1 0
 @slipnjloc: Nope. I've ridden a samurai, rootdown, and surface ti, but not a doctahawk. The Actuarian looks really rad too.
  • 25 3
 Pinkbikers still be like:
"but i has better full dampening bike for less monies, why i need this?"
  • 58 2
 Pinkbikers still be like "even though my bike's geometry was considered radical 5 years ago, my bike is perfect and the best ever made, thus any more innovation is just silly and greedy on the part of bike companies."
  • 12 1
 @Rubberelli: This exactly! Pbers want to protect their outdated purchase from yester year on all fronts.
  • 2 1
 @bohns1: it's a bizarre psychological phenomenon going on here at PB. Imagine if people didn't want smartphone makers to innovate and advance, or automakers.
  • 4 1
 @Rubberelli: Valid points... I mean, u still got the 26 ain't dead yet pocket crowds still hangin on like isis fighters..

I'm all for progression! Fully knowing my beloved sb130 will be outdated in less than two years.. Ouch!
  • 2 1
 @Rubberelli: this is my favourite comment on pinkbike in 2019.
  • 1 3
 @bohns1: but 26 ain’t dead and 29 is for xc, do we really want the same size wheels as roadies. There’s a reason rayboy switched is Habit to 650b, just saying
  • 3 1
 @krattAtak: Haha.. Please tell me you are not serious in thinking 29 is for xc? Watch a Kirt Voreis recent edit... Watch a Jeff Kendall Weed edit... Watch some Nate Hills follow cam Friday edits.. Watch Jesse Malamed shred his instinct! Watch Vinny T on his Scott Ransom or the boys on global mountain bike network... When ur done all that.... Give ur God damn head a shake!
  • 3 2
 @krattAtak: without a doubt, 27.5 is better than 29 for hucking and slashing through the muck, which is the vast majority of what Ratboy does now. But then again, 26 is probably even better for that. Too bad it went the way of the Dodo.
  • 15 2
 I live in your neck of the woods and have ridden long forks in hard tails before to good effect. I now have a Geometron G16 so I’m definitely on board with this type of geo. Could you elaborate in point #3 about chainstay length being a bigger factor for climbing a FS than a hardtail? I’ve stayed away from chrimags because 415mm chainstays are unreasonably short for a taller rider. But your bike is much longer.
  • 4 0
 The shorter the chainstays, the more the geometry will change as the suspension compresses. Presumably the "dynamic" SA and HA will be slacker on an fs with short chainstays, all else being equal.
  • 1 0
 Because your weight shifts back when the rear end compresses while climbing. You don't have that with a hardtail, so can get away with much shorter chainstays without them sick (unintentional) wheelies.
  • 2 1
 ...'but the rear can't sag while climbing.' I'm not a proctologist, but do confirm that short-stay, short-travel hardtails and low tire pressures have the advantage in long, slow, uphill jank. When you're moving around a lot over the bike, suspension interferes with rebalancing and saps pedaling power. Also, steering the rear wheel around stuff is easier with a shorter stay.
  • 2 0
 @ceecee: Minus traction though. Anything bumpy/loose, forget the advantages.
  • 1 1
 @BenPea: Tire pressure is closer to the ground than suspension. My test track is nothing but bumpy/loose. Please visit. Or we can ask Levy to hold a climbing competition with himself. Doctahawk vs. G16. Same tires, pressures, since we're after stay length climbing factor. Ten runs each up a steep quarter mile pitch on different days. +1 for dabs, +2 for dismounts. Low score wins.
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: All of that sounds splendid. Wait until I've eliminated family ok?
If I can't do that, Levy will have to do.
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: Wait, 10 runs?
  • 3 1
 @BenPea: Statistics?--something about eliminating the more random results. I'll take Doctahawk and spot you five points. G16 shock can even be run locked out...come to think of it, since we're only testing for chainstay length, let's have a Doctahawk with 455mm stays melted up. I'll take D-hawk 415 and still spot five points. Loser pays for both frames and keeps the 455. Even in M/L they're too big for you. I should be pitching this to Alexsin. Meanwhile, you can conduct tire pressure and suspension traction research on yr '08 Reign while contemplating the wonders of family.
  • 3 0
 @ceecee: '05

I'm an old man, you'd have to untrain to make this fair.

I couldn't even get on a G16 and locking the shock is suicidal for a steep climb on a shonky surface so don't try and pull a fast one on me buddy.

In all seriousness, my Reign will out climb any hardtail that isn't a fat bike in the snow and one day I'm gonna take my baby to the orange dirt of whatever godforsaken place you inhabit and we will do this.
  • 3 1
 @BenPea: Excellent. But it's still Levy vs. Levy. He's the Mini-donut of objectivity.

I shall however begin untraining presently in the event of an alternate contest in a less godforsaken spot.
  • 2 0
 @ceecee: yes, what we need is a willing stooge made entirely of ink, sweet dough and recent stud muscle
@mikelevy: ball's in your court.
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: its easier to rear wheer steer with a longer chainstay... have you ever even had a bike with a CS of 450+ ?
  • 2 1
 @getsomesy: Because physics, right? Have you ever had a unicycle?
  • 2 0
I can definitely attest to this. I recently swapped out my BMX trailcrew frame with 150mm travel, 126mm CS, and 455 reach for a ragley blue pig hardtail frame with 125mm CS and a 450mm reach. The blue pig's geo is super close on paper, but it it's way harder to manual than the bmc was. Chromag's 415 stays sound really nice to me!
  • 1 1
 @ceecee: unicycles are irrelivant. I think your lack of answer is safe to assume meaning “No, i havent ridden a bike with 450mm+ Chainstays.” So you Obviosly dont know what your talking about.
  • 17 7
 Good stuff Clark. The thing with the headtube length (stack) is that most companies don't get the proportions right and small/mediums tend to have too much stack with 110mm headtubes while large/XL's are only 10/20mm longer while reach often grows 80+mm between those sizes.

In short, the 95mm head tube on the M/L should probably be 90mm and the XL 130mm.
  • 46 36
 Erm, there is the engineering bit in headtube length... 90mm headtube sounds sketchy on any bike, on a hardtail like this it is pure insanity.
  • 11 15
flag jclnv (Feb 16, 2019 at 14:33) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: What?
  • 19 1
 @jclnv: there is a strong lever effect that occurs at the ht which tries to peel the ht away from the dt. A longer ht reduces this, making the ht it junction stronger. As an example, try holding a bar with your hands and have someone pull the end away from you, then space your hands further apart and try again.
  • 69 36
 @jclnv: I get negs and you get props for this. I am quite convinced that prop system is used in 80% by morons. And you had a fkng nerve all these years to write about physics of chainstay length. Holy sht... well if you put headset bearings close to each other (short headtube) you get an effect of holding end of a heavy hammer with hands held very close to each other. The further you spread them, easier it is to handle the load, the less stress is put on your wrists. So now please propper get that hammer and hit yourselves in the forehead with it. You need it. Fkng morons
  • 78 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I think most people just slide the mouse pointer over to the neg prop as soon as they see your name now, it's nothing personal at this point, just a reflex: "I'm gonna read the article, then I'm gonna read the comments, and I'll neg prop anything I see from Waki."
  • 7 18
flag jclnv (Feb 16, 2019 at 16:19) (Below Threshold)
 @dirtyburger: Have a look at the size of the interface between your steerer tube and fork crown and tell me you're still worried about the headtube/downtube/toptube interface.

@Wakidesigns What?

But yes it seems I was right about chainstay length all those years ago.
  • 6 6

being 150 -220 lbs loaded, in 16rys have hucked lots of pretty big gnarly hard hits and have never snapped a headtube, nor have known someone to have a mtb headtube snap off. Although I’ve cracked and ovalizized HT’s a couple times replaced under warranty and broken many headset bearings.
It seems headtube failures are occasional manufacturing defects, poor quality frames, ignorance of growing crack, or driving into the garage!

With enough well manufactured material in headtube reigon, and strong bearings, even a 100mm headtube will support very high loads; I’d wager higher than any single crown csu could.

Considering the larger radius wheels we are using, with more bb drop, and more stack height for “more aggresive riding” it would also make sense to lower the minimum stack height of the headtube and seat; for lower and better COG, handling stability, cornering, speed, power, efficiency and range of motion.

There are all sorts of ways; stem bar steer, more travel; to raise the front end of a bike... But without losing valuble travel and ground clearance, perhaps comprimising geometry, there is no way to further lower handlebars than low bars and slammed stem.

So if headtubes arent snapping off, i would prefer to be able to get a 435mm reach bike with a 100mm headtube and 400mm seattube.

Also taller headtubes bring the bars closer to the riders chest. The opposite of what your trying to achieve
  • 5 9
flag Yody (Feb 16, 2019 at 17:17) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: waki I finally agree with you on all points you've made in this post.
  • 8 2
 @WAKIdesigns: There is plenty of bikes with 90mm headtubes, don't make me find them and quote them. Because I definitely will do it.
  • 6 1
I didn't say I was worried mate. It's just about reducing unnecessary stresses. People don't put gussets and shit in that region for shits and giggles.
  • 1 4
 @dirtyburger: It's a non-issue these days unless the frame is built by companies who don't fully understand the material they're working with, like most BMX's manufacturers. The above bike and most others don't have any form of strengthening even though we're running longer forks with slacker headangles.

Your fork will fail long before the head tube.
  • 1 0
 I snapped a cove shocker head tube in middle school at 135lhs and maybe 5 foot two. @jclnv:
  • 5 2
 @jstnrt: 10/10

We need plugin for web browser just to make CTRL-F +neg props on him bit faster and easier to do.
  • 2 1
 Yes that's exactly the problem. My large HT has a longer head tube than my XL Enduro. Clark really nailed it. I ride far less steep terrain so my 65hta HT feels just right when sagged. The Pike fork is the perfect match and rides nice and high on the steep stuff when I get to ride it. It's a no brainer despite the misinformed comments of the PB commentariat.
  • 5 4
 @freeridejerk888: No disrespect but Cove would be precisely the type of brand I was talking about above.
  • 10 9
 @getsomesy: I didn’t say it won’t work, I said that structure is a part of the equation here, not only bike fit. Are we trying to find “reason” no matter structure or fit, with this bike in the background?

@jclnv - I guess 99% of bikes are still not coming within 20mm of your benchmark.
  • 6 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 17, 2019 at 2:00) (Below Threshold)
 @warmerdamj: and what does that prove?! Plenty of XC racing bikes have them. Yes. It’s nust that forces acting on them are smaller and low cockpit heights are much more desireable. If you want a low cockpit you could use flat or even drop bar. Or maybe you shouldn’t put a fkng 180 fork in there in the first place. If you want to argue on one dimension of a particularly ridiculous bike (Red Alp will ride better than this) find another idiot for it
  • 4 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Well to start it proves that 90mm HTL is obviously not sketchy on any bike, especially a hardtail. You haven't really made any other points though, aside that we would be most effective in bashing our skulls in with a hammer if we have our hands as far apart as possible.

This bike is sweet too by the way, sorry it makes you so made having a 180mm fork on a hardtail but in Squamish where they make it the terrain warrants this type of bike. And putting a flat bar on this bike is something nobody would ever say, it's a Chromag man. They don't even make flat bars!
  • 6 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 17, 2019 at 10:57) (Below Threshold)
 @warmerdamj: the only kind of bikes Squamish warrants in scope of gravity oriented riding are full suspension bikes with 140mm travel or more. If you can’t afford one a long travel HT is a better choice than a short travel HT... the other cases fall under Orange County choppers and I have nothing against that. I also said rather clearly that it FEELS sketchy to me. I did not say it will fail. Discussion whether loads on headtube on HT are bigger or smaller on FS is ridiculous among individuals with basic understanding of statics. Outside of it, fine, you may think whatever you want.
  • 3 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Nobody says, "Hey since I cant afford a full suspension bike I'll go buy a $5,000-$6,000 hardtail". This is not an alternative to a full sus bike, it complements one. Squamish is bike central, n+1 is alive and well there and that's why Chromag made this.

And you didn't say it feels sketchy, your comment is right above here, "90mm headtube sounds sketchy on any bike, on a hardtail like this it is pure insanity".

I doubt it's sketchy and it probably FEELS great, you think they are putting out sketchy bikes at Chromag? What are you talking about? Give me some of the drugs you're on.
  • 9 12
 @warmerdamj: ok it feels insane to me. Just like 180 fork on a ht. Or an idea that this ht can compliment a fs. Look, I do have thoughts on how would it be to kiss a guy, take a shower with Asian twins or shag a dwarf, I just don’t make them into reality. I won’t judge you if you do though.
  • 3 0
 @getsomesy: I know one rider who has broken 4 HT off.......just saying
  • 9 0
 @WAKIdesigns: if you do a free body diagram of a simply supported beam between a 95mm headtube vs 90mm with a crown to axle length of 571mm you would only see a 5% increase in load on the lower bearing. This is a conservative analysis as it doesn't take into account the length of the wheel/contact point away which would make that 5% number even smaller of a difference between the two. There are many ways to gain that 5% back in larger wall thicknes or gussets or material changes to make it not sketchy.
  • 3 5
 @pinkbike-engineer: I am fine with that. Just why not go to 70mm so that short people can get good fit on 29+ Bikes? What is the optimal length? This is the question.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: My rough guess is that it isn't the strength analysis leading the geometry of the bike. They aim for a certain (sagged) geometry with reach and stack etc and a certain fork length. Head tube length just follows. For instance my BTR Ranger size large has a 150mm head tube (external lower bearing) with a 120mm travel suspension fork. Chromag uses a 180mm travel fork and reduces the head tube length accordingly. Sagged geometry would be comparable. I suppose I'd be on their M/L sized bike. My bike has 415mm chainstays, 400mm seat tube and 63deg unsprung head tube angle so yeah, it is more or less comparable. Sure the shorter head tube will be subjected to larger forces but as said, it isn't like my taller head tube has already been designed on the limit of what's possible. There are more bikes out there with head tubes shorter than 100mm and even though they're not even made from steel, they're keeping up just fine.
  • 2 2
 @jclnv: eh what? Most Bmx’s are made from 4130 not alloy or plastic. Pretty sure they know what they’re doing hence why people are doing 20 steps to flat with no suspension on a 23 lbs bike. Haha
  • 3 2
 @thenotoriousmic: An average BMX frame weight is 5lbs for a relatively small amount of material. A 150mm travel Scott Genius with shock and hardware is 5.5lbs.

Do you see how the former is simply overbuilt rather than well engineered.
  • 2 1
 @jclnv: I’ll just leave this here.
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I agree. They should be shorter for small sizes. I am on the short side at 5’6” and stack height is one of the most important aspects of a frame when deciding for me. There are none that make one to my liking in a 29er 140rear/160front travel range so I have gone making my own frame to suit my needs. I’ve found 85mm to be a happy spot for me to get back to where I was on a 26” vs 29” but you still have to go the extra mile to get the right spot for the individual. Slam set headset, no spacers, neg stem and no rise bars for me. For a while until recently I think manufactures just didn’t think about size smalls cause they are such a small market. A lot of manufacturers didn’t even bother making size small 29er frames. With 29ers being the go to frame these days they have been more common in small. I agree the stack can be even lower by inching the head tube shorter and my guess to why manufacturers don’t do that is purely cause it’s getting out of their norm/comfort. And have been slowly inching it shorter and shorter. Most frames come in 90mm these days and wouldn’t surprise me to be a little shorter next design cycle.
  • 1 0
 @pinkbike-engineer: I think the high stack is also a choice, not just a consequence of big wheels. As probably noticed, reach has increased over the years. To still have enough leverage to lift the front over an obstacle and especially when descending, you need a higher stack too. So yeah, maybe the thinking was that shorter riders are also lighter with respect to their bikes hence need more leverage than taller (heavier) riders. Obviously there are numerous exceptions (lanky tall lightweights vs short and strong fighter pilots come to mind) but in general (and mass produced bikes are designed for the average consumer) there is probably a positive correlation between rider height and weight.
  • 1 0
Wow, under what conditions with what frame/fork and how old?
  • 2 0
 @vinay: I just feel if that's what you want you can easily add more spacers under your stem.
  • 3 4
 @pinkbike-engineer: you missed my point which was: How short head tube is too short. When will the structural integrity and shape of a head tube be compromised? At which length of the head tube (given 180mm fork) will the bearings die.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Your previous question from above was "Just why not go to 70mm so that short people can get good fit on 29+ Bikes? What is the optimal length? This is the question." That's what I was trying to answer based on my experience that's what i thought the optimal length for fit for me was. Your most recent question is more of what is capable from a structural stand point and how short can you go. I am not familiar with chris king or cane creek bearings as they don't follow a standard so not sure exactly what they are capable of. But just looking from a packaging standpoint I don't think you can get shorter than ~75-80mm head tube length before your stem is into the tapered region of your fork steer tube. This was from a rough measurement on a pike.
  • 1 2
 @thenotoriousmic: Short low leverage A-C length, 70 degree head angle, low friction surface with zero brake forces etc etc.

If they used that tubing diameter, thickness, and built a 150mm, 29" bike with a 160mm fork I bet you my house it would fail before any MTB companies bike with large R&D.
  • 2 1
 @jclnv: couldn’t just hold your hands up and admit you was wrong? You pinkbikers are hilarious. One more and I’ll let you to get on with talking about stuff you don’t understand.

How well do you think a Scott genius would cope with this? Haha
  • 3 0
 @jclnv: Most BMX manufacturers are working with 20" forks which don't have anything like the leverage of longer forks. It's not really a big issue. And most BMX head tubes are a similar length to small sized MTB head tubes, but with less leverage.
  • 2 3
 @thenotoriousmic: Mountain bikers and BMX... that's like golfers showing up on baseball game...
  • 2 1
 @thenotoriousmic: I'm not wrong you just don't get it.

Specialized could build a carbon framed BMX that would be far lighter than steel and massively stronger.

Let's look at it another way. Do you think a modern F1 can could be built in fubular steel? Would you want to sit in it as it crashes at 200kph? I'll take composites and R&D thanks.
  • 2 1
 BMXes are made from grossly overbuilt steel tubing because they get smashed to the concrete time and time again and they get scratched and grinded everywhere all the time. Most Geniuses have 3 layers of protective film to not get scratched and never flew further than what a 15yr old does on BMX track on daily basis. How did that comparison come up exactly?
  • 3 0
 @jclnv: ha no you really don’t have a clue what your talking about. Your not even a little bit right. You’ve just said something stupid and your to proud to hold your hands up and admit that your wrong or you just don’t know your wrong ether way I can’t take you seriously at all.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: he just said something without thinking about it properly and then said something about race cars. Ironically they use the exact same tubing to make Bmx frames as they do to make roll cages in cars... high quality 4130 and if you took your ‘carbon’ frame to a F1 team they’d laugh at you if you told them that was carbon.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: You just proved my point. When there's little R&D, Motorsport use steel roll cages, when they have good R&D and actually understand material science (like in F1) they use composites.

Do they bolt a steel roll cage in a WRC LMP1? Do they f*ck. It's low tech shit. Like welding gussets on 4130 steel frames. They used to do that in aluminum before the R&D improved enough for them to use hydroforming.

Anyway that's enough from me. What I'm saying is obvious to a 5 year old.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: They use hydroforming in car racing, or do you mean only for the mass produced parts? Hydroforming sounds odd for really small series as it requires a really strong and heat resistant (hence expensive) mould. Unlike the mold used for fibre reinforced composites. If you just want a single product (or prototype) you could use styrofoam to machine the coarse shape out of to then cover it in ceramic paste and only machine the detailed shape into that. That will get you a cheap mold that will only last you a single product. But I've never heard of a sensible way to do hydroforming in really small series. Eager to learn, of course.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: Comparing the forces that a fully rigid BMX frame sees (nevermind the physical impacts, grinding, etc) to those of a full suspension mountain bike is ridiculous.

Give that Scott Genius to a decent BMX rider and set them loose in a skate park, and we'll see just how well engineered it is!!

BMX frames have plenty of engineering going on, and just like mountain bikes, they're much lighter and stronger than they used to be. It's all about the right tools for the job.
  • 2 0
 @dh-walters: BMX have lost a lot of weight too in the past couple of years. My BMX is from 2004 or so, CrMo front triangle and still about 16kg. I think a modern BMX that's not even CrMo is already around 12kg. Sure they don't run 48 spokes each wheel nor 14mm axles but still they sure the frames must have lost some weight too.
  • 1 0
 I've built about 6 steel bikes for myself and a few others using 75mm (ZS44/EC49) head tubes. 29ers with 150-160mm forks. I'm 5'10", not light, and take big boy lines. We're about to do a run of 85mm (IS41/IS52), effectively the same bearing spacing, and we're not expecting any issue.

There has been no issue in several years. I'm sure that the bearings are getting loaded pretty good but I'm only replacing bearings after a few yeas of use and that's due to mud contamination. If the increased load means I'm replacing bearings every 3-4 years due to wear, I'm fine with that. Head bearings are cheap.
Wernher Von Braun — 'One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions.'
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: Your point was Bmx company’s don’t know what they’re doing and I proved it how? Haha people like you is what makes pinkbike so much fun. Keep up the good work.
  • 15 3
 Doc Tomahawk. sick nickname.
  • 8 16
flag loopie (Feb 16, 2019 at 14:12) (Below Threshold)
 ....too bad they didn't stick with it. Life's gettin' rough out there...dodgin' all the whiners.
  • 4 8
flag Warburrito (Feb 16, 2019 at 14:38) (Below Threshold)
 @loopie: as someone who has seen firsthand the effects of a tomohawk in a store for sale once that I didn't buy because I wasn't really interested...this offends me greatly.
  • 2 7
flag loopie (Feb 16, 2019 at 15:14) (Below Threshold)
 @Warburrito: That's ok...not everyone needs a modernized replica of Mankinds first multi-component tool...a rock and a stick.
  • 2 1
 Lol I was thinking it was something like Doctacock or something.
  • 13 2
 "MUST be ridden aggressively"
  • 4 0
 damn, you don't say? you only put a 62 degree head angle on a hardtail.
  • 9 6

Harleys have antique hardtail cromo frames and slack head angles too, so that means they are only for riding agressive too, by fast people, right ????????
  • 5 0
 @getsomesy: if you get an old Harley to run for long enough I suppose you could ride it aggressively. Problem would be you would never get it to keep running. I remember seeing gag shirts as a kid that asked if they made a plane, would you fly in it?
  • 18 12
 So... this bike is for people who absolutely shred the roughest trails they find on hardtails and who think they will use it enough to pay it off... a 0.001% of mtb users. It´s a niche bike, I don´t get how people don´t see this. It doesn´t mean you should go an buy one straight away for your local xc loop...
Maybe they could have launched it with a bit more care though? video, more explaining before? I dont think they care in any case. Nice job chromag, mix it up.
Thizzz bike not for pussys!
  • 17 21
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 16, 2019 at 13:47) (Below Threshold)
 Niche? But Leo K and Chris Porter claim it should be the norm.
  • 3 1
 They feature full suspension DH bikes here on PB too. Not intended for XC either and well, I'm not going into percentages but I'd say the majority of mountainbike riders doesn't ride DH trails.
  • 8 2
 @WAKIdesigns: the norm if you ride like they do... The argument is always the same, as long as you ride hard enough, these geomteries are amazing. Guess what most of us don't haha
  • 24 2
 Chromag didn't push the article to PB. PB picked the article up from the Chromag site. Chromag didn't push it because, like you said, those who know they can ride this bike in the way it was intended to be used, know what they want.
  • 21 27
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 16, 2019 at 15:12) (Below Threshold)
 @stefanfresh: heh, that is absolute bullsht. I know too many fast dudes on regular bikes and joeys on exotic ones. I am actually suspecting that both Leo and Chris suck at riding (for the time they put in) and get bikes which are good at straight lining everything and since they suck at cornering, they don’t care. They are just maxing out the time between corners. If you need a bike that motivates you to stay forward, then learn to ride for fks sake. All it takes is a few sessions on parking lot with cones, preferably a gravel one. When you wash out your front wheel 20 times you learn when to load the Front.

“You need to ride aggressively to appreciate it” haha. I guess all clients are shredders. Except they aren’t.
  • 6 1
 I look at it this way...people can ride whatever they want...and now the choices are getting truly diverse. The sooner articles like Doc Tomahawks get out there, the sooner people who care to read up a bit and have comprehension/visualization skills...the sooner they can determine if it's the right bike for them...if just going by what others say vs experience.
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns: this is so dead on
  • 16 8
 @Chromagbikes: but how are the ENDUROBROS of Santa Barbara, Milton ON and Boulder going to get one then? Can they send you their fastest Strava times or best instaselfies to get a DOCTAHAWK?
  • 7 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Indeed straights are for fast bikes, turns are for fast riders
  • 2 1
 @Chromagbikes: fair enough. Let the internet do the magic, you know what they say... no such thing as bad publicity. And yeah @loopie totally with you on that. I always like the wierd bikes that sometimes dont get a lot of attention, or are uncomprehended, just like this Doctahawk jeje
  • 3 1
 @Chromagbikes: as a PR guy I am jealous of your PR guy who did no work and got an awesome story from PB. I guess if you make rad enough products people will notice?
  • 1 0
 @vinay: what's a DH trail? One that goes downhill or a race track? PB is marketed to dh and enduro/trail riders where dh performance is paramount. XC and marathon bikes climb well and they hardly feature here. This bike fits the PB demographic perfectly. Maybe some people are on the wrong site?
  • 6 1
 Pinkbike following the content driving mantra of 'angry people click'? Fill the site with hate fodder, see the comments go wild. Problem is it drowns out the rest of us.

I bet there are a number of readers who appreciate the informative side of these articles, people like this pushing the boundries. It will certainly affect the bikes we are all riding in the coming years in some way.

I have a 140mm forked hardtail with 65.5 degree HA, I couldn't imagine having any more travel, but would certainly like to try more reach and steeper STA, for the stuff I ride. I might then want to try a slacker head angle and more travel, I doubt I'll need to go this far, but I'm pleased people do.
  • 4 1
 @headshot: Well yeah, that was my point regarding the OP. This bike may not be ideal bike for what most mountainbikers ride, but the same goes for a full on DH bike.

That said, as you mention PB is marketed at DH, enduro and trail riders, I'd say trail to me is an even more vague term. Isn't "XC" the race form of "trail" and "enduro" the race format for "all mountain" riding? And it doesn't matter much anyway because I think PB just covers the full spectrum of mountainbike riding these days. Trials, DH, enduro, XC, bikepacking... PB does indeed look at DH performance but paramount is a big word for a website that puts so much emphasis on anti-squat, seat tube angles and dropper seatposts. As said, it is just the full spectrum.

Considering the discussion about the geometry and required riding style here. I think it really depends on what you're used to. Like many I started out on a hardtail. After a couple of bad crashes partly to be attributed to undamped forks (Judy TT, coil spring, no damping at all) and unreliable brakes (V-brakes) after a half year I upgraded to a Marzocchi fork and a hydraulic disc brake in the front. The rear wouldn't accept a disc brake and I didn't want hydraulic rim brakes because of their lack of mud clearance. Add to that my dislike towards the cowards who destroyed the descends with their locking rear brakes and soon enough I was completely ignoring the rear brake. Sure I was going over the bars more than once but my logic was that the amount of braking it takes to go over the bars would never decelerate me if I'd apply that with the rear brake instead. I was just relying on the front brake, front suspension and just let the rear wheel do whatever it feels like. And it indeed feels fun like that. Years later I got myself a new frame with disc brake mounts in the rear and eventually got myself a disc brake in the rear too. Still, hardly using it, still good fun. Then I got a full suspension bike. Still have it, still can't ride it properly. Sure straightlining rough terrain, easy. But cornering, steep descends... I trust my hardtail way more. The fully requires you to put weight on the rear and also to apply the rear brake to jack it down. I've just never adapted my riding style to deal with that. Until then I was riding with the ball of my foot over the axle as someone once told me to. But when James Wilson released his Catalyst pedals I put them on all my bikes (and unicycle) and shifted my foot forwards as he recommended. Effectively that increased my chainstay length and reduced the front center. It was already twitchy but that's when things got way too twitchy and which made me eventually get a new frame with shorter chainstays and longer front center to compensate. And I love the way it worked out. It suits my style nicely yet at the same time I realize my style still won't suit my full susser. The other way around, I can imagine someone else who puts the pedal axle under the ball of the foot, raises the saddle and puts weight on it would just wash out in the corners. It doesn't make one more capable or "aggressive" than the other. It is just that some riding styles lend themselves better to a hardtail like this than others.

TL DR: People have different riding styles based on preferences and experiences. It doesn't make one better than the other, but it does make one product more suited to your style than others.
  • 3 0
 @leelau: The ENDUROBROS of Milton, ON! f*cking hilarious LoL

The amount of travel I see out on trails around here would make you think you are in BC or somewhere in the Alps...

I seen a person on my local Xc loop (Puslinch tract/twin ponds) several times last year riding an Evil Wreckoning wearing a FF helmet and full pads LoL What made it even better was that the helmet was fluorescent pink HaHaHa

Maybe I should have made friends with him? Him on his Wreckoning, and me on dual crown Ransom 30 shredding the Xc loops!
  • 4 0
 @Chromagbikes I'm not in the market for a high-dollar, high-quality Canuckistan-made bike. But when I am, I'll look for one of the 7 something-or-others you're making in that moment.

Best doing-our-thing comment ever.
  • 1 1
 @leelau: classy. Makes fun of the same people that read his articles. Way to rise above. Makes you no better than those that you piss on with your comment.
  • 2 1
 @vinay: Building a hardtail last summer, and riding the hell out of it (much to the cry’s of pain and cramps from the legs) taught me more about my riding, the trails, and the style of bike I should be riding than the last 4-6 years of getting out there. My old fullsuspension feels odd and mis-sized, I ride the trail (as apposed to the bike smashing by everything) and when I do switch to FS (rare now) the speed and confidence go through the roof. I’m a HT fan now. Anyone that has given it a go I think would agree. Anyone that has properly riden a HT would also agree this is a killer bike, but need a the right rider and trail. Probably why less than 20 of these were built. Is it something I need in my shed, not a chance. Does it belong in someone else’s? Absolutely.

My build will be a ‘trail’ FS to compliment the HT. Mid travel tweaked to ride firm, but forgiving with the added squish. Never would have thought I would be interested in something less than 160mm travel. Now thinking anything more than 140mm is just not needed.

Going backwards can show a guy what forwards actually looks like.
  • 1 2
 Yeah, I'm still willing to adapt my full susser to my style of riding. Because of my style I'm upsetting the rear suspension way too much (too little weight on it so it is going all over the place). It is a Cannondale Prophet. A slackerizer headset will bring the headangle down from 67.5 to 65.5deg and move the front wheel out a little, so that might set things straight. And possibly a new rear shock to tune low and high speed rebound independently. My kids are 7 and 8yo now so I'm dreaming of doing long epic days in the big hills again. As it is now (and as it has been for the past couple of years) my riding is mostly short aggressive blasts, typically below 2hrs. No need to sit down, no need to preserve energy. For me it just makes most sense to get my hardtail exactly the way I like it with nothing left to desire where a fully should be just "good enough". I'll probably be way less aggro on a long day out so my fully could be a bit tamed down from what my hardtail is, but as it is now doesn't cut it. Actually last summer I was helping digging a trail and to test a section I borrowed another guys bike. I think it was a Canyon Strive, previous generation. Still couldn't get along with what the rear suspension was doing. He said I was riding it way too aggressive. And that's a pretty modern bike and used in EWS competition so yeah, I think it more of a mismatch than anything else. Funny thing is that people often say that riding a fully just makes things easier. But I feel there are definitely a good few things you really need to get down before you can properly ride with rear suspension.

I do get people can be unsure about the amount of front suspension that would suit them and also wouldn't want to spend this kind of money on a hardtail frame. On-One used to make the 456 frames which, as the name implies, are designed to work with forks between 4" and 6" travel. Cotic makes the BFe with similar intentions. Both aren't particularly expensive and both are available for 26" or 27.5" wheels so those with some spare 26" components shouldn't have to spend too much on building up one of these, just to give it a try.

TL DR: Most of my riding is on a hardtail and I feel that's what makes most sense for me. As such it isn't such a big deal to at some point spend serious money on a frame that I know will be exactly the way I'd love it to be. Same obviously goes for that Chromag. If you just want to give hardtail riding a shot or realize that it will be only for a small portion of your riding, there are other frames available. Some of which may even work nicely with the "outdated" 26" wheeled components you may have kicking around.
  • 2 0
 @Chromagbikes: I own an OG Surface. Sometimes find it outgunned. Sometimes think geometry on it closer to my MOJO G16 would be nicer. Then I se this bike and release I don’t have the stones to push this bike. Really would be into something similar in Geo but less travel up front. Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @Chromagbikes: If I could only have 1 bike in SW Ontario it wouldn't be a 'big bike'. IMO 120/140 mm is plenty for all but the most serious of Ontario trails. With a proficient rider a HT is more than plenty for around here.

I'd rip the Doctahawk anywhere! Unfortunately problem for me is price.

I'd prolly bring 3 of my bikes on a trip out west LoL
  • 7 1
 Genuinely curious why no threaded bb?
Otherwise, total respect for knowing what you want and making it so.
I love my Stylus, but do wish it was longer and a bit taller in the headtube.
  • 11 1
 Something about the weld points on the press BB being wider than on a threaded BB enabling the chainstays to sit wider apart for greater tire clearance.
  • 3 10
flag yzedf (Feb 16, 2019 at 16:42) (Below Threshold)
 @alexsin: they could've used a fat bike bb shell, wide and threaded.
  • 5 0
 @yzedf: then you get a massive q factor. The press bb is no big deal. I've owned a Primer and it's a simple bb, no weird standards. You just get more mm of tire clearance for a give q factor. Threaded BBs are nice, but when you are putting a pressfit into a steel frame, it's really not an issue. Like a bmx bike
  • 2 0
 @trialsracer: I don't care one way or the other. I own bikes with threaded and with pressfit. I was just mentioning that there are options out there, not sure why that got people's panties in a twist.
  • 3 0
 I have a Rootdown BA with the pressfit BB, I use the Wheels Manufacturing thread in adaptor, I installed it with medium strength Loctite, two years of smooth, silent operation. I do not consider the pressfit to be a disadvantage. I do wish I had iscg tabs.
  • 5 0
 Hey I'm pretty amazed so many people don't get that hardtails only sag up front. Smile And thus, the dynamic geometry is something else than the static geometry chart.

My Stanton HT has 63.5 HA, which sounds insane at first (especially 5 years ago when no-one had it) but it rides at around 65.5 which makes a lot of sense.

@Chromagbikes you might want to actually publish dynamic geometry for your hardtails, i.e. geometry at the sag point. Stanton bikes does this to great effect.

Btw sick looking frame and geometry!
  • 2 0
 I think what people really dont realize is that a lot of manufactureres publish their geometry in a variety of different ways. I was recently looking at buying an NS Eccentric, RSD Middlechild or Nordest Bardino. Looking on the websites they all had different markers for their geometry. Some were using 27.5+ vs 29r since they all do both, Nordest used a sagged fork measurement and NS and RSD were based off different a2c. In the emd i was going to run 29r with a 160 fork so i reworked them all based on that and found they all stacked up nearly the same aside from the odd outlier. I went with the Nordest because it was actually based on the fork length I wanted amd I would have been increasing the forks on the other two which made the NS stack way too high and the RSD BB too high. But if I had just went by the websites listed geo it was a much closer decision. Gotta work those numbers!
  • 8 3
 Front center/rear center balance is real and sometimes the difference between crashing and staying upright. I don‘t need anyone to talk down to me as if this is just an internet opinion and not based on real experience....
  • 3 0
 Nice to read your feedback! All makes a lot of sense. Though that 79 seat angle at sag I think still makes it one of the steepest seat angles in the MTB world, full suspension or hardtail! I suppose a Pole at climbing sag would be about 77 or slightly under so pretty close.
  • 4 1
 Hes right on about his theories, especially having much more travel in front than back. I have a 130mm trail bike that came with a crappy 150mm fork. Since i had a PIke 160, i put it on, thinking I would drop it to 150. But really it rode even better. A couple of years go by and I have a 180mm Fox 36 that I wanted to see if the burliness made a difference. I put it on, thinking I would drop it to 160, but lo and behold, now at a 65HA the thing just screams. It's a much faster bike with only a bit more vagueness climbing. I let air out of the fork for the same reason stated above, but I'm not sure I needed to. Mark my words, you will see some 130r/180f bikes in years to come.
  • 1 0
 What frame is it? If i ever bought a fs, this is the route I'd take!
  • 2 1
 Yeh, his point on descending #6 is a good one. It's easy to get carried away on the internet and exaggerate problems which, in practice on the trails, aren't problems at all.
  • 3 1
 @Rubberelli : I have been running a trail bike with 130/160 for several years and it rides perfectly it’s a great way to go. I’m also a big fan of hardtails - it’s what I ride most, normally 150mm forks not tried longer.

One thing with these mega long bikes and particularly hardtails I want to know is if the riders who get them made and love them ride clips or flats? Reason being there becomes a point when the forward over the fork riding means you start to stop naturally dropping your heels. Once you stop dropping your heels particularly on a hard tail riding flats you are going to loose the pedals. I have not ridden clipped in since the 90’s but imagine it’s not a problem if riding clips. I’d imagine clips or flats may have quite a dramatic effect on how people get on with very long bikes.
  • 1 0
 @freeriderayward: a Mega TR. They don't make them any longer, but you can find plenty of aggressive trail bikes you could go this route with. However, some might already have 65HA with a shorter fork and going too much up front might make it too slack. Therefore, you have to start at a HA that can be reduced to what you like with a longer fork.
  • 1 0
 @StevieJB: it’s not really an issue for me with impacts and nukeproof horizons with the washers taken out.
  • 4 1
 I have a Fuse with a 160mm fork giving me an actual HT angle of 65.4 degrees, but it still climbs like a savage. I have been preaching this method on a hard tail for a year and its nice to see it explained in PB article. Because a majority of the people on here probably ride FS, its a concept that has to sink in.
  • 3 0
 Just change the geometry table to all sagged numbers, along with a suggested fork ride height (maybe with an example fork xy with static height of yx and suggested SAG). People will still get wrong ideas when comparing the numbers to the latest full suspension wonder bikes but at least they will have a better starting point.
Also people who want to know real numbers to maybe compare different hardtails will get a clear understanding of what the numbers tell. I hate hardtail geometry tables without any information if they account for SAG or not. It's a guessing game. Basically pointless.
Take a look at how Cotic does this. Much clearer.
  • 3 0
 I own a 2007 Chromag Stylus size med 26in. 2007 Marz 66 ATA 140-180 adjustable travel. No idea geometry. 60mm Stem. Climbs fairly well. Heavy though so chugs up. I am also out of shape. However, adjust the fork, lower seat a bit and it charges DH. Ride the fork is correct when descending the trail around the Sea to Sky. Chromag knows what they are doing in regards to making bikes for the area.
  • 1 0
 That’s awesome! I wonder how many people on this site are still riding their 2007 FS bike.
  • 1 0
 @BeKwik: I still ride my '09 Kona one20 Supreme, and '09 Scott Ransom 30...
  • 4 1
 Good little read that, like “I built a thing and this why”. If I had the skills etc I’d be building weird bikes and talking to other weird bike people about the design theory too. Disclaimer: I am not a hardtail rider.
  • 3 0
 I'd love one. But if you have to do things like this to try and justify to people why you made it like it is then you are just making life hard for yourself.
  • 10 7
 I still can’t get over the price. That’s insane for a hardtail that’s not made out of Ti. And why press fit BB??? If it’s metal it should be threaded Madder
  • 7 4
 You probably don't understand money. To build a small batch custom forward thinking handmade hardtail is expensive. Specially initial start up costs. If you can find a ti bike with similar attributes go right on a head or else you are paying easily 1000 more. And guess what nobody cares about your complaints. Learn how to make enough money to afford expensive bikes don't blame Chromag because of your financial woes.

2nd. Ever wonder why every steal bmx out there uses press bbs? Do you know the benefits of a pressfit bottom bracker from an engineering standpoint... before you can dictate to a bicycle frame company?
  • 6 1
 I like this bike because it pisses people off.... punk rock of bikes!
  • 1 0
 I really wish they’d build this bikecwith smaller wheels and a slightly shorter reach for people 5’7” and under. I’m intrigued after reading this article. Sadly it’s not made for us shorter people. (Cue up Randy Newman)
  • 1 0

I was interested to see what it might look like in my size as all the built up photos I’ve seen were XL I reckon. Following the dims/angles mention in the article and a scale dummy it looks promising.
  • 1 0
 Hi Doc,
Thanks a lot for your detailed explanations regarding the doctahawk, and the thoughts that went into the design. Very interesting and enlightening.
You mentioned in the article above:
" I'll try an Angleset to see what 60 to 61-degrees feels like... Because why not? 62 feels "just right", but who's to say that the limit isn't a bit further."

What were your experience and impression? I'm using a - 2° angleset in my cotic bfe, and really like the way it rides.
Cheers, rynee
  • 5 1
 Nicolai was selling Argon hardtail for a while. Nothing new here.
  • 4 1
 tig welders have rent and mortgages too. its handmade stuff. you could get lucky and end up with one that has special juju.
  • 3 2
 Cool bike. Awesome to hear from this guy. Totally agree on the Head Tube Length. It's unnecessarily short for fitment (that stack on XL is super low) and maybe an engineering issue as well.
  • 2 2
 Nice looking rig! Chromag steel HTs always grabbed me. This one with some geometry set for the steep gnar looks tasty, i just wish there was some form of bmx-ish headtube gusset. Everybody knows....chopper angles are more prone to leverage stresses.
  • 3 2
 How bout instead of redesigning an entire new proto bike, add in a to give you .5 to 1.5 more degrees of slack HTA? For starters... Just sayin.
  • 3 0
 I really don't mind the geo and big travel fork (been doing it for years with my hts) but why press fit????
  • 3 1
 That was a whole lot of words for talking about a hard tail. You couldn't use that many words to describe a surgical procedure to someone.
  • 2 1
 Hang on a minute!

"My name is Clark Lewis, and I'm an emergency physician, I designed the geometry of the new 'Doctahawk'."

Now, if I can get an appointment with my GP, do you think that she will design a bike for me?
  • 1 1
 I love it! I'd really like to try one of these. When the geometrons came out everyone was saying how stupid they looked, now their geo is considered within the parameters of normal. I don't go big one little changes to standards with questionable benefits such as boost (and PF BBs!) but geometry changes offer great choice to those who find they like a longer slacker bike. One thing though; Press fit BB? Seriously? This is an expensive bike. Put some threads in there!
  • 1 1
 How do people get over the back wheel for slow speed drops? My biggest issue with long reaches. Sure, it pedals the same and doesn't require as much body positioning for most riding, but being that far over the front wheel doesn't make quick manuals easy...
  • 1 0
 I’m no engineer but would think being an aggressive HT, it would be wise to put some kind of gusset connecting the TT, Down tube and head tube for extra strength
  • 5 1
 You're correct, you are not an engineer.
  • 3 0
 @Spittingcat: ha ha, I see what I did there, I wrote I’m no engineer. What I meant to say is I’m not an engineer. Thanks for clearing that up.
  • 3 1
 basically if you ride knarly shit... get one, if you don't stop trolling and fcvk off
  • 3 0
 why aren't downhill bikes so long in reach
  • 1 1
 Amazing write-up. This is the kind of down-to-earth “real talk” that makes Chromag so awesome. Explained in a way that makes this all relevant to actual riders and people who are in the industry because it’s fun!
  • 1 0
 Longer slacker..longer slacker... so boring of reading the same issues again and again for every new bike.... get over with it and make them as its should!!!
  • 11 9
 Of course it’s in the eye of the beholder but to me it’s really ugly
  • 10 11
 Don’t explain yourself to these plebes who don’t understand things chromag. 90% of people on this page are absolute scum and you don’t want them to like or understand what your doing.
  • 3 1
 I don’t ride the fork. The fork rides me...
  • 4 3
 Riding a bicycle is alot like eating a Poutine, you either melt with the cheese or burn like the gravy
  • 1 0
 Anyone have a # for the Lyrik 180's A2C? I have a Fox 36 160 29 recorded at 567.
  • 3 0
 591 as listed.
  • 4 2
 This guy is a legit badass that knows his shit about geo
  • 4 2
 Knows where to.. borrow.. it.
  • 3 1
 Headtube length + reach and headtube angle is absurd
  • 1 1
 Yes! You need to drop the seat way out of the way for a HT! I'd love even more than 200mm drop, to go from road commute height to full DH/DJ height.
  • 3 0
  • 4 4
 So ridiculous that additional article was needed with 'why this would fit you' approach, and whether you get brainwashed or not, that price tag is a complete fuck off.
  • 6 2
 It's the same price as their Samurai, Surface, and Primer -- models which have all sold well over the past many years Chromag have existed. For some, locally fabricated is worth the upcharge, especially those who have bought in to the culture of Chromag
  • 2 2
 @ronufoh: Don't care. Unreasonable imo full stop.
  • 8 1
 @kovaldesign: if it doesn't interest you, don't buy then. Simple as that
  • 2 0
 Why no Small Size? You guys got something against short Dentists?
  • 2 0
 it's for Doctors.
  • 2 0
 It manes no sense to me to run such long fork on a hardtail
  • 18 21
 He should have explained why it is so long, slack and stupidly expensive. For a steel HT its crazy since there are carbon full squish rigs made in the US out there (Guerilla Gravity) that have the same builds for a couple hundred $ more.
  • 15 8
 its exactly it, yes its modern but its just a hardtail. I dont care which wizard welded it with what magic pixie-rod its not worth $1900.
  • 4 0
 Maybe if it was ti
  • 5 2
 He explained the long, slack thing
  • 4 3
 He explained the long, slack thing
  • 2 2
 @goflowz: agreed. It's really cool and I'd love to try it but it's more than double the price of their own Rootdown made with the same tubing.
  • 6 2
 @goflowz: This is nothing new with Chromag's though, the Doctahawk doesn't cost anymore than the Surface, Primer, or Samurai -- premier Canadian made models that have proven very popular over the years to clearly there is a market for a $$ steel hardtail frame. For some, supporting local fabrication is important. For those who don't care as much, they have the Wide Angle, Rootdown, and other Taiwanese built frames at roughly half the price with the same geometry and design qualities as the locally made equivalents.
  • 1 0
 @ianswildon815 Its obviously not for dentists. Just Doctors.
  • 2 0
  • 3 2
 slack head tube and long reach just jumped the shark.
  • 2 1
 No Mr. Chromag, thanks...
  • 2 2
 Can I get another f*ck yeah!? This thing is the buisness. Really making me consider a hardtail again
  • 2 1
 Doctahawk, more like Staplerhawk
  • 1 2
 I can dig it, similar feel I've gone for with my trail HT just not as far out. An with shorter rear an 26 for still hitting DJ an Pumping terrain
  • 4 2
 She's a beaut, Clark.
  • 2 1
 Am I the only one who wants to put a DH fork on this thing?
  • 1 0
 Does SA = STA and HA = HTA? Soooooo confused
  • 7 8
 not worth $1900. keep deleting my comments and ill keep commenting your deletes. its a free country
  • 1 0
 This is fake news. Sad.
  • 3 3
 Djentists bike
  • 6 0
 Do djentists make music inside your mouth? Wink
  • 5 0
 @privateer-wbc: Do you even djent bro?
  • 1 1
  • 1 3
  • 2 1
 But it the only consistent numbers, people run different sag. People just need to learn that hardtail geometry is different than fully geometry
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