First Look: Chewmac Bikes - Steel Frame Fabricators from Quebec

Jun 29, 2022
by Matt Beer  

Steel frames seem to be popping up everywhere, like Chewmac Bikes in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada, and there's good reasoning behind that. The material is readily available and less complex to work with for manufacturers with smaller-scale equipment, and all of Chewmac's frame components are designed and manufactured near the town of Sherbrooke.

Chewmac's journey began in 2016 when the founder, Benjamin Macé, built his first frame, a dual-link trail bike with 130mm of rear-wheel travel. Since then, two passionate employees have joined the company and aim to have a hardtail frame and complete parts package ready to roll in just a few weeks. Following closely behind, there is a 155mm chromoly enduro frame that will be available in August, followed by a parts kit next year.

By using bolt-on aluminum dropouts, all Chewmac bikes offer the ability to swap rear wheels between 29" and 27.5" without affecting the geometry. Those modular pieces, which include the forward shock mount, open up possibilities for future tuning. Other specs are seen as standards today, like an IS42/56 headset, 31.6mm seat tube, Boost hub spacing, and a threaded 73mm bottom bracket shell.

Looking closer at Chewmac's $1,799 CAD Balance frame, the geometry is aggressive without being too outlandish for a hardtail with a 140mm fork. The numbers, like the 63.7-degree head angle, sit close to their full-suspension option, the Ginger, although the chainstays are much shorter at 432mm and the reach creeps up a few millimeters per size.

The $3,899 CAD frame Ginger runs on a progressive dual-link suspension design coined as the "Beni-S" kinematic. A high anti-squat starts near 185% but steadily drops down to around 130% at sag, or one-third of the travel. The anti-rise starts just above 105% to retain the geometry under braking and the pedal kickback is claimed to stay very low. A bracing tube parallels the shock placement to resist side loading and the headtube is fitted with a burly-looking gusset; fork travel is suggested at 160mm, but can run 10mm longer if desired.

As for sizing, four options span reach numbers from 432mm on the SM to 507mm for the XL, but all chainstay lengths resort to a fixed 448mm across the board. Other numbers like a 63.5-degree head tube and 76.4-degree seat tube angles place the Ginger in the modern realm of geometry. You can check out all of the geometry numbers on Chewmac Bikes' website.



Chewmac Balance frame - $1,799 CAD, complete - $4,799 CAD






Chewmac Ginger frame - $3,899 CAD, complete - $7,299 CAD





139 Comments

  • 103 18
 Neat. Still think I did mine better though www.pinkbike.com/photo/21154870
  • 8 0
 wow
  • 27 0
 Sorry, renderings only
  • 6 1
 Nice u designed a steel dw link bike, kinematics should be great. Did u build it yourself or did xou let it build ?
  • 7 0
 well this is my new dream bike
  • 8 2
 Yours looks like a Bottlerocket with a DW link. Very nicely done.
  • 3 0
 ya who built it for you?
  • 14 3
 Its a one-off I designed.
  • 22 4
 @static-schock: What cringe, whiny bastard is downvoting you? Sheesh. You did great.
  • 4 0
 That is a sexy bike
  • 4 0
 You did a great job there. A bike that looks simple and fast while standing still.
  • 4 0
 that is sexy as fuck
  • 3 0
 That looks amazing! Good work
  • 4 0
 @static-schock: Well it's a really beauty! Hubba-hubba!
  • 3 0
 Nice work!
  • 3 0
 Oustanding, i've built full suss frames myself so know just how hard it is, and that is a brilliant job. Massive kudos.
  • 7 0
 @ceecee: remeber the last company to do a renderings only brand , it was SICK bro
  • 3 0
 @static-schock: Wow, beautiful.... do you ride this at Camp Fortune? That's a heck of a durability test really... ' place f*ckin destroys bikes.
  • 3 0
 @Nellus: near weekly. Its held up beautifully for a year now. I'm more worried about my rims at this point!
  • 3 0
 @static-schock: That's sick man. No doubt you'll be hard to miss on this beauty. If I ever see you out there, I'll be sure to say g'day.
  • 2 0
 @thewanderingtramp: ¡Recuerde Enfermo!
  • 1 0
 who built it? looks sweet.
  • 2 1
 What exactly is better?
  • 5 0
 @adam102: Mine is purple. duh!
  • 3 0
 @nickfranko: looks better than many other bikes we see on here, and we can't be having that!
  • 2 0
 Kinda reminds me of the look of a Transition Bottlerock which is one of my all time favorites. Nice work!
  • 4 1
 @nickfranko: really?
He popped into the comments of a new bike/brand out of Quebec to say HE did it better.
That’s pretty friggin “cringe” if you ask me…l
  • 4 0
 @onawalk: Like the Starling guy used to do!!!
  • 1 0
 Great work
  • 54 1
 For a minute I thought the fully was $1799 CAD and I had my credit card out. Beautiful frames. Best wishes!
  • 15 0
 Serious question;
Can you even drink the "steel is real" cool-aid if there's no bottle mounts?
I'm stoked to see a company carrying the torch that balfa and xprezo once held high in the Easter townships. Kudos on the nice bikes and best of luck.
  • 3 0
 @uponcripplecreek: I've owned a Balfa and currently have my son on an Xprezo W29, you're very much correct in your statement about the wonderful unique steel heritage in Quebec.
  • 5 1
 @uponcripplecreek: It's steel. Drill and tap your own mounts!
  • 28 4
 @shirk-007: you and spotstuff a couple of loosers if you think mixing any word with México is derogatory. There aren´t many countries with history and culture as rich as México. I guess there´s a lot of ignorance up there, especially seeing the way you have treated the real/origial canadians.
  • 2 0
 My favorite place to visit, MEXICO
  • 2 0
 Would you prefer quebetucky?
  • 1 0
 @5afety3rd: Qeubecistan is what I’ve heard thrown around. Pennsyltucky gets used a lot more. A very big insult to the quality of Kentucky’s roads IMHO.
  • 1 0
 @Stihlgoin: I grew up near a town we referred to as Howellbama
  • 36 9
 Looks rad. I’d shred a bike from Quebexico
  • 11 82
flag shirk-007 (Jun 29, 2022 at 11:48) (Below Threshold)
 Why on earth would you feel it's appropriate to use this derogatory term for Québec?
  • 4 0
 I actually never knew there wasn’t a place in Canada called Quebexico I actually googled it
  • 2 0
 ahahaha, I had to google this one. Love it Big Grin
  • 22 0
 The Chewmac Ginger. A name not even a mother could love.
  • 3 0
 And yet here we are
  • 10 0
 Wow. These are absolutely beautiful and I love the anodized linkages. Steel is real cool. That being said... I'm well priced out, sadly. I'm sure lots of folks are.
  • 8 0
 Chewmacca
  • 6 0
 36 comments and not a single one about not having room for a bottle, thought I was on a different website for a second!
  • 6 0
 First looks are virtual now? Are those prices for NFTs or something, because there are no actual bikes to look at here.
  • 11 8
 UNpopular opinion, and I mean no disrespect to the manufactures because they look like a rad group of people but...

We dont need steel fs frames, why are they a thing? I thought people like steel because they claim its forgiving, so what's the benefit on a dual suspension frame exactly? Steel is heavy af too, which a fs already is heavy af, so why compound this problem?

I just don't understand the benefit. I think all these steel fs frames are just coming out because it was a "genre" of bikes that people didn't have so it is seen as an easy market to grab a share of, not because it's actually beneficial in a fs frame.

I welcome the PB crowd to politely enlighten me on the subject.
  • 13 1
 Its a niche product. At the end of the day, its ride feel will fit some riders preference. From a manufacturing perspective, steel is the simplest, cheapest, and most forgiving vs AL, CF, and Ti. Thats basically why i chose it when building my frame. You can also properly repair steel frames i believe. As for the ride quality, i can't say if the material makes a difference on my fs. However, its paired to a carbon wheelset. In chundery sections of trail, the frame feels very planted while the wheels move out of the way of rocks easily due to the difference in mass. Thats my experience with it anyways.
  • 4 0
 People often make choices which defy practicality. Maybe it's the car they drive because they like the way it looks even though the fuel efficiency and ride suffers (mustangs anyone?).
Maybe it's the food they choose to eat - burgers, fries and a shake certainly won't help your digestive tract or your energy levels, but the exquisit taste and blood sugar high is worth it (in the short term).
Maybe it's the bike they ride, sure steel is heavy and doesnt climb as well, but it looks great and perhaps reminds people of simpler times... hard to rationally argue with a shot of nostalgia.

If you compare it to other choices many people make, it just another one in a long line of human behavioural idiosyncrasies Smile
  • 11 0
 @ajayflex: No, this is a simple thing - if you want to build a bike locally, you build it from steel, from carbon or not at all. Almost all alu bikes are made overseas for a reason. Alu is hard to make. Carbon is expensive and also requires a huge know-how, and you need to invest in moulds. Steel is the simplest and cheapest material. So they make steel bikes because it's the only way they can make it not loaning millions and risking a lot. The rest is a marketing bs that simply needs to be there.
So in the end, it's not a steel bike you choose over alu or carbon. It is a locally made bike over a big corpo bike made overseas.
  • 4 1
 @lkubica: Why is it hard to make an aluminium bike? We weld it all day with no problems.
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: I'm curious too about why aluminum frame are hard to make? Is it the heat treating required? Looked like Neko did OK with his frame.
  • 8 0
 @ajayflex: Good bless you then. Great that you have a place to heat treat it and that you have access to hydroformed tubes, or maybe you just make them only straight... I have seen a few tries in Poland and they failed, they were always out of alignment and cracking like hell. Guess they also welded it with no problems, the problems showed up later Wink
  • 2 0
 @EckNZ: Neko hired some well known welding guru, still had alignment problems and creacking also (you can see the evolition, extra gussets etc.). And it still looks a bit rough. Now go find such a guy or weld alu for 10 years youself to make it right. I don't know why, just know that somehow it's true.
  • 5 0
 @ajayflex: Unless you're using 7000 series aluminum, it's difficult because it needs to be heat treated afterwards, and that equipment is a huge investment.
  • 1 0
 Easier for small scale frame builders to work with. Esp ones making hardtails moving to FS Also the aesthetics. But I agree with you
  • 4 2
 You can get away with using skinny tubes with steel which is what gives steel it’s flexy reputation but steel is a lot stiffer than aluminium if you want it to be. It’s all about tube size, wall thickness and many other variables. At the end of the day your building a product that’s designed to take an absolute beating and steel takes a beating way better than most materials. Other than corrosion there’s no reason a steel frame would ever break if used within its limits and if you use quality steel and get the weight down to an acceptable level why would you use anything else?
  • 5 4
 www.starlingcycles.com/why-flex-is-good-for-your-mountain-bike-frame

Plus read the other Tech Blog features, it's all explained here: weight, stiffness, ride quality...
  • 17 2
 There are a few fallacies in these comments that need to be cleared up. I build in steel to be up front.

Steel FS bikes aren't heavy. I'm building 140mm travel bikes at 14.5kg and 170mm enduro bikes around 15.5-16kg. Lighter than some production carbon bikes. Yes, steel is a denser material than the other materials used but for example, the steels that Columbus uses in their high end tubing is stronger than Ti and aluminium. Carbon is a mixed bag. Designed right it can be incredibly strong but then weight and bulk come into play as well.

Steel isn't flexy. It's stiffer than Ti and aluminium. Again carbon is a mixed bag. The old way of building with skinny tubes on road bikes made for flexy bikes. The reason is because the steels of the past weren't strong enough to draw as thin as they can be now so the tubes had to be smaller to try and make the weight acceptable. This meant the tubing wasn't as stiff. The new super steels allow for different tube geometries to be made which allow us to make stronger stiff and fairly light structures.

Steel has better elongation than Aluminium and carbon which means when designed correctly the fatigue limits are very high and will last a long time.

So what we have is a material that is forgiving to work with, still not easy when you want to push the limits of design. The super steels are hard and they are strong making manipulation hard. It's high stiffness, strength and elongation allows it to be made into awesome tubes for building structures with. It's tough and has a great spring to it.

It is cheaper to tool up to make steel bikes. Ti, aluminium and carbon all can have very big buy in costs. Having said that. The amount of money I've pumped into building up the capabilities in my workshop is eyewatering and I still need to invest more.

It's not marketing BS that I use steel. It's an awesome material. It makes an bike taht is awesome to ride whether you are making road or mtb, hardtails of FS. My 140mm 14.5kg trail bikes climbs faster and better than my 13.9kg carbon rocky mountain. Even my enudro frame can be pedalled around all day because it's been designed to be pedalled. My local 6km road climb, my best time has been on one of my steel road bikes, a full 1-1.5kg heavier than lots of fancy high end carbon road bikes that I have been able to ride up there. Steel can climb when the bike is designed right.

If you want to hold onto the old urban myths about steel that's your choice. All the materials have their merits. Carbon is an incredible material but it's also a mixed bag and really depends on a lot of factors to get it right. Even then, working as a mechanic I have seen so many flogged out carbon frames where a metal frame (steel, Ti or aluminium) would be still going. Hard points and interfaces with other components, especially where movement is involved is the carbon down fall and frames that are built to be crazy light don't last very long in the real world.

Yeah, I am passionate biased but I chose the material based on it's merits to make an awesome bike that will last. Not on what I think I can make a buck on. There are enough steel brands around now, some have been building for a while, to prove that steel has it's place in the market. I've been at it nearly 10 years now making road bikes and a couple years into my FS bikes. None of it has come over night.

Check out this for a real world review on what a steel FS bike can achieve.....

www.ambmag.com.au/feature/tested-devlin-oisin-574549
  • 4 10
flag thewanderingtramp (Jun 30, 2022 at 5:44) (Below Threshold)
 @devlincc: writing mixed bag because you really have no idea about the material is pretty poor to be honest. Massively generalising just to gain some kind of credibility also is pretty poor show ,Steel bikes are almost always heavier
  • 6 4
 @phutphutend: FFS man do you try and turn every pinkbike article into some way to drive traffic to your own site
  • 4 3
 @thewanderingtramp: He’s saying mixed bag because it’s really is a mixed bag. There’s an infinite amount of ways you can design a carbon frame, some produce better frames than others and obviously the quality of materials matter too. You could use the kind of carbon Mclaren produce or the absolute junk they use to make mountain bikes with, both are again going to produce vastly different results. It’s impossible to generalise, it’s a mixed bag.
  • 3 6
 @thenotoriousmic: LOL again a little knowledge might help you too
  • 2 0
 For me, I am considering a steel full sus for two reasons impact resistance and repairability. Carbon can be repaired but I have know very a few people who have punched holes/cracks in carbon from sharp rocks. Aluminum frames can't really be easily repaired. Steel on the other hand is easy to repair and as better impact resistance then carbon. As far as weight, the Ripmo frame weights 6.3lb and Starling says their frames weight around 7.9lb. 1.6lb of frame isn't really something that bothers me to much. Also personally I prefer the look of steel bike, smaller diameter round tubes and generally cleaner lines (this full sus being an exception).
  • 3 2
 @thewanderingtramp: what did I say that’s incorrect? Try not to make your answer to ridiculous or do, I need a laugh today.
  • 3 0
 Have you tried any steel FS bike then?
The presence of a rear shock doesn't completely eliminate any effect on chassis dynamics from frame material. Is that what you were trying to argue?
The steel FS frames I've ridden have a softer ride feel, cutting out a lot of small chatter and giving increased grip as you lean the bike over. It's very noticeable on something like a Starling and it can definitely translate to riding faster.
Personally, I'm surprised there aren't more steel FS bikes already.
I suspect chassis feel is going to be the new geometry, now that we've got that sorted out.
  • 2 3
 @thenotoriousmic LOL LOL yes I am LOLLING at you
  • 5 1
 @thewanderingtramp: yeah nah. Nice try. It is a mixed bag in terms of comparison. The metals all have fixed specifications for each grade. Carbon has fixed specifications for it's components but given the almost infinite possibility of combinations for carbon grade, resin type, weave, weight of cloth, number of layers, bias of fibres, compression, curing you end up with a mixed bag of possibilities. So its difficult to compare properties if the metals to that of carbon composites and you can't say all composites have the same properties because they are so wildly different in the final part.
  • 1 12
flag thewanderingtramp (Jun 30, 2022 at 9:38) (Below Threshold)
 @devlincc: NO you would end up with a mixed bag based on your lack of both experience or use of the material. Plenty of companies out there identifying target values and hitting them off the bat, if you only have the limited skillset to work with steel this is your problem alone. Maybe stick to road bikes.
  • 4 0
 @thenotoriousmic
that comment was aimed at the wanderingasshat btw
  • 4 1
 @devlincc: Absolutely nailed it, notice the other guys got nothing to contribute other than… nah mate ya wrong?
  • 2 0
 @Compositepro: haha don’t worry about it.
  • 2 1
 @devlincc: what elongation do the high end Columbus grades offer now? I always have a laugh to myself knowing the elongation of 853, and people saying aluminium isn't ductile enough! Rule of thumb; if the elongation is under 10%, think twice. Personally if I had to choose a frame material to crash on then ride again I'd choose aluminium.
  • 4 1
 @Tambo:
Columbus Omnicrom UTS=1300MPa, Ys≥920 MPa, Ap5>15%,
4130 Chromoly UTS=560MPa, Ys≥460 MPa, Ap5>21.5%
grade 9 Ti 3Al 2.5V UTS=620MPa, Ys≥530 MPa, Ap5>20%
6061 T6 UTS=310MPa, Ys≥2760 MPa, Ap5>12%

@thewanderingtramp :
Dude if you can't comprehend the point I am making then Im no help but thanks for the personal attack, I can now go back to my dark little hole and bash bits of steel together because that's all the skill I have, I hope you get to ride some sick trails this weekend.
  • 2 2
 @devlincc: tidy stuff @15%! I find this pic quite interesting; planetmountainbike.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/6618247_orig.jpg
Seems impressively stretched with no immediately apparent cracks
  • 1 2
 @Tambo: holy crap! Would love to know if someone completely clueless rode that to beat it to shape or it happened in one hit.
  • 2 2
 @devlincc: one hit; kelly mcgarry (RIP) crash at an urban DH in China. There's probably video footage of the crash somewhere.
  • 6 0
 Look fine, but these are just 3D renderings. I wanna see real bikes, not vaporware.
  • 1 0
 If you go to the crowdfunding page
  • 2 0
 I'd love to see what these look like built up. The wavy tubing has me curious. Does it intentionally utilize steels inherent flexibility to add more of the "suppleness" steel fans love? I also love how there's no shock mounting brackets welded to the frame. Instead they're using some pretty darn sexy bracket hardware that threads into/through the frame.
  • 6 0
 Oh yeah, I'd ride that.
  • 6 1
 Looks like a..... um... tbh I'm not sure what bike it looks like.
  • 3 21
flag Mitchemous (Jun 29, 2022 at 11:10) (Below Threshold)
 It looks like a Session
  • 21 0
 A rendering?
  • 16 0
 Looks like a Ripmo, in a steampunk fever dream
  • 9 0
 Canfield?
  • 5 0
 2009 big hit
  • 4 2
 School project
  • 5 0
 For you old school dudes - kinda reminds me of Eastern Woods Research.....
  • 5 0
 Hope they can fabricate as well as they can 3d design.
  • 3 0
 Balfa's back, i mean Appalache is back, i mean Xprezo is back, i mean.... Just joking, very happy to see something new from QC, bon chance!
  • 3 0
 Bold move naming one of their frames something another brand has been using since 2006...
  • 2 0
 I just did a quick bike check with the owner of the company Benjamin. It's in French but you can see the bike really well

youtu.be/34idLHmNedU
  • 1 0
 For thsoe who are looking for the reel results (not just 3D models), take a look at the facebook. They have many shots of the bikes already build and ride !
www.facebook.com/CHEWMAC-238752976829343
  • 3 0
 What's facebook?
  • 1 0
 @bishopsmike: It is where those in the know go!!!! (to be catalogued by interest and political view)
  • 3 0
 Do you need to gingerly ride it ?
  • 3 0
 the full squish is reminiscent of a late 2000's SX Trail
  • 3 0
 Now that's a ginger I would ride
  • 2 0
 I agree but I like a fiery bush.
  • 1 0
 3k for a steel frame? No thank you. By the time you build it up you’re paying around the same price as you would for
Carbon or premium aluminum.
  • 2 0
 Yeah but both mass produced in a Chinese or Taiwanese factory where the worker probably doesn't care what they're making., it's actually better value.
  • 1 0
 @watchtower: that depends on the brand. Brands like pivot have a very strict quality control process. They may not build them but they engineer them.
My bike has been bulletproof for over 2 years now
  • 1 0
 @jmard24: I know the carbon bikes ride good and are pretty durable , I was just pointing out that the Chewmac is not bad value. A high end carbon frame is around five and a half to six thousand Aussie dollars, I don't see that as great value, not even good value.
  • 8 8
 Damn that’s one fugly Ginger.

Idk if it’s the curves or the random support braces down center. The Balance is nice though.
  • 2 0
 OMG that hardtail. Excuse me for a few minutes....
  • 2 0
 Missed out on calling it the Bowcaster.
  • 2 0
 dam someone hit the "best quality" render option on solidworks
  • 4 3
 That full suspension made me throw up in my mouth a little....The hard tail is ok but wouldn't be in a rush to go buy it.
  • 2 0
 looks like an... sx trail?
  • 2 0
 Dope hardtail
  • 1 0
 I like what I see... go qeebek
  • 2 0
 29x3.0’s???
  • 1 0
 I cant be the only one thinking it looks like a 2010 Bighit?
  • 1 0
 I see it. Now I don't wanna see it.
  • 1 0
 The fully sus is one beautiful looking frame
  • 1 0
 the BB area looks so thin
  • 1 0
 Looks like a quadangle bmx
  • 1 0
 Steal is supposed to be cheap lol
  • 1 0
 "The material is readily available"
Where, exactly?
  • 2 0
 It's a 'ranga, Miss!
  • 1 0
 The old ginga looks a bit like my 2009 trail sx. I like it.
  • 1 0
 I think it’d be nicer with just steel dropouts not bolt ons.
  • 1 0
 Same for the shock mount, fixed steel ones please.
  • 1 0
 Seems like kue lapis legit.
  • 2 0
 Looks like a big hit
  • 1 0
 Isn't chromag also building a FS steel bike?
  • 1 0
 something legit pops up every now and then
  • 2 0
 dw-ish link, i love it
  • 1 0
 Nice to see stell FS bike which is NOT a single pivot.
  • 2 2
 Steel is real(y horrible looking)
  • 1 0
 Water bottle?
  • 1 0
 threaded BB ?
  • 1 1
 Am I the only one that gets commencal vibes from their frames?
  • 1 0
 Good fishins in Quebec
  • 1 0
 hmm





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