Spotted: Another Full-Suspension Prototype From Chromag

Dec 1, 2022 at 13:03
by Matt Beer  

It's no secret that the hardtail diehards, Chromag Bikes, have been working on full-suspension bikes for some time now. This past summer over Crankworx, they were proudly displaying a sharp looking bike with a titanium front triangle dubbed, the Darco Ti. That version looked ready for production and judging by the build kit, would fit squarely into the "trail" category.

Expanding on their appetite for rear suspension, Chromag look to have a long-travel bike in the pipeline too. A keen-eyed skier from Whistler sent over what looks to be a burly enduro bike with dual 29" wheels and an EXT coil shock. We've seen a previous prototype that mimicked an up-scaled version of Chromag's youth bike, the Minor Threat, however, this recently spotted bike appears to be further refined.

The new proto on the left uses an alloy rear triangle. Both bikes use a Horst-link suspension design, however the yellow frame is much more refined.

The heavily machined, alloy rear triangle is the most obvious changes to the new prototype frame. Although the suspension design differs slightly from the previous enduro prototype we've seen, Chromag has stuck with a Horst-link design, noted by the pivot on the chainstay near the dropout. The new linkage looks much cleaner and simpler than before by using a one-piece rocker link and less hardware. Along that bottom portion of the rear triangle you can also see a sculpted chainstay protector which is tidier than the inner tube wrapped around the red-colored proto, suggesting that Chromag has opted for this design.

When we shared these photos with Chromag, they only offered a few hints by stating, "We aren’t ready to say anything about this bike in particular just yet. But we are very close to launching our first FS bike (within a couple of weeks). There is more than one bike in our program."

We'll be sure to share their new bike when it's ready to launch and add it to the review list.


133 Comments

  • 287 0
 All hail external routing and metal bikes. My credit card is ready and hopefully operators will be standing by.
  • 18 8
 I hope their full suspension frames have a better warranty than the one year on their hardtails. That would be deal breaker for me.
  • 6 11
flag Dobba84 (Dec 1, 2022 at 19:27) (Below Threshold)
 That are also heavy! 38lbs or bust.
  • 18 5
 @dungeonbeast: and no bullshit press in BB
  • 66 1
 You can't kill the metal The metal will live on Carbonfiber tried to kill the metal But they failed, as they were smite to the ground
  • 14 0
 @crazy-canuck:
Headset cable routing tried to destroy the metal.
But it was smites by the wonder of external routing.
  • 3 0
 @Dobba84: yeah I don’t know why they only have a couple frames with threaded BB while all the others are press fit. The minor threat is threaded so there is hope. My credit card will probably come out regardless…
  • 3 1
 @dungeonbeast: not to mention their absolutely dismissive attitude towards any negative comments regarding their frames.
  • 1 0
 YES love it
  • 2 0
 @somebody-else: Gonna need some more details on this one.
  • 1 0
 no lollygagging!
  • 11 8
 @trioofchaos: I had a Doctahawk with some finish issues. Their response was that I shouldn’t have bought the clear coat as it’s known to be fragile. Which would be fine IF that was communicated at the time of purchase, which it wasn’t. Cleaned up all the issues that I could (you can’t do a proper rust treatment internally as the tubes are all capped) and sold it off at a big loss… I would never buy anything of theirs ever again.
  • 4 4
 RIP Cycles is standing by and ready to take your orders!
  • 12 0
 @somebody-else: Interesting. I have had the complete opposite experience. I have a Primer that needed the BB reamed after the warranty period was up. I couldn't find a local shop that had the tool. They asked me which shops in my area I trusted. They called one of those shops, shipped them the tool, paid for my frame to get fixed, and sent some extra gear.
  • 4 0
 @trioofchaos: stories like that is one of the big reasons why I bought one.
  • 8 0
 My Rootdown was very well finished, the head tube, BB, seat tube and brake mounts were all honed and faced. The paint has held up, ok, not great, it has lost some sheen, but has been otherwise durable. I was given a five year warranty, and I spoke with Ian about me drilling the frame and adding some rivnuts for a second cage mount and he said the warranty would stand as long as the frame didn’t fail at the new bosses.
All the pressfit hate I never understand. If you use a standard Shimano plastic cup BB86 it’ll never creak and probably last several seasons. I bought a Wheels Manufacturing BB insert and it’s been fine for two seasons. I pull the crank and regrease occasionally and I’ll pop the seals off of the bearings and clean/regrease, but that’s like a 20min job twice a year.
  • 6 0
 @Dobba84: All press fit frames should come with a Wheels Manufacturing press fit /thread BB. No threads in the frame and no creak in the threaded BB.
  • 3 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: had a stylus for 5 years, just re grease the seat tube every winter, no problem.
And it’s still going strong with it new owner..
  • 2 0
 @Trowel1: I just built a stylus and I am extremely impressed with the quality of the frame. It came 100% ready to build, I had it rolling the same weekend the frame showed up at my door. I'm looking forward to many years with it.
  • 5 0
 I have a Marino frame as well, the finishing on the frame was pretty terrible. It’s powder coated and I had face the fame and fork brake mounts, hone the seat tube, chase the BB threads and face the shell, and remove powder coat from both thru axle (front and rear) dropouts and machine the counterbore for the hanger side dropout. I also had to hone the head tube and face as well. If you’re considering a Marino, I’d find a good LBS that can assembly prep a steel frame, otherwise you’ll struggle if you don’t have the tools. There is no comparison to my Chromag, when I received it, I pulled it from the box, looked at the quality of finishing, checked a few things to verify it was properly prepped and just started to throw it together.
  • 3 0
 @pisgahgnar: generally their short chainstay 29/275+ bikes are press fit, for tire clearance because of BB shells are wider.

Press fit in a steel frame is a bit of an exception to the "press fit sucks" rule. Changing them is a little more fiddling, but nothing fundamentally wrong with pressing steel bearings into a steel housing.
  • 1 0
 @pisgahgnar: great choice
  • 10 0
 @somebody-else: Well, it does say this on their website: "This is a finish we can offer, but we don’t recommend it...clear coat on bare metal is a touch fragile and while it highlights the beauty of the material and process, it will expose the scratches, scuffs and marks on the metal."
  • 1 4
 @KennyWatson: there's a detail you have to have had a steel frame to know about - headset cups being steel too will corrosion weld to the frame, it sucks.
  • 1 0
 @Trowel1: I've also seen Stylus frames crack after being ridden in the midwest for the same amount of time. A very large crack on the top tube just behind the weld of the top tube/down tube junction.

They can be great frames, it would just be nice if they had an explicit warranty on them for a reasonable amount of time 5-7 years minimum.
  • 2 0
 @dungeonbeast: I cracked a Wideangle in that exact same spot. A friend cracked a Rootdown in that spot. I got a crash replacement frame at 50% off because it happened in year two. I completely understand frames can crack but when it happens to multiple people, on multiple frames, there seems to be an issue.
  • 3 0
 @somebody-else: first time I’ve heard anything negative about the brand, they seemed to be worshipped by every one.
  • 1 0
 @somebody-else: could you not have just repainted it?
  • 1 0
 Sorry - only cash or Bitcoin accepted.
  • 1 0
 @dungeonbeast: I’ve had a Chromag Sakura since ‘09 roughly. The abuse this 26er “XC” hardtail frame has endured over the years is surely beyond the scope of warranty. Still rock solid.
  • 2 1
 @kwl1: want to guess why that statement is there now Wink
  • 1 1
 @kwl1: a month old $1700 frame? f*ck no.
  • 1 0
 @baca262: I've had a rootdown for several seasons. No issues.

Steel on aluminum can cause issues too. That goes for aluminum frames and carbon frames with aluminum inserts.

Use the right parts and the right installation methods for your application and you'll be just fine. Do dumb shit and suffer the consequences. Welcome to life. Good luck out there.
  • 1 0
 @neimbc: can vouch for this. 2 years of reliable service on my Firebird
  • 1 0
 @KennyWatson: yes, you'll certainly do everything by the book being a broke ass teen, professor.

and still, after enough years i believe it would still happen
  • 1 0
 @crazy-canuck: no kidding.. everyone thought they were cool on the carbon frames and maybe they were for a while, but then prices tripled so that's a hard nope! Back to good ol' alloy.
  • 1 0
 I barely see steel bikes anywhere. Are they actually worth it? Like for real? Also internal routing is harder to work with but how often do you need to route the cable from scratch? Like really? Internal routing also looks very clean and makes washing\cleaning the bike much easier
  • 43 1
 No need for “spy shots” from the parking lot. You can drive 10 mins south to Chromag HQ and have a look for yourself. If you’re nice they might even tell you about all the cool new stuff coming out.
  • 10 0
 I know right? I mean, great job, keen eyed skier but everyone at Chromag have been beyond stoked to show off the bikes, prototypes and anything else you ask about
  • 12 2
 Press embargoes are commonplace in the industry.
  • 2 0
 @danfromme: can I buy one?
  • 2 1
 Serious, I’d give Pinkbike a week, no more than two weeks, before we see a first look at the real deal.

It’s always like this, sneak a bit out early, hint at future availability, then there comes the review.

The bigger question is availability to the pleebs.
  • 1 0
 that would be awesome
  • 1 1
 @sfarnum: that sucks you should be able to do proper spy reporting ....free press rulez
  • 3 3
 This is more payed advertisement then spy shot, this was made in cooperation with Chromag - otherwise the PB wouldn't dare to publish it.
  • 1 0
 Came here to say the same thing, and yes they will gladly talk to you about the prototype and the other prototypes hanging on the walls
  • 2 1
 @sanchofula: It's more about the usual clickbait Pinkbike headline than anything else - Chromag's full suspension bikes are not even a secret and to say "spotted" as if it was some kind of breaking news is such a load of guff
  • 14 0
 My local shop has had a Darco on the floor (owner's personal whip) for months. I ogle it every time I'm in there, just a clean, no-nonsense frame design. Looks like it's translated nicely to a longer travel platform.
  • 2 0
 Ti or steel?
  • 2 0
 @sfarnum: both I bet . Ti would be alot more money
  • 1 0
 @sfarnum: chromoly steal front triangle and seat stays, aluminum chain stays for the most part from conversions I've had with the guys. But this one appears to have an all aluminum rear end
  • 2 0
 @pdxjeremy: I think some frames will be made of ti like the hardtails
  • 1 0
 @sfarnum: 99% sure it's steel. It's painted, but I never even considered it might be Ti.
  • 1 0
 @grabtindy: good to hear, I was worried it would be Ti only.
  • 1 0
 @DHsender4life: yes Ti is an option also. It's absolutely gorgeous in person
  • 23 6
 Please not 29 only
  • 13 0
 Red frame pic tripped me out with the seat of other bike looking like the seatstay
  • 1 0
 kinda looks like a motorcycle-sidecar situation.
  • 6 1
 #lookslikeaFezzari
  • 4 0
 Rocky Mountain ETS-X
  • 10 0
 That Forester's kinda sweet in the back there.
  • 17 0
 Likely been parked there a while due to the engine spinning a bearing etc.
  • 2 0
 @jclnv: These things happen. At this point they'd better know what they're getting into.
  • 3 0
 I wanted a JDM Forester STI but end up with a cheap & mint JDM Subaru B4 RSK, not practical for mountain biking but so much fun on the Sea to sky. For spun bearings maintenance is key, regular oil changes and an oil pressure gauge help. I have an EJ208 with the twin-turbo and never had issue with it but the manual 5 speed is a POS i wish i had an S401 with the 6 speed. I love old forester, there is some sick one in BC.
  • 3 0
 @jclnv: My wife and I had one that spun the bearing. It was her daily driver and the head gaskets failed, leaked all of the oil out into unseen areas and then spun a bearing all within a very short amount of time - well within the regular maintenance period. Learned our lesson and if I had one that old again I would check the oil weekly. They work great if you enjoy doing a lot of preventative maintenance on your car.
  • 5 0
 Photo Caption - "The new proto on the left uses an alloy rear triangle. Both bikes use a Horst-link suspension design, however the yellow frame is much more refined."

Am I the only one who doesn't see a yellow bike... the bike on the left is clearly orange.
  • 8 1
 I’ll hold out for the release of the full-sus Doctahawk (working title: “Doctashock”)
  • 5 0
 Dude….when I first saw the top pic, I was thinking wtf did all the cables at the steerer come from? Only upon closer look I realised there’s a lamp post behind…… Cool bike nevertheless.
  • 9 2
 Nice to see it’s a proper 27.5 frt and back
  • 1 0
 It's a 29er front and rear? Says so in the article and the pictures show 29x 2.5/2.4 on the tires.
  • 7 0
 @tpfenning: you have your reality and I have mine. I’m just hopeful that companies might start making 27.5 bike again- I know what it said.
  • 2 0
 @speed10: If we are choosing realities, can I get one where I can afford all these sweet new bikes? And also the time and weather to enjoy them all?
  • 3 0
 @tpfenning: of course. The world is what we make it.
  • 7 0
 Airdrop has entered the chat.
  • 4 0
 It looks good until I spotted the large chain going from crankset to front wheel! Two wheel drive is the new head set routing!
  • 2 0
 Yakima- We need longer roof rack bike mounts! Look at all that overhang. Front triangle of this bike looks super rad. I hope the rear end is steel for the production bike. Such a weird look with a square rear end and round front. Will be cool to see the final product when it's all ready!
  • 4 0
 I guess they didn't like the yoke design... I would love insight to the development process
  • 4 0
 Yoke is crap.
  • 2 0
 @freeridejerk888:
Yup, they kill shocks
  • 2 0
 And yet they went with trunnion. Even though the frame in the picture has the space for an eyelet shock.
  • 8 2
 @Velocipedestrian: Trunnion is no problem if the manufacturer can keep tolerances acceptable and precise. I hope we can trust Chromag to do that.
  • 4 0
 That is a sweet 80's Ford E camper van back there. I wonder how much dark brown wood and green shag carpeting is in it?
  • 1 1
 I have the same bike rack, and can guess at least one bike related measurement from just looking at how it sits in the rack.

I've got a Banshee Titan in size Large, with a wheelbase of ~1270mm. And for that bike, I also have to slide the rear wheel strap all the way back. I don't have a photo handy of mine to compare, but that Chromag might be a bit longer.

So maybe a size L, with ~1265-1285mm of wheelbase?
  • 3 0
 What if it's a small! Smile
  • 2 2
 I question this big statement: "Classified's Powershift technology is the first major technological improvement since Shimano and SRAM took control of the market,"

IMO LAL Bikes Supre drivetrain is the first major technological improvement. At least in MTB territory.
  • 5 1
 R u drunk?
  • 2 2
 @trioofchaos: Not at all, you seriously assume that a new hub internal gearing system (already exists on the market) is such an improvment? Even though it has something new with the wireless shift. It has all the disadvantages of planetary systems (added drag) and has proprietary cassetes.

Lal bikes is a completly new take on deraileurs. With maximum non-proprietary parts.
  • 8 0
 @IluvRIDING: Mate, look at the article you are commenting on.
  • 1 0
 @trioofchaos: Wow, thats super weired. I am sure I was commenting on the right one. Must be something wrong with the site/firefox or whatever.
  • 2 0
 So if Daggas are 200+ now, would it be cheaper to just buy a whole rig from them?
  • 1 0
 Sweet bike lock holding that thing to the rack! They aren't playing around.
  • 4 0
 I noticed that too. But then I saw the lock was connected to the weakest part of the rack. The average thief can probably tear that section of the rack apart with their bare hands, and then deal with the beefy lock when they have more time.
  • 2 0
 @boopiejones: Fair point - you seem to know those racks. You know though, when it comes down to it, if a real theif wants it, it's theirs. I suppose the impressive look is mostly deterrence for amateurs.
  • 1 0
 @boopiejones: Yeah, I use the same one. That chain is more there for looks than anything else. With enough push, you could rip that arm off. It would not be quick but you could do it.
  • 2 0
 What about the arcturian????
  • 1 0
 RIP.
  • 1 0
 @Glenngineer: bummer, may the shred gods bless the arcturian
  • 1 0
 Of course -when they make a Yellow frame you know they mean business?! It is like a green dress...........
  • 3 2
 I think it's about time Chromag and Cove just get on with it and make the love child all of us want.
  • 2 0
 Linkage looks similar to the Airdrop frame linkage
  • 3 1
 full review tomorrow
  • 3 0
 not tomorrow from what i know but pretty soon. We have a few on order for our shop and it supposed to be December for the preview.....
  • 1 0
 I'm waiting for it!
  • 1 0
 A Gen 2 Kona Process & a Gen 1?
  • 1 0
 Good gravy, that head angle looks comparable to the Grim Donut.
  • 1 0
 It’s an illusion from the rack. I have the same one. It makes any bike you put on it looked like a slacked out DH monster.
  • 1 0
 Wonder if I can fit an angle set to slacken it out a bit
  • 1 0
 Like a Nicolai Saturn 16!
  • 1 0
 Reminds me of an early 2000s Turner RFX. That's a compliment, by the way!
  • 2 2
 Spotted! Big Grin
PB is typical "Access media" - if Chromag didn't want this to be published - PB wouldn't publish it.
  • 1 0
 Hopefully the frame won't be 6000+$
  • 1 0
 Who still uses a roof rack?!
  • 1 0
 yellow one looks like a Transition suspension design.
  • 1 0
 Red jawn looks like a process 111 me like
  • 1 0
 Sexy!
  • 1 0
 nice bike!
  • 1 1
 Can`t wait for the next overpriced boutique
  • 1 1
 Confused on how a bike with a Zeb fits into the trail category
  • 1 0
 I was wondering the same thing
  • 3 0
 The trail one they were talking about was the previously seen darco ti, with a lyrik on it.
  • 3 0
 @kcy4130: Ah. Sometimes my reading comprehension is the suck.
  • 1 0
 Simple answer: Double black Whistler trails (outside of the park). Things are rough and gnarly AF out there.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a Cotic.
  • 1 1
 Now put a motor on it @Chromagbikes lol
  • 1 0
 China frames?
  • 1 3
 Remind me why steel full suspension bikes make sense? Oh right, they don't.
  • 1 4
 The dissimilar metals will result in galvanizing corrosion , that frame will fail.
  • 1 0
 Ferrous or non-ferrous?
  • 1 3
 Looks like a session
Below threshold threads are hidden





You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2023. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.030097
Mobile Version of Website