PYGA STAGE

Bicycling (South Africa) - - SHOOT OUT -

Un­veiled in 2015, the Pyga Stage was ahead of its time, en­gi­neered with pro­gres­sive ge­om­e­try that most ma­jor brands have only re­cently in­cor­po­rated into their bikes. In­spired by the ca­pa­bil­ity of trail bikes, Pyga’s goal was to cre­ate an out-and-out race ma­chine that was both light and ef­fi­cient, and – most im­por­tantly – didn’t ex­hibit any of the un­nerv­ing twitch­i­ness as­so­ci­ated with the marathon/ XC race bikes of the time.

Fast for­ward to the 2018 model year, and ev­ery man­u­fac­turer worth their car­bon weave has adapted their bikes in the same man­ner as Pyga did two years ear­lier – a feather in their cap!

In­ter­est­ingly, rather than boost hub spac­ing, the Stage fea­tures Pyga’s ‘+Five’ wheel and drop- out spac­ing that keeps the chain­rings ex­actly where they are, but off­sets a stan­dard 142x12mm rear wheel 5mm to the drive­side. This means the chain­line on the 12th gear (eas­i­est gear, largest cog) on a +Five frame is equiv­a­lent to the chain­line on the 10th gear of a reg­u­lar frame. This cre­ates a more bal­anced chain­line across the cas­sette range – im­prov­ing shift­ing, but also yield­ing a stronger wheel, thanks to the more bal­anced spoke ge­om­e­try and ten­sion.

While testers found the Stage to be in­cred­i­bly sta­ble on tech­ni­cal ter­rain (Oli rode it for three days in Piket-Bo- Berg), pre­dictable when cor­ner­ing at high speed, and firmly planted while climb­ing, there was still the vague sen­ti­ment that there seemed to be some­thing miss­ing – an ‘ X- Fac­tor’, so to speak.

Dis­cussing it among our­selves, we felt the Stage lacked the ex­citable pulse present in the other bikes – es­pe­cially the Spark RC. While pre­dictabil­ity and sta­bil­ity are su­perb at­tributes – es­pe­cially for tech­ni­cally- chal­lenged rid­ers – we felt that the Stage didn’t con­vey a burn­ing de­sire to be pushed as hard as pos­si­ble, with the rear shock tuned for safety rather than speed.

Fit­ting a re­mote lock- out lever for the rear shock is a must, as reach­ing down was both dan­ger­ous and time- con­sum­ing – some­thing rac­ers shouldn’t have to ex­pend en­ergy on.

With a few tweaks – like a shock tune, and a dif­fer­ent han­dle­bar – we felt the Stage would have put up more of a chal­lenge in this esteemed com­pany, mak­ing it the dark horse among our con­tenders.

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