I was stoked when I was given the opportunity to test out the PYGA OneTwenty650, one of the bikes in PYGA’s line up of workhorses. This opportunity came a knocking, just a couple of months after our local and former national rider, Herman, rode a PYGA to podium wins in the highly contested Castle Enduro Series held in Cikole, Bandung. Yes, podium WINS. Not once but twice! He was riding PYGA’s Enduro weapon – the OneForty650 also known as the BumbleBee, with its striking Yellow/Black color combination and featuring a rear travel of 5.5”! By then, everyone’s been talking about PYGA. Where do these bikes come from? Who created the absolutely stunning bikes? And the list of questions went on.
So we hanged out at Singletrack to find out more from someone who’s very familiar with the bike, Herman, about the special features of the bike and he got into the technical details of the suspension design. While the technicalities of the suspension linkage looks similar to a couple of other brands, every millimeter counts on how the design works.
Alistair, owner of Singletrack, was kind enough to invite us over to his shop and chat about the different range of Pyga frames and Chromag components in his store. The All Mountain Style Frameguard, Chromag saddle, pedals and stem/carbon bars that we’ve been testing for the past couple of months has certainly proved to be one of the best set of components available in Singapore today.
Various builds of the Pyga OneTwenty 650 and a Chromag Stylus long travel hardtail is available at Singletrack.
The yellow bumblebee Pyga OneForty 650 bike that Herman rode to win the Castle Enduro Challenge in Indonesia recently.
One of the most popular products that Alistair has is the All Mountain Style frameguards that has proved to be useful in protecting your new frames.
Singletrack also has the full range of Chromag components in various colors to scheme your bike with.
Prior to this, many of our local riders have not heard of the brand apart from the big names such as Specialized, Trek, Cannondale or Giant, among others. However, in late 2013, local bike shop, Singletrack announced their representation of PYGA Industries and started carrying the whole range of PYGA bikes, straight out of South Africa. As we spoke to Alistair, we found out that the last brand of mountain bikes from South Africa to hit our shores was Morewood, known for its quality handcrafted frames, which was co-founded by former three-time downhill champion, Patrick Morewood. And what do you know, PYGA Industries started off as a solo project for Patrick sometime in end 2011 and the first batch of PYGAs, a 29er 110mm trail bike and a 29er hardtail, were launched in limited numbers in second quarter of 2012. Having owned a Morewood Mbuzi All Mountain bike and still riding a Morewood Izimu downhill bike, needless to say, I was very excited to try out what Patrick Morewood had up in his sleeves for the PYGA bikes because honestly, the Morewood rigs have not been a disappointment at all.
So back to the PYGA OneTwenty650, a 4.7” rear travel bike, which I felt was perfect for the limited trails we have locally and those across the Causeway. The bike build:
- PYGA OneTwenty650 in Size Medium
- Rear Shock: Rockshox Monarch RT3
- Fork: Rockshox Revelation 140mm
- Crankset: Shimano SLX / Raceface single chainring
- Drivetrain: Shimano SLX / Shimano XT rear derailleur
- Brakes: Shimano SLX
- Wheelset: ZTR Arch 650B Tubeless laced to Hope Pros
- Others: Raceface Carbon seatpost, Chromag saddle, handlebar, stem
With its Lava Orange-colored frame, the PYGA OneTwenty650, is definitely a head turner. When I took it out for the first time to the Butterfly and Bukit Timah trail, it received a string of “Oooohhs”, “Ahhhhhhs” and Wooooows”. Many asked where they could check out the full range of bikes and I had gladly pointed them to the right direction. After the 29er revolution, I was as curious as everyone else as to how the 650B/27.5” wheels would perform. The 29ers proved to be the real deal when it came to long distance jamborees and X-country riding. And even locally, a 29er bike did well for trails like Bukit Timah and Tampines. However, personally, I felt that a 29er was not as nimble and easily maneuverable, when it came to the tight trails of Butterfly and a certain trail nearby.
With the low stand-over height, the frame was a perfect match for me, standing at 1.78m and with a toptube length of about 595mm (428mm reach), it certainly felt like a well-fitted glove. As I moved into the trail, the bike rolled nicely and came alive when I started hitting the “rooty” sections. With the floating rear shock, similar to Trek’s design, the bike was able to take undulating terrain almost perfectly. The rear suspension felt composed and did not feel stiff. I had chosen the “Pedal” option on the Monarch RT3 and the PYGA’s climbing abilities were absolutely fantastic! There were minimal ‘pedal-bob’ except when I was in the lower gears and it was able to give me loads of traction. The ‘slackish’ head angle of about 68.5 degrees also enabled the front end to stay down and rooted during technical climbs of certain sections (read: after the stream). Although the head-tube angle seems slacker than most trail bikes, but it certainly did not prevent one from tackling steep climbs that needed some maneuverability.
Talking about maneuverability, despite the slightly larger wheels, I was able to maneuver the bike nice and effortlessly through the tight trails and wheels rolled over the bigger roots as efficiently as a 29er, if not better.
Moving on, having ridden a DH rig for quite a bit, one characteristic of a bike that I look out for is its stability in handling fast descents. Yes, the DH rig certainly handles well but isn’t that what they are meant for? A couple of months back, I tested a full-suspension XC/trail bike and yes, it performed nicely but it did not give me a sense of confidence when I rode through the descents. And you know that awesome descent section at Bukit Timah trail featuring a couple of nice packed berms, followed by the rocky downhill just after you cross the opening? Well, the OneTwenty650 cruised down that particular favorite section of mine, like an angel! Instead of bombing down, the bike had great balance to float over the rocks and roots with the Monarch RT3 and the Rockshox Revelation, fully open, did a fantastic job absorbing all the impact to enable the bike to plow through.
The rear of the bike also features a stiff double bearing pivot with ‘migrating active braking system’ – in layman terms, enabling the brakes to move with the chainstay, thus eliminating any brake-induced suspension issues and assuring a more improved durability and increased lateral stiffness.
Other notable features of the bike also include the Syntace X-12 rear 142x12mm axle system, making it a bit stiffer and some would prefer a ‘tool-less’ option there as well as a rear internal cable routing, to ensure your ride is looking slicker than ever minus the ‘eye-sore’ hanging cables.
All in all, I was not disappointed at all with the bike’s capabilities. It certainly proved to be a reliable work-horse in the trails and an equally dependable bike on the road, when you’re trying to clock mileage in those long distance urban rides. Trust me, I know. Because I tried commuting to work with the PYGA once, a full 42 km, to and fro, and it was a breeze. Sure, the bike can be build with better and higher end components especially for the race rats looking to shine on the podiums, but for those looking to enjoy the local trails on the weekends, a similar build would suffice, without compromising on the comfort and stability. Fortunately, Singletrack offers “frame-only” options for you to build and custom to your preferences and needs. There is no one perfect bike but with 4.7” travel and a maximum 140mm front travel, together with many other wonderful features, I would say this is one of the perfect bikes for Singapore’s local trails. And with an affordable price tag and plenty of build options, there’s no guessing what you should spent your moolah on if you are thinking of getting a new bike.
For now, I am off to have a great conversation with my wife about how having another bike would be a good investment.
About the Writer:
Sufyan Sairi is a writer and photographer who loves to ride, travel and a regular feature in the trails of Singapore.
Photo credits: Fandy Razak / Shafudin Jaya