As far as 29ers go, there haven’t been many as successful in opening the minds of hardcore 26″ riders as the Pyga Industries Oneten29.
Steve Walker, or ‘The Butcher’ as he’s known (he’s a butcher), has an open mind to all sorts of bikes and all styles of two-wheeled riding. In his first bike review for Bike Magic (he has been a Dirt Magazine contributor for quite some time), The Butcher takes the Pyga for a spin and falls head-over-heels in love.
You can read our first-look at the Pyga in which you’ll find a gallery of initial thoughts and details. Read Steve’s review below to find out how she rides…
PYGA ONETEN29 REVIEW
Words and photos: Steve ‘The Butcher’ Walker
I find it difficult to write bike intros. You know the usual BS of: “It’s a rocker link with a backwards-forwards stroke, that ramps up at the bottom, then springboards back at the end”. I mean are we talking about bikes or my hero Tom Daley?
What I do know is that Patrick Morewood understands a thing or two about suspension and geometry, and how to combine both to make a great mountain bike. He designed and built, in my opinion, the best production DH bike ever made, that being the Makulu.
But nothing lasts forever. Pat parted company with Morewood bikes to go it alone and so the Pyga 29er trail bike was born. With Pat’s pedigree, surely the bike’s destined for glory?
Read on.Build it up
The Pyga that we had on test from the UK importer R53Sport came equipped with an SLX groupset, Formula brakes, an ICE cable operated dropper post, Fox forks, Fulcrum wheels and an XC race bar and stem combo that I simply couldn’t get to grips with (no pun intended).
It weighed in at 31 pounds (with XT clipless trail pedals) and Powafenda front mudguard. A slightly porkie bike, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a little de-rhining, so to speak.
I tried riding the Pyga with said bar and stem combo for one or two rides until I could huff and puff no longer. This here big, bad, ginger wolf fitted a 70mm stem and a zero rise trail handlebar and the bike was transformed to a trail-destroying brute.
The frame is the important bit though so let’s focus on that.Construction
There’s not a hint of sticks and straw when it comes to the build quality of the Pyga frame. It’s one of the most solid of frame builds I’ve ever come across. The frame is more-or-less flex free, very well engineered and as solid as a rock, with the most simple (yet effective) bolt-up of rear ends.
In layman’s (or mountain biker’s) terms, it can jump. I’ve heard and read countless horror stories about how 29ers don’t like to jump or manual, but this is definitely not the case with the Pyga. It jumps and manuals as well (if not better) than any 26” trail bike I’ve ridden (a lot), is solid and well balanced in launch mode, mid-flight and landing.
Here’s the fact – there is a turn we regularly test trail bikes on. Its nickname amongst locals is ‘the turn’ (pretty imaginative). Anyway, ‘the turn’ is a slightly off-camber, 20mph foot out, flat out, ‘railer’. We could go around ‘the turn’ on our Pat’s Pyga consistently 2mph (don’t ask how we measure this, it’s very scientific and tricky to get to grips with) faster, time, after time, after time than we ever have on any 26” trail bike. This means you can go into turns faster, which means you can go around them faster, which means you come out faster. If speed is what you’re looking for then the 29er Pyga is the answer to your prayers.
The Pyga is generally happy most of the time. However it’s as happy as a farm animal in shit when going up a muddy, rooty, rocky climb. This bike comes with two-wheel drive. In other words the Pyga goes up technical climbs better than most. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t any cross-country race bike, but if you want to climb a tech uphill in the middle of an epic ride, the Pyga excels. It’s a beast with traction control and because of this you hardly ever have to drop from the big ring… When I fitted some Hope XC 29er race wheels (that Alan from Hope had loaned me, thanks Alan), the Pyga turned into the fastest turbo-charged 29er trail bike on this here planet. That I know of at least.
Where’s the bottom of this Pyga?
No matter how hard we tried (yes other riders rode the Pyga), we just couldn’t get the bike to bottom out. Don’t ask me why (I’m not an engineer – no point in pretending), but what I do know is that even when running 40% rear shock sag, the rear end never, ever bottomed out. The front did, but not the back. If we had fitted a bigger-hitting fork this bike would be more than comfortable on any uplift trailer.
The most important bit: how fast is it?
Here’s the thing. No BS now. I’ve ridden a lot of trail bikes with 26” wheels and several trail bikes with 29” wheels. When you talk to most people regarding the bigger wheel size they usually bang on about ‘rotational weight’, ‘traction control’ and ‘stability’. But, (and it’s a big BUTT) the general consensus of opinion is they aren’t as much fun. Initially I kind of agreed, but after spending a lot of quality time aboard the Pyga, in lots of different riding situations, the answer is simple. YOU’VE JUST GOTTA GO FASTER…and when aboard the Pyga, you can.
If you ride and race UK gravity enduro events and are in it to win it then the Pyga will not disappoint. Nor will it if you are in it purely to ride at the weekend for fun. No exaggeration here, it is the fastest trail centre bike I’ve ridden to date, with a solid feeling suspension system and bang on geometry to boot. Everything I asked our Pyga to do, it did. It jumped, manualed, took me around turns faster (by 2mph remember) than ever before and never once got me into trouble due to fatigue or rider error.
After a final hard day’s riding (both up and down), when I finally got back to the van to go home, I actually patted the Pyga on the top tube and said, “That’ll do pet, that’ll do”.
Price: £1749 (frame and shock)
More information including geometry, sizing and frame spec: Pyga Oneten29