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  1. #1
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    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports

    The old Stylus Build thread's last post was from 2015 so I'm rebooting it here with hopes more of the recent builds and versions will land. I'll kick it off with my 2020 Stylus in Large and Black Fire.

    Vision:

    I'm no stranger to hardtails and envisioned this build last year when I was riding my Patrol and switched back to my Wozo... really missed the skinny tire agility of the Patrol but loved the hard tail feedback and reaction of the Wozo and figured it was time to get a proper AM hardtail with progressive long, low geometry.

    Build:

    Frame 2020 Stylus Large - BlackFire
    Fork: 160mm CaneCreek Helm
    Drivetrain: Shimano 11sp XT
    Cranks: Carbon Descendant 170mm / 168Qfactor
    Pedal: Spank Spike
    Stem: 35mm Spank Race
    Handlebar: Spank Vibro 800mm
    Dropper: 2020 Fox Transfer 175mm Performance IR
    Brakes: Shimano XT / 180
    Wheels: I built 32H Stans Barons laced 14/15 to black Hope hubs
    Tires: Maxxis DHF 2.6 3C 120TPI
    Saddle: WTB Silverado

    Build Impressions:

    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_0062.jpg

    Frame came nicely prepped and assembly was easy - peasy. Paint is glossy. Be mindful of lacing the housing thru the rubber stop for the internal router before you put on ferrule or you won't be able to add it afterward (I'm doing without for now).

    My 2.6 tires cleared but not unlimited space. My 168Qfactor cranks fit and I don't think there will be any rub. I left a lot of steerer tube of the Helm as I'm never sure if this is where its staying and the HT/stack of this bike is short.

    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_0069.jpg

    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_0070.jpg

    Oh - frame doesn't come with a seat post clamp (or 180mm brake adapter) so have them ready; I'm waiting on a red wolftooth seat clamp.

    Fox Transfer is DOA. I own several and this one is crap. Working on a warranty. Will be replacing lever w/ Paul's or my Wolftooth.

    Almost forgot: weight with pedals: 31.5 lbs.

    Ride / Fit Impressions:

    I need a longer bike and try to get my sizing with a 35mm stem and the lowest stack I can achieve. I'm close on this build but a few things I'm working through: the lowest I can get the stem is with about 17mm of spacers - lower and my shifter pod will hit the top tube which is a no-no. So I'm experimenting there. Also - a normal person would look at my fit and think 'nice' and I'm real close - but my other bikes are more stretched out so I'd take another 1cm if I can get it. Basically, even with 487mm reach, the steep seat tube angle prevents me getting the saddle back further; if I was picking, I'd take 1 degree off the STA for a longer ETT. I have some ideas on working this out but right now my saddle is about as far back as the seatpost will allow. I knew this would be a potential compromise as I wanted the wheelbase shorter than Patrol for agility which is my focus here. If it matters - I'm 187cm tall w/ a longer torso.

    I've ridden the bike a few times - but only one trail ride as its Feb and not much is rideable. Coming off the fat bike means my regular mtb skills are all wonky - everything feels so reactive so it's been a process to recalibrate. Seems to happen to me as I've gotten older and it takes me a few weeks to forget my old habits. Anyway - in a nutshell - the bike is rad. Very nimble. Solid feeling bike - it's not a compliant ride but when you get to business things get sorted. Love the feeling of the short stays - like the front center feel. I think it's going to suit me well as I figure it out and mint my fit/preferences. More to come.

    I had the Helm pressure @ recommended but it was way too high. I dropped the pressure and running more negative pressure and it feels closer - almost no compression in low/high settings. It's an aggressive fork but it feels great when you challenge it; threw me off on the first ride tho - it was too much of a change vs. my 170 Lyrik coil or my Mastodon. I think I'll try it @ 170mm eventually.

    So tl;dr - great bike. Stoked to be on it. If you are looking for a 27.5 aggressive hardtail, put it on your list to check out. I got my frame from LostCo who were solid to work with.
    Working to stomp out redundancy, I repeat, working to stomp out redundancy.

  2. #2
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    Again, Congrats! Looking awesome!

    What chainline are you running and how's the clearance (chain to tire, chainring to frame)?
    Chainring size?

    How about a 50mm stem to get a little more stretch?
    I was torn about stem length. I have settled on a 50mm for the moment but may change after riding it.

    I still have a while until I put mine together but I did receive the frame yesterday. So stoked.

  3. #3
    Your bike sucks
    Reputation: Carl Mega's Avatar
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    Thanks man. You'll have to put up some pics of yours when you're ready - curious to see some of the other colors outside of the mfgr shots.

    All excellent questions:

    Prob just a 45mm stem would get my hands in the right spot but what is my preferred on the fit would be to slide the seat back 1cm more. I have an idea to make the Fox work but otherwise, I'd consider getting a new dropper w/ some setback as an eventual upgrade and fine tune. Stem is soooo much cheaper tho; I'm just finicky.

    On the chainline: technically the cranks are "non-boost" but I swapped to a boost ring for this build. It's only a 30T. I was just thinking about this and decided to eyeball the chainline and tbh w/ the 419 stays and in the lowest cog (42T) - the chain angle is more than I'm used to seeing. I need to compare tho. It shifts fine, pedals fine but if you spend a lot of time in the lowest gear, I could see some premature wear. If you didn't look, you wouldn't notice by pedalling / shifting it tho. If you want a picture, I'd be happy to post one. Of course, standard is 6mm offset (vs. boost 3mm) so I may reinstall that original 32T ring next and compare results. I just assumed that 52mm was recommended but maybe 49 is where its at. Not a big deal for me.

    Edit: I just saw the chainline dims you were looking for: Chain to Tire, Chainring to frame. I def don't rub chain on tire but I'll measure tomorrow on room. I think there was ample clearance for bigger rings and more inward (of course maybe that would rub tire). It looks like a lot of room there because they made it accept chain-guides. People w/ 12 sp and big low cog 50T+ might have a different experience.
    Working to stomp out redundancy, I repeat, working to stomp out redundancy.

  4. #4
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    So I just swapped my boost CR for the non-boost 32T one. Respective of the biggest rear cog, I think the CL looks better. The 32T front is prob more appropriate here too - I get those 30T so I have easy swaps between my other full squish bikes. I'll report back after today's ride.

    Edit: I think this set-up is better for me. Sticking with it. Also: plenty of chain to tire clearance. Really digging the bike - even more now. Pretty soon that Fox dropper replacement will arrive and I'll stop fussing.
    Last edited by Carl Mega; 02-14-2020 at 06:31 PM.
    Working to stomp out redundancy, I repeat, working to stomp out redundancy.

  5. #5
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    Question for you. I finally started assembling mine and upon fitting the rear tire in the frame I found only 3mm of clearance (picture makes it look like 2mm, but it's 3mm) at the right chainstay yoke area. Plenty on the left. I checked the dish of the wheel. It is on point, if anything it may be 0.5 - 1mm left biased.
    This is a 2.6 Minion DHR2 on a i35 rim. I notice you have a DHF out back but should be about the same I think. What rim width are you using? It's hard to tell in your photos but how much clearance do you measure?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6582.jpg  

    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6581.jpg  

    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6580.jpg  

    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6579.jpg  

    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6578.jpg  


  6. #6
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    Reputation: Carl Mega's Avatar
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    We're similar here. My rim is a Stan's Baron with a 35ID. I just measured and I have about/at least 4mm space between 2.6 DHF knob and the same spot on the bike. I originally looked at this too - to me the compromise they made was the yoke to accommodate a chain guide and it lessened the potential clearance. When I first assembled, I thought "hmmm maybe I'll re-dish a bit" and then sort of dismissed it because so far I've not rubbed/buzzed or had a negative - or even a slight graze. Despite the non-typical maiden trail outing, I'm not in an area where you ride with mud.

    Hopefully it's not off putting for you. Not much flex happening in the bike with the oversized tubes btw. I'm about to go out a ride right now and I can say I absolutely love riding this bike. It's right in my wheelhouse - probably more than any other bike I've owned.

    PS - the blue looks sweet. Nice choice.
    Working to stomp out redundancy, I repeat, working to stomp out redundancy.

  7. #7
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    Reputation: Carl Mega's Avatar
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    Boredom bump. Jax you ever build yours and get to riding it? I'm still grooving on mine - 90% of the time, it's the bike I grab.
    Working to stomp out redundancy, I repeat, working to stomp out redundancy.

  8. #8
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    Oh man, I've been enjoying it more than I thought possible. I guess all of the research and agonizing over details has paid off because I can say that I have never felt this right on any bike, ever. I'm stoked you're finding yours the same.
    I have been meaning to get back on here and follow up but between work and trying to ride as much as possible, well you know.
    I have also built up a new wheelset for it which I'm going to try out for the first time tomorrow - so I'll get some photos and post as well. I wasn't planning on this but I wanted to have more options for different locations/trails/conditions.

    In short, this thing is a hot rod. It feels so planted, handles so well, and jumps like a boss. It's super playful yet won't bite and is easy to control at the limit. No exaggeration, it really does do it all. I'm also finding it very well rounded and comfortable. I'd ride this on a bikepacking tour anytime.
    One thing that surprised me is how fast it is - or at least how fast I am on it. On the maiden voyage, an XC loop I frequent, I came very close to a PR despite having Minions mounted up. I can only conclude that my body mechanics agree more with this geometry and fit than my lighter aluminum HT. It makes me re-think my setup on that bike and what I thought I knew about myself.
    Another nice surprise is the long wheelbase isn't a bother in the tight twisty stuff. When I first sat on the bike I was thinking "Woa, that front wheel is really out there!", but riding it, it shrinks and feels extremely nimble.
    I can't get the big stupid grin off of my face anytime I'm riding now. It is exactly what I was looking for. Mad props to Chromag for one hell of a frame.
    I'll post some photos and build specs tomorrow hopefully.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Mega View Post
    We're similar here. My rim is a Stan's Baron with a 35ID. I just measured and I have about/at least 4mm space between 2.6 DHF knob and the same spot on the bike. I originally looked at this too - to me the compromise they made was the yoke to accommodate a chain guide and it lessened the potential clearance. When I first assembled, I thought "hmmm maybe I'll re-dish a bit" and then sort of dismissed it because so far I've not rubbed/buzzed or had a negative - or even a slight graze. Despite the non-typical maiden trail outing, I'm not in an area where you ride with mud.

    Hopefully it's not off putting for you. Not much flex happening in the bike with the oversized tubes btw. I'm about to go out a ride right now and I can say I absolutely love riding this bike. It's right in my wheelhouse - probably more than any other bike I've owned.

    PS - the blue looks sweet. Nice choice.
    Thanks. I almost went with the black though and seeing real life photos of it makes me think I should have. I am enjoying the blue however. I always seem to be drawn to the flat finishes.

    The tire clearance has largely proved to be a non-issue except for some chips in the paint where stones have gotten carried through. I got some touch up paint and it's all good. The frame is definitely stiff enough that it doesn't rub despite my best efforts in testing. I wish it had a little more clearance just for the "feel good" but it works and if I'm getting muddy I'd most likely have a 2.4 on it.

    I'm glad you're loving yours and it seems that we pretty much feel the same - 90% of the time it's what I grab.

  9. #9
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    Reputation: Carl Mega's Avatar
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    Hey Jax. That's great to hear. Post up that build if you get the time.

    I don't want to get too sentimental, like those other sticky valentines, but this bike is the closest I've come to where I'd say it feels an extension of me. Everything that Chromag made to go to 11, are the things that amplify my riding style, and the bits that were left on the cutting room floor were unnecessary or unimportant to me. I couldn't be happier with it.
    Working to stomp out redundancy, I repeat, working to stomp out redundancy.

  10. #10
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    A few photos (with i30 Minion DHF 2.5, DHR2 2.4 wheelset)

    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6726.jpgChromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6721.jpgChromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6717.jpgChromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6713.jpgChromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6729.jpgChromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6728.jpg

    With 2.6 DHF/Rekon i35 wheelset.
    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6626.jpgChromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_6612.jpg

  11. #11
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    Build:

    Frame 2020 Stylus Large - Mariner
    Fork: 160mm Fox Factory 36 Grip2
    Drivetrain: Shimano 11sp XT / Sunrace CSMX8 46t Cassette
    Cranks: Shimano XT 165mm
    Pedal: DMR Vault
    Headset Cane Creek Forty (w/ 15mm top cap)
    Stem: 50mm Nukeproof Horizion
    Handlebar: Deity Blacklabel (cut to 770mm)
    Grips: DMR Deathgrips
    Dropper: PNW Bachelor 170mm, Loam Lever
    Brakes: Shimano SLX M7120 / 203mm MT800
    Wheels: Raceface Arc Offset i30 32h, Sapim Race, DT 350 (36t ratchet)
    Tires: Maxxis DHF 2.5 3C Terra, DHR2 2.4 3C Terra
    Alt. Wheels: Raceface Arc Offset i35 32h, Sapim Race, I9 101
    Alt. Tires: Maxxis DHF 2.6 3C Terra, Rekon 2.6 3C Terra, or DHR2 2.6 Dual
    Saddle: SQ Lab 611

    Still need to get a bash. Just debating on which one.

    I don't want to get too sentimental, like those other sticky valentines, but this bike is the closest I've come to where I'd say it feels an extension of me. Everything that Chromag made to go to 11, are the things that amplify my riding style, and the bits that were left on the cutting room floor were unnecessary or unimportant to me. I couldn't be happier with it.
    Sums up my feelings completely.

    Now we need to get some more in here. I know there has to be someone else out there who's built one up already.

  12. #12
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    Tidy build, Jax. It looks sweet!
    Working to stomp out redundancy, I repeat, working to stomp out redundancy.

  13. #13
    local trails rider
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    Just my 10 year old "Strange" Stylus, for a bump.

    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_20200515_202639.jpg

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  14. #14
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    ^another rider with good taste.
    Working to stomp out redundancy, I repeat, working to stomp out redundancy.

  15. #15
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    Yes, beautiful. Like the simplicity and the gold is sharp.
    I can't believe there aren't more in here yet.
    I'm still floored by how good this bike is. I've proclaimed it at least a thousand times to everyone who asks and even those who don't, it's so much fun it's hard to ride anything else.
    Carl, any changes to your build or more photos? How are you getting on with it?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaxMustang50 View Post
    Yes, beautiful. Like the simplicity and the gold is sharp.
    ...
    That rear wheel with the "gold" Hope hub came from a previous frame. Putting together this one, I figured a bit more of same or similar color wouldn't hurt. I also had a "gold" Shimano Saint BB there, but now there's something else minding the BB job, for the time being.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  17. #17
    Your bike sucks
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaxMustang50 View Post
    Carl, any changes to your build or more photos? How are you getting on with it?
    I was just thinking how this build has worked out right off - I might be getting good at this or better at knowing myself. Mostly just doing some fork adjustments as the Helm even in it's most linear is more progressive than I prefer. Considering having CaneCreek do a swap to coil when I do a service...might experiment with a 170mm air setting first tho.

    The only component upgrade coming replacing my Fox dropper lever. It's a lever so good that I gave my last free one away and then somehow I got another free one. The plan is to put the Wolftooth on this bike after I build up my Canfield Balance which is going to get a polished Paul's lever.

    That's it! I love the bike and really that's all there is to say about it. It was interesting watching LostCo video recently where they were doing a kinda of talk between Rootdown and Stylus... the basic take away was they didn't think of the Stylus as a point n shoot plow bike but more of a nimble mtb-bmx/dj on trails... which I agree with.
    Working to stomp out redundancy, I repeat, working to stomp out redundancy.

  18. #18
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    New stylus

    Chromag Stylus Builds, Reviews and Reports-img_20200528_065529.jpg

    Here is my recently built up stylus. Really enjoying it so far. My first 27.5 bike. Getting back to biking more and couldn't ask for a better bike.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbguy715 View Post
    ...

    Here is my recently built up stylus. Really enjoying it so far. My first 27.5 bike. Getting back to biking more and couldn't ask for a better bike.
    Looks about right.
    I'd seriously consider one like that if I ever feel like having a modernized version of my old model Stylus (posted above).

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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