I built the “ULTIMATE” bike (according to the internet…)

The internet is quite abuzz about coil sprung suspension, mullet wheel sizes, and aggressive hardtails. While we all know I do love hardtails, especially this Chromag Stylus, I thought we could create the “ultimate” trifecta by using this frame and a few spare parts I had in the shop. Did we make a monster, or a monster truck?

My last mullet bike experience was an Ibis Mojo HD5 with a VERY custom set up. I was running a Trust Message fork, which is a 29″ fork with 130mm of travel, and I had a 7.875×2.0 shock installed rather than the normal 7.875×2.25. That limited the rear travel to 136mm, but retained the aggressive geometry of the HD5. While I really did enjoy this exact bike with the 27.5″ front wheel, the 29″ really threw the bike’s balance off- not so much that it was slacker, but in how it handled on take offs and landings.  However, this was such an oddball set up indeed that I wanted to try another mullet experiment!
The Stylus I’m riding is a size medium, and I’m 174cm/5’8″. It’s a small bike, and as a result, it generally pulls up off the ground quite easily. It’s significantly lighter with the current build, too.

The full build specs of my Stylus as in this video- and these links are all affiliate links over to Jenson USA, who sponsored this project:
Chromag Stylus frame, size medium (I’m 174cm or 5’8”) http://bit.ly/ChromagStylus2021JKW
Marzocchi Z1 29” Coil Fork (150 mm travel) https://bit.ly/MarzocchiZ1coilJKW
Cane Creek 110 series headset https://bit.ly/CaneCreek110JKW
PNW Components Range 40mm stem http://bit.ly/PNWComponentsJKW
PNW Components KW handlebar, cut to 760mm http://bit.ly/PNWComponentsJKW
PNW Components Loam grips http://bit.ly/PNWComponentsJKW
PNW Components Loam Lever http://bit.ly/PNWComponentsJKW
PNW Components Bachelor 170 dropper post http://bit.ly/PNWComponentsJKW
WTB Silverado Ti Saddle: https://bit.ly/WTBSilveradoJKW
Industry Nine Backcountry 360 wheelset, 29” front, 27.5” rear: https://bit.ly/IndustryNineBC360wheelsetJKW
WTB Vigilante 29 x 2.5 front tire, TCS Light/High Grip http://bit.ly/WTBVigilante29JKW
WTB Trailboss 27.5 x 2.6 rear tire, TCS Tough/High Grip bit.ly/Trailboss26JKW
E13 chainguide http://bit.ly/EThirteenChainguideJKW
Shimano XT M8100 1×12 groupset:
XT M8100 crankset, 165mm bit.ly/ShimanoXTM8100cranksJKW
XT M8100 chainring, was a 34t, now a 32t bit.ly/M8100XTChainringJKW
XT M8100 rear derailleur, long cage bit.ly/ShimanoXTm8100DerailleurJKW
XT M8100 cassette, 10-51t bit.ly/ShimanoXTcassette1051jkw
XT M8120 4-piston brakes bit.ly/ShimanoXTm8120brakeJKW
XT Ice Tech 180mm rotors front and rear bit.ly/ShimanoIceTechRotorJKW
Chromag Dagga pedals bit.ly/ChromagDaggaPedalsJKW

Tight corners were pretty good! The long front-center measurement of these modern hardtails really helps with the cornering prowess. Despite the long front-center feel, the actual wheelbase is still very manageable, so it can open up more line choices than a longer bike would allow. That’s again a plus, as on a hardtail it’s that much more critical to avoid hitting those nasty bumps.
I had the brilliant idea of trying the bike on a more “bikepark” style trail- MUCH straighter and higher speeds. This was a bit of an Achilles heel for the hardtail. The last incarnation enjoyed some CushCore inserts and beefier tires, along with a bigger fork. That really helped a TON with the high speed hits. This smaller, lighter set up wasn’t nearly as cushy. In the end, I’ll admit this was more sacrifice than I want to make with this bike. Back to bigger tires and CushCore I go!

You can learn more about Chromag over at Jenson USA through my affiliate link here: https://bit.ly/ChromagJKW

Tight, techy rocks are the hardtail’s happy place. The steeper, the better, too. As long as speeds aren’t high, the hardtail is great fun.
I’ve received a little bit of flack from all of you about expressing that I didn’t love this particular set up. I’m OK with that, I’d rather be honest about a miss. Besides, this just means the bike will ride that much better in a couple weeks when I get the next set up put together!
Chromag makes a GREAT bike- the Stylus is fantastic. Please don’t take my reaction to the mullet set up as a negative review of the bike- it’s not. I’m simply trying a few fads at once, and the poor Stylus has to play host to this! I am excited to get the build back on track, as this is indeed one of my all time favorite bikes!

And in case you missed it, here’s the previous incarnation of the Stylus:

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