Review: Chromag OSX Bar & Trailmaster DT Saddle
March 4th, 2013
Chromag are a brand who don’t scream and shout about what they do, but with their iconic bear logo on an increasing number of pro and industry insiders bikes, their guerrilla marketing has certainly got our attention. So who or what is Chromag? “Chromag is a bike component company based in Whistler, BC, Canada. We make products for the discerning rider who expects quality, performance, and reliability. In an industry that is in a constant state of change, we stay ahead of the curve by being small, moving quickly and spending a lot of time in the woods. Our goal is to bring the most relevant components to market with a heightened sense of detail and creativity.” Sounds right up our street and still being pretty fresh on these shores, we hope to show you some of what they have on offer to the discerning rider out there looking for something new for their rides…
Words & Photos: Tom Shilvock
A big part of Chromags’s appeal has to rest in their solid graphics, core position in the sport and of course, that rad bear logo. Its not just that – with a team of riders who coincidentally make up a large proportion of the sports most creative minds, it’s just down right cool and certainly a brand we think is going places.
I’ve been aware of Chromag for quite some time now, but for one reason or another, I’ve never tried any of their products out… Initially, they first popped up on my radar through their iconic steel hardtails and being a big fan of a good hardtail, well, it’s one of those products I still lust after to this day… If you want one with that all important “Made in Canada” stamp on, it might set you back a bit… They also do a range of more affordable frames now, which are carbon copies of the Canadian made numbers and it’s not just frames they make, oh no…
Trailmaster DT Saddle
Dialled font on the graphics, a solid a ‘tailored for MTB’ shape with “purpose” written all over it and yeah, this saddle was made for the hills and dirt!
My previous saddle was a more traditional slim-lined design, but I started to notice that the thin sides of it dug in when riding, especially on more demanding terrain and the need for something chunkier and more purposeful became my saddle holy grail… Hello Chromag Trailmaster DT. There are three saddles within the Trailmaster range: the standard Trailmaster with a leather top, the DT, which stands for Durable Top and has a synthetic top and kevlar corners, and the LTD, with its luxury leather top and titanium rails. So for me the DT seamed the best pick for every day thrashing!
Even though you get three choices it was the shape of the Trailmaster which got me interested – I like the deep sides and the long nose making it more than just somewhere to sit, but also somewhere to control the bike when sat or standing. The long nose is a cool design feature on the DT allowing you can get your weight further forward on steep climbs, which also helps to stop the front end lifting – especially good on bikes with big forks fitted. You just need to shunt you position an inch or so further forward on a climb and you can soon tell the difference.
Form and function – no denying the Trailmaster is a sweet looking perch.
The wide flat sides also provide a lot of control when you need to manhandle the bike into a corner and as with any saddle, comfort is a big priority. While saddles can be a bit of a personal choice, for me the Trailmaster is pretty comfy and I can spend a lot of time on the bike without any issue – a sore rear miles from home is no ones idea of fun! The DT’s chunky loo might put some riders off (especially those used to traditional ‘roadie’ looking offerings), but if you actually look at the surface area you sit on, it not as chunky as it seems.
So there you go the Trailmster DT: a saddle that stands out from the crowds and has a lot of control and comfort. Price for the DT comes in at fairly standard £62 and with 5 colour options to choose from, you can’t go wrong. Up next…
Chromag OSX Bar
Okay, lets start with the stats: Bar Width – 780mm, Rise – 25mm with a 5° upsweep and an 8° bend.
Everything looks good on paper and nothing too extreme in the shape of the bar. 780mm in length gives the user the option to cut them down to a usable size. Chromag only offer one rise option at 25mm – this might be going against the trend of offering loads of rise options but it sits nicely in the middle and will suit a lot of different bikes and tastes. Chromag were at the forefront of the flat bar craze that has seemingly died off and with high rise bars back in vogue… The 25mm rise is spot on for most applications, unless you have got a super low jump bike or as big travel 29er.
On the Trail…
780mm is a little on the wide side for my tastes, so I cut them down to a more suitable 760mm – once on the bike, I was at the trails in no time and eager to get a feel for these awesome looking bars… As the 5 up and 8 back bend is similar to most other bars, they felt good from the start and I didn’t need time to get used to them as they have a very neutral feel. On descents they offer plenty of control and the higher rise is helpful for picking up the front end and getting your weight back. On long trail rides they are comfy in use and there was no build up of pressure/numbness.
There are a lot of good bars out there right now and with similar lengths, rises and bends across the board, aesthetics might come into play as a deciding factor. For me I like the styling of the OSX bar and although there’s a lot going on with the graphics, Chromag have got it just right! I think the black bar sets the logos off, but if you want a bit more colour, Chromag won’t disappoint you with 12 colour options including chrome, painted and anodised finishes. Price for the bars in a anodised finish is £74.99
After talking to John from the UK importers, Shorelines, he informed me that there is a lot of exciting new product from Chromag in the near future. The Trailmaster DT saddle and OSX bars will get a bit of a make-over in the looks department, but the product will essentially stay the same. There will also be some new bars coming out to suit the dirt jumper/ slope-styler, a bar to suit the low front end/29er bikes that are out there right now, a new carbon bar, plus a few more tempting products…
All Chromag parts are available in the UK through Shorelines Distribution who are coincidentally having a little sale on at the moment, so grab a bargain before they all go! For more info on Chromag, click on the Bear logo below and keep your eye on their website for new product dropping soon… Happy trails, Tom.