The Frame The suspension on the Slakline is ready for big action with Pyga’s take on the four-bar Horst Link suspension system delivering 160 mm of rear travel. The bike is designed to be ridden with a beefy 170 mm fork upfront.The frame is largely constructed from Toray carbon with the chainstays and suspension rocker being made from aluminium. Pyga believe that for the way in which this bike is intended to be ridden, the aluminium chainstays provide better impact resistance against rock strikes and crashes than carbon stays do. They also explained that the weight difference is negligible.
The Slakline frame uses aluminuim chainstays for better impact resistance.
Prototype #7 and Patrick Morewood's own test bike.
Although they have never had problems with press fit bottoms brackets, Pyga have acknowledged rider feedback, and are going with a field maintenance friendly threaded bottom bracket on the Slakline. ISCG 05 mounts are available for a chainring guide and bash guards. There is also space in the front triangle for a full sized water bottle.The Slakline is a bike of many firsts for Pyga. A metric shock, Boost 148 axle spacing, and single chainring specific. These changes are not simply in place to follow trends but to give Pyga additional space to design a better bike and to try to give the bike some longevity in a rapidly changing market. Pyga worked hard to keep the cable routing tidy. Most of the cabling runs internally with a smart design. The transition from the front triangle to the rear is handled by aluminum pieces that are placed at the centre point of the pivot to all but remove any movement while the suspension is active. The routing even makes provision for a lock out cable running from the shock. There is a port on the underside of the downtube to assist with running the cable through the frame. This entry point can also be used to house batteries for electronic components. I like the Slakline’s clean but aggressive aesthetic. Looking at it makes you want to get out and ride. There are some nifty touches like the recessed joint where the top tube and downtube meet at the headtube and the separate seat stay tubes with the absence of a seat stay arch. Removing the arch meant that Pyga had to use double row bearings and adapt the rocker to make the rear end stiff enough. The rocker on this prototype is an early design. On the production bike, it will look a bit different and undergo a dark grey anodizing similar to the colour of the stays. The raw aluminium rocker will undergo some cosmetics changes before appearing on the production model. Geometry The Slackline has an adjustable geometry with two settings, high and low. The high mode sets the head angle at 65.2 degrees while the low mode drops it to 64.8 degrees. The prototype I rode was set to a third setting (called neutral) with a 65-degree head angle placing it right in the middle of the available two settings.
There will be two geometry settings on the production bike, high and low.
The Slakline geometry leans towards short stems. This prototype is fitted with a 40 mm stem with another Pyga tester preferring 33 mm.
The rest of the bike is long, low, and slack enough to meet the requirements of most modern geometry devotees. The reach is healthy with the large frame extending to 477mm and a sizeable 1222 mm wheelbase. The chainstays measure in at 433 mm. Take a look at the full geometry table below.Pyga Slakline Geometry:
Eventually, the Slakline will be available in four frame sizes: small, medium, large and extra large. The first batch of frames will however only be available in medium and large. The Slakline boasts good tyre clearance and accommodates 27.5” and 27.5+ (up to a 2.8-inch tyre) wheelsets. Taller riders on the extra large frames will see their bike's designed for 29-inch wheels.
Specifications The Slakline will first be available as a frameset option only, with full builds to follow. The frameset features a RockShox Super Deluxe shock.The prototype was decked out with an MRP Ribbon fork, SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain, Renthal carbon handlebar and a Renthal stem, and Maxxis DHF/DHR tyres. The 27.5” wheelset is Deed Surge carbon rims with Industry Nine hubs while the 27.5 Plus wheelset used a RaceFace 35 wheelset wrapped in Maxxis Recon+ and Ikon 2.8” Plus tyres.
FramePyga Slakine Prototype 7 LargeForkMRP RibbonShockRockShox Super DeluxeHeadsetCane CreekCranksetSRAM X01 EagleRear derailleurSRAM X01 EagleShiftersSRAM X01 EagleCassetteSRAM X01 EagleBrakesSRAM Guide UltimateRimsDeed SurgeHubsIndustry NineTyresMaxxis Minion DHF (Front) and DHR II (Rear)HandlebarsRenthal Fatbar CarbonStemRenthal Apex 40mmSeatpostRaceFace TurbineSaddleKore
Availability and pricing: The first shipment of Slakline frames is expected to land in October. These will be medium and large frames, with the small and extra large frames to be produced at a later date.The Slakline frameset with a RockShox Super Deluxe shock will retail for R37,999. With complete builds only coming later, Pyga will also offer the option to include an MRP Ribbon fork, headset, and/or a dropper seatpost when purchasing a frameset. Slakline First Ride Being one of only a few prototypes, my time with the Pyga Slakline was unfortunately limited. Pyga were understandably eager to have it back to continue testing. This meant that I had precious little time to play with suspension setup and simply defaulted to the recommended manufacturer settings with a few tweaks. The results were surprisingly good.Initially, having never ridden one, I had concerns about getting the dual air MRP Ribbon fork dialed in but the manufacturer’s recommended settings (I opted for their plush setup) did the job. To their credit, MRP has excellent information and product support on their website. Despite only having a short time with the MRP Ribbon, I thoroughly enjoyed the fork's feel.
The Slakline’s main task is to descend technical trails and to do it fast. On this objective, it delivers. At high speed, the bike feels composed, even as the world blurs and you focus your vision on the trail, there is a sense of trust in the bike’s surefootedness. The Slakline holds a line well through chattery rocks and roots, with predictable grip into turns while the poised balance and big impact stability off drops and jumps are encouraging. I gave it my best but could feel that the Slakline had a lot more to reward riders with more bravery and skills.Away from the steep and technical black rated trails, the Slakline still has a lot to give. On smoother, less demanding trails, even with its slack angle and plush travel, the Slakline remains agile and responsive to rider input. Pumping and flowing down a meandering trail is thoroughly enjoyable. The bike also pedals well when called into action with good acceleration out of turns and up punchy climbs. Fitting the Plus tyres is like putting on a superhero's cape. I found that the added grip, cushioning, and balance are a major boost to confidence and fun levels. On climbs and flat sections, the added bulk of the Plus tyres made little impact to the Slakline’s ability. The Slakline’s climbing is class leading. For a 160mm enduro mountain crusher, the Slakline climbs far better than anything that I’ve experienced with this geometry and travel. Climbing on most enduro bikes is simply about finding a comfortable gear, sitting down, and chatting to your mates until you get to the trail head. The Slakline is different. It is engaging to climb. To the dismay of my riding buddies, I found myself in an unnecessarily hard gear out of the saddle attacking climbs like I would on my long term Pyga Stage test bike. As an enduro bike, attacking climbs is not a feature many riders will covet but the Slakline’s pedaling qualities go along way in making it one of the most enjoyable and comfortable bikes on which to spend a full day riding trails. Assuming your fitness is up to it, the Slakline will allow you to stay out on the trails longer and get in more runs than many other all mountain bikes can. The suspension tune also helps in absorbing blunt impacts while the shock is in its firmest setting. The only time the Slakline gives away that it is a slack descending bike is on very steep climbs where the front end does need some encouragement to remain on the ground. In my reviews, I am cautious to recommend long travel bikes to riders without them understanding just how much is required to push the bike to its limits and how well it climbs. But in the case of the Slakline, there seems to be little disadvantage in selecting a slack 160mm enduro bike. That said, I am super keen to swing a leg over the slighter shorter travel Hyrax (see details below) to see where that bike fits into the spectrum. In the end There are few bikes that match the Pyga Slakline’s ability to open up the entire mountain. A confident, composed enduro bike ready for the toughest descents but still an efficient all-day climber on the ascents. The Slakline's all-mountain versatility is rare, putting it right at the top of my enduro bike list.
The Slakline's all-round abilities make it the best enduro bike I've ridden.
ProsHugely fun and rewarding on the downs
Climbs like a rocket on the ups
Bang up to date enduro geometry
Near-future proofing with adoption of modern standards
Great clearance for wide tyres and hassle free riding
ConsI had to send it back to Pyga
That's not all: Introducing the Pyga Hyrax Alongside the Slakline development process, Pyga has also been working on a 140 mm bike called the Hyrax. The Hyrax mirrors the Slakline’s design also featuring a Horst Link suspension system, a metric shock, adjustable geometry, a single chainring specific design and boost spacing. The Hyrax is built around a 150 mm fork.
As expected, the geometry is slightly different to the bigger travel Slakline. The high mode has a 66.3 degree head angle while the low mode is 65.7 degrees. Like the Slakline, the small, medium, and large frames will be compatible with both 27.5” and 27.5 Plus wheels with the extra large frame getting the 29er treatment.The Hyrax frameset (medium and large sizes) will be available at the same time as the Slakline with a RockShox Deluxe RT3 shock for R36,999.
Q&A with Pyga Founder Patrick Morewood: The Slackline fully embraces a modern mountain bike geometry design. What angles did you play with in development before coming up with your final design?
In terms of geometry: we had pushed the old prototype 160mm aluminium frame to 65-degree head angle. It felt good, but there was too much flip flop in the steering because of the longer stem. There is a lot of guess work involved with this kind of thing, so I took a leap of faith with the 65 degrees as a base setting. Based on my experience, I kind of know what the shorter stem is going to do. When we made the first prototype I tried it and it immediately felt right.
How important is it to stay up to date with trends?
I have been following industry trends from the beginning. One has to follow trends, but you also have to create your own future proofing. For example, the 35mm seatpost: with the way that droppers are getting longer and longer travel, I believe that dropper post companies are going to start making them in bigger diameters to stop them wearing as quickly, and to make them more rigid and stop flexing with the long extension.We moved to a threaded bottom bracket as well. That is more for field servicing. With an enduro type bike, you are not necessarily going to be in a well set up camp with a multitude of mechanics and most guys will have a tool to remove that bottom bracket. Also with the punishment that type of bike is designed to take it is more suited to a threaded bottom bracket. That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with the BB92: but in people's minds, they feel that the threaded BB is stronger, and one has to look at those things.
How has 3D printing helped accelerate the development process?
We went through two versions of full-sized 3D printed frames. With such a new bike you want to be able to see the proportions of the tubing, the shapes, and the clearances. You can look at the 3D model on the computer but that is never going to show you everything especially when you are working with 3mm tolerances for chain ring clearance. Having the frames printed locally in Howick by Rapid 3D is a huge help.
A 3D printed full-sized frame. How did you decide on the final two geometry settings versus the three shown on the prototype?
I based it on a zero position as an ideal. Not that we have a zero chip, we could provide one but I don’t see the point of it. Guys either want to go slacker or they want to go steeper, so 65 degrees is a base setting and we end up a little bit above that and little bit below that. I know that some guys have in their mind that slacker is better, and dropping below that 65 number is kind of a psychological thing for people.
There was a complete re-think of this bike during development. You mentioned the earlier aluminium bike. At what point did you decide to go in a different direction and what a caused this change?
When I rode that bike I just never felt happy on it. We made a couple of prototypes and had guys riding them, but I never felt that that was I bike that I want to ride. The rocker was too big, I felt the seat tube angle was way too steep in relation to the length and the fork angle. It just didn’t work for me. I always wanted to have a much longer bike.
How does the metric shock and dropping support for a front derailleur influence the Slakline’s design compared to your previous bikes- does this make design easier?
Yes, a single chain ring means you can get a chainstay that does not have as much drop on the yoke. That makes it easier to get the required strength and stiffness of the rear end. The more it bends the more it wants to bend under load, so the straighter it is the less likely it is to bend.It makes it much easier for clearances when you don’t have to worry about a front derailleur being there. It also helps with clearance for a bigger tyre, you don’t have to worry about that extra chain ring being there: you can optimise the bike really nicely. With the metric shock for one length, you can achieve three to four different strokes, and that is what we have done with the Hyrax and the Slakline. So we were able to optimise the geometry for both bikes at the same time, using one length shock and achieving different travel.
What else goes into the design of your bikes that people might not consider?
What people don’t realise, we are a bike brand, we design bikes. Yes, you can just go to the East and choose a frame but that is not what Pyga is about. We are about engineering bikes for us, that we would want to ride and what we believe will make anybody who buys one of our bikes, make their riding experience better and more fun. Fun is one of the main aspects, you can have a bike that goes fast, works well, and is fun.