There’s no shortage of sporty and fun bikes in the 130mm range these days, so it takes some doing to stand out from the crowd. The Pyga MoBu does this right off the bat with the unique form and finish of its frame but backs the looks up with an equally intriguing character on trail.
The MoBu is unapologetically biased towards support and climbing, let it be known. As someone who spends a lot of time on heavy, sticky, stable bikes, the Pyga quickly stood out as spritely and zippy. It may lack the all-out grip of a longer travel bike in slow technical sections, but you can simply approach that tech with more entry speed, allowing you to pop over top of things without having to winch up at all. The geometry of the frame lends itself towards higher output riding, as I’ve always found a longer reach to encourage out of the saddle sprinting rather than seated spinning. If you want something with a more traditional XC geometry, you can easily shorten the reach using the headset adjustment in only a couple minutes. The geo works in tandem with a rather high anti-squat number, which keeps support consistently high through the travel, giving the bike a firm feel when pumping and pedaling.
Cross country bikes tend to get a bad rap for their descending capabilities, which is perfectly fair considering how sketchy most of them are when pushed downhill. The MoBu aims to be a bit different from that typical crowd though, with geometry and kinematics that lend themselves towards something closer to a 50/50 split in the up/down balance. Though it’s not going to be your ride-everything bike, the MoBu is happy to pedal all day, and tackle a variety of terrain. What it lacks in grip and forgiveness when compared to burlier trail bikes it makes up for with support and efficiency, keeping the average pace high. The chassis is fairly stable thanks to a long reach and low bottom bracket, which allows the bike to rip through sections that might otherwise overwhelm the sporty suspension. This little whip has some tricks up its sleeve, and the one that surprised me most was just how well it jumps. This is probably due in part to the consistently supportive suspension and shorter back end, but the sum of all parts certainly delivers when you want to pop the bike off lips. The rear suspension handles single hits quite well, giving you time to react to the next bit of trail, though it can get overwhelmed when things get really choppy. The final piece of the puzzle is the chassis itself, and in this case that’s one of the standout features. The frame stiffness feels perfect for the purview of the bike, without any unwanted flex in corners or g-outs, but with enough give to mute the firmer feel of the trail surface.
It’s worth noting that I’ve been phrasing the MoBu as a cross country bike, despite the fact that it has travel numbers that are more suited to modern trail bikes. That’s because it feels like a longer-legged race bike, not a light trail or all mountain platform like some of the other bikes in this travel bracket. That’s by no means a downside, it’s just the nature of the beast, and something to keep in mind if you’re in the market for something like this. The closest proxy I can think of amongst the bigger brands out there would be the Transition Spur. The suspension feel and geometry are very similar, so it’s ultimately a matter of which frame speaks more to you. On the other hand, I’m amazed at just how different this feels to something like the Forbidden Druid, which sports just 130mm of rear travel – the two seem to be at opposite ends of the descending spectrum when it comes to this travel bracket. Comparisons like this are part of what keeps bikes so exciting to me, you never know what you’re going to get!
Since Pyga only sells the MoBu as a frame and shock, the build kit is a pretty open-ended area to discuss. I’ll just touch on a few components that came on the test frame, as I think it’s relevant to the feel of the bike.
TAG Metals T1 Carbon Handlebars
The MoBu came with a 40mm rise variant of these bars, which may seem like an odd fit for an XC rig – until you hop on the bike. I love the feel of higher stack numbers, and thanks to the high rise of these bars, that can be achieved on what is otherwise a pretty low-slung frame. They felt damped and comfortable, and thanks to a geometry that’s quite similar to the classic Renthal bend, they rode very well.
Teravail Honcho Light&Supple Tires
There was almost nothing confidence-inspiring about these tires except how light they are and fast they rolled. As you’ll see in the shots of this bike, I pretty quickly swapped out to more aggressive treads, as the Honcho has little to no cornering bite in the front, and lasted all of one ride in the back before suffering a deadly slice. Bellingham is far from loose, and it’s pretty rare to get flats here, so the fact that this tire suffered in both respects doesn’t bode well.
2021 Pike Ultimate
This fork feels like an excellent pairing with the Pyga MoBu. I’ve been riding the newest 2022 iteration of the Pike, and while I do like it, the older model Ultimate remains one of my all-time favorite feeling forks. It’s comfortable, easy to set up, and handles heavier terrain far better than any XC-oriented forks could, making it worth the extra weight in my book.
Magura MT7 Brakes
It may seem odd to put the same brakes you see on World Cup DH bikes onto a short travel trail bike, but in this case the pairing makes a ton of sense. With smaller rotors, the MT7s offer a bit of modulation, and the HC3 levers allow you to tune the feel to your preferences. The setup is very finicky, mostly due to the tight pad clearance, but once things are set it’s smooth sailing. I’m of the option that you can’t have too-powerful a brake on any given bike, so it’s nice to see something strong on a bike like this.
These are the things that get the most questions on trail, out of every part of this bike. As one of the newest pieces of bike jewelry you can buy these days, I suppose it makes sense – and to be fair they do look pretty cool. That said, I see no reason at all to buy a crankset that costs four times as much as equivalent options, while offering no performance gains at all. Cranks like the SRAM GX or the Canfield Brothers AM/DH are made of forged aluminum, which will outlast CNC-milled 5Dev option in any situation, and come in just as many flavors and sizes. If aesthetics are your ultimate goal, then the 5Devs are a good option, but I’d save my coin if it were my build.