Chromag, a Whistler, B.C.-based company, has been creating beautifully crafted mountain biking components and frames for the past twenty years. Well known for manufacturing bomb-proof and rugged-looking products, its newest components are no exception. The brand new RIZA stem and Pilot/Pilot BA clipless pedals are not just a continuation of the quality we have come to expect from Chromag but also a foray into a pedal type we've yet seen from them.
Milled in-house from 6061 aluminum billet, the RIZA stem is the latest addition, sitting alongside the pre-existing BZA, Ranger, and HiFi stems. The RIZA is available in 31.8mm or 35mm clamp diameters and three lengths: 32mm, 38mm, and 45mm. Available in five colors (black, blue, red, gold, and silver), the RIZA also features a new faded edge design that alleviates stress points when the bar is under heavy load. This small manufacturing detail is not something we’ve seen from other manufacturers and points to how thought out this stem is.
The stem sports a "Chromag" engraved single-piece faceplate with the classic Chromag bear logo on its side. The grooved remnants of the CNC machine are aesthetically pleasing and tell the story of the stem's fabrication.
Chromag pedals have gained a devoted following over the years. Having set the bar high with their notoriously grippy Dagga, the only way Chromag could make a pedal any more secure to the foot was to create a clipless version. So, that's what they did.
With the clipless pedal market saturated by competitors' offerings, Chromag presents a pedal that maintains its signature look while incorporating proven clipless technology. By using Shimano's SPD clipless platform, the Pilot and Pilot BA are compatible with all two-bolt SPD cleats. In an industry that is constantly changing and the term "proprietary" is almost a given, the SPD is one of the few technologies to have not changed since 1990. The adjustable tension and award-winning design will make for a seamless transition onto the Pilots for riders already familiar with SPD pedals.
The Pilot falls in line with profiles seen on other enduro-oriented clipless pedals. Similar in size to a Crank Brother Mallet E LS pedal, this is no dainty XC pedal. The Pilots feature four pins per side: two up front and two in the rear. The pin height can be adjusted with washers, or the pin can be removed altogether for more clearance and float. The Pilot makes use of Chromag’s F.1 high-strength chromoly axle system. The remaining internals consists of a double-seal, inner bushing, and cartridge bearing. While Chromag currently doesn't have replacement kits available, it is something they have historically produced for all of their pedals, and we expect to see them available soon.
The rectangular platform makes the Pilot an option for any type of trail or all-mountain riding. The combination of adjustable cleat tension and pin height makes for a pedal that can be tailored to one's desired needs, whether it be all day single-track adventures or enduro racing.
The Pilot BA pedals are visually striking based on platform size alone. There is no mention of what "BA"' stands for, but suffice it to say these are some bad-a** pedals. They are undoubtedly the most flat-pedal-like clipless pedals on the market today; dwarfing the platform size of Shimano Saint pedals, the Pilot BA is most comparable to a Dagga with an SPD in the center. Measuring 105 x 110mm, they are just shy of the Dagga’s 120 x 115mm profile.
The Pilot BA has five adjustable pins per side, with the option to change the placement of the two outermost side pins. The massive surface area of these pedals makes them ideal for park laps and jump lines. The larger platform does pose a potential for increased pedal strikes, albeit while offering a more underfoot feel.
We have come to expect the utmost craftsmanship from Chromag, and once again, they have delivered. A stem is a stem; they will all perform similarly, but if you are in the market for one that is exceptional, the RIZA should be at the top of your list. On the other hand, the difference between a poorly performing clipless pedal and a smooth pedal can keep a rider upright or cause them to fall awkwardly. Based on Shimano's proven SPD mechanism and paired with Chromags years of experience, there is little question of how the Pilots should perform. No matter if you are a lifelong Chromag enthusiast or not, these new products should be on your radar for current and future builds.
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