Now we know that we did a bike check on Tony's Spot Honey Badger not that long ago, and we don't want to make his head too big, but he really knocked this one out of the park. His new Chromag Rootdown build is so nice that we just couldn't not write a feature on it. The frame looks amazing, the parts spec is out of this world and he got the colour choices absolutely spot on!
Tony is super stoked with his new Rootdown build!
This all started with a set of cranks - Cane Creek eeWings titanium cranks to be specific. Tony got hold of a pair of these beauties last fall and started planning a bike build around them. Tony has long been a fan of 29" wheels and steel hardtails. His last main ride that he uses for mountain biking, commuting, bikepacking and everything in between was a Chromag Stylus. He's a big fan of the whistler-based brand and so decided to get the bigger wheeled sibling the Rootdown as the frame of choice for this build.
Based in Whistler, Chromag have been making aggressive hardtails for years now.
Tony has been planning the build and amassing parts since fall 2019, and the frame was the last (and most important) piece of the puzzle to turn up, just last week. Luckily the frame colours go great with the titanium cranks, so he planned a super classy polished silver and matt black themed build. Tony has been thinning his herd a little this last year, so he could afford to splash out a little on this and get the parts he really wanted. Personally we think he's done an amazing job of treading the fine line between bling and class, creating something nicely high end with cool understated looks. Check it out below.
Clean and understated, but look closer and there's some serious bling on there.
First things first, those Cane Creek eeWings titanium cranks that started the build - super stiff, super light and very pretty. These things aren't cheap, but they should in theory last a lifetime. You'll also note the North Shore Billet chainring (made in Whistler) for use with the Shimano 12sp drivetrain. Hidden in there is a Cane Creek Hellbender Neo bottom bracket with SKF’s MTRX solid lubricant bearing matrix. This means that the bearing and lubricant are essentially solid and the same piece, which in theory means that it's self-lubricating and should last a LONG time.
Cane Creek eeWings titanium cranks are what started this build, and they're stunning.
Onto the other end of the drivetrain, Tony is running the latest iteration of Shimano's legendary Deore XT drivetrain in 12-speed flavour. Everything you need and nothing you don't, Shimano's latest XT drivetrain shifts just as crisply as ever and looks great too without breaking the bank. Tony didn't feel like justifying the difference in price to upgrade to XTR - XT works great. You might also notice some interesting brakes back there...
Running Shimano's new XT 12sp drivetrain, this stuff shifts super slick.
Yep, he's running brakes from legendary British company, Hope. This is the latest evolution of their long line of 4-piston brakes (who remembers the M4?), the Tech 3 E4. Fully CNC machined in-house in Barnoldswick in the UK, their quality is second to none, with amazing support and supplies of spares and wicked braking power. Keeping the pads cool are Shimano's new XT MT-800 rotors mounted on XT hubs. North Shore Billet brake adapter keeps the nice CNC theme going.
A rare sight in these parts, Hope brakes are taking care of stopping duty.
The Hope brake levers look a little industrial, but with reach and bite point adjust and and machined dimples in the lever blades you can really dial in your brake feel.
Hope brake levers have all of the adjustments so you can get your lever feel dialed.
Those among you with eagle eyes might spot the headset in there. Tony has always been a fan of Chris King components. Designed and produced in the USA, they've been making high quality bearings since 1976. Arguably some of the best headsets and hubs out there, it was an obvious choice for the headset on this bike. Sticking with the understated look, you wouldn't know unless you looked hard, but if you know, you know.
Chris King headset. Beauty.
The Rootdown is no slouch of a bike, with a 64 degree head angle with a 160mm fork, this thing should descend like a demon. Wanting to keep things a little more playful and light - this will after all be an all-rounder of a bike, Tony specced a 150mm Rockshox Pike Ultimate. With all the performance of the Charger 2.1 damper but a lightweight chassis and slightly shorter travel to put the head angle around 65 degrees, this should fit the bill perfectly.
A Pike Ultimate is providing the bounce, and it looks amazing.
Again keeping things local, Tony has a OneUp V2 dropper post. Despite his legs not being the longest, thanks to the super low stack height of the OneUp post, he's still able to get a post with 180mm of drop in the frame - awesome! The post is held in place with a super slick polished Thomson seat collar. Tony is a classy guy, what can we say?
OneUp are local to us in Squamish, and make great dropper posts.
Finishing up with arguably some of the most important bits - the wheels. Laced to Shimano XT hubs with silver double butted Sapim spokes (we love silver spokes here), he's using WTB KOM 35mm rims so that he can run some wide Maxxis rubber - an Assegai on the front and Minion DHR II on the rear. Maybe not the fastest rolling but grip for days. Tony might like to pedal this thing more than most, but he doesn't want to sacrifice grip on the descents. To that end, he's also fitted a CushCore on the rear to help damp the trail buzz and prevent punctures.
Rounding off the build with wide WTB rims and some sticky Maxxis rubber, this bike means business.