There are some bike parts that stand above the rest, legends in the sport. These are the bits of bling and bike jewelry that we lust over in the shop cases and shiny photos on our favourite site or magazine. These bits cost more than what usually comes stock on our bikes and with that price they even sometimes work better, are lighter and are usually anodized in all colours of the rainbow. This is where Chromag comes in, not only do they make some of the best looking parts around, but they have made a name for themselves as being well made and bombproof. Ian at Chromag sent me off their Trailmaster LTD saddle, Palmskin grips and Seat QR to put to the test and I was more than happy to strap them to my bike.
I am not going to get into the real life weights, price or the basic details here, for that you can go to my preview post that I wrote in the spring.
I have been riding these parts for the past 6 months, they have been to bike parks, the Kootenays and all over Vancouver island, through wet spring rides, summer dust and chunder, and then into the super tacky and slick fall. I have put more than enough time on these parts to be able to tell you my thoughts…lets start with the saddle.
Chromag Trailmaster LTD
My last saddle was a Chromag Moon and as you can see from that review I liked it, but was not a fan of the finish. The Trailmaster LTD is a step up in luxury and finish, the Italian leather and the Ti rails put it head and shoulder above the competition. If you have never ridden a proper leather saddle then you really deserve to get your butt on top of one. There are a few reasons why leather is better, the first reason for me is that there are no seams or bits of cloth that let water soak in. This is important when living in a wet climate, the last thing you need is anything else back there to make your ass even wetter than it needs to be on those cold winter rides. The 2nd reason is that they are more comfortable, the Trailmaster LTD seemed to conform to my ass like no other. I have been out on rides without my chamois on and at the end of the day there is no soreness or hotspots that I have had with other saddles, that right there is worth the asking price if you ask me.
I love the look of this saddle, the embossed logo and the rich leather can class up any bike. Looks aside for a larger saddle it’s not as heavy as thought is was going to be, I think that the Ti rails really help here as it’s not that much heavier than their “light” moon saddle.
For what you pay for this saddle you would expect something above the rest and you do get it, it’s light, beautiful and super comfortable. I would highly recommend the Chromag Trailmaster LTD to anyone looking to get rid of their current ass hatchet and class up their bike at the same time.
Chromag Palmskin Grips
Next up is the Chromag Palmskin grips. These are a new product for Chromag and as soon as I saw them I knew I wanted to mount them up on my bike. They reminded my of my old mushroom grips of my childhood and I loved those things!
Once mounted up I loved the feel of the Palmskins. Soft and not too thick, if you are one of those crazy people who rides without gloves you would love these grips. I really like the clamp design and never had an issue with them slipping even though one grip was missing a bolt. The rubber was also super grippy….even when it was cold, wet and muddy out my hands never slipped.
Where I ran into issues is the last few months, the little ribs would fold over and stick where my hands gripped the hardest leaving hardly any padding on the grip surface. This led to sore hands and hot spots on longer rides. Maybe if the Kraton rubber was a little less malleable this would not happen, but as it stands they are coming off my bike now that I am done reviewing them.
Chromag Seat QR
The Chromag Seat QR does just what it says…clamps your seat post into your frame. I think a lot of people just run the cheap clamp that came with their bike and do not understand why anyone would spend good money on something that looks like it does the same thing as the one they are running. I am a firm believer that a good seat clamp is worth it’s weight in gold, and out of the few that I have used the Chromag is the best of the bunch.
In fact I think this may be one of my favourite bits of bling on my bike. My seatpost never slips, it’s easy to open and close and just does it’s job with no complaints or ever needing service. I ran a Hope Seat QR last and it was not as easy to operate (seemed to need more force to open and close). This comes down to the little brash bushing that Chromag uses, keeps everything moving. I had to grease my Hope…never once with the Chromag, it’s the little things that make a huge difference.
This is one piece of kit that will be staying on my bike till someone pries it from my cold dead hands…it’s that good. If you want to upgrade your bike with something that will make it not only look awesome but work forever with no issues and cost less than $50…then go out and pick up the Chromag Seat QR in your favourite colour, you won’t regret it.
Chromag makes awesome bikes and some great bits to hang off of any bike. If you want to step up your game a bit and get your bike some sexy new parts that work better than your stock parts, are lighter and stronger as well, then you can’t go wrong with Chromag. I may wait till they change the grip up a bit, but that is the first part from Chromag that I have ever had issues with.
As always if you want to test these parts out come on over and you can take ’em for a spin and see for yourself.