Chromag Lowdown Long Travel Steel MTB Test Ride Review

The Chromag Lowdown is a steel trail bike with 158mm of rear travel that's at home on both technical and faster trails too.

Chromag is a unique bike company, rooted in Whistler. The brand is known for its steel hardtail frames and quality componentry, and after many years of selling hardtails exclusively, the brand released their first full-suspension bike, a kids bike called Minor Threat. That release foreshadowed their newest additions: the Darco and Lowdown full suspension bikes. I had the chance to ride the long-travel Lowdown on the trails just outside the Chromag HQ, and here’s what I learned.

The Chromag Lowdown

The Lowdown is a long travel trail bike developed to tackle the most punishing terrain, based around 29-inch wheels (a mullet link is available separately), a steel front end, alloy chain/seat stays, 158mm of rear travel, and a four-bar suspension platform with refined kinematics. The platform was designed to perform well under big compressions, hard braking, and when grinding up the steep hills of the Sea-To-Sky corridor. The Lowdown looks like a tractor on paper, however, on the trail, the bike demonstrated some character.

Frame and pricing

The Chromag Lowdown frame is designed to be uncomplicated to service and replace parts, using standards like Boost 148 rear hub spacing, a threaded bottom bracket, UDH-compatible rear dropouts, rubber chainstay protections, enduro MAX bearings, and externally routed cables.

The Lowdown is available in five different sizes including a M/L to suit riders seeking that perfect ‘extra medium’ fit. There are two build kit options: A G2 build that retails for $6,000 USD and a G1 build that will set you back $8,000 USD.

Both build options come ready to shred right out of the box, featuring SRAM drivetrains and RockShox Ultimate suspension. There is also a frame-only option which comes with a RockShox Super Deluxe air shock.

Photos: Patricio Zorrilla @patricio_z

Riding the Chromag Lowdown

As soon as I started pedaling, Lowdown felt both comfortable and efficient. I assumed a long-travel steel bike would be heavy and tough to pedal, however, the bike executed surprisingly well, even on steep and loose gravel roads and techy singletrack. I did notice some pedal bob when pushing down on the pedals, which generally translated into traction so it wasn’t all bad. Overall I was impressed with how the Chromag Lowdown performed on the way up the climbs.

Descending, the bike was supple, quiet, and lively. It felt light to maneuver and could easily be unweighted when necessary. And on faster tracks, the Lowdown accelerates quickly and its direction can be changed with ease. Riding the Lowdown reminded me of riding a hardtail but without the harshness.

The rear end is short and fits around corners nicely. When the trail gets steeper and chunkier, the Chromag Lowdown feels tall and inspires confidence. It delivers this captivating combination of stability and playfulness that more skilled riders will appreciate when linking technical sections of trail.

Bottom line

Overall, the Chromag Lowdown is a pleasant, quiet, and fun ride. My time on the bike was enjoyable both on the way up and down. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a playful long-travel bike or advanced riders looking to transition from an aggressive hardtail to a full suspension platform.