Darco

$5,850 CAD $6,850 CAD

Only 3 left in stock!

We’ve been making bikes for almost 20 years, and all of this knowledge and expertise has trickled down into creating The Darco. As you might have expected, this bike draws strongly on our steel hardtail roots.

The Darco rolls on 29” wheels and has 150mm of travel up front paired with a stout 120mm in the rear, a hardtailers full-suser if you will. Our geometry philosophy has carried right over onto this bike, pairing slack head tube angles (64°) and steep seat tube angles (78°), with ample room up front (490mm reach on M/L). Perfect for the type of terrain we have in the Sea to Sky, steep climbs and steeper descents.

Given what we know is achievable on a hardtail, it seemed appropriate to spec this bike with a reservoir shock. A shock intended for more aggressive riding and much less likely to be overwhelmed when in the thick of it.

This bike has been a labour of love for us, and a project with such scope deserves a name near and dear to our hearts. Our dear friend and Chromag mechanic D’Arcy Burke passed away after a courageous battle with cancer in 2020. We affectionately referred to him as “The Dark One”. The Darco is a tip of the hat to our friend.

Customer Reviews

Based on 13 reviews
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T
Tim D.
Best. Bike. Ever.

For years, I've been the guy in my gang on a hardtail. But when I read about the Darco, it was a matter of time. A hardtailer's suspension bike? Rides like a Chromag? Stable in the slabs and easy to flick around? Tried and true Horst Link suspension, engineered to be easy to maintain? Hello!

When it came I was so stoked - it looks great, it's not remotely heavy for its intended use, and the kit is so dialed.

The ride delivered on the promise. It climbs and descends better than my Rootdown - which is saying something! The rear wheel tracks over and through places it might have gotten hung up, and the tire stays planted where it might have skipped. That makes sense - it's a suspension bike - but it still loves to pop off little bumps and wheelie drop off ledges... all the stuff I worried would be harder just isn't. And I'm loving the confidence to carry more speed into the spicy bits. But I'm a long way from finding the bike's limits!

I used to rent bikes on trips to Moab with the boys. Those trails are easier on the body on a big 160mm enduro bike - and I had a ton of fun on them. But some were hard work on the climbs, and others only woke up when the trail was 10/10. The Darco is more fun on more terrain, and still has chops for the spicy stuff!

I am loving the Darco on my local trails around Ottawa. Lots of rock, roots, more tech than flow (though more and more of both these days!). And I think I'm done renting 'big' bikes on trips. Now I'll be bringing the Darco.

S
Spencer W.
This bike nice, I like much!

Initially hearing that Chromag was coming out with a full sus bike I was stoked because everything they make is awesome! I was skeptical however about how smooth the transition from years of hardtail only fanatics to its more plush cousin would be.
After 10 minutes on this bike my skepticism turned to optimism. I quickly realized there was a lot that this freedom machine could tackle including plowing through my very questionable line choice with ease. The 150mm up front gives you the confidence to handle some of the Sea to Skys gnarliest terrain and although it only has 120 in the back it more than makes up for it by the way it rides, never once feeling that I wished I had more.
I was thoroughly impressed with this bikes playfulness as well as its stability through rough terrain. Weight was not a noticeable factor at all.
If you like to party on the trails 10/10 would buy this bike.

A
Andreas
Fun, playful and responsive!

I have been owning mainstream full suspension bikes now for a good chunk of years, and when I saw Chromag introducing their own take on a bike with rear suspension I was anxious to give it a try.

Initially I wasn't sure what to expect... was this going to feel heavy or perhaps not have enough travel compared to what Ia have been riding for the past many years...

Any of my reservations about the bike were blown away after just one ride on the bike - I haven't felt this kind of playfulness and response in a bike in a long time and despite the "shorter" travel (150/120), I have still not found the need for more.
Everything from pedalling, handling, body position to bunny hops, side hits and jumps, this bike handles like a champ.

My previous bikes have been long suspension and been more of a "point and shoot" approach, but the Darco has given me back the feel of actually riding a bike and feel more in tune with the trail I'm riding. Thank you for producing yet another bomber of a bike, Chromag!

k
kevin p.
Forest Ripper

Early on, I heard one of the engineers say that the Darco would be the perfect bike for a hardtailer transitioning towards full suspension. So I tried one of the first locally made samples.
It took me a while to get the most out of the new ride. I kept hitting my pedals and had to remember to preload. The second locally made sample held up pretty well. Then sometime in mid summer I received another. This Taiwanese one was pretty much what to expect from production. I haven’t had an issue since and am still riding this version.
The Darco rides as promised. Its low centre of gravity and balanced length yearns to go faster no matter the terrain, up or down. The rear travel is perfectly suited for mashing through flat bumpy terrain. It's slight enough to allow for surgical precision on the techest of climbs. That 120mm of travel is impressively plush on downhills. The fact that it’s designed to be paired with a substantialy longer travel fork makes this bike a proficient descender. I run the suspension as soft as I can get away with. Unlike the fork, the shock never gives any clear indication of bottoming out, so I run the sag at a heavy 30%.

The Darco’s call for speed can be ignored and still behave nicely when going out for a spin with the kids or checking out a new trail. However, when you answer that call and are ripping through the forest, it sure is comforting to look down at those familiar steel tubes.

B
Brian B.
Bombproof

I’ve been waiting for Chromag to come out with this bike for a few years, heard a few details early on and was super keen. Got a call asking if I was interested and as I was doing the BCBR this bike was perfect for my riding style.
Geometry is spot on for any trail bike but at 120mm travel it is spot on, though being an XL it is very long. It has been absolutely bombproof for the 8 months that I’ve had it and during the BCBR it was flawless. During the race the bike was kind of a super model as it got a lot of attention, leave it in a rack next to other bikes and it got noticed.

G
George
An awesome new Chapter for Chromag

I have been a Chromag fanatic since I was in college. I first bought a used Rootdown on Pinkbike back in 2014. I have since owned a handful of their other hardtails and most recently was lucky enough to be one of the first people in the US to get my hands on a Darco. Don't let this bike's 120mm back end fool you. I was immediately blown away by the capability of this bike. To top it off it also has excellent pedaling manners and a damp, planted feel to it. It might not be for you if you're someone who cares about the weight of their bike, but if you care about craftsmanship and ride quality, this could be the bike for you.

K
Ken A.
Fit:
Runs Small
Runs Large
What a great bike

I am usually a hard fit to a bike, and I really appreciate the M/L sizing option that Chromag has in their lineup. Out of the box and built up my first ride on it blew me away. This bike is extremely smooth and stable, and once I got the suspensions settings dialed in it rode like a dream. I am really impressed at how well it climbs, definitely an all around great trail bike, and nothing but smiles from me. Most of my other bikes are steel as well so it fits right in with the feel of the others and I really felt at home. My only issue out of the box was the saddle, but those are such a personal fit choice and not every saddle fits everyone the same. Easy fix for anyone.

The downside... I've only ridden it a few times due to weather/trail conditions here and work travel, but that is all about to change.

J
Joe c.
Fit:
Runs Small
Runs Large
My New Darco

I Love this Bike! It’s very comfortable to ride. I’m 6’ and chose a large size as I like lots of reach and paired it with a FU50 bars for more upright riding. Uphill it pedals really good. Very little to no bob and felt like a solid pedal platform to me. Downhill it was stable and playful. This bike is the real deal and the build is solid enough for hard trail riding all day. Great job by the Chromag crew with this full suspension bike. I love me a steel frame too. Last forever! Dark Olive will turn some heads too. Silver Dagga pedals to go with it and I’m stoked. Go and get one now!

Darco Geometry

Show: |
Frame Size STypical Rider Height: 155cm - 165cm MTypical Rider Height: 163cm - 174cm M/LTypical Rider Height: 172cm - 183cm LTypical Rider Height: 181cm - 192cm XLTypical Rider Height: 190cm - 200cm
Stack617617622631640
Reach450472490514530
Effective Top Tube581603622648666
Head Tube100100105115125
Wheel base12141236125612841305
BB Drop3939393939
BB Height335335335335335
Stand Over677707736765795
chain stay435435435435435
Seat Tube350380410440470
Max Post Insertion*193224254284315
Head Angle64°
Seat Angle78°
Wheel Size29.0''

* Max. post insertion based on Rockshox Reverb

SPECS

WHEEL SIZE // 29"
REAR TRAVEL // 120mm
RECOMMENDED FORK TRAVEL // 150mm (±10mm)
MATERIAL // 4130 Chromoly Steel / 6066 Aluminum
WEIGHT (M/L) // Frame: 10.53bs // Complete: 34.75lbs
HUB SPACING // Boost 148mm
HEADSET // 44-56 Semi Integrated
SEAT CLAMP SIZE // 35mm
SEAT POST SIZE // 31.6mm
BB // 73mm Threaded
HANGER// SRAM UDH
SHOCK SIZE // 165 X 45mm Trunnion
LOWER SHOCK SIZE // 20 x 8mm
BRAKE MOUNT // 180mm Post
FRAME ORIGIN // Taiwan

Click here to download the Darco tech pack

Darco Sizing

Note: This is an approximate guide, some people have longer legs than others! Feel free to contact us to discuss.
If you're between sizes, it's a good idea to try to ride them both, either by hopping on a demo or stealing from a close friend.
If that isn't an option, examine reach, stack and ETT numbers on your current bike and compare.

Darco G2 Build

FORK // Rockshox Lyrik Select+ 150mm
SHOCK // Rockshox Super Deluxe Air Ultimate
STEM // Chromag HiFi BSX 40mm
HANDLEBAR // Chromag OSX 25mm Rise, 800mm
HEADSET // Cane Creek Forty ZS
CRANK // SRAM GX 170mm
BRAKES // SRAM Code RSC
ROTORS // SRAM 180mm
SHIFTER // SRAM GX Eagle
CASSETTE // SRAM GX Eagle 10-52t
DERAILLEUR // SRAM GX Eagle
RIMS // Chromag 29" Phase30
HUBS // Chromag R4
TIRES // Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR
SEATPOST // RockShox Reverb (125mm - S)
(150mm - M) (175mm - M/L) (200mm - L, XL)
SADDLE // Chromag Trailmaster DT
GRIPS // Chromag Format
CHAIN // SRAM GX Eagle

Devil's in the details

We left no stone unturned when designing our new suspension fleet.

Whether its our injection-moulded chain stay protector to help keep the paint fresh and the noise low, or the accessory mount and ample room for a water bottle even on the size small.

We've thought about the small details, because every single person who works at Chromag, is a rider too.

Materials

As you might expect from any Chromag, The Darco relies firmly on a 4130 chromoly steel foundation. We believe that the ride characteristics and aesthetics for which our hardtails are known, absolutely translates to a full suspension platform.

However, a dual suspension rig provides different challenges, which is why we opted for 6066 aluminum chainstays. Primarily for weight saving and stiffness, but the chainstay also houses bearings which is more difficult to do in steel. Building the chainstay out of aluminum helps strike the right balance of compliance and rigidity.

The rocker is made from forged aluminum due to its strength/weight ratio and ability to be machined.

Craftsmanship

Like all our products, the Darco was designed with durability and serviceability in mind. The main pivot uses an expanding collet axle system, designed to avoid over-preload and over-constraint of bearings. This results in a main pivot that spins smoother, for longer.

All pivots spin on Enduro MAX bearings that are well-sealed, long-lasting, and commonly available through most local bike shops or as kits on our website. The pivot hardware is machined from high-strength 7075 aluminum, and the custom-drawn tubing is made from the same 4130 chromoly steel you’ve come to know on our hardtails.

Frames are assembled with plenty of grease, and each one is checked over by one of our mechanics before leaving Chromag HQ. The Darco is a no-nonsense frame that is built to last.

HeadTube Badge

Your bike is special. The head tube badge is the finishing touch so we’ve always made a point of taking the time to do something interesting with it. Our head tube badges have changed over the years and are an indication of the time each bike was made. Whether it’s a cast bronze, or polished stainless steel, water cut aluminum or a 3D CNC carving, each one represents our commitment to detail.

UDH

The UDH is designed to optimize shift performance across all bikes as well as create a sensible solution for replacing damaged hangers. The UDH has been widely adopted throughout the cycling industry with hundreds of models already featuring it.

Available here!

Suspension philosophy

We chose to use a 4-bar suspension layout for the Darco, with a main pivot located just above the bottom bracket, a seattube-mounted rocker link, and a vertically oriented, trunnion-mounted shock. We found this layout to strike a good balance of tuneability, ride quality, and elegant simplicity. A 4-bar layout offered enough tuning parameters for us to design the suspension characteristics the way we wanted them, simultaneously achieving our targets for leverage ratio, progression, anti-squat, and anti-rise.

At the same time, it keeps things simple and intuitive. With no hidden hardware, sliders, or concentric multi-link pivots, every pivot can be accessed, bolt-checked, and worked on without taking the whole bike apart.

suspension design

kinematics

We’ve pored over the kinematics of this bike, balancing the trade-offs into what we believe is a truly great mountain bike.

Our overall design principles were to create a very consistent kinematic (no notable or fast changes in the leverage ratio that would make the bike unpredictable), have reasonable progression (the bike ramps up due to consistent change in leverage ratio), and have a supportive pedaling platform (an antisquat
of approximately 110% at expected sag height).

ANTI-SQUAT

Anti-squat is approximately 110% at sag height. This will give a supportive platform but still allow some suspension activity aiding traction.


The amount of anti-squat is fairly consistent over the full travel, as such it will pedal in a similar way throughout the stroke.

LEVERAGE RATIO

We designed the leverage curve to be both consistent, and progressive which equates to a predictable ride both in terms of travel used and suspension damping.

There is 29% progression over the full travel of the Darco which strikes a great balance of usable suspension travel, small bump compliance, mid support and bottom out resistance.

ANTI-RISE

The anti-rise is consistent throughout the travel, with only a 6% variation across the travel range. This means that the bike will behave as consistently as possible on the brakes regardless of the size and speed of the impact.

The percentage value will mean the bike is on the more active side of supported.