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Discussion in 'Cross Country, All Mountain & Trail Riding' started by chrismac, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. chrismac

    chrismac Chimp

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    with all this hoopla about the 29 inch wheel, i knew at some point i was gonna jump in the mix. so i am now after a big wheel bike. my search started simple, cheap frame, swipe some parts off other bikes.. get some wheels, check it out. then i started really thinking what i wanted this bike for, where it'll get ridden, what kinda ride im lookin for, and of course how much to spend. well i have sorta decided i want this to do everything; rip single track, access roads, gnarly trails, fast hauls, transportation, maybe some racks to tour with someday, how about single speed option.. well i want a lot. no doubt. can i achieve this all in one bike? the journey twists.

    so now i am really into this, but checkin the usual suspects has left me without any clean candidate. rack mounts are rare, steel is hit or miss on cost and weight, sliders also rare, and i just can't come to grips with an EBB for some reason. i want disc brakes. this sorta puts the rack at a problem, but i think i will head to the Old Man Mountain axle mount if i ever go that route. plus this complicates the rear wheel mounting at different chainstay lengths; sliders are best done here with the paragons. i want steel (or ti, but probably not). i am trying to decide if i want or need custom geometry or fit, cause it seems like my ideal bike is best gonna come from a custom builder.

    i have been pouring over all the 29 info out there, loved the monkey butt thread, the wolfhound pics, and the bcd one man dh revolution. so i started looking at specs, sizes, and geo.. i want to go rigid fork for starters, but will need to comply to suspension should i choose at some point. i would like it to be quick handling and responsive, but also churn out a long days ride.. maybe multiple days ride.

    a brief history: raced years of xc in the midwest as a junior, moved to montana for eight years churning out epic rides everywhere, started riding the 'freeride' movement and flat pedals, spent the last five years racing dh in the east and getting into dirt jumping and riding the terrain (skate) park at rays mtb in cleveland. bottom line: i can ride anything. i recently sold my dh bike and got into a nomad. i choose the nomad because the thought of getting a nervous handling (no matter how much travel) cross country bike just sounded like torture.. i love the nomad. so in looking at a 29er, i am ready to accept some fast handling and traditional aspects of a hardtail mountain bike, but is there any validity in progressive geometry (like the nomad) in the world of 29 inch wheeled bikes? im with Suspect Device and love riding on the edge of traction.. with speed. so this sort of blends into the current "EWR" thread.

    that question stems from my custom thoughts; i know the handling aspects of the 29er are still sorta in the infant stages (especially the suspension part), but my main question to you folk who have ridden the modern 29's in different variations of frame and forks, what are the most influential aspect of the handling? what is the 'dope' set up? have 2 cents toward what im looking for.. gimme 4 cents if you want.

    i love my nomad, and don't really have a desire to make a 29er handle like it or have similar geo, but more my inquiry stems from the rigid to suspension transition. i don't really want this thing to be too twitchy with a rigid fork, but yet if i throw on a suspension fork, i don't really want to rake it out a bunch either. I know that the rigid forks are indeed suspension corrected, but they are still taller, especially if you go 100 mm. To check this out, i made a model of a Surly Kararte Monkey in various states; stock fork, and an array of suspension forks. i included some screen shot pictures of this little said experiment. the suspension fork defiantly changes up the numbers, the pics i included here are with a rs reba 100 mm. now i know a new reba is supposedly coming out, but i couldn't find any data on it. i did it at a static height (uncompressed) and a sag of 20 mm. the 80 mm has less affect on the numbers, which is more suitable for my requirements. but, they still have an affect. check out the pics.. does a degree on the head angle change that much? how about a 1/2 inch change in trail? i know that my bb height is pretty high, not real sure why or if thats realistic (i used 29.375 as the od for the rubber, from Ted's monkey butt thread), but the rest of the measurements are pretty close to manufacture claims.. so i think its pretty accurate.

    i am interested in using the Willits W.O.W. fork, and want to start talking to builder in the next week or so.. willits being one of them.

    wow, so that got a little winded.. i would be appreciative of any input you monkeys wanna throw in. and in that regard, i have pretty good confidence with my model (if something isn't accurate i can figure it out and fix it), so if your interested i can model any bike and see how fork changes affect it.. just need the usual suspect dimensions. anyone have the new reba info?
     

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    #1 -   Mar 9, 2008

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  2. MMcG

    MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    You should place a call to Ted and have a talk with him. I think that'd be really helpful to you. In fact, get a short list and call a few and talk with them - see who you "jive" with in terms of what they have to say and think and what you are trying to achieve.

    Good luck and keep us posted on your journey.

    Cheers,

    Mark
     
    #2 -   Mar 9, 2008
  3. ByStickel

    ByStickel Chimp

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    I think you'd find that most 29ers have a nice stable feel that's not TOO dissimilar from your Nomad. It's tough to know what's too twitchy for you without having you name bikes you've ridden that are too twitchy.

    One interesting thing about 29ers is that they can have steep head angles and still not get too nervous at speed. The extra gyroscopic effect of the larger diameter wheels helps to keep them on line at speed, negating some of the twitchiness that comes as the pace rises.

    You will probably notice that 29ers are harder to manual and wheelie. Look for shorter stays if this is important to you.

    A custom segmented fork could be built to 100mm suspension-corrected length.

    There are a few rack options for disk brakes, but the ones I've seen are a little ugly. If you have the cash, a custom rack could be fabricated. Or an existing rack could have legs replaced to make it disk-friendly.

    As Mark mentioned, talk to a few builders and see who gives you a good feeling.
     
    #3 -   Mar 9, 2008
  4. Guitar Ted

    Guitar Ted Monkey

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    I can't help but keep thinking "Karate Monkey" as I read through that, even before your referance to the drawings was made.

    I think you could do a whole lot worse than a KM even going custom. Especially if you are unsure what it is you will be getting out of a 29"er in the first place.

    My advice is to experiment on a Karate Monkey first. It's got everything and can do everything you are asking at a pretty cheap price for all of that versatility. Sure, it may not do all of it quite the way you desire, but that's part of the process of figuring out what is and isn't important to you. Once you've spent time refining out what it is you like/don't like about it, you will have a lot more solid baseline to work off of with a custom builder.

    You could always use the KM afterwards in a commuter role, or as a second bike, or sell it outright. At any rate, I think it might be wise to try something first before you go the custom route.
     
    #4 -   Mar 9, 2008
  5. -dustin

    -dustin boring

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    if you have the patience and time, i'd look at custom. start with a short list, then talk with the builders. mine came from Willits, and I've got a WOW fork. at the time that I ordered mine, he was at a relatively short turn-around. now, however, he's pretty booked. he's got 18 frames in que.

    I like Willits, Soulcraft, and that Steve Stickel guy. I imagine that Sean @ Soulcraft has the longest turn-around. He's rather innovative, and doesn't seem to be scared to try something different...if you make a good argument for it. Probably why it take at least 6mos to get a frame from him.

    regardless, communication is key. have to be able to communicate effectively with your builder. Willits and ByStickel were both quick to get back to me. Went with Willits because he was 3hrs away.

    Things have changed over at Willits since then, however, and it is now a 1-man operation...meaning his communication isn't the greatest. He's still a badass builder, but running a business by yourself isn't easy for anyone.
     
  6. Ted Wojcik

    Ted Wojcik Monkey

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    This is what a custom frame shop does. Give me a call or PM
     
  7. chrismac

    chrismac Chimp

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    thanks for the input everyone.

    yeah, a karate monkey or other steel production bike is where i started and am still considering. for some reason i have this gut feeling that this bike is gonna be just my cup of tea, and now approaching twenty years of riding mtb's, my tastes and performance likes are more finicky than ever. im down with surly and their cause, but damn thats a heavy frame. not to mention a little fugly imo.

    i have a question regarding the KM.. if your running the monkey nuts (or not running them), can you use a standard quick release rear skewer, or do you need a bolt on?

    i have no doubt any one of the custom builders can put me in a well balanced rig getting me all i need. i just need to start calling around. there just seems to be a lot of talk about the handling characteristics of these bikes at the moment.

    anyone know of a non-custom steel bike using the paragon sliders?
     
  8. hank

    hank Chimp

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    You should give Ted a call and discuss. Sounds like you are looking for a custom build and you'll be dissatisfied with anything else in some fashion or another. As you have hinted at, the longer you have ridden the finer your tastes certainly become. With that said, even though you are making the jump to a 29er, this could be a great time to get exactly what you're looking for without compromise: CUSTOM.
     
  9. SingleGuy

    SingleGuy Chimp

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  10. chrismac

    chrismac Chimp

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    ok, after much deliberation and discussion i have decided to start out with a production frame and give this a whirl. this will allow me to check out the ride and characteristics with out making any more decisions, and as GT pointed out.. done cheap.

    that will also allow me a little flexibility and cash to concentrate on a sweet build kit.. which a heavy steel frame will benefit from. then if i do ever decide on a custom rig, i'll have a nice kit already.

    so my next questions are about parts.

    wheels: coming from dh i do ride aggressively. but i am light (145#) and can usually get by with lighter wheels, (i have run single tracks and rhyno lites on my dh bikes), but with the larger wheel i do worry about flex, so i would like a stiffer wheelset. any rim/hub combo suggestions?

    drivetrain: big sram fan, probably go x9, i want this to be able to ride anything anywhere. can a 2x9 setup work to improve front derailure clearance and still giving climbing ability? with added traction, do the 29ers really need a granny with 32 tooth in the rear (all that torque?) i recognize that technically the larger wheel will need more torque, but really a granny to me has always been just a one gear app: gets step, drop it in, when ur done, get out; rarely have i ever used more than the top one or two cogs in the granny. could a lower inner and larger outer (with a 2 ring set up) offer similar applicable range? (granted i may stand more on some super steeps) or am i just way off here and stick with a good ol' triple?

    since bb/cranks are a weight concentration, i may look at something light and gucci, like xtr's maybe.. perhaps something carbon.. i have heard that crank length could be shorter/longer due to the larger wheel.. any truth here? or does this get back to what gearing i am running?

    frame: i have narrowed down to three, surly karate monkey, salsa el mariachi, and niner sir. i have accepted the EBB as a possibility. the km gets the nod for shortest chainstays (17, although i think with the monkey nuts and front changer clearance it will be similar to the others), it also gets the cult/thug factor that is just surly. its also the heaviest and cheapest. salsa (17.9 in chainstay) and niner (17.3) a little nicer and lighter, more expensive, and use the ebb.. ive never had one and don't know how well they work (i read a thread on mtbr about em and it seemed split, you either love it or hate it..?!) which frame would get your vote?

    i did give Ted W. a call and we chatted about 29ers, bicycles in general, and the monkey butt. i gained some good insight and knowledge and appreciate the time he gave me. Quite friendly, down to earth, and eager to share perspective and answer my questions.. thanks ted. i may wind up with a monkey butt eventually...

    thanks for any input.
     
  11. MMcG

    MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    Regarding all your questions - what's your budget?

    That can be a huge help for us in terms of making some recommendations on wheelsets , drivetrain, cranks etc. etc.

    Also - are you trying to go for a lighter weight build or is this more of a test the waters and see if I even like the whole 29er thing kind of bike>

    If you have the Niner SIR 9 in your short list - I would look very very closely at the Zion 737 frames. It would save you a TON of dough and you'd have very similar geometry to a SIR 9. If you definitely don't plan on dabbling in single speed - the geared Zion may be a great frame to look into for this "project." Grab a Cane Creek S3 +5 headset if you plan on going with a suspension fork up front and you should be good to go. The cost of the steel Zion frame might also help make it easier to afford those "blinging" cranks you speak of - and maybe a nicer wheelset and a suspension fork.

    Why not go 34:22 0r maybe 34:24 as your front two chainrings and then run 8 or 9 speeds in back. That'd be a good combination in my opinion.

    Hope some of this helps!

    Mark
     
  12. chrismac

    chrismac Chimp

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    actually budget is not too much of a concern. coming off the custom idea has made that a nice benefit. im not really interested in testing the waters; pretty much sold already. i am looking to make a bitchin rig, and don't mind spendin' a little bread to do it.

    i want to go for a tough, ride anywhere type of bike as light as makes sense without spending a retarded amount of money. im gonna go with a rigid fork for starters, so that helps too.

    the zion almost seems too cheap..? i have settled on the KM, largely due to my preference for not having an EBB. also because im originally from the minneapolis area, so i think its in my heritage to own a surly at some point. i have recently gotten some 'wednesday night' love from the local ring of cycling debauchery.. in all their single speed and wool glory.

    cranks: i choose to stick with a triple up front. after discussion about front derailures, shifters, and crank options.. its just simpler to stick with the tried and true. then i'll never have to worry if i have a low enough gear.. for wherever i may ride.

    xtr's are not much lighter than xt's, and they are waaaay more expensive. xt sound like the sensible choice.

    wheels: right now i am really interested in the mavic cross max 29's. i can hear the mavic haters cringing right now, but i think its ill conceived. they are light, strong, stiff, and tubeless compatible. here some of the bread will be spent though, but i think worth it considering the weight and flex issues with a larger wheel.

    i have a set of "Real" disc hubs with no home, so i may lace those up to a road rim with a 30-45 ish cyclocross/mixed roads tire for faster/road oriented outings adding to the versatility. then i can go hog wild on the mtb tire.. the biggest that will fit in the frame.

    thanks for the input mark, chris
     
  13. SingleGuy

    SingleGuy Chimp

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    Mavics would be nice, but for a lot less you could get a set of Stans Flow rims on XT hubs from Mike Curiak, I bet they'd be plenty stiff, and easy to run tubeless. He's offering them right now for $449 delivered. Hard to beat, IMHO, and spokes don't cost you an arm and a leg to replace.

    I think you'll love the KM! I do recommend a carbon bar though, the KM fork is pretty stiff, especially seeing as you are light.

    Please post pics when you're done!
     
  14. MMcG

    MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    I'd look to see what they are offering for wheelsets on the NoTubes site - they often have good deals too.
     
  15. chrismac

    chrismac Chimp

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    i do like the concept behind the 'no tubes'. but man there is like no side wall on those rims! looks and feels like you could eaisly roll the tires right off. coming from dh i like cornering hard and maximizing the entire tread profile, and given fully rigid i may be interested in running low pressures. tubeless is not a priority at this point, ive never run them and probably won't right away.

    the proprietary spokes and so on from mavic is sort of a turn off; availibility and cost. but from my research most people are having good luck with durability and performance making replacement parts seldom. and its mavic for crying out loud.. worldwide rep!

    i am heavily contemplating a carbon bar. i will definetly post pictures. hoping to get all my decisions made and the order into my LBS by monday.

    singleguy; do yo have a km, whats the weight? got a pic? what you guys think of the blue? i am starting to like the idea due to the fact that like 80-90% of surly's out there are black.
     
  16. MMcG

    MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    If you don't like the stans rims - I'd say you would probably not like the Crossmax rims all that much either.

    It sounds like you need to find a good fairly wide rim. Maybe the new Salsa Gordos that will soon be available, if not already available.
     
  17. chrismac

    chrismac Chimp

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    its not that i don't like the Stans, its just that i am not sold on their concept just yet, or enough to buy into it right now.

    they claim a sidewall 2-3 mm less that most rims, reducing weight, creating a better seat (or joint as they put it) for the bead, and leaving less chance for the tire to contact or 'pinch' the tube into the rim (tubes or no tubes). it all sounds great in theory, but again i wonder about peeling the bead off easier.. i guess i'd probably be the same or no different than most rims, relating more to pressure and agressive situations.. my concerns. which may or may not be amplified by the larger wheel (leverage)?

    so its not so much the width as it is this concept for me. the no tubes 'flow' rims look like the better choice for my app, it should be plenty wide at 28 mm.

    a fellow monkey has PM'ed my with a possible opportunity for a industry nine/stans flow wheelset at a competative price. so i may look into that, but the proprietery issue would be even more present here.
     
  18. SingleGuy

    SingleGuy Chimp

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    I had a KM, just sold it a few weeks ago and already I miss it. It was one of the original campstove green ones, and it was a blast to ride.

    I rode it for over two years, only sold it because it was a small (advertised here in Japan as M when I bought it - the only issue with the small was a slight bit of toe overlap with big tyres, 180mm cranks and my big feet.), and I need a medium. I would have kept it, but I live in a really small apartment with no storage, and when downsizing became necessary I could only keep the best fitting bikes. I will get another one someday, I think. I like the blue too, and the extra fork clearance.

    There's a photo or two in one of my other threads, but when I get home tonight I will post some more pictures.

    By the way, the new owner loves it too!
     
  19. chrismac

    chrismac Chimp

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    this afternoon i read the latest monkeybutt review, the mavic rim was referred to as real skinny. so i stopped at my lbs on the way home and measured them; they are pretty skinny: 23.5 mm.

    hmmm...
     
  20. chrismac

    chrismac Chimp

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    cool, i like the campstove color. i am excited to get this thing rolling, i know its gonna be a blast!

     
  21. SingleGuy

    SingleGuy Chimp

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  22. chrismac

    chrismac Chimp

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    allright.. im gonna give the stans a try! i haven't heard a bad word about them. plus a fellow monkey has offered a set of new industry 9 rims built up with the stans arch rim for a good price, so im gonna go with those as long as it doesn't stretch out too long.

    im excited to see and ride the i9 stuff, i have heard a lot of good things, and i think the stiff aluminum setup will really benefit with the larger wheel. due to the aluminum spokes and rigid fork, i am for sure not gonna get as much compliance in the wheel as far as absorption. but thats fine with me, i am going with the carbon low ride easton bar to aide that. so with the surly steel, im thinking along the lines of a carbide tipped butter knife!

    so far:

    xt cranks (22,32,44), x9 rear mech and shifters (x7 front), sram 11-28 with sram chain, monkey lite carbon bar, thompson seatpost (thinking about the cane creek parallel suspension post), king headset (two years old, but good), shimano dx pedals with the floating cage. stem will be left until a bike fit. gonna pick up an Old Man Mountain rack and some Ortlieb panniers for adventure occasions and commuting.

    debating between juicy 7's or just going with some avid mechs for simplicity.. jury's still out.

    what im down too and would like some opinions.. tires! i want a pretty aggressive large volume, all mountain, all weather, durable shoe. thinking just start out with some exiwolfs, they seem like the standard. but do like the looks of the stout, and the prowler (although they are smaller). the specialized tires look like a nice tread, how are those sidewalls? seems like most speci sidewalls are weak. any opinions?
     
  23. Guitar Ted

    Guitar Ted Monkey

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    chrismac: I've ridden my fair share of tires out there. I can say that a larger portion of what is out there for 29"er tires have thin carcasses to save on weight. If you get a meaty sidewall, be prepared to deal with a little girth at the scales!

    That said, the favorite all purpose tire I am currently using is the Bontrager Dry X (soon to be re-named XDX) It has very durable sidewalls, rolls really well on hardpack/pavement and is excellent in rocky situations.

    Ultimate beefiness is offered in the WTB Stout. Big, aggressive knobs, wide and super tough sidewalls for a 29"er tire. It's heavy though at 1130 grams, but nearly indestructable too, so pick yer poison.
     
  24. MMcG

    MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    There are a lot of tires out there that are better than the Exiwolf. I'd look at Panaracer Rampage for a front tire, and maybe consider an Maxxis ignitor as a rear tire. That is a well respected tire combo.

    I think the Panaracer is a great front tire, but for me it felt sluggish as a rear tire.

    I'd like to try GT's recommendation of those Dry X tires as well. Maybe in due time.

    Cheers,

    Mark