Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    113

    Help me decide between these bikes: Karate Monkey vs. X-Caliber vs. XXIX+G

    Hi - I am making the jump to a 29er and am considering these three bikes. I am a light rider (120#) riding mainly XC, with a few races mixed in. I currently have a 26er with XT, so I will be swapping over some components between the two and selling that bike. I also will be taking off the suspension fork and replacing it with a rigid. Further, I will be building up some new wheels. So, I'm really just looking at the frames geometry and construction brakes, seatpost, h-bars, etc.

    I initially wanted steel, but after reading some of the forum, I'm thinking a stock steel frame might not feel much different than aluminum at my weight. Will aluminum just be harsher too? Anyone have experience with the frames. Raleigh doesn't list a weight for the XXIX frame, but I'm guessing it will be close to the karate monkey. Will the trek be lighter than both?

    Any other opinions or experience on how handling compares would be appreciated!

    Thanks

    EDIT: I will be doing all the work myself.
    Last edited by vincavinz; 07-22-2012 at 06:17 AM.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    2,076
    I had an 2011 X-Caliber, first 29er and first modern bike. I'm not a great rider so take this with a grain of salt but I found the front wheel a bit "floppy" and slow.
    I built a OnOne Inbred SS, took it for it's first ride, came home and put the X-Cal up for sale.
    I've built a 2nd Inbred up as 1X9 and love it. Just ordered a 3rd Inbred this weekend with their 10% UK sale.
    Needless to say, you should take a look at the Inbred.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    40
    I have a 2012 xcal and like it. The steering is a bit slower than my former bike - rigid steel 26, but the ride certainly makes it up in other ways. I can't directly compare the difference between steel/aluminum, but I will say that with the fork locked out, the alu 29er is still much smoother. I'm 150#.

    But i don't understand why you'd look at Trek/Raliegh where a lot of the cost is the fork, and then not keep it. Why not look at the lower spec'd bikes that have the same frame?

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    113
    portlander: I'm open to other options, but the Raleigh is at the lowest spec and the x-cal is Trek's equivalent. I am also considering the Cobia and Mamba, but am just wondering about the geo and frame quality right now.

    The Raleigh is my frontrunner at the moment...My two concerns are the reported problems with the derailleur hanger and the supposedly sluggish handling. The XXIX chainstay is pretty long - 455mm vs the 431mm on the KM and 445 on the trek. I'm thinking of getting an 80mm corrected rigid fork with a little more rake. Do you think this would compensate for the slow handling?

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    4,718
    2013 X-Caliber is a new frame the rumors go. It may include some kind of seat tube isolation similar to the Domane road frame IsoSpeed decoupler. Sales rep for the dealer may have info.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    113
    Ok, so I demoed a Niner MCR9 and it felt great- I'm sold on this whole 29er thing

    I've eliminated the X-Cal because the G2 geometry would make it hard to convert to rigid without messing with the geo.

    I've read the KM is pretty stiff, sso i don't think I want that wither. The MCR is unfortunately out of my price range.

    The only other option (from my LBS) is the Soma Juice or a Voodoo. Any opininos on how these frames would compare to the XXIX+g in terms of ride quality (given that I'm a pretty light rider)

    Thanks

    EDIT: Sorry to totally change my comparison on you all

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    732
    The Soma Juice is easily my favorite rigid steel 29er. I've had a Vassago, Karate Monkey, and Inbred and tried out a HT Niner EMD for a bit too. To me, the Juice hits everything that I want - a forgiving steel blend that doesn't feel mushy, mid-length chain stays that are good for climbing but also make the bike ride stable on downhills, and geometry that puts you "in" the bike. I've used the Salsa Cromoto 29er fork on the Juice and much prefer that fork over a carbon fork (or the Vassago ODIS steel fork).
    Enjoy the ride!

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    12
    Vincavinz,

    I have a new 2011 XXIX+g frame in size medium if you want me to weigh it tonight. It seems like I recall it weighing under 5lbs - somewhere in the 4.5lb range. I planned to build it up into a new 29er for myself but put the project on hold b/c of funding issues. Debating if I need a third MTB plus my roadies. 6 bikes in my apartment is getting full...

    I was able to demo an MCR, XXIX+g, and Fisher Rig (some slightly used) while deciding if I wanted another bike. I liked the XXIX best as I ride mostly XC with both flowing and technical sections - but no real hard downhill or jumps, etc. I'm in Texas and nothing is really AM around here. The short creek drops and ravines I pick my way through but don't blast hard like I might on a full suspension rig. The MCR felt racier (and I imagine his little brother EMD would too) - but the XXIX hit my price point the best (bought frame only).

    Anyways - let me know if you want me to weigh it. I can get a close weight but its not with a digital or fancy scale.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Ze_Zaskar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    634
    Had a Singular Swift for 4 year and now I ride a Surly Ogre (same geo and tubing as the KM). Being an expedition bike, I was expecting the Ogre to be much worse in the handling compared to the Swift. To my surprise it handles just about as well as the more expensive and refined bike, is even nimbler all around and stiffer while climbing or sprinting. At 200lbs unequiped stiffness can be important.
    Trust the Karate Monkey. They've been around for so much time for a reason

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    113
    fiero2m4,
    If you could weigh it, that would be great! I've been searching online, but to no avail

    Did you feel the XXIX was more compliant than the MCR?

    Thanks

  11. #11
    O.G
    O.G is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    12
    i own a karate monkey and can only say good things about it, mine is a bit on the heavy side (30lbs) but i got no lightweight parts on it either.. its a real solid bike!

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: es254's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    59
    I have a KM, and its definitely one of my favorite bikes that I've owned. It does everything well, but it certainly excels on singletrack. Its not the lightest, but the geometry and handling are great, and have been a standard in the 29er world for a while, and for a reason.
    That being said, I also built a Soma Juice for my wife, and though its not a size I can comfortably ride for a good comparison, I would have to say its also a very good choice, and at a lighter weight. She absolutely loves it, although she's not interested in a non-suspension fork so I can't provide any feedback on its handling in that regard.
    I'd recommend you give both of them a try if you can. Good luck!

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    113
    Thanks again for the feedback everyone. I'm not honestly a huge fan of the Raleigh's geometry so I've decided to just want and save for nicer frame like a Niner MCR or a Gunnar Rockhound or maybe come across a used bike for cheap. From what I've read, it seems like these bikes are worth it the extra cost if you're going to hold onto them. Plus, both companies use different tubing thicknesses for the different sizes, so I'm hoping they have a nicer ride for someone my size.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •