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  1. #1
    noob bikepacker
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    Looking for 29er+...getting ack into riding

    Hey all. So I am looking to get back into riding afte a bout a 15 year break. Well, to be more specific, getting into riding off the road as I have been commuting via bike still.

    I grew up riding BMX in the 70's/80's, and in college just started getting into single track, and bike-packing. Never got into the super technical, or the downhill craziness my friends did.

    Wanting to get back into bike-packing now for sure, and would not say no to some single track or some trail "craziness" if it came up on a bike-packing ride.

    Have been researching off nad on for a year, and have narrowed the search down to these bikes:

    1. Surly ECR
    2. Surly Karate Monkey
    3. Trek X Caliber

    the question is, are there any other suggestions/bikes that I am missing before I fire the gun? I plan to mostly ride in the Great Lakes area as well as Canada. I wouldn't say no to other areas but I live central to this area and love the terrain/wilderness/climate here.Also plan on doing winter riding as much as possible. i know that I want a hardtail, rigid fork (unless someone can talk me into a suspension fork). I think a straight out fatbike is not what I want or need.

    Any help for a noob in any way appreciated!!!
    Iv'e Got sXe!!!!
    NAATD!!!!

    My Mongoose grew up to be a Surly ECR...

  2. #2
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    A Jones Plus might be worth a look, there is a thread on here which talks about them.

    Jones Plus

  3. #3
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    That's a pretty disparate range of bike you've listed up:

    - the ECR is a pretty dedicated 29+ bikepacking rig, the Krampus is probably more suited to everyday riding with a little bikepacking on this side

    - the KM is a pretty old school steel hardtail (I happen to like the old school geo)

    - the Trek seems like a pretty generic XC aluminum hardtail


    29+ might work well for you, but frames for it that are actually available are few and far between. Surly, Jones, and.... maybe Chumba? RSD and Singular have had bikes "in the works" for months now, but don't hold your breath.

    I'd suggest reading up on the Krampus.
    WTB: fatbike wheelset: 170 rear, 135 front w/ rear hub spaced disc (Mukluk style)
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  4. #4
    noob bikepacker
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    thanks for the reply (and not laughing at the noob)

    Yeah, I think right now I am kind of schizophrenic since it has been a while and I am not "up" on gear like I was in the 90's. I am trying to combine my love of camping and biking...years a go while hiking part of the AT, i was thinking the whole time "this would be MUCH COOLER if I were riding..."

    I have been looking at all of the Surly stuff, and have been considering the Krampus as well, but was getting the impression that it was more for trail specifically than bikepacking...

    and I am with you...I like the old school geo as well, which is why I was liking the KM.

    I do think that I will gravitate towards the steel or aluminum frames. I like the feel of the steel under me...aluminum seems really light, or like it is not there. I am going to ride a couple of the Surly's this weekend if I can get to the store that carries them here in town. They have a Krampus, and a KM, but not an ECR. I was also looking at the Ogre as well, since they do have that in the store....
    Iv'e Got sXe!!!!
    NAATD!!!!

    My Mongoose grew up to be a Surly ECR...

  5. #5
    bikerpilot
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    If you're interested in a 29+ for bikepacking, you gotta look at the Chumba Ursa. Handmade in the US steel frame. Sliding dropouts for SS (broken derailleur backcountry emergency or otherwise). 3 bottle cage mounts (one anything cage mount in the main triangle). The bike also rips on singletrack, I've had a chance to ride one for a bit in trail mode.

    URSA BC ? CHUMBA USA
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    Redline Monocog 29
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    Rocky Mtn Flow DJ

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by seat_boy View Post
    That's a pretty disparate range of bike you've listed up:

    - the ECR is a pretty dedicated 29+ bikepacking rig, the Krampus is probably more suited to everyday riding with a little bikepacking on this side

    - the KM is a pretty old school steel hardtail (I happen to like the old school geo)

    - the Trek seems like a pretty generic XC aluminum hardtail


    29+ might work well for you, but frames for it that are actually available are few and far between. Surly, Jones, and.... maybe Chumba? RSD and Singular have had bikes "in the works" for months now, but don't hold your breath.

    I'd suggest reading up on the Krampus.
    the new chumbas are definitley 29+ bikes, my old hx2 has 2 bontrager chupacabras on the way, hoping theyll fit but it looks like they wil! Also on a sidenote to the author I would highly highly highly highly! recommend waiting till the new Trek Staches are released, dedicated 29+ bikes with extremely nimble geometry, available in rigid for front squish

  7. #7
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    If looking to get into bikepacking and you like the KM geo, then I think the Ogre is the best choice. Same geo as the KM, has all the rack/bottle mounts, can accept a front sus fork if you decide to do more trail riding. I believe you can fit a 29+ front wheel in the Ogre fork, so you're only left with a 2.4" tire out back.
    Enjoy the ride!

  8. #8
    noob bikepacker
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    Cool all! Thanks for the help. I honestly think this part is as fun as riding sometimes...the research and acquisition of knowledge makes me feel more comfortable, and it is fun to see what the different companies have to offer.

    More and more, i am gravitating towards the Surly ECR. I am going to ride an Ogre this weekend, and that is not totally out yet, but the ECR is the one that I seem to keep using as the "Standard" when I compare. Either way, I am also 90% sure I an going to do this as a build - which I have never done before - so that is also exciting. Getting to add to my knowledge of the nuts and bolts of my chariot will be a cool thing.

    A good friend of mine had built more than 100 bikes in his time, so we are gonna "hang in the garage", listen to some Fugazi, and build a bike!
    Iv'e Got sXe!!!!
    NAATD!!!!

    My Mongoose grew up to be a Surly ECR...

  9. #9
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    Might not be ideal for bike packing, but brand new and worth a look:

    Stache 5 29+ - Trek Bicycle
    2015 Trek Stache 7
    2013 Trek Marlin 29er stock (Raidon fork)
    2010 Giant TCX 2 Cross stock

  10. #10
    noob bikepacker
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    Thanks pearl-drum-man. That is a good looking bike. I will look into it. I live within walking distance of a local Trek store...

    I play Pearl drums as well btw! 1994 Masters Custom Maple! Been playing for 35 years. We also use Pearl drums solely at the school I teach at
    Iv'e Got sXe!!!!
    NAATD!!!!

    My Mongoose grew up to be a Surly ECR...

  11. #11
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    Chumba URSA is rad.

    I've gotten to ride one several times and 29+ is an awesome platform. And if you intend to do some bike packing I might worry about too short of a chainstay when it comes to maximum comfort. I thrashed the URSA a with a dropper post and it was super nimble.
    Pedal through it!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sXeXBMXer View Post
    Thanks pearl-drum-man. That is a good looking bike. I will look into it. I live within walking distance of a local Trek store...

    I play Pearl drums as well btw! 1994 Masters Custom Maple! Been playing for 35 years. We also use Pearl drums solely at the school I teach at
    Cool! I currently am playing a Masters BRX from the early 2000's, but have had the urge for something new and am interested in those new Pearl Wood Fiber drums that just came out. Reasonably priced as well.
    2015 Trek Stache 7
    2013 Trek Marlin 29er stock (Raidon fork)
    2010 Giant TCX 2 Cross stock

  13. #13
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    The Krampus is probably more popular for offroad bikepacking than the ECR. The ECR is really more of a dirt road tourer. I wouldn't feel as confident with it offroad with the low BB and the rack and panier setup that the braze ons are designed for are bulkier than I'd want to roll with through rocks and trees.

    I picked mine up for bikepacking primarily but haven't had a chance to take it out like that. I've done some bigger mile days (including one 77 mile day through town up and down some nice beaches and back, and a couple 40 something mile days on singletrack) and loved it aside from the limited hand position on the stock bars.

    Trek is great but I would stay away from the X-Cal if you plan on any long distance unsupported stuff. It's nothing against the bike, but I think things like horizontal dropouts (if something busts and you need to go singlespeed), rigid forks (less moving parts = more reliable), tire clearance (big rubber for cush/float/traction on bad trails/roads/???), and steel (smoother ride, tougher) make sense for that kind of purpose.

  14. #14
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    The Stache + is available as a frameset. But the Manitou Magnum fork is a strong choice.
    Sea Otter Classic 2015: Part One

  15. #15
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    Have to agree with those pointing the the new TREKs, they do look really nice, but that frameset is a bit hot on the price compared to a complete built Stache5, that's the route I'd go if I wanted rigid.

    As to the KM, unless you plan on doing some tube manipulation, it WILL NOT fit a 29+ tyre in the rear, barely fits a proper 2.4" on a wide rim (Dually45), Krampus would be the one you want for 29+ touring, IMHO.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  16. #16
    noob bikepacker
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    Yeah. I don't think the KM is in the hunt anymore for this application. Down the road, I might grab one purely for shorter mileage trail jaunts. I am going tomorrow to do some test riding, and if the local trek stores have any of the Staches, I will add that to the plan.

    also did look into the Chumba Ursa, but it is way out of my price range for now. Those things look pretty tuff though!
    Iv'e Got sXe!!!!
    NAATD!!!!

    My Mongoose grew up to be a Surly ECR...

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