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  1. #1
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    Starting from scratch— Alaska bike

    Hi all,

    For the first time in my life I'm finally in a position to buy a new bike. COOL! However, the introduction of 29+ has me a little confused about where to start. Any help much appreciated.

    ME: 6'2" 190lbs

    INTENDED USE: Southcentral Alaska. Packrafting. Riding trails slowly with my dog. Singletrack. Carting climbing gear (30 lbs) back into the mountains on rocky singletrack. Possibly caribou hunting w/ the addition of a trailer. Touring the Park Road, Denali Highway, or Richardson Highway.

    BUDGET: around $1500

    WHAT I'VE TRIED IN THE PAST:
    -FS 26er and 29ers. Hated the complexity.

    -geared 29er hardtail. This was OK. Didn't like the triple crank.

    -SS rigid 29er. Loved it, raced it, but I have congenital bad knees and had to give up single speeding. Eventually the bike got stolen.

    WHAT I THINK I NEED:
    -29er, 1x9, rigid, big tires, frame bag

    WHERE I'M CONFUSED:

    a) Krampus? Everybody seems to say this thing is super heavy. Normally I go for the lightest gear I can find or make my own, so starting with one of the heavier hardtails out there seems counterproductive. Am I wrong?

    b) Do I get an El Mariachi and put a rigid fork up front with a Knard? (Purpose being to decrease weight and complexity.)

    c) Ditto aluminum hardtail?

    d) Buy a SS 29er like the Kona Unit and turn it into a 1x9 (which I'm assuming a shop would do at a discount?)

    e) I'm not considering a fat bike because I would rather xc ski on snow; and I'd be riding on smooth dirt roads from time to time.

    f) Not considering a Fargo / ECR because I wanted to err on the side of technical rather than touring. Already have a cross bike.

    ==

    So basically this all boils down to the question of whether for what I intend, it's better to go lighter overall or go for big tires at the cost of weight.

    Thanks!Starting from scratch— Alaska bike-dsc00034_2.jpg

  2. #2
    Positively negative
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    A lot of the Krampus' weight comes from the wheels and tires, some of that can be offset with different wheels (Velocity Dually) and setting up the tires tubeless. But a steel frame is always gonna be "heavy" compared to other options. I'd also recommend the Karate Monkey. It's probably one of the most versatile bikes on the market and will meet all your current and possibly future needs, and might save you a few bucks.

  3. #3
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    I've tried a bunch of bikes for exploring and hauling on dirt. The Krampus is the best one I've owned so far. Unless you are racing the Krampus is not crazy heavy for the riding you describe in your post.

    29+ is not a fatbike so if you want to ride softer sand/snow you'll need 4" or 5" tires.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  4. #4
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    My Krampus, which is far from stock, weigh 29 lbs with pedals. It would be very expensive to shed any further weight. Sometimes it bother me a little. Not while riding, but when lifting the bike, thinking about the bike and, occasionally, when returning home from a long ride very tired.

    The rims and tires, while they are the core of this uniquely useful platform, also contribute some significant+ heft that obviously cannot be messed with very much. Currently only one tire exists, and Dually rims don't help a ton. A different steel frame, like the El Mar you mention, might be a few ounces lighter, but the wheels still are the same.

  5. #5
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    Maybe out of your Price range but start with a salsa mukluk frame set. get hubs that fit and the chinese carbon 29 rims and knards. Think you could build up a cool bike with a aluminum frame and fork that down the road you could get fat 26 wheels for. I know you said you did not want a fat bike but this set up would give you the choice later. It would also be a bit lighter. Food for thought...

  6. #6
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    I'd honestly reconsider the Fargo... I've done most of the exact same trips you are mentioning on my Fargo. I have mine setup 1x10 with the rabbit hole rims and 2.4 racing Ralph tires and got rid of that stupid drop bar... It handles single track like a champ and is perfect for touring the Richardson, Denali or the park road, all of which I have done.

    I also have a Krampus, which is currently a singlespeed but is sometimes 1x9... it goes like a raped ape and you don't notice the weight really unless you're on sustained climbs, but some lighter tires and/or rims could bring the weight down... Mine set up single speed is 26lbs with pedals. The only reason in my eyes the Fargo beats the Krampus for what you want to do is the ability to have more storage on the bike, frame triangle is a little bigger on the Fargo and it has the fork mounts for cages and such... It also falls pretty easily into your price range...

  7. #7
    is buachail foighneach me
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    I would go with a fat bike and second wheelset. New bikes and frames are constantly coming out on the market, so people will be upgrading. Pay attention to craigslist and you'll probably find an aluminum frameset for a reasonable price in your size. The fat tires will come in handy for any winter riding and soft condition summer riding you do, and might make it easier hauling gear or meat into/out of the backcountry. The second, 29er wheelset will give you a good dirt road touring platform and decent summer mtb.

  8. #8
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    Every response here has been true in every way. I have a KM, El Mar, Pugs, and a Krampus. The KM will do everything you want for less $, the Mariachi is a little whippy under a load of gear. A fatty with an extra 29r wheelset would open up alot of options for trips. The crazy thing about the Krampus is I can ride it like a fat bike exploring bad trails, but when the trail turns downhill the fun really begins, even in bikepacking mode. The wheelbase and frame stiffness is key in this regard. I haven't found an answer yet as to "the one", but if push came to shove I'd keep my KM SS as a townie and occasional mtb, and the Krampus for anything off road. Lighter wheelset on the Krampus turns it into a KM, so I could get rid of them all 'cept the Krampus. Any Surly is highly adaptable as a rule, and usually part of the fun of owning one.

  9. #9
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    Starting from scratch— Alaska bike

    Thanks everybody. I really appreciate the outpouring of info. For those of you recommending the fat + 29 option, do you find that in 29er mode the bike is too upright, too much of a touring feel? One thing that drew me to the krampus was that it looked like you drop the seat and could tackle some steep rocky downhills. What's your fatbike feel like on 29" wheels for technical riding?

    Again, really appreciate the help, since I don't have access to test rice a bunch of bikes!


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by winter news View Post
    Thanks everybody. I really appreciate the outpouring of info. For those of you recommending the fat + 29 option, do you find that in 29er mode the bike is too upright, too much of a touring feel? One thing that drew me to the krampus was that it looked like you drop the seat and could tackle some steep rocky downhills. What's your fatbike feel like on 29" wheels for technical riding?

    Again, really appreciate the help, since I don't have access to test rice a bunch of bikes!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    That's really the reason I bought a Krampus frameset and stripped the El Mar for the build. My XL Pugsley with Snocat 3" KNARDS brought it a little too high for fast technical riding even with my long legs. The lower top-tube on the krampus was appreciated on my rides last summer when the trail became technical. All that being said, I wouldn't hesitated to tackle any of the same terrain on any of my four bikes built as they are. After my first ride on a 29r 10 years ago on my local terrain, I was already wishing for a wider tire. I'm an explorer, not a racer. But I do enjoy carving up singletrack at speed, picking the good line and sucking it up hard if I miss that root or rock. The Krampus delivers all that despite it's weight. Glacier Gap Lake trail off the Denali hwy. will prove that in spades. Trust me.

  11. #11
    RPG
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    Carver Knarvester? 29+, ti frame, cf fork...have you thought about that? Not sure of complete weight though.

  12. #12
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    Starting from scratch— Alaska bike

    The Knarvester / gnarvester looks nice and would address the concerns I mentioned. Don't have that kind of money-- or at least, would rather spread it out over many sports than invest it all in one bike. Thanks anyway. I may put this off for a year to see what alternatives pop up but for now it looks like the krampus rules it.


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  13. #13
    seedub
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    Re: Krampus for Alaska doings..

    I've been playing around SC/SE Alaska on mountain bikes for 23 years so far. I am now middle age and don't race anymore. It's all about going places now.
    Pictured is my stock Krampus with an Revelate frame bag, old lumbar pack hooked over the stem bolts (has not fallen off ever), el-cheapo pogies. The reason for this pic is that on Iditarod weekend I rode across town to pick up some gift Kodiak venison from a friend who worked way harder than I did to acquire it. I rode home, ~15 miles with 23 lbs of frozen blacktail in the bag and on my back - in addition to my other gear (I didn't know if friend would be home so was packed for a circumnavigation of Anchorage with the goal of spending zero money on food).
    Myself, bike and backpack together weighed 242 lbs (I weight 165). Bike weighed 54 lbs. Some trails were frozen post holes of horses and humans. The bike handled incredibly. The stout (heavy) frame held no surprises. Something I've never felt before in a bike so inexpertly packed. I've loaded up cheap "ten-speeds" in college with cases of longnecks, rigid aluminum 26'ers with same, whippy Reynold steel 29'ers with racks and packs.
    To date I've ridden on top of avalanche run-outs in spring, mud/rock/tussocks, and long days on dry trails. Other than the previously mentioned nagging annoyance on weight, the bike has done it all with no surprises. I ride more because of it's predictability. It won't negatively surprise you. It is a blast ripping up single track too.
    So, I am not and expert and haven't ridden everything... but damn can this bike handle a lot of different terrain. Oh, I also ride the Anchorage single-tracks all summer. This is my only mountain bike. I'm poor.
    Winter? I love BC skiing, only ride when commuting or the snow is terrible. Like this year.
    Starting from scratch— Alaska bike-krampusmarch2014b.jpg
    you may have come before us on no bicycle, but that does not say you know everything.

  14. #14
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    Starting from scratch— Alaska bike

    Starting from scratch— Alaska bike-imageuploadedbytapatalk1395075401.026249.jpg

    Awesome. That seals the deal. My present ride, as you can see, is light but torturous on roots and rocks, and the geometry does not lend itself to stand over or stability. Thanks for all the feedback


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  15. #15
    @adelorenzo
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    Another vote for the Krampus. I'm next door to you in the Yukon and that's what I use for bikepacking, packrafting and general adventuring.

    Also, the Krampus shreds trails. I love riding it on my local singletrack.

    I know fatbikes are getting better but to me they still handle like cows. Nowadays they are sleeker cows but still cows, IMHO. I save mine for the snow where it is best suited.

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