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  1. #1
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    Karate Monkey or Raleigh XXIX+G?

    I'm looking to either build up a nice little Karate Monkey, geared with rigid fork for all-around riding on gravel and trails, mostly buffed single-track but some really rough stuff as well. The thing is, I'm able to get a 2012 Raleigh XXIX+G for a good price. The suspension fork would be nice on the rough stuff but then the rigid would be better for everything else. The geometry on the websites are very similar but the small XXIX+G hits my sweet spot numbers a little closer than the 16" monkey. The 18" monkey looks closer to what I've ridden before and liked, but the standover is minimal.

    I see myself using the bike for some xc races and gravel grinders. Which one should I go with? They would cost the same. No way to test ride either one, however, I have ridden some aluminum Raleigh 29er's so I know pretty much how the XXIX+G would feel and the front end I'm concerned is a little slow steering with a 100mm suspension fork on it. The overall idea of the Monkey's versatility has me leaning that way, but the package build on the XXIX+G is basically exactly what I want in terms of build, minus the rigid fork option because I'd have to get a new wheelset that doesn't have a 15mm thru-axel, which is beyond my budget. I'm not interested in other brands, as I want to work with my LBS.

  2. #2
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    Just so I understand. You've come to a Surly sub forum which is probably full of Surly fans and you ask whether you should get a Surly or a Ra...., I can't even say it.

  3. #3
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    Many of you may have ridden both... there really isn't a better place to ask this question, so please tell me why I should get a Surly over the XXIX+G. They seem similar and it seems to me you get a pretty good value with the Raleigh. Frame is likely very similar, 4130 chromolly.

    What are experiences riding the Monkey in the applications I have laid out. Is the stock Monkey fork reasonably comfortable on rough trail?

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    Reasons to go with Surly:

    You like short chainstays and snappier handling.
    You want the option to go single speed or IGH.
    You prefer to patronize the 29er innovators over 29er copycats.
    You support socially responsible do-good companies like QBP.
    You like frames made by Maxway in Taiwan over frames made by who-knows?-lowest bidder factory in China.
    You want knowing nods of approval from the hipster cognoscenti.

    Reasons to go with the Raleigh:

    One of the great brands in bicycling.
    Classier headbadge.
    Cheaper to get a rigid fork later if you still want one rather than start with a rigid and buy suspension aftermarket.
    You prefer stability over flicablility.
    You'll never single speed or don't mind using a tensioner if you do.
    You don't give a hang about go-gooder companies, riding a hipster-approved brand, or whether stuff is made in China.

  5. #5
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    Kind of what I was thinking, way to get an un-biased opinion That being said, and despite how much I love my Monkey, rigid, I'd have to say that if you can get the XXIX+G for about what you plan for the Monkey and not have to worry about the whole build up process etc, and get a sus fork in the deal, I'd have to lean towards that. FYI, the XXIX+G comes with the Fox RL =Rebound & Lockout, so you can just lock the fork out when you want rigid and still have the sus if you need it.

    I highly doubt you'll have to worry about either of these bikes steering slow, I run a bigger front tyre on my KM to help slow the damn steering down a tad, loved it even more when I tried a 120mm Minute on it with 48mm offset.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    Just so I understand. You've come to a Surly sub forum which is probably full of Surly fans and you ask whether you should get a Surly or a Ra...., I can't even say it.
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    I don't care about the hipster approval, although I do like the Surly brand as a whole. I currently own a Pacer and like it a lot, though it'll be replaced by what whatever bike I choose.

  7. #7
    mwv
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    Just so I understand. You've come to a Surly sub forum which is probably full of Surly fans and you ask whether you should get a Surly or a Ra...., I can't even say it.
    I don't have a Surly because of the name or any kind of brand identification. I personally have one because they make the particular thing I like. I certainly wouldn't tell everyone to buy a Surly just because.

  8. #8
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    I own four Surlys because they are awesome at their intended purpose, which is also why they have such a devoted following, it has nothing to do with trends etc. If someone was to ask me whether they should but a Troll, Karate Monkey, Long Haul Trucker or Steamroller my answer would be a resounding yes everytime if it was a bike they were considering.

    What I wouldn't do is go to a Raleigh forum and ask whether I should buy a Surly. Nor would I go to the 29er sub forum and ask the people that frequent that forum if I should get a 26er.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    What I wouldn't do is go to a Raleigh forum and ask whether I should buy a Surly. Nor would I go to the 29er sub forum and ask the people that frequent that forum if I should get a 26er.
    I want to start by saying that this response should not be mistaken as a harsh or abrasive remark. I looked around at all the forums and there wasn't really any good place to ask this question. So, if you could contribute to the differences between them that would be great. I get the whole forum thing, its not my first time reading/posting on mtbr (I spend way too many hours on this site since I can't get out to ride as much as I'd like). I wish I could own four Surly bikes... but alas, its one at a time for me right now.

    How does the monkey handle with a suspension fork? How about riding on gravel grinders? any thoughts regarding these matters?

    From what I gather, the XXIX+G has a bit of slack in the head angle with the suspension fork, although the angle is the same as the monkey, and since it is a 15 mm thru axel, its harder to find a good fork to swap in and out easily without also buying a wheel, brake rotor, tire, etc.

  10. #10
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd View Post
    Reasons to go with the Raleigh:

    One of the great brands in bicycling.
    Classier headbadge.
    Cheaper to get a rigid fork later if you still want one rather than start with a rigid and buy suspension aftermarket.
    You prefer stability over flicablility.
    You'll never single speed or don't mind using a tensioner if you do.
    You don't give a hang about go-gooder companies, riding a hipster-approved brand, or whether stuff is made in China.
    The XXIX and the XXIX+G are the same frame. The difference is in the derailleur hanger. Check out Raleigh's site for photos. The XXIX has a 2 piece drive side seat stay. If you buy it as a SS stock it comes with a Gates belt drive stock. Truthfully the Raleigh kills the KM as a dedicated SS.
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  11. #11
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    It is my understanding that the xxix doesn't have any cable stops. If I were looking for a singlespeed, I'd avoid any ebb's because I hate creaks and value simplicity. IMO I don't think the Gates is all that. This will be a backcountry bike, there can't be anything on the bike that can't be repaired on the trail. If you break your Gates belt, you're screwed, if you break your chain, and you're carrying a few spare links, you can likely get going no problem. However, this is a moved point because I'm only considering the XXIX+G and the Karate Monkey.

  12. #12
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by irun22fast View Post
    It is my understanding that the xxix doesn't have any cable stops. If I were looking for a singlespeed, I'd avoid any ebb's because I hate creaks and value simplicity. IMO I don't think the Gates is all that. This will be a bike, there can't be anything on the bike that can't be repaired on the trail. If you break your Gates belt, you're screwed, if you break your chain, and you're carrying a few spare links, you can likely get going no problem. However, this is a moved point because I'm only considering the XXIX+G and the Karate Monkey.
    For the most part I agree with everything you said. The Raleigh doesn't have stops in the SS version. As for the belt, Gates belts aren't going to brake. They're making belts for motorcycles. No matter how many watts you're putting out you aren't going to break it.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd View Post
    Reasons to go with Surly:

    You like short chainstays and snappier handling.
    You want the option to go single speed or IGH.
    You prefer to patronize the 29er innovators over 29er copycats.
    You support socially responsible do-good companies like QBP.
    You like frames made by Maxway in Taiwan over frames made by who-knows?-lowest bidder factory in China.
    You want knowing nods of approval from the hipster cognoscenti.

    Reasons to go with the Raleigh:

    One of the great brands in bicycling.
    Classier headbadge.
    Cheaper to get a rigid fork later if you still want one rather than start with a rigid and buy suspension aftermarket.
    You prefer stability over flicablility.
    You'll never single speed or don't mind using a tensioner if you do.
    You don't give a hang about go-gooder companies, riding a hipster-approved brand, or whether stuff is made in China.
    Very good points! My thoughts exactly.

  14. #14
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    I've have never seen a hipster with a mountain bike, Surly or other. They would have no clue that it should meet with their approval.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    I've have never seen a hipster with a mountain bike, Surly or other. They would have no clue that it should meet with their approval.
    Really? The bike co-ops around here are full of both hipsters AND mountain bikes.

  16. #16
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    How does the monkey handle with a suspension fork?
    --I'm eager to hear responses to that question. I've been riding a rigid Karate Monkey SS for 9 months, and I'm thinking about putting a suspension fork on it.

  17. #17
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    I put a 120mm Minute on my Monkey and loved it - loved the raised BB, loved how it slacked the angles out, loved how it handled - but was a bit skeptical running the 120mm fork when the frame was designed around a 80mm SAGged. Thinking sometime in the future to maybe try lowering it to 100mm and giving that a go again.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS29er View Post
    --I'm eager to hear responses to that question. I've been riding a rigid Karate Monkey SS for 9 months, and I'm thinking about putting a suspension fork on it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Karate Monkey or Raleigh XXIX+G?-p1050653.jpg  

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  18. #18
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    I have owned both & agree with about everything already stated. Both are great bikes for the money. The Fox fork is a plus whether you keep it or flip it. If you go rigid fork, don't go with the Raleigh fork imo. My first 29er was an XXIX SS convert to 1 x 9. Nokian studded tires & my first ride was on an icey road... hard to beat the feeling I had that day, so I am a little biased to Raleigh. How good of a deal are we talking on the XXIXG, price? That's a big part of the equation to boot. Ride quality is very similiar on both XC & gravel. Can't gp wrong with either & very cool about sticking with your LBS!!!

  19. #19
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    I put a 120mm Minute on my Monkey and loved it - loved the raised BB, loved how it slacked the angles out, loved how it handled - but was a bit skeptical running the 120mm fork when the frame was designed around a 80mm SAGged. Thinking sometime in the future to maybe try lowering it to 100mm and giving that a go again.
    I really like the looks of the older KM compared to the new sloping TT model. That is a nice bike.
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  20. #20
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    Not sure if you owned one of the older models, but I for sure, even @ 6'2" with a 35.25" inseam on the XL, would trade this old one for one of the new ones with sloping TT to get some decent stand over clearance for when trail riding.
    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    I really like the looks of the older KM compared to the new sloping TT model. That is a nice bike.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clobber View Post
    I have owned both & agree with about everything already stated. Both are great bikes for the money. The Fox fork is a plus whether you keep it or flip it. If you go rigid fork, don't go with the Raleigh fork imo. My first 29er was an XXIX SS convert to 1 x 9. Nokian studded tires & my first ride was on an icey road... hard to beat the feeling I had that day, so I am a little biased to Raleigh. How good of a deal are we talking on the XXIXG, price? That's a big part of the equation to boot. Ride quality is very similiar on both XC & gravel. Can't gp wrong with either & very cool about sticking with your LBS!!!
    Exactly the kind of information I was hoping to find. I would build both up similarly but the xxix+g would be a bit more pricey for me. I love both bikes.

  22. #22
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    I just saw an XXIX+G frame in person and have decided that the Monkey is definitely the better bike for me. The versatility of the KM versus most other steel frame 29ers at comparable prices is unmatched. The new Ogre is nice too btw.

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