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  1. #1
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    Karate Monkey Swamp Adventure

    A month or two ago, I posted a picture in the KM build/photo thread that I took on a swamp adventure ride (obviously aboard the KM). The photo and description along with it got more of a response than I imagined, so I wanted to document my next swamp adventure better so I could share more of it. That adventure happened yesterday.

    The Great Dismal Swamp isn't a MTBer's paradise. There is no singletrack in the refuge. It's mostly vast swamp and forest land with seldom used service roads that make there way throughout the large area. It's completely flat, straight service roads that go on for miles. Why would you want to ride here? There really is no reason other than the sense of adventure. The adventure comes from not really knowing what you will run into once you're way out there. The roads venture out far enough that very few people make there way that far out, so the "maintained" sections of roads become less and less maintained as you go further. There are also unmaintained roads that can be next to impossible to pass through.

    This is pretty close to my parents house, so since I moved to VA, the swamp is just a place where we can go out on a 20+ mile off road adventure without having to travel too far.

    Here are a few photos of yesterday's adventure. In a nutshell...the ride basically started with muddy, loose sections, then gave us a break from the mud.We took a turn down a new road which ran into an unmaintained section that nature had taken back, then more mud mixed with wet sandy soil, powerlines and a bear sighting to top it off (unfortunately not photographed!!!). There is a shot of what I believe was a bear track, which was taken before seeing the black bear. Anyways, the KM is an awesome bike to take on expedition/adventure type rides. I have many plans for future adventures aboard the monkey.
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  2. #2
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    Awesome. I lived on Willoughby Spit for a year, but only made it to GDS once, to go kayaking. Drove past it a few times on the way to OBX, Moyock, Sandbridge or the range at Pungo.

    Should've taken my bike down!

  3. #3
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    Monkey 1 Bear 0

    Great pictures! Looks like a nice place for a getaway ride.

    The most mud my Monkey has faced was 30 miles full of mud/quick mud/mud flood in Malaysia.

    So much mud that many derailleurs got stuck, chains broken, hub grinding etc.

    Well, the only ones without much mechanical failure were the single speeds

  4. #4
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    I agree! It's a hoot to just take your monkey out and see where trails/fire roads and trails lead you. It's truly a bike you can ride all day and eat up miles on! The bike is an awesome XC machine! Glad to see you enjoying your KM!
    -Eric
    Keeping the hardtail dream alive, one ride at a time.

  5. #5
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    btw, what width/type of bar are you running on your bike? I've been considering upgrading to a wider bar here next season, seeing what others are running.
    -Eric
    Keeping the hardtail dream alive, one ride at a time.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by esundell90 View Post
    btw, what width/type of bar are you running on your bike? I've been considering upgrading to a wider bar here next season, seeing what others are running.
    For aluminium, you could try a Salsa Pro Moto bar at 17 deg. It's 710mm long. I have one and it's not too harsh for an aluminium bar.

    For carbon, I can't comment much here as I haven't used a lot of carbon bars. My experience with Easton bars is that they are pretty stiff. I have also used a Ragley Carnegie Carbon bar at 25 deg but the angle didn't really suit my arms as I didn't have as much control as I would like.

    The most compliant bar I have tried is a Ti cycles 17 deg bar that is 600mm+? wide. I went down a flight of stairs on the bar with a Monkey and it felt great! A lot of dampening! The ride was less bumpy than on other bars.

    Any wide bar will also give you leverage on the climbs especially if you are a masher.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by esundell90 View Post
    btw, what width/type of bar are you running on your bike? I've been considering upgrading to a wider bar here next season, seeing what others are running.
    In the photos, I'm running a syncros flat bar with about 11 degree sweep that I cut down to about 647mm. It was originally 690mm. I cut the bar down once I moved out east since many of the trails have some tight tree clearance.

    However, I am now running an Easton EA50 mid rise bar with about 9 degree sweep and 685mm width. I am also running my Ergon GP1's again (which go great with the 9 degree bar). Mainly switched to this because I missed the extra width and the bit of rise wasn't bad. I also had the bar laying around.

    I'm also really considering going with a dirt drop for the KM to make it a bit more comfortable for long, non technical rides (not a lot of techy stuff in my area). I have everything I need for it besides a dirt drop bar.

    The KM is a pretty sweet ride. If I still lived out West, the risers would stay on and I'd probably get a suspension fork. If/when I end up out there again, I will probably still have this bike.

    Thanks for the positive comments everyone!

  8. #8
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    I was thinking about putting my spare set of wide bars on my monkey to see how I like em. I have a set of bontrager 740mm bars that I currently have on my SS. They have a slight sweep, forget the degree.

    Currently I'm running a Ritchy 620mm riser bar. Not bad, but I like wide bars on all my bikes.
    -Eric
    Keeping the hardtail dream alive, one ride at a time.

  9. #9
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    Cool pictures love the battleship grey KM

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch rides a SS View Post
    Cool pictures love the battleship grey KM
    Thanks! I remember this ride fondly. I've had my KM for a couple years now and have done so much more than I could have imagined with it. I've since relocated to the Midwest and have been running a knard front set up on this bike and love it!

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