Help a 29er newbie pick a frame- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Help a 29er newbie pick a frame

    Hey guys-

    I'm trying to decide on a frame to use in my first 29er singlespeed (first singlespeed, too). I've narrowed the list down quite a bit, but would love some advice.

    First, about me. I'm 5'-5 1/2" tall, with about a 30" inseam. The bike is going to be set up as a rigid singlespeed. Disc only is fine with me. I generally prefer bikes with a slightly more compact geometry. I ride mainly rocky and rooty east coast singletrack. And my current ride is a small Turner 5-Spot.

    The frames I am looking at are:

    Surly Karate Monkey - The big advantage of this frame is I was recently able to get about 5 miles of trail time on one (small), and loved the way it fit and rode. Obviously this is going to be the default answer from many of you, with good reason: its cheap, durable and easily set up as a singlespeed.

    VooDoo Dambala - I have had this frame offered to me for not much more than the Karate Monkey. Thing is, I cant find a whole lot of info on it. A few people I ride with have spoken highly of VooDoo, though, and the geometry looks promising to me. I also really like the sliding dropouts as opposed to the horizontal ones on the Karate Monkey. The downside is that I would need to pick up a rigid fork seperately, and I dont really see a lot of suspension corrected rigid forks for a 29" bike (only the karate monkey fork?!)

    Kona Unit 29 - This frame popped up on my radar recently. Looks extremely promising- lots of room for large tires, relativley cheap, lighter than the Monkey, sliding dropouts. I haven't seen any ETA on when it will be available, though. I am willing to wait, as long as I wont be waiting until 2006.

    And thats it. Any other frames I should be considering? While I am not going to say that price is no object, I will entertain all suggestions. Thanks a lot!

  2. #2

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    If you really need a frame only and you can get a dambala at a good price that would be very nice mated up with a Monkey fork. You could also get a custom fork from Walt or others at a reasonable price. As you're new to SS as well as the big wheels you will probably also need a number of other parts in addition to just a frame. It's then pretty hard to go past the Rig for that option. The Rig also has a nice short headtube which would be great for someone your size on the big wheels. However if you really want rigid (although the Reba is a great fork) you'd be in the same boat as regards picking up a Monkey or custom fork.

    Sam

  3. #3
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    Well there's Niner bikes, click their banner ad at the top of the page.
    Spot do nice 29ers, had one of their 26 inchers and it handled well in the tight and twisty stuff.
    You could be the first person in the States with a Solitude
    Do you have a specific budget?
    Enjoy the ride.

  4. #4
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    Kona has a bit of a rep to use "different" geometries, we'll have to wait and see what they've cooked. I'm not all too sure the Unit 2-9 will be all that light, the dropouts look humongous to me.
    There's some hints of new suspension corrected forks floating around, none with too many specifics. Someone ought to offer a stock fork with the new Tange blades. Perhaps that IRD one is using them? It does cost $30 more than the 26" fork I think...

  5. #5
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    One more option... buy a Rig. There seem to be some small 2005's around. Absolute Bikes has one. Sell the Reba on e-bay and go for a custom fork. Use the rest of the money to upgrade the Rig. For 1,000.00 The Rig is an incredible deal. Just the fork alone sells for 500.00.

  6. #6
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    what do you mean by "different" clox?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Kona has a bit of a rep to use "different" geometries, we'll have to wait and see what they've cooked. I'm not all too sure the Unit 2-9 will be all that light, the dropouts look humongous to me.
    There's some hints of new suspension corrected forks floating around, none with too many specifics. Someone ought to offer a stock fork with the new Tange blades. Perhaps that IRD one is using them? It does cost $30 more than the 26" fork I think...
    From what I can tell and feel from looking and riding a few Kona's ride really good and look nice too. The Unit seems to have normal geometries,a nd the pics of the 2-9 I've seen look fairly normal. However, you are much more experienced than I in this area, I'm not trying to say you're wrong, just wondering. thanks.
    As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs. - Henry David Thoreau

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the responses, guys!

    Kolo, rocky rode, regarding the rig: I actually bought a karate monkey singlespeed from someone locally that has an XL frame and dismantled it. I am going to sell the frame and keep the components, so at this point all I really need is the frame and a few minor parts (cranks, pedals, seat). I did look at the rig, but I am not a fan of the geometry of the Gary Fisher bikes (personal preference, though I admit that I haven't looked at the geometry of the Rig specifically). And I really have my heart set on a steel frame. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

    The Spot looks really nice, though pricey. I will look into it some more. One thing I should mention is I am anxious to get the bike built soon, so thats forcing me to skip a lot of the custom frame builders, since they all seem to have extensive backlogs.

    I am certainly keeping an eye on the Kona. Geometry is going to play a huge part in my decision- Surly really nailed the geometry on the Karate Monkey in my opinion, and I am comparing all other bikes to it. In the absence of any specific geometry info on the Kona, I can only speculate. It looks extremely promising, I admit, I just don't want to wait until 2006 to build my bike.

    I would say that I dont really have a budget, but realistically, more than a grand on a frame and fork would be a bit much.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabberwocky
    Thanks for the responses, guys!

    Kolo, rocky rode, regarding the rig: I actually bought a karate monkey singlespeed from someone locally that has an XL frame and dismantled it. I am going to sell the frame and keep the components, so at this point all I really need is the frame and a few minor parts (cranks, pedals, seat). I did look at the rig, but I am not a fan of the geometry of the Gary Fisher bikes (personal preference, though I admit that I haven't looked at the geometry of the Rig specifically). And I really have my heart set on a steel frame. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

    The Spot looks really nice, though pricey. I will look into it some more. One thing I should mention is I am anxious to get the bike built soon, so thats forcing me to skip a lot of the custom frame builders, since they all seem to have extensive backlogs.

    I am certainly keeping an eye on the Kona. Geometry is going to play a huge part in my decision- Surly really nailed the geometry on the Karate Monkey in my opinion, and I am comparing all other bikes to it. In the absence of any specific geometry info on the Kona, I can only speculate. It looks extremely promising, I admit, I just don't want to wait until 2006 to build my bike.

    I would say that I dont really have a budget, but realistically, more than a grand on a frame and fork would be a bit much.
    It's simple then. Buy a Karate Monkey and go ride. If you find that the weight is a problem order custom steel ride and when that turns up sell the KM.
    Enjoy the ride.

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