Karate Monkey vs. Vassago Jabberwocky- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Karate Monkey vs. Vassago Jabberwocky

    Thinking about a SS 29er, and the KM seems to have a huge fan base. Price is about right for my budget too.

    Rode an 18" today, and it actually felt a wee bit small (I'm 5'9"). Nothing a stem adjust couldn't fit or maybe straight bar instead of sweeper.

    Found a used Vassago Jabberwocky and rode that today (18"), and it felt a bit big. Weird.

    Advice? Trying to keep the budget around $1k, so either a higher-end bike used, or the KM new fall in this category.

    Schmed
    2001 Turner O2 XC
    2012 IndyFab Planet Cross CX
    2013 Kona Raijin SS
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  2. #2
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    It's completely normal that every company's geometry and sizing is different even for frames in the same "size". Quickly comparing effective top tube lengths on those two frames the Jabber is 0.6" longer than the Karate Monkey. There is more to fit and feel than just that measurement, but ETT is probably the most important measurement for fit.

    As for comparing those two frames they're really quite similar in materials, quality, etc. Other than the Surly being more adaptable to different setups (v-brakes, racks, fenders, etc) the biggest difference is just in geometry. The Karate Monkey has fairly short chain stays and a slightly steeper head angle, and combined with the shorter top tube it has a short wheelbase. The Jabber has fairly long chain stays and is slightly slacker, and combined with the longer top tube will have a long wheelbase. Karate Monkey will be more nimble and playful, Jabber will be more stable

  3. #3
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    I'd go KM. Jabber feels and is loooong. Too long for my taste. Sucked climbing. If you can, take a look at the new El Mariachi. New frame is $599, but there are plenty of deals around.

  4. #4
    US Army Vet-Airborne 11B
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    I'm biased (owning 2 Vassagos),but I thought my Jabber (first one I bought) felt a bit long on the first ride as well (and I have spinal injuries requiring a more upright position riding),but after a couple rides it just felt...so right I bought a Bandersnatch too,LOL!
    '11 Origin 8 700CX
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  5. #5
    Two Headed Boy
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    Tried a Monkey and really liked it! Some call it twitchy, but I found it very stable, yet with quick predictable steering.

    Never tried a Jab, but man they look cool, but so do the Surlys.........decisions decisions!
    tSETFREEBYLOVEt

  6. #6
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    Only option, buy both, then send me the monkey after deciding you don't like it.

  7. #7
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    I'd go KM. Jabber feels and is loooong. Too long for my taste. Sucked climbing. If you can, take a look at the new El Mariachi. New frame is $599, but there are plenty of deals around.
    Or for $9 less you could get a Singular Swift or Gryphon which come with a fork.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trower
    Tried a Monkey and really liked it! Some call it twitchy, but I found it very stable, yet with quick predictable steering.
    I had rode a KM for a couple of years and never noticed any twitchy-ness to it until after I rode the Swift for over a year. I had to pull the KM off the bench when the rear brake on the Swift needed to be fixed the day before a race. Handling definitely was more on the edge, which could be a good thing. I'm sure after a couple of rides it would become normal again.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2
    Or for $9 less you could get a Singular Swift or Gryphon which come with a fork...
    Ok, but then you don't get the uber cool swinger drops.

  9. #9
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    You can't go wrong with either bike. I have a KM and really love the way it handles. Often considered getting another one for running geared. I've not ridden the Jabber but several friends have them and love them. I like new bikes and warranties so I would probably go with the KM.

    I would ride both again and buy whichever feels the most natural.

  10. #10
    openwound
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    +1 on the singular swift. Very nice riding bike.
    -- let's ride

  11. #11
    Bro Mountainbiker
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    jabberwocky rules. Its a battle axe on the trails.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  12. #12
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    Ok, but then you don't get the uber cool swinger drops.
    That is a nice feature.

  13. #13
    ilmfat
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    looks like the 16" jabber has the same top tube as the 18" km. itd also give you loads of stand over. plus u can actually find the 16" jabber frames.

    those salsa swingers do look dope tho.

    if you wanna know my vote, check my sig. lol.
    crap! i gotta learn to climb. - 2011

    Climbing ain't so bad. - 2019

  14. #14
    aka "SirLurkAlot"
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    I'm not picking sides here. There are a lot of folks that love their Monkeys and Jabbers.

    But, these are two very different bikes when it comes to handling.

  15. #15
    ilmfat
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    tru dat!
    crap! i gotta learn to climb. - 2011

    Climbing ain't so bad. - 2019

  16. #16
    VENI VEDI BIKI
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    I happen to like the longer wheelbase on my Jabber.....makes the ride very stable, and makes it a lot easier to "center" myself when climbing. Other than a few paint chips, I have no complaints with my jabber and would recommend it to anyone.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by skankingbiker
    I happen to like the longer wheelbase on my Jabber.....makes the ride very stable, and makes it a lot easier to "center" myself when climbing. Other than a few paint chips, I have no complaints with my jabber and would recommend it to anyone.
    What were you riding previously to compare it to ?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    Ok, but then you don't get the uber cool swinger drops.
    I did some sketches for a swinging dropout design about 6 years ago. Ultimately came to the conclusion that an EBB was a better solution than either swinging or sliding dropouts. Swingers suffer from most of the problems of sliders - multiple bolts/nuts needed to vary chain tension, need to keep wheel centred, complexity, weight. Plus, though swingers are perhaps better than sliders, for mine I just like the clean look of a normally constructed rear triangle and dropout.


    Yes - I do own Singular Cycles

  19. #19
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    I know that on the older KM you had to remove the rear brake to get the wheel out if you had to fix a flat, but I think it's something they fixed this year. Using a half link on my jabber I was able to shorten the wheelbase by 1/2 inch and that to me really made a difference in climbing and handling.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singular
    I did some sketches for a swinging dropout design about 6 years ago. Ultimately came to the conclusion that an EBB was a better solution than either swinging or sliding dropouts. Swingers suffer from most of the problems of sliders - multiple bolts/nuts needed to vary chain tension, need to keep wheel centred, complexity, weight. Plus, though swingers are perhaps better than sliders, for mine I just like the clean look of a normally constructed rear triangle and dropout.
    If you had swing drops, I may be riding one of your frames today. People have their preferences, and EBB is option D for me. I was oogling over Singulars when I bought the Jabberwocky and El Mariachi, but the EBB killed the deal for me.

  21. #21
    The need for singlespeed
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnderPar
    Using a half link on my jabber I was able to shorten the wheelbase by 1/2 inch and that to me really made a difference in climbing and handling.
    Using a half link instead of a full link reduces chain length by 1/2 inch. Wheelbase is reduced by 1/4 inch. That's some crazy climbing and handling spidey-sense you've got there.

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