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  1. #1
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    New Gen Karate Monkey Monstercross SS

    So I bought a new gen KM frameset recently in lemon lime soda color, size small. Iím 5í7 with a 30 inch inseam, so Iím kind of in between a small and medium. I bought the bike intending to build it up as a 27.5+ XC/trail singlespeed, but I put the idea to the side due to lack of funds but mostly because Iíve already got a 2018 Cotic Soul trail hardtail that I love.

    Well it turns out Iíll have enough funds to build it up but Iíve decided I want to build it up as a monster cross for gravel rides, not really for singletrack. Sounds silly, I know, but Iíve been wanting a gravel bike for a while now, and I have this frame sitting here waiting to be used.

    Why not buy a gravel bike you say? Well my build idea here is to use as many versatile parts as I can, that can later be used to build up an XC race/marathon bike. For instance, Iím going to use boost 29er MTB wheels with Hope hubs and Stanís Crest rims, and 2.1Ē Mezcal tires. For the crankset Iím going to use a Raceface Turbine cinch, but with a 104BCD 3x spider with a 42t Garbaruk chainring on the outside (18t cog in rear). Later on I can just remove the spider and use a direct mount ring for MTB if I want. As far as brakes I wanna use TRP Spyre.

    Later on I can just use some of these parts to build up an actual gravel bike.

    I wanna use a Salsa Cowchipper 42cm handlebar and am looking for advice on the length and angle of stem I might want to use, and amount of spacers I may need under my stem. I know these can be personal preference but wanna hear from other peoplesí experiences in building a monstercross on a modern MTB with longer reach than older frames.

    Keep in mind I am in between sizes and I did pick the smaller frame size.


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  2. #2
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    What length stem would you put on that bike if you were going to put a flat bar on it? Subtract 30 to 50mm from that length and now you have an idea of what to use.

    The ETT of a 52cm Straggler drop-bar bike is 550mm, while the ETT of a medium KM is 610mm. that is a 60mm difference in seated position.

    The reach on a 52cm Straggler is about 35mm shorter than the reach on a medium KM.

    You might not be able to make that work. A tall stack, short reach stem might work.

    Try stacking your two ideal builds on bikegeo.net and keep in mind that your hand position is quite a bit forward of your flat bar hand position, even if your take flat bar width into consideration.

  3. #3
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    The reach and effective top tube of a bike designed to fit you with a drop bar is MUCH shorter than a bike designed to fit with a flat bar. The forward bend and extension of the hooks adds quite a lot of reach to the front of the bike. Otherwise might not be wise to put a drop bar on that bike because it will be impossible to make it fit you for long rides.

    What about an "alt bar" setup like a Jones Loop? Or a narrow flat bar with old school bar ends? I rode Texas Chainring Massacre on a Soma Juice with bar ends, narrow flat bar, 29x2.1 Thunder Burt's and a 38/18 gear and it was awesome. Bar ends made me not miss using a drop bar, which I had used previously for gravel races.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    The reach and effective top tube of a bike designed to fit you with a drop bar is MUCH shorter than a bike designed to fit with a flat bar. The forward bend and extension of the hooks adds quite a lot of reach to the front of the bike. Otherwise might not be wise to put a drop bar on that bike because it will be impossible to make it fit you for long rides.

    What about an "alt bar" setup like a Jones Loop? Or a narrow flat bar with old school bar ends? I rode Texas Chainring Massacre on a Soma Juice with bar ends, narrow flat bar, 29x2.1 Thunder Burt's and a 38/18 gear and it was awesome. Bar ends made me not miss using a drop bar, which I had used previously for gravel races.
    Since you mentioned the Jones Loop bar, I looked into it and I think Iím sold on it. Iíve heard of it and seen it before but thought it was a bike packing thing, but it appeals to me more than a drop bar! Still needs a shorter stem but I think itís more doable than the drop bar.

    BTW Iím also from Texas. How did you like the 38x18 gearing for that event and where exactly did it take place? Iíve asked a couple singlespeeders that ride gravel here in the Houston area and they both said they use 42x18. There are more options for a 38t though, as far as MTB cranksets go, so I was thinking maybe 38x17.


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  5. #5
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    Every one is different when it comes to singlespeeding long gravel roads. 38/18 was doable but some of the hills were painful, even though north Texas is not all that hilly. I know some people who crush the same courses on much taller gears.

    It took a lot to spin out on 38/18 with 29x2.1 tires but I could have gone faster on the flats with a taller gear. I also managed 36/16 and 39/16 with 700x32 tires on some courses, but that was on a lighter CX bike.
    I don't really "race" gravel events, I just ride them for fun and challenge myself to ride fast.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by FeedTheWolf View Post

    Iíve asked a couple singlespeeders that ride gravel here in the Houston area and they both said they use 42x18. There are more options for a 38t though, as far as MTB cranksets go, so I was thinking maybe 38x17.


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    Go in the middle with a 40x18.

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