29er Hardtail IGH MTBs…

14 12 2011

Surly Karate Monkey...

Update: added a bunch of new frames in this post based on readers’ comments. Read the comments section for even more options. I’m too lazy to post ‘em all!

I’ve been looking at 29er hardtail mountain bike frames that would accept an IGH without using a chain tensioner. That means either an eccentric bottom bracket [EBB], sliding dropouts or horizontal dropouts. Since I’ve gone to the trouble to root out some interesting options I figured I’d share it so the other 4 guys on the planet who are interested so they can find this post with Google and perhaps find something they’d like…=-)

My Criteria:

  • must accept a Rohloff or Alfine without needing a chain tensioner
  • readily available as a frame
  • reasonable cost [under $1K- ideally under $500]
  • work with a suspension fork [I made one exception]

BTW – if you click on any image in this post you can jump to the info page for the frame shown.

Surly Ogre...

Surly Karate Monkey/Ogre

The Ogre is just a a Karate Monkey with touring attitude so I lumped them together.

  • cost ~$600CDN for frame and fork
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • you get a fork which is nice if you want the option to ride rigid
  • fairly standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 71-72, 17" CS, suspension corrected for 80mm fork]
  • horizontal dropouts on both
  • Ogre has Rohloff OEM2 plate bolt designed into left dropout
  • frame weight 5lb 15oz
  • fork weight 2lb 10oz
  • KM probably a touch lighter than above
  • KM comes with lighter disc only fork
  • Ogre comes with old KM fork with disc/v-brake option and touring brazeons

Canfield Nimble 9...

Canfield Nimble 9

  • cost ~$650US + shipping for frame only
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm-120mm fork
  • slack all mtn 29er MTB geometry [HA 68-70, 16.25" 17.15" CS]
  • short adjustable sliding chainstays
  • frame weight 5.5lb large
  • slack 70 deg seatpost to allow for ultra short CS
  • gorgeous powdercoat

Voodoo Bokor 29...

Voodoo Bokor 29

  • cost ~$350-$400US + shipping for frame only
  • aluminum
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 100mm-120mm fork
  • standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 71-72, 16.75" CS]
  • short adjustable sliding chainstays
  • frame weight 4.4lbs @ 18″

Voodoo Soukri 29er...

Voodoo Soukri

  • cost ~$525US + shipping for frame only
  • steel [Reynolds 681]
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 100mm-120mm fork
  • standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 71-72, 17.9" CS]
  • short adjustable sliding chainstays
  • frame weight 5.2lbs @ 16″

Niner SIR...

Niner SIR

  • cost ~$899 for frame only
  • steel [Reynolds 853]
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 100mm-120mm fork
  • standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 71-72, 17.3" CS]
  • special eccentric BB
  • frame weight ??

Niner One...

Niner One

  • cost ~$899 for frame only
  • aluminum
  • tapered internal headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm-100mm fork
  • standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 71-72, 17.3" CS]
  • special eccentric BB
  • frame weight ??

Kona Unit...

Kona Unit

  • cost ~$949 for complete bike [I'm pretty sure you can order just a frame/fork]
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 100mm fork
  • standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 70-72, 17.1" CS]
  • sliding dropouts
  • frame weight ??

Kona Honzo...

Kona Honzo

  • cost ~$1899 for complete bike [I'm pretty sure you can order just a frame fork ~$1K]
  • steel
  • tapered internal headset
  • suspension corrected for 120mm fork
  • all mountain 29er MTB geometry [HA 68 deg, 16.3" CS]
  • 31.6mm seatpost fits dropper
  • ISCG 05 tabs
  • sliding dropouts
  • frame weight ??

On One Scandal

On One Scandal

  • cost ~$399 for frame only
  • aluminum
  • internal tapered headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm-100mm fork
  • XC 29er MTB geometry [HA 72, 17.4" CS]
  • sliding dropouts & vertical dropouts provided
  • 31.6mm seat tube accepts a dropper post
  • tire clearance for 2.5″ 29er tires
  • available in raw, black anodized and racing green paint
  • frame weight 3.5lbs

On One Inbred...

On One Inbred

  • cost ~$350 for frame only
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm-100mm fork
  • XC 29er MTB geometry [HA 72, 17.4" CS]
  • vertical dropouts provided with horizontal dropouts available as an option
  • large tire clearance
  • frame weight ~5lbs

Photo: Shiggy

On One Lurcher

  • cost ~$800USD for frame only
  • carbon
  • tapered internal headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm-100mm fork
  • XC 29er MTB geometry [don't have geo details yet]
  • vertical dropouts and horizontal dropouts are both available
  • large tire clearance
  • frame weight TBD
  • 18″ Lurchers are arriving in US shortly

Jeff Jones diamond frame 29er stock frame & fork...

Jeff Jones Diamond Frame

  • cost ~$750 for frame and fork
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • no designed for a suspension fork – although you can run a 3.7″-4.7″ Surly Fat Larry tire for faux suspension if you like…=-)
  • fork takes a 135mm front disc hub
  • proprietary Jeff Jones geometry
  • vertical dropouts provided with eccentric BB
  • large tire clearance all around
  • frame weight ~5.7lbs
  • fork weight ~2.9lbs

Soma Juice 29er...

Soma Juice

  • cost ~$450USD for frame only
  • steel [Tange Prestige main triangle]
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm fork
  • standard 29er XC geometry [71-72 deg HA, 17.6" CS]
  • horizontal dropouts
  • v-brake and disc brake tabs
  • 2.4″ tire clearance
  • frame weight 5.05lbs 16″ frame

Salsa El Mariachi...

Salsa El Mariachi

  • cost ~$600-$500USD for frame only
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm fork
  • standard 29er XC geometry [71 deg HA, 17.5"-18.2" CS]
  • swinging adjustable dropouts
  • disc brake tabs
  • 2.4″ tire clearance
  • frame weight 5.31lbs medium frame

Singular Swift...

Singular Swift

  • cost ~$680USD for frame only incl shipping from UK
  • steel [frame treated with rustproofing from Singular]
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm fork
  • standard 29er XC geometry [71.5-72 deg HA, 17.7" CS]
  • vertical dropouts & EBB to adjust chain tension
  • disc brake tabs
  • 2.4″ tire clearance
  • frame weight 5lbs+ [don't have specific weight]

Vassago Jabber Wocky...

Vassago Jaber Wocky

  • cost ~$499USD for frame only
  • steel [frame treated with rustproofing from factory]
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm fork
  • standard 29er XC geometry [71 deg HA, 17.8" CS]
  • horizontal dropouts with adjusters to dial in chain tension
  • disc brake tabs
  • 2.3″ tire clearance
  • frame weight 4.9lbs 18″ frame

Redline Monocog 29er...

Redline Monocog

  • cost ~$949USD for complete bike
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm fork
  • standard 29er XC geometry [71 deg HA, 17.5" CS]
  • sliding vertical dropouts to adjust chain tension
  • disc brake tabs
  • 2.3″ tire clearance [not confirmed]
  • frame weight 5lbs+ [not confirmed]

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35 responses

14 12 2011
Thomas

I have a Salsa El Mariachi…it’s 80mm suspension corrected, (though I am riding the bomb pop blue rigid kung fu fork)…I am running it as a SS, and it is fantastic. The dropouts are alternators and have been bombproof…never lost any chain tension and super easy to line up the brakes…

14 12 2011
thelazyrando

@Thomas – good catch. I add it to the list.

14 12 2011
mike

el mar
voodoo (friend has one running an alfine 8)
vassago?
soma juice (i had one and ran it single speed. miss that bike!)
jones is sweet. friend has one running ss

14 12 2011
Steve Park

I vote Jeff Jones.
Don’t forget the Singular Swift.

14 12 2011
Gregor Rome
14 12 2011
thelazyrando

@Mike

– the Vassago doesn’t seem to be a current Voodoo 29er model.
– I’m adding the El Mar and the Juice to my post

Thanks for the info!

14 12 2011
thelazyrando

@ Steve – I’ll add the Swift as well. Thanks.

14 12 2011
Adam_S

This is a great post!

After reading posts like this, and riding bikes, 29er and otherwise, w various dropouts, I fail to see why anyone would ever want to give up the sheer versatility that is the horizontal drop. It just makes no sense to me at all. My daily rider is a Surly crosscheck w an IGH (older nexus inter8). The IGH is simply the greatest commuter item ever. No mess, no hassle, throw it in a pile of bikes locked to the lone loop in the middle of downtown, and never worry about felching your gears.

So yeah, great post!

14 12 2011
thelazyrando

@Adam – I’m cool with horizontal dropouts, but if was designing a bike I’d use sliding vertical dropouts. Best of both worlds IMO at a small cost and weight penalty.

14 12 2011
theporcelainrocket

Nice job Vik!
You may add a few others:
– Niner One9
– Vassago Jabberwocky
– Salsa Selma Ti
– Ventana El Commandante

It is also worth mentioning that any frame that comes with a PF30 or BB30 will work with an EBB-type adapter in the bottom bracket for chain tensioning. This opens up a fair few more options! :-)

14 12 2011
theporcelainrocket

Not to mention Lynskey has three 29er models with sliding dropouts on a non-custom basis.

I’m sure I’ll think of some more as the day progresses… ;-)

14 12 2011
alang

i am not the biggest fan of track forks and disc brakes. once you get the brake caliper alignment just right and then go and take the wheel out, it isn’t just right any more. i would look more towards a mariachi frame for this reason, rather than the karate monkey frame.

14 12 2011
Val Garou

Does the Van Dessel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot count?

And this seems as good a place as any to ask: how do you think the Ogre would do with a drop-bar setup?

14 12 2011
theporcelainrocket

And the Jones Spaceframe has an EBB…

Jack, I know there are several folks out there running both drop-bar KM’s and drop-bar Trolls, so I can’t see why it would be AMAZING!

Wait, Vik, this is your blog…

14 12 2011
Richard

Id second the Singular, had one for a while and it was a sublime ride. Only got rid as id stupidly sized up to an XL when i have always ridden an L. Guess i got sucked in by forum hype that being tall i needed a big bike. If i ever get the chance to get another 29er hardtail, it will be a swift (or a KM, cant go wrong with a Surly)

14 12 2011
thelazyrando

@Scott – frames need to be sub-$1K if not we could just open up all the custom builder options and you can have anything you like at that point.

@Val – Ogre has a long TT designed for flat bars. If you can make peace with that and the extra reach of a drop bar there is no issue. The Van Diesel WTF doesn’t seem to be suspension corrected so I’m going to leave it out of the list.

@Alan – I agree horizontal dropouts have that extra second or two of adjustment when removing/reinstalling the rear wheel, but I do that so infrequently on my Pugsley that I don’t consider it a major factor for or against a bike.

14 12 2011
cyclehaul

Four people interested? Hah! I think there are a lots of people interested. I’ve been comparing all these models recently too. I’m riding a 2010 Kona Unit with a 73deg HA. It’s pretty steep and puts my hands a bit far over the top of the wheels. I’m currently wondering if I change for a shorter stem and offset seat post to put me further back or just get a new frame. I like the Canfield with the short CS and relaxed head tube.
Kona also has the new Honzo which might be good. I made a comparison to the Unit here: http://cyclehaul.tumblr.com/post/10770404845/kona-just-came-out-with-another-new-29er-for-2012

14 12 2011
thelazyrando

@Cycle Haul – your seat to BB relationship should be set based on your leg ergonomics not to buy you extra TT length. On a bike you own some compromise to make it work is understandable, but the best solution is a frame that is sized correctly for you and has the geometry you want.

BTW – do you know how much the Honzo frame is worth if you order one a la carte?

14 12 2011
cyclehaul

TT length is good, but would rather be set further back. But that’s just quibbling. I’ve been having a blast on that bike. I would imagine the Honzo frame is more expensive since the complete bike is more expensive, but I don’t know.

Cheers

14 12 2011
John

I have an Alfine 8 on a Karate Monkey. I LOVE it. Mine has an Albatross Bar, Cetma 5 rail, 2.35″ Big Apples, VO chainguard and full fenders. So yeah, townie, not dirt. However I do love the Monkey’s Track Ends and the Alfine. I have the older dropouts, where the caliper has to be lossened a lot to pull the wheel and change the tire. New ones are designed a bit better. As you said, not a big deal really. Unless you are late for work.

If I was to do it now, I would go Ogre for the OEM2 plate and the Bill/Ted trailer mounts… However, as a dirt only bike. I think I would lean Jones. Or El Mariachi.

I am thinking that next spring I will toss some knobbies on the KM and ride it. I will put the Cetma on the Big Dummy, take off the guards and fenders and ride it. Maybe a different bar, On-One Mary bar maybe.

Just race Scott for “pinkslips”

14 12 2011
Dork

Soul Cycles Dillinger
Jamis Dragon 29 One
Spot Rocker SS
Specialized Stumpjumper 29 SS
Gary Fisher Superfly
Misfit Dissent

Lots of others too. Even more choice if you would consider buying a complete bike and selling the parts, leaving yourself with frame and perhaps a choice component or two.

16 12 2011
Mike

For not much more than a lot of these frames you could get a custom Berg in steel (Columbus Zona). Why not get the bike with all the features you really want instead of a compromise? Plus, you’d be buying local.

16 12 2011
thelazyrando

@Mike – Berg steel frames start at $1700 so with a couple extras you are well over $2000 compared to $350 – $500 for many production 29er HTs. Then there is the 6-8 month wait time. I’ve got no issue going custom in theory, but there is a significant cost and time penalty for doing so. You also may not get a better frame from a riding point of view than a production frame – although it will certainly be prettier.

18 12 2011
Scott Gamble

Nice post. Scrolling through I’m like “I wonder if he… oh there it is”. Very comprehensive.

Several things.

I hate horizontal dropouts. My back wheel is always walking around in the drops. I have literally ripped skewers apart trying to tighten them enough. I finally dished out some serious cash for the DT Swiss ratchet skewers and hope they have enough torque. If they don’t then I’m gutting it of QR skewers entirely and going solid axle. I disagree with Sheldon Browns statement that QR skewers apply more force than solid axle bolts. It’s simply not true.

I’m not an EBB man either. I’ll also never understand bike nerds who go on and on about 1 degree differences between seat tube angles and then without pause throw an EBB in like it ain’t no thang – effectively throwing out their STA measurement entirely.

You know my vote for rigid touring/GP 29er (re: Bad Monkey) – though if I had to do it over I’d probably have done a Jeff Jones. I just didn’t know about them at the time.

For suspension/sport 29er, I’ve long drooled over a Jabberwocky, though I don’t know if I’m sold on the Wet Cat geometry (long chainstays) that they espouse. Salsa’s El Mar I’m lead to believe is a very nice ride, as is the On-One Inbred, the latter I’d be inclined to try first because I like their dropouts better.

Thanks for the post

18 12 2011
thelazyrando

@Scott – could you use Tugnuts to solve your QR wandering issues without needing more force?

http://surlybikes.com/parts/tuggnut

Another option is bolt on skewers that you can tighten with an allen key.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_174839_-1_202995_10000_202459

I’ve never had an issue with horizontal dropouts, but I’ve always used bolt on hubs with them. I can see the attraction in that they are cheap, light and simple.

If I was building a frame from scratch I’d spec sliding or swinging dropouts, but frankly I can make any of the chain adjustment options work for me.

19 12 2011
Scott Gamble

Yeah, looked at those. Tugnuts are good for single speeds, preventing forward walking. Not so great for walking backwards. I always put gears on my bikes.

The allen key ones are one of the ones I ripped apart.

I’m convinced it’s something I’m doing – nobody else seems to have the problem I do with it – and this is the 3rd KM I’ve had, and I also have the problem on my Trek 400 with semi-horizontal drops. I don’t know WHAT I could be doing differently, but it’s something. A different conversation.

19 12 2011
Scott Gamble

Uh, that reply has terrible grammar I realize now. Apologies.

29 02 2012
gijsss

Hi Vik,
Why eventually the Scandal over let’s say a Surly Karate Monkey?
There’s no difference in dropout type, both have horizontal and fixed (non sliding). Yes the caliper is in the rear triangle, that’s a plus for the On One.
Cheers!

29 02 2012
thelazyrando

@Gljsss – I was looking at a Surly Ogre…in fact had one on order an then changed my mind.

What I like about the Scandal 29er:

– it’s light [3.5lbs vs nearly 6lbs]
– it’s affordable
– has lots of tire clearance
– XC geometry
– looks pretty
– comes with swapout dropouts so I can run an IGH without a tensioner or vertical dropouts for a derailleur setup
– 31.8mm dropper steapost compatible
– tapered headtube so I can mess with the headtube angle if I want to and run lots of different forks
– $399 vs. $650 for an Ogre

I’m sure I would have liked the Ogre and I would have rec’d a rigid fork for the extra $$ I spent.

BTW – the Ogre brake caliper is inside the rear triangle as well.

17 04 2012
Nick

Hi Vik-

Inspired by your build, I’m looking at piecing up a Scandal 29er running an Alfine 8. Can you comment at this point on necessity of adjusting the disc caliper position when you move the axle in the horizontal dropouts to adjust chain tension? Does the axle tend to stay put in the dropouts when you tighten the nuts down, or does it drift inwards? Do you have to tighten it so much that it’d be hard to take the nuts off with a stubby wrench on the trail?

I run an Alfine on my commuter, and love it, but on that frame the disc brakes are mounted on sliding dropouts, which seems to be the optimum design. It seems like the frames here with sliding dropouts are disqualified from my search for different reasons (price, unneeded or fewer braze-ons, etc.). The Scandal seems solid from a lot of perspectives, I just wonder about the track drops.

17 04 2012
thelazyrando

@Nick – adjusting the rear disc caliper as you slide the hub in the dropouts is not a big deal. I don’t spend more than a few seconds on it. The rear brake does very little braking so it’s not vital it be adjusted to perfection. I find with all bolted hubs in H-dropout that they need to be adjusted a couple times when new and then they stay put for a long time. I do tighen the axle bolts quit well, but I only carry a small adjustable wrench and have no issues getting them loose.

21 05 2012
zip

The Van Dessel Ramble Tamble is a great Mountain Bike. The Van Dessel website says it can be used with the Roloff hub but I run mine with regular gears. The head angle geo on the web site is not for a 100 mm fork. I measured mine and it is 70 deg. with a 100mm fox, unsagged. Uses an EBB and about $600.

17 08 2012
Paul Eaton

Luckily I snapped up a steppenwolf FS bike with Rohloff a customer failed to pick up at the local bikestore after paying 1k euro deposit, 1yr later i got it for at only 1300 euro. It actually sucked,it was too heavy and as in the cold the tensioner did not do its job and the chain kept jumping off. So I went for this Drossiger frame designed for Rohloff, for 270 euro at the time, now 299, http://www.bike24.com/1.php?content=8;navigation=1;product=14525;page=1;menu=1000,2,99,101;mid=0;pgc=0
I just want function… I am very pleased, great low maintenance winter bike for commuting daily through the forest and should do me a few years.

6 07 2013
KK

which one should i buy as a hardcore SS bike

ogre or jabberwocky. both i think are good frames. any ideas on which is better?

thanks

8 07 2013
Vik

@KK = what does hardcore mean?

If you want a mountain bike I’d go for a Surly Karate Monkey or Krampus.

The Ogre is a touring version of the Karate Monkey.

I’ve never ridden the Jabberwocky so I’d go for a Surly simply based on my experience with them being very positive.

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