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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been toying with the idea of pursuing a krampus for a while, and now I have the money to do so...but it needs to fill the niche of "east coast kickaround bike" in that I'd pretty much strap my shoes on, hop out the door, and go for quick 6-12mi rides on it. Initially I was thinking about the Spec Crave SL for the duty, but a test ride left me completely unimpressed, sadly. LBS had a krampus, but I didn't have time to test it.

Anyways, all I keep reading is how great it is, how much fun, etc...but few people point out any negatives...they all seem completely enamored with it. Have any of you purchased or test rode one, then decided you didn't like it? Surely there must be a certain type of terrain or trail that the bike just sucked at, right?
 

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Well, I bought mine used, so someone didn't love his (though he was just upgrading to a custom 29+ frame, really just using the Krampus as a test bed).

I demo'd a Krampus and was pretty impressed, but then waited and was contemplating a custom Chinese frame until the deal on the used one came around. I haven't put many miles on mine due to work and weather, but I'm happy so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
haha, well thanks. I too am debating a chiner 29er, but everybody says the krampus is such fun, and that's all I'm after, not winning races. I tried out a pugsley for a while, and it was just too heavy and slow to enjoy on regular trails. To get it where I wanted, I'd need a complete wheelset, and that was going to be expensive. The krampus comes out of the box a bit more trail oriented.
 

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There are clearly a lot of people who don't like the Krampus (as evidenced by the number of used ones that are always for sale on ebay). I love mine and am not one of those people.

That said, the thing that frustrates me with the Krampus is the pathetic performance of the Knards in mud. While it's true that one can run "regular" mud-friendly 29er tires in those conditions, running regular tires defeats the whole purpose of buying a Krampus. I compensate by riding my Pugsley in anything vaguely resembling wet or muddy conditions and save my Krampus for pristine dry conditions. I hope that if/when the Maxxis Chronicle and Dirt Wizard 29+ make it to market they are able to make the Krampus a true 4-season, all-conditions bike.
 

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I had some similar thought when I was buying/building mine up, but after riding mine I am more than happy with it.
I sold a nice light 29er rigid single speed to help fund/make room for it. Then after I build it up I realised that I had got a 32lbs bike with big fat tyres and just thought it would be slow and hard going. I also like to ride to the trails and thought it would be a bit of a pig on the road.
I have only road it twice but I can tell from those two rides that I needn't of worried about it. On the road it's a nice smooth fast rolling ride. Off road it's lots of fun the weight isn't as noticeable as I thought. You only really notice it in tight sections leading to an up hill section where you haven't got any momentum but you just need to use your gears better in those situations. It is a really confident trail bike and I have hit all the technical sections that I would do on my full sus (it's more of a wheels on the ground bike though than a jumpy playful bike).
Down hill sections are a blast and the speed you can carry without pedalling is unreal. Also grip is amazing both in corners and climbs. I don't get my kicks from climbing but this bike just make you seek out the looses way up a climb and I have been looking at my trails differently and looking at the ups as a challenge.
I can see why some people don't like them it is a very different ride experience if you are only use to a standard MTB but to me that's the best thing about this bike. I can take it to my local trails which I have ridden to death and on the Krampus it makes those old trails a new riding experience.
It is also still a rigid bike and I do like the feel and challenge of a rigid. Coming off my standard 29er rigid to a Krampus isn't like going to a full sus. For me the big volume tyres makes the rear feel a bit like a soft tail and the front is slightly better but still a rigid (personally I don't understand why people what to put a sus fork on a Krampus). I think the confidence from the bike come more from the geometry and grip from the tyres that the squish they give you.
I think the idea of a Krampus being good or bad comes down to the riders mindset, riding style and the trails it is going to be used on.
 

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I have nothing bad at all to say about my Krampus and also haven't heard much bad about the bike besides some guy bashing it very hard on MBR a couple weeks ago. If you're the racer/weight weenie type, chances are you won't like the Krampus, but you would probably never buy it anyway. Go ride the Krampus at your LBS. Play with the tire pressure, try some bunny hops and wheelies and see how it feels to you. The stock bars are WIDE. Don't feel like you're stuck with that wide of a bar, it can be cut or replaced to suit you. One complaint I've heard is the gearing is a bit high, and depending on where you ride, I agree. I dropped to a 32t chainring and many have gone to 30t and/or installed a 42t cog on the back to lower the gearing with success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh man, listening to those guys was like how they felt riding the bike...long, boring, and something I don't want to do again.

Thanks for the post, doesn't really clear things up that a couple of 140 pounders couldn't get it moving...
 

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I had a similar experience with a fatbike: I demo'd a Moonlander, and didn't find anything fun about any aspect of it. Just slow and ponderous for no reward. The Krampus was completely different from the first pedal stroke.

One reason I didn't go with Chinese ti is that I didn't want to experiment with geometry: I figure Surly has done a lot of 29+ prototypes for the Krampus, so I'll take advantage of their work.

haha, well thanks. I too am debating a chiner 29er, but everybody says the krampus is such fun, and that's all I'm after, not winning races. I tried out a pugsley for a while, and it was just too heavy and slow to enjoy on regular trails. To get it where I wanted, I'd need a complete wheelset, and that was going to be expensive. The krampus comes out of the box a bit more trail oriented.
 

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My Krampus got added to the fleet as an adventure bike for frontier bikepacking. For this niche activity nothing currently on the mainstream market is better suited, besides the ECR off course.

Now for the rest of the mountain biking I do here in Moab the Krampus is not any better than the full sus or the uber light hardtail I also have. But not any worse either. The Krampus is just so DIFFERENT that it's hard to compare. I have to ride the trails slower, for sure, or else I get too beat up, but most of the time I actually perform better cleaning technical uphills. The added traction is the ace here. It's incredible and unlike anything I can get out of the other bikes.

The ride position, rigidity and lack of dropper post does take the fun out of long gnarly downhills. For my modest skill level I just don't go there with the Krampus.

Other assets are low maintenance, low cost, long life. No need to baby this thing. Scratches, dirt, dust and general wear just make it look better. Left with just one bike this would be the the one.

There's nothing stock about mine, as that set specs did not work for me at all, but I didn't go all out either with no regard to cost. It weighs 29.5 lbs and I'm very happy with that.
 

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I ride the Northeast, think everything from smooth flow trails like the Kingdom Trails, to rocky rooty twisty singletrack. Lots of climbing, and lots of descents. This replaced a Mojo and a Scott Spark 29er, and I have no complaints.

You need to change 3 things. First, add a front fork, I'm running a Float 32 with 120mm of travel. Second, fix the gearing, I'm running 1x10 with 30t up front, 11x42 in the back. Third, get rid of the Knards for a more aggressive tire (coming soon to a shop near you this summer, hopefully).

The tire is really the only thing holding this bike back at the moment. In the spring mud I'll be riding my Fatback with Nates, no problem there.

Also, don't over analyze the geometry and top tube length, just get the size you normally ride. Keep the bars wide (at least 29") and keep the stem between 50-70mm. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how it crushes trail chatter, climbs technical stuff, and flows when you get hammering in the middles gears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the feedback everybody.

Ricky, I also ride in the northeast and at the KT. Do you find the big wheels are a detriment in a lot of the short up, short down situations that we have out here? I find that most of the trails that I ride are punctuated by very short, very brief elevation gains, rather than long, extended climbs. One of my concerns is getting those big heavy wheels up to speed.
 

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Sandwich - I live in Albany, NY, and we ride a lot of that same kind of terrain. Lots of short technical climbs, rocky rooty with some definite lines that need to be stuck. The Kingdom Trails aren't really like that, they're longer grinders, and then rewarded with a longer flowy downhill run. Not a lot of technical riding up there until you get high up on the ski mt, that's where all the great tech trails are in my opinion (Dead Moose Ally, Upper J-bar, etc.).

For typical Northeast riding, it's not a problem getting those wheels up to speed. And, the momentum you carry really makes a difference when attacking the short tech climbs. I'll give you some more feedback after this weekend, the snow is getting low enough that the Krampus is coming out Sunday. But from riding in the fall, I had no hesitation selling my Scott Spark 29er for the Krampus. Fun Factor is double that of the Scott.
 

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" But from riding in the fall, I had no hesitation selling my Scott Spark 29er for the Krampus. Fun Factor is double that of the Scott.[/QUOTE]"

Wow, so you also like/chose the Krampus over a FS 29er. This not the first time I have heard of this happening. My fatbike is the most fun I have had on a bike but I am surprised by the praise that is heaped on the Krampus. I have read of some naysayers (big mountain radio?) but for the most part the reviews seem to be incredibly positive!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Ricky. I agree about KT, our trails are usually more like DMA but up and down instead of just down. Thanks for the heads up!
 

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I could write a book about what I love, and hate, about my Krampus. That said the "hate" stuff isn't really fair, given that I knew what I was getting into with regard to wheel and tire weight. What I didn't know was that it would end up being a kick ass snow bike. This in and of itself made the purchase worth it. We've had a long old school winter here in RI. The Krampus kept me riding 3 days a week all season. We had a few rare days where we had frozen dirt, but 95% of the winter saw snow. Having ridden a Pugs (we have a demo in the shop) I prefer the Krampus on snow - packed or un-packed. On packed snow it flies and feels like a "normal" 29er. On bumpy trodden snow it works just like a fat bike.

On dirt it's, well, slower and more work. You just can't get around the rotational weight. Not that it's a bad thing, I've had some super fun rides on it in regular conditions, but that's the reality. (The 120 tpi tires are worth the upgrade!) When I ride my Krampus it brings me back to what trail riding is all about. Just go out and ride, have fun, explore and slow down and notice things you miss whizzing around on a 5" trail bike.

I just picked up a near mint 2009 Float RL that I converted to 100mm. It clears the Knards with a ton of room to spare. I also just threw some Azonic Outlaws on there as well. What can I say, I miss my old Karate Monkey(s)! The Krampus with the Azonics and the Fox feels like a Monkey just a bit longer, slacker and lower. The RH and Knard combo will go back on next winter. Two bikes in one - what more more can you ask for?
 

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For an "east coast kick around bike", which I'm not 100% sure I get, but I would think the Krampus would be a fun bike. But I also think think a Karate Monkey with a Knard tire would be just as fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Something to hop on and ride off into the woods, not worry about air pressure in the suspension or whether I have the right tires for conditions or if I have enough water for 6 hours of riding. Something I can hop on, ride to the local trails, then ride back on without thinking too much, and also perhaps enjoying it.

ie not bikepacking, not trekking, not all-mountaining, not enduro-ing, not extended adventures, just something that breaks up all the other stuff.
 

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I think that describes almost all MTB-ish rigid bikes out there. I've got a Jones that I do exactly that with. Ride, put away wet, and ride some more. I had a KM that was also set up rigid and was a great bike with very minimal maintenance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
pretty much. I test rode a Crave SL that I wanted for this job, but it just...underwhelmed. I don't know if it was the handling or what, but it was like eating dry toast....not horrible, but why bother, really?
 

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I highly suggest you give the Karate Monkey a try. It will be lighter and more nimble than the Krampus, which I find more fun.
 
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