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No Clue Crew
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As posted on another thread (here), I decided to give the 29er thing another try. Got a great deal on an Astrix Monk direct from Astrix.. Got the last bit of the initial buildup done this morning. I'm going to run out and do a quick trail ride by my house right now before I go to work.

Large Monk frame
Manitou Minute 120 TA fork
Stan's Flow rims/WTB hubs, tubeless with yellow tape and Maxxis Ardents
SLX crankset (2x9 w/ bash)
Hope M4 brakes

Still a bit of a work in progress (ignore the obnoxious shim stack under the stem) as I'm getting a few rides in before cutting the steerer. I pulled a couple parts off my Yeti to complete the build as I'm being cheap.

Had to install a 203mm front rotor to get proper caliper contact with the Hope adapter. It's obviously not a Hope rotor and I don't have the same lever feel as the brakes did on my 575. I do have a set of Magura Louise coming; I'll decide if I want them for the Monk or the 575.

The Maxxis Ardents had the tightest beads I've ever seen. Screwed up my yellow tape job mounting them last night. Had to re-tape and carefully mount the tires this morning (with lots of soap and no tire levers). The tubeless went right together after that.

Did my initial setup with about 30% sag front/rear and put about 75 pounds of air in the negative chamber of the rear Swinger. We'll see how that feels in a bit.

Here are the photos. I'll report some initial impressions in a bit.





 

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Nice bike, but I think I'm more envious of your dry conditions. We got nailed with another ice storm here in New England - not pretty. Well pretty in some ways, but not pretty in the damage it is causing (including our gutters!).
 

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conjoinicorned
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MMcG said:
Nice bike, but I think I'm more envious of your dry conditions. We got nailed with another ice storm here in New England - not pretty. Well pretty in some ways, but not pretty in the damage it is causing (including our gutters!).
ouch...several feet of snow and minus 30 temps here are really killing riding joy.

Blatant: really interested in your ride report...particularly any comments you may have about rear end flex...thanks
 

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No Clue Crew
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK. Just got back from a very short ride near my house. For anyone in the Phx., I did the clockwise loop out at Lost Dog/Ringtail, starting at 128th St. This system is not technical relative to other trails here, but it does demand attention. You can ride most of this area and never see actual dirt; the trail is rocks on top of rocks. It's very loose with some interesting switchbanks, but overall mild elevation changes.

And for those that this may help, I'm 6'2" and 185 pounds with no gear. Shortish torso, long arms/legs.

Two issues of concern not relative to the frame. The front der. is WAY off. I got cross-chained (big front/big rear) and the chain nearly snapped. Had to remove the rear wheel to shift. Ended up doing most of the ride in the small ring. And the brakes are bad. Really bad. I assume -- since this same setup minus the front rotor came off my Yeti and worked perfectly there and no lines were changed -- that I did not bed the new Avid rotor in properly.

Oh, and my air gauge was broken so I eyeballed the tire pressure. In retrospect, they're way too high.

OK, I did like the bike. Relative to my last 29er (On One Inbred with Reba QR), this is world's apart. I felt no flex at all either front or rear. In fact, the rear is possibly slightly stiffer than my '06 575.

I really like that I felt like I was riding IN rather than ON the bike. Hard to explain, but you know it when you feel it. Very comfortable. Handling with the 120mm fork felt very neutral to me. Bike tracked appropriately and didn't do anything funny.

Suspension. Understand that I tend to be a set it and forget it person. I don't tinker with stuff once I have it set up. I ran about 90psi into the fork to get roughly 30% sag. I left the rebound on full and set the top left leg to one click of absolute damping. No brake dive whatsoever, but I didn't have a lot of front brake to work with.

I used about 80% of the available travel (no significant obstacles). It felt OK, soaking up square hits well, but feeling very spiky on high-speed chatter. At this stage, not in the same league as my coil Pike on my Yeti. A lot of the trail chatter got transferred to the bars. Some of this may have to do with improper tire pressure, as well.

In the rear, I ran the Swinger 3 with about 75 pounds in the negative (platform) chamber and maybe 85-90 in the main chamber. This gave me about 30% sag. Conversely, the rear seemed to soak up chatter nicely, but was spiky on squared-edged obstacles. Overall, it did not feel as plush as my Fox RP23. Again, tire pressure may have something to do with this.

Overall: Quite fun. The bike fits me well and I already like it more than my old Inbred though the suspension isn't sorted yet.

Oddly, even as high as the shim stack is, I like the bars up there. Gives me a more upright position, which I like. I think I need a shorter stem than the Thomson 90mm that's on there now. The SLX crankset (36/22/bash) is overkill for this bike and makes gearing weird with an 11-34 cassette.

Assuming I can get the front der. dialed, I'll go for a more technical ride tomorrow at Phoenix Mountain Preserves and report back. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.
d
 

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Sounds like you made a good choice and are very happy, looks sharp too :thumbsup: Did you do any out the saddle hammering? Just curious how it pedaled when out of the saddle. Also where'd you manage to pick up a black Minute? Haven't seen very many of those around. Looking forward to your thoughts after you've had some good time on it and got the suspension dialed.

Oh and just a little FYI, that is the right leg (that the Absolute damper is in) of the fork since left and right are called from riders perspective while on the bike. Just in case you're trying to explain something to someone ;)
 

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Nice setup.

I've been running an Ardent up front since April and have found the best performance for me (210lbs, Turner Sultan, tubeless on Flows) at 28PSI.
 

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No Clue Crew
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
By the palm-squeeze method, I bet I've got nearly 40 psi in the tires. I'm thinking down in the 30ish range (where I run my 26er High Rollers tubeless) will make it much better. :)

Lynx: Yes, I did some out-of-saddle pedaling and didn't notice any untoward suspension movement. If fact, if anything, I wouldn't mind a touch more plushness. I suspect I have dialed in too much platform.

And, you're correct, one click of absolute on the right leg. I bought the fork from an MTBRer in the classifieds. It was unused, but may well be an '08.

PJ: Thanks. I've had a couple of Monsters. This one is an '01 M900Sie. It's got a big bore kit (944cc), high-comp pistons and PC3. Yank a handful of throttle on this one and it'll dump you quick. By far the best-running and fastest 2-valve Monster I've ever seen.
 

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That's a lot of PSI running tubeless for sure and would account for a harsh ride. I'm not near your weight (about 180-185lbs geared), but if it helps I run my tubeless Flows anywhere between 25-32 PSI - more in the read of course ;) normal pressures being 32 R/25-28 F using Crossmarks, Ignitors, Rampages and Racing Ralphs.

On the fork, do you have the clicking noise or did the person you boght it from get that fixed before they sold it to you? If it isn't fixed and you only get 6 clicks out of the Absolute and not 8 then contact Manitou tech support and request the fix kit - they were all out last time I checked.

Blatant said:
By the palm-squeeze method, I bet I've got nearly 40 psi in the tires. I'm thinking down in the 30ish range (where I run my 26er High Rollers tubeless) will make it much better. :)

Lynx: Yes, I did some out-of-saddle pedaling and didn't notice any untoward suspension movement. If fact, if anything, I wouldn't mind a touch more plushness. I suspect I have dialed in too much platform.

And, you're correct, one click of absolute on the right leg. I bought the fork from an MTBRer in the classifieds. It was unused, but may well be an '08.

PJ: Thanks. I've had a couple of Monsters. This one is an '01 M900Sie. It's got a big bore kit (944cc), high-comp pistons and PC3. Yank a handful of throttle on this one and it'll dump you quick. By far the best-running and fastest 2-valve Monster I've ever seen.
 

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No Clue Crew
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK, I'm officially in a deep state of like.

After some scheduling mishaps today, I got to go on a slightly longer, more techy ride.

Got my driveline a little more dialed. I can shift the front now, but have a bunch of chain/der. noise in the little ring. After doing some technical climbing, I do think the front end is a little tall, but not by much. Small corrections needed. The new front rotor is starting to bed in.

Otherwise, I made no changes to either end of the suspension. I took roughly 10 pounds of air out of each tire.

The result? Transformation.

This bike displays none of the handling weirdness I experienced with my Inbred. It goes where I point it without question. Holds a line at speed. Stable. Secure. No weird flex issues.

This rig plowed through a good amount of chunk, even a couple of off-camber spots that I always have trouble with. I actually cleaned three sections of trail today that I generally don't clean. Oh, and the Ardents? They don't look like much aired up --- not big for a 2.25 and the knobs are kinda weeny -- but they stick. Time will tell how long they hold up in our conditions here.

Right now I'm very, very happy. Can't wait to ride again.
d
 

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Ok, on the front derailleur check very carefully to make sure that it is lined up parralel to the chain rings, you should have no issues/rubbing running in granny ring and smallest cog or big ring and smallest cog if the FD is adjusted right.

Tyres...well I thought you'd notice a major difference if you droped thpressures ;)

Sounds like you made a good choice for a new bike :thumbsup: nothing matters once YOU'RE happy :thumbsup:

Blatant said:
OK, I'm officially in a deep state of like................................
Got my driveline a little more dialed. I can shift the front now, but have a bunch of chain/der. noise in the little ring. ...................................
Otherwise, I made no changes to either end of the suspension. I took roughly 10 pounds of air out of each tire.

The result? Transformation.

....................................................
Right now I'm very, very happy. Can't wait to ride again.
d
 

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Expert Crasher
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Blatant said:
Oh, and the Ardents? They don't look like much aired up --- not big for a 2.25 and the knobs are kinda weeny -- but they stick. Time will tell how long they hold up in our conditions here.
Sounds like you're getting things dialed.

Ardents measure 57mm at the tread, 56 at the casing - mounted on a Flow. Same setup you've got. 57mm = 2.2440945 inches. So, not big for a 2.25, not small for a 2.25 - it's just 2.25 :D BTW - only 3mm narrower than a Rampage on a Flow.



 

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No Clue Crew
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, I think it's mostly just an optical illusion regarding tire size. I do know that they seem to work. Now, if I can get them to last for awhile without destroying sidewalls, that'll be good.
 

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No Clue Crew
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Enel said:
Glad to hear it. I think the Monk is my second favorite 29" FS frame, and an incredible ride for the price. Would like to try one some day.
Whenever you're down in the Valley, bring a 'Moth and we'll swap bikes for a trail ride.
d
 

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No Clue Crew
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Couple things I forgot to mention. First, the WTB Silverado saddle I picked up as a new takeoff at Slippery Pig is by far the best $25 I've spent. Man, what a great seat.

Second: I did get a brand-new set of Magura Louise brakes in and can't decide what to do with them. I'm sure they're great, but better than my Hope Mini M4s? And they're nowhere near as bling as the Hope brakes ...
 
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