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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Fellas! Sooo, I got into mtb'n a couple of years ago after I bought a used Trek 930, and I have always been the stand-and-mash-never-really-change-gears type of rider. Last year I ripped off my front derailleur since I never use it, there-by creating a 1x7. I really would like to get a brand new shiny SS to start out this season. I really like the idea of having a bike designed for SS, with horizontal dropouts, instead of bike retro-fitted to be a SS. I have read an unbelievable amount of posts on this forum but still can't decide on which SS is right for me. I guess I have 2 major questions here.

1) What is the best way to know that the SS I am going to buy is going to be perfect for me? I live in the Detroit area (travel up North and to the West side of the State occasionally), and it seems like no bike shops around here carry SS MTB's in stock! They all say they can order them for me, but I would really like to kick the tires before I make such an important purchase! What is the best way to do this??

2) I really like the idea of a Steel 29er fully Rigid bike. I love my 930's chromoly, it really makes aluminum seem cheap and inferior. From what I have read, 29er rigid seems like lots of fun, and I can always add a suspension fork if I don't like fully rigid (I also like saying fully rigid). So what brand is best for this?? I have mostly looked at Kona, Surly and Redline, but they all get super positive reviews! I would like to stay around the 1 grand price range, but going a little over that would not be a huge deal.

Sorry for the long post... Any help is greatly appreciated!! :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've checked out Craigslist, but it's a little hard to find a used SS in my area and in my size that I really like. (I'm about 5'9") Maybe I am just too picky. I would really like a new one though, and I could go over the 1k mark if necessary. What would you recommend for a new bike?
 

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You could get a Surly Karate Monkey or a Salsa El Mariachi for about $1200-1400. I'd lean towards the El Mariachi because I like the sliding dropouts better than slots but you can't go wrong with either one. If you change your mind and decide you want gears and/or suspension, both bikes are capable of it. Stop thinking so much and do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the quick reply's! Any reason you like sliding dropouts over slots? I feel like I would like slots better because there are less moving parts. So you're saying don't worry about physically touching and riding a bike before I buy it?? I'm set on doing it, just trying to figure out the final details!
 

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Rogue Exterminator
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All good bikes for $1k

The Redline Monocog was my original choice but I wanted a suspension for and belt drive.
I was leaning towards the Monobelt until I saw a new Spot Brand Honey Badger for $1700.

Love it and so glad I spent the extra money.
 

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Kona Units can also be had for around 1k new or a used one for even less. I have really enjoyed mine so far and find myself riding it most often. I should say that if I had a few more bucks and patience when I was shopping I would have gladly gone with a Karate Monkey or El Mar.

The sliding dropouts Kona uses are really nice and very easy to work with and I would recommend them as well. I recently built up an On One Inbred, also rigid and SS. It uses the slot dropouts like a KM, I am using chain tugs to keep tension and it seems that removing the rear wheel is a little more work in that you have to remove the entire QR from the hub each time.
 

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Alternator/Swinging drop outs > Sliding Dropouts > EBB > Track Ends (horizontal dropouts)

IMO of course. Based on ease of use and reliability. Alternator Drop Outs are very set it and forget it. and they are beefier than sliders. Sliders are similar, but slightly more fragile. EBB are great when they work, but a total PITA when they don't. Track Ends with disc brakes are super annoying if you have to take the wheel out. They are called track ends because they were designed for track bikes, which have no brakes. You have to use a bolted hub with track ends, a QR skewer won't cut it in most cases unless you use additional hardware to keep it from sliding forward. . when you remove and then reinsert the wheel, not only do you have to retension the chain properly, but also get your disc brake rotor lined up in the caliper, which often not easy.
 

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Check out the Vassago Jabberwocky Budget SS build, not very many people are aware of that option. Stock config is $1350

Jabber frame
ODIS Fork
Sun Ringle Black Flag Comp Tubeless wheelset (or Charger Comp for same $)
Shimano SLX brakes and rotors
Race Face Ride bar, stem and seatpost
Race face ride SS crank with 32t ring
WTB rocket V seat
WTB grips
WTB nano comp tires
18t cog, and pc1 chain

I'm in the same boat as you OP need that SS! :D
 

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Rogue Exterminator
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Oh NVM, just read that the El Mariachi has them, they look even nicer than you described. I may have to go with the El Mariachi just to get those drop outs!
Nothing against the El Mariachi as it is a great bike. However I see no advantage over their dropout vs any regular sliding dropout.
 

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You will get varying opinions on dropouts. Having owned pretty much all types, I prefer EBB first, and track ends second. Sliding drops and Alternator was finicky for me. Why Salsa used 3 different size bolts to adjust the dropouts is beyond me. Wheel alignment was also a bit frustrating at times, as well as getting the tension just right. Always seemed to change as I tightened the wheel. But all dropouts have their disadvantages, so you have to pick what bothers you the least.

I'd go with a Karate Monkey. It's got a short wheelbase, short chainstays, and rear wheel adjustment is actually pretty simple and reliable with the bolt on axle. It handles very nice and frame is super versatile.

If you don't want to spend that much, a Monocog (not Flight) is a very fun bike as well.
 

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It's not steel, but I bought a Specialized Crave SL in December. I live an hour north of Detroit so as you know the weather has not been conducive to riding such a bike yet. A LBS near me had it on the floor and I was smitten after a brief test ride. I've come across another Crave SL at a different LBS so I think you could find one at one of the many Specialized dealers in the Detroit area.
 

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Without riding a rigid SS first, how can you have any idea if you're going to like it?

What I'm saying is that picking a bike and components because "they seem fun" may very well result in a $1000 dust collector hanging in the garage.

You should try it out on the traills you are going to ride the most first and see how it feels. I would recommend converting your 930 first and riding SS a few weeks before you run out and buy a new bike. Heck, while you're at it why not throw a rigid fork on there too and see if you like that feeling. You may love it, you may loath it (probably both at times) but you'll be able to make a decision based on YOUR OWN personal experience and preference.
 

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Or he could just select a gear and stay in it for a while and see how he feels instead spending money on parts he won't need when he buys a new bike.

I am guessing if he runs a 1x7 on an old Trek 930 he will love riding an updated new SS.
 

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Riding around in one gear, and riding an SS really don't have the same feel. I don't know much about physics but there is definitely a mechanical advantage to having your chain directly connected from your sprocket to your cog, as apposed to running through a derailleur.

Besides, a conversion kit would run him around $20 and take 20 minutes of effort and could save him a huge disappointment provided this turns out to be something that doesn't work for him.

All I'm saying is that going out and buying a SS specific rigid bike, without every riding SS on the trails is a gamble.
 

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singletrack bound
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El Mar

Here is my El Mar. The swingers work great. Allows chain tension adjustment with simple adjustment and once set, you can forget.
Had the El Mar set up SS for the first year or so.

What's also nice about the El Mar is you can convert to a 1X whatever. I currently have mine set up as a 1 x 10 and actually rode it last night.

I bought frame only and build up myself. Converting from SS to geared was a cinch. Frame has cable stops in all the right places to convert to gears if you want. I have an 80MM Reba for just a little squish which is nice, using the lockout on most climbs.

for SS I do have a Vassago Jabberwocky which I enjoy often!

the swingers work great! think I paid 600 for the frame.
 

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