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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently own a FS carbon Trek Fuel EX 9.8. Although, it has been fun; I'm looking to own something I can do more bikepacking/commuting/everyday riding. I have been researching Surly KMs and the Krampus to allow me to hit the singletrack and load up for a weekend adventure too. What other brands are similar to Surly that have similar offerings for similar pricing($1500-$2000 range).

Am I crazy for "downgrading" to a simpler, cheaper bike? According to Bicycle blue book, I could probably sell my 3 year old, slightly beat up bike for a brand new Surly KM or Krampus.

Also, what is the difference between the Karate Monkey and Krampus? It looks like they are very similar, if not the same bike.

Should I consider Titanium as well? What are the benefits to Titanium over steel?
 

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Ride what you like!
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Yes, there is such a thing as an "everything and forever" bike. It's a 93ish Specialized Hardrock, it is hanging from the wall in my garage, ready to go, AND YOU CAN'T HAVE IT!!!
Seriously though, not being happy with your bike is no sign of insanity, it is you learning what king of riding you do, and adapting your equipment to suit your needs. Also, you may have stepped out of the dark shadow of bicycle marketing and that is a good thing! You happen to be fortunate that your needs are less expensive than what you had been convinced you needed.
 

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Bikesexual
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Given what I ride, I gave up suspension and I'm having more fun.

KM can run 27.5+ or 29. Don't remember how much travel if you add a fork.

Krampus 29+ mine is rigid but you can go up to 120mm fork.
 

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I like a fat bike with multiple wheel sets as my do everything bike. I’ve got a 2013 Mukluk that runs the original 26” fat wheelset for snow and soft conditions, 29+ for summer and bike packing. With front and rear racks and a few anything cages it can carry all kinds of stuff. Great for trail maintenance and backcountry fishing excursions.
 

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I currently own a FS carbon Trek Fuel EX 9.8. Although, it has been fun; I'm looking to own something I can do more bikepacking/commuting/everyday riding. I have been researching Surly KMs and the Krampus to allow me to hit the singletrack and load up for a weekend adventure too. What other brands are similar to Surly that have similar offerings for similar pricing($1500-$2000 range).

Am I crazy for "downgrading" to a simpler, cheaper bike? According to Bicycle blue book, I could probably sell my 3 year old, slightly beat up bike for a brand new Surly KM or Krampus.

Also, what is the difference between the Karate Monkey and Krampus? It looks like they are very similar, if not the same bike.

Should I consider Titanium as well? What are the benefits to Titanium over steel?
Either Jones SWB or LWB complete build would probably be what I'd choose at that price point. Stooge cycles (uk based) have some interesting looking frames which you might be able to build up for that price too. I don't think it would be crazy to "downgrade" from a lot of full suspension bikes to for the riding you describe.

The main benefit of Ti over steel is probably weight. Depending how the frames are designed Ti frames can also have a different ride feel to steel. It is also generally more corrosion resistant than steel. However it is much more expensive than steel and I understand it is more difficult to weld.

There are plenty of cracked Ti frame stories on here. I would want to be confident that whoever designed and welded the frame knew what they were doing if I was seriously considering getting one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, there is such a thing as an "everything and forever" bike. It's a 93ish Specialized Hardrock, it is hanging from the wall in my garage, ready to go, AND YOU CAN'T HAVE IT!!!
Seriously though, not being happy with your bike is no sign of insanity, it is you learning what king of riding you do, and adapting your equipment to suit your needs. Also, you may have stepped out of the dark shadow of bicycle marketing and that is a good thing! You happen to be fortunate that your needs are less expensive than what you had been convinced you needed.
Being the "path less traveled" kinda guy that I pronounce myself to be, I'm not scared to try things that others around me think is abnormal. Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of bike brands around me in the Midwest geared towards bikepacking, yet many don't know such a thing exists. Everyone owns a Trek or Specialized, and the thought of a steel framed rigid steed is masochism at its finest. I thought the same thing a few years ago before becoming completely addicted to bikepacking.com.

I've set a few goals for myself to embark on a few different multi-day trips in the next few years, and my carbon FS is just awkward loaded up with bags. I do like to send it, but just like my minivan a different ride will tame my inner wildman. :)
 

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Always in the wrong gear
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Youre going to get 2 opinions on this:
1) No way, N+1. you can't live without a rowdy Enduro-bro trail slayer, a razor-sharp XC weapon, a 4 pound aero road bike, a choose-your-own-adventure awesome (TM) CX bike, ...etc. More is better.
2) All you need is a steel, rigid bike that you ride everywhere. It's what we did in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Now get off my lawn.

Personally, I don't think you're crazy at all.

I ride a steel hardtail (Vassago Verhauen) with a 120mm fork and a dropper. I also ride 100% singlespeed, but that's irrelevant, I could add a 1x drivetrain with 10 minutes of wrenching. I know I'm an idiot limiting myself to one gear.
My only complaint with my bike is that it has a 27.2 seat tube, so my droppers are limited to 100mm drop. Again, that's beside the point. A 31.6 tube wouldn't change the 'purpose', and I could only actually fit 125-130mm of drop, so...
To address your point-
My hardtail does everything I *need* it to.
To me, It's all day comfortable. I've done epic 50+ mile, 6-7 hour rides on it. I could take it bikepacking tomorrow if I wanted and would be happy with it.
I have commuted on it, but the lack of fun was due solely to it being SS, and trail-geared, not the frame.

I've ridden double black-diamond Sedona trails on it and while probably not most peoples cup of tea, I had a blast. I'd happily take it to Moab, knowing that I won't be setting in Strava KOMs on Cpt Ahab, but that's not important to me.
I've hit waist-high drops to flat on it and it handled it fine. Drops aren't off the menu in any way.

I'm not limited to buffed, rock-free trails. Those are very uncommon here in AZ. Of course my ride would be smoother with FS, but I ride plenty of heavy chunk without complaint.

I rather enjoy the feeling of being 'connected' to the trail, I recently borrowed a Rip9, and TBH, I didn't really like it, despite really wanting to. I also rode a friend's Fuel EX, and between those two realized I just don't feel the need to have rear suspension.
I also don't miss maintaining suspension pivots and servicing/tuning rear shocks.

Ultimately you have to decide what you need your bike to do- if DH KOMs and GoPro 'Shreddits' are a priority, then a hardtail might not be the right bike. (although, YouTube search "Hardtail Party", it might change your mind),

I personally believe most riders are way overbiked. I don't judge- bikes are toys. Play with the toys you want, I don't care. I'm just saying very few locations need a 140mm slacked out EWS trail slayer for general riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Youre going to get 2 opinions on this:
1) No way, N+1. you can't live without a rowdy Enduro-bro trail slayer, a razor-sharp XC weapon, a 4 pound aero road bike, a choose-your-own-adventure awesome (TM) CX bike, ...etc. More is better.
2) All you need is a steel, rigid bike that you ride everywhere. It's what we did in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Now get off my lawn.

Personally, I don't think you're crazy at all.

I ride a steel hardtail (Vassago Verhauen) with a 120mm fork and a dropper. I also ride 100% singlespeed, but that's irrelevant, I could add a 1x drivetrain with 10 minutes of wrenching. I know I'm an idiot limiting myself to one gear.
My only complaint with my bike is that it has a 27.2 seat tube, so my droppers are limited to 100mm drop. Again, that's beside the point. A 31.6 tube wouldn't change the 'purpose', and I could only actually fit 125-130mm of drop, so...
To address your point-
My hardtail does everything I *need* it to.
To me, It's all day comfortable. I've done epic 50+ mile, 6-7 hour rides on it. I could take it bikepacking tomorrow if I wanted and would be happy with it.
I have commuted on it, but the lack of fun was due solely to it being SS, and trail-geared, not the frame.

I've ridden double black-diamond Sedona trails on it and while probably not most peoples cup of tea, I had a blast. I'd happily take it to Moab, knowing that I won't be setting in Strava KOMs on Cpt Ahab, but that's not important to me.
I've hit waist-high drops to flat on it and it handled it fine. Drops aren't off the menu in any way.

I'm not limited to buffed, rock-free trails. Those are very uncommon here in AZ. Of course my ride would be smoother with FS, but I ride plenty of heavy chunk without complaint.

I rather enjoy the feeling of being 'connected' to the trail, I recently borrowed a Rip9, and TBH, I didn't really like it, despite really wanting to. I also rode a friend's Fuel EX, and between those two realized I just don't feel the need to have rear suspension.
I also don't miss maintaining suspension pivots and servicing/tuning rear shocks.

Ultimately you have to decide what you need your bike to do- if DH KOMs and GoPro 'Shreddits' are a priority, then a hardtail might not be the right bike. (although, YouTube search "Hardtail Party", it might change your mind),

I personally believe most riders are way overbiked. I don't judge- bikes are toys. Play with the toys you want, I don't care. I'm just saying very few locations need a 140mm slacked out EWS trail slayer for general riding.
Impetus,

I would agree with N+1 philosophy, but I don't have greenback trees in my front lawn to pick from. If I could afford to buy a new bike without selling the shred machine I totally would. Besides, my "bike room" downstairs could use some extra space.
 

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I currently own a FS carbon Trek Fuel EX 9.8. Although, it has been fun; I'm looking to own something I can do more bikepacking/commuting/everyday riding. I have been researching Surly KMs and the Krampus to allow me to hit the singletrack and load up for a weekend adventure too. What other brands are similar to Surly that have similar offerings for similar pricing($1500-$2000 range).

Am I crazy for "downgrading" to a simpler, cheaper bike? According to Bicycle blue book, I could probably sell my 3 year old, slightly beat up bike for a brand new Surly KM or Krampus.

Also, what is the difference between the Karate Monkey and Krampus? It looks like they are very similar, if not the same bike.

Should I consider Titanium as well? What are the benefits to Titanium over steel?
I went this way. Started with Salsa El Mariachis, but then transferred to the Jones bikes. Mine is an older jones, wish it took a larger tire in the rear but i have a 29er front and a fat tire front. It has a bunch of bottle mounts though I got the truss fork so I don't have a ton of bike packing capabilities. Still the geometry is fairly good for very technical trails and it does well in PNW skinnies and stunts. It is fairly low tech (4130 chromo, machine welded) but seems really durable, like it might last a real long time. Finally got a good dropper on it and feel like it does everything I need it to do. I could convert to SS if I wanted to, tweak the geometry a bit with the EBB, and load it up as much as possible for bike packing if I wanted to go that way. Currently have 2 sets of wheels, a dirt pair (29er and fat front) and a road/city version with gravel tires. I could probably add another front wheel with a 29er rim so I could not always have to rely on the fat front.

Limitations on it is the wide front wheel spacing. New ones look pretty awesome with through axles, etc, and the steel versions are reasonably affordable for a low volume asian built steel bike. They even have completes available.

Not to bang the Jones drum completely i think the surly bikes are nice options, simple steel frames you can have fixed if needed or modded by local bike builders. Fairly adaptable to various riding styles and methods, probably bikes that a few wheelsets would cover you for a long time.

I too would stay away from TI unless you were going full custom and could ensure that you were getting a bike that wouldn't fail. Ti seems to have that issue but maybe so does steel you just don't hear about it as much because it is cheaper and easier to repair in most cities.
 

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The Jamis Dragonslayer looks interesting. 520 Reynolds, many braze-ons. Nicely spec'd with group and air forks, price is either 1500 or 2500, depending on your budget. 27.5+ and 26+ options, which I think is cool.

But I would just say Karate Monkey. Love mine.

Someone probably already said, but the Krampus is 29+, and the KM 29 or 27.5+. KM allows for 140 mm suspension fork, and I think the KRampus is only 120 (they keep changing it).

Krampus has a higher bb height (so KM has more BB drop). But both are adequate. The Krampus is a bit more niche. KM more versitile. Had a KRampus before. Loved it, but wanted a bigger frameset, and went with a KM. Pretty similar, you are correct.


If you are 6'6" tall, definitely get the Krampus. Maybe... Some taller guys on here like the smaller wheels, go figure. What wheel size do you have now? do you like them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Jamis Dragonslayer looks interesting. 520 Reynolds, many braze-ons. Nicely spec'd with group and air forks, price is either 1500 or 2500, depending on your budget. 27.5+ and 26+ options, which I think is cool.

But I would just say Karate Monkey. Love mine.

Someone probably already said, but the Krampus is 29+, and the KM 29 or 27.5+. KM allows for 140 mm suspension fork, and I think the KRampus is only 120 (they keep changing it).

Krampus has a higher bb height (so KM has more BB drop). But both are adequate. The Krampus is a bit more niche. KM more versitile. Had a KRampus before. Loved it, but wanted a bigger frameset, and went with a KM. Pretty similar, you are correct.

If you are 6'6" tall, definitely get the Krampus. Maybe... Some taller guys on here like the smaller wheels, go figure. What wheel size do you have now? do you like them?
I have been leaning towards the KM. My wheel size now is 29. I've never tried 27.5, and my soon to be wife rides a 27.5+ that I've jumped on and cruised around the parking lot. I'm only 5'7", so the Krampus may not be the right choice for me. Could you explain the difference between bb height and drop?
 

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Bottom bracket drop: picture a straight line between the two wheel hubs from the side. Now let it sag a bit in the middle, or drop, until that point reaches the bottom bracket. That is the bottom bracket drop. The greater the drop, the closer it is to the ground.

Bottom bracket height, measure from the ground to the bottom bracket. A Krampus might have a smaller drop, but a higher height. And, a bike with bigger wheels is rather difficult to compare to smaller wheels when measuring BB Drop. I don't really know what to do with that number. Certainly it must indicate something, but I'm not sure what.

A Krampus has more bottom bracket clearance. So if you are hopping logs and like to negotiate rock gardens, perhaps you need a Krampus.

If your legs are extra short, or for any other reason you prefer not to expend the energy needed to push a larger wheel, avoid the Krampus.

The Karate Monkey is more nimble.

The Karate Monkey and Krampus have undergone some geometry tweaks that make both a lot easier to handle and to dismount. There is a thread on here that reads Old versus New Krampus, and someone compares them. I had a size small Krampus from 2015, but I needed a medium. The KRampus was not stock, it had 35 mm Velocity Blunt 29er wheels. I never put 3 inch tires on them, though that was supposed to work, just went with 2.4" Maxxis Ardents to save money. (Full plus wheels and tires are usually double the cost). When I switched my components to a size medium frameset, it made more sense to go with a Karate Monkey as I had 29" wheels, not 29+. There were a lot of difference I noticed between the bikes, differences I thought were Krampus versus KM. But the thread where the old and new Krampii were compared made me realize the changes that happened in 2017 had altered the character of the bike. For the better. Not that the old bike wasn't stellar, it was. The geometry just works a little better. The correct sized bikes also helped. But my sizing is weird. Geometry charts are very off for me. I'm 170 cm tall (5'6.75"), and use a men's medium (I'm female). I could probably easily manage a large. Geometry charts put me on a small. Shrug. Everyone is different. And bike companies don't usually understand women's sizing, even in women-specific fitting.
 

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psycho cyclo addict
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Yes; and recently started riding titanium after years of custom & mass produced steel

I still like N+1 just in case I need to work on a bike for an extended period of time and still ride another (or bike commute a couple times a week... 35+ miles round trip).

I recently acquired a "do everything" bike.

For me that means 29er with eccentric bottom bracket (so I can run geared or single speed), wide enough chain stays for a 29 2.4" or so rear tire (or 3" 650b), rigid front fork and big front triangle that can accommodate large frame bag for bike camping excursions.

As luck or fate would have it, I found a slightly used Titanium frame that met these requirements.

I've been riding rigid steel MTB's with EBB or rear sliders/rockers for a number of years (in addition to carbon FS and Aluminum hard tails). I noticed straight away that the Titanium frame dampens vibration differently/better than steel.

I ran the same wheels, post/saddle combo and front fork from one of my steel bikes for as close to an apples to apples comparison as possible on my commute to work (incorporated MTB trail, paths and pavement). So far so good... next I'm going to take it on half and full day MTB rides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Being relatively new to the bike nerd lifestyle, I am picking up a lot of good information from this site. I recently acquired my first Brooks B17, so I feel calling myself an entry-level bike nerd is appropriate, eh?
 

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psycho cyclo addict
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Being relatively new to the bike nerd lifestyle, I am picking up a lot of good information from this site. I recently acquired my first Brooks B17, so I feel calling myself an entry-level bike nerd is appropriate, eh?
Bike nerd disease is not that picky/selective :D

I have a B17 from 1995 that is still in excellent condition.

I run a mix of Fizik, MORGAW and Selle Italia saddles on my mountain bikes.
 
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