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Just put my longish terms thoughts up on the blog (1/26). For your consideration.

In summary, the Monkey kicks it like Norris.

Cheers.
 

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My feelings are...

the exact opposite of yours. I love my juice (I ride a 20in frame) and experienced none of the issue's that you did. Mines is set up ss and rides great . Imho, the KM has none of the compliance that well made steel frames are known for . I presently own 6 steel bikes so I have a pretty good reference point. If I wanted the ride of aluminum, thats what I would buy. The added weight, to me, just adds insult to injury. Different strokes for different folks ;) .
 

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case in point...

this is from a review of the KM fork, but illustrates what I have said in my previous post.
"Cheap rigid fork that gets the job done. Others say it's fairly compliant under 200+ pound riders, but for smaller guys it's downright brutal. I went from a lightweight rigid 26" bike to the 29" Karate Monkey (frame and fork), and the ride actually got harsher".
 

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The KM fork never felt overly harsh under 170# me. This was in comparison to the 440mm Pace I had on my other bike. Not similar, but the KM fork was more than acceptable. I've ridden some brutal terrain on that fork.

Considering the 25% upcharge for a Soma frame and fork, you could buy the KM frameset, sell the fork and be ~$150 closer to buying a fork nicer than either the Surly or the Soma. And w/o having to live with the longer chainstays, geometry quirks and dropped TT (which looks awful, IMO).
 

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Soma TT

I bought my first 29 which happened to be the Soma Juice. I like the way the top tube looks and for us shorter guys it is one of the only ways I could ride a 29er. It is also my first SS so I do not have anything else to compare it too, but it is a fun ride.
 

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mbjunky said:
I bought my first 29 which happened to be the Soma Juice. I like the way the top tube looks and for us shorter guys it is one of the only ways I could ride a 29er. It is also my first SS so I do not have anything else to compare it too, but it is a fun ride.
As is the Karate Monkey.:p

Pointless thread if it just becomes a cheerleading match between owners of either one.

Good news is this: low and lower priced steel frame 29"ers are available and in stock.:thumbsup: Surly, Soma, On One, Niner, etc.......

Buy, ride and enjoy.

BB

Riding and enjoying by 23.9 pound XL geared Karate Monkey)
 

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Like Johnny Cochran said

"If it doesn't fit, you must..."

get the bike that fits.

BruceBrown said:
As is the Karate Monkey.:p

Pointless thread if it just becomes a cheerleading match between owners of either one.

Good news is this: low and lower priced steel frame 29"ers are available and in stock.:thumbsup: Surly, Soma, On One, Niner, etc.......

Buy, ride and enjoy.

BB

Riding and enjoying by 23.9 pound XL geared Karate Monkey)
 

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For what it's worth...

First off, thanks for the review.

Last season I built up a Juice. I've had plenty of bikes to compare it to. Good steel frames, cheap steel frames; all SS. No I have never ridden a KM. I paid $349 for the Soma frame and got a KM fork. As a single speed it's BB was a bit flexy and that caused chain drop on rougher trails. The same thing occurred on my Surly 1x1 as well. The trails I ride just happen to be steep and brutally rocky so any SS with less than a burly BB area would probably do the same. Aside from that issue the frame feels nicely compliant over the rough stuff. Far better than my Surly, but of course that could be in part due to the big wheels. Frame weight on the "large" 18" Soma was just over 4.5#. Pretty nice. I've beat the bike thouroughly under my 180#s on some very nasty trails and it's held up fine. I ride with guys on 5 and 6 inch travel rigs.

When I first got the frame close inspection showed the seatstay-seattube junction to be missing weld beads! After a ride the paint started to crack at that area and back to the distributer it when for a new frame. The new frame fortunately had weld beads where it was suppose to;)

The shortish TT was what drew me to the Soma. I dislike the longish TTs found on most stock 29ers. I did almost go with the KM initially but it's heavy and I felt it would have a similar feel to the 1x1; not to say that's bad but the 1x1 does not offer a refined ride. That was my reasoning and in no way am I saying how the KM rides as I never did test one. What I am saying is the Juice is performing quite well. It's handling is super nimble with it's shortish TT. I detect no front end flex but I never was all that good at that one. The head tube is too short like most 29ers (at least for my taste), and it did need to be faced as it was uneven.

In reagards to the Juice's tire clearance, I run a WW LT 2.55" with plenty of room to spare and never rub the chainstays. Cable routing is very nice. Great standover but still has a relatively long seat tube so I don't have to run a silly long seat post. The red paint easily chips but is very cool looking while it lasts. I'm looking at my 18" frame right now and it has a large water bottle sitting in a standard cage bolted to the seat tube. No problem there for me.

My Juice has been ridden extremely hard by xc standards and even by trail bike standards (I'm having a tough time keeping my Bonti Mustang OSB rear rim in true). Despite it's lightweight and forgiving steel frame it's holding up like a champ. For the $349 I paid for it I'm not afraid to push it's limits to see what it will take. If it was stole or lost I would buy a second without hesitation. With that said I still have yet to build up my new Spot SS frame with slightly tweaked geometry, so we'll see. But again, for the cash the Juice is a very good buy. I just wish the head tube was longer.

As a side note. The KM fork is stiff like a steel fork should be. I use to prefer a higher end supple rigid fork but now I rather the laser-like accuracy of a stiffer steel fork.

I believe the discerning buyer will get more out of two opposing views than two that agree.

Mike
 
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