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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had my eye on the Karate Monkey for quite sometime now, but I haven't had the money to pull the trigger. I'm getting close, but last week I rode an On One for a short bit and liked it. I've read the reviews of both and am getting the sense that I couldn't go wrong with either of the two, but I have noticed some minor differences. I'm 6'4" (I guess ~1.9m+ tall for those of you outside of the US), about 200 lbs.

One big difference is that the KM comes in a size 22", while the On One comes in a size 21". Upon closer inspection of the geometries, the Inbred has a Top Tube length that is a couple inches longer than the KM. I have always thought that the most important length on a bike is the top tube, not the seat tube. Standover will not be a problem with me, btw as I am mostly leg, but I would want the longest top tube that I could get because I have long arms too.

One problem that I hear about with the KM is that it does have issues with running disc brakes and removing the wheel. From what I saw on the Inbred, the disc brake problem would not be an issue.

So now I am leaning towards getting the Inbred, but I just wanted to affirm this with everyone here who knows the bikes a lot better. Thanks in advance for the advice.
 

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Thanks Guitar Ted! Nice write up. I've been waiting for a side by side of those two bikes for a while.

I love my KM so I've been reluctant to give it up for just another steel frame, thinking there really won't be much difference in feel and performance, but it sounds like there are some key differences, probably most of it due to the fork. The increased standover would be nice too (Cloxxki rolling his eyes).

I wish there was a 19.5" inbred in my area I could try.
 

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The longer TT on the On One is very attractive to me (I have a long torso).

But the KM that I ride is great, and I dont think I would like the sliders better than a tested and true horizontal.

I run discs and yes the horizontal drops have a small time penalty for fixing flats (I say small because last time it took me 30 seconds to remove the rear wheel and about 40 seconds to reinstall and re-align the caliper). Some people seem to have more trouble with this.

Both are really inexpensive frames/forks, and both have huge followings.

If I ever get a custom frame built, it will have dropouts very similar to Surlys. Of all the SS rear wheel mounts I have experience with, the fork mounts like Surly's are the least trouble (for me and my riding friends at least).
 

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Harmonius Wrench
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You sir are a fast repairman!

unit said:
The longer TT on the On One is very attractive to me (I have a long torso).

But the KM that I ride is great, and I dont think I would like the sliders better than a tested and true horizontal.

I run discs and yes the horizontal drops have a small time penalty for fixing flats (I say small because last time it took me 30 seconds to remove the rear wheel and about 40 seconds to reinstall and re-align the caliper). Some people seem to have more trouble with this.

Both are really inexpensive frames/forks, and both have huge followings.

If I ever get a custom frame built, it will have dropouts very similar to Surlys. Of all the SS rear wheel mounts I have experience with, the fork mounts like Surly's are the least trouble (for me and my riding friends at least).
I agree that the Surly dropout design is very safe, sound, and trouble free. I think I would opt for the Paul single speed drop outs on a custom single speed as they have everything the Surly drops have and a built in chain tensioner. I use a simple but effective chain tug on the driveside drop out of my KM.

However, I find it hard to believe that you can rip out the rear wheel of your Surly so quickly. It takes me that long to get my tools out of my back pack! I know that in a contest between taking the wheel out of my Inbred and taking it out of my KM, well........there isn't any contest there! The Inbred wins by a landslide. It's just that the sliding drop out thing is a bit more kludgey and requires some twiddling to make it stay put where you want it to. Besides, the Inbred fork that I got doesn't have any "lawyer tabs" on it, so even the front wheel is easier to pop out. This isn't important at all during trail rides or when commuting, but in a competitive event, you will want something like the Inbred. It's just plain faster to repair flats on that bike than it is on the KM.

To each his own, though. If you can really rip out a rear flat repair that fast on a Surly then I bow to you in greasy humility! :p
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Between the both XL's, there's a couple MM's difference in the top tube, barely noticed IME.
Where the OO is a 21", the KM XL would be a 23.4".
OO has 10mm taller BB.
When using the same fork between both bikes, there's just minor geometry differences. Using their matching forks, the OO rides more lively. And the KM already is far from dead, trust me.

As for tube set FEEL (similar material used), the KM is a tank, and the OO a steel finesse sportscar. Tank are not slow, though, they just take shelling better than a sportscar, and are more a bodyguard/buddy than a lover.
The KM is heavier despite simpler dropouts, and is rock solid. The OO is exactly what I would be expecting a sweet light custom bike to feel like. Just a pound heavier than that.

I have the XL KM, and raced the 21" OO. Right now, to get a change, I would like to swap out the KM for the OO. Both bikes are so excellent in their own ways. The choice may come down to your riding style and dressing style. Surly sells wool clothing, On-One spandex. Not saying you should buy that to go along with the bike, but it tells you something about the way the bikes are built.
 

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Nice!

Cloxxki said:
Surly sells wool clothing, On-One spandex. Not saying you should buy that to go along with the bike, but it tells you something about the way the bikes are built.
I think that is a very good summary of both companies! But I think On-One would also sell baggies too, if so inclined.
 

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Guitar Ted said:
I agree that the Surly dropout design is very safe, sound, and trouble free. I think I would opt for the Paul single speed drop outs on a custom single speed as they have everything the Surly drops have and a built in chain tensioner. I use a simple but effective chain tug on the driveside drop out of my KM.

However, I find it hard to believe that you can rip out the rear wheel of your Surly so quickly. It takes me that long to get my tools out of my back pack! I know that in a contest between taking the wheel out of my Inbred and taking it out of my KM, well........there isn't any contest there! The Inbred wins by a landslide. It's just that the sliding drop out thing is a bit more kludgey and requires some twiddling to make it stay put where you want it to. Besides, the Inbred fork that I got doesn't have any "lawyer tabs" on it, so even the front wheel is easier to pop out. This isn't important at all during trail rides or when commuting, but in a competitive event, you will want something like the Inbred. It's just plain faster to repair flats on that bike than it is on the KM.

To each his own, though. If you can really rip out a rear flat repair that fast on a Surly then I bow to you in greasy humility! :p
That is funny, I was going to say my dream custom would have Paul drops, but I didnt want to go too far OT. Those pauls look like the perfect dropout (Does Paul make anything that is not great?)

I will have to time myself next time...I am pretty sure the numbers are close....but lets not forget how long 30 seconds seems when the pack is leaving you at maximum speed! I have run bolt ons so long I just figure that a flat is doom anyway in a short race.

I read your comparison, GT. Nice work. I though I was the only one that rubbed that chainstay cable braze on. Mine is now almost worn off from shoe rub.
 

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I think I can add my 2 cents too. I just finally got in my first ride on my Inbred due to a misdiagnosed ear infection (did you know you can get strept in your ears?).
Anyways I never spent any real time on a KM but the Inbred...YUMMY.
This bike is about a pound and half heavier than my Paragon, but wow, it doesn't seem like it. I too am wary of horizontal drop outs with disc brakes, no problem with that on the Inbred.
Get the On-one, it is awsome.
I'll post pics and a full review at later date.
 

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toddre said:
I think I can add my 2 cents too. I just finally got in my first ride on my Inbred due to a misdiagnosed ear infection (did you know you can get strept in your ears?).
Anyways I never spent any real time on a KM but the Inbred...YUMMY.
This bike is about a pound and half heavier than my Paragon, but wow, it doesn't seem like it. I too am wary of horizontal drop outs with disc brakes, no problem with that on the Inbred.
Get the On-one, it is awsome.
I'll post pics and a full review at later date.
Glad it all worked out for you in the end with the Inbred. :thumbsup:
 

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UCIrvineRoadie said:
I've had my eye on the Karate Monkey for quite sometime now, but I haven't had the money to pull the trigger. I'm getting close, but last week I rode an On One for a short bit and liked it. I've read the reviews of both and am getting the sense that I couldn't go wrong with either of the two, but I have noticed some minor differences. I'm 6'4" (I guess ~1.9m+ tall for those of you outside of the US), about 200 lbs.

One big difference is that the KM comes in a size 22", while the On One comes in a size 21". Upon closer inspection of the geometries, the Inbred has a Top Tube length that is a couple inches longer than the KM. I have always thought that the most important length on a bike is the top tube, not the seat tube. Standover will not be a problem with me, btw as I am mostly leg, but I would want the longest top tube that I could get because I have long arms too.

One problem that I hear about with the KM is that it does have issues with running disc brakes and removing the wheel. From what I saw on the Inbred, the disc brake problem would not be an issue.

So now I am leaning towards getting the Inbred, but I just wanted to affirm this with everyone here who knows the bikes a lot better. Thanks in advance for the advice.
I'm the same height as you, started w/ the KM and sold it in favor of the inbred. The inbred dropout, standover, bb height, reba clearance and lower weight make it a better choice IMO.
 

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UCIrvineRoadie

I was in the same boat as you for some time. I went with the Inbred for the reasons you mention (I'm 6'1" and got a 21"). I am very very happy with my decision.

I would buy the Inbred - you know it's going to work well and do everything you need.
 

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steevo said:
How do you like the ride/handling compared to the KM?
The inbred does ride better that the KM, hard to quantify but it just does. The BB height makes a big difference IMO. I have the inbred setup as a singlespeed, my geared bike is a Waltworks custom and the inbred rides just as good and the frame only weighs a 1/2 lb more.
 

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Cloxxki said:
The Inbred I rode was MUCH more compliant that the KM. The Ti seat post helped, but still. Fork too.
My comparisons are with a Reba up front so that may make the differences in ride quality a little more subtle.
 

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Harmonius Wrench
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Short take.....

The kudos for the Inbred are all well deserved, but I think that you could have both the Inbred and the Monkey and be supremely happy. The Inbred leans alot more to the dirt/ technical riding, in my opinion. The Karate Monkey is really good at a more varied sort of riding style. I really love the Inbred in the tight single track, but the Monkey outshines it on fire road/ gravel road rides. Admittedly, it's got alot to do with the set up, but when I pound the pedals up a gradual gravel climb, the Monkey just motors along where I have to finesse my spin more on the Inbred, because it's so compliant.

Speaking of the compliancy/ comfort of the Inbred: don't forget that you will have alot more exposed seat post on an Inbred, which is where alot of that compliancy is coming from. I will grant you that the Inbred fork is alot nicer to the hands than the KM fork, though. That exposed seat post is where I have my issues with the seated climbing onboard the Inbred, I think. To give an example: I have a 410mm Salsa Shaft on the Inbred about 3/4 inch from max and a Ritchey Pro road post in my 20" Monkey right at the max line. A big difference that is readily tangible out on the trails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So this thread basically confirms what I thought to begin with. I can't go wrong with either of the two bikes. It seems that there is a little trouble with the KM and the disc brake issue, but I can live with that. There also seems to be a little trouble with the drop out/tension system on the On One, but that again, is something that I can live with.

I don't think that the ride quality will be an issue for me. I am a little naive on the subject of compliant mountain bike frames. I do come from the road background, where I can definitely feel the difference between a good steel frame, a crappy one, a carbon frame, and an aluminum one. On the mountain, I have only ridden my 1991 Specialized Hardrock (which I bent the droputs to 135 mm and would classify as a crappy steel frame). From my experience, the tires soak up a lot of the shock from the trail, making the need for a compliant frame less important. I am sure a lot of you guys would argue the opposite, though.

Regardless, I do think I'll have to have the seatpost high on both the On One and KM, as I have to do with all my bikes cause I am such a big guy. As several noted, the height of the seatpost does make a difference in how the frame feels. This should mean that both should ride fairly well regardless of the natural frame tendencies.
 

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King Pin
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Monkey

I'm an inch taller than you, with a 36" inseam. The seatpost on my 22" KM has only seven or eight inches exposed, compared to at least twelve inches on my 20" Vulture.

My Monkey looks "little" to me, as so little seatpost is exposed.

My opinion? If you plan on running a Reba....(I installed one just four hours ago)....go with the Inbred, as the Reba bits are gonna hit the Monkey downtube, unless you go with some super secret headseat stuff. No problemo with the OnOne.

I do indeed love riding my Monkey though, best riding bike my "almost" fifty year old body has experienced!

UCIrvineRoadie said:
So this thread basically confirms what I thought to begin with. I can't go wrong with either of the two bikes. It seems that there is a little trouble with the KM and the disc brake issue, but I can live with that. There also seems to be a little trouble with the drop out/tension system on the On One, but that again, is something that I can live with.

I don't think that the ride quality will be an issue for me. I am a little naive on the subject of compliant mountain bike frames. I do come from the road background, where I can definitely feel the difference between a good steel frame, a crappy one, a carbon frame, and an aluminum one. On the mountain, I have only ridden my 1991 Specialized Hardrock (which I bent the droputs to 135 mm and would classify as a crappy steel frame). From my experience, the tires soak up a lot of the shock from the trail, making the need for a compliant frame less important. I am sure a lot of you guys would argue the opposite, though.

Regardless, I do think I'll have to have the seatpost high on both the On One and KM, as I have to do with all my bikes cause I am such a big guy. As several noted, the height of the seatpost does make a difference in how the frame feels. This should mean that both should ride fairly well regardless of the natural frame tendencies.
 

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Before I purchased my Karate Monkey I was quite worried about removing the rear wheel with disc brakes. Although I am a relatively light rider (165lbs) I like to push my limits, so flats are not uncommon. I have had several flats in the field without any problems whatsoever. I can still cahnge a rear flat quicker than most people. The only extra task is to loosen and then tighten twon 5mm allen bolts. I use a park tool that acts as a allen set and tire lever in one so there is no digging around for tools. I have wrenched off and on at my lbs to pay for my obsession but I would not classify myself as a gifted mechanic. As for complianceit is perhaps a tad stiffer than other high end steel tubesets that I have been on, but with the 29" wheel I can reduce the tire pressure to make up for it. Last issue would be the fork. This is my first rigid in about ten years, and the karate monkey fork has scared me with the amount of flex I have experienced. All in all it is a tough decision and either way you are going to be quite happy.
 
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