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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I love riding my SS CX bike through the local single track. I've decided I'd like a MTB to be able to take some of the turns a little faster and to better navigate some of the harsher terrain.

I'm looking for a used bike and have narrowed it down to four options all are SS and rigid:

1) Karate Monkey 29", mechanical discs.
2) Salsa El Mariachi (2015) Deore Hydros.
3) Bianchi GUSS 650b carbon fork, XT Brakes.
4) All City Log Lady 27.5"

The Karate Monkey is the least expensive, the Salsa and All City
the most. The GUSS is right in the middle.

Would love to hear some comparisons, feedback, recommendations as they are all located all over town and trying to test ride all is a logistical nightmare. I did ride the KM and liked it. Size medium. I recently rode an One One Inbred in a large and it too seemed a good fit but it was a tank so I passed.

I ride three other All City bikes so I am drawn to the Log Lady even though I kinda want a 29'er

I like the idea of the GUSS cuz, well, it is super light.

The Salsa just looks great and I kinda like the rear dropout setup.
 

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I know nothing about the all city bikes. With that said, i wouldnt be afraid of the salsa or the monkey. Unless it is a newer monkey, both of those bikes use the older standards.

In short, you can make those bikes super light and have the best parts of that generation for pennies at your local swap meet or ebay. I picked up a 135mm stans set for 20 bucks. Older reba is 150 on Ebay. The weight wouldnt deter me. The monkey is almost virtually impossible to break.

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I would go 29er. SS bikes like momentum and roll over and 29er's have it. The Karate Monkey and El Mar are classic SS bikes. No doubt about their worth.
 

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I have a 2015 el mar that I run rigid SS sometimes. Alternator dropouts are the truth. It's just a really enjoyable bike in a lot of ways.

HTA is steep, so beware of that.
I enjoyed that hta and an angleset can help some. They're not a kona honzo.

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I personally don't like used bikes as you really don't know how they were treated. I know I am not easy on mine. As an alternative you can pick up a new Redline Monocog for probably the same price as those. Check out the Monocog thread for details on getting the corporate discount.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, used bikes can be a gamble but all these are very clean low mile bikes. In fact, I may have taken the MK on its only ride ever.

Funny enough, it was a Redline Monocog Flight that pushed me over the edge into wanting a SS MTB. Of course, it was offered at a ridiculously low price. Lost my wallet changing for my ride home from work and couldn't buy it that weekend. Oh, well.

My current Scott geared bike has a fairly steep HTA compared to today's new fangled "slacker" bikes so I think I can manage but appreciate the heads up. I'm not planning on climbing up the type of trails that a slack HTA would help me on anyway. And, compared to the SSCX bike I'm riding already, any of these will be "slack".

At least I know the KM fits. It's a basic solid bike. Am trying the GUSS tomorrow. Different animal I know, but the light weight is appealing. Appreciate teh feedback, will keep you posted.

Thanks.
 

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Yeah, used bikes can be a gamble but all these are very clean low mile bikes. In fact, I may have taken the MK on its only ride ever.

Funny enough, it was a Redline Monocog Flight that pushed me over the edge into wanting a SS MTB. Of course, it was offered at a ridiculously low price. Lost my wallet changing for my ride home from work and couldn't buy it that weekend. Oh, well.

My current Scott geared bike has a fairly steep HTA compared to today's new fangled "slacker" bikes so I think I can manage but appreciate the heads up. I'm not planning on climbing up the type of trails that a slack HTA would help me on anyway. And, compared to the SSCX bike I'm riding already, any of these will be "slack".

At least I know the KM fits. It's a basic solid bike. Am trying the GUSS tomorrow. Different animal I know, but the light weight is appealing. Appreciate teh feedback, will keep you posted.

Thanks.
Have fun shopping and post pics of the new ride.
 

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29 is the only way to ride an SS, I am biased but seriously it's all momentum based and that wheel just rolls over things better.

Pretty easy choice if it were mine too make. I'd go Salsa hands down. I've owned a spearfish and ridden 3 or 4 other Salsas that my buddies owned, including 2 El M's. Nice riding bikes.

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The salsa is a killer bike with some of the best dropouts out there. I will say that many people complain about the later model steel frames as being too harsh, but that would be my choice from this list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The Salsa sold. I was hoping to at least test ride it. There was something very appealing about it, it was a 2015 model. Maybe it was the paint. If I'd have been able to ride it I'd know whether or not it is worth waiting for another.

I appreciate the input.

The quest continues.

My current SS:




Can't wait to get some new rims so I can go tubeless on it. Pinch flats suck, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I checked out the GUSS last night. That thing was insane. Less than 20 lbs. Carbon everything except wheels. I was able to at least ride it on a horse trail but the ride was cut short as the seat post wasn't correctly tightened and the seat kept tilting upward.

I think Crash was right, 29" is the way to go. While I didn't really get a chance to roll over any obstacles, I just didn't feel as though it rolled as easily as say my MTB. The ride was very harsh. Heck, my Nature boy with it's skinny tires is more forgiving.

Of the bikes I've been able to try, the KM seems most suitable and is priced best as well. Plenty of room there for some upgrades over time. I really would have liked to ridden the El Maricachi.
 

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Can someone possibly tell me what vintage this KM is:

View attachment 1259219
There is a way with the serial number. Ive forgotten the exact details, but i know it can be done. That bike looks showroom quality. Buy it and enjoy. My advice about swap meet upgrades or your friends having parts sitting around will put that bike on a big diet. Enjoy

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks. A little more research and I think its between 2012 and 2014 so I at least know what specs the parts are. I am going to make an offer. We'll see.

Appreciate all the help.
 

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Thanks. A little more research and I think its between 2012 and 2014 so I at least know what specs the parts are. I am going to make an offer. We'll see.

Appreciate all the help.
It will be a great bike. I had a redline monocog as my first ss and rode it for 3 years until i sold it. The monkey is much nicer and has its own cult following. So much versatility in those bikes and frames. You can keep it forever. Mtb today, 5 years from now commuter, drop bears, gravel grinding, and bike packing. Enjoy!

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Any used SS bike that does not have large dents externally or massive rust inside the tubes is probably fine... I've had great success purchasing them that way for years though probably going with a new custom steel one next.

So many to choose from and custom steel may also be worth considering: Chris King Cielo, Independent Fabrication, Scott Quiring, Waltworks, ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This one fell through. Shame, as it was really clean especially considering the age. Oh well, the search continues.

At least I have a better idea of what I'm looking for. Definitely a steel bike, four lbs is not worth a harsh ride. My Nature boy is 24 lbs and I ride it up all kinds of stuff.

Thanks again everyone for the help and education.
 

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Where do you live z1? I just saw a very new Redline on the NorCal Craigslist, in Sonora. Looked like a smokin' deal and I was tempted (but I don't need a 4th SS).
 
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