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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two bikes. One is a Specialized Hard Rock that I bought new on a closeout deal a year ago. It is a size XXL. a 23" frame. Although I am 6'2" with a 36inseam and long arms, I am still too small for it. I also have a GT LaBomba dirt jumper. I am having trouble selling it. What I am thinking about doing is buying a 20" Karate Monkey and swapping all the best parts from the two bikes. Then selling off the frames and leftover parts. I cant seem to raise the funds to buy a complete bike. Any comments or advice? I am wanting to build a long trail/camping rig. Plus I ride a gravel fire road 7 miles to work a few times a week.
The GT has a 1x9 SRAM X7 drivetrain. Avid elixir1hydros with a 180front/160rear. It has FSA Gravity cranks, It has 26" wheels which wont work obviously but the hubs are pretty beefy.
The Hard Rock has SRAM X3 3x7 and a bunch of other cheap Suntour parts. But it has 29"wheels.

I figure I could get her rolling, then ebay off the frames and parts to buy a good suspension fork and wheel-set, and have a pretty good trail bike
Do you think the 20" is the right size?
 

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If you're riding a XXL bike right now and it's not big enough, I'd imagine a 22" Karate Monkey would fit you much better than a 20". Does anyone around you sell Surly? I suggest test riding one to see how it fits. The Surly Ogre is made in an XXL frame, so you may have to consider that. It's hard to say, see if you can test ride some bikes locally, or really crunch some numbers to make sure you're getting something that fits (comparing your body geometry to your current bikes geometry to Surly's geometry charts). You may actually want to consider an Ogre anyway because it's pretty much the touring/camping version of the Karate Monkey. It's got the same geometries, but has more rack/fender/gear mounting options than the Karate Monkey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No no, I am needing a smaller bike. The XXL is too big for me. There is no Surly dealer around these parts. Everyone has been recommending a L or 20" frame. I have been test riding some L and XL bikes, but they are all XC bikes. I don't know if there is a difference. I think a large fits me well, I am just worried about the long run. Everyone keeps talking about test riding bikes. Riding a bike around the parking lot to see if it fits doesn't seem to make a difference to me. They kinda all feel the same, maybe its a lack of riding experience. The XXL felt okay in the parking lot but once I started putting some miles on it and riding technical trails I realized how big it really was.
What I like about the Karate Monkey is that it seems so versatile. Not a hard core XC rig, but not a touring bike either. I have been searching the net, and it seems like people are doing any and everything with their KM. You don't see too many Specialized FS's with sleeping bags zip tied to them. Or Carbon road bikes with suspension forks and knobbys, but I've seen pics of KM's with slicks and dropper bars.
Paying $700 for a Ogre seems out of my price range for just some extra mounting points. Is there a big geo. difference?
 

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My bad :) I read that wrong, thinking you said the frame was still too small. So forget most of my last post. At your height and inseam, I would probably suggest an XL Karate Monkey. I am 6'3" with a 34" inseam and would go with a the same size. I rode an XL 1x1 for awhile and still had quite a bit of seatpost out of the frame just to get my legs at a good extension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay, I will look at a XL, what about the fitment of parts from the other two bikes? Bike shops keep trying to persuade me out of the frame build up route. They say its going to cost me too much. What they don't understand is that I own two bikes and I cant drop $1200 (at least) for another one. I feel like I am going to loose money on this deal regardless. I have about $2000 invested in the two bikes. Selling as whole bikes it's looking like I might get $1000. Let's say I use the brakes, drivetrain, bars, seat and hubs from the GT. I buy a set of good 32 hole rims ($40 to 60) and a set of spokes. Then I sell the Hard rock whole for say $150 and the GT frame and fork for $250. I can buy a pretty good used Reba for $400. Then I have a well set up bike for $500 out of my pocket now. Does that sound right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes I do realize technically that means I will have a $2500 Karate Monkey. But it's better than having $3200 invested in 3 bikes only one of which I actually ride.
Also the $2000 has already been spent.
 

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The parts should all be compatible. The one issue you may run into is that the rear brake hose on your GT dirt jump bike might not be long enough for a XL mountain bike frame. DJ frames tend to be shorter and smaller, so that would be something to consider. The 1x9 drivetrain and crankset you mentioned will work also. I'd suggest a new cable and housing for the Karate Monkey to ensure that it fits and is compatible. The KM has full length housing guides, so if your current bike doesn't it'll need replaced anyway to work with the frame. I'd also suggest getting a new headset with the frame, just to make things easier for you. Are you planning on building up your existing hubs into wheels or having a shop do that for you? For the price of rims, spokes, and labor, you could probably find a decent 29er complete wheelset.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Really? You wish the XL was bigger? Why?
Also regarding the wheels I was thinking about lacing up the wheels myself. Never done it before, is it really that difficult? I work on cars a lot, and part of the allure to building up a frame is putting it together myself. However I do not want to get in over my head, and mess up a good set of rims. The GT has a15mm thru axle in the front. And a regular skewer in the rear. 142x12mm.
 

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You can pick up a decent set of WTB wheels (used) for $150 or so. Mine's lasted for a few years, although it has been on a second bike most of the time (still going strong). I would buy complete rather than build for a first set of wheels. You can pick up some cheap wheels and rebuild them yourself for practice (or rebuild the ones you've got now), but to get rolling sooner, I would buy complete. Wheel building is really an art that people usually don't do well right off the bat.

Seems like you're mechanically inclined. I would pick up a set of tools from Nashbar or Performance ($50 for the kit) and work on it yourself. Lots of how-to's here and on youtube. Putting together a bike is a lot easier than the stuff I've done on a car, so should be relatively easy.

I usually buy my frames from bicycleoutfittersindy.com They have a 15% off coupon right on the site, and sometimes email out 20-25% off coupons. Got 3 Surly frames from them in the last 6 months. Great service.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I scored a KM yesterday on ebay. It is a 2008 20" with a origin 8 fork, bontrager stem, titek hellbent bars, no name seat and post, and bb7's. All it needs are wheels, and a drivetrain. I will try out my 1x9 off of the GT for a while, take the wheels off the hard rock. Should be here late this week or next week. I got it for $250 does that sound good?
 

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Not sure if you were planning to get a suspension fork or not, but I would give that rigid fork a try for a while first. I've gone all rigid forks for all my bikes. Less maintenance, better on-road ride, cheaper and lighter weight. Just get a fatter tire if the rigid seems too harsh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
oh yeah I will give rigid a shot. Wheels will be first. Then a suspension fork. I think 80mm non tapered shocks are going to be all over eBay over the next year. Since longer travel and tapered tubes are all the rage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks, I have been reading a lot about Mountain Bike Touring and Bikepacking. I am thinking it might be a good thing for my daughter and I to get into. Sorta "our thing".
I'm wanting to build the KM for that purpose. We have the Ouachita Trail near us which is about 100 miles long. I kept telling my wife that I wanted to ride to my moms house all on gravel roads sometime this summer. It's about 90 miles. I think stuff like that would be fun, and less dangerous. In my line of work I really cant afford the broken limbs, and other physical risks associated with going fast and jumping high.
 

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Yeah, I think that's why a rigid fork makes more sense than a suspension fork. You'll have to be going slower if you're riding with your daughter (just assuming she's slower than you...), so you won't really see any benefits from a suspension fork, but will experience all the negatives.

You may also want to look into selling the carbon On One fork and picking up an Ogre fork that has cage mounts on the legs. Would be great for your bikepacking trips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The front fork is an origin 8 not an on one, I'm assuming its not carbon. The trails around here are awfully rough, I have not seen anyone riding a fully rigid on any of them. Lots of rocks, roots and ledges. However, I really wonder if the suspensions are not just for bling. I keep saying I'm gonna put a Fox decal on my SR fork and get some respect at the local biker hangouts. I have not ridden a rigid on the trails yet so I don't know if the suspension helps or not. I will say I like the lock out feature on the recon I have on the dirt jumper. It helps when you are stroking it out on the pavement. If I do get a suspension fork, it will have a lockout.
I don't know if I could say I'm faster than my daughter. She is approaching 15 and is getting pretty fast. I think the bike is slowing her down. I ride a 2 yr old 29er with a suspension fork, she's stuck with a 90's GT 26" fully rigid with v brakes. It's not a bad bike really, but she is already talking about wanting a new bike for her birthday in July. If I really like the monkey, I might look into getting her one. That way neither one of us has an excuse for trailing behind. ;)
 
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