It is everything I hoped for and am glad I didn't tinker with the geometry. "Bent at the knees, Iwan" has been my conscious and sometimes vocal reminder out on the trails as I soon realised I need to learn how to properly ride a hardtail again. I almost snapped my shins doing a drop off thanks to years on a dual suspension and the bad technique I've slipped into.
Getting the front wheel, and whole bike for that matter, up in the air is the easiest I've ever had it on a bike that one can still pedal to the top of a trail. What is clear as day is the fact that the Hungry Monkey is a blast to ride.
Sold on wide rims by American Classic's Wide Lightnings I decided to go one up and build a pair of Derby Rims. The 34mm Inner / 40mm Outer profile of the Derby rims are monstrous. I've had countless people who've asked whether it's a fat bike or 27.5+ because of the extra volume of the tires. I still need to find the sweet spot, but I've been running the air pressure lower and lower and the grip and traction just keeps getting better and better. 13 - 15PSI in front and 20PSI rear seems to be the way to go if the internet is to be believed.
In a way I regret not trying it first with a more conventional wheelset as I'm not 100% sure where the comfort of steel ends and the extra squish of the rubber running on uber fat carbon rims begins.
If you're considering one and are worried about the head angle on climbs then don't be. On the handful of rides I've done I've only used the lower setting of the dual-position Pike once and that was on the first ride while I was still trying things out.
I have however used it to access the "other bike". Riding a trail like Meerendal with it's flat flowy single track with the bike in 120mm mode is heaps of fun. With a head angle that's still slack for a 120mm the bike carves and rips the trail with more confidence than most dual suspension bikes of similar front wheel travel.
The Hungry Monkey with a dual position fork does make for a very versatile bike that will be fun for most riders. It will comfortably do a race on Saturday and carve a black route on Sunday.
I still find myself looking down at the raw steel shining through the Bogus Designs paint job - pure trickery that would have seen him burned at the stake in the dark ages.
My only let down so far has been the brakes. I've become used to the SRAM Guide RSC's on another bike I've been riding and the Hope's feel a bit wooden by comparison. Not at all what I was expecting. Will try a good bleed before I swap them out for either the new Tech 3's or Guide Ultimate that's coming the end of May.
A big thanks to David Mercer for building a frame I've been dreaming about for years and to Anton (Bogus Designs) for blowing my mind with your attention to detail, creativity and incredible skill. Who knew building a mountain bike can be this rewarding?