Hungry Monkey Part 4: The Ride

And so it ends. Or begins. The Hungry Monkey is up and running and all that's left to do is rip trails and contain my laughter and screaming (like a child) while out riding it.
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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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?

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39 Comments

popcorn_skollie, Apr 16 2015 10:11

That's cool as **** Mister. Only one theme song comes to mind

Iwan Kemp, Apr 16 2015 10:29

I'm somewhere between

 

 

and

 

SimpleDom, Apr 16 2015 11:58

What a machine. I have no words.

johanpre44, Apr 16 2015 10:53

Those wheels do almost look fatty sized!

 

Very nice...

Iwan Kemp, Apr 17 2015 12:39

What a machine. I have no words.

 

 

Those wheels do almost look fatty sized!

 

Very nice...

 

Thanks  :thumbup:

Cptmayhem, Jul 30 2015 09:50

I'm borrowing the monkey from Iwan for a while, and I took it to Hoogekraal for a quick spin in the wind yesterday evening.

What follows is an accurate representation of my experience and thoughts on the bike...

Oh. My. ****.

Wow. Just, wow. The stiffness of the frame fork & wheel combo was evident from the get go, and I didn't know quite how to react. It's easily the stiffness bike I've ridden, and I include my old schwinn carbon roadie sled in that list. Granted I'm not the fittest rider out there, and Raydek blasts me on the climbs but it truly was evident in it's climbing prowess. Took a bit of time to get used to, and a bit if time to get used to climbing a hardtail again (bounce bounce bounce over imperfections instead of just absorbing all of them with the rear squish) but when I got enough energy to get out of the saddle, this thing just took it as an invitation to mimic a top fuel dragster. The very short (but adjustable) chainstay length meant I had to keep my wits about me on the steeper switchbacks and hunker over the bars to prevent the front from lifting, but that for me is just a sign of how playful it could be on the way down, and something I can live with in the pursuit of more smiles.

Again, it took a bit of getting used to being on a hardtail again, but on the way down this thing excels.

The numbers say that with the pike set at 150mm, the head angle is 66 degrees. What those numbers don't tell you is that even though its slacker than most modern day trail / all mountain bikes, this thing turns in like an xc weapon with a 71 deg head angle and the wheelbase of a mosquito.

The combination of the Pike, 750mm carbon bars, 50mm stem & ridiculously stiff 40mm carbon Derby wheelset on that sublime steel frame means that the turn in is razor sharp and almost surgical in it's precision. So much so, in fact, that I nearly lost it about 3 or 4 times by over-turning - having to correct my course out of a corner because the bike had been that quick to change direction that it had caught me by surprise.

To be honest, I truly don't know how much of that stiffness and accuracy is as a result of Mr Mercer's wizardry in designing such a sublime frame, or whether it's got something to do with those ridiculously stiff Derby wheels, carbon bar & pike, but it's something that I'm going to have to determine by swapping out the wheelset with something a little bit less... boutique. If Iwan lets me, that is.

What I do know is that this bike is a RIDICULOUS amount of fun to ride, and (like the reign) is just begging for a fitter rider to be able to wring its neck.

Just on those Derby rims... 34mm internal, 40mm external. Almost plus sized dimensions. Hans dapmf tyres, which i don't normally like as they don't grip as well as the magic and muddy Mary. Running them at about 1.3 bar... The grip, she is amazing. I was expecting more grip than usual with the write ups that we've seen on wider rims and their qualities, but goodness gracious this was a surprise. Grip. For. Days. I NEED those rims. I don't just want them, I NEED them. After just 60 minutes on the bike, they made themselves that well known. The hype is real.

In closing though, this is one helluva bike. Capable (in the right hands) fun and just razor sharp. I'll be taking her out again tomorrow afternoon and Sunday, as well as through the next few weeks as I borrow her from Iwan. I really am looking forward to my time with this black vixen

Hairy, Jul 31 2015 12:10

I am just glad the bike looks like the A-Team van pic I posted previously ..... :P

 

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Raydek, Aug 06 2015 07:47

Iwan Kemp, Aug 06 2015 07:58

Seriously considered one of those, even spoke to the guys who agreed to ship one down south. But multiple delays meant I had time to look around and gave the Monkey enough time to appear on my radar.

In the end decided to support local and I figured 64HA will be a bit extreme for most of our trails.

Would still love to have a crack at one.

Ryanpmb, Aug 06 2015 07:58


I don't understand the point of this post?

How does it contribute to the Hungry Monkey review?

Raydek, Aug 06 2015 08:38

Seriously considered one of those, even spoke to the guys who agreed to ship one down south. But multiple delays meant I had time to look around and gave the Monkey enough time to appear on my radar.
In the end decided to support local and I figured 64HA will be a bit extreme for most of our trails.
Would still love to have a crack at one.


Ja, I must say I have always leant (and probably always will) towards full sus, but after seeing the Monkey in the flesh (and the 631 video), it seems like they could be seriously fun on the trails.

SimpleDom, Aug 06 2015 08:49

Ja, I must say I have always leant (and probably always will) towards full sus, but after seeing the Monkey in the flesh (and the 631 video), it seems like they could be seriously fun on the trails.

I loved my SS hard tail, and then I took it on the trail.

There is nothing more fun that steel SS on trails! So much fun! That Hungry Monkey must be an unbelievable experience.

Cptmayhem, Aug 06 2015 09:01

I loved my SS hard tail, and then I took it on the trail.
There is nothing more fun that steel SS on trails! So much fun! That Hungry Monkey must be an unbelievable experience.


I can feel it - I just need the fitness to back it up, man...

Matchstix, Nov 23 2015 07:44

Met Dave this weekend at the EzelEnduro, awesome guy and he whipped me on all stages on his hardtail.