|Black and yellow 2008 Redline Monocog 29er.|
|New-to-me 2008 Redline Monocog 29er, size XL (21").|
|As long as it has wheels and she gets to run along with it, Scout approves.|
|I really like the Monocog's Atari-esque '80s style graphics.|
|Nothing groundbreaking here, just dependable Avid BB7 disc brakes; 160mm rear, 180mm front. The Redline chain tensioners make for rock solid wheel placement. A 20-tooth Surly cog is obscured from view.|
|Even though the frame came with a square taper bottom bracket, I opted for the 175mm TruVativ Firex crankset Gypsy Nick left with me during his last visit. I installed a new Surly 32-tooth ring and a bash ring.|
|VP Components VP-001 pedals are much flashier than their name implies. Gold, of course, to complement the Monocog's Pac-Man graphics.|
|Nicely wide Salsa Rustler Bar 2, Ergon GP1 BioKork grips, and Avid levers finish off the controls.|
The Salsa Rustler bar does not disappoint. The frameset came with a no-frills Redline 100mm stem with a 31.8mm clamp area that, when mated with the Rustler, makes for a super stable and confidence inspiring tiller. I can't believe I rode with much narrower bars for so many years, as was the style beginning in the late '80s and continuing for a couple of decades. I remember having bikes back in the old days with bars in the 540mm neighborhood, some of which I cut down even further for some long forgotten reason.
I finished off equipping the frameset with a few odds and ends from my parts bin, including a Thomson Elite non-offset 26.8mm seatpost, a Specialized saddle, the single-speed WTB rear wheel from Julie's Raleigh XXIX, an off-the-shelf WTB/Deore front wheel, and a pair of barely used WTB Exiwolf 2.3" steel-bead tires. Decent, pragmatic, journeyman-type parts to mix in with the sparkly, splurgy new bits.
However, I wanted to enter the 29er world fully, and felt the transition demanded something more. In this new world, tubes would be a thing of the past. I explored the options and decided to go with what some term 'ghetto' tubeless, but what I will call, for a more enlightened audience, 'handyman' tubeless. I pieced together the process from a number of online resources, of which vast numbers can be found with a quick search. It seems to me that the 'handyman' method has many more than one correct answer, much like any handyman endeavor.
At this point I'm certainly no expert, but I'll outline what worked for me in the following photos.
|Start with the bare rim. I inserted the wheel in a truing stand for convenient access, then cleaned the rim with rubbing alcohol and let it dry.|
|One inch (25.4mm) wide Gorilla tape is inexpensive and comes in a roll long enough for about four 29er rims.|
|The Gorilla tape fit just inside the bottom of the channel of my WTB Speed Disc rims (labeled 26mm) just right, without going up the sides where the tire bead will be seated in a subsequent step. I overlapped it about 6 inches at the valve hole.|
|The next step is to install the tire (sans tube) on the rim, and thread on a Presta to Schrader adapter, if, like me, your air compressor is Schrader only.|
|These items come in handy.|
|I used a little more than 2 ounces of Stan's sealant per tire, assisted by a syringe. Once the sealant is in, pop the bead back into the rim and air it up again. Remember, 40 psi max.|
I will say that even at this early stage, I have to deem this experimental testbed a success. Unsurprisingly, I've confirmed that the big 29" wheels feel more proportional to my body size than standard 26" wheels ever have. The bike also has an instant familiarity to me similar to that of my Pugsley, with its similar rolling diameter on 26" x 3.8" fatties. Added to that, it is astonishing how a wide handlebar creates a nearly perfect symbiosis between rider and bike. If you've never tried wide bars and are an XL-sized dirt bike nerd like me, going wide may change your off-road life forever. Any dirt bike with a bar much narrower now gives the impression that I'm on a tiny circus bike.
So far, I'm really impressed with the Monocog. Though its straight-gauge 4130 chromo steel tubing makes it ipso facto not a light weight, the bike feels well balanced and spritely, which is what matters to me. I don't know what it weighs and don't particularly care.
Time will tell what the future holds for this bike. Perhaps some gears at some point, possibly via internal hub. Maybe a 100mm -ish suspension fork. Hopefully some camping. In the mean time, I can say with confidence that the Monocog is vying for top ranking with the Pugsley as the best dog bike in the household, and will likely rack up more than its share of outings over the coming months.
|Test fit: a Revelate frame pack built for a 20-inch Pugsley on the XL Monocog.|