September 26, 2007
The steel frame is bullet proof and a great single track downhiller. 29er wheels roll with more power over obstacles than 26ers. I don't sense much of a weight penalty while climbing either. Actually, since they roll over roots and rocks better than 26er's they seem to climb better too.
The bullet proof frame is on the heavy side, 5.5 lbs. The 29er wheels do add weight, especially the tires, relative to 26er's.
I've got my Monkey geared as an 8 speed (32 in front, 12/28 cassette in back). It's also got White Brothers Magic 29 100mm fork. Most monkey owners like to run theirs rigid (i.e. no suspension). I ran it like that for the first dozen rides, and it was a great XC bike.
But, the suspension fork is the way to go in my opinion (especially if you like to blast over rock gardens and larger obstacles).
All told, mine weighs in at just under 30 lbs. For the price, this frame is hard to beat.