Redline Monocog 29er SS

Eric “The Animal” Hunner was kind enough to let one of our riding buddies try out the Redline Monocog. Dan’s bike was in the shop getting some fork work done. This was Dan’s first experience on single speed and on a 29er. Read his first hand experience with the Redline Monocog.


Let me begin by saying this is my first experience with single speed riding, and if all single speed riding is like this, then I’m hooked.  Big thanks to the Animal for lending me the bike for about two weeks.  When I went to pick it up, the Animal instructed me not to return it till I had put 100 miles on it.  I talked him down to 50 miles, and called it a deal.  My normal rig is a 5″ travel, full suspension, geared bike, so I was more than a little leery of going full-rigid and being able to keep up with my normal group of riders with gears.  Before I go on, here is the basic info on the bike being reviewed.

Redline monocog

Setup:

Redline Monocog 29er Steel Frame w/ horizontal dropouts

32/22 Gearing

Carbon Cycles Exotic Carbon Fork

Shimano SLX Brakes 6″R/8″F

Shimano LX Cranks

26.5″ Bars w/ Ergon GP series grips.

WTB Exiwolf 2.3 Tires

One of the first things I noticed right off the bat was the improved carrying of momentum I have heard several 29er riders boast about.  The start of my first ride began on a gradual decline heading toward the main trail.  I noticed immediately that I wasn’t pedaling as much as I normally would in that section and started to take notice of the other riders around me (all on 26″ bikes).  They were keeping a nice even cadence about what I would say I normally did, but I was only giving two to three rotations on the cranks then coasting to keep the same pace, i.e. not pedaling as much as I normally would.  On the counter side of this, while the 29er did retain momentum well, getting it starting on an good incline was more than a little difficult.

Generally, I am not a good climber, on a good day maybe mediocre, but on the single speed I was able to power through sections that are tough to spin with gears. On my first ride with the Monocog through Aliso Woods Canyon, there are two “extra credit” single-track climbs at the top of the ridge that are typically tough climbs for me, but I felt like I walked up them on the single speed.  The efficiency of the single speed platform is undeniable!  For the first time ever, I was not dreading the next big climb.  The Monocog also did surprisingly well on downhill.  With no suspension you obviously can’t blow over and through everything in the same manner as a full-suspension bike.  Picking a good line was unequivocally the prime objective.  The first extended downhill section I took it on was some bumpy single-track with lots of tight, steep and off-camber turns.  I was impressed how well the Monocog held up.  I couldn’t rail through the turns in the same way I normally would on the full-suspension, but I wasn’t putting down the hill either.

I like the idea of the added support coming from the Ergon GP grips, but it took me several rides to get them adjusted to a comfortable position.  After experiencing them I am not sure I’m sold on the idea yet, and I’m still getting accustomed to them.  I believe the grips on the Monocog were the small size, and maybe I would be more comfortable with the large size, especially seeing that I’m running Ergon grips on my other bike which I love and are larges.  The bar ends on these grips were great.  Standing up on climbs, the bar ends gave me a lot more torque on the bars making climbing even that much easier.  The Exiwolf  tire from WTB seems to be a great rear tire, but I found myself wanting something a little gnarlier up front that handled cornering better.

redline monocog

This brings me to the only real issue I found with the bike.  I don’t know if this was skill level issue or just getting used to how this bike wants to roll, but I had trouble make sharp or quick turns at higher speeds and really railing the corners.  The first sharp corner I came to carrying some good speed on I completely washed out.  I was unable to really lean into the corners in the same way I do with my regular ride.

Overall, I give this frame a big thumbs up.  I loved the single speed platform.  It was just plain fun.  I think for my riding style I would pay the weight penalty for a front fork, but between the steel frame and the carbon fork, I didn’t get jittered to death by small bumps, and felt very tied to the trail in a good way.  Previously to riding the Redline Monocog, I had been researching a 29er hard-tail platform for more XC oriented riding and was considering building a 1×9, but after riding the Monocog I am convinced that SS will be the way to go for me!

Review: Sette Razzo Frame

Product Tested:
Sette Razzo


Sette Razzo 29er frame in size Large (20″)

Website’s MSRP:
$199.98

Specs:
Material Full 7005 Alloy, Double Butted Main Triangle
Welding Tig Welding
Recommended Suspension Fork Travel 80-100mm
Headset 1-1/8″ Standard
Front Derailleur 31.8mm Clamp Type, Top Pull/Top Swing
Bottom Bracket 68mm, English
Rear Hub Spacing 135mm
Max Rear Tire Clearance 2.3″
Seatpost Size 27.2mm
Seat Clamp Size 31.8mm
Brake Mount IS 51mm Standard Disc
Available Sizes Small (17″/43cm), Medium (19″/48cm), Large (21″/53cm)
Color(s) Polished Aluminum
Weight 3.2lbs/1.5kg (Medium Size Avg.)
Warranty 5 Years

About Me:
6’1” 210lbs, 29 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys XC riding.


Climbing on the Sette Razzo at Sycamore Canyon in Riverside.

Testing Grounds:
Marshall Canyon, Sycamore Canyon, Fullerton Loop, Bonelli … and many other trails in Southern California.

First Impressions:
The frame was light. The Large version came in at a pretty light 3.5 lbs which is comparable to frames 2 to 3 times the price. The polished look is nice and the graphics are understated. The welds are not pretty resembling toothpaste being squeezed out than the clean stack of dimes look. But for this price you can’t have everything and the bike provides most everything else in spades.


Even with a non-bling build (bb5, low end fsa cranks), the weight of the complete bike came out to 22ish lbs

Strengths:
The frame is light. Light enough to race. Light enough to be considered a light frame out there in 29er land. This means that even if you’re throwing heavy parts on it, which I most assuredly did, you’ll still end up with a relatively light bike. My SS build, other than the carbon fork and 200 gram saddle, was not an exercise in weight weenism and the bike still came out to a very decent 22ish pounds. I’m not a gram counter, but this bike is definitely the lightest non road bike I’ve ridden. Other then the fork and saddle, the whole build could lose a LOT more weight easily.

For a 7005 series aluminum frame, the ride is really pretty good. It is definitely not harsh like some other frames I’ve ridden before. Now, don’t get me wrong, you will not be mistaking this for steel, but it’s quite comfortable as long as you keep in mind that it is an aluminum bike. In one particular instance from this past weekend, I remember riding down a skinny singletrack trail with babyhead sized rocks. Immediately after that, the singletrack widened into doubletrack but went up through more rocks that were bigger. Both coming down and going up that part of the trail was, I wouldn’t say comfortable but, do-able. I didn’t feel totally beat up because of the rocks going down or up.


Sette Razzo enjoying the fun singletrack at Bonelli.

The Razzo has held up very well under me. I’m 210lbs but geared up with a full camelbak I go about 220-225 and this frame has been very good. I had no issues with flex which I would definitely have noticed since I have only run this frame as a rigid singelspeed. Climbing and descending would have definitely shown me some flex issues in this particular setup.

I also did not have any issues with the welds even as I’ve ridden it through some fun Southern California terrain. On a side note, riding rigid singlespeed has really been a revelation to me in the simplicity of a rigid, ss, mechanical disc brake bike. With less complexity, the bike really has less of a chance of having any issues. Just lube up the chain, check the tire pressure and I’m off.


Toptube plate… not sure what it is there for… maybe it lends more strength to the toptube/seattube junction.

The price is very competitive if not an absolute steal. Some people have bemoaned the fact that the Razzo costs so little compared to other 29er frames out there. I don’t. I’m all for more options and at this price the Sette Razzo really gives you a lot of options. This bike can be run in so many different ways from ultra light & fast race bike with really good weight weenie parts to a total beater with parts bin components used. The sturdy, comfortable hardtail frame can easily go high or low end or something else in between without feeling as if the frame didn’t match the purpose.

Weakness:
A frame at this price will have its cons. The first one most people don’t notice unless they look very closely is that the welds are not pretty. The welds are functional but they won’t be winning any beauty pageants nor will they be getting any nicknames like Ventana’s Electric Sex welds. Weld beauty, though, is way down the list of important factors when it comes to a bike frame purchase. As long as the welds hold and it has under the testing from this clyde over the last 4 months, I’m ok with it.


Rear tire clearance at the chainstays are a little tight with a 2.1″ Miaxxis Ignitor

The rear tire clearance is not 2.3”. I mounted up a 2.1” Maxxis Ignitor and it fits fine, but I’m not going to be able clear much mud at the chainstays. The seatstays had plenty of clearance for bigger rubber though. No problem for me as I don’t really want to run anything bigger than that on this bike but for those looking to build the Razzo into a burlier trail bike would want to consider this issue. Your milage may vary as I’ve seen some people run 2.25” rubber back there without issues.

Summary:
Simple, light, comfortable, stiff and priced very well, the Sette Razzo really has a lot going for it. These traits could also be one of the reasons why the Razzo is the #1 selling Sette frame. Small issues like beauty of the weld and rear tire clearance are really outweighed by the many pros of this excellent 29er frame. Get one while they’re still available.

For more info on the Sette Razzo, click here.

Sette Razzo = Single Rigid

OK, no it doesn’t, but mine is. My Sette Razzo build is more of a parts bin build than Joe’s White Zion, but I’m not jealous since mine is a 29er! 😉 The Sette Razzo came to us just under two weeks ago from pricepoint and after finding some parts and picking up a tensioner kit, we finally have it built up.

The shiny finish on the Razzo makes matching anything to it pretty easy

The decision to go SS was quite easy. Everyone else was doing it, so why not me? j/k. I’ve been intrigued with SS ever since I picked up a SS commuting bike. I have been enjoying my singlespeed commutes to work so much that I knew the next logical step would be to try it out on the trail. Of course my commute to work is nearly flat and the trails are… well not flat. At times, I do wonder what kind of pain I’ve gotten myself into.


Got to run the bigger rubber up front for more cush. Rigid is tough on the body, but big wheels and bigger rubber makes up for the lack of suspension

Rigid was an easy decision as well. I really liked the eXotic Carbon fork on a previous bike so it was an easy call to go back to rigid for the Razzo build. A carbon fork which dampens some of the trail chatter plus a wide front tire provides me with enough cushion for most of the rides I’ll ever do on a singlespeed bike… at least that’s what I currently think. We’ll see if that changes with more saddle time. One thing I’ll have to be aware of is how much air pressure I run up front. I want enough to prevent pinch flats, but not so much as to lose the cush.


Forte’s Singlespeed Conversion Kit made for an switch to SS. Not the cleanest look, but effective

The easiest decision was getting the Forte Singlespeed Conversion Kit. I received a gift card to Performance for Christmas and we’ve had some good feedback in regards to the kit. But if Performance sold the White Industries Eccentric Eno Disc Hub, I’d have a much more difficult time with the decision. Thankfully, they don’t and my wallet is safe.


Shiny spacers to go along with the shiny frame. Props to our master mechanic RL for all the help with the build

First ride will be this week. Running through some of the geometry numbers shows I might need to shorten up the stem a little. We’ll see, though. Geometry numbers are just that: numbers. Although geometry numbers can indicate a lot of different things, riding is still the best way to determine comfort. Riding the bike will let me know for sure whether I need to perform a couple of parts swaps. Keep checking back in as I get in some rides on the Sette Razzo.

One-Month on the eXotic 29er Carbon fork & twenty6 levers

I’ve got a couple of quick impressions on some items I’m testing. Each one has been on the test bike for about a little over a month and I’ve been able to put in a lot of rides on them since there has been excellent weather here in Southern California.


eXotic Carbon 29er fork, light, stiff & strong

The first item I’m testing is the eXotic Carbon Rigid 29er fork. The bike I’m testing the carbon fork on originally came with a nice steel fork. I’ll always be thankful for that steel fork because it really turned me on to riding rigid, so much so that I did not want to go away from it to ride a squishy up front.

Now that I’m back on the rigid my love for riding rigid has returned. Not only that but because its carbon, the front end is now so much lighter and trail chatter has been reduced. I took it out to San Juan trail and had a great time riding it both up and down the singletrack. I enjoyed the climbs because the carbon fork dropped about 2 lbs off the bike and I could definitely feel the reduced weight at times. As we were resting at the top, I did think it’d be a sufferfest back to the car. Although I did suffer a little the precision & predictability of the fork more then made up for it.


twenty6 dualie levers, very purty, very effective

I’m also testing out a set of dualie levers from twenty6. These are fitted to my Juicy 7’s and they’ve been great over this first month’s testing period. I originally swapped out just one of them so I could compare the difference between the stock Avid lever and the dualie lever. After a few weeks I swapped out the second lever to make things feel the same for me because there is a difference.

I’ve even had a chance to do a crash test with this lever and they not only survived they still look great. I really appreciate that the brakes grab earlier in the lever’s pull and due to the shape, they don’t end up squeezing my fingers when I’m braking hard. With the stock levers I’ll occasionally brake so hard that I have to go from one finger to two finger braking otherwise Mr. Tall would get pinched underneath the lever. With the twenty6 levers I don’t have this problem. One finger braking, which I prefer to do, works fine.

I’ll be putting some more time on both the fork and the levers before I write up a final review. Keep checking back in for more.