Burt Reynolds Get’s a Facelift?

As you all know, Burt Reynolds is one handsome bike. For those of you just tuning in, that’s this bike right here.
burt reynolds
Yup he’s a handsome devil. But then I got to thinking…”Wouldn’t it be fun to mix things up again with Burt?” If you recall, Burt started off as 24speed entry level 29er. Then it went through a transformation that you see above as a single speed 29er with a rigid fork. I actually spent some clams on the drive train, fork and all sorts of small parts just to get it to become Burt ReynoldsS…yes two S’s for Single Speed.

But it got me thinking. I really love how the Airborne Goblin works, heck in my review I noted how much faster I was with the darn thing. But the fun has to come to an end because the Goblin is on it’s last few days with me. You see, he’s a demo bike and the kind folks of Airborne were sweet enough to let me use him to do some XC racing before I hand him back. With the thought if seeing the Goblin go, I was pretty sad. I then started thinking of ways on how I can continue to ride a 29er.

This is where Burt Reynolds comes in. He might just be my next project bike…again. So I was thinking that if I take LadyP’s old bike, a KHS XC604 with X0, 27speed drive train and strip it, I could use those parts on Burt, right? Ya why not. Though it’s not a fancy 2×10 drive train, I’m sure I’ll manage with it’s X0 level parts. Plus it has Avid Juicy brakes, an upgrade from Burt’s mechnical Tektro’s. The only thing that is a bit of a bummer would be the fork. Burt like its hard, therefore he rocks a rigid fork.

Well there you have it. So many ideas floating in my head about bikes, Burt, 29ers and all that jazz. I’m still not 100% certain that I want Burt to become a 29er with a 27speed drive train. But if he does convert, it might be an interesting ride…

Review: Redline Mono 9

Redline Mono 9
Redline Mono 9 ready for a morning ride

Who:
Redline Bikes

Product Tested:
Redline Mono 9

Redline Mono 9, Powder Canyon
Riding rigid takes some getting used to

Website’s MSRP:
$ 999.99

Specs:
Frame: Flight Double Butted Sanko Chromoly Tubing with fixed rear droputs.
Fork: Sanko Chromoly Taper Legs
Wheel set: WTB laser Disc Rims, Redline SB QR Hubs, Maxxis Ignitor 29 x 2.1 Tires
Drive: FSA Alpha 32T w Alloy Guard, Isis BB Sram X9 Short Cage Derailluer w X9 Trigger 12-32 9speed, PC 951 Chain.
Brake: Avid BB5 w 160mm Rotor.
Control: Ritchey Pro Bar, Stem, and Seat Post, WTB Rocket V SLT Saddle
Color: Warm Mineral Grey
Sizes: 15,17,19,21
Tested size 19 – Large

Redline Mono 9, Handlebar
Rithcey Pro stem/handlebar + Avid brakes + X-9 shifter. One less shifter cleans up the handlebar

About Me:
6’0? 210lbs, 28 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys rocking the big 29er wheels.

Testing Grounds:
Fullerton Loop, Chino Hills State Park, Powder Canyon, Santiago Oaks, Mt. SAC race… basically lots of So. Cal trails as well as the streets of Placentia, Fullerton and other N. Orange County cities.

First Impression:
A little apprehensive. Rigid? 9 gears? How was I going to make it up 5 miles of climbing in Chino Hills State Park with only 9 gears? How was I going to get through the rocky sections of Santiago Oaks? To say I was a little apprehensive about testing a rigid 9-speed was an understatement.

Once I got it out on my favorite trail though I was hooked. There’s just something about riding with less gears and a rigid bike. The feel is painful yet satisfying. I like it.

Redline Mono9
Mono 9 on her first group ride at Powder Canyon

Strengths:
The first thing about the bike is that it is aesthetically pleasing. The paint job is super nice while the gray decals and graphics against the metallic black are clean. The black background color is especially cool because it is a metallic (it has glitter in it, but not in the girly nail polish way) black. In fact the black metallic is so subtle that RL, someone who has seen the bike a ton of times since we got it in for testing, just noticed the metallic paint last week. Subtle, but really cool.

The Sanko steel frame makes for smaller diameter tubing than aluminum which looks sleek. The steel has a good feel to it that is different than the aluminum bikes I’ve ridden. The steel isn’t quite as harsh as aluminum, but still plenty harsh since it is fully rigid. Speaking of the frame, the frame geometry of the bike fits me very well. I’m 6 foot tall and have pretty average length arms/legs/torso. At my height the 19 inch Large fit perfectly and I haven’t had to change any of the cockpit items.

Redline Mono 9
Metallic black, digging the sparkle

The components group is especially good for this price. The Laserdisc wheelset are of average weight but can take some abuse. These wheels are 32 hole versus the more commonly found 28 hole Laserdisc wheelset. At my size and weight the wheels have held up nicely especially considering some of the technical trails I’ve rode them through.

The cockpit is good with Ritchey Pro parts which is just under Ritchey’s top of the line WCS. The Avid BB5 is a sweet set of mech brakes that happened to be very easy to dial in. The X.9 trigger and derailleur is also one step below SRAM’s top of the line X.0. Only the Redline grips have shown some wear over the months, but after initially taking some getting used to (my previous bike had Ergons), I’ve found them to be comfortable and quite grippy even without gloves.

I’ve been so impressed with the Mono 9 that I decided to race it at the Mt. SAC Fat Tire Classic this past weekend. I chose this bike mainly because I felt the geometry to fit me well, the parts were pretty good and it would be a great way to end my testing of the bike. Let me just say that the bike performed up to expectations and then some.

During one part of my race, I blinked and both of my hard contact lenses shifted in my eyes to a place where they were of no use. I have VERY bad eyesight. They’re so bad that without my contacts everything past 6 inches is fuzzy. I stubbornly continued riding for another half mile without my contacts in my eye before I finally relented and asked for some help from a volunteer. What is interesting about this is that during that half mile, I rode a sandy/rutty descent that lots of people washed out in. I was able to negotiate that difficult section without seeing partially because the Mono 9 is so easy to ride. The steering feels just right, not too slow and not too fast while the bike is quite stable for being rigid.

Redline Mono 9
Speeding down the last hill at the Mt. SAC Fat Tire Classic on the Mono 9

Weaknesses:
Low bottom bracket height. My current steed is a Gary Fisher X-Caliber and its bottom bracket height is a decent 12.4 inches. The Mono 9 has a 11.8 inch bottom bracket height. This half inch difference did take a couple of rides before I got used to it. The first couple of times I had some pedal strike when I went over rocks or logs but I quickly adjusted to this and I haven’t had any problems since. Also, because I mainly ride XC, I didn’t run into this problem very often.

I threw my chain 3 times in 3 months of riding (not bad, in my opinion) but I threw the chain 4 times during the Mt. SAC race. This was extremely frustrating. But thankfully, Redline has heard this complaint and for year 2008 it looks like they’ve added a clear bashguard to prevent throwing the chain.

Summary:
Redline has a strong following with mountain bikers purchasing their very good singlespeed Monocog and Monocog Flight. Branching out to make a geared bike was just a natural progression for Redline and, not surprisingly, the Mono 9 is another hit on Redline’s hands. For those of you who ride 3×9 and want less clutter and less maintenance but can’t fathom jumping to a SS, then the Mono 9’s 9 gears and rigid frame is the perfect setup for you.

For more info about the Redline Mono 9, click here.

Recent Changes:
Redline recently tweaked the Mono 9 for 2008 year. The first change you’ll notice when you jump to the website is that the Mono 9’s name has changed to the D460 29er. They’ve also changed the shifters and rear derailleur to X-7. Lastly, from the details on the website, the new D460 has a very cool looking clear bash guard.

Click here for a photo gallery of the Redline Mono 9 during the review period.