For those of you expecting the usual X-rated banter about me dreaming of an eternal felating session from Kate Upton or a sordid tale about how I get a mega-chubby every time I hear the song "Flames Go Higher" by The Eagles of Death Metal, you can save your fucking 15 minutes and stop reading this post now. For there will be no references to me being asked kindly to 'not beat up the patrons' of the Bier Station -even though they deserved it -nor any defamatory epithets tossed like Peyton Manning throws touchdown passes at Mile High. No, dear readers, this entry is going to get down to the business of finally declaring a winner in the bloody, drawn-out fight for the King of The 29+: too bad to the victor goes the spoils of my swamp-crotch mounting it on a bi-weekly basis; the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory.
If anyone needs a refresher course in the bikes we are about to discuss in Newtonian detail I will give you an old-fashioned first:
Case study one: A Jones Spaceframe - steel - with Truss fork. Set up with Surly Rabbit Holes front and back...front tire is a 3" Knard, the rear a Conti 2.4 Trail King, which when stretched on the 50mm rim measures 2.55".
Case Study two: A Surly Krampus -size Medium, with Rabbit Holes and 3" Knards front and back.
I will not bore you with a *14598 word description of the components that I built these bikes up with, because they are very similar ( i.e. stem length, bar width) especially considering they are both fucking single-speeds.
I have had the Krampus for about 8 months now and the Jones about 3: plenty of time to ride a plethora of trails in all varieties of conditions. But before I get into the way these bikes ride, I will actually attempt to reach beyond my abilities as a 3rd grade math dropout, and give you some measurements - more accurately known in my mind as 'just fucking look at it'. The major difference between these two bikes, as far as the frame is concerned, is the head-tube angle and rake of the fork. Of course, this translates to a wheelbase that is 1.5" longer on the Krampus, and because of the Truss fork stack-height, a 2" taller front end on the Jones. My inaugural ride on the Jones was very strange after spending the previous 6 months on the Krampus: it handled amazingly fast and responsive; yet seemed to be a rougher ride overall. Over time this has changed, in that I learned to move the Jones with a different riding position and weight distribution. The Truss fork is very stiff ( it is a 135mm spacing) but soaks up bumps quite nicely, as well as the rear triangle "truss" eating rocks and roots like a stoner and a stack of Totinos pizzas.
Believe it or not, the Jones handles this kind of technical trail better...
I will freely admit that it saddens me to assign the Heavy-weight belt to the Jones, mainly due to the fact that there are 5 Surly's in my house currently, and that I have owned 8 different models over the last 10 years. Don't get me wrong, the Krampus is an amazing trail bike...it's just that the Jones takes on ultra-technical trail with a greater ease, and rides faster than a stallion chasing a pack of slutty donkeys - a favorite pastime of mine, euphemistically speaking. The street value of these bikes is a bit different - $2000 for the Krampus ( as built), and $3200 for the Jones, but that in no way is pertinent in my opinion: it simply comes down to the frame/fork design in the end. The Krampus comes in a close second because it just feels slightly more sluggish under most conditions, and considering that my porky old ass needs all the help it can get in the speed department, any advantage - however minor - is not in any way similar to Jennifer Anniston and Angelina Jolie licking each other's nether regions: Brad Pitt wins either way.