Saturday, April 10, 2010

MONSTER Cross - update to the On-One Inbred

After cruising around on the CX bikes, I'm thoroughly enjoying the drop bars. Not only are they comfortable, the control is remarkable. My curiosity arose when I started reading about the use of dirt-drops on and then reading Shiggy's post about why he uses drop bars.

My On-One Midge bars originally were on my Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno, and after being berated by my traditionalist brother regarding true CX bars, I replaced them. I'm glad I did, however, the Midge Bar needed a home - BADLY.

The Midge Bar is an incredible piece of work. Don't know how On-One managed to inject magic into the design, but as weird as they look, they work. I don't think they work well for a traditional cyclocross build, but if you're building a drop-bar MTB, these are definitely a great option.

There has been a thread on since 2007 called, "I Beg You - MORE MONSTERCROSS", and the weirdness that spans that thread is incredible. When I say "weird", I mean it as a compliment. And for a non-traditional guy like me - why wouldn't I go Monster Cross on my Inbred?

The changes I made was I had to first buy a high rise, short stem with a clamp area of 26mm to work well with the dirt drops. Dirt drops are not intended to be used in an "aero" sense. Rather, they are used to offer a non-traditional "hand shake" hand position which seems to be easier on the wrists and offers a better range of motion for the body.

I went up a tooth on my chainring and swapped out my Magic 80 29'er fork for a steel Kona one. Since I am now using road levers, there is really only one disc brake caliper that is compatible - Avid BB7 road disc brakes. The braking isn't absolutely perfect (kinda mushy, TBH), but much better than the Tekro Mech calipers I had on there before.

I also thought it'd be a good time to upgrade my tires. The Kenda Karmas were garbage. The rolling resistance was high and they provided no traction on loose stuff. I read that the Geax Saguros had some good reviews, so I went that route. Again, these were mounted using a Stan's Tubeless system.

Lastly, I upgraded the bar tape. Now, I've used cheap Forte' stuff, Profile, Cinelli, Fizik, Specialized and Soma Thick and Zesty. Out of all of those, my favorite have been the Specialized and Soma tape. Both were easy to wrap and you couldn't tear it on installation if you tried, especially the Soma tape. The worst was the Fizik - it wrapped horribly and tore; it was a waste of $20. I did put gel inserts under the wrap to add comfort.

I descended Stiles Trail yesterday (pre-installation of the rigid fork) and the drop bars were surprisingly awesome on the insane rocks. I'm going to take this bike out today and see how it contends, but I have a feeling it's going to be great.


  1. Sweet rig. How do you like the ride so far?

    I have the same frame and considering putting a Midge bar on there.

  2. Hey Jose,

    I ride nearly everyday, and I unhang this bike when I need to "chill" a bit - the 'cross bike requires a bit more energy. I've done extremely technical climbs with this and it's awesome.

    As far as the bars go, I've switched to alternative bars on all my bikes, except my full-suspension which I only ride a few times a year. Since then, I've expereinced NO hand numbness that I've encountered with risers and flats. I also like the feeling if being "in" the bike rather than "on top" of the bike - if that makes any sense.

    I've had this bike for (almost) a couple of years, with a riser bar and a suspension fork. I like it much more in its Monster 'Cross form.

    I'm currently building another Monster Cross bike by fitting some 700c wheels on an old Jamis MTB frame with the Midge bars, as well. It's made up of misc. parts I had in my garage. Unfortunaltey, unless I get Mavic V Brake adapters, I'm stuck with using side pull brakes on this one. As long as I stay out of the mud, I can still ride the new one on the dirt.

    Stay tuned for the build pics in a couple of weeks!

  3. I see you have a Mary bar too. How would you compare Mary vs Midge? A bit o' apples and oranges, but my guess is that the Mary has a slight edge for really technical stuff, and the Midge is more comfortable due to the extra hand positions.

    My SS inbred is set up with Mary bars and the on-one carbon fork. It is a blast on local trails.

    But, I have a Reba fork I'm about to put on it and I might try out the Midge set up (before I cut the fork!).

    I've been reading the internets on drop bars for MTN biking (GuitarTed, Shiggy, Matt Chester, etc) and am intrigued, but not sure the difference between the Mary and the Midge is enough to try it out, since the Mary resolves some of the same issues an offroad drop does.

    I sure do like the look of your Inbred with drops, thats for sure...

  4. Thanks Jose! If you read my review of the Mary bar, my only beef with it is that I feel that it's a bit narrow for the alternative bar category. I would've loved to see them wider to leave the option for smaller riders to cut them if necessary.

    I still get a *slight* numbness with the Mary bar, although not as bad as with risers or flats.

    The Midge bar is a mile wide which RULES for SS climbing. :)

  5. May i ask what size inbred this is, and what length, and what is degree of rise of the stem

    P.S. bike looks great

  6. My frame is an 18"; I really don't know about the stem anymore, but I do remember it being in the 70mm range at 40 degrees (I think).

  7. sup bro, wondering if you have the monster cross still? if so hows it on the road with some road tires....

    1. I don't have my 29'er set up this way anymore.