Building a Budget 23 Pound 29er

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Lightweight 29er Mountain Bike

It’s easy to say I have too many bikes but since leaving the industry full time and my amount of review bikes really rolling in I needed to slim down the stable.   One of these targeted weight loss areas was my mountain bikes.  Five months ago I had a 29er hardtail geared, singlespeed, 26″ full suspension (x2), 26″ single speed, 26″ hardtail geared and numerous frames not built.  Back in the fall when I started riding again I knew I wanted to get back to riding a single speed mountain bike pretty exclusively, atleast for what personally I owned and abused.

Lightweight 29er Mountain Bike

Budget Bike

Going with what I had in the garage I started with a Surly Karate Monkey frameset (MSRP: $465.) Next was wheels,  I had found a good deal about two years ago on clearance Bontrager Rhythm wheels (my cost : $100.) The other details:

  • Frame : Surly Karate Monkey (heavy)
  • Bontrager Rhythm Wheelset
  • Bontrager XDX Tires (Take off customers bike who didn’t want them = $30)
  • Avid BB7
  • Origin8 Space Bar
  • Race Face Stem (used at swap meet: $5)
  • Shimano Deore cranks
  • Thompson Seatpost
  • Fizik Vesta Saddle
  • Ergon GP-1 Grips

Finished Product

Lightweight 29er Mountain Bike

The Surly Karate Monkey is a great frame to start your 29er life on, it can be single speed or geared, disc or v-brake.  Plus, the price you can’t beat .   Without breaking the bank I got this single speed 29er to 23.15 lbs.  If I went tubeless and changed out some parts I’m sure I could get it closer to 21 lbs!

4 Comments on “Building a Budget 23 Pound 29er”

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  2. Nice build! That bike looks like a lot of fun!

    I just picked up my first ever 29er; a circa 2006 single speed Jamis build with Bontrager wheels, BB7 brakes, and a Crane Creek Thud Buster seatpost! Now, 29ers are officially my favorite bike! I was actually thinking of getting some lighter parts (frame, fork, and wheels) and seeing if I could make a lighter bike for commuting/getting back into shape/training for 29er races. Any suggestions? Any help would be grand. I’m hoping to be able to use my 29er year round with the addition of slicks in the warmer months.

    1. I often have set customers up with an extra set of wheels with slick tires to get “dual use” out of their 29ers. I wouldn’t go into completely rebuilding the bike everytime, but a set of wheels with tires and cassette will do the trick. Just make sure not to put too much wear on one cassette and not the other!

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