I'm thinking about journeying some on the darkside and building an MTB. Why? I don't know. I'm a roadie and commuter, but once in a while I get the feeling that hitting some trails with friends would be fun.
I have a cyclocross bike that I commute on, which serves me for most applications to be honest, so I'm on the fence about this.
If I were to do a MTB build, I'd build a 29er, both for all the advantages offered, and because I could use my cross bike's wheels (which have LX hubs/135 rear), therefore saving money on the build itself.
The Karate Monkey stands out, but I have some concerns. For starters:
Why does almost every 29er frame have track ends instead of dropouts? This strikes me as being an amazing pain in the arse, as wheel removal will involve partially removing the rear disc caliper, plus fighting the cassette past the chain and derailer. Am I correct in these assumptions?
Surly's site has an entire essay about compatability issues with this frame and newer front derailers, disc brakes, etc. For anyone who rides one of these...is the frame really that "picky" about the build?
The seat tube is curved to shorten the chainstays. Are the chainstays so short that it causes funny/twitchy handling issues...and does that short length cause chainline issues, particularly if cross-chaining? (Short chainstays tend to exacerbate cross chaining problems.)
That's all I can think of. I'd appreciate comments from people who have built this as a geared bike, and are running disc brakes.