Searching for satisfactory components can take a while and bring about many direction changes - as I'm sure BogusOne can attest to. For instance, with this build the final look was only determined after it became clear that I wouldn't be able to get my hands on a green DVO Diamond fork in time. Seeing it all come together in the end is rewarding and a big part of why I go the bike build route rather buying a complete bike.
Frame: Mercer Bikes Hungry Monkey
Frame builder: Mercer Bikes
The inspiration for the Hungry Monkey's look came from the big screen. The idea really took off when I saw custom paint jobs Field Cycles did on two of their bikes. I have become a big fan of their work and the incredible passion and attention to detail is obvious. Pearl Drums nailed the coffin shut when they showed a unique colour kit at the 2015 NAMM Show. I shared my ideas with Anton (BogusOne) and he took the initiative from there.
Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 Dual Position, 150mm
Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems
There is not a lot that needs to be said about the Pike, as it's reputation precedes it. For the first time in years, I have gone with a dual position fork. This was done for two reasons. Firstly, there was the desire to compare how it feels out on the trails to fixed travel forks. Secondly, I thought it could be a good fit on the Hungry Monkey as the ability to drop the travel will come in handy when tackling technical climbs or using it as a "play" bike.
Wheelset: Derby Rims / Industry Nine Torch Hubs / DT Swiss Aerolite Spokes
Derby Rims were the first properly wide, competitively priced and durable carbon rims to hit the market. Launched in the U.S. in 2013, they have proven themselves to be reliable, strong and a popular choice for custom wheel builders. I won't go into too much depth on the wide rim debate here, but I consider myself a believer following a good couple of months on a set of American Classic Wide Lightnings. The 34mm Inner / 40mm Outer profile of the Derby rims is a level up from the American Classics and if all the glowing reviews on the Ibis 741 rims (35mm Inner / 41mm Outer) are to be believed, then I shouldn't be disappointed with these.
I picked Industry Nine hubs for their reliability, crazy sound, adaptability and super fast engagement. For what they offer, they are very competitively priced and the fact that one can order them in all sorts of anodised colours adds to the lure.
Going with a complete Industry Nine wheelset with red spokes was an option, but I soon realised that I would struggle to match the anodised red with the overall look of the bike. Instead, I opted for DT Swiss Aerolite spokes for their look, competitive weight and the wider profile of bladed spokes.
Drivetrain: SRAM X1
Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems
Chosen for the value it represents over its 1x11 siblings and (to be perfectly honest) being all black. I am looking forward to giving SRAM's entry 11-speed mountain bike groupset a go and comparing it to the XX1 and X01.
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 125mm drop
Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems
Another RockShox product that doesn't need much of an intro or explanation. I like how the Stealth version keeps things neat and tidy, and being black plays well the overall look. In three years, I've only had one mechanical on a Reverb and that was when an OTB incident tore the hose and locked the post in the dropped position.
Brakes: Hope Stealth Tech Evo with 183mm floating rotors
Distributor: International Trade
The only piece of kit that has survived from my Ibis Mojo HDR build. Back then RockShox's Guide range of stoppers were just announced. It will be interesting to see how the Hope brakes fair against the Guide RSC's that I'm running on another bike. So far the RSC's have been faultless, but can they compete long term with Britain's finest? Time will tell.
Tyres: Hans Dampf TLR 2.35 front, 2.25 rear
Distributor: Stage N9NE
I had these tyres on another bike and was impressed with their all-round performance; although sand seemed to be their weakness. Having experience with these tyres, I decided use them as a benchmark to assess the impact that the Derby Rims have on tyre performance. The tyres have been converted to tubeless using the supplied Derby rim tape and Stan's NoTubes sealant.
Pedals: Point1 Podium
Distributor: Not available locally.
Not as sticky as Spank's Spike flat pedal, but I had these in the parts bin and will probably ride them until they die.
Bottle Cages: Specialized Zee Cage II with EMT Cage Mount Tool
Distributor: Specialized SA
Credit to Specialized for their range of S.W.A.T. kit and gear. It offers solutions to problems that actually exist and brings versatility to riders - prefect. With these I will be able to hit the trails without the need for a hydration pack and will only need a pocket for an energy bar or cellphone. (With only 1 broken chain and no flats on tubeless tyres in over 6 years, I feel it's a calculated risk to not carry any spares or additional tools with me on rides).
Handlebar & Stem: Easton Haven 35 Carbon 20mm Riser Bar, 750mm | Easton Haven 35 Stem, 50mm
It is incredible how much mountain bike geometry, set up and trends have changed over the last couple of years. The revolution has pushed gear and kit to new heights with innovation resulting in a number of new standards. One of which is handlebars and stems with a 35mm clamping area. The additional diameter has allowed manufacturers to keep the weight down and strength up on wider bars. Easton was one of the first big players to release 35mm bars and stems and it certainly looks like it's here to stay and possibly take over as the steering of choice for longer travel bikes.
Saddle: SDG Duster Mountain Ti-Alloy
Distributor: A-Line MTB and Outdoor
Speed Defies Gravity has got to be the coolest name in the business! It's not the only reason it made the parts pick. I've been riding SDG saddles for the last couple of years and have found them to my liking and they've proven themselves to be very durable.
Grips: ODI Rogue
Distributor: Cycles Africa
I have been a fan of ODI for as long as I can remember. With colour, width and feel options to suit just about every rider regardless of discipline. The Rogues have been my grip of choice, as they provide an extra bit of give without being too soft or spongy. Plus, they perform well come rain or shine.
Headset: Nukeproof Warhead 44IETS
Distributor: Dial'd Bikes
Along with a bike's bottom bracket, the headset is often an unsung hero expected to slave without much love and attention. This will be the first time I try a Nukeproof headset, but judging from the quality of their other gear I'm sure it will perform flawlessly.