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It is everything I hoped for and am glad I didn't tinker with the geometry. "Bent at the knees, Iwan" has been my conscious and sometimes vocal reminder out on the trails as I soon realised I need to learn how to properly ride a hardtail again. I almost snapped my shins doing a drop off thanks to years on a dual suspension and the bad technique I've slipped into.

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Getting the front wheel, and whole bike for that matter, up in the air is the easiest I've ever had it on a bike that one can still pedal to the top of a trail. What is clear as day is the fact that the Hungry Monkey is a blast to ride.

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Sold on wide rims by American Classic's Wide Lightnings I decided to go one up and build a pair of Derby Rims. The 34mm Inner / 40mm Outer profile of the Derby rims are monstrous. I've had countless people who've asked whether it's a fat bike or 27.5+ because of the extra volume of the tires. I still need to find the sweet spot, but I've been running the air pressure lower and lower and the grip and traction just keeps getting better and better. 13 - 15PSI in front and 20PSI rear seems to be the way to go if the internet is to be believed.

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In a way I regret not trying it first with a more conventional wheelset as I'm not 100% sure where the comfort of steel ends and the extra squish of the rubber running on uber fat carbon rims begins.

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If you're considering one and are worried about the head angle on climbs then don't be. On the handful of rides I've done I've only used the lower setting of the dual-position Pike once and that was on the first ride while I was still trying things out.

I have however used it to access the "other bike". Riding a trail like Meerendal with it's flat flowy single track with the bike in 120mm mode is heaps of fun. With a head angle that's still slack for a 120mm the bike carves and rips the trail with more confidence than most dual suspension bikes of similar front wheel travel.

The Hungry Monkey with a dual position fork does make for a very versatile bike that will be fun for most riders. It will comfortably do a race on Saturday and carve a black route on Sunday.

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I still find myself looking down at the raw steel shining through the Bogus Designs paint job - pure trickery that would have seen him burned at the stake in the dark ages.

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My only let down so far has been the brakes. I've become used to the SRAM Guide RSC's on another bike I've been riding and the Hope's feel a bit wooden by comparison. Not at all what I was expecting. Will try a good bleed before I swap them out for either the new Tech 3's or Guide Ultimate that's coming the end of May.

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A big thanks to David Mercer for building a frame I've been dreaming about for years and to Anton (Bogus Designs) for blowing my mind with your attention to detail, creativity and incredible skill. Who knew building a mountain bike can be this rewarding?

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