For three years now I have been riding a Redline Monocog Flight 29er. Aside from the Pugsley in the winter the Monocog has become my favorite bike to ride. I've raced with it, rode single track with it, miles and miles of gravel forest roads. It has seen every imaginable condition aside from winter riding and it has always performed flawlessly. Now this is not an expensive bike by any means. As a matter of fact it was down right cheap (economical) and many mtn. bike purists probably look down upon it because it isn't what you would call a top of the line bike. As a matter of fact, two years ago when I decided to upgrade it with better and lighter components there were those that scoffed at the idea. Why would he spend good money to upgrade a Redline? What the hell is wrong with him? The upgrades cost more than the original bike! He's a fool! Maybe I am, but I really love this bike. Elitist snobs I say. So what is it that makes this bike special? In my eyes, everything! The price for one, good geometry that provides a smooth and comfortable ride, sliding rear dropouts that can be set up for either ss or a geared setup, and good quality. Yes, I said good quality, right down to the paint. Definitely nothing fancy or frivolous on the basic model which I rode for a year before deciding to upgrade and lighten it up.So, what were the upgrades? First of all a Chris King headset. Next was a White Brothers rigid carbon fork. A very cool upgrade for any rigid mountain bike. Wheels were the next item and most expensive. I went with WTB Laserdisc Lite hubs, with Salsa Delgado Cross rims and DT Swiss spokes which all together make a light and beautiful wheelset. I rounded out the the rebuild with a Bontrager Race X Lite carbon seatpost and Race X Lite carbon riser handlebars.
The saddle was replaced with a WTB Vigo, but that has just been replaced with the WTB Rocket V Team saddle. (white in color) I think white saddles are very cool and I have white saddles on all of my bikes. The original build came with Avid BB5 disc brakes which I had thought about replacing with the BB7s, but I've got them dialed in and haven't had any issues they have remained.
With all the upgrades the bike lost nearly 3.5 lbs. of weight and it really is a damn sweet bike that I hope to continue to ride. If something should happen to the frame it is cheap to replace or I could upgrade and just swap out components.
I am however desiring another 29er with gears. I can convert the Monocog to a geared setup by simple order a sliding rear dropout with a derailleur hanger. However I want to keep it a single speed. The new bike I'm looking at is the new Salsa El Mariachi. This bike, like the Redline can be run either ss or geared simply by changing the drive side dropout. Plus, I love the sweet blue color, nearly the same as the Redline. The color grows on you after awhile. The other I'm liking more and more because of my passion for riding gravel is the Salsa Fargo. I really think this is a very cool bike.