Monster Cross Defined: Part II

In my post from a little over a week ago, “Monster Cross Defined, I covered the general gamut of the types of bikes that are called “Monster Cross”. This post will look at how those bikes are getting used.

VooDoo Nakisi
The controversial VooDoo Nakisi will be available soon.

The Obvious: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Monster Cross rigs are off road rigs. The knobby tires, mud clearance, and brake choices give it away as such. However; just as there are several types of Monster Crossers, there are at least five times as many uses for them. Sometimes these uses are an intentional suggestion by the manufacturer or individual riders build out. Sometimes it isn’t so easy to tell.

Vassago Fisticuff
The Vassago Fisticuff will also be available soon.

Utilitarian Rig: Many Monster Cross rigs are work horse bicycles. Covering the gamut from bar hopper to commuter rig, from touring bike to part time road rocket, and everything inbetween. For some folks, it is the perfect all-rounder. Able to cover a vast amount of their cycling needs in one package is an attractive thing as far as Monster Cross is concerned for most folks. Hard to argue with that.

Rawland 650B
Versatility is the word with today’s Monster Cross rigs. This Rawland can run 650B wheels, and with the disc option can also run 29″er rubber and wheels!

Versatility, Options, Fun. Probably one of Monster Crossers biggest attributes is the versatility of the bikes, making even more uses available to the cyclist. Especially the newer ones to hit the market. Not only can you run road approved wheels and tres, but some of the newer models to hit the scene can even run full on 2.1″ 29″er rubber. A jack of all trades indeed!

Many are finding out that they can now own one bike and go almost anywhere, all in the same ride! “Mixed-terrain rides” are becoming increasingly popular all across the nation. Monster cross bikes seem to be tailor made for such adventures.

What do you use your Monster Cross rig for? Or, if you had one, what would you use it for? Let us know in the comment section.


No Responses to “Monster Cross Defined: Part II”

  1. John Says:

    Why is the VooDoo Nakisi controversial?

  2. Guitar Ted Says:

    John: It seems to have evoked a fair amount of criticism for its use of a short head tube. πŸ™‚

  3. Jimmythefly Says:

    Commuter, weekend tourer, and mountain bike rides with the missus.

    Trails that she finds enjoyable for mt.biking on her hardtail I find most enjoyable on my monster-xer (instead of my 29er hardtail -which gets used for MTB stuff with buddies). Usually this means any singletrack with few roots and large rock fields, not too technical.

    For the Seattleites I’m talking Banner Forest, CCC extension trail, St. Eds, Colonnade(limestone loop), some bits of Galbraith.

  4. Dirt McGirt Says:

    “It seems to have evoked a fair amount of criticism for its use of a short head tube.”

    People pick the weirdest crap to bitch about…..

    The bike is the straight HEAT.

    Nuff said.

  5. xchokex Says:

    I use it for everything. I commute everyday, ride to the trails then the trails, and I’ve even done some ‘cross racing on it. That is really the reason I purchased a 29er in the first place: One Bike Does Everything.

  6. Oderus Says:

    I’m with Dirt, people pick weird things to complain about. I remember when John Tomac used was racing his Yeti with road bars and a Manipoo fork. That was controversial back then. Turns out he was just a badass with the skills to back it up.

  7. Dust Says:

    How close are the geometries of a touring bike and a ‘cross bike? Could a touring bike, given the clearance of tires, be forced into some ‘cross riding?

  8. Guitar Ted Says:

    Dust: Typically cross bikes are “tighter and shorter” and touring bikes “slacker and longer”. Both generally have generous tire clearance up to about 40mm. Monster cross mixes in elements of mtb into this hybrid mix. A “Bicycle mash-up”, if you will.

    That said, there is no reason you couldn’t CX a touring rig.

  9. Jimmythefly Says:

    Dust -Are you talking about cyclocross racing or monster cross riding? I’ve done both with an old Novara touring frame that barely fits 42c knobbies.

    Also seen some folks on older rigid hybrids (Trek 730, Giant Innova, etc.) converted to drop bars and riding cyclocross. Good way to try it on the cheap, as those older hybrids can be found used in very good shape for fairly cheap. Some of the Trek 730 hybrids will fit 45c tires, but a lot of hybrids seem tight on clearance at the chainstays and you can only really go to 38 or 40c at most.

  10. radirpok Says:

    It just dawned on me that I’ve been using my 29er as a “monster cross” for over a year… It had a Midge flared drop bar, albeit a low-geared singlespeed. Then I realized that I’m in love with mountain biking, and also that I very much suck at it (most importantly in technical terms). So the Midge had to go and came a proper flat handlebar, wider tires, disc brakes were added etc. So much better now πŸ˜‰
    I also tried to re-create the ‘crosser on a different frame (this time: a fixed gear On-One Il Pompino). I sort of did, but it was just not good (and I spent 1.5 years of tweaking it, changing parts etc). It wasn’t a good road bike, and it wasn’t a good mountain bike either. I so wanted it to do everything, and in the end, it did nothing well – and now it is a winter training bike.
    That’s the problem with this concept IMHO: if you try to be good at everything you will be excellent at nothing. Mediocre, at best. But that’s just my 2 cents, of course… If you can’t afford more than one bike… well, it may just be your ticket. For me, no thanks πŸ™‚
    And yes, short head tubes suck… I know from first hand experience ;-P

  11. Milto Says:

    How short is short for that voodoo head tube. Can anyone point me to a website to look at Voodoo bikes?

  12. Guitar Ted Says:

    Milto: The Nakisi is too new to be on the site, but here it is:

  13. bhc Says:

    All this monster cross talk got me moving along on trying some Bontrager Jones 1.8(s) on my Cross Check. I gave it a quick ride tonight, quite the cushy feel. Getting ready to do some long dirt road rides in the Mojave National Preserve this spring with it.

  14. agu Says:

    Milto: check out the Picasa web album here –

  15. Brendan Says:

    I started riding 29ers after years of great on/off road rides with ‘cross bikes with 35s. It’s kinda funny that I’m now looking at monster cross rigs.. going backwards? Or, is it forward? It looks like we’re getting closer to that elusive “one bike” (you know, the one bike the practical MTBer would keep if forced to have only one). Short of DH and trials riding the new crop of bikes seem to fit the bill. Personally I thought the Karate Monkey was already there but maybe it’s weight, age, and our need for “new” bikes, relegated it to old news status?

  16. prphoto Says:

    I’ve noticed that handlebars seem to make the difference in the label (right or wrong). You show somebody a bike with no suspension, fat tires (>42c) and drop bars and it must be monstercross, switch the bars to straight, then its a 29er. The complete definition seems to be monstercross=700c wheels, >42c tires, no susp.,and drop bars. But change the bars and everyone screams 29er.
    My bike is a monstercross with straight bars.

  17. prphoto Says:

    I’ve noticed that handlebars seem to make the difference in the label (right or wrong). You show somebody a bike with no suspension, fat tires (>42c) and drop bars and it must be monstercross, switch the bars to straight, then its a 29er. The complete definition seems to be monstercross=700c wheels, >42c tires, no susp.,and drop bars. But change the bars and everyone screams 29er.

  18. John B. Says:

    This is fun reading. I love monstercrossers. To me, the whole idea evokes the origins of mountain biking when it was about squeezing the fattest, knobbiest tire on to an old bike you’ve had for ages and hitting the trails.

    In my mind, there are two elements – the “monster” part and the “cross” part. Fat, aggressive tires, like a monster truck or maybe just a monster, seperate the monstercrosser from normal cyclocross bikes, “all-rounder” type bikes, and balloon tired road bikes. Something reminesent of a cyclocross bike, whether its drop bars or traditional frame geometry, or both, seperates the monstercrosser from rigid mountain bikes. That’s my take.

    I think a touring bike could be made into a monstercrosser – that’s essentially what the Fargo is – and I would like to give it a try with my LHT. The LHT should be stout enough for offroad riding and it can fit a fairly fat knobby tire. Maybe it won’t be so good in singletrack, but should be excellent on fireroads and non-technical stuff. But if the LHT isn’t REALLY a monstercrosser by some objective definition, just a touring bike with fat knobby tires, that’d be okay with me too. πŸ™‚

  19. SinnerSpinner Says:

    Dust- re “touring vs cross”
    As “GT” said, touring bikes ARE longer and slacker. However, proper touring geometry features a LOW bottom bracket for loaded stability (lower than road), and absoulutely sucks for many off-road applications. Cyclocross geometry is built around a road bottom bracket height, or just a bit higher.. – horrible for loaded touring, and not ideal for commuting. This is a COMMON point of confusion, as it’s easier to to simply look at tire/frame clearance and evaluate a frame based on this alone. For example: many folks would compare the Surly LHT to the CrossCheck side by side when considering a touring/commuting rig. This is unfortunate as no one would settle for the CrossCheck after spending a week on the LHT. Yet, there are tons of commuter CrossChecks rolling around.
    Why does this bother me? The more people demand “commuter features” from their cross bikes, the more watered-down the cross geometry becomes. ie: taller headtubes, slacker angles, rack and fender braze-ons. The opposite is true for touring gemoetry. How hard is it to find a touring bike anymore with actual touring geometry..? (bb drop > 70mm)
    Let’s not contribute to the “blurring of the lines” between two completely different uses.

  20. jimmythefly Says:

    True enough. Although, I see it as people wanting more commuter features from drop-bar bikes in general.

    It’s the manufacturers who have decided to add these features to their ‘cross bikes(and try to market them as swiss-army-knife machines), rather than increase the tire clearance and provide bosses on their “road” bikes.

  21. kickball Says:

    I love the idea of MonsterCross. I ride a LeMond Poprad – steel frame, good clearance for nobbies, and disc brakes. Put on slick tires and it rides the Golden Gate Bridge and into Marin like a champ on the weekends, put on more tread and it commutes during the week like a pro, throw the nobbies on and it tears apart fire roads and trails. It’s my everything bike, an absolute beast, and definitely a monster.

  22. SKINK Says:

    Give me blurry impurity. I know it’s bad comsumerism ,but I want the one bike. A 29er with Edge composite rims gives the real possibility of a road/mountain bike, because of their lightness and durability. Too damn expensive of my bike shop income though.

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