Surly Karate Monkey 29er Hardtail
|MSRP : $1120.00|
Product DescriptionSurly dealers are prohibited from shipping complete bikesToThefollowingcountries: Canada, Australia,The UK, Japan, Germany,The Netherlands,France,Finland, New Zealand,The Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland,Taiwan, and Italy. If you are in one ofThese countries, please provide analternativeshipping address at checkout. Surly bikes deliver bulletproof, reliable performance year after year.TheyveTakenTheir versatile 29er Karate Monkey frame and outfitted it with a careful selection of parts
Review Options: Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating
|Reviews 1 - 15 (73 Reviews Total)||| Next 15|
Date Reviewed: May 24, 2014
Strengths: Bomb proof, great handeling, good price.
Date Reviewed: March 14, 2014
Strengths: Great bike out the door. Simple SS, still getting used to that. Point and you go. No energy loss on take off.
Weaknesses: No gears.
Price Paid: $1100.00
Purchased At: Fuel Free Recreation
Similar Products Used: Specialized rock hopper, front suspension
Date Reviewed: February 11, 2014
Strengths: A versatile, fun, strong, no-nonsense bike that is a pure joy to ride. It is truly a "Frankenstein" bike...configure it however you want.
Weaknesses: The WTB rims and a few other components (stem, seat post) are cheap and heavy...but what do you expect for the price?
The bike climbs very well, but is not the best of descenders due to its XC-oriented head tube angle (72 degrees). I never loose traction on the hills, even out of the seat (which happens a lot with a SS). For a 29er, I feel it is very agile in the twisties.
If you are thinking about trying a single-speed, this is your bike. If it ain't for you, just gear it up, put racks on it, fenders, whatever. I love this bike.
Duration Product Used: 1 year
Price Paid: $1000.00
Bike Setup: Full rigid with Niner Carbon Fork. SL-K carbon seat post. Other than that, all original.
Date Reviewed: December 28, 2012
Strengths: This review is for the 2012 Stretchpants Black size XL Surly Karate Monkey frame. Cost effective frame price for everything from entry level to a full out, tricked out bike that will take how every many $$$$ you can throw at it. The geometry with the short wheel base (when the wheel is run forward) makes this a bench mark fun bike to own and ride. A simple, fun, classic frame to own and ride.
Weaknesses: Surly took care of most of the weaknesses I had with the 1st generation bike. Rear disc brake mount has been updated to make rear wheel removal and installation simple. Head tube was too short on the size XL in prior generation, and it has been improved to 125mm with this version. So I can't really pick out a weakness with this new model since I am comparing it to prior generations. Visually, perhaps I'm not a huge fan of the housing routing being underneath the TT - but that's a cosmetic visual preference of mine. An opinion, not a weakness.
I have not tried the new KM rigid fork as I wanted suspension, so am using a 100mm REBA Race fork with a bar mounted lockout lever, Industry Nine Enduro 29"er wheels with a Gusset SS conversion kit, BB7 160mm front/140mm rear rotors, an old set of Race Face cranks with a titanium SS ring, and nice cushion of Racing Ralph 2.4's front and rear being run tubeless. I love the cushion with the suspension fork and big meat tires coupled with the steel frame that makes this HT bike actually quite comfortable for me. I can't wait to get another 10 years out of this frame like I did my first one.
Duration Product Used: 10 years on a KM, brand new with this frame
Price Paid: $400.00
Purchased At: Rasmussen's Bike Sho
Similar Products Used: 2002-03 Surly Karate Monkey frame (used it for 9 1/2 years)
Bike Setup: Racing Ralph 2.4 front and rear
BB7 160mm front/140mm rear
WTB Silverado saddle
Industry Nine Enduro wheels converted to SS with a Gusset kit
Thomson post and stem (120mm with 0 degree rise) and one 2mm spacer
RockShox REBA Race 100mm with bar mounted lockout
Race Face 175mm cranks with 29T ring and 16T cog
Crank Brothers ISIS BB
Date Reviewed: September 30, 2012
Strengths: So durable it just survived falling from a roof rack on 90 kph without a skratch!!!.
Geometry feels like it was tailor made just for me, puts a smile on my face evry ride.
Weaknesses: After 4 years of rides i can't find a single 0ne but im not a wight whiny and less then 14k do it all bike is unbeatable deal.
The bike rides like a 26er just with much more fun factor taht words cant express , it jumps just the same, corners beter & rolls on everything much easyer without me wanting to go slower.
If you are an allarounder biker who's not a big drops fun & want to ride anywhere and any time, you should buy the monkey, smile is guaranteed.
Duration Product Used: 4 year
Price Paid: $1200.00
Purchased At: shopharim as a frame
Similar Products Used: Few xc 26er, ht & fs no more then 5 inch of travle.
Bike Setup: Manitou tower 100mm, avid bb7, bontrager rhythm comp 29ers, fsa carbon seatpost ( aluminum got bent to many times), bonti race lite square bb, 32t surly chainring x deore 11-34 cassette 1x9 if you like that needs to be upgraed to 12-36 as soon as it breaks.
I ride a 20" frame & 1.86 meter tall + 94k (go metric system:-D)
Date Reviewed: September 8, 2012
Strengths: Steel yet light, Affordable
Weaknesses: Haven't found any yet besides a worn chain but I bought it used so what do you expect.
Price Paid: $500.00
Purchased At: Used
Similar Products Used: Diamond back response, trek 6500
Date Reviewed: July 25, 2012
Strengths: Price. I was looking for steel commuting frame and this looked ideal. Feels lovely and solid. Novelty rarety (in UK at least) - only ever see one other. This frame has given me 3 years (15,000miles) of trouble free all weather commuting on widish road tyres and handbuilt 700c/29er wheels. Handy for any impromptu light off road bits i come across. Nice touch of having canti & disc brake mountings. Rigid forks are super solid.
Weaknesses: Weight perhaps but it is a cheap steel mtn bike frame so cannot complain. Does not entirely give the famed steel springy ride. Paint fades & look scabby pretty quickly, plus skate park graffiti graphics are pointless unless target market is 14 year olds. Bottom bracket cable routing on a mtn bike? Please please please!!! Do you have proper mud in your neck of the woods? Frame has cracked at bottom bracket shell/chain stay/seat tube interface, which quiet frankly after 3 years road commuting for a frame that is allegedly designed to be used off road is appalling and smacks of poor manufacturing processes. I had 2 Surly crosschecks in 9 months that had identical issues, both replaced under warranty. Will not go near such badly made frames again.
Date Reviewed: July 1, 2012
Strengths: This bike handles great. This size 18" 29er is a shorter wheelbase than my 26er and the KM goes through singletrack like butter. Running rigid, the bike moves well. Converted the 160 front disc to 180, swapped out grips, converted to tubeless and dropped the air pressure and the ride is smooth. No front shock for now. Heading to New River Gorge, WV to try the new Arrowhead trails (thank you Boy Scouts for helping with the trail construction). Singletrack heaven they say. Adding a Dos Eno 17/19 in back and 32/34 front. Leaving the cranks because they are pretty stiff. Laser disc wheelset is nice.
Weaknesses: The frame alone was on back order for two months so I bought the package bike. Rode good out of the box, but the above changes really brought her to life. The 17 degree sweep in the handle bars bring them back just a little too far for me (I am 6.0) so I have some H-bars on the way. Disc only this year.
Purchased At: Sprockets
Similar Products Used: Canondale f1000, Trek Fuel ex8,
Bike Setup: as above
Date Reviewed: June 28, 2012
Strengths: Rock Solid quality frame. The Geometry is perfect. Looks good, rides better, take it anywhere and have a smile on your face.
Weaknesses: A bit heavy, but it is a budget steel frame so not much room to complain about that. Best to convert or purchase a rear wheel with a thru axle that you can crank down if going Single Speed. A regular Skewer does not provide enough compression to prevent the rear wheel from clocking out of line in the horizontal dropouts. Should be given rust protectant on the inside of the frame ASAP, to prevent compromising of the material.
One word to descibe it: FUN.
So much fun in fact that I tried to match my 8K titanium custom dream bikes geometry after this bikes geometry. You will not regret this purchase. It is the best $$ per smiles ratio of bike out there. Seriosly just buy one!
Bike Setup: I bought this as a frame only. Its set up with the stock rigid fork, and a SS drivetrain using a surly chainring and cog. "budget" 29er wheels ("explorer" which i dont think exist anymore) hydraulic juicy 7 brakes, Kenda nanoraptor tires. Carbon seatpost.
Date Reviewed: June 4, 2012
Weaknesses: it broke
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2012
Strengths: This was my second single-speed mountain bike, and my first 29er. I love this bike and love to ride it. I'm reviewing the frame and fork, since my build is not the stock Surley KM, and everyone seems to build theirs differently, for different purposes. I have done dirt, gravel, paved bike paths, pavement, and fording shallow creeks, but no technical riding in the nine months I have had the bike. The 20" frame is right for my 6' 2" and 32" inseam. It is a well-made, beautiful, practical, versatile bike.
Weaknesses: I wouln't put gears on this bike, because of the horizontal dropouts, but many people do this and aren't complaining. It is not a weakness, really, it's a feature.
Date Reviewed: May 18, 2012
Strengths: super sturdy, fast, awesome handling, light for a steel frame, climes well, and just fun to ride!
Weaknesses: the only one I can think of is that it has trouble on long semi steep to steep climbs with the stock gear ratio.
Price Paid: $1050.00
Purchased At: full cycle
Similar Products Used: kona unit
Bike Setup: stock
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2012
Weaknesses: You gotta be kidding.
Similar Products Used: Redline Monocog Flight 29er.
Bike Setup: Surly frame and Karate Monkey fork. Hayes Nines, Bontrager Ranger wheelset, XT cranks, Forte Carve Pedals, singlespeed.
Date Reviewed: December 8, 2011
Strengths: Just about everything.
Weaknesses: Grips are kinda cheap feeling and I might get me fired from my job
Over the years I've lost my passion for mountain biking. I never really look forward to riding my Kona Dawg Deluxe. Yeah, it has some nice suspension and fancy hydraulic brakes and pretty good components. I've tried out my friends bikes with similar technology and they just didn't rock my world. Enter in my first single speed experience. I was at my brother in laws one day and noticed a big wheeled bike with no suspension or gears. It was a Red Line Monocog. I didn't quite understand. I said "what's the purpose of mountain biking without suspension and gears to get you up hill?". What an idiot I was. I can admit that now. He suggested I take it for a spin...so I did and from then on, I was hooked. It was so uncomplicated and free. You just ride and watch those big old wheels role over everything. I immediately went home and started researching the world of single speed. I eventually discovered the Karate Monkey. A local bike shop had one that I could try out, an 18" frame. I bought it and I've had a smile on my face ever since. It's made mountain biking fun again. What a climber! Thank you Surly. Sadly though, I may now lose my job because I keep calling in sick to take the Karate Monkey out.
I can't get enough of this bike. I'm selling the Kona and my old beat up GT hardtail. The KM is all I need. If you're researching Karate Monkeys, just go get one, today. It might change your life for the better.
It makes me wonder why everyone doesn't have one.
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Price Paid: $1050.00
Similar Products Used: Redline Monocog
Bike Setup: Stock
Date Reviewed: November 23, 2011
Strengths: Bomb proof, great handling, brakes
Weaknesses: Grips, seat, 17 tooth rear
The bike comes set up pretty nicely. Avid BB7 brakes and Truvativ 32t cranks. The downside is the 17t rear. It makes for a fast bike on the straights or flats, but when I hit those short steep switchbacks it's a real pain the ass to climb. You really work to reach the top. I will be changing to a 19 or 20 tooth rear. Also, the the grips that came on it seemed fairly generic. I put some Ergon GP-1's on it. I love these grips. I have them on Marin too. They keep my hands from going numb in the ring and pinky fingers. Finally, the seat is a WTB. I like WTB, but this seat seems like just a basic cheap WTB. I put the WTB on my Marin on the KM, and I am much happier.
I think the KM is a great choice for anyone looking to get into the SS life. I feel like I'm on an old BMX cruiser when I'm out in the woods. It's a real blast, and makes me feel like I'm a kid again. You won't be disappointed
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Price Paid: $1050.00
Purchased At: The Bicycle Doctor (
Similar Products Used: Haro Mary SS
Bike Setup: Factory. Changed out grips to Ergon GP-1 (large).
|Reviews 1 - 15 (73 Reviews Total)||| Next 15|
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Related Karate Monkey Forum Posts
Size 19 or 20 - Med or Large. Condition can require work - that would be OK Prefer solid fork Any speed setup is fine Price is a consideration, of course, if it wasn't I would just go buy a new one. I'm at [EMAIL="firstname.lastname@example.org"]email@example.com[/EMAIL] Thanks, TheoRead More »
OK so I have the Karate Monkey set up at the moment with Stans Arch EX wheels, with 2.35 front & back. Running a 3X10 but with a bashguard instead of the outer ring. works really well, I need (at the mo!!) the small ring 22t with a 36t on the back for some of the knarlier singeltrack ups we have he ... Read More »
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Hi everyone! I'm an experienced cyclist with a background in long distance hiking and a love for Surly who wants to start bringing those 3 things together. I'm on my second Surly, the Snotrocket. Its a Crosscheck turned tourer doing commuting duty. I've taken it on gravel, forest roads, and some ... Read More »