The original Surly Karate Monkey was pretty simple. Steel frame, 29″ wheels, one gear. As one of the first production 29ers available, it was pretty far ahead of the curve when it came to the bigger wheels. But as the song famously goes, times, they are a changin’.
There are two complete Karate Monkey builds offered for 2019, and neither of them has 29″ wheels. Instead, both offer substantially chunkier 27.5 x 3.0″ Surly Dirt Wizard tires with corresponding 27.5″ wheels.
In addition to the wheels and tires, other big changes come from the drivetrain with the rigid model opting for a 1×11 SRAM NX build instead of single speed. That’s right, a complete single speed build is no longer an option for the Karate Monkey (for now).
However, the good news for the 29″, single speed loving fans out there is that the frameset is still available and can be built up exactly like the original. Granted, the new frame features more progressive, trail oriented geometry and a suspension corrected fork, but it will still run standard 29″ wheels and tires or 27.5+. One thing that remains is the 4130 Cromoly steel frame with ‘Natch tubing and Gnot Boost spacing.
As a refresher, Gnot Boost dropouts will fit 135mm, 142mm, or 148mm hubs and offers single speed compatibility as well as threaded fender eyelets.
The other option for a complete build includes a 140mm travel RockShox Sektor RL suspension fork with a 51mm offset. This bike also runs gears but opts for the 1×12 SRAM NX Eagle group instead. It also features a TranzX SP15 dropper post with 80mm of travel to take advantage of the internal dropper post routing. According to Surly, the Karate Monkey SUS will be available in limited numbers, so if you want one, don’t wait.
Available in five sizes, both models have the same frame geometry, but the RockShox suspension fork is 20mm longer than the rigid which gives the SUS build some slightly different numbers. Offered in Lemon Lime Soda, Blue Porta Potty (gotta love their names), or Hi-Viz black, we’ll update with pricing soon.