|The KM in it's original form|
March 2003: After reading about "29"ers" for the past three years I had decided that I was going to dive in head first. I needed to fund my little project I had conjured up though, and to do that, I decided to sell the only working mountain bike I owned at the time: A 1996 Bontrager Race with original Bontrager offset crown Rock Shox Judy fork.
It was a hard decision. I loved the Bontrager. It was a dream bike build with the exception of the wheels, but the wheels were kind of cool. The frame was dark, rich purple, and it came with yellow panels with red lettering. It had a genuine Bontrager stem. I had a purple American Classic seat post on it, purple Paul Motolite brakes, a black Race Face 180mm crank set, and those wheels were Cane Creek Chrono wheels with the wild looking hubs. At the time I decided to sell the bike, I had Michelin Wild Gripper tires on it- the green ones!
I was selling it down the road for an unknown. A 29"er, of which I had not actually seen, nor ridden any examples of ever. I had read enough to be convinced of it though, so with not just a little trepidation, I grabbed the $500.00 in cash and watched a fellow load up my prized bike in his truck and drive away. That was in February of 2003. Sadly, only months later the bike was stolen from its new owner and never seen again.
|Prototype Karate Monkey from 2002|
Fortunately I had worked at my new bike shop position long enough that I was afforded the "employee discount" on the frame and fork purchase, plus the bits and pieces needed to get the thing up and rideable. There was much sweating of details concerning which parts to get, and not only that, but much to think about in terms of which size frame to order. This just about caused me not to get a frame and fork, but I finally made a decision.
The thing was, the way mountain bikes were sized was evolving from when I had gotten my last bike, back in 1996, as you might recall. In 2002, things were shifting to longer top tubes and shorter stems, ala Gary Fisher's "Genesis" geometry, which many companies were adopting. I was kind of torn between an 18" with a slightly longer stem, or the 20" with the then "new school" shorter stem. Keep in mind that to me circa 2002, a "short" stem was anything less than 135mm!
Next Up: The Karate Monkey gets built: The Original Build.