|By Late 2005 the KM was a drop bar bike|
The KM's original build was a hodge-podge of new and used parts which I had to employ in order to keep the cost down. I built my own wheels for the bike and used an Alex TD-17 rim laced to Paul single speed disc hubs. The brakes were the, (then), new Avid BB-7's. Tires were not all that easy to choose circa 2003, since there weren't but a handful to choose from. You had IRC and Kenda which each produced one model a piece. (Both discontinued now) You had WTB, of course, with the Nanoraptor, and a new tire called the Motoraptor. You know.......I think that was it! There may have been one other tire at the time, but I can not remember. I went with the Motos. Tubes were rare as hen's teeth, so I used 700 X 44mm Presta valve tubes, which back in '03 were actually twice the size that they are now. They worked perfectly. I used a Cook Brothers crank, a 177.5mm length one, and a "Big Cheese" chain wheel from QBP which was a 37T. I used a 20T ACS Claws rear freewheel. Probably some old Sachs chain that I had laying around as well. The original stem was a puke orange Control Tech aluminum one that held a Bontarger Crow Bar handle bar. The ones with the welded in cross brace. Those went by the wayside pretty quickly for a Bontarger 118 titanium bar. Grips were proabaly some Kraton take offs, as I recall. The brake levers were vintage Avid SD-1's in red ano. The brake housings were silver Nokon.
That set up lasted for two years until I had read a bunch of stuff about early mountain bike drop bars and decided to give that a try. In the Summer of 2005 I switched to drop bars on the Karate Monkey, and it's been that way since with the exception of a very brief stint in 2008.
By early 2006 I had acquired my second 29"er, an On One Inbred. This slotted the KM into gravel grinder duty. I rode thousands of miles on the KM on gravel roads. This allowed me to refine the set up on that bike to the "nth" degree. A few stem changes and bar changes, but that bike was, and still is, about as dialed in as a single speed gravel rig as it gets. Subsequently, my greatest memories of this bike are from gravel rides.
Next Time: The Memorable Rides