|The Karate Monkey Today|
Okay, the last four posts have dealt with the history of this bike with me. Now it is time to look into the future a bit. The bike needs some work too, and so I will paint a vision for where I want to go with parts and upgrades as well. But before any of that, I am going to point out a few things about this bike that have always driven me a little nuts. Things I just do not like about the Karate Monkey. You know.....nothing is perfect!
One of the things I didn't care for from the get-go was that the Karate Monkey was a bike that tried to play nice with a lot of possibilities. This probably still made sense in 2001, or whenever Surly put pen to paper on the Karate Monkey design. Many folks were not on board with disc brakes yet then, and honestly, there were not too many good designs yet. Fortunately SRAM/Avid had the venerable BB-7 brakes and I didn't have to use cantilevers, but I had to live with those "tumors" on the fork and seat stays.
I also always had to use a chain tug with this bike or I would inevitably crank the wheel sideways in the frame. It is just a cheap, bent steel and threaded rod chain tug, but regardless of what it is, it is, and that is enough to ruffle my feathers when I have to deal with the rear wheel.
The final thing that always bugged me was that dratted cable stop on the drive side chain stay for a rear derailleur cable. I'll never gear this bike up, and that cable stop, brazed on so it peeks out a bit from underneath the chain stay, is a snagger. Once I tore a heel cup off a brand new pair of Lake cycling shoes on that bit. Gah!
Small concerns to be sure, but there they are. All that to say the Karate Monkey circa 2003 has its warts. (Pun intended) Sure- I could have all those unwanted bits ground off, but then we're talking repaint, and .......no. There is a certain patina and character on this frame from over ten years of use, and I feel that- for me- it would not be right to mess with that. Warts and all, it stays. There will be a thorough cleansing, yes. There will be some measures taken against any rusting I may find, but that is about it. Clean, touch up where necessary, and wax it up before rebuilding. But the stickers are staying put!
|Somewhere in there lurks a UN-52.....|
But try as I might to relieve it from duty, it won't budge an inch, or a millimeter, as it were. I must try to find a good way to get this bottom bracket out, or this whole project will be taking on a very different complexion. I am confident that it will eventually break free, but this will be difficult.
If I am correct, and the bottom bracket gives over, I will then go about the business of re imagining the bike, not doing a restoration to my original build, but a combination of things I have done over the years. Drop bars will stay on, but likely they will be Midge Bars. Single speed- of course! New wheels will be a part of the build, with a twist. I will likely break up the "Chocolate Chip" wheels, use the Surly Jim Brown hubs, and lace them anew to some rim or another, which I have yet to determine. The rear will be bolt on. May as well be another wrench in the tool kit! (A Surly wrench at that!) I may even retain the bolt on front hub.
I'll get a White Industries free hub, and I may resurrect the Cook Brothers crank I used in the beginning. Then the bike will also get a Brooks saddle, a new seat post, (Maybe that Paul Components one), and the brakes will be the good ol' Avid BB-7's, unless something better pops up. It'll end up being the gravel rig I used it for most of the time, and I'll refine that set up to where I had it back in '07-'08. Then the plan is to do a really long ride on it.
Next: It may be a while before another update, but the next step is tearing the old girl down and getting that nasty BB out!