Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Monkey Decade: Part 4

 Intro: This year marks the tenth year I have been riding 29"ers. It also is my ten year anniversary of owning my Campstove Green Karate Monkey. There will be several posts throughout the coming months about my story with my KM and what is going to be happening to it now. Here's the last update.

The Monkey in its current form
 The years that came after 2007 were more and more focused on doing rides on other bikes for my gig over at Twenty Nine Inches. The moment the trails opened up till the moment the snow flew was consumed with riding everyone elses bikes and almost never any of my own. That didn't mean that I didn't find a way to use the KM, or to ride it at times.

Things started infiltrating the once highly tuned design because of this. Planet Bike fenders, Velocity rims, Salsa Cycles Woodchipper bars, a Wipperman chain, and a Cane Creek Thudbuster all ended up making their home on the Karate Monkey with some of those things staying and some of those things going away after a bit.

Probably the oddest incarnation of the Karate Monkey over the years was a version I dubbed the KMFDM which was short for "Karate Monkey Fixie Death Machine". I had gotten a Tomi Cog and bolted it to the disc mount of a Surly "Jim Brown" hub laced to a chocolate brown Velocity Deep V rim and with a swapped out crank set, Surly ring, and monstrous Wipperman stainless steel chain, I had a fixed gear fatty for a time. I remember a special ice ridden ride I know I wouldn't have pulled off without a fixed gear set up on the Monkey.

Monkey circa 2010 w/Chocolate Chip wheelset.
That wheel set I used was all brown with exception of the spokes. I dubbed them the "Chocolate Chip" wheels. They were really far too narrow for the Specialized Fast Track tires I used on them, and the tires were monstrously slow rollers. This really was one of the biggest contributing factors to my not riding the bike. I didn't have the time to devote to tweaking on this bike like I used to, and due to those things, I just wasn't motivated to pull it from behind the ever increasing pile of bikes it was buried behind.

Then about two years ago I got ahold of the original wheels I used on the bike which had gone to a friend for a time. These were refurrbed and reinstalled on the KM which brought a bit of interest back to the bike. I actually rode it for a review on some tires. But then it fell back to the bottom of the heap again as I got sucked away by other bikes.

Now it is the ten year anniversary of owning the bike, so I want to revive this rig and get back to riding it again. Interestingly, there are only a few components left from the original build. The head set, the bottom bracket, and the brakes. Well, that and the wheels. So now it will come down to deciding what to do about the build and before that, how to get a niggling issue overcome that has been a problem haunting me about this bike for years.

Next: The Critical Crusty Critter


Rob said...

great series! One of the reasons I love rigid SS 29ers is exemplified by this article. I can't imagine a 10 year old full suspension geared bike would be nearly as beloved for so long...

coastkid said...

Great Post! 10 years old! love my 2nd Monkey, brilliant bikes,
everyone who has one loves them, or miss their old one they sold on...

Roll on the future posts this month!



Guitar Ted said...

@coastkid: Thanks! For the record I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts of your adventures on your fat bikes and now the new KM. Being a history fan myself, I also enjoy the bits of local and national history you post up there also. (My father's side is from Scotland, for the record.) Good work!

Travel Gravel said...

I spy a Northfield shot!