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  1. #1
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    Lightweight Karate Monkey equivalent?

    I rode a Karate Monkey the other day and really liked how it felt and rode. But I have an irrational fondness for light weight. Any suggestions on a lightweight frame that rides like the KM?

    Ultimately, I'm looking to build a rigid (carbon fork) or front suspension singlespeed 29er.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooSteep View Post
    I rode a Karate Monkey the other day and really liked how it felt and rode. But I have an irrational fondness for light weight. Any suggestions on a lightweight frame that rides like the KM?

    Ultimately, I'm looking to build a rigid (carbon fork) or front suspension singlespeed 29er.
    I'm just happy to see someone finally recognizing their irrationality.

    Keep in mind that going with a lighter frame just might remove what you liked about the ride of the KM.

    Good luck--with both.

  3. #3
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    Nope. Some like the Kona Honza as well, but not light. Just be light on the pedals, problem solved. Or look at it like this, my karate monkey is 14% of my body weight.

  4. #4
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    I have a 2010 KM as well and being a bike whore it is the only bike that does not get sold, in order to get others. I just love the versatility of them. Single speed winter bike (live in the PNW) and a fun Dad bike with big apple tires and a mary bar in the summer.
    however like you I have always wanted a monkey light, with the exception of going custom I do not know of a production frame that is on the ready.
    I would want to keep it steal, use a reynolds 853 tube set or maybe a ti bike. Other then that I would want the same options my current monkey has.
    Good luck and let me know what you find.
    I would may be look into Chris Dekerf as a Canadian builder who understands the needs of the PNW rider.

  5. #5
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    Specialized Carve SL is the only new, rigid, SS I can think of that would be significantly lighter than a KM, within a few hundred bucks at least. Worth a look maybe?

  6. #6
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    On further reflection, I have another observation about the KM. Surly is the one bike company that I do not buy their complete bikes. Their OE Spec is terrible on all of their bikes. you can pick up a KM frame and fork for about 450 bones new which is a great deal. Then build up a nice/reasonable wheel set. I went with velocity blunts and dt com spokes and surly single speed hubs. The stock fork is pretty friggin harsh and heavy, I use mine when I want to go old school and remember how old old school is. get a second fork x fusion is good, light and cost effective. then build the rest ofthe bike with your left over budget

  7. #7
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    Their OEM bike spec is a terribly awesome value if you are going through your LBS. If you can buy leftover parts online and build it yourself, that's a different story. I tried building a Big Dummy from a frame, with 10% off MSRP parts, free labor for the whole build, including wheels, at my LBS, and I would have been about $800 if I paid for all the parts separately that came on the Big Dummy Complete. For my Ogre before that, same deal, I saved like $500.

    They spec the bikes with no nonsense, no-frills-but-reliable components, and there is much to be said about that.
    Transition Bandit 29
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  8. #8
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    I am a ww, and love my KM.

  9. #9
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    Soma Juice? Voodoo

  10. #10
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    I don't think either one of those is any lighter.

    Short chainstays, steep head angle, and light... let me know when you find it. Maybe a KM where I stop drinking beer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drider85 View Post
    Soma Juice? Voodoo

  11. #11
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    The OS Blackbuck is similar, but at 5.5 pounds (weighed my 19" frame), it's within a half pound. Have Walt make one for you with identical dimensions for $1500.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fos'l View Post
    The OS Blackbuck is similar, but at 5.5 pounds (weighed my 19" frame), it's within a half pound. Have Walt make one for you with identical dimensions for $1500.
    The Blackbuck is one of the 2 other frames I have it in my head that I MUST try some day (the other being a Jeff Jones). Do you have experience with both a Blackbuck and a KM?

  13. #13
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    I think Carver Ti420 could be similar - short chainstay, light weight, looks badass with both suspension and carbon rigid.

    My New Carver 420 Ti
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooSteep View Post
    The Blackbuck is one of the 2 other frames I have it in my head that I MUST try some day (the other being a Jeff Jones). Do you have experience with both a Blackbuck and a KM?
    No, so sorry if I spoke out of turn. The Blackbuck has a similarly short, but not like the Honzo and Carver, wheelbase. But, Mike had a very salient point, the feel of the KM may be related to its composition.

  15. #15
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    Redline monocog flight.

  16. #16
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    Gona have to agree with Mikesee on this, it's the whole package that makes the Monkey what it is, if it was lighter that means the tubeset would be thinner and ride would be quite different. I have a KM and the only thing I'm thinking of doing as a "replacement" of sorts is a Ti version of it, well roughly, thinking of the Titus Fireline EVO, hoping that the Ti might help drop a bit of weight (being that Ti is lighter than steel for a given strength) while helping keep the same compliance of the ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    I'm just happy to see someone finally recognizing their irrationality.

    Keep in mind that going with a lighter frame just might remove what you liked about the ride of the KM.

    Good luck--with both.
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  17. #17
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    A simple solution might be a KM with a nice, light wheel/tire combo; if the OP rode a stock KM, I'm pretty sure the wheels are fairly heavy as are the wire bead tires...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob1035 View Post
    A simple solution might be a KM with a nice, light wheel/tire combo; if the OP rode a stock KM, I'm pretty sure the wheels are fairly heavy as are the wire bead tires...
    nope......

    i am running enve wheelset on my KM. total weight for a SS is 21lbs with carbon forks...etc. it feels better, but not light weight like my carbon SS


    the geometry is what we are looking for here in a carbon bike. a builder like waltworks can definitely make you a 1lbs lighter frame that feels the same, but i want a 3lbs version.

    short chainstays and 72 degree headtube angle. bring it!!!!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob1035 View Post
    A simple solution might be a KM with a nice, light wheel/tire combo; if the OP rode a stock KM, I'm pretty sure the wheels are fairly heavy as are the wire bead tires...
    Quote Originally Posted by ascarlarkinyar View Post
    nope......

    Yep.

    That's what I did and I think it rides lighter than the scale indicates. Like LyNx said, a bike is more than just the sum of it's components and angles. I've ridden much lighter bikes that didn't feel as good as the KM to me. It's a pretty subjective subject though....

  20. #20
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    You're missing the point, the feeling of the KM is largely due to the steel frameset, reproducing it in carbon will only give you the geo, not the same ride quality and feel and at least with the KM you know you've got a damn strong frameset.
    Quote Originally Posted by ascarlarkinyar View Post
    nope......

    i am running enve wheelset on my KM. total weight for a SS is 21lbs with carbon forks...etc. it feels better, but not light weight like my carbon SS

    the geometry is what we are looking for here in a carbon bike. a builder like waltworks can definitely make you a 1lbs lighter frame that feels the same, but i want a 3lbs version.

    short chainstays and 72 degree headtube angle. bring it!!!!
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  21. #21
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    Buy the KM. Then buy a Pugsley. The KM will seem light as a fart after a few short months on the Pug.
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  22. #22
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    I guess what is light to you?

    My rigid steel SS (Luddite) is at just under 24 but I wouldnt change a thing, stock I didn't like the weight (but may that was irrational excuse to get it how I really wanted it).

    I would sum up the good advice in this column to say get the frame and build how you want it, carbon fork, good wheelset, if WW is your goal could use XTR race brakes, plenty of other possibilities to have a solid light bike.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  23. #23
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    russian or chinese generic custom Ti? Eriksen/Engin/whoever makes custom Ti frames in the US?

    I guess the original poster should give us his/her thoughts....

  24. #24
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    BTW an aluminum Carve SL will ride nothing like a steel KM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    You're missing the point, the feeling of the KM is largely due to the steel frameset, reproducing it in carbon will only give you the geo, not the same ride quality and feel and at least with the KM you know you've got a damn strong frameset.


    sorry, you are wrong.


    while two frames, one carbon, one steel, will have different characteristics. you will notice a geometry difference a lot more than material. in fact if you rode blindfolded(don't actually try this) i doubt most people would be able to tell the difference between carbon and steel other than the weight.


    steel does not have a "suspension quality feel to it. it "flexes" a slight bit. very very slightly. you will feel more flex to the bike if you lowered your tire psi 5-8lbs than carbon to steel.


    the characteristic to the KM frame is a steep headtube and short chainstay combo. makes standup climbing very traction induced, nimble manual capable and fun active feel. "THAT" is the charm of a karate monkey. i would love a stiffer carbon version.

    a bandersnatch flexes even more than a KM and feels totally different. why? very long chainstays. i have an aluminum frame with semi short chainstays and 73degree headtube. it is stiff stiff stiff. that frame feels very very close to my karate monkey.


    and since when is carbon not strong. i am pretty sure weight per weight it is stronger than steel. even a lighter built carbon frame can be stronger than a heavier steel one(sharp point rock impacts aside)

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