Is Karate Monkey SS Complete Bike a good place to start?
Hey Guys, this is my first post so be gentle. I'm 49 years old and hit the scales at 260 lbs. I'm 6'0" tall and have a 30" inseam. Looking to get back in shape after many years of having no fun. I want to do level trail/bike path riding. Sometimes gravel fire roads also.
Now my question. Would a Surly Karate Monkey SS Complete Bike be a good starting point? I see them sold at different internet bike sites. Are the components stout enough for a large total newbie. The price point is right for me. Would I have to upgrade parts before I can ride? I hope I'm not breaking any Forum Rules if post the link to what I'm talking about. Thanks in advance for your help.
The KM has a reputation as a solid bike, and for some it is a good place to start. As it is a single speed, there are some inherent differences from a standard "geared bike" that you should be aware of. Not that it should shy you away, but SS's are not for everyone. I could see it turning off someone who is working to get back into shape if it is not geared properly for your ability and your local terrain of choice.
The KM can be switched over to a geared bike, which will take some $$ as well, but is possible. Generally, SS's can be great for around town, or great on steep trails, but you are often compromising to fit into both categories, or whatever is in between. IMO, for a first bike a geared bike is a better choice, and the SS makes a nice addition to the stable later on. However, if the terrain near you is completely flat, the SS may be the ticket.
I'm a 300# guy and ride a KM... it's a GREAT frame/fork for a big guy to get into the 29er thing with IMHO...
the real question for you is... will a SS do the trick for you? if so it may sounds like a great bike for you.... and when you want to get into more serious riding it'll still be a great bike... I want to roll SS... but haven't had the guts to do it yet... i'm sure i'll cave to peer pressure and give it a shot here in the not to distant future.
... a quick glance over the parts list and the ONLY thing i see even remotely meh on it for a clyd is the rims... and they are the same rims I beat on with regularity on my own bike... so they aren't that bad IMHO.
the frame and fork are def up to the clyd task, i hear great things about the crankset, the avid bb7/sd7 disc combo is a killer combo (although if you get into more serious riding you may want a larger disc up front, but thats cheap and easy), the handle bar is an awesome clyd spec (assuming you like the high sweep bar), the hubs should have no problems, high end spokes... and like I mentioned those rims while aren't the strongest haven't given me a single problem (@ 300#), i've had a kalloy uno seatpost in the past... they seem to be strong enough... it was a cheap replacement after i'd bent the OEM... never had a problem with it... just cheap and simple, i'm sure the stem is the same.
now the down side... it's a SS... and it's not going to be a light weight bike... if you wanted to add gears you'd need a new rear wheel, rear derailleur, shifter, and new chain...
if you want to go a bit cheaper but still SS you may want to check out the redline monocog... add some disc brakes (about $100 for a set of BB7's) and you're off and running for about 1/2 of what the KM would cost... although for the kind of riding you mentioned the stock V's would be just fine
if you feel you need some gears i'd suggest a look at the redline d440... (again a bike I own/ride)... stout frame and comes setup as a 1x8 drivetrain... a bit more then a SS so you get a lot more versatility... again you'd want to upgrade to discs if you get more serious... in both cases the redline frames are stout as are the bits that come on them... neither are light weight but for the price they are hard to beat
another KILLER geary deal right now is the GT peace 9r from performance... if I had the money i'd snap one up... i'm a sucker for the GT triple triangle http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=3050
whatever you end up with keep us posted
- Surly Disc trucker
- '82 trek 560 roadie
Thank you gentlemen for the reply. This is just what I was looking for. Now another few questions. If I was to buy this package what platform pedals would you recommend? For mostly level riding with some slight inclines what would be the ideal gearing? Would I be better off building from scratch? Building from the ground up appeals me me, it just that I don't know what are the best clyde components to use. What I don't have is the money to constantly be testing every part on the market. I'm looking for a bike that is built like a Sherman Tank, simple to repair and is unbreakable. I don't want to be 10 miles out and have to carry the bike back home. Again thanks in advance for your help.
building from scratch to similar specs you'd prob spend a lot more money... the cranks allong cost nearly $300... the frame/fork combo would cost about $450.
the ONLY thing not sherman like that I can see is those rims... and you could bend them up pretty good and still get out (thanks to the disc brakes)
for ideal gearing... thats VERY subjective... it's all about your weight, power, and the terrain you ride.... basicly you just have to ride what you get... and then decide from there if you need/want higher or lower gearing
if you are wanting simple you've got it... once you find your ideal gearing is all you'll have left is to lube the chain from time to time and to adjust the stoppers (very simple)
- Surly Disc trucker
- '82 trek 560 roadie
KM and Peace9rs are good bikes worthy of future upgrades, for sure.
Gear ratio? So dependent on terrain and rider fitness. I usually run 34X20 in the summer and often go to 34X22 in the mucky months. That's for a moderate rider in the Willamette Valley of OR. I have a 19 tooth freewheel for some trails/areas that are flatter (less steep anyway) than the local stuff here. Some of the strong riders rock 34X18 on the local stuff and a few are 2:1, but not many here on the real trails as they tend to have lots of steep pitches or sustained climbs of such a grade they couldn't ride that steep of a gear.