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  1. #1
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    What is a more comfortable Monkey?

    Hi there! - I'm a bit confused - I'm riding a SS Monkey and want to go to a 1x10 gearing setup - but for the cost to upgrade plus a bit more I can go to a Straggler or a DLHT with the set up I want - I thought the Straggler was a more relaxed frame than the Monkey and would give me a more comfortable ride, but Iv'e just been advised to the opposite. Apparently a DLHT is more to the touring frame and is a lot more relaxed than the Monkey - that I can understand, but I still want to enjoy reasonable forest tracks etc. My riding is 50/50 road/offroad and want a more comfy ride than the Monkey even running 2.35 tyres that do help a bit.
    Any thoughts on which way to go?

  2. #2
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    "relaxed" will depend on a lot more than just a frame. Though of the 3 you've mentioned, the Straggler is by far the least relaxed.

    depending on how you build it up/fit yourself, a KM can handle like a cruiser bike or take a trail like it's on rails, and everything in between. A LHT is more or less meant to be comfortable... and designed to be built up comfy. It takes drops or flats or anything else just like any Surly. but of the 3 it is the only bike designed FIRST for comfortable all day riding.

    Both the Straggler and the LHT can take a bit of off road, especially if they don't go airborne. the design of both bikes actually seems to hint at old rigid mountain bikes. (longish, lowish, stout but not dead steel tubing.)

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    I'm happy with my Ogre. It replaced a Cross-Check and I am now in a more comfortable and relaxed riding position. Plus, it can hit the trails of the Southwestern Deserts with no problems whatsoever. I'm not sure about this next part, but I think the Ogre is just a Monkey with tougher (heavier) tubes. So, I guess if you went my way you'd have almost the same bike you started with. LOL.

  4. #4
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    So, from what the recent two posts suggest - it seems that the Straggler is a more aggressive frame, so will be less comfortable than my KM?
    I just find that there is too much weight on my hands but maybe it's just refining the build a bit - raising the bar height etc ?
    Otherwise I guess I would be foolish to buy something else without at least riding another model first ( theres no stock of Surlys in any shop in my city)

  5. #5
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    "too much weight on my hands" would be an issue of fit. not of bike design. I have a comfy 50/50 weight distribution on my Straggler with flat bars. rolling 38mm tires It's neither harsh nor particularly sluggish.

    I've also ran this bike with drops and a slammed stem on 32mm tires. and it felt downright zippy.

  6. #6
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    My first suggestions would be to go for bigger, higher volume tyres than 2.35", I'd suggest one of the new 29+ tyres for the front to really add some cush and if you're on rims with an inner width of less than 25mm, to look to upgrade them as well, as they will give more sidewall support at lower PSIs which means a softer ride.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fisher 44 View Post
    Hi there! - I'm a bit confused - I'm riding a SS Monkey and want to go to a 1x10 gearing setup - but for the cost to upgrade plus a bit more I can go to a Straggler or a DLHT with the set up I want - I thought the Straggler was a more relaxed frame than the Monkey and would give me a more comfortable ride, but Iv'e just been advised to the opposite. Apparently a DLHT is more to the touring frame and is a lot more relaxed than the Monkey - that I can understand, but I still want to enjoy reasonable forest tracks etc. My riding is 50/50 road/offroad and want a more comfy ride than the Monkey even running 2.35 tyres that do help a bit.
    Any thoughts on which way to go?
    A more comfortabel ride is a more relaxed one. A slacker headtube angle can help - but all three Surly frames you mentioned have the same HTA of 72.

    So there is no real difference and because the Karate Monkey allows the widest tires it's the most comfortable of the three.

    Question: You can get a whole Straggler for the price of a 1x10 upgrade??? Tell me where!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fisher 44 View Post
    I just find that there is too much weight on my hands but maybe it's just refining the build a bit - raising the bar height etc ?
    Just try some fiddling around with different stems, maybe a different bar that places your wrists in a more comfortable position (like the On-One Mary, Jones, Surly Open Bar etc etc).

    Converting to 1x10 can be done pretty cheap (especially if you get some parts of CL or 'bay) 1x9 can be done for even less.
    Ride more!

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    I agree with asphaltdude--get an alt bar. Surly Open Bar, Nitto Albatross, etc.

    Also, if I were doing 50/50 road/dirt, I would opt for a Straggler or Cross Check. With a traditional drop bar set up, yes, you're in a more aggressive position compared to the LHT or KM. But you can set a Straggler up to a similar position by adjusting the frame size (since you haven't bought on yet), stem and bars. I bet with a 10-20* stem and Albatross/Open Bar, you'll be pretty comfortable on a Straggler. Just remember sitting straight up isn't the most comfortable position, either.

  10. #10
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    Easily sorted though with a 500mm rigid fork or 520mm A2C sus fork, brings the HTA down to just about 70*, add a 29+ tyre and you're approaching 69*, which is just real nice

    Quote Originally Posted by DerBergschreck View Post
    A more comfortabel ride is a more relaxed one. A slacker headtube angle can help - but all three Surly frames you mentioned have the same HTA of 72.

    So there is no real difference and because the Karate Monkey allows the widest tires it's the most comfortable of the three.

    Question: You can get a whole Straggler for the price of a 1x10 upgrade??? Tell me where!
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  11. #11
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    DerBergschre - Hi there, what I meant was - I can get a Straggler for not a lot more than the cost of an upgrade to 1x10 added to the purchase price of my KM bought second hand. So, my choice is selling the KM for what I paid for it and going for a Straggler with 1x10 if it gave a more comfortable ride - hence the confusion resulting from conflicting advice I received from a 2 bike shops I got Straggler prices from - one guy insisted the Straggler was a lot more relaxed and would definitely be better, another guy said the Straggler was actually more aggressive and the KM was the best bet, even better than a DLHT because of the far greater variety of builds that could be done to it, cheers.

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    I think all the replies here are pretty good - Iv'e got Jones H Loop bars on order (to Aussie) an expensive exercise with postage! but I can then swap it from bike to bike, so hopefully that will help, and some thick grips cause mine now are skinny and terrible! Re tyres - don't think I want bigger than 2.35 tyres as I want some speed on the road and don't need big balloons - Iv'e got some 2.35 Super Motos on the way as a compromise to my knobby Exiwolf 2.3's so if I run them with liners I think i should be happy with them - I'm going to try a suspension seat post and hope it's not too soft to throw me around when I don't want to - I am coming to realise that part of the problem could be that the frame size on my secondhand KM is a bit big for me, hence throwing weight onto my hands - a consulted a reputable bike mechanic before buying the KM and he said he could compensate the top bar length with a shorter bar stem etc, that has been done but I can go a bit shorter - I am still pleased that I went with this particular KM - it was set up for pretty aggressive riding that I am now adjusting to my style of riding now with different bars, tyres etc. So, I think I will fit these new parts when they arrive, play around with different height adjustments etc then I still have LYNX's suggestion of playing with different forks - if I do all this before making a decision to convert it to a 1x10 and get more comfortable, then I should be ok -if not and I need to go to a smaller size frame then I can move all my recent purchases onto something else so it's not wasted money.
    All your replies have been great as I'm coming back to riding after a 30 year break so I am all ears if there are any more suggestions, cheers

  13. #13
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    Remember, that if you go raising the front end with either bigger tyres or longer fork, you will shorten the Reach, which I believe is what you're trying to do. Current stock fork on the KM is a 470mm, so if you went to a 490-500mm, going by other bikes geo using different forks, you'd end up shortening the Reach by about 10-15mm.

    Quote Originally Posted by fisher 44 View Post
    I think all the replies here are pretty good -..... So, I think I will fit these new parts when they arrive, play around with different height adjustments etc then I still have LYNX's suggestion of playing with different forks - if I do all this before making a decision to convert it to a 1x10 and get more comfortable, then I should be ok -if not and I need to go to a smaller size frame then I can move all my recent purchases onto something else so it's not wasted money.
    All your replies have been great as I'm coming back to riding after a 30 year break so I am all ears if there are any more suggestions, cheers
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  14. #14
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    Thanks LyNx - will keep that in mind once Iv'e fitted the new stuff and adjusted everything, cheers

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by fisher 44 View Post
    So, my choice is selling the KM for what I paid for it and going for a Straggler with 1x10 if it gave a more comfortable ride
    Why should a Straggler give a more comfortable ride? The geometry is similar and the tires are smaller

  16. #16
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    That's what I have learned for you folk, and many thanks. I get that now - but the differing view of the sales guys is why I was confused - fairly typical of sales eh?

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    I think the OP is getting terrible advise that reflects the bias of the shoprats he's talking with. No, Straggler is not more relaxed than KM. "Straggler" is an ironic name; it is designed for aggressive and snappy handling, albeit less aggressive than a pure roadbike. And I would certainly contest the notion that a KM is better than a DT because it can be set up more different ways. Really? Can a KM be set up with three different size wheelsets? A 26" DT can. KM is a better mountain bike than DT. DT is a better touring bike than KM. Both do the other thing okay. Both can be your "road" bike with a set of slick tires. Both are great as a commuter or townie. Its really that simple. Actually, if you want get down to it, the most ultimately versatile frame in the Surly inventory is probably the Troll.

    For a 50/50 road/trail bike, the Straggler is a fine choice. Like any bike, it can be setup with any style handlebar that suits the rider to optimize comfort, handling, aerodynamics, whatever. It can be set up with any saddle or seatpost (carbon, ti, suspension) for rearend comfort. (Brooks Flyer is my personal preference over a suspended seatpost) You can run any narrow or wide tire you like up to, what, 2", which is plenty for firetrails and easy singletrack. The "gravel grinder" trend has brought us a lot of great multi-surface tires in the 40-45mm sizes - perfect for a Straggler. With the Straggler, you obviously give up the ability to run true 29er tires, which does hurt the offroadablity somewhat. But, the trade off is a much lively and efficient ride on the pavement.

    I'm not sure why the OP is limiting his options to just Surly, though. I think the Salsa Fargo, maybe Vaya, and certainly Singluar Gyphon or Peregrine would fit the bill pretty nicely for what he's after. If you can imagine life without disc brakes, have a look at the Velo Orange Camarague. That thing is the whole comfort package - relaxed geometry, huge tire clearance, skinny tubes, and looooong chainstays.
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
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    I will check out those other manufacturers, thanks. In the last few days, considering all the good views given, and considering my overall riding future - I'm leaning towards keeping the KM and fine tuning it with some of the things I have ordered, different tyres, bars, saddle etc and adding the 1x10 or 1x9 - and maybe buying a second bike - a more dedicated touring bike with a Rohloff for longer bitumen and hard dirt trips. Perhaps a Vaya or DLHT or the Australian VWR - all typically suited to long comfortable rides, and thus enjoy the best of both worlds, cheers

  19. #19
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    I think Bolandjd did one of those "not actually reading what was actually written" things. I don't see anyone stating the Straggler is more relaxed than the KM. I think the Fargo and Vaya are very ugly bikes, but equal in quality and different in design to Surlys designs.

    Singular makes an awesome bike though. Boland is totally ignoring the fact that their frames cost twice as much and the good ones are rarely in stock.

    If you don't mind paying double for a bike that is 25% better, and you can find one. the Singulars are worth the money. For about the same price Soma makes a better bike, and for more, but possibly not Singulars prices, there is Gunnar.

    though Singulars, Gunnars, Somas, Black Mountain and a handful of others make a bike that is totally lovely and satisfactory.

  20. #20
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    @ Agwan: Damn, dude?! What's the take-down all about? Of course I read what was written - check out post #11. I didn't ignore the Singulars' cost, I just didn't mention it. Wasn't my post long enough already? How do you figure they cost twice what a Surly does? Last I checked, they cost a little more, but not twice. But you could be right.

    I confess that I forgot that fisher 44 is in Australia, so I imagine that price and availability of frames is quite a bit different that what I'm used to in America. Sorry about that.

    @ fisher44: sounds like you're on exactly the right track.
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  21. #21
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    Ah, I assumed you were speaking about other posters replies, I didn't think to include the idiot at the LBS he was exposed to.

    last I checked, A Straggler is in the low 600s and a Peregrine was about 940.(In US dollars) this is not counting tax or import costs. which could effect the prices of both significantly. shipping the Singular to me, in addition to its costs and near constant lack of availability is what ruled it out for me. (apparently he's stopped making the peregrine, opting to replace it with a disc version of the kite. one day. when he gets around to it.)

    The Singulars I've seen are really great bikes with fantastic build quality. But then so Are Van Dessels, and I won't be giving them money either. because they never know what they have in stock or when they'll make more. I don't spend my money on "eventually" and "maybe one day"

    that being said, while the Straggler is indeed far more zippy than a KM. I can set up a customer with a very relazed Straggler, or a very aggressive KM

    So much of a bikes personality comes down to how it is fit to the rider. My straggler would never be confused for a road bike. It's a comfy all day cruiser of a bike.

    Fit matters nearly as much as the model of the bike itself.

  22. #22
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    Thanks for clearing that up on the frame prices. I agree with everything you wrote - setup and fit are indeed are at least as important as the frame geo.
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
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  23. #23
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    Also, I don't think my last post made it clear, I apologize for seeming like I was biting your head off. I have a hard time being tactful.

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    Thanks. No worries!
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    Cheers, everyone - yes being in Aussie makes a difference - the number one i think really is the reality that I think bringing in anything that is relatively unknown or not popular regardless of how good it is, is fraught with error - when the time comes to sell it or upgrade etc, it could be rendered in the unsalable category or certainly in the very heavy price reduction category - read, lost money big time. So, I think it's fairly important to stick with popular brands over here, hence considering a touring style bike - that means sticking to the likes of Surley, Salsa and the Aust brand VWR or Vivente as it's commonly known as - they are particularly well set up if you would like to check them out. All your thoughts are good and appreciated - and what started this thread was different sales staff from 2 dirrerent shops over here that were totally contradictory - hence leading to some confusion in my mind - but thanks, you have all helped clear that up. Just on that note, I prefer this forum, as if I posted that topic on a forum over here I might get one at most two replies - I guess owing to our lower population and respectively small interest in bikes over here - so thanks again, cheers - and by the way, any other thoughts to help my thinking process, are appreciated - enjoy your day, cheers

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