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  1. #1
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    Reputation: Lumbee1's Avatar
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    What is your Karate Monkey crown to stem height?

    I have read several threads suggesting that Surly update the length of the headtube on the Karate Monkey frame. Some say that the KM frame with the short headtube is an outdated design and that every other manufacturer has gotten onboard with longer headtubes except Surly.

    I have a 08 large KM. The headtube is 95mm. I have a Canecreek S3 headset with a stack height of 27mm and 30mm worth of spacers for a crown to bottom of stem measurement of 152mm. The newer large KM's have a taller headtube (115mm) but even for me, I would still need to have at least a 10mm spacer for proper geometry. I have recently considered adding another 10mm spacer under my stem but it starts to look a little ridiculous with all the spacers.

    I would classify myself at aggressive XC with some casual riding. For aggressive XC, the low stem is really starting to give me back problems. I often feel like I am trying to lift a weight low to the ground when riding. For casual riding or gravel grinding, the lower stem is fine but can get tiring.

    I would like to know what everyone else has for their crown to bottom of stem measurement and what type of riding you do. I don't think I am the only one with this issue.

  2. #2
    Always Learning
    Reputation: BruceBrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumbee1 View Post
    I have read several threads suggesting that Surly update the length of the headtube on the Karate Monkey frame. Some say that the KM frame with the short headtube is an outdated design and that every other manufacturer has gotten onboard with longer headtubes except Surly.

    I have a 08 large KM. The headtube is 95mm. I have a Canecreek S3 headset with a stack height of 27mm and 30mm worth of spacers for a crown to bottom of stem measurement of 152mm. The newer large KM's have a taller headtube (115mm) but even for me, I would still need to have at least a 10mm spacer for proper geometry. I have recently considered adding another 10mm spacer under my stem but it starts to look a little ridiculous with all the spacers.

    I would classify myself at aggressive XC with some casual riding. For aggressive XC, the low stem is really starting to give me back problems. I often feel like I am trying to lift a weight low to the ground when riding. For casual riding or gravel grinding, the lower stem is fine but can get tiring.

    I would like to know what everyone else has for their crown to bottom of stem measurement and what type of riding you do. I don't think I am the only one with this issue.
    Your options include a riser bar if you feel you are too low, or a stem with a more severe degree of angle. Outside of getting a different rigid fork that has a taller AC dimension than the Surly fork, plumbing is probably the only solution. Another option is to toss a 100mm fork on the front end which will slacken the angle about 1 degree and increase your wheelbase about 5 or 6mm, but raise the front end up a bit that the spacer stack shortens.

    That was my final solution on a similarly short head tube on the Salsa Dos Niner frame. It came with a 110mm HT length on the size XL (my 1st generationKarate Monkey XL has 105mm). I was able to go to a 0 degree Thomson stem and only one 5mm spacer with flat bars on the Dos by changing the fork from 80mm to 100mm. Handling is fine with the change and I've grooved it by now and do fine on it. And the final option is to run a larger volume tire up front than you do in the rear for a little bit (a few mm's) of rise up front. I do that on my KM with a 2.4 up front and a 2.25 in the rear.

    I'm debating what to do with my KM which is currently SS and rigid. The old generation KM's dont have clearance for the REBA adjustment knob as it bumps into the down tube. I've got an old REBA sitting in the garage if I choose to try it. There used to be a crown race from Ventana made for a King headset that added 7 mm's of clearance to make it work (which would again - slacken out the angle and raise the front end a little bit) if I wanted to run suspension on my old KM. Not sure I could track one of those down or find a solution, but it was available way back when. I think King makes a 5mm version that should suffice. I think there are some headsets (Cane Creek comes to mind) that had a 5mm plus base to accomplish the same thing.

    At least the new KM's size XL frame comes with 125mm HT length which is better than the old one, but still short IMO. I don't know how the other sizes compare from prior generations to the current, but the new size L (your size) has a 110mm HT length compared to your prior generation 95mm HT length.

    Either way - I think it explains why we see in all of the KM build pictures quite a stack of spacers and plumbing to get the bars up - in all sizes and generations. I guess it's just a cosmetic visual that everyone has to live with compared to some other frames that do have longer HT's and can be built with minimal to no spacers.
    Last edited by BruceBrown; 11-29-2012 at 05:40 AM.

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