Karate Monkey turned commuter...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Karate Monkey turned commuter...

    Due to a recent purchase of a Dos Niner frame and REBA fork, I have moved all of my "bling" components from my XL Karate Monkey to my new Dos frame.

    Rather than sell the KM frame and fork, I decided to build it up as a commuter/paved trail trainer this past weekend with things I had laying around in the parts bin and hanging on the wall. I lucked out and didn't have to buy any additional stuff for the build as I had a lot of "junk" sitting around waiting to be used. Even had a short, high rise Salsa stem that gets me in a nice comfy riding commute position.

    For me, the centerpiece of the project was to take an old pair of Coda cranks that I had taken off a Willits (when I purchased the New Sheriff for my wife from Mike C) and wet sand them down with 220 grit, 320 grit, 400 grit and 800 grit before hitting them with some aluminum polish to get the mirror shined look. Did it all this weekend without using the Dremel and got a nice "retro" looking set of crankarms that put a nice silver touch on the KM to go with the silver spokes, Tektro silver brake levers, silver in the Ritchey WCS seatpost and the XT derailleur. I put the Big Apple 28 x 2.0's on which provide plenty of cush for my commute.

    I've been commuting to work this week and have to say the boat anchor rides very smooth on the streets in its current setup. I have an old 1989 Trek 820 set up in a similar fashion. The KM blows it out of the water for comfort and handling on the rough pavement. I'm sure you all understand that, but the wife's not buying the need for yet another bike in the garage.:mad2: :blush2:

    Here are a few shots of the "new" KM including after beginning to sand the cranks and the finished crankarms on the bike....
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  2. #2
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    Snazzy. I may be joining you in the "used monkey in the garage club" in the near future.
    Seems like a logical choice for a teenager.

  3. #3
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    I commuted almost daily on a similar Monkey for 8 months, then switched to the Rig and made the Monkey the offroad SS.

    In retrospect, I probably should have gone with the BA 2.0's instead of the 2.35's given the hills I have to climb. Those buggers are heavy.

    It has gone from gears to SS and I'm liking the SS for the work ride.

    Very smooth. Probably heavier than the typical commuter, but very confidence building since one of my shortcuts involves riding down the local high school stadium's steps....Maybe I'll hang on to the 2.35's.

    Not a frame to be parted with lightly. I think about it, but never pull the trigger.
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  4. #4
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    Missing the Monkey

    I sold mine recently to raise fund for the new Dos Niner. I sure miss the monkey but I had a hard time justifying 2 SS bikes :mad2: ( I have a purple Rig too). I sure love the Dos though. Can't complain about my best finish ever at the Decorah Time Trial (12th overall) with the new ride. I will post some pics and a short review after some more miles and trail time. Great looking commuter Bruce! Do what you have to to keep it or else you will regret losing your monkey.
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  5. #5
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    Wow Bruce - those cranks look great.

    You don't happen to have a "before " picture do you? I'm thinking of doing this to a set of XT Octalink cranks. You think it will work?

    LP

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big29
    I sold mine recently to raise fund for the new Dos Niner. I sure miss the monkey but I had a hard time justifying 2 SS bikes :mad2: ( I have a purple Rig too). I sure love the Dos though. Can't complain about my best finish ever at the Decorah Time Trial (12th overall) with the new ride. I will post some pics and a short review after some more miles and trail time. Great looking commuter Bruce! Do what you have to to keep it or else you will regret losing your monkey.
    I saw your photo over on the regional forum. I'm really pissed because I was planning on doing the TT. However, over here in the Des Moines area it had rained all day Friday and was raining monsoon sideways when I woke up Saturday AM - so I just assumed it was cancelled and didn't bother to go. Unbelievable that it took place because central Iowa was caught in a vortex of 3 solid days of non-stop rain Friday - Sunday. It's going to take another week for the trails to dry out around here. Anyway, congrats on your finish. Was it not raining in eastern Iowa? I checked the radar and it looked like the vortex was swallowing Iowa/Illinois....

    BB
    Last edited by BruceBrown; 05-04-2006 at 12:41 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lanpope
    Wow Bruce - those cranks look great.

    You don't happen to have a "before " picture do you? I'm thinking of doing this to a set of XT Octalink cranks. You think it will work?

    LP
    I didn't snap a before photo. I was just kind of goofing around in the garage when I sanded off the black lettering of CODA on each crank. It was only then that I decided to go through with the project. Both crankarms were filled with scratches that required a lot of sanding to remove.

    Sure, it would work with Octalinks. Those have a nice "brushed" aluminum finish to begin with. If they are not filled with scratches, you could probably begin with the 320 or 400 grit sandpaper (make sure it is wet/dry paper and you do it wet). First step is to sand off the clear coat finish to get down to the bare aluminum. After beginning with 220 grit, I only went up to the 800 grit level, but a nice finish with 1200 grit would be ideal for maximum finish. Finish it off with Mothers Mag Aluminum Polish. I did mine by hand, but with a Dremel and cotton wheel or a buffing wheel on a drill or grinder you could get a perfect mirror finish. Last step is to treat it with Zoop Seal to prevent dulling and oxidation. Company claims it will last 2 years, but what I read on the boards said to expect 6 months. Then just a new shine with Mothers Mag and another Zoops treatment to get back to mirrored, protected finish again every 6 or so months.

    At least I have now learned and can move on to my RaceFace Next LP "red" cranks. They will be more problematic to work around the carbon inserts, but I've got to have one summer project to look forward to doing....

    BB

  8. #8
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    Cranks turned out great!

    Good job, Bruce. The cranks look great. The Monkey just needs some fenders, and you could be riding to work all the time on it. A Surly Nice Rack would be a fine touch, as well. Anyway, just some suggestions from a year round commuter!

    By the way, yes! It did rain up there in Decorah. I heard the numbers of riders was way down in comparison to normal. I was supposed to end up in Decorah on Sunday, the day after the TT, but Trans Iowa never got that far! The rain took it's toll on the riders and no one made the time cut in Algona. We had a few 29"ers in the lead break, though!
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  9. #9
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    Lookin good Bruce! Some drop bars would look wicked cool on that thing in my opinion, but then would it cause you to have to go to a different type of brake lever?

    Great job on the crank arms.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=Guitar Ted]Good job, Bruce. The cranks look great. The Monkey just needs some fenders, and you could be riding to work all the time on it. A Surly Nice Rack would be a fine touch, as well. Anyway, just some suggestions from a year round commuter![QUOTE=Guitar Ted]

    Good suggestions. I've got 2 old aluminum racks somewhere in the basement. Not sure they would adjust to fit on the larger bike since they came off of a pair of 1989 Trek 820 Antelopes. I'll have to dig them out of the box in the basement. Of course, I would have to sand and polish them into shape to match as well.

    I was looking at the Surly site at the Nice Rack. That rack looks rather heavy duty, but I suppose I could consider setting it up with a pannier and hauling my laptop to and from from work (or some music scores - or even a few groceries I pick up after work). Or haul something on the back of my bike in RAGBRAI like a stereo or a mini-bar. I would be even more interested in a square silver basket up front which seems to be very retro and very European. Fenders may be a summer addition as well. I may have to ditch the saddle and put one of my sprung Brooks saddles on there because the cushy soft saddle is uncomfy as heck. Came off my son's old bike and he loved it, but my underside is not in agreement and it is only day 4 of my first week of commuting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted
    By the way, yes! It did rain up there in Decorah. I heard the numbers of riders was way down in comparison to normal. I was supposed to end up in Decorah on Sunday, the day after the TT, but Trans Iowa never got that far! The rain took it's toll on the riders and no one made the time cut in Algona. We had a few 29"ers in the lead break, though!
    Rain was indeed a bummer. My son missed 4 baseball games and my daughter 2 soccer matches in Des Moines. That means more added to the "make-up" game list that we have to cram in to our already overbooked schedule the next 8 weeks.

    That's really too bad for Trans Iowa, but I guess one can never count on the weather being perfect to go with a planned event. I was thinking about you guys out there as I was watching it rain sideways and the wind howl. I guess it would be hard to get a rain date for that type of event with all the various people coming from so far away. If April didn't work 2 years in a row for decent weather - how about later in May or in early June next year? Or do it in early November when weather seems to be ideal here in Iowa.

    BB

  11. #11

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    Great project Bruce.

    I've been riding my road bike to work lately, but I'm seriously contemplating doing something like you did to my old Monkey for a bad weather commuting bike. I'm thinking of going with drop bars and fenders. The roads I travel are pretty dang smooth. I'm thinking that I could easily go with 28 or 32c tires. I'll use something with a bit more tread in the snow.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Pete

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Objectionable Material
    Great project Bruce.

    I've been riding my road bike to work lately, but I'm seriously contemplating doing something like you did to my old Monkey for a bad weather commuting bike. I'm thinking of going with drop bars and fenders. The roads I travel are pretty dang smooth. I'm thinking that I could easily go with 28 or 32c tires. I'll use something with a bit more tread in the snow.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Pete
    Sure. If you've got an old KM sitting around - got to it and set it up for inclimate weather and poor conditions commuting. As we all know, these frames are quite versatile in how they can be set up - as the Surly website says: The Karate Monkey is all about big wheels and versatility. Build it up as a 700c mountain bike, cyclocross bike, commuter, or backcountry tourer. Create your ideal Frankenstein.

    Personally, I love the cush of the Big Apples. Combined with the steel frame - it's a real comfort ride to and from the office. I've got some 38c Specialized Infinity tires as well which work well, but don't have as much volume as the 2.0 Big Apples. The pavement I hit is not as smooth as I would like, but the Schwalbe's soak up the rough spots. If you ride on smooth, then go for the smaller road tires and enjoy your ideal commuter ride with your favorite tires. Snow and ice? There are studded tires if need be for your winter commutes (although the 700c Hakkapeliitta W240 (29") is probably overkill). Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106 for road bikes would be better. It's 700c x 35mm or 700x45mm with 106 carbide studs with 4 mm tread depth.

    Post up pictures of your bad weather commuter when finished. I commuted in Vienna where my round trip was 7 miles daily. It's only 4.5 miles round trip daily now and in spite of the excerise benefits and joy of riding, who wants to fire up the car engine for such a short drive with gas prices where they are?

    BB

  13. #13
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    Wow, that looks really good and is exactly what I was asking about a few weeks back about turning my Inbred in to a quasi-cross bike.
    My commute will be 12ml round trip the long way or 7 the short way. But the 7 will have me riding the trails for a few miles, hence my idea for a quasi-cross type bike.
    I want to be able to take advantage of the larger wheels for smoother travels and extra topend on the road, but I want the bike to be strong enough to handle trails, especially some as hard on bikes as ours. (or at least this particular trail)
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  14. #14
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    The rain started in Decorah on Sat morn. The first guys out on the trails had very good conditions which degraded as the race and rain wore on. By the end thigs were getting a little greasy in some of the tight turns and off-camber sections. Things wrapped up just in time to really save the trail system, I think. I'm sure it will require a little touching up but those guys do such a great job maintaining them.
    Just Ridin' Along

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