convert my SS rigid 29er for commute/touring- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    convert my SS rigid 29er for commute/touring

    I have a small Surly Karate Monkey set up as a XC singlespeed bike and I would like to acquire some parts to make it a part-time touring bike for mountain roads and forest service roads. this is my ONLY bike at present, but I could make room in my apartment/budget for a second bike. I am afraid those long, steep climbs in north Georgia are going to be murder on a SS bike, and riding with my geared friends will be a drag for them.

    so here's what I have to work with:





    I would put some 32-38c tires on the wheels. the frame has cable stops and RD hanger, so putting a 3x9 or so should be no problem. I would like to make it 1x8 for light commuting, but for longer rides on mountain roads, more gears would be better, I think. what about these bars for long rides? would drops be a lot better?

    my cranks are not SS specific, so I could put a regular triple setup on the front. that's a Hope hub on the back with a full sized freehub, so a full 8-9 speed cassette will work on there.

    now, if I go to all that trouble, I can do it with my own tools at home. but when I want to ride trails, I have to change it all back to fat tires, SS gear, etc. I could also just build up another bike, but then I need room for two bikes. I have an old Scott chromoly hybrid that I could use for this purpose. will the Karate Monkey make a good pavement bike, or will it not be worth the extra work?

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't worry about tire width. I would also consider 1x7 or even fewer gears if you can get the right cassette. A basic road bike has a ~300% gear range which you can cover w/ an 11-28 tooth cassette. Go for a bigger chainring, 42T maybe, and you'll be able to keep up w/ anyone, going uphill or down.

    So, that's exactly what I did, regeared my SS/FG commuter to 1x7 42x11/28 (new rear wheel, w/ spacer to fit 7 spd cassette onto 9 spd freehub), but then I lucked into an actual bargain road bike, and ditched the gears off the SS, which is back to being my 9 months commuter. Derailers just don't work in my area, reliably, through the winter (my daily commute is ~1000' of climbing, according to my cell phone anyway).

    I ride the road bike w/ gears w/ people who I want to keep up with, and the SS when I'm just going my own way.

  3. #3
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    2.35 chunky knobbies on pavement does not sound fun, but I have some 700x37c Panaracers at my disposal. I have an 8 speed 12-28 cassette in my closet. my main concern is how much of a pain it will be to swap out chainrings. fitting a RD, longer chain, and cassette are easy though.
    Last edited by mack_turtle; 02-01-2012 at 08:47 AM.

  4. #4
    Bedwards Of The West
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    ^^ I did a 450 mile tour on the Oregon Coast last year with 2.35" Big Apples on my 29er. It was Gloriously plush and comfortable. They're heavy, but you're carrying an extra 50 pounds anyway, so....
    I saw two other riders with pinch flats, and I gave away one tire boot while I rolled by in tubeless smugness.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  5. #5
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    I'm interested in this Scott you mention. I'm thinking it might make a better touring bike, then you can leave you KM with knobbies and a single gear.

  6. #6
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    here's the Scott:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/po...ld-738240.html

    I took it apart and gave some of the parts back to the co-op after I got the KM, but I still have plenty of parts to re-build it. part of the problem is that it's too long for me to ride drops on it with anything but the shortest, tiniest of stem.

  7. #7
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    If it's too long for drops, you might consider swept or "alt" bars with multiple hand positions a la Surly Open Bars etc. Will bring your reach back to be comfy and also give you multiple hand positions like a drop bar would, which is nice for long days while touring.

  8. #8
    Monkey Junkie
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    I put gears on my KM to basically solve the same issue you're having. It was my only bike for a while and having one gear for everything from trails to road riding wasn't cutting it. I now ride my KM on pavement most of the time. Mine has 2.35 Big Apples on it and it certainly isn't fast, but it rides great and goes anywhere. I want to try some 32mm cross tires on it because I'm sure it'll be much quicker.

    If you're comfortable on the KM and want to use it for everything, then just put at least a rear derailleur on it and swap out tires for different terrain.

  9. #9
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    Get a second bike.
    Changing stuff back between every ride sucks. trust me.

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    OP, did you make a decision?

    I'd be thinking either switching the Surly to a geared drivetrain full-time and getting a second set of wheels to set up for road full-time (medium to fat slicks for touring, IMO) or a second, complete, touring bike. Finding a touring bike for the cost of a whole new drivetrain, second set of wheels, and tires shouldn't be too difficult. I guess it would depend some on if you want to make the Surly a multi-speed bike anyway, or if you'd just as soon keep it a single.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    i am working on the Scott bike as a second bike. it's just too much hassle to swap parts around all the time. the Scott is doing awesome.



  12. #12
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    I would suggest throwing some big apples on there. I put them on my se racing stout and could see myself riding lots of miles with just the single speed setup. maybe if i was doing a long tour i would think about putting gears on but its a lot of fun and fast as is.

  13. #13
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    I just got some Stan's wheels (dropped nearly two pounds off my bike!), and set the tires up tubeless. so the Monkey is staying my dedicated off-road bike.

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