Surly updates the Karate Monkey

We’re at Saddle Drive near Lake Tahoe this week checking out new bikes from Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), the parent company of Surly, All-City, Foundry, Heller and Salsa. Because of the proliferation of cycling events across the country, these companies aren’t launching all of their new stuff right away, but we did get a look at a big update from Surly: the re-designed Karate Monkey.

Karate Monkey-2

If you ride a Surly bike and have owned it for some time, you’ve probably messed with it so that it’s no longer still stock. Surly said it used to smile and nod at the crazy modifications people did to its bikes but otherwise kind of let it be. Now, it’s embracing more and more of the customer-driven tinkering and adapting frames to better accomodate your whims.

Karate Monkey-5

The 2017 Karate Monkey got a bunch of tweaks, many of them borrowed from the Instigator 2.0 trail bike and Wednesday fat bike. The tubing is mostly new, including using Trumpet tubes from the Instigator 2.0 on the front triangle. From Surly: “The main triangle’s tubes are internally butted and some tubes are externally tapered, flared like a trumpet and ovalized to add stiffness and strength without adding weight.”

The new frame has internal dropper post cable routing and a 44 mm head tube for broad fork compatibility.

Karate Monkey-3

The Monkey’s geometry was adjusted to be slightly more trail-oriented, its numbers coming rather close to the Surly Wednesday fat bike. The headtube is slightly slacker and the top tube slightly longer than older versions. The longer front center also allows the Karate Monkey to now be available in extra small.

On the medium Monkey, top tube length is 582 mm (22.9 inches), standover height is 783 mm (30.8 inches), seat tube length is 419 mm (16.5 inches), 69-degree headtube angle, chainstay length of 423 mm (16.7 inches) and a fork offset of 47 mm. Full geo numbers below this story.

Karate Monkey-1

The new frame will accept up to a 140 mm fork. Seriously. A 140 will raise the bottom bracket 17 mm and take the headtube angle from 68 degrees with rigid/100 mm to 67.5 degrees. We expect to see more than a few of these built up with dropper posts and 120/130 mm forks.

The Monkey uses a horizontal dropout with a derailleur hanger that features “Gnot-Boost” spacing, which gives the rider the ability to run any mountain bike hub. You can build your Monkey with 10×135 mm QR, 12×142 or 12×148 Boost. The frame/fork will clear up to 27×3.0 or 29×2.5 tires.

Karate Monkey-4

On the 1×11 geared version you get SRAM NX components, an 11-42 cassette, SRAM Level brakes, an Answer Pro Taper handlebar and a WTB Volt saddle (note that not all of that is pictured; the demo bikes at this event have different builds). The singlespeed will run 30×17 gearing. Both builds utilize tubeless-ready Alex rims and tubeless Surly Dirt Wizard 27.5×3.0 tires.

You can't buy it like this, but you can build it like this.
You can’t buy it like this, but you can build it like this.

The two stock complete models will be a purple singlespeed for $1,175 and a yellow/orange 27plus model for $1,400 (yep, no more stock 29er but you can still build it up as such). These bikes should be available in October/November. You can also just get a frameset in black.

Also, when poking around the Surly website, we noted that the good ‘ol fashioned Pugsley is now listed as available in a frameset, only. RIP, complete Pugsley.


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