New Bike Day! || Surly Karate Monkey

It is a new bike day for someone!  That someone happens to be me. My first new mountain bike since 1998 and I am still riding that bike.

I have been researching to figure out what I was going to purchase for well over a year. I guess the hard part was understanding my riding style and what I wanted out of a bike. Back in 2010, I went through the process to have a custom bike built and decided that was something I did not want to do this time. The reason is simple. First, my bike project bike that I finished last year is more comfortable than my custom bike and I used a 30-year-old steel mountain bike for that build. Secondly, if I could purchase a mass-production bike the money I saved going that route I could use in purchasing other outdoor equipment that I need.

I wanted a bike that I could ride as my main trail bike to ride my local singletrack. I also wanted a bike that I could go bikepacking with. It's hard to find one thing that does two things well but that is what I was looking for. It also needed to be a bike that I could stay in the saddle for longer periods than I could on my current bike. It had to have the following:

•  Steel frame

•  Rigid fork -because simple is more. 

•  27.5 plus wheelset- I know the debate goes on with wheel size but since I have been riding a 26-inch wheelset I felt the 27.5 would still give me the handling 26-inch wheelset. The plus (3") tire would give me the rollover that is found with a 29er and would take the edge off and there would be no need for a squishy fork.

• Jeff Jones H-bar

• Lots of bottle mounts- for bikepacking

I called my friend Glen of Shift Bicycles and I ran by him my requirements and told him that I believe the Surly Karate Monkey was the bike that I was looking for. Glen is a good rider and has done the Trans American, biked the Swiss Alps, and a few other cool routes, and I valued his opinion. Glen agreed. Later that afternoon I dropped by the shop so we could talk more about what I wanted. Glen happened to have his Surly out front of the shop and it was set up with Jones bars. I took his ride around the block and I knew the Jones Bars were going to work for me.

New bike day

Fast forward to the build day. I was going to be a part of the build to make sure we had everything in the right place and height before the steer tube would be cut.  Just test riding in front of the shop I was amazed at this bike. 

Tune in a few days to get my firsthand review of what we got right and how this bad boy rides!