New Bike Day! || Surly Karate Monkey

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

I had been researching to figure out what bike I should purchase for well over a year. The hard part for me was understanding my riding style and what I wanted that bicycle to do. In 2010, I went through the process of having a custom bike built. While I enjoyed the process of building a custom bicycle. I decided that I didn't want to go that route this time. The reason was simple. If understood how I wanted the bike to handle and how I wanted to use it. Then I should be able to find what I was looking for in a mass-production bike with a little customization. Plus the money I saved going this route would go toward purchasing other outdoor equipment that I need.

I was looking for a mountain 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. Most importantly it also needed to be comfortable so that I could stay in the saddle for more extended periods. 

My Requirements:

•  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 provide me the handling 26-inch wheelset. The plus-size tire would give me the rollover that is found with a 29er. Would it roll a little slower? Maybe, but I was willing to give that up to take the edge off of not having a squishy fork.

• Jeff Jones H-bar

• Lots of bottle mounts for bikepacking

I called my friend Glen, the owner of The Journeyman's Adventure Company, and discussed with him my requirements. I told him that I believed the Surly Karate Monkey was the bike that I was looking for. Glen is a great rider. He has completed the Trans American, biked routes in the Swiss Alps, and a few other cool routes. With that riding background, I valued his opinion. Glen agreed and later that afternoon I dropped by the shop so we could discuss more what I was looking for. 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
Making the final cut on the steer tube.

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 how this bike felt.

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

Now It's Your Turn-
Let me know how your new bike day turned out. What were you looking for in your bike? 

Navigate over to read about my 30 Days Post New Bike Review.


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