on Flickr

photo from cyclotourist's flickr

Inside my chest, somewhere near my heart, there's been a growing want for a mountain bike. Last Summer Tristan (with his proper dirt death-dealing machine) took me (and my 'cross bike running 700x39 knobbies) through the woods along some Massachusetts single track. My bike, my beloved Soma Double Cross, was not bike enough, and the want began.

Talking with Tristan, we both agreed that a fully rigid 29'er would be very awesome. A Surly Karate Monkey frame set built up with a full Paul group that I, well, just happen to have laying around, would be very awesome indeed.

The Karate Monkey in particular seems to hit a sweet spot of bike-dork re-configuration for me that just gets me really excited. Single speed, sure. Rear derailleur, if you like. 700c slicks or 29" knobs, disk or rim brakes, it can be (an has been) built in so many different ways, and invites constant finagling.

But what of the fact that I already own too many bikes? Room would need to be made. So I stripped my polo bike and sold the frame. I stripped that old steel Atala that was always two sizes too small and put it up for sale too. And I could easily swap out my Double Cross for the Karate Monkey frame. A little bit (no, it was a lot) of searching on Flickr for "karate monkey" brought up several examples built up just like my current Double Cross, including fenders, (fat-ish) slick tires and drop bars. But at the same time, the Karate Monkey Frame offers the clearance for much, much larger tires, along with the standover height and headtube angle of a trail bike. Mmmm Chico trails...

I didn't make much this last year, nearly half what what I did in the previous. But my tax return came in recently and it might be enough, just maybe enough, to get me into the dirt.


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