The Surly Karate Monkey is an icon if the MTB world, having been one of the bikes that sparked the whole 29″ wheel revolution. It’s a true multipurpose hardtail – is it a cross country marathon bike, a trail bike, a bikepacking rig, or an adventure racer? The simple answer is yes – to everything! The Karate Monkey has done everything from winning the Tour Divide and Iditarod to round the world expeditions to conquering local trail centres. It’s one bike that genuinely does deserve to be called an icon – and its story is only just unfolding, as Surly continue to develop the Karate Monkey as their premier all-purpose hardtail.
The Karate Monkey delivers a resilient, lively ride on all sorts of gnarly terrain. Its frame is a highly-versatile canvas for whatever set up or adventure you’ve got in mind. According to Surly it can be set up in approximately 487 different configurations. We’ve no idea how they’ve come up with that figure, but it illustrates the range of applications that the Karate Monkey is not just capable of being put to, it shines at them too.
Originally designed as a 29er, the latest Karate Monkey has been re-designed to perform just as admirably as a 27.5+ rig as well, picking up of Surly’s design principle that their adventure orientated bikes should be adaptable to all riding styles and terrain conditions. This dual capability allows you to pick your poison — provided your poison is having a really great time while wearing a permanent grin.
The Karate Monkey frameset is built with modern trail standards: dropper post compatibility, 44mm headtube, Gnot-Boost rear spacing (adaptable to all axle lengths from 135mm right up to 148mm Boost), thru-axles, suspension corrected steel fork (giving the option of running gthe standard rigid steel fork or a 140mm suspension fork up front) etc.
The frameset has clearance for up to 29” x 2.5” or 27.5” x 3” tyres, and features a huge number of braze-ons for carrying pretty much every form of luggage you can come up with, as well as mudguards if needed.