I've decided to buy a new bike in the spring and I've got my eye on the Karate Monkey. I'm starting to get interested in cyclocross though but I don't want to just get a "cyclocross" bike instead because I don't know yet if my new interest will last. Surly's website suggests that the Karate Monkey could be built as a cyclocross bike and I was wondering what that would mean and how it would be done? Would it be a good idea? What are your thoughts on this?
The Karate Monkey is an excellent choice for all-around riding, but I think it might be too heavy for cyclocross. I happened to test ride one from my LBS (LX/XT components, Avid disc brakes, dirt drop h/bars, Brooks Champion saddle).
I can't say enough good things about the bike. It rides beautifully, on and off road. With the 700c WTB Nanorapter (I think!) tires it doesn't need suspension. I really want one, although I'm building my eighth bike and I can't justify to my wife a ninth bike!
However, having raced 'cross before I believe you need something as light as possible without breaking the bank and the Karate Monkey is probably not the best choice for that.
I would suggest getting a cheap alum cross bike to see if you like the sport. If you find you rather just have an all-around bike, then take the components off and put them on the karate monkey (or similar), which is a very good all around type bike.