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Surly Karate Monkey reach with drop bars

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Surly Karate Monkey reach with drop bars

Old 02-25-13, 06:37 PM
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TripleU
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Surly Karate Monkey reach with drop bars

Hi everyone,

I'm in a bit of a pickle right now deciding on frame sizes.

I currently ride a 60cm Kona Dew Plus (2008). I bought it used a few years back thinking it was a good deal (and because I knew nothing about bikes back then). Only problem is that it is extremely oversized for me. I'm 5' 10" with 30" inseam while the bike has an effective top tube 23.5" and standover of 32.2". I've enjoyed riding it just fine and have done fine with it.

This week I decided to upgrade it with drop bars. This extended the reach by about 5 and now I can't ride it comfortably. It hurts my hands and I lean too far forward. I've put in a lot of time and money on components of this bike so I don't want to get a new bike, but decided to look at getting a new frame instead.

So, finally to my question, I've found a used Surly Karate Monkey 18" frame which sounds smaller at first glance, but looking at the geometry it isn't. I've read countless other threads and there have been people my size getting the 18" and fitting fine, but not with drops. The standover height is one inch lower on the Surly than on my Kona, the seat tube and head tube angles are about 1.5 degrees more in my favour (shortening the TT length) but the effective TT length is the same (despite the Kona being the 2nd largest out of 8 sizes and the Surly being the 2nd smallest out of 4 sizing options).

I'm hoping to hear some advice or other experiences about the geometry and bike fitting. I really only need about 4-5 inches shorter of a reach than I currently have. Will this frame give me that?

Thanks
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Old 02-25-13, 06:50 PM
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I am 5' 8" and have a 21in top tube length and the frame is a large 54cm or 21.5in. It fits me fine and I prefer large frames but certainly not with drop bars. If you hurt like I do with drop bars, I'm not sure if going to a smaller frame will alleviate "all" the pain. It will certainly help some because your kona is more in the extra large category with too much reach for you. You will love that Surly though, and you can always change the bars if needed.
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Old 02-25-13, 07:18 PM
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I don't think it's drop bars themselves that hurt me, at least I hope not. I think it's just that because the reach is so far, I put too much weight on my hands. I'd really like to start using drop bars though. I've used a similar grips on bars on a spinning machine in the gym without any pain, so I don't think the bars are the problem.
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Old 02-25-13, 07:24 PM
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When trying to fit drop bars on a bike designed for flat bars, you generally need to make some kind of accommodation. It's easiest to figure this out if you have a bike that fits. It's also easier to get a frame designed for drop bars if that's what you want. You're not likely to find a frame that you can switch back and forth between flat bars and drop bars without a lot of compromise somewhere.

There are also some other considerations.

Your saddle position relative to the bottom bracket should be independent of seat tube angle from bike to bike. When you switch to a frame with a steeper seat tube angle, you'll need to move the saddle back farther than you would on a frame with a slacker seat tube. As a result, even though the actual top tube (and listed effective top tube length) is shorter on a frame with a steeper seat tube angle, it may not fit that way. When comparing frames, add about 1 cm to the effective top tube length for each additional degree of seat tube angle. Head tube angle has a small enough effect to be ignored for fitting purposes.

Handlebar height also has a big effect on bike fit in terms of reach. As the bars get higher, you don't need to lean as much to reach them. Or to look at it another way, if you lean the same amount, the distance from your shoulder to the bars decreases as the bars come up. When looking at frames, the head tube length, fork length and bottom bracket drop all impact the way that a given effective top tube length feels. Many companies will give you a handy figure labeled 'stack' which is the horizontal difference from the bottom bracket to the plane at the top of the head tube. A stem with lots of rise will also produce an effect like this.

So, getting back to the Karate Monkey, if you were going to use flat bars an 18" KM would probably be just about right for you. If you are going to use drop bars, even a 16" Karate Monkey will probably be a little too long.

I would suggest that if you want to use drop bars (but keep all your components), you look into something like the Disc Trucker or Soma Double Cross.
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Old 02-25-13, 07:28 PM
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Going to the KM would help by about 1-1.5cm, how about using a shorter stem and a set of drop bars with less reach?
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Old 02-25-13, 07:38 PM
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Let me also offer an illustration from my own experience.

I used to have a Marin Muirwoods 29er. It was designed for flat bars and had a fairly long effective top tube. I believe it was listed at 590mm. I'm 5'9". Set up comfortably for commuting it looked like this:



I think that was a 110mm stem.

Then I decided I wanted to put drop bars on it. I was able to make it mostly work. It looked like this:



The stem in this case is 80mm and the bars have 75mm reach. It looks like I may have also moved my saddle forward, which you should never do to fix reach problems. As I say, this mostly worked, but I was never quite satisfied with it. The bike I'm using now for the same purposes looks like this:



It's got a 550mm effective top tube length and a 90mm stem. The fit is very nice.
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Old 02-25-13, 08:08 PM
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^^ Andy great explanation. I find in a lot of these discussions people don't take into account the extra amount of reach drop bars add and it complicates things when adding drop bars on frames designed for flat bars.

Like you I'm 5'9" and like to ride with a total reach of 64-65cm ett+stem.
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Old 02-25-13, 10:07 PM
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Thanks Andy, those are some really good explanations. I never gave the seat tube angle much thought in regards to saddle to bb distance/angle. I admit I did shift my saddle forward to see if it would help my reach.

My drops have 75mm reach and the stem is 90mm. Not as short as possible, but already on the shorter side of average. I have tried changing the number of spacers and flipping the stem to increase the height and bring it closer to me, but it just wasn't enough. It feels so close, but not quite. It looks like you dropped your effective top tube length by about 40mm. That is what it feels like I need in order for mine to fit better.

I guess the consensus here is that the Surly is too big and I should look for a smaller frame.
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Old 02-26-13, 10:53 AM
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I wouldn't count out that surly. I saw a 16in frame before and it looked like it would fit a sixth grader. They are very very small. 18in is more like your size but not sure about the drop bars. I am a little shorter than you and I use 21in. It just rides so much better especially if its alluminum. The surly will be steel though. You can do like Thermionic mentions and use bars with less reach. What exactly are you trying to gain by using the drop bars? Are you entering races etc?
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Old 02-26-13, 11:06 AM
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I would check out one of these to see if you could dial it in before buying a new frame.

They're very common over here (a lot of bikes in the €2500+ range have adjustable stuff by Sunori) but I think the only place I've seen them in the US are from eBay (interestingly enough).

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Old 02-26-13, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I would check out one of these to see if you could dial it in before buying a new frame.

They're very common over here (a lot of bikes in the €2500+ range have adjustable stuff by Sunori) but I think the only place I've seen them in the US are from eBay (interestingly enough).

+1, exactly, never thought of that
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Old 02-26-13, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by droy45 View Post
I wouldn't count out that surly. I saw a 16in frame before and it looked like it would fit a sixth grader. They are very very small. 18in is more like your size but not sure about the drop bars. I am a little shorter than you and I use 21in. It just rides so much better especially if its alluminum. The surly will be steel though. You can do like Thermionic mentions and use bars with less reach. What exactly are you trying to gain by using the drop bars? Are you entering races etc?
I could probably get a stem about 30-40 mm shorter, but for bar reach I already have a compact bar so it won't get much shorter. I mostly commute with my bike but I do the occasional race. But even when commuting, I like to go fast and I find I tend to lean into a more aggressive position, albeit awkward, when using my old horizontal bars.

Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I would check out one of these to see if you could dial it in before buying a new frame.

They're very common over here (a lot of bikes in the €2500+ range have adjustable stuff by Sunori) but I think the only place I've seen them in the US are from eBay (interestingly enough).

Interesting, I have not seen those before. I'm in Canada, which makes finding bike parts even more difficult, but I might look around for that type of stem. The single pivot stems are fairly common here on comfort bikes but dual pivot stems I have not seen. I can't find much info on Sunori. Do you know any other manufacturers that make it?
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Old 02-26-13, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by TripleU View Post
I could probably get a stem about 30-40 mm shorter, but for bar reach I already have a compact bar so it won't get much shorter. I mostly commute with my bike but I do the occasional race. But even when commuting, I like to go fast and I find I tend to lean into a more aggressive position, albeit awkward, when using my old horizontal bars.



Interesting, I have not seen those before. I'm in Canada, which makes finding bike parts even more difficult, but I might look around for that type of stem. The single pivot stems are fairly common here on comfort bikes but dual pivot stems I have not seen. I can't find much info on Sunori. Do you know any other manufacturers that make it?
Most German trekking bikes have something by Sunori on them ... but a few models use other suppliers, so you could cruise through these pages to dig up other companies that supply them and ho doesn't like looking at nice bikes

eBay.ca may work?

FYI, "Vorbau" is similar to "stem"

VSF Fahrradmanufaktur: https://www.fahrradmanufaktur.de/bikes/
Gudereit: https://www.gudereit.de/newsite/trekkingline-gesamt.php
Corratec: https://www.corratec.com/bikes/trekki...29er-one-gent#
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Old 02-26-13, 12:16 PM
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edit: i like canadians (they play a mean game of curling and have some good beer)

https://www.ebay.ca/sch/i.html?_nkw=a...at=0&_from=R40

in particular

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/gobike88-SATO...item257332c219

also, BBB is a good brand, but most people prefer Sunori
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Old 02-26-13, 03:05 PM
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Not quite Canada, but I think they'll ship to there:

https://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...0&category=784

It's possible your LBS can get this.

BTW, as I read the geometry the 18" Karate Monkey will fit even bigger than the 60cm Kona Dew Plus. The Dew series has kind of odd geometry. It adapts to drop bars better than most mountain bikes (hence the Dew Drop), but yours is meant for someone much taller.
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Old 02-27-13, 01:13 PM
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What about some alt. bars like salsa woodchipers or some albatross style.
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Old 02-27-13, 02:10 PM
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Albatross bars don't give me the hand position I'm looking for. The woodchippers are close, but I don't think it reduces the reach much, compared to the compact bars I already have.

I'll probably pick up that double pivot stem to try out different positions and see what I'm most comfortable. I'll probably go with the eBay one as it's cheaper. I'll ask a few LBS first to see if they have them, but local stuff here is expensive...
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