29" wheels, as you may know, deliver greater traction than 26" wheels; they smooth out terrain more effectively, hold inertia well, and in general they fit taller riders better than 26" wheeled bikes. When it was introduced, the Karate Monkey was one of the first (the first?) production 29'ers. Not only did the Monkey put the 29" platform in front of a lot of people, it did so at a price within reach of many a bike nerd. Back then there were only about three tire options! Since then 29-inch has become a full-blown category, with entire bike companies dedicated to the platform.
Even now, however, the Karate Monkey continues to amaze people even though it's nearly the same as when it was introduced: our own custom 4130 CroMoly steel tubing make the frame and fork, butted where it matters to provide a durable yet resilient ride. The seat tube is curved forward, allowing the rear wheel to tuck under, shortening the wheelbase and increasing rear wheel traction. The crank height provides plenty of ground clearance. The rear “dropouts” are horizontal rear-load style, but with a derailleur hanger. Hmmm, tricky. We offer the complete bike version of the Karate Monkey as a singlespeed but you could turn it into a geared bike if you wanted. Or monster cross it. Fixed-gear off-road it. The Karate Monkey sticks to trail like peanut butter to a dog's mouth. It rides great. That's not just us talking, that's what we hear from customers. You'll see.
We have made some changes though. With the introduction of our Ogre frameset and complete bike, the Karate Monkey is no longer the only 29-inch wheeled model in our stable, so we took the opportunity to refine it a bit. First, we took off the cantilever studs. Yep, Karate Monkey is now disc brake only. And the fork, still suspension corrected for 80mm travel, has been redesigned to be more resilient and forgiving.
The Karate Monkey retains threaded barrel mounts on its stays. You can run a rear rack, but if what you really want is an expedition-type 29'er we advise the Ogre. Ogre shares the KM geometry but is designed to run fenders, discs and racks at the same time. If you want a lighter and faster 29'er that can do other stuff from time to time, the Karate Monkey is the way to go. There's a reason the Karate Monkey is still around: Because it rips.