Surly Karate Monkey drop bar 5 speed

The impending arrival of another 29er frame means it’s time my own Surly had a makeover. Run for the last three years as a flat-bar, 9 speed hardtail, the frame’s geometry and track-ends made it suitable for a rather radical ‘gravel-grinding monster commuter’ conversion and it’s been completely stripped down and rebuilt with a custom wheelset (featuring a 5 speed Sturmey-Archer X-RD5w drum brake rear hub), drop bars & stem, huge Schwalbe tyres, Tortec rack and SKS mudguards  plus a lovely brown Charge finishing kit. I spent a lot of time dialing in the rear hub, cabling & fitting the accessories, so am really happy to be out riding it again! The rear hub has a 256% gear ratio range, giving the range of a 1x set-up. If you fancy something similar doing to YOUR bike then drop me a message ;)

Frame & Fork: 20″ Surly Karate Monkey
Headset: Hope
Stem: Profile Boa 120mm x 40 degrees (sprayed black)
Handlebar: On-One Midge
Tape: Charge
Front Brake: Avid BB5R, Shimano 160mm Centrelock rotor (may go to 180mm)
Brake Cables: Goodridge
Brake Levers: Tektro R200, Acor inline
Shifter: Sturmey-Archer SLS50-B
Gear Cable: Goodridge
Rear Sprocket: Sturmey-Archer 19 tooth, 1/8″ dished
Chain: KMC 1/8″
Cranks: Shimano Deore XT M760
Crank Bolt: KCNC
Chainring: Blackspire 42 tooth (temporary, needs a 1/8″ ring)
Bashring: Driveline
Bottom Bracket: RaceFace X-Type
Pedals: VP with toe-clips & straps
Rims: Rigida Sputnik 700c
Front Hub: Shimano Deore XT M765
Rear Hub: Sturmey-Archer X-RD5(w)
Spokes: DT Swiss Competition
Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon Dureme 700 x 50c
Tubes: Continental
Saddle: Charge Spoon (may swap to Brooks)
Seatpost: Bontrager
Seatpost Binder: Surly
Extras: SKS mudguards (longer stays fitted since photoshoot), Tortec luggage rack (to be replaced with a Topeak that sits lower), Outland top tube protector (to prevent bar end shifter damage), vintage Cateye reflector

1 thought on “Surly Karate Monkey drop bar 5 speed”

  1. Build notes… The BB is RaceFace X-Type (HTII) and the BB shell is 73mm so there’s just one 2.5mm spacer on driveside, though I’m considering going to 1.5mm RH and 1mm LH to perfect it. The chainline’s just under 50mm. Rear hub is only 130mm OLD so I used an extra spacer & two slotted washers per side of the axle to get it snug in the frame (the slotted washers surrounding each drop-out) and do a bit of jiggery pokery to get the brake & gear cable routing to work. I built the rim onto the hub once I had the hub seated nicely but the wheel could be tweaked to fit another frame at a later date.

    I bought the F&F new in 2011, been fiddling with it ever since! Had it ‘normal’ 3×9 with BB7s, riser bars and Fox F29RL for a while and done plenty of miles on it, but as I have another 29er hardtail frame on the way I decided to try something different… and I had the hub kicking around whispering ideas to me! I’ve got some longer stays for the rear mudguard, have removed the excess black tape from the bar ends now and have swapped out the bell! I’ve also got a better rack for it, one that sits lower.

    I’m test-riding it for a bit before I splash out on a dedicated 1/8″ chainring for it but think 42t is about right with the 19t cog. The noise the hub makes while I cycle it on my workstand is lovely, almost reminiscent of my motorcycle racing days! And it has a 265% gear ratio spread so should winch me up anything local and it’s destined for pretty flat / tow path riding in this guise.

    Top tube pad prevents damage from bar end shifter. Rear brake is weak though, might stick a 180mm rotor upfront to compensate!

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