Karate Monkey Touring Bike for 300lb rider -- parts list?



I'm a big guy, and I ride bikes. I am 6'5", 300lbs. I don't think many
of these lbs are going away.
Further dimensions: Inseam 32", Wingspan (fingertip to fingertip) 83"
(built like orangutan)

Right now I'm riding a Trek Alpha 4500, 22.5" frame, with a Rhino Lite
rear wheel and a stock front wheel.
I replaced the stock ROCK SHOX fork with a Surly Instigator fork.

I'm not really happy with the complete bikes available at the LBS, so I
am going have the wrenches build up a beefy bike from off-the-shelf
parts.

What this bike needs to do:
1.) Go very, very far on paved roads or smooth dirt roads, comfortably
(29" wheels, fattish tires)
2.) Go up steep, steep hills (27-speed gearing)
3.) Resist awful torque from me standing up in the saddle
(stupid-strong bracket and cranks)
4.) Be fun to ride

What it doesn't need to do:
1.) Win races
2.) Win beauty contests
3.) Disappoint me in the long or short term

I'm thinking Surly Karate Monkey (22 or 24" size?), rigid KM fork,
tough 29" wheels handbuilt at LBS.

What do y'all recommend for drivetrain, brakes, other components?

Budget for complete Bike ~$2K-$2.5K
 
K

Konstantin Shemyak

Guest
On 2006-10-20, [email protected] <[email protected]> wrote:
> I'm a big guy, and I ride bikes. I am 6'5", 300lbs.

[skip]
> What this bike needs to do:
> 1.) Go very, very far on paved roads or smooth dirt roads, comfortably
> (29" wheels, fattish tires)
> 2.) Go up steep, steep hills (27-speed gearing)
> 3.) Resist awful torque from me standing up in the saddle
> (stupid-strong bracket and cranks)
> 4.) Be fun to ride
>
> What it doesn't need to do:
> 1.) Win races
> 2.) Win beauty contests
> 3.) Disappoint me in the long or short term


I'd risk to give recommendations, being myself an average size rider.
If you just drop the requirement for 28"(29) wheels, the choice of
components would be much easier, thanks to freeride-downhill croud.
There are also ready-made 26" bicycles especially targeted for big riders, eg
http://schauff.de/schauff2002.de/index.php?language=e&action=fahrrad&typ=XXL/XXS&jahr=2006&id=387
(states "rider weight limit 200 kg", that is 440lbs!), and it is
well under your stated budget.

--
Konstantin Shemyak
My Nexus-7 tandem with kidback for riding with two kids:
http://konstantin.shemyak.com/cycling/Tandem
 
N

Nate Knutson

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> I'm a big guy, and I ride bikes. I am 6'5", 300lbs. I don't think many
> of these lbs are going away.
> Further dimensions: Inseam 32", Wingspan (fingertip to fingertip) 83"
> (built like orangutan)
>
> Right now I'm riding a Trek Alpha 4500, 22.5" frame, with a Rhino Lite
> rear wheel and a stock front wheel.
> I replaced the stock ROCK SHOX fork with a Surly Instigator fork.
>
> I'm not really happy with the complete bikes available at the LBS, so I
> am going have the wrenches build up a beefy bike from off-the-shelf
> parts.
>
> What this bike needs to do:
> 1.) Go very, very far on paved roads or smooth dirt roads, comfortably
> (29" wheels, fattish tires)
> 2.) Go up steep, steep hills (27-speed gearing)
> 3.) Resist awful torque from me standing up in the saddle
> (stupid-strong bracket and cranks)
> 4.) Be fun to ride
>
> What it doesn't need to do:
> 1.) Win races
> 2.) Win beauty contests
> 3.) Disappoint me in the long or short term
>
> I'm thinking Surly Karate Monkey (22 or 24" size?), rigid KM fork,
> tough 29" wheels handbuilt at LBS.
>
> What do y'all recommend for drivetrain, brakes, other components?
>
> Budget for complete Bike ~$2K-$2.5K


What kind of loads will you carry? What type of handlebars and body
positioning do you want? Is being able to use discs really important to
you? How much will you actually need all the tire clearance offered by
a KM frame?

KM's are very cool, tough frames and it's doubtful you'd be seriously
unhappy if you did get one, but if you're going to be using it as a
straight up serious touring bike that will do some light/basic off-road
sometimes, they have their shortcomings. They have pretty aggressive
geometry, a BB height appropriate for an MTB, and no upper rack
eyelets. None of those things are very good at all for a touring bike.
Being locked in to messing with the horizontal dropouts if you're using
discs but will never, ever use a non-derailer drivetrain sounds kinda
blah to me, as well. You might want to consider getting a Long Haul
Trucker instead. All of the features are more in line with what you're
describing. I'm just guessing here, but the tubing is probably the same
exact same stuff or close to it. The KM fork is probably tougher (it's
heavier at least) and the KM also just got a headtube gusset added too,
both of which are pretty good things but probably not critical things
for your purposes.

Depending on what your timeframe is, you might want to wait for the
Surly cranks to come out, since they'll probably be the exact cranks to
get when they are out.
 
Q

Qui si parla Campagnolo

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> I'm a big guy, and I ride bikes. I am 6'5", 300lbs. I don't think many
> of these lbs are going away.
> Further dimensions: Inseam 32", Wingspan (fingertip to fingertip) 83"
> (built like orangutan)
>
> Right now I'm riding a Trek Alpha 4500, 22.5" frame, with a Rhino Lite
> rear wheel and a stock front wheel.
> I replaced the stock ROCK SHOX fork with a Surly Instigator fork.
>
> I'm not really happy with the complete bikes available at the LBS, so I
> am going have the wrenches build up a beefy bike from off-the-shelf
> parts.
>
> What this bike needs to do:
> 1.) Go very, very far on paved roads or smooth dirt roads, comfortably
> (29" wheels, fattish tires)
> 2.) Go up steep, steep hills (27-speed gearing)
> 3.) Resist awful torque from me standing up in the saddle
> (stupid-strong bracket and cranks)
> 4.) Be fun to ride
>
> What it doesn't need to do:
> 1.) Win races
> 2.) Win beauty contests
> 3.) Disappoint me in the long or short term
>
> I'm thinking Surly Karate Monkey (22 or 24" size?), rigid KM fork,
> tough 29" wheels handbuilt at LBS.
>
> What do y'all recommend for drivetrain, brakes, other components?
>
> Budget for complete Bike ~$2K-$2.5K


Google, find and email Chalo-he's a big guy also.
 
C

Chalo

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
>
> What this bike needs to do:
> 1.) Go very, very far on paved roads or smooth dirt roads, comfortably
> (29" wheels, fattish tires)
> 2.) Go up steep, steep hills (27-speed gearing)
> 3.) Resist awful torque from me standing up in the saddle
> (stupid-strong bracket and cranks)
> 4.) Be fun to ride
>
> What it doesn't need to do:
> 1.) Win races
> 2.) Win beauty contests
> 3.) Disappoint me in the long or short term
>
> I'm thinking Surly Karate Monkey (22 or 24" size?), rigid KM fork,
> tough 29" wheels handbuilt at LBS.
>
> What do y'all recommend for drivetrain, brakes, other components?
>
> Budget for complete Bike ~$2K-$2.5K


If you don't want to use 700x50 tires or larger, don't get a Karate
Monkey. It's too compromised in too many respects to warrant owning,
if not for the ability to use giant tires. To me, "fattish tires"
means something less than what the KM is designed for. If you intend
to use tires smaller than 700x45, then a Surly Cross-Check or Long Haul
Trucker will handle better. (The structural weak point of all these
bikes is most likely the fork steerer; all of them have the same size
steerer, but the KM has a substantially longer lever with which to bend
it.)

If you /do/ want to use true 29er tires, then use Schwalbe Big Apple
700x60 slicks.

Also consider Kris Holm 29" mountain unicycle rims:
http://www.unicycle.com/shopping/shopexd.asp?id=805 These huge rims
allow fat tires to assume a much better, stabler shape than when they
are mounted on rims intended for tires half as wide. Even a guy your
size could probably run 700x60 Big Apples on these rims at 35psi with
no problems. However, if you use a 38mm wide rim like this, it will
rule out the use of tires narrower than about 700x40.

A distant second strongest rim for 700c is probably the Sun Rhyno Lite,
and you can use tires as narrow as 32mm on it. Rhyno Lites are
available in 48 hole versions, and that would be a very good idea for a
rear wheel for you. Diatech make a good 48 hole disc brake cassette
hub that doesn't cost too much. Keep in mind that 26" wheels are
stronger than 29" simply by virtue of their smaller diameter. The
bigger wheel must be made from stronger components if it is to equal
the strength of the smaller wheel.

8- or 9-speed rear gearing is a mixed blessing to big fellas like us (I
measure 6'8" and about 375 lbs.) On one hand it allows us to climb
terrible grades without trashing our knees or pooping out partway up.
On the other hand, it requires radical dishing of the rear wheel,
undermining the wheel's strength when it should be as strong as
possible for our purposes. Disc brake hubs tend to be less dished than
non-disc hubs, so this is a good thing to seek out even if you don't
intend to use disc brakes. 7-speed freewheel hubs are an improvement
if you get one with a beefy axle, like Bullseye or Phil Wood.
Internally geared hubs are best; all modern gearhubs are dishless or
nearly so.

Rohloff's Speedhub 14 is the best gearhub, and offers overall range
equal to 24- or 27-speed MTBs-- but it is expensive at roughly $1000.
You can get it with a disc brake. The other drawback of the Rohloff
hub is that it only comes with 32 hole drilling. Rohloff claim that 32
spokes on a dishless hub make a stronger wheel than 48 spokes on a
dished hub, and they are probably right-- but when strength is
paramount, higher spoke count is better, all else equal. I retrofitted
my Rohloff for 48 spokes in a crow's foot lacing pattern, but such
machining is beyond the ability of a normal bike shop.

SRAM and Shimano offer 7,8,and 9-speed gearhubs for much less money
(like $200 and up), but they would require some front gearing to get
the range you're after. The anti-torque washers that come with SRAM
and Shimano hubs are not really suitable for a 300-pounder riding hard
on 29" wheels. That's sort of a worst-case scenario with regard to
drivertrain torque. It would be a good idea to use two tabbed washers,
one on each side of the axle.

I highly recommend BMX 3-piece cranks (e.g. Odyssey Wombolt, Redline
Flight, Primo Powerbite) with a triple adapter spider if necessary.
They are an order of magnitude stiffer and quite a bit stronger than
MTB cranks from Shimano, Race Face, FSA, etc. BMX cranks are usually
adjustable for chainline and tread width, whereas road and MTB cranks
almost never are. Shimano Saint cranks seem like a decent option from
a structural standpoint, but they are corny-looking to my eyes.

Chalo Colina
 
B

bfd

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> I'm a big guy, and I ride bikes. I am 6'5", 300lbs. I don't think many
> of these lbs are going away.
> Further dimensions: Inseam 32", Wingspan (fingertip to fingertip) 83"
> (built like orangutan)
>
> Right now I'm riding a Trek Alpha 4500, 22.5" frame, with a Rhino Lite
> rear wheel and a stock front wheel.
> I replaced the stock ROCK SHOX fork with a Surly Instigator fork.
>
> I'm not really happy with the complete bikes available at the LBS, so I
> am going have the wrenches build up a beefy bike from off-the-shelf
> parts.
>
> What this bike needs to do:
> 1.) Go very, very far on paved roads or smooth dirt roads, comfortably
> (29" wheels, fattish tires)
> 2.) Go up steep, steep hills (27-speed gearing)
> 3.) Resist awful torque from me standing up in the saddle
> (stupid-strong bracket and cranks)
> 4.) Be fun to ride
>
> What it doesn't need to do:
> 1.) Win races
> 2.) Win beauty contests
> 3.) Disappoint me in the long or short term
>
> I'm thinking Surly Karate Monkey (22 or 24" size?), rigid KM fork,
> tough 29" wheels handbuilt at LBS.
>
> What do y'all recommend for drivetrain, brakes, other components?
>
> Budget for complete Bike ~$2K-$2.5K


This is slightly above your budget, perhaps you could eliminate the
disc brakes or buy parts used to get the price down, but take a look at
the Co-Motion Mazama. Its DESIGNED for riders weighing over 250lbs:

http://www.co-motion.com/mazama.html
 
W

Wilfred Kazoks

Guest
Unfortunately I meet you're weight dimensions but alas not height..

I've been riding "old" conventional i.e horizontal top tube, ChroMo lugged
steel frames without any problems.

They have old style cup and cone bottom brackets and 27" and 700c rims. I
have Cantilever brakes and 36spoke wheels.I also use 6 and 7 speed
clusters/cassettes. It is more important that you ensure the range of the
cluster has the low gears or steep long hills. I have 34teeth megarange and
32 teeth. The number of gears isn't the most important consideration for a
non racer.

What problems have I had though.
Broken spokes. Even lightweight riders break spokes. I think it is
inevitable, and more likely in a poorly made wheel. I have recently had good
results from a wheel made with DTSwiss Alpine III spokes.

I broke a seatpost. The original one that came one the bike. I replaced it
with one that didn't have an elegant narrow neck under the clamp, and it
didn't hold the seat so far behind the line of the post. It may have been a
faulty seatpost since I never broke another one in the 20 years since. Of
course I never rode with a narrow necked seatpost again either.

I did break a axle on the 6 speed freewheel/cluster bike. The more modern
cassette hubs are much less prone to this because the bearings are wider
apart and nearer the point the where the axle sits in the dropouts.

So I recommend you consider a good CroMo steel frame. It has some flex to
help absorb the high pedaling stresses and provide a nice comfortable ride.

I never spent anywhere near $2K for any of them. Actually I don't
necessarily think that the more a bike costs the stronger it will be. I am
inclined to expect the opposite. Double walled rims I'd pay extra for, and
I'd pay more for durability, but not light weight since the savings as a
percentage of the package of bike and rider are relatively smaller for me
compared to a lighter rider.
Regards Wilfred

<[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> I'm a big guy, and I ride bikes. I am 6'5", 300lbs. I don't think many
> of these lbs are going away.
> Further dimensions: Inseam 32", Wingspan (fingertip to fingertip) 83"
> (built like orangutan)
>
> Right now I'm riding a Trek Alpha 4500, 22.5" frame, with a Rhino Lite
> rear wheel and a stock front wheel.
> I replaced the stock ROCK SHOX fork with a Surly Instigator fork.
>
> I'm not really happy with the complete bikes available at the LBS, so I
> am going have the wrenches build up a beefy bike from off-the-shelf
> parts.
>
> What this bike needs to do:
> 1.) Go very, very far on paved roads or smooth dirt roads, comfortably
> (29" wheels, fattish tires)
> 2.) Go up steep, steep hills (27-speed gearing)
> 3.) Resist awful torque from me standing up in the saddle
> (stupid-strong bracket and cranks)
> 4.) Be fun to ride
>
> What it doesn't need to do:
> 1.) Win races
> 2.) Win beauty contests
> 3.) Disappoint me in the long or short term
>
> I'm thinking Surly Karate Monkey (22 or 24" size?), rigid KM fork,
> tough 29" wheels handbuilt at LBS.
>
> What do y'all recommend for drivetrain, brakes, other components?
>
> Budget for complete Bike ~$2K-$2.5K
>
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
[email protected] wrote:

> I'm a big guy, and I ride bikes. I am 6'5", 300lbs. I don't think many
> of these lbs are going away.


<snip>

Consider the Co-Motion Mazama, designed for people 250 lbs or heavier.
A local guy who weighed quite a bit more than you was the prototype
tester and found the bike very good.

http://www.co-motion.com/mazama.html

Another option might be a Rivendell Atlantis.

http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/html/bikes_atlantisframes.html

A friend of mine who was once pushing towards your weight range (now
about 210 after a few years of cycling and virtually car-free life)
bought one of these and had no trouble whatsoever. He had 48 spoke
wheels built up by Peter White (www.peterwhitecycles.com) that have been
trouble free. Now he's got his own bike shop:

http://www.hiawathacycles.com
 
J

Johnny Sunset aka Tom Sherman

Guest
Wilfred Kazoks wrote:
> ...
> What problems have I had though.
> Broken spokes. Even lightweight riders break spokes. I think it is
> inevitable, and more likely in a poorly made wheel...


Jobst Brandt reportedly has been using the same spokes since the time
when all VW's had air-cooled engines in the back [1].

[1] I use this example, since Jobst loves older VW's the way he loves
recumbent bicycles.

--
Tom Sherman - Here, not there.
 
Very good points.

The Karate Monkey is a versatile frame, but I think what it really
wants to do is be a monster truck tires single speed offroad
knucklehead, like the Redline Monocog.

The Long Haul Trucker makes WAY more sense for my project -- I'd be
getting a larger size frame, which means 700c wheels -- and I'll have
clearance for 45mm tires.
 
[email protected] wrote:
> I'm a big guy, and I ride bikes. I am 6'5", 300lbs. I don't think many
> of these lbs are going away.
> Further dimensions: Inseam 32", Wingspan (fingertip to fingertip) 83"
> (built like orangutan)
>
> Right now I'm riding a Trek Alpha 4500, 22.5" frame, with a Rhino Lite
> rear wheel and a stock front wheel.
> I replaced the stock ROCK SHOX fork with a Surly Instigator fork.
>
> I'm not really happy with the complete bikes available at the LBS, so I
> am going have the wrenches build up a beefy bike from off-the-shelf
> parts.


I know a guy who is about your height but 350 pounds. He rides a
Cannondale R800. Road bike. Skinny 700C wheels. Ultegra or 105 STI
stuff. Gipiemme factory wheels. The bike does not fall apart when he
rides it. I think you underestimate the strength of bike parts and
wheels. And overestimate your strength. There is no need for you to
build some kludge bike when any off the shelf road bike will work just
fine.




>
> What this bike needs to do:
> 1.) Go very, very far on paved roads or smooth dirt roads, comfortably
> (29" wheels, fattish tires)
> 2.) Go up steep, steep hills (27-speed gearing)
> 3.) Resist awful torque from me standing up in the saddle
> (stupid-strong bracket and cranks)
> 4.) Be fun to ride
>
> What it doesn't need to do:
> 1.) Win races
> 2.) Win beauty contests
> 3.) Disappoint me in the long or short term
>
> I'm thinking Surly Karate Monkey (22 or 24" size?), rigid KM fork,
> tough 29" wheels handbuilt at LBS.
>
> What do y'all recommend for drivetrain, brakes, other components?
>
> Budget for complete Bike ~$2K-$2.5K
 
R

Ryan Cousineau

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
"Johnny Sunset aka Tom Sherman" <[email protected]> wrote:

> Wilfred Kazoks wrote:
> > ...
> > What problems have I had though.
> > Broken spokes. Even lightweight riders break spokes. I think it is
> > inevitable, and more likely in a poorly made wheel...

>
> Jobst Brandt reportedly has been using the same spokes since the time
> when all VW's had air-cooled engines in the back [1].
>
> [1] I use this example, since Jobst loves older VW's the way he loves
> recumbent bicycles.


I think he's right, too.

I had one wheel that was a spoke-breaker (part of the reason it was sold
to me). After I broke a few spokes, I did the standard stress-relief
trick to the wheel, and it has held up for a year. It is presently doing
durable duty as my cyclocross wheel.

Other than that, the spokes I have broken have been due to getting
damaged by errant chains, or because someone stuck their bike's
handlebar into my wheel. Very inconsiderate thing to do during a race.

The one other reason a spoke might die is corrosion, but on good
stainless steel spokes a piece of fine sandpaper can take care of the
trouble-spot.

--
Ryan Cousineau [email protected] http://www.wiredcola.com/
"I don't want kids who are thinking about going into mathematics
to think that they have to take drugs to succeed." -Paul Erdos
 
I've had mixed luck with stock stuff, and I've been going on much much
longer rides than before, so I'm all about buying good parts that won't
leave me stranded in Port Costa.

I've broken spokes and bent rims. I've stripped out the square
threading on my cranks. I even pulled the handlebars off a cheap MTB
once, on a steep climb.

Though yanno, I have been riding $500 mountain bikes for the last
twenty years.

Maybe THAT's the reason I'm freaked out about breaking parts.
 
Thank you for the excellent information, Mr. Colina.

I think I will do one of two things:
1.) Buy a Long Haul Trucker frame and build it up
2.) Save up and buy a Mazama.

Chalo, what do you think of that Co-Motion Mazama bike? Worth the money
for a big guy who isn't his own mechanic?
 
C

Chalo

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
>
> I think I will do one of two things:
> 1.) Buy a Long Haul Trucker frame and build it up
> 2.) Save up and buy a Mazama.
>
> Chalo, what do you think of that Co-Motion Mazama bike? Worth the money
> for a big guy who isn't his own mechanic?


To be blunt, no. It's a sturdy ride, but very spendy, and you could do
better than their component choices for much less money. My main
concern in your case is that the "large" Mazama has a very short
21-1/2" top tube-- not so good for an orangutan impressionist. Surly
frames are much better in that regard, and while they might be
lighter-boned than the Mazama, they are still pretty heavy duty bikes
by contemporary standards.

Also note that the Co-Motion Mazama is a 26" wheeled bike, and that
there are a lot of good choices for you if you choose to go that way.
Just get as burly an MTB as you find appropriate, and add drop bars if
that's what you want (it sounds simpler than it is, but it's still no
big deal). MTBs in your size tend to have top tubes about 2-1/2"
longer than that of the Mazama, which will make a good fit much easier
to accomplish.

Here is a 700c wheelset that I have considered buying for myself:
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=17530
The rear is spaced 145mm (which minimizes wheel dishing), but it would
be easy for any competent shop to spread a 135mm frame to fit. Any
700c steel frame that can accomodate 38mm or larger tires would be
appropriate for these wheels, and tires as narrow as an actual 32mm
would be feasible. I doubt that a significantly stronger set of road
bike wheels can be bought at any price.

Chalo
 
C

Chalo

Guest
JeffWills wrote:
>
> Chalo wrote:
> >
> > Here is a 700c wheelset that I have considered buying for myself:
> > http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=17530

>
> Hrrr??? The description says 26"... have you gotten so strong that
> you're stretching wheels like taffy?


Doh! I think I got so old that my mind turned to taffy. I could swear
I had come across wheels like these, in 700c, at Nashbar's site
recently. Wishful thinking perhaps?

Chalo
 
D

Dane Buson

Guest
Chalo <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> A distant second strongest rim for 700c is probably the Sun Rhyno Lite,
> and you can use tires as narrow as 32mm on it. Rhyno Lites are
> available in 48 hole versions, and that would be a very good idea for a
> rear wheel for you. Diatech make a good 48 hole disc brake cassette
> hub that doesn't cost too much.


I thought the Diatech hubs had been discontinued? That's why I ended up
with a Gusset Jury and a Halo Spin Doctor hub. One's doing servicable
work on my Xtracycle, the other is my commuting wheel.

--
Dane Buson - [email protected]
.... there are about 5,000 people who are part of that commitee. These guys
have a hard time sorting out what day to meet, and whether to eat croissants
or doughnuts for breakfast -- let alone how to define how all these complex
layers that are going to be agreed upon. - Craig Burton of Novell, Network World