Since I got the Karate Monkey as a gift, it took me a while on how to build this iconic steel 29er frame and fork. I rode 29er bikes and I am really not very comfortable with the big diameter wheels. I initially built it as a single speed with coaster hubs. Clean lines, wireless and knobby; that was how Kics, the Karate Monkey started.
Kics looked like a fixie on steroids.
I enjoyed that look for several months until the coaster hubs started to act strange. Bike mechanics periodically maintained the Monkey to grease the coaster hub, but there is a bothersome noise from the coaster that I had to replace it twice until I gave up.
I got a Shimano hub and turned it into a Single speed with mechanical disc brakes.
I found a pair of non-knobby tires which are thick enough for my taste. The design pattern is OK, it is 2.35, so I bought it. Upgraded my front hubs with the classic 6-bolt-disc-brake-ready Shimano hub. I put a skull decal on the hub (‘coz skulls are cool). I got a Giant FR short stem, paired it with the On One Snorky handle bar. I’ve been riding it to get the “touring” feel. So far, I’ve been loving the Metamorphosis of the Karate Monkey.