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· smell my finger
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I'm looking to either build or purchase a steel singlespeed bike that I will use to commute around 20 miles daily. I have the option of purchasing a used (mint) karate monkey in a local shop with real sweet components (thompson, brooks, salsa, BB7's) for $800-$1000 that one of the customers built up. I'm not sure I could build one cheaper or just by a SS 29er frame and build it or by a whole road bike SS. Steel frame for sure even though I'll ride it throughout the winter with studded tires. I definately want a SS, any suggestions?
 

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lablover said:
I'm looking to either build or purchase a steel singlespeed bike that I will use to commute around 20 miles daily. I have the option of purchasing a used (mint) karate monkey in a local shop with real sweet components (thompson, brooks, salsa, BB7's) for $800-$1000 that one of the customers built up. I'm not sure I could build one cheaper or just by a SS 29er frame and build it or by a whole road bike SS. Steel frame for sure even though I'll ride it throughout the winter with studded tires. I definately want a SS, any suggestions?

The Karate Monkey is notoriously versatile. I know a guy who has two wheelsets for his, and he uses it for all of his commuting and mountain biking, adding and removing fenders and panniers as needs and weather demand. For your foul-weather riding with studded tires, you'll need something with plenty of tire clearance - the other option that comes to mind would be a Cross Check built up as an SS, but I don't see that it offers any advantages over what you're currently considering. I say get the KM -- I doubt you could build one up as nice as the one you described for under a thousand.
 

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A good SS or fixed year-round commuter in the PacNW will have good room for fenders, and possibly eyelets for a rack if that's how you might want to carry your stuff. Otherwise, any bike that you like will do.
 

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I had a 29 er as a commuter and it was annoying heavy and the geometry didn't seem suitable for speed. Plus it looked dorky w/ cross tires.

Currently own a cross check for commuting and it is a dream. However, I don't think they make one w/ disc tabs as you mentioned. But really, whey do you need discs on a commuter?
 

· jaded bitter joy crusher
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A good friend of mine commutes with a KM (Rohloff instead of SS, but otherwise basically a lot like what you're describing) and he's very happy. The price sounds very right for the components and mint condition that you describe.
 

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My top picks for SS/Fixed commuter would be:
Redline “9-2-5” – SS/fixed complete bike with fenders, they arnt light but they are cheep (Sub $500) and ride nice
Surly “Cross Check” – The standard
Pake” C Muter” – Similar to the Cross Check but a tad cheaper
Salsa “Casseroll” – Very nice riding bike, complete singlespeed is a fantastic build and under $900
Steel Wool “Sweet City limited” – very pretty, under a grand complete
Swobo “del Norte” – those thing are just cool
All of these bikes are steel, have rack/fender mounts, reasonable geometry for getting around in traffic, are readily available and are capable of coming in under a grand complete.
I started commuting a few years ago on a 29er and while it worked it was heavy, had slow geometry, and never really clicked for me on the streets. That bike was much more at home on the singletrack where it belonged. Also, 29er wheelbases are too long to fit public transportation racks should that need ever arise.
I commute 2-3 days a week (~20 miles each way) splitting my time between a Soma Double Cross with gears and Milwaukee Orange One fixed.
 
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