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Thread: why surly?

  1. #1
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    why surly?

    whats the fascination with surly? i see a ton of people worshiping them.. why are they so desirable?

    i am really asking, not trying to start a war..

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    Surly you can't be serious?


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    On the one hand, they're inexpensive, versatile, and durable.

    On the other hand, they're funky, innovative, and just plain fun.

    I think those qualities speak to a lot of people, myself included.

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    Thoroughly though out designs that are versatile and affordable. Being affordable allows me the luxury of owning multiple bikes designed for different purposes.

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    I'm a recent Pug owner and the bike is a blast. Surly doesn't make super bikes, but they make affordable, bombproof, fun bikes. I have not been able to contain my excitement since I got my Pug.

    No suspension = reliability, challenge, and simplicity.

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    Tangaroo said it...they make fun bikes. I've never owned a bike that I've had as much fun riding as my 1x1. I'm planning on boosting my amount of Surly's by possibly 2 bikes this year If you want something affordable, versatile and bombproof and aren't a weight weenie, then just try one and see how you like it.

    ecooke21- what bike are you thinking about getting?

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    surly in winter and summer

    If you like to ride winter snowmobile trails, Surly Pugsley's wide tires are the ticket. If you ride the sandy trails of Moab, the Pugsley rocks.

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    Another point to make is that Surly offers unique bikes. They've set many milestones and precedents in the bike world. I think their uniqueness of their company in general (website, bikes, staff) brings a certain uniqueness out of it's riders. Doesn't matter whether you're riding a 29'er or 26'er, you're riding, and that's what's important.

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    You know, this question pops up every once in a while. For me, it really boils down to the fact that Surly's are common sense bicycles for everyday people like me. For like 99% of the riding that normal people do (who aren't racing), good quality 4130 steel tubes and nice fat tires are all you need. Not to light, not too heavy. Smooths out the bumps in the road or the trail. For offroad, get bigger fatter tires - 26er, 29er, 29+, Pugs, Moonlander. The principle is the same. Yet, the bike industry is out there selling people the latest racing technology or else pushing cheap aluminum bikes with cheap crappy suspension forks that scream "me too". Surly is really a repudiation of the gimmickiness and trendiness that kind of pervades the bike industry and is just a breath of fresh air. Just gimme steel and fat tires. Other brands do it too - Soma, Rivendell, Rawlands, Gunnar, Singular, etc. All purveyors of bikes I would love to own. But Surly's are generally less expensive and more readily available, both new and used. So its Surly's that I own.

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    +1 everything that's already been said. I bought a KM a year ago to try SS on the local singletrack and to ride rails to trails with my young boys. My Pivot Mach 4 has collected dust since then. The KM is simple, well built, affordable, and a blast to ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd View Post
    You know, this question pops up every once in a while. For me, it really boils down to the fact that Surly's are common sense bicycles for everyday people like me. For like 99% of the riding that normal people do (who aren't racing), good quality 4130 steel tubes and nice fat tires are all you need. Not to light, not too heavy. Smooths out the bumps in the road or the trail. For offroad, get bigger fatter tires - 26er, 29er, 29+, Pugs, Moonlander. The principle is the same. Yet, the bike industry is out there selling people the latest racing technology or else pushing cheap aluminum bikes with cheap crappy suspension forks that scream "me too". Surly is really a repudiation of the gimmickiness and trendiness that kind of pervades the bike industry and is just a breath of fresh air. Just gimme steel and fat tires. Other brands do it too - Soma, Rivendell, Rawlands, Gunnar, Singular, etc. All purveyors of bikes I would love to own. But Surly's are generally less expensive and more readily available, both new and used. So its Surly's that I own.
    Word!

    If you are tired about the "Illusion of New" presented in the print magazines and just want to ride "the simple" way, Surly is a good choice. Remember: the biggest problem often sits *on* the bike, so its better to improve the riders capacities than buying the latest bike every few years.

    Its much more satisfying to ride difficult things with a simple bike like a Surly.

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    Fair question. I was riding a aluminum trek for about 8 years and had had it with getting beat up. I went the aluminum route because at 6 foot 200 lbs the old steel schwinn prelude was not getting it done. When I decided to go steel again I had not intention of coming any where close to a hill so the stiffness of the frame didn't matter anymore, it became all about comfort. I found the surly pacer to meet the needs I had and it is a great bike. By the way I'm now about 220 and losing weight but I'm riding hills on it with no bb flex issues at all. Like the surly so much I'm looking at getting either a CC or Long Haul Trucker in the spring.

  13. #13
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    A Surly is like a nice tasty grass fed steak without the marketing department's sizzle and they're steel. Vegetarians insert your own Surly analogy.

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    First real mountain bike was a Specialized Stumpjumper (purchased two years ago). When I decided I wanted a bike to cruise around on, ride to the park or school with my kid, etc., I was thinking cargo bike. There's only a couple of choices there, Kona Ute or Surly Big Dummy - that, and the ridiculousness of the Pugsley, attracted my attention to Surly. Then I saw the Ogre. I can put racks and panniers on there to haul stuff AND it can do trail duty? Sold. Built it as a single speed, the anti-Stumpjumper if you will. Put good knobbies on it so I could ride it on the trail when the Stumpjumper was out of commission. Now there are times when I'd rather ride the Ogre on the trail.

    That's a long answer for a short question. Here's the short answer: fun, simple, well-built, relatively inexpensive. And sometimes ridiculous. But if I lived where it snowed, I would darn sure have a Pugs or Moonlander in the stable.

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    Everyone has pretty much nailed it so far. Surly designs simple, steel, versatile bikes that ride well. They aren't the only company doing it, but they are the most affordable and readily available to my knowledge. They don't follow industry trends but they make solid products and design bikes to be fun.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecooke21 View Post
    whats the fascination with surly? i see a ton of people worshiping them.. why are they so desirable?
    Safe riding,

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    My 1x1 is lemon lime green, that color is awesome. Isn't that reason enough?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tl1 View Post
    A Surly is like a nice tasty grass fed steak without the marketing department's sizzle and they're steel. Vegetarians insert your own Surly analogy.
    Just a good ol' milk chocolate bar. No fancy shape, no peanut, caramel non sense. Just pure chocolatey goodness in square. I'm not a vegetarian though.
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    I have had a Surly Troll now for a few months.
    I couldn't be happier with my purchase.
    It is worth every dollar and then some.

    It's a worry free bike that you can ride with great confidence.
    It's well thought out and designed by people that are in the know and actually ride bikes.

    It is so versatile unlike any other bike.
    You can make it into any kind of bike you want to suit your needs and purpose.

    It's a strong reliable bike.
    Just buy one and fall in love with it.
    It likes you back if you ride it rough and tumble, no prissy stuff allowed.

    Forget about all the meaningless rhetoric marketing.
    Just buy one and get happy.
    This many more than satisfied surly owners with no complaints should tell
    you something.

  20. #20
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    Another reason that Surly has such a good rep is that the bikes are meant to be tinkered with and allow the owner to build them into whatever they want. I have two mountain bikes - a Surly KM and a Trek X-Cal. The Trek is a solid bike that I have hardly changed at all since buying it. It was designed to be a racy hardtail and nothing else, and it does that well. The KM on the other hand, has seen 6 or 7 different builds, and has done everything for trail riding to commuting to long road rides. I think it does best as an off road bike but I've ridden it off road as a fixed gear, SS, 3x9 and 1x9. It evolves as I decide to try different things. I don't see myself changing it much in the future, but I've had fun building and re building it. It's a totally different beast than my other bike with a lot more soul.

  21. #21
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    I chime in with my 0.02 cents to....
    I believe that everyone has pretty much said why Surly is so desired and has so much loyal support.
    But basically it is the product.
    Simple put they found a niche in the industry that the customer wants that not a lot of other company do. They listen to their customers and they them selves ride, so they don't loose touch with what works. The frames are well made, simple, versatile, and just look like they want to be taken out and ridden.

    I just bought a Troll a few months ago (my first Surly) and was impressed with the frame from the start. Built up the bike to how I liked it and never have I once regretted buying it. In fact my next bike might be a Pug????? They look sooo cool!
    I have 2 full suspension Turner bikes that I love to ride and in my opinion the Surly is not my second choice to those 2. Each bike has a purpose but in my opinion the Surly is one of the nicest bikes I got in my stable.
    I just wish I had more time to ride them more........that is another story!!!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by keevohn View Post
    On the one hand, they're inexpensive, versatile, and durable.

    On the other hand, they're funky, innovative, and just plain fun.

    I think those qualities speak to a lot of people, myself included.
    Well said, sums it up well. Had a 'cross-check for years and wish I could afford to add a few more to the quiver.

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    That's the bad part about Surly, they're all so cool you want one of each.

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    3-4 months ago I didn't know anything about Surly bikes.

    I wanted a utility bike that I could ride on the street and trail, and maybe do some bikepacking.

    In researching my options, it quickly became clear that Surly and Salsa have a lot to offer in this category, and have almost no company from the competition.

    Their bikes are also very reasonably priced and well designed.

    R

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    Never rode a salsa only the surly and will never get any other brand. In my opinion surly is the best.

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    Surly

    in the early days, it may have even been before the Surly name was coined and they simply went by the name of the only model they produced, One X One, their only marketing term was, "Good Stuff Cheap".

    No argument they design/produce Good Stuff, some will even say Great Stuff, and it's about as bombproof as it gets. I'm still riding/commuting on my original OnexOne Rat Ride from 1999 that I purchased new, still my preferred ride these days. When I tire of that bike I hop on my CrossCheck, another well thought out design. It's pushing 10 yrs old and is still the benchmark for Monstercross bikes.

    Oh and when the urge hits me I jump on my Pugs to hit the beach or winter trails. The fun factor is endless!

    Surly is popular because they make great innovative stuff that's the best bang for the buck in the industry. Yes, I'm a fan and have no reason to change.

    Thanks for letting me rant!

    Pat

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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1 View Post
    Surly you can't be serious?

    I am serious, and don't call me Surly.
    I am not repeating myself I am not repeating myself!

  28. #28
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    Why are their tires so expensive? 2.5-inch hookworms 60 TPI are $35 each, while the 2.7-inch 27 TPI Dirt Wizards are $90 EACH, and the 120 TPI version is $120 each. More than two-and-a-half-times the price for less-than-half the threads per inch? I realize tires are a lot more than TPI, but I'm guessing a lot of the cost is for the name.

    I could buy almost 7 hookworms for the price of one pair of 120 TPI DW's. Is the additional 0.2" of width worth that? Are they any lighter?

    Surly prices are directly related to their reputation and popularity. The value they once were has gone down with their quality control and lack of customer service. They built up their rep, and now they're milking it dry. I wouldn't be surprised if they move manufacturing to China, and start showing up at Walmarts.
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    I've been a Surly fan since the 1x1 first came out (before they were even called Surly). I've only owned one (a cross-check), but I've had it for 9 years. There will soon be another (pre-ordered an ice cream truck).
    Like everyone else said, Surly bikes are tough, affordable, well designed, versatile, and at times exceedingly innovative. Sure, there were fat bikes before the Pugsley, but the Pugs (and rims and tires from Surly) really got it rolling.
    They're not afraid to make something really goofy, and I admire that. Take your carbon fiber and shove it up your ass.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gritter View Post
    Why are their tires so expensive? 2.5-inch hookworms 60 TPI are $35 each, while the 2.7-inch 27 TPI Dirt Wizards are $90 EACH, and the 120 TPI version is $120 each. More than two-and-a-half-times the price for less-than-half the threads per inch? I realize tires are a lot more than TPI, but I'm guessing a lot of the cost is for the name.

    I could buy almost 7 hookworms for the price of one pair of 120 TPI DW's. Is the additional 0.2" of width worth that? Are they any lighter?

    Surly prices are directly related to their reputation and popularity. The value they once were has gone down with their quality control and lack of customer service. They built up their rep, and now they're milking it dry. I wouldn't be surprised if they move manufacturing to China, and start showing up at Walmarts.
    While I will admit that Surly stuff tends to sell for a premium these days I something tires are a fair comparison. I'd best maxxis sells and orders/makes 100 times more tires a year then Surly and that type of volume will help drive down costs.

    I'd also bet that Surly is using that extra 10 or 20 bucks to come up with more neato products that everyone can copy.

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    I got a Troll a few years back because I wanted a 26-inch-wheeled bike that could do everything from commuting to ripping trails to touring to trekking across Asia. There wasn't anything else on the market that had that kind of versatility without costing at least twice as much.

    They have some pretty solid bikes for the value, although I'm alarmed at how much the prices seem to keep going up each year for pretty much the same product. The prices aren't outrageous, but it's too bad you can't get a Cross Check or a Trucker or a grand anymore...

    I just picked up a used Pugsley today for less than that though, so now I'll have a whole other experience.
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  32. #32
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    there are companies that make lighter, better riding bikes than Surly. Soma is just one of them.

    But Surlys are like Lego's. depending on what you hang from the frame. you can make countless different bikes on the same frame. a cross check does fair duty as a road bike. but it also does fair duty as a mountain bike. provided you don't try to catch any air on it. don't see many Double Crosses doing that.

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    Surly bikes tend to work really well. Agwan touched on this, and I agree. Many Surlies transcend their genre and can work for other riding as well given appropriate componentry, etc.

    This guy is local to me and used his Disc Trucker with a White Eccentric hub to set the tour divide race fixed gear record. Disc trucker definitely wasnt designed as a fixed gear MTB.
    .

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    Hmm, kind of funny to resurrect this two year old thread to basically rant about tire prices. But, there's definitely some truth to Surly straying from its original "Good Stuff Cheap" motto. The "cheap" part, not the "good stuff" part. I suppose its natural for a company to evolve, and I'm glad that Surly has enjoyed success over the years, even if it does mean that its popularity commands higher prices. I like that Surly is still the industry iconoclast - producing 26" 1x1s, Trolls, Instigators and LHTs when everyone else is giving up on 26"; keeping rim brakes on the CC, LHT, Troll and Ogre even as other OEMs are switching to discs on everything including roadbikes; continuing to innovate with fatbikes and 29+ when they could just tweak the Pugs and call it good. I could go on; I'm still a fan.
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
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    I think Surly's complete avoidance of outrageous marketing claims and their ability to poke fun at the rest of the industry is a big part of the trust they build with their customers. Plus, they make great, very durable bikes at a really fair price. They are the anti-spandex, Lance, weight weenie, overspending on dubious technology company. They make bikes that are really versatile

    They have a sense of humor and are very innovative in their own way. They're kind of a visible symbol to their customer base of people that "get it" that the industry pushes a lot of very expensive technology that isn't built to last. And, of course, that if you can ride a Surly, you're a real bike rider, not a poser. IMHO a very smart company. I've bought, sold and traded a lot of bikes but have kept my Karate Monkey and Pugsley a long time.
    Are you really sure about that?

  36. #36
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    On my third Surly. But, why?

    Because their marketing schtick has me helpless in its thrall.

    Like the rest of you fan boys.

    Or, is it that Surly figured out what I like and decided to make it for me; just because they liked me so much? Yes, that must be it.
    Spinymouse

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  37. #37
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    To be fair, if there was a bike company named Thrall that made steel bikes perfect for commuting. I'd probably sell my Surly in a heartbeat.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd View Post
    Hmm, kind of funny to resurrect this two year old thread to basically rant about tire prices.
    Hilarious. Knard Tire Failure
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by vaultbrad View Post
    Surly bikes tend to work really well. Agwan touched on this, and I agree. Many Surlies transcend their genre and can work for other riding as well given appropriate componentry, etc.

    This guy is local to me and used his Disc Trucker with a White Eccentric hub to set the tour divide race fixed gear record. Disc trucker definitely wasnt designed as a fixed gear MTB.
    Not to get off topic of this silly rant session, but do you have any more info on this individual? Time, bike details, gearing, etc?

  40. #40
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    I've owned some nice bikes in the past- a Santa Cruz Superlight, an Intense Tracer, couple of high end 853 hardtails. They were great bikes but kinda overpriced and even though they rode well they had design quirks like ill-thoughout cable routing, bad paint or odd geometry. The two Surlys I own are both perfect in every way. They are very adaptable, not showy or flashy and perform well above their modest price. If you look past the slacker image and ironic product naming Surly make some very high performance bikes. The KM is a hardcore trail bike supreme- it screams downhill and eats singletrack, takes 100mm forks AND it has rack mounts. That means I can do that 100 mile XC event and carry the tools, food and clothing I need for the day whilst being self supported...

  41. #41
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    Why Surly?

    Well, for me the 1X1 was the only frame I could find that was threadless at the time and offered to me on a major discount when I wanted to step up my bike polo game. It has held up to the abuse of a Clydesdale class player on the court better than any other bike I have used.

    It also is a comfortable bike to ride when not chasing a ball around. To and from the court, or around downtown when I am not in a hurry to go anywhere.

    Why do I want another one?

    I am the type to keep to a brand if it impresses me. I currently commute on a second hand Globe Vienna and it is doing me good, but I want to upgrade to a more versatile frame. There is a commuter who comes into work with a Straggler rigged for commuting and it caught my attention. So after some research, a Disc Trucker is on my wishlist.
    Live, Learn, and Upgrade when possible.
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  42. #42
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    Ooooooh. what made you decide on the Trucker over the Straggler?

    I ask because I'm a Clyde who commutes on a Straggler.

  43. #43
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    why surly?

    For me they are straightforward, durable, and affordable bikes that fit me needs. I have a pugsley, building a single speed krampus, and I will probably build my wife up a straggler by the end of the year.


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  44. #44
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    I was mainly cost but looking over the catalog, I noticed that the Cross/Straggler has horizontal drops, not something I need on a commuter, I like the longer chain stays and the ability to go 26 or 700

    Quote Originally Posted by Agwan View Post
    Ooooooh. what made you decide on the Trucker over the Straggler?

    I ask because I'm a Clyde who commutes on a Straggler.
    Live, Learn, and Upgrade when possible.
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  45. #45
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    That makes a lot of sense, have you looked at the Soma Saga Disc? It's a considerably better bike for about 30 bucks more. tange fork and front triangle. plus all the things that make the disc trucker good.

  46. #46
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    I have the fortune to get wholesale pricing on bikes, a bit less than a handful of Benjamins can get me a frame and since recently changed out my drivetrain and bars on the Mule, I'd have what I need to get it road worthy pretty quick.

    Come on oil check! Daddy needs a new set of wheels!

    Quote Originally Posted by Agwan View Post
    That makes a lot of sense, have you looked at the Soma Saga Disc? It's a considerably better bike for about 30 bucks more. tange fork and front triangle. plus all the things that make the disc trucker good.
    Live, Learn, and Upgrade when possible.
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  47. #47
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    I had a GF Paragon I rode for 18 years. In 2001 when I got stationed in Europe it became my complete means of transport. In 2004 I retired, sent most my belongings that did not fit on my rig back to Texas with the only intention of riding around Europe until I get bored. By 2013 I ordered my first Surly, a Moonlander 22XXL.

    I did a great deal of research online when I could get to a camp site with wifi looking for the bike that fit all my needs and more just perfect. By late 2011 I had decided on a Surly but could not find a dealer to sell me one because I have no address. Then I found this website one day and asked around and not even a month later I had a dealer ready to order me one as long as I paid in full up front.

    When I traded up for my Surly I was not bored yet, not even close but now that I have my Surly I can take new routes my GF would have never dreamed of. I load this rig down with all my belongings, tug my trailer and go where ever I want to. It fits my personality and makes my body feel young again ready to do something I have not in a while.

    Spent most of my adult life as an operator in the Army so I take the Moonlander as another piece kit, some of your kit you can pick but things like your lifeline (guns & bikes), they pick you if you invest enough time and intel.
    De oppresso liber

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan67 View Post
    I had a GF Paragon I rode for 18 years. In 2001 when I got stationed in Europe it became my complete means of transport. In 2004 I retired, sent most my belongings that did not fit on my rig back to Texas with the only intention of riding around Europe until I get bored. By 2013 I ordered my first Surly, a Moonlander 22XXL.

    I did a great deal of research online when I could get to a camp site with wifi looking for the bike that fit all my needs and more just perfect. By late 2011 I had decided on a Surly but could not find a dealer to sell me one because I have no address. Then I found this website one day and asked around and not even a month later I had a dealer ready to order me one as long as I paid in full up front.

    When I traded up for my Surly I was not bored yet, not even close but now that I have my Surly I can take new routes my GF would have never dreamed of. I load this rig down with all my belongings, tug my trailer and go where ever I want to. It fits my personality and makes my body feel young again ready to do something I have not in a while.

    Spent most of my adult life as an operator in the Army so I take the Moonlander as another piece kit, some of your kit you can pick but things like your lifeline (guns & bikes), they pick you if you invest enough time and intel.
    Sounds like you're getting good use out of your Surly. That is great! And thanks for your service.

  49. #49
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    I tend to agree with Grant Petersen that non-suspension mountain bikes from the mid-to-late 80's to the mid-90's are perfect "all-rounder" bikes. Strong steel frames, comfortable, adaptable, clearance for wide tires, fun to ride, rugged and simple. Grant seems to have carried on this tradition in his Rivendell bikes and Surly does the same thing at a much, much lower price point.

    The Karate Monkey, Ogre, Troll and 26" Long Haul Trucker are the perfect "all-rounders" in my view and they have a few others that would meet that criteria for other riding styles.

    Then they have the more specialized, innovative bikes like the fat bikes and the 29+ and that's pretty cool.

    Also, I gotta admit.......the marketing is spectacular.

    I would say that Surly is one of a small handful of companies offering what I'm looking for and I simply liked their offerings more than the other's.

    I'm running out of reasons for my KM to not be my PERFECT bike but I still find myself wanting a 26" LHT. I guess that's the allure of Surly.

  50. #50
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    Jun 2014
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    488
    I've asked myself "why Surly?" a number of times. I guess I prefer the feel of a steel bike, and I like how they're amazing platforms for making them unique and "yours." I have 2 so far, and am always thinking about which Surly I'll have next.
    2015 Surly Ice Cream Truck
    2016 Surly Ogre

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