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  1. #1
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    Winter Commuter Ponderings...

    Now that I have 2 of my 3 ideal bikes, I am starting to think about what I might use to fulfill my "winter commuter" needs in 9 months time. Not sure if I'll have the disposable income available to add a 3rd bike to my quiver, but what's the harm in starting to ponder?

    Requirements:
    I am in Chicago Suburbia, with a mostly-flat 4 mile winter commute.
    Unplowed and iced-over ruts on the sidewalk and road are common.
    I will be commuting in the dark, and like dyno-hubs. a 100mm front hub spacing is preferred.

    I'm thinking that I have 2 main options... any advice/suggestions?

    The obvious: A Pugsley with a 100mm front fork.
    If I can get one of these used, teriffic. If new, then it'll be a custom job, and thereby $$$.
    Pretty obvious that this will fill my needs. Not sure what tires to put on it, but the studded Huskers look pretty useful.

    The new kid on the block: A Krampus?
    I'm wondering how well the 3" tires will do on iced-over sidewalk ruts. As a 29" it should have a good amount of rolling inertia, and 3" on the rabbit hole rims should be better than the 2.35" Big-Apples I rolled on my Dummy last winter. But I definitely had some rut-trouble with the apples.

    If the Krampus would work, then I think it would give me more all-around utility... especially if I get the time to go out and ride some trails in nicer weather. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who rock a Pugs year-round on all sorts of stuff.

    Any thoughts/advice/guidance from people who have ridden both the Pugs and the Krampus? Are there other options that I'm missing? While I have a pair of Surlys now, I'm not wedded to the brand... Just loving the two bikes I already have.

  2. #2
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    One thing to consider is that the Krampus does not have rack mounts, which for me would be very important for a commuter / utility bike. I would focus on the Pugs (especially since it's all just daydreaming anyway). If you were not likely to ride in deep snow but instead mostly icy conditions, I'd consider an Ogre with Rabbit Hole rims and studded 2.3-ish tires!
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by evandy View Post
    If the Krampus would work, then I think it would give me more all-around utility... especially if I get the time to go out and ride some trails in nicer weather. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who rock a Pugs year-round on all sorts of stuff.


    I own a Pugs [going on 5yrs] and a Krampus [2 months].

    Surly Krampus - a set on Flickr

    Starting with the Krampus fitting a rack is no problem - see photo above. The Krampus rides more like a MTB with amazing traction and a cushy ride [for a rigid bike]. It would do great for winter commuting on anything, but deep unconsolidated snow and of course large sections of ice. The 3" tires will certainly work better on ice than narrower rubber, but nothing beats studs on ice.



    The Krampus has a very light steering feel despite the big rubber and rides like a 29er MTB not a fatbike. The slacker HT angle vs. the Pugs makes it a bit better at techy steep MTBing.



    The Pugsley is a truck. A bit slower than the Krampus in steering, acceleration and speed it just rolls over stuff that would stop other bikes including the Krampus. And the Pugs is not an uber slow bike. It will roll much faster than you think when you look at the fat tires. But you will notice the difference in performance as you scale down the rubber - of course once conditions get grim you could well rocket past folks on "faster" bikes....so the speed thing depends.



    With studded HDus the Pugsley would be pretty much unstoppable as a winter commuter. The Pugs can also take 29+ Krampus wheels/tires - although the geometry is not the same so it's not going to be identical.

    Surly Pugsley - a set on Flickr

    Both the Krampus and Pugs can take front and rear racks [I use OMM racks]. They also both work great with softbags. You'll be DIYing fenders, but they are possible and solutions are available online to work from. They make pretty nice dirt touring bikes.

    If you want to ride soft conditions [loose snow/sand] and have the most capable winter commuter it would be hard to beat the Pugsley.

    If you want a playful rigid MTB that can handle snow and icy conditions better than the average MTB get the Krampus.

    I find I am riding the Krampus most of the time and only going to the Pugs for conditions the Krampus doesn't handle - ie. beach riding in Baja. Part of that is the new bike effect. You are always stoked to ride the newest bike in the fleet, but I do think the Krampus will maintain it's position as my go to rigid MTB and the Pugs will get more specialized.

    I just put 82mm rims on the Pugs and will likely try some 5" tires to get max floatation. That will differentiate it even more from the Krampus which is a good thing.

    I don't think there is a wrong choice between them.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by evandy View Post
    Are there other options that I'm missing?
    Winter Commuter Ponderings...-picture1.jpg

    The Ogre in winter mode (Snogre). A benefit to the Ogre is that it can become a Karate Monkey hardtail 29er for the trails in the summer.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Starting with the Krampus fitting a rack is no problem - see photo above. The Krampus rides more like a MTB with amazing traction and a cushy ride [for a rigid bike]. It would do great for winter commuting on anything, but deep unconsolidated snow and of course large sections of ice.
    I've been rolling a saddlebag lately, which works well. But a rack & panniers are always good for additional options.

    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    The Pugsley is a truck.
    I've been calling my Big Dummy a truck lately. If the Pugsley is the Truck, then my BD must be the freight train! I suspect that the Pugs will feel more nimble than a BD loaded with groceries and two kids on the back... but I might be wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    With studded HDus the Pugsley would be pretty much unstoppable as a winter commuter. The Pugs can also take 29+ Krampus wheels/tires - although the geometry is not the same so it's not going to be identical.
    Yeah, that's what I've been thinking. My major concern with the Pugs is mostly price... I'd have to get a new fork, custom wheels... having just gotten a custom Cross-Check I know it all adds up fast. But if we're going to be fantasizing about ideal options maybe that doesn't matter much yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I do think the Krampus will maintain it's position as my go to rigid MTB and the Pugs will get more specialized.
    And that's why I'm looking at the Krampus! Unplowed, rutted, and iced-over sidewalks are more common... but I do get a few inches of snow every now and again.

    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I don't think there is a wrong choice between them.
    Maybe I can convince my wife that I need to drive an hour to our Surly dealer so I can test-ride them both after things get icy. I'd like to get the bike first, but I suspect that nothing can beat riding the contenders in the actual conditions that I'll be commuting in.

    Other beneficial options... I can likely swap wheels between a 100mm front-fork Pugs and my Big Dummy, so I'd have a second wheelset ready to go without spending anything. Not a horrible thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    The Ogre in winter mode (Snogre). A benefit to the Ogre is that it can become a Karate Monkey hardtail 29er for the trails in the summer.
    I thought about that... but I've been thinking the Krampus would do better if I wanted to go the 29er route. Fatter rims and tires will work much better for my main need (winter commuting), and would hit the trails nicely too.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by evandy View Post
    I've been calling my Big Dummy a truck lately. If the Pugsley is the Truck, then my BD must be the freight train! I suspect that the Pugs will feel more nimble than a BD loaded with groceries and two kids on the back... but I might be wrong.

    Other beneficial options... I can likely swap wheels between a 100mm front-fork Pugs and my Big Dummy, so I'd have a second wheelset ready to go without spending anything. Not a horrible thing.
    I have a BD as well. The Pugs is like a Monster Truck and the BD is like a 1 ton pick up.

    The front wheel of the BD will be normal in a 100mm Pugs fork, but the rear wheel will be off center by 17.5mm. 26" wheels will lower the Pugs BB. You can ride it that way if you want, but it may not be ideal.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    26" wheels will lower the Pugs BB. You can ride it that way if you want, but it may not be ideal.
    I take it that 700c rims do better in the pugs with smaller tires? THat does make sense.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by evandy View Post
    I take it that 700c rims do better in the pugs with smaller tires? THat does make sense.
    Yes a Pugs is a 29er with 26" rims.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

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