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  1. #1
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    Surly Wednesday Custom Build

    This is my Surly Wednesday custom build. I am totally new to fat bikes and know little about fat bike components and standards. Having been sort of curious about how fat bikes ride for a long time now, I could not resist when I ran into an affordable offer on a Surly Wednesday frame set. After that I have been trying to understand fat bikes and learn about fat bike specific components. It has surprised me how expensive components are. Nevertheless, I have learned a few things and thought I’d share them here in one place in case someone else is in a similar situation. Also there is not so much easily available information on Wednesday specific questions such as tire and drive train clearance.

    It has taken some time to understand different bottom bracket and hub widths as well as what to look out for in a fat bike frame. I knew I wanted a steel frame and a threaded bottom bracket. This narrowed down the alternatives nicely and as the Wednesday frame set was only 490 euros shipped, I grabbed it. I got my frameset from a UK bike shop called Triton Cycles.

    After my purchase I learned that not all fat bikes are equal. Tire and drive train clearance are possibly the most important things to consider when choosing your frame. The Wednesday frame is limited to 4.6” wide tires as per manufacturer information. The fork has room for 5”+ tires. Had I understood this when I was looking for a frame I would probably have bought the Ice Cream Truck instead, despite the press fit bottom bracket. I guess there are also benefits to a narrower frame, though. It may be easier and more pleasant on your legs, a narrower frame may be better in technical terrain as the frame is less exposed to rocks and other obstacles, also a narrower frame may be nicer if you plan to alternate between fat bike tires and 27.5+/29+ tires.

    Well, on to the build. So far I have the frame set, a headset, wheel set, bottom brackets and crankset. I purchased the Cane Creek headset that Surly recommends for this frame. It has a EC44 lower cup and a ZS upper cup. It is possible to run forks with straight steer tubes or tapered tubes with this head set. All you have to do is use a steer tube specific crown race. That’s handy!

    This is where I'm at at the moment. Headset, fork, bottom bracket and cranks installed. This is a L size frame. I am 186cm tall. The stem is just for keeping the fork in place. I will use a slightly longer stem for the final build.






    I built my wheelset up using FatLab hubs and DT Swiss BR710 rims and DT Swiss spokes and nipples. Weight of the total wheelset is 2400g which is probably ok for an all aluminum wheelset. The front wheel is 1100g and rear wheel is 1300g. I used the DT Swiss spoke length calculator to determine spoke lengths. The calculator suggested 263mm spokes to be used for the rear and 264 for the front. The online shop I bought my parts from only had spokes in 262 and 264mm so the rear wheel spokes are 1mm shorter than recommended. As you can tell from the pics, the front wheel spoke length is spot on and the rear wheel spokes could have been 1mm taller. My conclusion: the DT Swiss spoke length calculator is super exact when using DT Swiss components and exact hub dimensions!






    Front wheel spoke length perfect at 264mm.




    Rear wheel spokes are 262mm because that's what was available at the shop. The DT Swiss calculator recommends 263, which would have been perfect.




    I spent some time learning to understand hub widths and searching for decent quality hubs. I learned the Wednesday has a 170mm rear end. Many fat bikes today have a wider hub spacing at 190mm. For the Wednesday you need a 12x170 through axle hub for the rear wheel. The frame should be compatible with 177mm wide quick release hubs as well but this may require an adapter set. The front fork takes a 15x150mm through axle hub. Ideally I would have liked to use DT Swiss hubs. A 15x150mm front hub is widely available from DT Swiss but at least at the time of purchase a 12x170mm rear hub was hard to come by. According to the DT Swiss web site, they make one, but I could not find it for sale in the online bike ships in Europe. So I ended up with the Fat Lab hubs. Time will tell how they are.

    My drivetrain will be a mix of Sram and Shimano parts. I hope this is not a bad idea. The bottom bracket is a Truvativ GXP XR set and the cranks are 1x Sram GX1000.






    In the rear I will try to run a Shimano 11 speed cassette with a Shimano XT M8000 derailleur. I am a little nervous about chain and tire clearance. These parts should arrive on Monday so I will know more soon. If it turns out there is no room for a 11s drivetrain, I will have to switch parts with my son and install his 10s SLX drivetrain. Worrying about tire and chain clearance is something I would rather not do. It seems that the fat bike bicycle is still a work in progress and standards and parts are still worked out.

    So all the parts I have got so far are installed. More parts should be incoming at the beginning of next week so if I am lucky I may have a finished fat bike by the end of next week!

  2. #2
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    Nice build Tomy! I guess we know each other, could say "vanhoja tuttuja" if I'm right?
    Shimano and SRAM parts will mix together nicely that way.
    Surly ICT
    Kona Raijin

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomiKoo View Post
    Nice build Tomy! I guess we know each other, could say "vanhoja tuttuja" if I'm right?
    Shimano and SRAM parts will mix together nicely that way.
    Thanks, Tomi! Yes we have met a couple times. I have been looking at your different Surly builds. You have got a nice set of bikes!

    Good to know the Sram and Shimano parts will work well together. Can't wait to continue the build. I am a little nervous about how to set up the tires tubeless. Never done that before.

  4. #4
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    Yes! Tubeless setup worked well! The bike is now mobile and has been out for a test run.

  5. #5
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    looking good. post up pictures of the finished product.
    Ridley CX, Stumpjumper Carbon HT, Surly Wednesday

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad_M View Post
    looking good. post up pictures of the finished product.
    I will, as soon as I get a chance to take it out in daylight. It's now the time of year when its dark when I leave for work and dark when I get back home.

  7. #7
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    Nite ride picture for now. Full spec and daylight pictures tomorrow.


  8. #8
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    Here is the finished bike.




    COMPONENT SPECS

    These are the parts I used:

    • Surly Wednesday frame set
    • Sram GX1000 crankset
    • Truvatix GPX XR 100mm bottom bracket
    • Shimano XT 46-11 11s casette
    • Shimano 11s chain
    • Shimano XT M8000 rear derailleur with GS cage and clutch
    • Shimano XT M8000 rear shifter
    • Shimano SLX brakes
    • Shimano SLX brake rotors. 203mm up front and 180mm in the rear.
    • Race Face seatpost
    • Ritchey stem
    • Radon 15mm riser handlebar
    • Selle Italia Flite Saddle
    • Fatlab hubs, DT Swiss rims, DT Swiss spokes and nipples
    • Surly Bud front tire and 45nrth Dunderbeist rear tire. Tires are set up tubeless using Gorilla tape and Stan’s sealant
    • Sram lock-on grips


    Total weight with pedals is 15.4kg / 34lbs.

    The Surly Wednesday is 1899 euros in Europe + shipping. My build cost me 2160 euros. Considering that almost every component is an upgrade compared to stock spec, I find the final cost okay.

    Here are a few pics of the parts installed.

















    FRAME SIZE


    I like to have my handlebar at the same height as my saddle. That took a lot of spacers to achieve. This is partly due to a 0 degree rise stem and a riser bar with only 15mm rise. Surly says using lots of spacers is okay. I hope they are right. The frame is size L and I am 186cm/6'1" tall. According to Surly's bike fitting guide the L size is right for me. Don't know if an XL size frame would have been better. The top tube length feels very good on the L size for me.





    TIRE AND CHAIN CLEARANCE, CHAIN LINE

    And then answers to some of the questions that troubled me the most when planning this build.

    First of all, rear tire clearance.

    The rear tire is 107mm wide. With the wheel mounted all the way forward there is 4mm clearance sideways to the chain stays. Clearance to the seat stays is good. Tire and chain clearance with the chain in first gear is 4-5mm.







    With the tire moved as far back as possible, tire clearance to the chain stays is 7mm, tire to chain clearance is 2.5mm.







    With a 4.8” Bud up front there is plenty of clearance.





    Chainline with the Sram GX1000 crankset and Shimano XT 11s rear cassette is perfectly straight. Here the chain is on the middle sprocket on the rear cassette.

    Function is good when pedaling forward in all possible gears. If the tire is all forward the chain will drop down a few gears from 1st gear when pedaling backwards. This does not happen if the tire is in the most rearward position possible.




    I would say the 45nrth Dunderbeist is about as wide as you want to go in the rear if you plan to use a 11s drivetrain. A 10s casette will move the chain 2mm outwards and thus give a little more clearance. The chainstays could take a slightly wider tire still, but chain/tire clearance would become critical.

    Well, I hope this documentation is of help to someone else trying to figure out how to spec his or her Surly Wednesday. This has been a fun project.

    I am still going to try an Absolute Black 30t oval chainring up front. I'll post up how that fits.
    Last edited by Tomy; 11-23-2016 at 08:08 AM.

  9. #9
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    Superb write-up and pictures Tomy! Enjoy your new Weds!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangdang View Post
    Superb write-up and pictures Tomy! Enjoy your new Weds!
    Thanks! I sure will.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomy View Post
    I am still going to try an Absolute Black 30t oval chainring up front.
    Nice writeup as allways! That AB 30t oval is good choise, I have that too. 11-46 would be really nice. I have 11-36 10s cassette and that is too little. Now I'm adding 40t extender which is better but not perfect.
    Surly ICT
    Kona Raijin

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomiKoo View Post
    Nice writeup as allways! That AB 30t oval is good choise, I have that too. 11-46 would be really nice. I have 11-36 10s cassette and that is too little. Now I'm adding 40t extender which is better but not perfect.
    I can imagine it gets a little tough at times with a 36 in the rear. I thought 30-46 would be overkill but I find myself using the biggest sprocket in the rear on most climbs. Of course I am not in very good shape. But I hope my physics will improve over winter at least some.

    I got the AB oval 30t chainring yesterday. I will let you know how it fits once I've mounted it tonight.

  13. #13
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    nice build!

    i think you will like the AB oval,really nicely made,it will feel weird at first but you stop noticing it as soon as you hit dirt or a hill...i still dunno about the claims of "legs less tired" or any of the other stuff but they really do help with traction control while climbing and in general making climbs feel a bit easier.
    ive not tried the 11-46 version of the xt cassette,but my 40and 42 both have the same back pedal issue,seemed to be less with a sram chain...
    30 is a good size,but i did end up getting a 26 after getting my butt kicked by some long grinder climbs...

  14. #14
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    I went for a one hour ride with the oval chainring tonight. It felt weird at first but it didn't take long before it felt like it would be totally round. I hope this is a good thing.

    So performance wise it was a nice experience. Clearance wise there may be issues, depending on what size tire you use. Here is what I found out.


  15. #15
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    I installed some peace of mind the other day:

    A DIY set of dropout inserts that prevent the axle from moving forward. This particular insert places the axle 18mm towards the rear. Inserts are also available in 10mm and 14mm lengths.






    I like to run the rear wheel all the way rear in the dropouts. It helps me keep the front end down on steep climbs. I can run a very short stem which helps to create a relaxed and upright sitting position, nice for technical terrain.

    1x11 and Absolute Black oval chainring info update:

    As previously reported, this combination places the chain very close to tires that are 106-108mm wide. I decided not to risk causing premature wear on the chain side tire sidewall. I removed the second to largest sprocket on the cassette and placed at spacer taken from a 9s cassette behind the whole 11s cassette. This places the complete cassette 2.5mm outwards on the hub and helps prevent chain rub. Not an ideal solution but will have to do for winter. In summer I will likely switch to narrower tires and can run the cassette as it is intended to.

  16. #16
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    ^ where did you get the inserts? i'm having trouble with my axle slipping. got a link?
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    ^ where did you get the inserts? i'm having trouble with my axle slipping. got a link?
    I make them. Have a look at page 21 in the Today is WEDNESDAY thread for more info.

  18. #18
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    Tomy - amazing write-up! You did an awesome job!

    I had my fears about rear tire rub - especially with running 2x11. I think I'll go with the bud/nate combo for this winter. 3.8 nate's in the rear I fear will hinder the winter riding but it will have to do

    Thanks again man!

  19. #19
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    So. I have been riding the bike for a little over a month now. Perhaps it's time to comment on the pros and cons so far.

    What I like about the Wednesday:


    • The L frame is a really good size for me. This is the most comfortable mtb I have had so far. Before the Wednesday, my most relaxed bike was my FS Canyon all mountain style trailbike from year 2008. The Wednesday feels even more relaxed and balanced. It rides great both uphill and downhill. Great fit for me!
    • Good quality frame as far as I can tell from building the nike from a frame set. Head set and bottom bracket installed without issues. All components installed easily. Bottom bracket is threaded!
    • Frame has lots of mounts for whatever you want to mount on it. Should be a good choice for bike packers.
    • Fork has unlimited tire clearance considering which tires are on the market today.
    • Frame and fork can take 29+ size tires. This should make the Wednesday a great trailbike in the summer, too.


    What I don't like about the Wednesday:


    • I don't know what to think about the rear dropouts. So far no issues, but still I would probably have more peace of mind with a fully closed dropout that would allow for some front to rear adjustability.
    • Rear tire options. Max rear tire width is limited to a 110mm wide tire. Any wider than that will create lots of chain rub. With an internally geared hub you could probably go a little bit wider. Not sure though if these hubs fit the Surly dropouts.

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