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Trolls got a moustache

23 Aug

I haven’t been riding the Surly Troll on long distance rides this summer; the Surly Disc Trucker has taken over on that role.  When I bought the Troll frame back in 2011 the shop had a Surly open bar in stock and tried to convince me to buy it, at the time I had no interest in it and the first set of bars the Troll got were Thorn comfort bars.

Well the Thorn Comfort bars weren’t that comfortable and I eventually fitted some bar ends.  Bar ends fitted to the Thorn bars looked ridiculous, the bars had a large rise to them and also quite a large set back.  I had a smaller set of riser bars and fitted these with the bar ends to the bike.  This served me well on long trips, it made the bike look a bit silly but comfort wise it did a great job.

As I have only been using the bike for short trips in recent months I removed the bar ends.  A couple of weeks ago I placed an order with SJS cycles for the Harry Quinn build and decided to add some Humpert Country Mas Handle bars to the basket.  Costing only £7.99 they were considerably cheaper than the Surly bars and at that price I thought it would be fun to try a new control set up.

The bars are shaped like a handle bar moustache although the moustache almost certainly came before the bicycle.  Riding it is pretty fun, its comfortable, upright and great for cruising.  The longest journey I have made with them so far has been about 20 miles hauling some heavy panniers and they were fine although I did take my time.

Handle bars on Surly Troll

Not a Surly Open Bar but Humpert Country MAS bars

Moustache Handle Bar on the Surly Troll

If I make any long multiday trips on the trill I will be refitting some risers and probably bar ends but in the mean time the moustache is staying.

Surly Trolls Moustache

Surly Troll

9 Aug

I got the Surly Troll in 2011 and 2 years on I thought it was a good time to post an update.  I bought the 16″ frame and fitted it with an Alfine 11 speed hub.  I had the wheels built up with tough Rigida Sputnik rims.  The Troll has 26″ wheels and I’ve done quite a bit of off road touring with panniers and they are in great condition; the wheels are super tough but very heavy.  I recently changed the rack to a Tubus Cargo and when removing the old rack I realised the bolts were bent. I assume this is from the off road riding with panniers; I was surprised the bolts bent and the wheels have stayed absolutely true.   But the bike weighs a ton, its very slow (with me pedalling), covering 50 miles on this bike is really hard work and since getting a Surly Disc Trucker I have stopped using the Troll for touring; it now gets used for trips around town, hauling stuff and days when I’m not in a hurry.

Surly Troll

The Surly Troll

The Build details:

  • Alfine 11 Speed Hub
  • Rigida Sputnik Rims
  • Shimano Deore M545 Chainset and Bashguard
  • Shimano M324 Clipless SPD-Flat MTB Pedals
  • Tortec Rear Rack
  • Tubus Duo Front Rack
  • Continental Trave Contact Tyres
  • Brooks B17 Honey saddle
  • Avid BB7 Disc Brakes
  • Shimano Deore Brake Levers
  • SKS Chromoplastic Mudguards
  • FSA Stem
Surly Troll Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub Avid BB7

The Troll has a Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub with Avid BB7 brakes

Surly Troll Shimano Deore Chainset Shimano M324 Clipless SPD-Flat MTB Pedals

Shimano Deore Chainset with the Shimano M324 pedals

Surly Troll Rigida Sputnik Tubus Duo SKS Chromoplastic SLX Front Hub

Rigida Sputnik rims with Continental Travel Contact tyres and the Tubus Duo rack.  The Rims weigh a heavy 630 grams each!

Alfine Shifter

Surly Bicycle

Surly Troll Rear Rack mudguard

Surly Troll Front rack mudguard

Surly Troll brooks saddle

Surly Troll Conwy

With hindsight I should have probably gone straight for a Surly Long Haul Trucker but it took me a few years of touring to actually get a dedicated touring bike.  I base that on my background in mountain biking; the first bike I used for touring was an On-One Inbred and one of the main reasons I replaced the Inbred with the Troll was due to the lack of rack fixtures, bottle cages and mudguard mounts.  I love the idea that the Troll is a go anywhere bike and I think it really is apart from carrying loads of stuff stops any bike from being a go anywhere bike; I can see me taking up bike packing at this rate!

Orange Surly Troll

The Troll in Cornwall

Surly Troll

The Surly Troll on the Balmoral during a trip across the Bristol Channel to Ilfracombe

Surly Troll 14" frame organe

Surly Troll in Rhyl on Route 5

Surly Troll riding in the snow

Surly Troll with 2.5″ tyres

Surly Troll

Surly Troll

Not long after I got the Surly Disc Trucker I contemplated selling the Surly Troll but I just couldn’t do it.  I’ve ridden it on some great trips and I still love riding the thing.  But when it comes to touring trips the Surly Disc Trucker is going to win every time; even if the route is unpaved I’m confident the Trucker is going to be fine.  The Troll is a great go anywhere bike and I’ve ridden it fully loaded over some crazy terrain but riding the bike all day is hard work; I think the wheels have a lot to do with this; the rear wheel with the heavy Alfine Hub and Sputnik Rim; rotating those things takes a lot of effort.

So whats next for the Troll; maybe a rebuild or just some tweaks.  I have a Shimano Deore group set off my old Scott MTB and I might transfer the bits to the troll to see how it rides with a normal drive train rather than an internal hub gear.  Last winter the mudguards came off and 2.5″ tyres went in during the snow; that was a lot of fun.  The bike is certainly versatile and I’m unlikely to ever grow tired of it.

Kate’s Surly Disc Trucker

5 Aug

Kate got a disc trucker late last year; I must admit I got a little jealous and its way to big for me to ride!

Kate's finished Surly Disc Trucker complete with Ortlieb Bar bag and trekking bars

Kate’s finished Surly Disc Trucker complete with Ortlieb Bar bag and trekking bars

Kate had been riding my On-One for a couple of touring trips we made, it was too small for her and wasn’t great for long trips.  She got a Surly Disc Trucker which is fitted with Avid BB7 cable disc brakes.  She didn’t like the drop handlebars on her old Tifosi road bike so she decided to go for trekking bars on her new build.  I got her a set of Hope Pro2 wheels with Mavic 717 rims, the wheels are super light and with some Panaracer Pasela 1.25 tyres the bike is great climbing hills and provides a fast ride.  With this said its not a lightweight bike to lift up but saving weight on the wheels makes a huge difference, even with a kitted up touring bike.

Hope Pro2 Evo Hubs with Mavic 717 rims on Surly Disc Trucker

Hope Pro2 Evo Hubs with Mavic 717 rims

I had the Panaracer Pasela tyres hanging around, I bought them back in 2001 for a mountain bike and never fitted them.  I expected them to split on their first ride but they seem to be in great condition.  At 1.25 they are a bit narrow for a touring bike so a tyre upgrade is needed, maybe 1.50 tyres will be more comfortable for Kate.

Surly Disc Trucker SKS fender mount

The disc brake calliper is in the way of the mudguard stay which seems to be the case with all front disc brakes and mudguards.

I have fitted mudguards to a couple of bikes with disc brakes and each time there has been an issue fitting the mudguard stays.  Normally its a case of the disc calliper is in the way, the simplest solution is to use a longer bolt to mount the stay to the fork with a large spacer.  I decided to take the more complicated and longer step of shaping the mudguard stay around the calliper, it wasn’t too difficult to do with two pairs of pliers and I think it looks pretty good!

Surly Disc Trucker with trekking bars and Ortlieb Ultimate 5 bar bag

Kate’s gone for Trekking bars, she seems to be happy with them and the Cinelli Cork Gel Tape is really comfortable. The bar bag sticks out a long way and when its full it can act like a pendulum.

The top cable is for the rear disc brake.

The outer cable is for the rear disc brake.

Hope Wheels with Avid BB7 Brakes

Hope Wheels with Avid BB7 Brakes

The Pro 2 Evo hubs are smooth although the cassette body on the rear wheel clicks like crazy and when Kate is free wheeling its rather loud.

Deore rear mech with an XT cassette.

Deore rear mech with an XT cassette.

Bicycle Spoke Holder on Seat Stay

The spoke holder mount was not welded on straight and the space is too big for all three spokes, I was disappointing and didn’t expect this from Surly.

The spoke holder is mounted on the seat stay, the mount has been welded on at an angle rather than at 90 degrees and not all 3 spokes can be mounted.  I found out after the bike had been built and returning the frame seemed like a lot of hassle.

The bike has three bottle mounts and all of them hold 750 ml bottles.

The bike has three bottle mounts and all of them hold 750 ml bottles.

Disc Trucker Avid BB7 brakes

Surly Disc Trucker with Trekking Bars

Surly Disc Trucker with Trekking Bars

Since this photo was taken we have fitted a much longer stem.  Kate is getting on well with the trekking bars and prefers them a lot more to drop bars.

Disc Trucker Trekking Bars

The Bars are covered with Cineli Gel tape and are super comfortable, highly recommended.

Surly Troll and Disc Trucker

Surly Troll and Disc Trucker

Kate’s Surly Disc Trucker and my Surly Troll; they couldn’t be more different bikes.  My Troll is very comfortable but its very heavy with an Alfine 11 speed hub and Rigida Sputnik rims, Kates bike has a super light wheelset.  My Troll is like a Massey Ferguson tractor and Kates Trucker is like a Volvo estate car, there’s definitely a place for both.  Some of the trails I’ve ridden on the Troll I wouldn’t want to ride on a trucker but the trucker can definitely eat up more miles than the troll.

Penarth to Ilfracombe

17 Aug



Holiday time. Waiting for the Balmoral to arrive at Penarth pier.

Surly Troll Update

26 Jun

The Surly Troll had been without a front mudguard since I bought it 10 months ago.  It had a simple crud catcher on the down tube which has been great whilst storing the bike in the hallway as the front wheel can be removed and the bars twisted but it didn’t offer the same amount of protection as a full length mudguard.

P1000314 (Large)

click the picture to read the latest Surly Troll post.

Originally I fitted a Tubus Tara Lowrider rack to the front of the Troll but the forks are slightly too wide for the rack.  This meant the bow had to be opened up which caused it to be off centre over the wheel.  After 8 months I finally got around to replacing it with a Tubus Duo rack which meant I could attached the front SKS mudguard to match the rear.  The Tubus Tara rack is now on my Surly Disc Trucker which you can read about here.

Fitting the Tubus Duo still came with problems, the Troll claims to be versatile which it certainly is with disc mounts, brake bosses, rack mounts and mudguard mounts but with disc brakes fitted it causes problems when a front rack and also mudguards are fitted.  Attaching the mudguard stays directly to the Tubus Duo removes one of these problems but the rack needed to be fitted first which had to be done by adding an extra washer on the lower mount to stop it touching the Avid BB7 Disc brake.

The fork axle to crown length on the Troll is big at 453mm as the frame is designed so it can be run with a suspension fork, mounting the mudguard directly to the crown mount meant the mudguard was a few inches away from the tyre and looked ridiculous so I made a simple extended bracket from some aluminium I bought from a hardware store.  With this made the mudguard could be fitted and the stays cut to the right length.

Fitting everything around the front disc proved challenging

Front view of the mudguard

This shows the bracket made to fit the mudguard. After the photo was taken the stays were adjusted to centre the mudguard over the wheel.  Everything looks off centre from this shot!

The mudguards are the widest SKS do at 65mm wide.  The only problem now is storing the Troll in the hallway with the front wheel off!

The troll is now going to need a new home

Surly Toll

7 Aug

Yes that’s right, Surly Toll.  Since I picked up the frame nothing seems to have gone smoothly, some things have been bad luck, most things have been my own fault.  Part deliveries have been missing bits, the original BB I got was a 68 mm when I needed a 73 mm, then the chainset wouldn’t fit due to clearance so I settled for a Deore double with bash guard.  I had trouble ordering the spokes and rims, I finally got that sorted and when I picked up the wheels from the shop I realised I had left most the parts there for my Alfine hub set-up.

When I finally completed the build it weighed in at 15 Kg!  I hope the scales are defunct.  I soon realised the standard 36 tooth middle ring fitted to the chainset was going to be too big and ordered a 32 tooth to replace it which I put on today, no issues there apart from needing to buy a 30mm Torx bit to change the bolts.

Deore double chainset with bashguard

The original 36 tooth chainring was just too big for the 15 Kg of troll excluding baggage so I have opted for a 32 tooth ring.

I also planned on fitting some mudguards before our trip to Scotland later this week, they are going to have to wait.  Despite the Surly Troll being equipped with 3 mounts on the rear chainstay as well as a trailer mount,  the rack off my old bike is not happily mounted on the forward mount leaving little room for the mudguard stays.

Surly Troll Chainstay

The chainstay has 3 mounting points but my old rack will only fit the outer mount without some modification.

I have tried mounting them on the inside of the chainstay’s but there isn’t enough clearance for the Alfine hub and disc rotor, without modifying my rack they will have to wait a while before I get round to fitting them.

Surly Troll Chainstay

I tried fitting the mudguard stay inside but there isn’t enough clearance for the massive Alfine hub, works fine for a cassette

I expect it will be raining in Scotland.

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