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Stoutly built, adaptable steel all-rounder with a lot of tyre room, double rack mounts and a strong bias towards trail use

If you have your own ideas about how you'd want to equip the Surly Straggler, you could start with a frame and fork for £449.99, but the complete bike package is very thoughtfully equipped and looks like a good starting point for the sort of bike that could theoretically tackle pretty much any terrain you choose to ride. A bombproof frame build and Surly's Knard 41mm knobbly tyres are strong indicators towards its intended territory, but adaptability is without a doubt the overriding key to its appeal.

US brand Surly already has a sound reputation for purposeful, adaptable and durable framesets, and their Cross-Check cyclocross bred all-rounder comes pretty close to the Straggler in terms of all rounder appeal. But the Straggler gets disc brakes instead of cantilevers, theoretically making it more of a draw for serious off road travellers.

But there are other instant appeal factors in the design too. The set-back 135mm (mountain bike width) dropouts use a partially-closed cowled design with stop-screw adjusters, so you can run a single sprocket or slide the wheel back for extra tyre clearance.

There are threaded bosses for mudguards and all types of front and rear pannier racks plus two bottle cages and there's far more tyre room than on most other cyclocross bred frames.

There are 10 sizes to choose from (42 to 64cm) and each get a 72° head angle. Seat angles range from 75° on the smallest size to 72° on the largest. Horizontal top tube length on our 56cm (22in) frame is just under 58cm (22.8in) and the head tube extends about 2cm above the top tube to give an option of a high bar position at the same time as plenty standover room if you straddle the top tube.

Surly categorise the Straggler as a rough roads road bike, a cyclocross bike with no racing pretences, a utilitarian townie, a light-duty tourer, an all-weather commuter. Plus, they say, “When you get tired of one set up, you can swap parts around and turn it into something else.” That looks like fairly accurate summary to me.

Colour-wise, you can choose between the “Glitter Dreams” sparkling finish of our test bike and a much more conservative “Closet Black”. You're probably not going  to be interested if you're a weight watcher as a complete bike weighs in at 11.9kg/26.5lb (without pedals), a reflection of its 4130 cromoly steel tubes and the fact that it's designed and equipped to take a beating in off road environments. The frame is neatly TIG-welded, with a double-butted main triangle. A 4130 cromoly steel fork has a lugged and brazed crown and dropouts, butted blades with low ride rack eyelets and dual dropout eyelets.

The full parts package uses wheels with Alex DX-Lite eyeleted rims, 32 black stainless spokes and Surly's own hubs, allen bolted up front, quick release at the back. A Shimano drivetrain mixes a 46/34 cyclocross chainset with Tiagra shifters and rear mech, a CX70 front mech and an 11-32 10-speed cassette. The brakes are well proven and easy to adjust Avid BB7 cable pull discs, with full outer cables. The seat post and stem are from Kalloy, the saddle from Velo and the handlebar a compact drop and slightly flared Salsa Cowbell.

We'll be putting the Surly Straggler through its paces over the next few weeks. In the meantime, visit surlybikes.com or UK importer www.ison-distribution.com for more details.

20 comments

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MNgraveur [70 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't understand why they insist on spec'ing these kinds of bikes with 46/34 instead of 50/34. There are definitely wide open hills on gravel where you can spin out a 46, easy. I threw a 48 on my Warbird, and I still wish I had a 50.

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Hamster [95 posts] 2 years ago
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There may also be just enough room in there for a hub gear at the rear.

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GREGJONES [280 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks like a good commuter/all rounder. But I'd definitely be getting the black, that colour looks like an 80s girls pencil case.

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shay cycles [324 posts] 2 years ago
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A gear of 46 x 11 really is pretty high traveling about 370 inches per pedal rev, or about 171 pedal revs per mile. If you pedal that at 100 rpm you are travelling at 35mph. At 120 rpm you are travelling at 42mph. A reasonably supple cyclist should be able to manage around 120rpm without too much trouble on wide open down hills.

Anyone genuinely "spinning out" must be going pretty fast.

I'd suggest that the makers realise this and find that 50 x 11 would be unnecessary and instead offer a greater number of useable gears for the majority of users.

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Forester [116 posts] 2 years ago
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Worth buying for the name alone, reflects my position in my cycling group. My hybrid is fine on 38s, not sure 41s are really necessary.

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rojre [37 posts] 2 years ago
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It surprises me it weighes in at 26.5lbs i'd have said 30lbs if i were asked to make a guese ! but its all good i should think.

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broomie [8 posts] 2 years ago
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tech Question regarding the above. If you can move the wheel back in the dropout what happens to Disc line up?

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Mostyn [396 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks like a heavy - expensive garden gate! Who the hell writes these reviews? Tri-Cross by Specialized would be a better buy; or if you want heavy? the Genisis Range might be the way to go. Surly Frame and Fork for just under £500.00 > not cheap for a garden gate heavy frame.

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Oli Pendrey [100 posts] 2 years ago
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Mostyn wrote:

Who the hell writes these reviews?

It's not a review, it's a 'Just In'.

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ped [229 posts] 2 years ago
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@mostyn Since when was 'a better buy' determined solely by weight?

The Tricross is dull as, and I'm still on a post-Café Roubaix fiasco Specialized boycott anyway (a shame as I quite fancied an AWOL).

Have you ridden a Cross Check or Straggler? They have fanboys for a reason.  1

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Steve Worland [28 posts] 2 years ago
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broomie... the disc pad position on the rotor is altered slightly when you slide the wheel backward or forward, but not enough to make any difference to overall pad contact

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John_the_Monkey [437 posts] 2 years ago
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Forester wrote:

Worth buying for the name alone, reflects my position in my cycling group. My hybrid is fine on 38s, not sure 41s are really necessary.

Not a huge difference from 38s, admittedly, but I ride my Surly Long Haul Trucker on 42s - lovely plush ride compared to the 32c tyres I started off with.

Continental Comfort Contact were the ones I liked best.

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Mr Agreeable [172 posts] 2 years ago
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I avoided buying a Crosscheck for ages, despite loads of friends raving about them, because I convinced myself it was too heavy. I finally gave in and got one after the rack mounts on my light alu frame stripped out, and I haven't wanted to change it since, until this bike came along.

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b3nharris [44 posts] 2 years ago
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Trying to resist the temptation of buying a Straggler fork (they're available separately according to the Ison site...) to go with my Crosscheck. Pink and Green bike anyone?

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MNgraveur [70 posts] 2 years ago
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shay cycles wrote:

A gear of 46 x 11 really is pretty high traveling about 370 inches per pedal rev, or about 171 pedal revs per mile. If you pedal that at 100 rpm you are travelling at 35mph. At 120 rpm you are travelling at 42mph. A reasonably supple cyclist should be able to manage around 120rpm without too much trouble on wide open down hills.

Anyone genuinely "spinning out" must be going pretty fast.

I'd suggest that the makers realise this and find that 50 x 11 would be unnecessary and instead offer a greater number of useable gears for the majority of users.

Reasonable enough. 50-34 x11/28 is quite a good range on the road, though, for most people. I also think its a good range for gravel roads, at least out here. On a good downhill or with a big tailwind, I can definitely use 50/11 in my prefered cadence range, 90-105. YMMV.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 2 years ago
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Interesting. My next bike (which I 'need') is, in my mind a steel, off-roady(ish - I'm talking muddy/gravelly paths with lumps and bumps) single-speed with discs. Looks like this could be just the ticket.

The pinky-purple colour is, for me, an added bonus  4

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parksey [343 posts] 2 years ago
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Loving the colour of the bike, reminiscent of my early 90s Raleigh Apex MTB, which is sat in the shed crying out for a restoration.

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m0rjc [36 posts] 2 years ago
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Last time I weighed by Tricross - unscientific approach of standing on the scales and picking it up - it was around 14kg. It has front and rear racks and I thought I'd try Marathon Plus tyres which I think alone are nearly a kilo each. I don't think I had the lock attached to it - an Abus Gold Rated D which is not light.

These review weights of about 11kg for an off road capable steel tourer are very impressive, though I remember the review weight for my Tricross when I bought it was about the same. The Tricross doesn't tend to go out without panniers at the moment, so weight is quite arbitrary - especially at weekends when 35kg of child and trailer are added.

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vvill [3 posts] 2 years ago
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The rear disc brake can be moved along the sliding axis:
http://fcdn.mtbr.com/attachments/surly/818831d1374698369-surly-straggler...

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vorsprung [280 posts] 2 years ago
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I've got a Surly with 700x42mm tyres and drops

http://audaxing.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/two-winter-bikes/#surly