Blog 30-07-23

Spray painting the Surly Pugsley in now largely complete. For the paint scheme, I’ve thrown away any ideas about symmetry, balance and matching colours, along with the ruler, pencil and the tape measure. This paint job is totally random, no paint plan or layout to work from, just paint blocks of colour in various places on the frame and forks, using whatever spray can comes to hand or whatever paint colours I have left.

And I will admit I found it very difficult to stay random. My thoughts always come back to, for example, is it balanced, is it right? But I’m getting there. I suspect the real problem will be when to stop. I’ve also taken more time, trying to get the edge between different colours as neat and smooth as possible as I want to dispense with the usual black or white border between colour blocks, with the exception of the wheel rims.

After giving everything a gentle rub down with fine wet ‘n’ dry sandpaper, it was time for the finishing top coat. This gives the matt paint finish it’s glossy, or rather satin, shine. The top coat is both easy to apply and difficult at the same time. It comes out of the can in a wide spray but being clear, I find it difficult to see just how much paint has been applied. Not so bad on straight tubes on the bike frame but at complex sections such as the bottom bracket, head tube and below the seat pin, it’s very easy to end up with runs and drips, and also easy to miss an area.

However, while I want the revitalised Surly Pugsley single speed to be as good as I can get, there also a limit, a stop point. It’s not going to be a work of art to be hung on the living room wall, it’s going to be a fat bike for riding on the beach, in the snow and just about anywhere else as well. It won’t take long before it gets chips, scrapes and bashes, so no point being over-fussy about the finish.

At the moment, I’ve applied two top coats and will leave that to fully harden before doing some final tidying up, dealing with the worst and most obvious runs and one or two small areas where I’ve missed rubbing down properly. Then, after a good week or so for the paint to fully cure, I’ll start re-assembling the Pugsley. The wheels will also need taken across to BG Cycles for building. I’ve still to decide if I’m going to replace some components, for example, tyres, tubes, saddle and pedals. I still want to get that final finished weight under 13 kg. Helps keep the fatty more manageable when I’m forced to resort to push-bike mode!

Will also need to do some fields trails to determine the most suitable option for the final gear ratio. I dropped an email to friend and fellow Surly Pugsley fat bike enthusiast, Bruce Mathieson, a.k.a. CoastKid, and he suggests a 32T front chainring with a 20T rear freewheel, which is good because that’s what I was thinking as well. However, only after I get some wheels on the ground, or rather, on the beach, will I know for certain. It will always be a compromise, whatever I go for, and no doubt there will be times I wish I had higher or lower gears. But, whatever, that’s what single speeding is all about. Back soon.

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