Fat Biking FAQ

A few questions and answers about myself and fat biking. If you have any questions you wish to ask or any suggestions for a question and answer to include on this FAQ, please use the Contact form above to send them in. Thank you.

Why did you decide to build a Surly Pugsley?
I decided to build a Surly Pugsley after seeing one being ridden on the beach at Aberlady in East Lothian. I had been toying with the idea for a while, having come across them on the Internet. However, I had initially discounted the idea when I realised that you had to build them from scratch and also that they were rather expensive. But after a visit to Bruce, to see his bike, I was smitten.

Did you test ride a Pugsley before buying?
Yes, Bruce Mathieson a.k.a. CoastKid, a fellow Pugsley owner and rider who lives about 30 minutes from my house, kindly allowed me to test ride his bike. Note, this was in 2010 and an off-the-shelf Surly Pugsley was not yet available.

How did you first come across the Surly Pugsley?
I first came across the Surly Pugsley on the Internet one evening when I was looking for information on Land Rovers. At the time I was thinking of buying a Land Rover to adapt for off-road driving at a club course in Fife and saw an article on the Pugsley on The Hub in the Forest web site.

How much does your Pugsley weight?
Surly Pugsley with racks & mudguards – 19.3 kg or 42.5 lbs.

Was it easy to source all the components?
Yes and no. Most of the components were easy enough to source using the Internet although a few items, namely the Surly Pugsley frame and fat tyres were out of stock at all the UK suppliers I contacted and delivery times were about 3 months. I actually ordered these items from the US and they arrived in a few days, although I did pay a bit more for customs charges, etc. Fat bike components such as frames, rims and tyres can be quite expensive.

What is so great about the Surly Pugsley?
The great thing about the Surly Pugsley is that you can just keep riding when the trail runs out, particularly onto the beach. The fat tyres also make it more comfortable on dirt trails, gravel roads, forest tracks and game trails and offers masses of grip while exerting low ground pressure and therefor less damage.

Where do you prefer to ride your Pugsley?
I much prefer to ride the Pugsley along the coast, making use of the beach itself and any trails or paths found in the dunes, cliff tops or beach head. I also enjoy riding the narrow trails found alongside many of the rivers on the region.

How much does it cost to build a Pugsley?
Overall it cost about £2500 to build my specification of the Surly Pugsley, although you could probably do it for around £2000 depending on component choice. The frame today costs around £800, tyres and rims are around £80 each.

Is it difficult to ride with those tyres?
I would say there is more resistance with the fat tyres and I would guess I generally run about one gear lower than my ordinary mountain bike. But to be honest, it’s so much more fun riding a Pugsley that I find it does not matter.

What gearing system did you decide on?
I went for the enclosed Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub mainly because it kept everything neat and tucked away from the sand and sea water it would encounter on many of my rides. The ability to change gear while stationary is also a great benefit for this type of riding.

How did you prepare the bike for beach riding?
To help protect the bike from the corrosive effects of saltwater I sprayed the inside of the frame with WD40 and used waterproof grease on all bolts, nuts and bearing surfaces. I also power wash the bike after every ride, as well as cleaning and lubricating the chain.

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