Surly Pugsley

The Surly Pugsley, named I believe after Pugsley Addams, of Addams Family fame – they also have model called the Surly Wednesday, with even bigger tyres – and it’s one of original so-called fat bikes, the term taken from their rather large and very fat tyres. They were originally conceived for endurance racing on winter snows in Alaska but are equally at home on the sandy beaches of East Lothian, the occasional winter snows and the soft wet boggy moorland of the Southern Uplands, all close to my home near Edinburgh, Scotland.

My build starts with a medium sized frame, 2013 model, which comes with a curious oddity, the rear chain stays are offset by 17.5 mm. This, along with a 100 mm bottom bracket, is to accommodate the chain line allowing it to clear the 3.8″ wide tyres. The frame and forks are generously supplied with mounting points for bottle cages, mudguards, racks and whatever else takes your fancy. My fork is straight, though there is an offset option available should you wish to swap the wheels around. I’ll leave you to work out why you would ever need to do that. Note, this model of frame is no longer available new and has been replaced by the Pugsley 2.0 frame.

First, we’ll have a look at the most obvious part of the Surly Pugsley, the wheels. The front starts off with a Surly Ultra New hub laced to Surly Marge Lite 26″ perforated rims. A double layer of Surly rim tape protects the Surly inner tube and we finish with Surly Larry 26 x 3.8″ tyres which I use all year round, for all conditions. Tyre sealant is added for additional puncture protection. The rear wheel is the same specification, but is based on a Shimano Alfine 8 speed hub.

Now, let’s look at gearing. My favoured option on the Pugsley, as with all my bicycles, is for a Shimano Alfine 8 speed IGH (Internal Hub Gear), which keeps everything all neatly packed away, safe from the corrosive efforts of sand and salt-water, and no exposed derailleur mechanism to get damaged. I run a 24 tooth rear sprocket and a 34 tooth chain ring on the front, which does just fine in most conditions. If I need anything lower, I get off and walk, anything higher, well, what’s the rush.

Components such as the seat stem, saddle, handlebar stem and cranks are nothing unusual and are mostly Race Face. The handlebars are Alpkit, with the cool name of Love Mud Confucius. They come with a central loop that takes Alpkit’s Drop Bear handlebar bag and also offers plenty of room for lights, bells and so on. Handlebar grips are GP1 from Ergon. Stopping power comes from Avid BB7 cable-operated disc brakes and the pedals are Speedplay Drillium with the pins removed and substituted with grip tape.

Luggage carrying capacity includes Surly’s own frame bag, the Drop Bear mentioned above and an additional rear rack bag when required, although most of the time only the frame and handlebar bag are used. The racks are Cold Springs model from Old Man Mountain and give me additional carrying capacity when needed. And there you have it, all be it rather briefly, my Surly Pugsley build in all its glory.

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