Published Somedays

The Surly Pugsley

(updated: Apr 3, 2012)

No updates for a while because I've been busy putting together my latest creation, the Pugsley. I've wanted one of these since I first rode it out at Interbike Demo Day in Las Vegas. It was the most fun bike I rode there. So I finally ordered the frame and wheels. The rest was parts I had laying around or scrounged up (I rarely sell anything; spare parts come in handy, and I can keep building bikes).

The Surly Pugsley - it's not a Frankenbike, it's designed this way.
Surly Pugsley

I did have to buy a bottom bracket, because the Surly requires a downhill type, 100mm bb. Everything else is more-or-less standard. To accommodate the width of the massive 4.0 tires, the front fork is wider and you must use a rear hub for the front wheel. This also means that to run a disk brake up front you have to use a rear adapter or it will not fit. But the nice thing about having essentially two rear wheels is that one wheel can be geared, and the other a singlespeed, which is what I did. This allows you to swap the wheels and go from cassette to single, which comes in handy if you have a mechanical on a remote trip.

The massive rims and tires accommodated by a wider fork. Note the offset to the fork to fit a 135mm wide rear hub.
Surly Pugsley

This bike was designed for extreme conditions. It is simple, durable, and reliable. It's made for riding out in Alaska with the polar bears (maybe not such a good idea), or other remote regions. It's also made to easily handle sand and mud and ice. It can take disk brakes (mechanical recommended) or cantilever brakes. I intend to ride this all up and down the coast after I put panniers on it, which it is also lugged for.

So I finished building it late last night and today I took it for a couple of laps out at Blue Clay. It rides just like the one I tested out in Vegas in 2005. Easier than it looks to pedal, climbs great, and sticks like glue to anything. I was able to ride all the tech stuff I normally do, and the bike handled all of it. This is a real mountain bike. Yeah the trail still beats you up because it is a rigid, and although the tires help, they still bounce around at higher speeds. This ain't gonna win races - it is called the Pugsley for a reason. I could have run lower pressures (like 10psi easily), but I didn't want to risk a pinch flat until I got a better feel for how the tires handle, and because the special tubes for this thing retail for $20 each!

The wide rim is offset drilled so that in the frame the spokes are centered at the dropout for maximum strength.
Surly Pugsley

My only problem is with the handlebar - it's an oversize Ritchey that originally came on my Redline. Now I remember why I took it off after the first ride. I want to know whose brilliant idea it was to put oversize bars on every bike made now. There was nothing wrong with the 25.4mm standard - in fact it is better because 25.4mm bars offer some slight flex to them, eliminating arm fatigue and numbness. The oversize bars are way too stiff; they should only be used for freeride bikes. So this thing is coming off and being replaced by the good old standard. I understand the industry develops stuff like this to sell more components, that's why I typically go with one brand or standard and buy in quantity, like 5 at a time (SRAM 9-speed derailleurs, chains, and grip shifters, Shimano XT 9-speed cassettes 11-32, 36T chainrings, 27.2mm seatposts, 25.4mm stem and bars, 1 1/8" headsets, etc.).

My hand on the tire for reference. I have fairly large hands.
Surly Pugsley tire

The other nice thing about the frame is that it accommodates 29er wheels as well, so I can always turn it into a 29er. The tires are so big that on a 26" rim they equal in size to a 29er wheel. When are they going to come out with a 29er Pugsley? That will be freaky. As it is now, I can just barely fit it into my Thule T2 rack, which I'm really happy about.

Next stop, Wrightsville Beach. Gonna see how it handles the sand. Then I'll head down to Ft. Fisher Rec Area to try the deep stuff.


The Pusgley out at Blue Clay
Surly Pugsley at Blue Clay

Filed Under: Product Reviews


1. Benedict said...

This bike looks like fantastic fun!

Jul 18, 2008 @ 10:03 PM

2. downhill469 said...

Let me know when you go to WB i want to see that!!!!

Jul 19, 2008 @ 3:16 AM

3. Brado1 said...

ypu need tp bring it up this way - think of the video capabilities - Farloe Gap - Bennett Gap on a pugs!!!! have you seen this?

Pugsley dirt jump disaster!


Jul 19, 2008 @ 4:12 AM

4. said...

Someone tell that guy it's ok to let go of the handlebars now.

BTW Cool bike, looks fun.

Jul 19, 2008 @ 8:52 AM

5. eric said...

nice! i'm so jealous. i want to see that thing. ride it for the next critical mass, pls. what's the weight of the complete bike?

Jul 19, 2008 @ 12:35 PM

6. SBA said...

You know, it's not that heavy. 30lbs? I stopped weighing bikes a long time ago.

Jul 19, 2008 @ 2:17 PM


Comments are closed.

Back To Top