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Surly Bikes 2013 Preview @ Saddle Drive ’12

Surly, purveyor of the WTF bicycle, has done it again. Since releasing the market’s first complete, ready-to-ride fat bike in 1998, Surly has now taken a step back, introducing a new platform that the brand calls 29+.

tf-img_2034 Meet the Krampus. Carving its own path somewhere between fat bike and mountain bike worlds, the Krampus rolls on 50mm rims called Rabbit Holes, spreading out the 29x3”, tight-tread tires Surly has dubbed Knards. The frame was designed to max out tire clearance on the front and rear while working within mountain bike standards; the Krampus frame has a 73mm bottom bracket and 100/135mm hub spacing.

On the trail, I’d prepared for something that rode just shy of a Mukluk, but the Krampus delivered serious speed and traction. Really, it’s fancifully fast, a rigid 29er that runs suspension by tire. Pick any path — over large rocks, through stream beds, across hot coals — and you’ll likely be soaring through. The 1×10 SLX drivetrain was a treat, too. Simplicity is all that you’d want or need here — the lowest gearing worked perfectly for the steepest climbs, and the highest proved powerful enough to accelerate downhill. Tires rolled with low resistance, biting and holding when needed, then lifting off and away at the straightaways. Magical. The Krampus — sparkling green and hilariously right — was a carnival ride I’d get in line for all day long.

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