The Surly E.C.R. Rounds Out Their Adventure Bike Catalog

Surly never ceases to amaze by putting out new bikes that I immediately need. They just released two really cool rigs that fill various niche gaps in their steel frame lineup. In this post, we’ll have a quick peek at the ECR and Straggler as well as explore their nonpareil, adventure-specific lineup.

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I don’t normally write about product releases, but the ECR got me fairly excited and I thought I’d do a quick post about what I think is the perfect lineup of bikes designed for adventure.

The New Surly ECR

Not exactly sure what it stands for yet… maybe “Enduro Camping Rig” (according to BikeRumor), “Exit Cities Rapidly” or “Einstein Can’t Rap.” One thing is for sure though, this thing perked my ears. I was hoping they would add a few mounts and bosses to the Krampus for 2014, but they took it a few steps further and created a 29×3″ Knard-laden, bikepacking beast. Apart from the Krampus it looks like the Surly E.C.R. has slightly more long-ride friendly geometry, all the brazons you would ever need and the swiss-army knife of dropouts that is used on the Troll. I can’t wait to put my Rohloff on this “Expedition Centric Rambler”.
Photo above by QBP.

The New Surly Straggler

Maybe should have been called the ‘Disco-cheque’ as it is basically a Disc-brake enabled Crosscheck with a new dropout. Very nice bicycle however; folks have been requesting a Crosscheck with disc brake capabilities for a while now and Surly answered. It looks like the Straggler has all the necessary bosses for a light tour, long gravel grinder or even a single track romp through the woods. And, those sweet tires are the new 700c/41mm Knards.

Surly Straggler

The Straggler… Surly is breaking out some color! (photo by QBP)

Here are a few classics that make Surly’s catalogue the best in the business for adventure:

The Long Haul Trucker and Trucker Deluxe

The LHT is pretty much the go-to steed for a long-distance bicycle tour. Most folks you see on tour are riding the 26″ version as it is a little easier to find 26″ tires in a lot of countries. The Trucker has classic lines that somewhat resemble mountain bikes of the 80’s and the perfect geometry for long rides. This is the bike that fueled the steel frame revolution.

The Trucker Deluxe is built with S&S Couplers (stainless steel threaded sleeves) to allow the bike to be taken apart to fit in an airline friendly case to avoid oversized luggage fees (which are now through the roof — I paid $200 to fly back from Panama).

Surly Long-haul Trucker - bike tour

Nate’s Trucker. He rode from Portugal to Hong Kong… then Central America.

Surly Long-haul Trucker - bike tour

Lee’s Trucker. Riding from Prudhoe Bay Alaska to Argentina.

The Surly Troll

I love my Troll. This is pretty much the do-all, rough-roads riding, dirt track touring machine. The Troll broke ground with the innovative slot-dropout that easily accommodates the Rohloff, disc brakes and a trailer. It basically serves as a damn good option for anyone doing a long tour where 26″ tires are a must and there will be rough, mountain style riding.


His and her Trolls in Nicaragua.

Surly Troll Touring Bike - Rohloff

My Apocalypse-proof Touring Bike.

The Cross-Check

While the Surly Troll is a perfect bike for hauling big loads of gear through second and third world conditions, Mike wanted a lighter, more classically styled 700c bike for a light-load European tour. Enter the Cross-check:

Surly Cross Check Touring

Mike’s Cross-Check – on tour in Europe.

The Ogre

The Ogre is basically the Troll in 29er format. Touring through a country where 29er wheel size is not a worry, or a shorter tour where wheel maintenance is a non-issue, the Ogre is a great option. All the bosses and mounts one could ever need as well as the versatile rear slot dropouts. The Ogre seems like the one-bike/do-all option.

Surly Ogre Touring

An Ogre from Surly’s Customer Files.

The Pugley and Pug Ops

The Pugley is a very unique bicycle. Basically created to go anywhere with bar-none floatation and traction afforded by the stock 26×3.8″ Nate tires. Winter touring, coastal touring, mud, ice and snow… this bike can take you where other bikes don’t even dream. And it has all of the mounts to rig racks, panniers, fork cages, whatever. Joe Cruz at Pedaling in Place has done some very cool stuff with his Pugs.

Surly Pugsley Touring

An Pugs from Surly’s Customer Files.
  • Michael Viglianco

    I can possibly see myself trading in the CC frame for a Straggler frame even though it’s completely unnecessary. The only thing I don’t like is the top routing of the rear brake cable. I was skeptical of the rim brakes but the Paul Motolites linear brakes have been very impressive in terms of stopping power with the commonly reccomended Kool Stop Salmon pads even when wet. So much so that I have flat spotted, if I am using that term correctly, my rear tire because they lock up so easily. I would assume that is a result of less modulation and user error.

  • The Cross-check has that same routing though. Or would you just prefer it to be on the down-tube? I never liked routing on the down-tube because it takes a beating with mud and gravel…

  • Michael Viglianco

    The CC’s rear brake cable is routed on the top side of the top tube because it’s supposed to be a Cyclocross bike and they do that whole carrying thing. But, it kind of sucks IMO for general use as when you stop and get on an off you kind of sit on it and it gets hung up in the lever. It’s not a huge deal bu the LHT routes the same cable more on the underside of the top tube. Even if it was a disc CC with a full housing it would solve the problem. I definitely would have opted for the Straggler if it was available when I built mine. Another advantage for me would be that I could share a nice set of 700c/239er disc wheels with a future 29er.

  • Yeah, that makes sense.

  • dougie fresh

    there’s nothing keeping you from running full housing on a regular cross check.

  • dougie fresh

    there’s nothing keeping you from running full housing on a regular cross check.

  • Joe Cruz

    Hey Logan,

    Thanks for the shout-out, above (and for the great blog). Surly’s range of bikes is deviously perfect for making one want one of each.

    All the best,


  • Thanks Joe! No kidding… I’m drooling over that ECR. Hey, you are up in NY, right? Have you ever put together any bikepacking trips in Vermont? My wife and I will be up there riding the Kingdom Trails in a couple of weeks and I’d like to put together an overnight if possible…

  • Joe Cruz

    Hey Logan—I absolutely love the Kingdom Trails (you’re going to have a fantastic time), but haven’t done a bikepacking loop up there. I’ve always camped there and done day rides on mountain. Let me see if any of my contacts have better beta…

    All best,

  • Great… let me know if you find out anything. Thanks a bunch!

  • virtualryan

    What is the difference in geometry that makes the ECR more long ride friendly than the Krampus ?
    I wish Surly would release geometry, specs and photos for the new bikes on their website.

  • Well, to start, the rigid fork is corrected for 80mm versus the 100mm like the Krampus. Other than that I think it is just a little less slack and less speed oriented. But not sure exactly until they release the numbers. Their 2014 catalog states it has it’s own geometry for ‘any road, from perfect to abandoned’ —

  • Tim Smith

    Interesting on Troll. I ended up selling my frame b/c I was so dissatisfied with the intersection of the front and rear ends. As a commuter/beater it was great, but when I had it loaded it felt whippy and unsafe (plus some of the dreaded shimmy).

    In some ways I wish I had found the magic center b/c other folks with Trolls had much better luck than I.

  • Hi Tim, Interesting observation… For me it’s pretty stable and even, dare I say, nimble when loaded. Were you running your panniers low to the ground?

  • Kate Tierney

    Hey I’m pretty new to bikes, just did my first tour this summer. It was supported and on a road bike… Anyways I sold my old bike but I am having a hard time deciding between the Straggler and the Ogre. I am looking for something for extended touring but something that is also light enough for the road. I am not really sure how the geometry of these really compare for what I’m looking to do. Any suggestions? Thanks!!

  • Hi Kate. If you are used to a road bike geometry and will be riding primarily on the road, I would go with the Straggler; if you plan on doing some mountain biking or off road touring, the Ogre would be a great choice. it really comes down to your riding style and whether you prefer to have an aggressive road stance or a more upright position like you would on a mountain bike. Hope that helps…

  • Gideon McClure

    I have a 10 mile commute each way on paved roads. I like do this 1-2 times a week. I like to hit the trails and some technical stuff on the weekend. future plans to do some bikepacking and light touring. should I look at the ogre to be my one bike? Or do I need 2 bikes?

  • Tough call. Ogre is a good one, or the Salsa Fargo… The more bikes the merrier!!

  • Gideon McClure

    Ha, Definitely! Unfortunately the budget stays the same, so the bike quality would go down. But both those bikes are totally acceptable on the paved roads?

  • I never hesitate to ride a MTB on paved roads, if need be, but it’s all about the tires. The Fargo might have a little more road style geometry…

  • Surely you have this plan on the go. Great insight form yours.

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