Surly ECR: Built and Packed in 2 Days

As of last Friday, I had given up on the Surly ECR being shipped in time and resigned myself to quickly building another bike for our trip…

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On Monday I got the news that it would be at my door that Wednesday; on Tuesday it arrived (a day early) and I started twirling allen wrenches; on Wednesday I whipped up a framebag; on Thursday I tested it and packed it; today it gets on a plane. Whew. More to come, but here are a few pics and details:

Surly ECR - Rohloff dropout

The same fantastic dropout as my Troll. It’s amazing how much cleaner factory paint is than powder coat.

Surly ECR - ED Coated

The ECR is ED coated, which means no framesaver! Definitely saved me some time.

Surly ECR - Bikepacking, Tubus racks, framebag

Set up bush-packing style using the Salsa Minimalist in front and the Tubus Vega in the back. In these photos the ECR is rolling on Smart Sam Plus tires, but Knards are on her now. The Tubus Vega Rack also works with Knards, see below.

Surly ECR - Bikepacking, framebag

I am testing out a product called Shelter for the bag contact points. I’ll be interested to see if it holds up. On the last tour I just threw a strip of Gorilla tape across my top tube.

Surly ECR - Tubus racks, modifications, water bottle cage

I made some rack mods to the Vega to hold a bottle cage on each side.

Surly ECR - Tubus racks, modifications, water bottle cage

Cut aluminum stock with rivnuts to make the braces; and bent 1/2″ pipe-clamps to make the brackets; a little spot welding, some paint and they are ready to roll. Only time and bumpy tracks will tell if the hold up.

Surly ECR - DIY framebag

Template for the frame bag.

Surly ECR - DIY frame bag

The bag design features a map pocket on the side to hold NG trail maps or ITMB travel maps.

Surly ECR - DIY frame bag

The top panel has two straps to carry a pump and keep it out of the way.

Surly ECR - Rohloff, Bikepacking, Racks

Velocity Blunt 35s held Sams, and now Knards. More cages on the fork offer extra space and more hydration.

Surly ECR Rohloff

The Rohloff got a fresh oil change and is ready for a few thousand more miles.

Sury ECR, Blackspire pedals

I am digging these Blackspire Big Slim MKII pedals.

Surly ECR Knards

27 TPI Knards came last night at 7:30 via UPS. Noticed the cryptic message above the bead: WIZARD SPEAK KNOWLEDGE BOMB PUT THE TIRE DOWN AND PICK UP A BEER. So I did, then a quick install, test, and about an hour of deliberation whether to take them or the Sams. Knards won the battle; maybe not the most practical choice, but certainly the most fun. We’ll see.

Surly ECR for bikepacking and Bike Touring, Racks

A crappy night shot of the ECR sporting Knards.
  • Krash670

    Looks nice. I like your set-up.

  • Thanks! I’ll get a build list and more pics posted once we get moving… probably a week from now.

  • Michael Viglianco

    Looks good….you guys could open a rack library.

  • Amy

    Looks good. Still can’t believe you are a sewing wizard. Y’all be safe and keep in touch. Git Git!

  • Well played. Now time to go out and play!

  • Anarchitech

    But…but….what happened to the Troll as the post-Apocalyptic tour the world bike build??? Any concerns about running 29’s vs 26’s? Anyway, enjoy your site, this trip looks like fun and hoping for a Troll vs ECR write up….

  • Thanks! I threw concerns out the window for this one. A long-term, logical choice would be the Troll, for sure. But sometimes you have to risk it. I’ll be carrying a spare tire and 4 spare tubes. Worst case scenario, get stuck somewhere for a week or so waiting for a shipment.

  • Stitch witchery. I am a domestic god… minus the cooking, cleaning and other household chores.

  • I think we’ve covered most Tubus offerings, and now have 3 Minimalists.

  • JensM

    By Jove, those Knards are HUGE… I pondering an ECR build along the lines of the Cleland concept and had a plan as to rigging it with fenders by building them onto the racks. Dont look like thats possible with those tires… Spiffing build, though. Love the Rohloff on it, but will probably go for the NuVinci myself, just for monetary reasons.

  • Joe Cruz

    Love it.

  • Looks great Logan. What size chainring is that up front?–it looks huge!

    Enjoy the new bike, and new directions.

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  • It’s the same 38t I was running on my Trollhoff. Probably a little big for the 29er, and even more so with Knards… didn’t think about that until I was testing it on Thursday…

  • Cass

    Given you have an ECR, I’d go Knards, though it will be interesting to see how long they last. I think the ECR runs a little low with standard 29er rubber, depending on the terrain. In that way, I prefer the high underbelly clearance of the Krampus.

    In the ridiculously steep mining roads of the Andes, I ran a 36T on my 29er – though I’d probably drop it to a 34t with Knards.

    Love the extra water bottle mounts. I had similar plans for my Vega, with additional struts to brace ‘surplus’ gear/food from my Carradice, as and when it’s needed.

    In fact, I’m really interested to see you’re running a Vega/Knard combo – I didn’t think mine would fit. What’s the clearance like?

  • Daddydd

    Maybe I missed it, but where are you going with the ECR? Any chance you will be in Costa Rica or Panama in February? I’ll be there with my own ECR. I decided on the Knards also.

  • Nice to hear it… make sure you hit some of the Nicoya… there is some good dirt and gravel riding out there, as well as beach riding. We just landed in Cape Town, South Africa (about an hour ago, actually. We’ll be setting out across the cape. Then onward toward Malawi/Tanzania/Barundi/Rwanda…

  • Yeah, my biggest concern is how they’ll hold up. I am sure there will be some stretches of pavement that will eat away at them. That and tubes. I brought a couple of the big ‘Toobs’, patches and several 2.4w backups… hopefully that cache will hold up. I have no idea what the thorn situation is where we will be going.

    Although we just landed and my bike is still boxed up, the Vega (Evo) seemed to have plenty of space with the Knards. From what I remember, about 1/2-3/4″ between the rack top and the tread, and over 1/2″ on each side. Could get interesting in the mud. Of course those are just estimates from memory; once I get my bike together, probably tomorrow afternoon, I will post another reply with more accurate measurements.

    I also had a Vega 29er (only available in Europe at the moment) which is even more generous about 3/4″ more space top to tread. But, with the Longflap saddlebag it didn’t leave quite enough room for the Bagman QR, flipped. It probably could have been put it at a dramatic angle, but I decided on the regular Vega for space.

  • Lee

    I think I just creamed my jeans (assuming I owned pair currently… but if I did….). Happy Africa trip!

  • matt

    I’m having trouble tubelessing my P35 (older version of the blunt 35) to my knard tire, any tricks? I’ve only got the normal tubeless tape in there now on the rim. any help would me much appreciated in an aim to not have another embarrassing attempt to seat the tire at the town gas station’s air compressor.
    Thanks, matt

  • Hi Matt. I haven’t set the Knards up tubless. Although I’d love to, and plan on giving a shot when I get back to the states, I am running tubes for this trip. I know I have seen people talking p35 tubeless on the MTBR forum, you may try there… good luck and let me know how it goes.

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  • Andi

    Neat! That one’s got character. Why that frame size? Looks like you could’ve went with a size bigger .. more frame bag space. Standover clearance?

  • Thanks. 20″ large. It seems to fit me perfectly (I’m about 6′ even with a 33″ inseam). I’ll report more once I put her through the paces.

  • Here are the specifics: 5/8″ from top to tread; a little over 1/4″ on each side of the front side rails; over an inch on the rear side rails. Cheers.

  • Andi

    Wow … that frame looks a lot smaller than it is.

  • Cass

    That’s great, thanks!

    I think the 29er version would work for me, as I run the saddle really high for my stork-like legs.

  • Skyler

    The Vega fits Knards!!!! This is fantastic news. Replacing that ridiculously heavy Surly Nice rack right now!

  • Matt

    After looking around on MTBR i noticed a bunch of talk about using gorrila tape, so i went town to the hardware store, cut it to a mil short of the outer diameter of my rim and taped over the previous stans tape. 2 min down at the local gas station unclogging the frozen hose with my house key and pop pop pop the tire seated! just road it around my neighborhood through everyones snowy backyards and it worked great. With that said, as long as this hold up i’ll never pay for over priced Stans tape, or kits of that sort again. one roll of gorrila tape could easily do 5, maybe even more wheels for the price of $5.39. I would suggest maybe go twice around with the tape on the p35 to build up the spoke bed when using the knards because the wire bead version i found stiff and loose on the rim and wouldn’t not spread to the outsides which I think was where some of my trouble was. hope it works out and good lock on your trip!!

  • Matt, did the same on my Stan’s Flow EX rims. With a layer of tape already on the rim, I added two layers of duct tape. Seated just fine after that. Another pass with the tape might have let me do it with a floor pump.

  • I’m looking at a Vega for the back of an Ogre. It sounds like the non-29er version will fit fine, and will give more stash space up top. I’ll have a Revelate Viscacha and some small panniers and like the idea of being able to stash some light but bulky gear on the top of the rack. But is there much difference between the Evo and the regular version? It looks like the Evo replaced the older version but some places seem to sell both and I can’t seem to find the Evo at all in the UK. Enjoy Africa – I’ll be following your trip with interest. Cheers, Chris

  • Awesome setup! Really interested in seeing what you think of this bike. The Rohloff hub kicks this build to a whole other level.

  • May be a challenge with the wider Rabbit Holes though… let me know if that’s what you are running, and if the Vega works. I have P35s and it’s fairly tight… now that the tires have settles, probably about 3/16″ on each side with the Vega.

  • Thanks Chris… yeah, on the Ogre, the Vega will be perfect… it’s pretty tight with the Knards. Not sure about Evo/regular. I have only seen the Evo and the 29er version. the 29er has a good inch more of tread to top space.

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  • Skyler

    Running Duallys. Pretty close to the Rabbit Holes in terms of width. Don’t have a vega in hand quite yet.

  • Skyler

    3/16″ with P35s is so tight that I might not even try now though.

  • Julien Donnet

    I just wanted to step buy and say that your article is great and that it contributed to make me buy a surly ECR for my world tour in 2015 :) Your setup looks great !! http://www.worldride.Fr

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  • Einweltenbummler

    Hi, what size is the frame?

  • Sorry for the delay… been out in the bush in Zambia. It’s a 20″ frame…

  • Dave

    May be this is sacrilegious but would it be possible to put 27+ whilst onto Surly ECR? As a short rider I made the mistake of importing an ECR sight unseen and obviously not ridden.. now I’m finding it too tall although manageable… any thoughts?

  • Dave

    *wheelset not whilst

  • I wouldn’t recommend it. The ECR has a rather short bottom bracket height and with smaller tires and wheels, I would find it too short.

  • Dave

    Thanks Logan, any suggestions? On a different note I’m putting 165mm cranks on this week but not sure that’ll make any difference to overall geometry (as you probably can tell I’m new to the bike world)

  • If you don’t mind a low BB, you could try smaller 29×2.25″ tires.

  • Joe Strickland

    I am really into this bike, Can anyone out there talk me out of this bike ?

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