Surly ECR

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The magic of 29+ is that it provides a large rolling diameter as well as significant floatation and suspension qualities due to a wider footprint. And, all of this is at its disposal without the same penalties that 4″ fatbike tires possess. In essence, 29+ provides added cushion and confidence while not being as sluggish […]

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The magic of 29+ is that it provides a large rolling diameter as well as significant floatation and suspension qualities due to a wider footprint. And, all of this is at its disposal without the same penalties that 4″ fatbike tires possess. In essence, 29+ provides added cushion and confidence while not being as sluggish at a fatbike. The Surly ECR was one of the first few 29+ bikes, and the first to repurpose 29+ specifically for bikepacking. Many have followed in its wide footsteps, but it remains the archetype of its own niche.

Surly ECR: Dirt Road Touring Bike

On December 12th 2013, the ECR became my mobile bush camp as we travelled from Cape Town, South Africa to Tanzania, then through Morocco and southern Spain. The ECR left a slew of oglers and inquisitors in its in its wake throughout Africa. Granted, it is a sight to behold. Here is the build…

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Surly ECR - Bikepacking setup, Frame Bag, Racks, Rohloff

The ECR is now my go to long distance, off-road touring bike. I made the switch from the Troll that I used 2 years ago, and after about a month on the 29+ platform, I was hooked. Over a long tour in a remote country, there is something to be said for the reliability, loading capabilities, and non-maintenance of a rigid setup. But, when off-road is where the adventure beckons, a rigid bike can serve up a beating. The magic of 29+ is in the marriage of a large rolling diameter, and the performance and suspension qualities of the hefty 3” Knards. 29+ pretty much defangs the dirt serpent.

  • Surly ECR - Bikepacking and Bike Touring Setup, Racks, Rohloff
  • Surly ECR - Bikepacking and Bike Touring Setup, Racks, Rohloff
  • Surly ECR - Bikepacking and Bike Touring Setup, Racks, Rohloff

On this past tour we mostly rode surfaces that ranged from chunky limestone gravel to shale to dirt to sand, and they come in varying levels of roughness. But we also spent plenty of miles on very rocky off-road tracks, sandy washouts, mud, stream crossings and plenty of eroded ungelations. These conditions, in my opinion, are home for Knards, and the ECR for that matter. There will indeed be many more miles on the ECR in the not so distant future.

  • Surly ECR - Bikepacking and Bike Touring Setup, Racks, Rohloff
  • Surly ECR - Bikepacking and Bike Touring Setup, Racks, Rohloff
  • Surly ECR - Bikepacking and Bike Touring Setup, Racks, Rohloff

The Build

  • Frame: 20″ Surly ECR (large)
  • Rear Hub: Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 36 spoke
  • Front Hub: Velocity Disc 36 spoke
  • Wheels: Velocity Blunt 35 29er laced by The Wheel Department
  • Cranks: Shimano Deore LX (oldschool and bulletproof)
  • Ring: NEW: Shimano road 34t – sadly swapped out my Surly Stainless 38t
  • Chain: Wippermann 808
  • Tires: Surly Knard 27TPI
  • Bottom Bracket: SKF
  • Brakes: Avid BB7 / Avid Ultimate levers
  • Headset: Chris King Nothreadset
  • Handlebar: Crank Brothers Cobalt riser (cut to about 680mm)
  • Stem: Easton EA70 100mm
  • Saddle: Selle Anatomica Titanico X
  • Seatpost: Easton Havoc
  • Pedals: Blackspire Big Slim MKII
  • Front Rack: Salsa Minimalist
  • Rear Rack: Tubus Vega

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