Roll Up, Roll Up… Half Price Surly Omniterras!

Ever wondered what it’s like to ride through snow, crawl through sand, traverse bog, or float over corrugation? Surly have just announced a 50% price cut on several of their most capable omniterras. If you’ve felt that fat bike itch, perhaps this is the time to scratch it…

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We normally save our Facebook page for these kinds of announcements… but this one feels too big not to shout out about! Due to a surplus in stock, several of this year’s Surly Omniterras are receiving 45-50% price cuts from today, making for some remarkably affordable bikes.

Money aside, we’re big fans of the exploratory nature of fat bikes, a trait that’s well suited to off-grid bikepacking endeavors. Collectively, we’ve ridden and tested most of these models over the years, in various locales around the world… and it’s no understatement to say that they all excel in their respective fields.

Given the overlap in the venn diagram of Surlys – sometimes complicating the process of discerning which is the right bike for you – here’s our take on each, from a bikepacking and overseas touring point of view. On a general note, all share Surly’s burly chromoly tubing, front and rear rack mounts, and provision for Anything Cages.

Surly Pugsley

Surly Pugsley: $899

The venerable Pugsley is classic. It’s been around for years, and as such, sports a more traditional, sure footed geometry that’s well suited to touring and general mountain biking. Components are mostly top notch, including simple, reliable Avid BB7 brakes, a stout Marge Lite wheelset, and thumb shifter style Micro Shifts. Conceived when fat bike specific components didn’t exist, the non-symmetrical triangle requires an offset wheel build and complicates adjusting brakes. In today’s market, it’s tempting to think of it as a little outdated…

But in a world of ever shifting standards, one thing’s for sure: you’ll always find 135mm QR hubs wherever you find yourself in the planet. Parts can be scrounged from your spares bin. Spares are cheap. And also of note to long distance travelers, the Pugsley is rigid specific (it shares the same fork as the Moonlander), making for a larger frame bag than other models. For these reasons, it’s long been the fatbike of choice for so many trans-continental journeys – ridden by the likes of Joe Cruz, Kurt Sandiforth and Mike Howarth across South America, and currently by Dan and Gina for their journey from Mexico to Ushuaia. More thoughts on long distance touring on Pugsley can be read here.

Surly Pugsley

  • Surly Pugsley
  • Surly Pugsley
  • Surly Pugsley

Pug SS: $799

As above, except with the simplicity of a singlespeed… making it the perfect candidate for a internal hub upgrade. Differences we like? Compared to the geared Pugsley, it comes with higher quality, Shimano-compatible Surly OD cranks, and more touring friendly, lightweight 120 tpi Knards. Even factoring in the eye watering price tag of $1750 for a Rohloff Speedhub (we’d recommend talking to the specialists at Cycle Monkey for advice), it still makes a relatively affordable, low maintenance expedition machine.

Surly Pugsley Ops

Pug Ops: $999

The Pugsley Ops shares the same frame as the Pugsley, draped with fancier parts. These include Surly’s excellent, Shimano-compatible OD cranks (compared to the Pugsley’s more basic and harder to source Sram X5s), lighter tires, wider (80mm) rims, and hydraulic brakes. Cranks aside, these upgrades aren’t necessarily what we’d recommend for an overseas adventure – largely because keeping narrower, 65mm rims maintains the potential to run 2.5in downhill tyres if needed, and because Avid BB7s are so good. Note too that you also lose the simplicity of Micro Shift Shifters, which we really like. But if you’re staying closer to, it’s an upgrade worth considering.

Moonlander: $1199

Big brother to the Pugsley, the Moonlander has clearance for lunar-cruising 4.8in tyres (all the wider when mounted on 100mm rims), the same non-symmetrical, 135mm rear end/offset wheelbuild, and a similar, touring-friendly geometry. With its rigid specific fork, frame bag size is also optimised over some of the more modern fat bike offerings – making this a good contender for dedicated snow and sand explorations. A bike built for purpose, it’s a bit too much tire for a mixed terrain tour.

  • Surly Pugsley Ops
  • Surly Pugsley Ops

Ice Cream Truck Ops: $1199

Yes, this is the very same bike we tested recently, when it was listed as $2450! The ICT Ops has a more modern, lively geometry than the Pugsley. It comes with one of our favourite tires – 3.8in Nates, and 120tpi ones at that. Given its massive clearance and 80mm rims, it will also fits 5in rubber, which offer noticeable improvements in snow and sand. The spec list is second to none – BB7s, Micro Shift shifters, OD cranks… And, if you want to keep things internal, Rohloff Speedhubs will soon be available for its 197mm, thru axle spacing, with a 150mm thru axle SP dynamo hub also due out soon. If the desire takes you, there’s even the option of running a suspension fork too.

On the downside, it sports an extra wide BB with press fit bearings (our advice: carry a spare set if heading to distant parts). The frame is a little heavier than other Surly Omniterras, and its internal space a little smaller. And its longer, slacker stance is arguably more suited to trail shredding rather than mega-distance odysseys. Even so, this is an extremely versatile, fun bike to ride, that’s as happy bounding down rocky chutes as it is crawling through sandy arroyos, or bikepacking through the most challenging terrain you can unearth. If you’re keeping your exploits relatively local, there’s no doubt the ICT is a killer deal at this price.

Ice Cream Truck Ops

  • Ice Cream Truck Ops
  • Ice Cream Truck Ops

So there you have it – our take on the relative pros and cons of each bike, depending on where your intentions lie. We’ll admit that Surly’s chromoly frames are never going to be the lightest on the scales. But we’ve always admired their pragmatic and often innovative designs, coupled with their versatility and longstanding affordability. There’s plenty of other great bikes out there these days, but with a decade of fat biking experience to call on, there’s no doubt Surly know their stuff.

If you’ve been on the fence about omniterras… this could be the chance to give one a go, and discover a whole new world of bikepacking opportunities. It’s a Fat Bike call to arms!

Ice Cream Truck Ops

UPDATE: If you’ve missed this incredible promotion, check out the well-priced Surly Wednesday at $1,500.

  • mikeetheviking

    My eyes are wide open right now

  • Yay, Ice Cream Truck for me!

  • iamxande

    Awesome! Picking up a Pug Ops tomorrow!

  • rpnorth

    This is great, thanks for the tip! This has thrown my new bike buying plans all into confusion! Based on the great writings on this site and it’s contributors’ sites, my girlfriend and I were basically set on the Krampus and ECR to ride the GDMBR this summer (bikepacking style). We test rode a Mukluk and loved it, and now for less than half the price of a ECR/Krampus we could get a Pugsley. So we are starting to think, why not? It sounds like it would be loads of fun, and we could invest the money saved in extras like a dynamo hub, bags, etc.. Any thoughts on whether the Pugsley would work for something like the GDMBR? We would follow that up with smaller Europe-based off-road touring/bikepacking, but not really pure mountain biking. If this isn’t the right place to post this, please let me know.

  • Mark Atwell

    Just ordered the Ice Cream Truck today from my LBS. As if I need another bike. But… N+1 rules! And when I asked the Minister of Finance at my house she said, “Sure! Go for it!” which is why she’s the best wife. Sorry guys!!!

  • David Huebner

    I love my Pugsly. Man i payed 1400 a few months ago.Heck of a deal now.

  • Jeez, that’s an apocopugs. ;)

  • Dude. Nice work.

  • Thanks! Glad we could confuse you! The Pugs is a certainly a capable do-all machine; keep in mind that you could put 26×3″ knards on it to make it a ‘plus bike’. That said, an ECR is also a great option for long days in the saddle (more of a dirt-touring style). But those are just my 2 cents and different bikes always fit different folks.

  • Shane Stewart

    Just to be clear, these bikes are on sale via QBP and local bike shops can order at this price?

  • earpluggedinrd

    The Pugs on the GDMBR? It’ll work — just ask Brian Managan: + read his CGOAB account. Of course, he might be a little on the biased side of things. :-)

    Ask yourself this: “If I only had one bike to do everything, would the Pugsley be the best beast?”

  • Yep, that’s correct… they can be ordered by QBP dealers.

  • Robert Kerner

    Ugh!! Too many options and just from one brand. I’m just dipping my toe into the fat bike world. I want something that can do both, snow and dirt. From what I’ve read, 5inch tires are preferred for snow but might not be optimal for routine dirt riding. Is this true? Can you ride snow with 4 inch tires?

    Not sure which model I should be looking at as a good “all rounder” fat bike given all the different trade offs in terms of components, bike weight etc. Thank you for whatever guidance you can offer.

  • Well, 5″ tires are definitely better for snow and sand. My pick would be the ICT Ops, if you can still get one. It comes with 3.8″ Nates, but can fit 5″ tires. It also has a good spec list and a very lively trail geometry.

  • Isaac

    The picture made me think “What’s up with Kurt?” from bikegreaseandcoffee fame. You guys know? I miss reading of his adventures.

  • Hola, I need some info regarding the Surly Pugsley! I’m going to borrow one for an expedition, but I need some help to understand Surly’ s chainrings. I’m pretty sure “mine” originaly came with a Surly OD Crank (36/22 175mm Black 100mm Bottom Bracket)… but it’s missing the chainrings and I can’t figure out/find the ones I need to buy to replace them! Thanks :)

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