Surly Lowside Build

    This winter has been brutal. Ive watched all the paint dry and the phone doesn't seem to even ring anymore. Lack of sunlight and dry trails has kept the masses focused on football, arguing on the internet and putting miles on the indoor trainer. Needless to say- along with the waned desire to ride, the desire to patronize a bike shop for anything beyond a necessary repair is somewhat rare these days. I guess its hard to get inspired to spend money on a better bike or making your bike better when riding seems to be but a distant memory. The bright side of these dark days is that time is plentiful, projects get more focus than usual and new ideas seem to be getting a lot more attention than usual. Said surplus of time has allowed me to give customers my undivided attention and take some fun chances and risks that a tight schedule usually prohibits.

   A few weeks back I received a phone call from a calm gentleman by the name of Chris. He asked some relatively general questions in regards to our ability to get some basic parts and get his bike set up. He mentioned only being in town for another few months before traveling to Asia with his bike to ride the Han River trail and eventually end up in a coastal town to surf. The objective was to build a bomb-proof packable bike, that could carry gear on a lengthy tour... but ultimately live out its days being a surf taxi on the hilly coast of Japan... Challenge accepted.

  Chris arrived a days later- a small guy with graying hair, a spry leap in his step and plenty of youthful glint in his eyes. He carried with him a Surly Lowside frame and fork and eagerly explained that he wanted to have as much to do with the build and process as possible. As we began to spec the bike it was apparent that Chris was on board with whatever advice I was giving in terms of build.

  Shimano was my go-to for the majority of the moving componentry- brakes being no exception. Shimanos XT-8000 series would make for our hubs, cranks, bottom bracket, rotors and brakes. Chris supplied an awesome cockpit configuration consisting of a Jones Loop Ti Bar and Salsa stem and I sourced a blue Chris King headset to tie everything together. To address the issue of Chris appropriately sizing the bike a small to account for the long reach and conversely short seatube- we would need to fit a rather long seat post to make the bike fit well for its task, so to match the awesome cockpit we selected a Ti Moots 380mm layback Cinch post, with blue accents, of course. The wheels, using the XT-8000 hubs front and rear would be laced to Stans Flow MK3 26" rims using Wheelsmith DB-14 spokes and Sapim Poly-ax nipples, wrapped in Surly Extra Terrestrial 2.5 tires. The bike awaits final consensus on gearing, as it is being run single speed to aid in reliability and the stem length will be determined after some more shakedown rides.

  The most interesting aspect of this build was certainly the bikes ultimate purpose. Knowing this bike would make a journey overseas in a semi-custom bag had me putting some extra attention on brake cable length and potential points of weakness, as well as steerer length. As the build comes to a close, we are tying up loose ends. Chris had expressed interest in fitting the bike with racks to make it suitable for touring, but after observing the bikes limitation in terms of geometry and rack mount points- my suggestion of employing one of the many bag-based pack solutions to accommodate him became more palatable. I am thinking that Revelate can help us out here.

The second part of this write-up will come as Chris begins to put this thing to its purposed use.  I imagine that as the relationship between this bike and its rider evolves and develops, so will the story behind it. It will be up to Chris to keep us up-to-date between big swell days and rides on the coast.

(pre moots post)

(Chris King Headset, deep blue)

(Bike ready for bagging, PIKA supplies padding, straps to secure the bars to the frame)

(Packed up and ready to go)