Surly Troll Build – Done

I have just finished my Surly Troll build. This turned out to be a pretty straightforward project in the end save for taking a couple of links out of the chain to take up a bit of slack caused by the short chain stays.

I’ve had a wee bit of trouble with the riding position, too, although recycling a friend’s underused Brooks B17 and changing the angle of the Ergon Grips to improve wrist position have remedied this problem. However, I will be changing the stem to a Ritchey Pro Adjustable in common with my Thorn Club Tour as I think there still a bit of fine tuning to be done.

I’ve ridden about 70 miles on the Troll so far and I’m really surprised how sprightly it feels. It begs you to stand on the pedals on climbs and zips along at a fair click, despite the hefty tyres (which were an excellent suggestion by the guys at Keep Pedalling).

This bike is going to be used predominantly as an off-road tourer. If you fancy a more traditional mount, then you may be interested in this post on dedicated touring cycles. I’ll report back on the Troll once I get it dirty. Until then,  here are the all-important pics.

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19 thoughts on “Surly Troll Build – Done

  1. Assuming you are being serious (!) would be happy too. How I have positioned the Ergons may look a little odd, but being a tall rider my arm angle is a steeper and the flared sections of the grips are positioned above the horizontal. Has made a huge difference to comfort.

  2. Very nice bike. I say so partially from experience too…I’ve just built up a Surly Troll, with Brooks saddle and Tubus rear rack. Maybe there’s a certain mindset for choosing these components. Hope you’re enjoying it – I’m loving mine!

  3. A nice build I enjoy reading your postings and looking at the pics.I completed my own troll build in jan this year.
    It rides nicely and is now having its latest mods added a rack and full mudguards. I also went for a tubus rack from spa cycles,its worth mentioning they stock a comprehensive range of chainsets.
    As a short legged rider I very much like using short cranks.I had a stronglight Impact triple chainset with 160mm crank length ideal for me and quite retro looking which suits the troll nicely.

    1. Hi, Thanks for the comment. That sounds like a nice build. I am very attached to my Troll and in many ways it is more useful that my traditional tourer for the kind of riding I hope to do in future (gravel roads and byways). It performed superbly on my recent trip to Iceland. However, now that I’ve ridden a 29er on single track, I think these bikes are a better option if the rider spends more time off road.

      I do like Spa Cycles, particularly their wheels. However, I am lucky to have a very good bike shop near me now so am trying to keep things local.

  4. I experimented with the biggest tyres i could fit to my troll I run Halo SAS wheelset which are very strong with 36 spokes and rim is 37mm wide.
    When fitted with a black floyd tyre it was in effect a 29” wheel.The wheel had tremendous float through slush and deep mud even tho it is a slick tyre it did amazingly well over rough terrain my back tyre is a 26 x 3.45 which equates size wise to 650 and works well I now have same tyre on front as its seems more robust than the floyd for my mix of road and light trail use.feeling how my bike rides would agree 29 is the way to go.

    1. I think that will be the next step for me… to experiment with tyres for the trail. My marathon extremes are a fine touring option for tarmac and gravel roads, but poor on the sloppy trails near my home. I need something with more traction, in particular.

      1. Sure you will find something that suits I have a pair of 3” duro leopards for real off road use which fit ok but are heavy.The trolls versatility means u end up owning various sets of tyres,im up to 4 now!
        Happy riding look forward to your next post and pics.

  5. I broke out my Troll for commuting duties this morning – I’d almost forgotten how much I love riding it! Wading into the tyre debate, I run 26 x 2.2″ Halo Twin Rails for on and off road touring (just be careful to adjust the tyre pressures, of course) but I do break out 2.4″ knobblies when I have the suspension fork on.

    How’s the B17 working out for you? I have my eye on that special edition one they have in the shop… But, I can’t help but wonder if it’s worth the money.

    1. In an ideal world I would have two wheelsets for my Troll… on dedicated for MTB. This will be trickier when I Rohloff though for obvious reasons.

      I’m a fan of my B17s. My backside seems to suit them out of the box and, over time, they just get more comfortable. I have a standard B17 on my Audax, which has thousands of miles on it. It has developed two depressions for my sit bones and I can happily pedal on it all day. The two other saddles are ‘Specials’ – one was second hand (hardly ridden when I snapped it up for ÂŁ30). The one on my Troll is made from a noticeably softer hide than the others. While this has proven to be more comfortable earlier in the break-in period, I wonder how it will last compared to the others.

      A few things to note about these saddles… The nature of the rails may mean you need a layback seat post (something with more offset than those natty Thomson pins). During the break-in period the saddle will go through a period of creaking. This can be infuriating but then one day it will stop. My Troll B17 was creaking merrily when I took it to Iceland, but two weeks of pretty heavy use eventually silenced it. The creaking has occurred on all three saddles… it might be something to do with my riding style (or lack thereof), but it is something to be aware of.

      You need to keep them covered at night when cycle camping in case of rain and they need a bit of TLC with Proofhide from time to time… similar to looking after a pair of favourite walking boots. Like the boots, the come up like new!

      Whether it is worth spending more on a Special is a question of aesthetics in my view.

      1. In an ideal world, you’d have a second Troll. Or, an Ogre. Or, an ECR. Or, a Krampus. Hell, have one of each all with Rohloff wheelsets! That would be quite the collection.

        Thanks for the advice on the Brooks. I’ve been considering a B17 for some time anyway and they offered that 2012 World Traveller to me the other day at a [relatively] killer price. Plus, I built my Troll in 2012… And I do need a new saddle for it. And I have the money burning a hole in my PayPal account… And there’s always the cool factor to consider…

        Oh, who am I kidding??? Of course I’m going to buy it! Will have to distract the other half with something shiny…

      2. I hear you.

        I’ve been saving for some time for this 40th birthday thing. The original idea was to have a frame made, but being such a lanky so and so I’m not sure I’m going to achieve the aesthetic result I’m after. I’m not convinced that it will ride measurably better than my current Audax either.

        So the Rohloff wins out… And maybe some money left over for another build, or a plane ticket somewhere 🙂 As for the other half, it was her 40th last month so the shiny distraction is already in place.

        Just looked at the World Traveller… very snazzy.

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