Surly Troll shakedown ride – Pennine Bridleway

The long weekend gave me an opportunity to take my newly-completed Surly Troll our for a shakedown ride.

It seemed appropriate to go for a rattle along the Pennine Bridleway. This runs near to my home and features a variety of terrain. While there’d be plenty of mud and snow following last week’s near blizzard conditions, rock-strewn tracks, filling-rattling cobbles and rotor-deep puddles would be the order of the day.

A shakedown ride it would definitely be… an opportunity to shake off one or two components along the way, too.

The day started along canal towpath but I was soon climbing above Walkerwood Reservoir. My initial plan had been to hit the Woodhead Valley first before heading back to the bridleway for a lumpy route to Greenfield.

However, slushy, sticky snow hung in hollows along the trail and deep drifts made progress difficult. I retreated and followed the PBW at a lower and, hopefully, clearer elevation.

My early impressions of the Troll were confirmed quickly. I clearly lack mountain bike riding experience, but I find the Troll an absolute joy to ride both on road and off. It climbs well despite its heft and this deftness is keenly felt when picking albeit tentative lines through boulders and broken trail.

Not running a suspension fork, my progress was slow but the Troll gave me plenty of confidence and small jumps and ‘bunny hops’ soon punctuated my progress.

BB7s squealing, I dropped into Greenfield and followed paths and tracks to Dove Stones where I rattled around the reservoirs before the grinding climb to Chew Reservoir. This resulted some gear slipping, which will require a bit of fettling with the rear derailleur. I reached the ‘summit’ and hurtled down the track again enjoying the sure-footedness of the Surly. What a blast!

Next test will be lugging some load just to see how it handles.


11 thoughts on “Surly Troll shakedown ride – Pennine Bridleway

  1. Looks like a great build; I’m thinking of doing something very similar myself just as soon as I can scrape together the funds for the frameset.

    I want mine to fulfill commuting, touring, towing and (if possible) off road duties so was thinking about putting drop bars on (probably On One Midge) and the Pennine Bridleway will certainly be the proving grounds!

    1. Thanks Jimmy,

      I too toyed with the idea of drops but settled for the flat bars in the hope they’d give me a bit more stability off road. This seems to be the case so far although I am a big fan of drops.

      I think a Troll build will suit your requirements admirably. I’m finding myself rolling it out for much of my riding at the moment : – )

      1. I can see why! I’ve been tempted by the Ogre too but I think on balance the Troll is more of an all rounder. I normally go touring with a BOB Yak so the dedicated mounts are certainly attractive and as for going off road with a rigid fork… well, I’ve done it on a cyclocross bike with carbon fork and 38mm tyres so a steel fork and 2″+ tyres should be just fine for as adventurous as I’m going to get.

      2. All my bikes so far have had rigid forks so I’m trying to avoid to fitting a suss fork if I can help it. We’ll see how it goes… I’m certainly not going to be leaping off boulders and riding at great speed off road so perhaps the stock steel fork will suffice. I’m still not convinced I have the bars set up correctly, though. I think riser bars would be a better bet for someone of my height and I’ll be experimenting when funds allow!!

      3. Oh, definitely, riser bars are best for mountain bikes in my experience. Once you throw some on there, try dropping your stem down a litle, that should give a more stable feel.

  2. I think so to… I don’t want to go too wide, though, and I want to keep the bar ends. Need to strike a balance 🙂

    1. I go back and forth with bar ends; they’re great for climbing and give another hand position but I rarely use them these days… Wider bars generally give more stability, I think, but too wide and it feels like you’re riding a bus!

      1. When I commuted on a flat barred bike I found them really useful. Given the jack of all trades character of the Troll I’m inclined to keep them. No doubt this bike will be reinvented a few times though!

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