Variations on a successful theme – the Surly Orge

I’ve just put the finishing touches to a Surly Ogre. The massive bike – an XXL frame – uses parts from my trusty–but-too-small Surly Troll, including a Rohloff transmission.

ogre-manchester
Surly Ogre on shopping duty in Manchester

The Ogre frameset came up by chance – a friend was offloading it – and given my height it was a chance I jumped at. Regular readers will now I am fan of the Rohloff hub for touring both on and off road. I too have been a fan of Surly’s do-everything- reasonably-well bikes. However, the Troll always felt a bit too much of a compromise. Notwithstanding the fact it was too small, I found the handling too busy for it to be a full-on load lugger.

Since dismantling the Troll before moving house last year, I’ve really missed not having a bike of this kind in the fleet. So I was keen to marry the Rohloff to a larger frame and hopefully achieve the true all-roads, all-round touring machine I was looking for.
It may well be early days, but I think I may have just found it. The Ogre is based on Karate Monkey geometry – that venerable ‘niner off-roader of the Surly line up. I wondered whether this would be ‘too mtb’ for touring, but the handling is very different to the Troll. Maybe it’s the set up, but I’m amazed at how predictable this bike is… with none of the Troll fidget. It’s far more to my taste as a touring machine but won’t be as nimble on the gnarly stuff of course.

So, tracking straight and true, the bike really inspires confidence on descents. I’m a bit lily livered when to comes to downhill, but the Ogre has me tucking in and flying. That may be something to do with the riding position. I am able to comfortably ride in the drops on this bike and the position feels quite relaxed and controlled… certainly very far removed from aggressive.

Take a look at the build kit for this bike and you’ll quickly appreciate this a belt-and-braces machine – just how I like my touring bikes to be. However I can also fully understand why some readers would find it over the top and not to their liking at all. It would be possible to build a far leaner and sprightlier version of this bike but the component choice is based on my experiences with the Troll. This bike should be able to bounce along the Kjolur in Iceland fully loaded and crawl (albeit slowly) over Alpine passes. It also needs to be burly enough to resist the determined inattention of baggage handlers (I remain ever-hopeful on this latter point).

Just don’t ask how much it weighs…

The build is as follows:

Frame: Surly Ogre, XXL (24”)
Wheels: Ryde Sputnik Rims, Shimano Deore fornt hub (36 spoke) Rohloff rear (32 spoke)
Tyres: Halo Twin Rail gum wall, 2.2 in
Racks: Tubus front and rear
Transmission: Middleburn cranks, 38T chainring. Rohloff hub, 16T sprocket. Surly tugnut.
Brakes:
Avid BB7 V discs, Tektro V brake drop levers
Bars: Genetic Flare, 46cm
Seatpost: Velo Orange layback seatpost
Stem: Salsa Guide Stem 90mm, 115 degrees
Headset: FSA Orbit XL
Extras: Thorn accessory bar for Rohloff shifter.

ogre-lakes

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10 thoughts on “Variations on a successful theme – the Surly Orge

      1. Yes, that’s right. I prefer the more traditional set up – or a mix thereof – for longer trips. I did go to Eroica. Posting hopefully tomorrow 😊

  1. while the ECR’s advantages left me cold, not so this frame, considering your write up of it. I like what you have said of the handling being in the “predictable” category, something I’m finding a hard time in finding. After using a Rohloff in my Thorn Nomad and Thorn RST I shall, I think, never stray back to that derailleur compromise, so now I tend to only look at frames that do a good job mating the Rohloff drivetrain to their frames.

    You may have cost me a paycheck with this post. But I thank you and am appreciative non-the-less. You may however be receiving an angry email from my wife soon. Apologies. It’s all in doing ones best for cycling-kind.

    🙂

    1. I guess some folk would find it ‘dull’… but dull suits me on a bike of this kind. I’m sorry about the potential outlay! As always, I’d definitely try one first though.

  2. What is that interesting wooden structure in the back of the photo? Is that your new “organic” bicycle trailer, by chance?

    I’d also like to mention that the color of your new bike is really nice.

    1. Ha ha… that’s a pod – a wooden tent that has found dead favour in some UK campsites. They are quite cosy if you don’t fancy lugging your own canvas home ( and drying it after the inevitable rain!) This is Low Wray in the Lake District. A very nice, if very large, campground

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