ECR miles

The last couple of weekends I’ve been getting the miles in on the ECR ahead of my trip to Scotland in May. Importantly, these have been largely off road miles and with luggage to a lesser or greater degree.

Last weekend saw me out with those fine folk from Keep Pedalling and a couple of other customers, among them Tim from Life in the Cycle Lane. We bimbled around the byways of the South Pennines on our passé geared machines while our hosts chewed up the trail on single speeds. It was the workout I needed and a salutary reminder that my fitness is not quite where it should be. Read Tim’s account here. Continue reading

Surly ECR XXL four months on – Evading Clichéd Rides?

I’ve had my mahoosive Surly ECR since March.

In that time, it’s been on numerous trips over the trails near home, took part in a celebratory ride for the bike shop that supplied it (and was greeted with nods of approval from the Surly dudes), lugged bikepacking gear on an epic trip from Settle to home along the Pennine Bridleway and ferried me out for coffee on a hill when I just couldn’t take it any more.

Surly ECR in the Pennines
A sunny day on the trails. An ECR day.

Continue reading

Keep Pedalling’s Third Birthday Ride

So this week has been a little different…

Rather than spending Wednesday up to my armpits in the usual heady mix of meetings and miscellanea in the Smoke, I boarded a Routemaster bus armed with my ECR alongside a bunch of like-minded folks with a plethora of impressive steeds.

The reason? Manchester’s best bike shop (now official) Keep Pedalling celebrated its third birthday. Naturally, the only way to mark this occasion was to go for a ride and follow it with a party in the shop… with beer, pizza and a fantastic cake courtesy of The Baking Room.

A couple of those very fine folk from Surly also came along… great company they were too.

The Routemaster was a very novel touch and provided the perfect entrée to a day of mud plugging in the Pennines. Despite my lowly off road skills, I didn’t crash… my only misdemeanour was losing my bottles when I got the beefy ECR airborne.

Riding bikes in the sunshine = happy days. Thanks so much Keep Pedalling for the invite, your advice and my two rather excellent Surlys. Here’s to your continued success.

More pics from the day can be found here courtesy of Steve Makin. Read Tim’s always entertaining account on Life in the Cycle Lane.

Surly ECR XXL – listen up tall folks

Got my Surly ECR yesterday. It’s a massive Humvee of a bike. While it’s too early to give an impression of the ride, let’s just say… so far, so ruddy marvelous.

The sizing of this bike caused a bit of head scratching but I am glad I went for the largest model. I feel I am sitting ‘in’ this bike rather than ‘on’ it.

I’m 6’6″ with a 37 1/2 cycle inseam and wanted an upright position. The result seems perfect for throwing my sizeable weight backwards on descents while the ‘aero’ position on the Jeff Jones loop bars is  comfortably within reach.

It’s early days, but I’ve found a bike that feels ‘right’ and inspires confidence off road.

Anyway, you’re probably not interested in my babble. Here are a spec list and some pics, including one of me on it for scale…

Frame: Surly ECR. size 24”
Rims: Velocity Dually, 32 spoke
Tyres: Surly Knard folding, 29×3”, 120 tpi (running inner tubes for now)
Front hub: Hope Evo, black, 32 hole
Rear hub: Shimano Alfine 8 speed black, 23 tooth sprocket, Surly Tugnut
Brakes: Avid BB7, front rotor 180mm, rear 160mm
Brake levers: Avid FR-5
Grips: Ergon GP-1
Bars: Jeff Jones H bar, 660mm
Shifter: Shimano Alfine trigger
Stem: Salsa Pro Moto, 90mm, 25 deg rise
Headset: Hope, black
Bottom bracket: Hope stainless, black
Crankset: Middleburn RS-8 X-type, 32 tooth ring, hardcoat
Seatpost: Thomson Elite layback, black
Saddle: Brooks B17
Pedals: Shimano Saint
Rack: Caradice Bagman Expedition
Bag: Nelson Longflap

Behold… the Trolloff

Picked up my Surly Troll Mk2 at the weekend and thought I would post some pictures. Components were a little different in the end as I opted for an SP PD8 dynamo hub. However, this 32-hole hub required a new rim too so I ended having a full set of wheels built on Mavic XM 719s.

I realise the wide flange of the Rohloff hub can create quite an angle where the spoke meets the rim – particularity on 26 inch wheels and there are rims with specific drilling to help with this. I raised this with the guys at Keep Pedalling and was assured it wouldn’t be a problem (and they’ve built a whole bunch of them). Time will tell.

A set of mudguards with plenty of clearance for stones and mud (and to help rear wheel removal) completes the upgrade. Done about 40 miles so far and am rapidly becoming a fan of the Rohloff.

These pics are not great I’m afraid… was trying to keep the rain off the camera 🙂

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.