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.
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.
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
As good as the Troll is, I prefer the steam-rolling capabilities of a 29-er and I’m going join Surly’s 29+ movement – such a sucker for Surly’s anti-marketing marketing – in the form of an ECR. The order’s been placed and I should get my grubby mitts on the frame in January all being well.
While die-hard MTB riders may struggle with the notion of the ECR, finding it limiting over the trail-hungry Krampus, it seems perfect for me. A stable, dependable animal for my ponderous progress off road… plus the all-important ability to load it up with camping junk.
Having to wait until January means I have plenty of time to consider the build. I’m leaning towards Velocity Dually rims, Surly Knards, trusty Avid bb7 brakes, Jones bars, and a similar chainset arrangement to my Troll, Middleburn.
However, I am struggling with the rear end. I need a fairly low range yet reliable set up on this machine. The bike is already heavy – particularly in the mahooosive size I need – not to mention the various stuffsacs and associated crap I’ll lash on to it for these weekend jaunts.
Early positive impressions of the Rohloff have me optimistically eyeing the uber IGH again. However, I don’t think I can find the funds unless someone is very generous on my 40th birthday.
Tap seemingly innocent queries into Google – ‘ Alfine reliability’ or ‘Alfine low ratio’ – and you’ll be greeted with acres of forum chuntering about this hub. Available in an eight speed and a more complex 11 ratio unit, the Alfine has loyal followers in the MTB community and a fair number of detractors who claim it is not up to the rigours of off-road touring.
I’ve spent a few hours wading though this stuff and it would appear that you can push the design constraints of the simpler eight speed over its pricier brother.
In the interests of a clean drivetrain I’ll take a long, hard look at the simpler eight speed, ideally running a 32 up front and a 22 sprocket on the rear. However, this may lead to its premature death and I might be better off with a 1×10 or 1×9.
Decisions, decisions. Any thoughts gratefully received…