Today Surly launched the Pack Rat, a road/commuter bike designed specifically for front-loaded cargo. The Pack Rat is the culmination of years of experimentation with different ways of hauling stuff on the front of bikes, with geometry and design features that offset the negative handling characteristics of front-loaded bicycles.
Why would you want to put your cargo on the front of your bike? As Surly says, “Having your stuff in front of you means it’s close at hand and easily accessible. It also allows for better weight distribution. A front load keeps the bike nimble and allows you to more efficiently use your body English to steer from the rear.” However, front-loaded bikes traditionally have their own handling drawbacks. The weight pulls you through turns with less control and makes for a less enjoyable ride. The Pack Rat’s design aims to eliminate these issues while still providing a great ride without any cargo, and it accommodates a rear rack as well.
The Pack Rat is built around a steel frame and fork with front and rear rack and fender mounts. The fork features internal routing for generator hubs, and the horizontal dropouts can accommodate singlespeed or geared setups. The frame comes in sizes 38-58 cm. As the company is starting to do with most of its bikes, Surly designed the Pack Rat frames with size-specific geometry, meaning that smaller bikes are not just scaled-down versions of larger bikes and they are designed around two different wheel sizes depending on size. Frame sizes 38-50 cm are designed around 26 inch while 52-58 cm are designed for 650b wheels. Surly states that “smaller diameter wheels keep the weight of the load lower than a 700c wheel would, thereby improving handling and ride feel.”
The Pack Rat will retail for $1349 and will be available at the end of this month. For more information about the design of the Pack Rat directly from Surly, check out their blog post.
Full Specs and geometry:
Co-Motion Cycles is well-known for its tandems, but it also has an impressive range of single-rider bikes, all made right in its own factory in Oregon. Co-Motion also makes all it own steel forks, and the majority of the dropouts, brake mounts and other small frame building bits.
The new Ochoco touring bike is built for shorter-than-average people. While it could easily be called a women’s bike, it is available from sizes 42 to 58, all with 650b wheels. This means people of many heights that are in need of a shorter top tube and an upright position might be in luck here.
The stock tires are 650bx35, but the frameset can fit up to a 40 mm tire. The drivetrain uses a Tanpan pully to allow for proper cable pull between the Shimano STI road shifter and SLX mountain rear derailleur. Combined with the FSA 46/36 crankset, the 11-40 cassette offers at least as much range as the average triple crank setup. You also get Rever’s high-quality, easily serviceable mechanical disc brakes.
Moving from a taller 700c tire to the 650b size helps to keep the geometry sorted, but Co-Motion takes it a step further. To improve steering geometry, Co-Motion makes its own 60 mm offset fork for this bike. Combining that with a 70 degree head angle should make for stable handling with and without a touring load.
The Ochoco is like most of Co-Motion bikes: there are both stock and custom options for paint and sizing. Frame price is yet to be determined, but complete bikes start at $3,595 and go up to $4,295.
There is also a new entry-level touring bike coming out–the Deschutes. This one comes in at $2,495. It has a single color, no custom geometry and less expensive frame tubing, but the same great touring geometry that Co-Motion is famous for. The parts kit is still quite nice, including Shimano 105 shifters, SLX derailleur, a 44 mm headtube and Alex/Formula wheels.
The stock color is called “lusty red” but, in person, it is more wine-colored. Size range is 46-60 cm, and these should be ready for sale soon.
Bike Friday recently announced the launch of the pakiT, a folding bike that weighs between 15 and 22 pounds and fits in a backpack for easy transport and travel. The pakiT debuted on Kickstarter and surpassed its fundraising goal within seven hours.
When folded, the pakiT measures 38 x 24 x 10 inches, giving users the ability to store the bike in a closet, under a desk, in a car trunk, in the overhead bin on a train or in a storage locker. It also allows the rider to take their bike inside instead of leaving it vulnerable to theft or the outside elements. Bike Friday claims it only takes three minutes to break the bike down into a standard suitcase for airline travel.
The pakiT comes in three frame sizes and uses standard bike components, with gearing options from 1-11 speeds, including a Gates belt drive option to eliminate the potential for chain grease stains on clothing and skin. Retail pricing is estimated to be between $1,500 (singlespeed belt drive) and $2,300 (11-speed belt drive).
Salsa’s all-road/touring line received minor tweaks and updates for 2017. The most recent big news in this cycling realm was the previous launch of the Marrakesh flat/drop bar steel road touring bike, which became available this year. So while Salsa had no new drop-bar bikes to show the Bicycle Times audience at this year’s Saddle Drive, three staple models of the line have notable updates (and color changes).
The Cutthroat is Salsa’s top-of-the-line, drop-bar mountain touring bike that has been under the butt of many a Tour Divide racer and the like. When the bike was launched, it utilized an existing carbon fork in Salsa’s lineup and looked a bit funky. For 2017, it gets its own fork that mates better to the beefy headtube, plus internal dynamo front hub wiring.
Otherwise, the only notable changes are the colors. The bike will now be offered in silver/blue and dark red. Cutthroat with SRAM Force and hydraulic brakes retails for $4,000. The SRAM Rival 22 model with hydraulic brakes goes for $3,000. The new colors with the new fork should hit bike shops in October/November.
The other significant update to a Salsa bike is the ability of the Fargo touring bike to now run 27plus, 29er or 29plus tires.
The bike got Salsa’s new Cobra Kai tubing which is made stronger to meet newer, more stringent testing standards. A slightly tweaked headtube angle accommodates a 51 mm offset fork and will still happily accept a suspension fork.
The rear end gets Salsa’s splitting Alternator Dropout so you can run this bike with a belt drive. New 2017 colors are matte warm gray (which has a unique, color-changing shine to it) and the currently super-trendy Forest Service green. Look for the updated Fargo models in bike shops by November. You can get a 27plus SRAM Rival build for $2,300 or a 29er SRAM GX build for $1,700.
Only two things will change for the 2017 Warbird: its color options and your ability to now run fenders on the bike via hidden eyelets. New colors include purple, white, teal, raw carbon (black) and red orange.
The new colors should arrive in bike shops August/September (depending on build kit). Model pricing is as follows:
- Warbird Carbon Ultegra – $4,000
- Warbird Carbon Rival 22 Hydro – $3,000
- Warbird Aluminum 105 – $2,300
We’re at Saddle Drive near Lake Tahoe this week checking out new bikes from Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), the parent company of Surly, All-City, Foundry, Heller and Salsa. Because of the proliferation of cycling events across the country, these companies aren’t launching all of their new stuff right away, but we did get a look at two updates from Surly: the flat-bar Cross-Check and the re-designed Troll.
The Troll was once a mountain bike with a few extras for touring. It has evolved significantly into a dedicated workhorse and has gone through a complete frame re-design for 2017.
The fork is no longer suspension corrected, which lengthened the head tube a bit, providing more room for a frame bag even on smaller frames. The frame is now Boost compatible, but you can use any mountain bike hub that strikes your fancy. New chainstays allow the frame to accept up to a 26×3-inch tire. Still available are post mounts for old-school brakes, which Surly says remains popular with overseas tourers.
The dropouts still allow you to run disc brakes, fenders, a Rohloff hub and racks simultaneously. It also comes with more braze-ons, including four triple bottle mounts on the fork and two more triple bottle mounts on the down tube. The complete bike will come shipped with a Jones bar, thumb shifters and Surly’s improved 26×2.5 Extraterrestrial touring tires.
When compared to Surly’s other bikes, such as the Karate Monkey, the Troll stands out as the tool for someone living on their bike doing off-road touring rather than just a handful of bikepacking trips. The new Troll will retail for $1,650 and be available in November/December. Load it up and get out there!
The Cross-Check frame and fork remain unchanged, but for 2017 Surly will offer a lower-cost, flat-bar model stocked with a MSW Pork Chop rear rack. The SRAM X5 1×9 drivetrain gets the price down to $875. This new Cross-Check build will be available in December.
The steel Space Horse has long been All-City’s most popular and versatile model, ridden by commuters, tourers and gravel grinders alike. It features the geometry of a road-meets-touring bike, room for wider tires, a bottom bracket that’s lower than a standard road bike and stability when loaded down. Now it features disc brakes, a new parts spec and a wider size range.
The Space Horse Disc will be offered in seven sizes: 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58 and 61 cm. The 49-61 cm fit a 700c x 42 tire while the 43 and 46 cm bikes will take a 650b x 45. The 43 cm bike has a 495 mm top tube length to fit riders in the five-foot range and the 46 cm has a top tube length of 515 mm, which is a half centimeter shorter than the cantilever Space Horse version.
Other updates include a new vertical dropout with a replaceable derailleur hanger and a 2×11 Shimano 105 parts spec. You still get an E.D. coated frame (protects against rust), internal cable routing, a lugged crown fork and hidden fender mounts. The Space Horse Disc will be priced at $1800 and will hit dealers in mid-August.
Photos from All-City don’t accurately reflect the stock build that will be offered. See the Space Horse Disc page for complete information.
Advocate Cycles is attending the Montana Bicycle Celebration this week previewing two, brand-new and custom-painted models that will be auctioned at a later date to support the Adventure Cycling Association.
The Sand County is a pavement-based touring bike, ready to take a full load of racks and panniers. The triple crankset assuages one of our minor complaints about the Advocate Lorax: its 2×10 road gearing is too steep for most loaded touring. Decent wheels and fork mounts also make this an appealing ride.
The Seldom Seen is a bikepacking and off-road touring specific model that departs from the Hayduke by having an integrated frame bag, load-bearing specific geometries, full rack and fender mounts and proprietary tubing that Advocate designed specifically for this model.
The two, touring-specific bikes will slot into the lineup alongside the all-road Lorax (which we will have a review of in our next print issue) and the Hayduke, a 27plus hardtail. Naturally, people have been using both of those bikes for on- and off-road touring, so it makes sense to see Advocate step up and offer bikes specifically for that purpose.
Tern Bicycles, in honor of its fifth birthday, teased an upcoming project to be released at Eurobike at the end of August: a Bosch-powered electric folding bicycle.
“Riders around the world are increasingly turning to bicycles as their full-service solution to transportation. And that means cargo bikes, dependable daily riders, and electric bikes that can easily tackle 25 km commutes are needed,” said Josh Hon, Tern Bicycles’ founder. “With our expertise in urban cycling, we’re excited to bring fresh design and inspiration to the market.”
Stay tuned for more next month!
We just returned from a week at Press Camp in Park City, Utah, where several companies announced new stuff for model year 2017. Cannondale, GT, Blue, Ridley and component maker 3T all trotted out fresh bikes at the event for industry journalists to check out.
Full disclosure, Press Camp is not a standard bike industry event, which often involves camping or at least staying in a sub-par hotel with questionable sheets and discolored bath water. Press Camp is held at a swanky ski resort with very crisp white sheets and fabulous meals. But that won’t stop me from saying I think some of these bikes are more technical exercise and designer fantasy than anything else. Some are very practical while others are just plain neat-o.
Stay tuned for coverage of new soft goods, gear and gadgets that we also saw at Press Camp.
3T Exploro Aero Gravel
The 3T Exploro Aero Gravel bike was one of the most talked-about bikes at Press Camp, partly because it’s 3T’s first foray into frame design and partly because it looks wild with square carbon tubes and mountain tires. In a nutshell, it’s a bike with road-ish geometry and clearance for 27.5 knobbies. Or, as I kept thinking, a hardcore roadie’s gravel grinder. Or a serious gravel racer for contenders. Or an n+1 for people with equal (significant) amounts of money and curiosity.
3T emphasized that the geometry of this bike means it will ride almost the same with 700 x 28 mm tires as it will with 27.5 x 2.1-inch tires. It has a 415 mm chainstay, 50 mm rake, 70 mm bottom bracket drop, 72.5 mm seatube angle and, depending on size (small through extra-large) a headtube angle of 69.5 mm to 72.5 mm and a headtube length of 100.6 mm to 180 mm.
The company actually put this thing in a wind tunnel with two water bottles and a coating of fake, 3D-printed mud. The fan was set to 20 mph for more realistic conditions (rather than the standard 30 mph), and what resulted was a frame claimed to go faster with 40 mm knobby tires than will a round-tubed frame with 28 mm road slicks. And that’s why it’s called an “aero gravel bike.”
The Exploro will be sold at two levels as a frameset, only. The Limited (pictured) frame weighs 950 grams and retails for a whopping $4,200, while a white and red “Team” frame will sell for $3,000. Does this bike solve a non-existent problem, or is it the natural evolution of frame technology and the ever-expansion of bicycle versatility? That’s up to you, consumer.
On the other end of the spectrum we have the far-less-expensive Cannondale Quick, a line of practical commuter bikes that will be updated for 2017. With its Quick, the company is seeking to target a younger demographic of riders that is mostly focused on fitness and outings such as weekend bike path rides.
The new Quick bikes will each feature a 55 mm fork offset, more upright position and a slacker head angle than previous models for a more stable ride. Quicks will come with rack and fender mounts, reflective graphics, the same road vibration-absorbing rear triangle design as Cannondale’s high-end road bikes, puncture-resistant tires and the option for an integrated kickstand ($30).
Eight Quick models for women and eight for men will be available, including three in each line with disc brakes. Prices will range from $400-$1,300.
Cannondale is adding a new Slate to its lineup of quirky 650b gravel bikes: two models with rigid forks and Apex one-by build kits (one for men and one for women; women’s model is pictured). The Solo Rigid fork allows the price of this Slate to drop below $2,000 while keeping the same geometry and road-chatter-absorbing rear triangle design.
The rigid Lefty-like fork makes this much more of a traditional gravel bike, just one that is designed around 650b x 42 mm tires. This women’s version is no different other than a brown-and-pink paint job and different “touch points” more specific to some women—saddle, bar width and the like. It will come in two sizes (small and medium).
To answer the question some have asked: this bike does not have front fender/rack mounts.
Blue Prosecco PRO EX and AL
Blue Bicycles, formerly based in Georgia and now in California, struggled for a few years despite the success of its triathlon and cyclocross bikes. Now, the company is spooling up again and significantly expanding its line, adding mountain bikes and gravel bikes for 2017.
At the top of its new gravel line sits the Prosecco PRO EX, a $2,700 carbon bike with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and room for up to 700 x 42 mm tires. Yes, that sub-$3,000 MSRP is accurate.
The frame is Blue’s own design. The company was striving for comfort with an adventure/trekking perspective. The bike has seastays designed for damping, a tall headtube, bento box mounts, thru axles front and rear, house-built wheels and internal cable routing.
The Prosecco AL aluminum version (pictured above) with a slightly less fancy frame design, Shimano 105 components and mechanical disc brakes will retail for $1,090. A carbon model with non-electronic Ultegra will be available between the two price points.
Ridley Helium SLA
Ridley bikes is better known as a performance brand and, true to style, did not have a new gravel grinder or touring bike on display at Press Camp. I almost didn’t go check them out but was drawn in by its new road bike, the Helium SLA, the company’s first new aluminum frame in five years.
The Helium SLA comes with a carbon fork and Shimano Ultegra for $1,900. The bike pictured is an extra-extra small and weighs about 17 pounds. A Shimano 105 model will weigh one pound more and retail for $1,500. All frames feature smoother, double-pass welding and internal cable routing. Sizes will range from XXS to XL.
This bike has nothing to do with anything other than it’s rad. The GT Performer is a complete replica of a 1986 BMX bike, but with a long-enough seatpost and 26-inch wheels to facilitate cruising about town. It’s the bike you rode as a kid (or lusted after) now in an adult-friendly size. For $560, GT might just have your new bar bike.
We have been impressed with the Marin Four Corners we’ve been riding (see our review in the next issue) and the new Nicasio model slides in between the Four Corners and the more road-going Gestalt. Designed for commuting or light touring, it has 700×30 tires, a 2×8 Shimano Claris drivetrain and mechanical disc brakes. Best of all it’s a great value at just $770. You don’t need to spend thousands to get a fun, good looking bike.
While the basic Brompton design hasn’t changed in years (decades?), we spied this lovely limited-edition nickel finish bike in the booth, one of only 115 that will be brought to the United States.
Our online editor also took the plunge and participated in the Brompton World Championship race. Read all about it here.
Fuji stepped up its fat bike game by adding a carbon model to its 2017 Wendigo line. The bike features a 197×12 mm rear dropout, which an accept up to a 5-inch tire. The carbon fork has 150×15 mm hub spacing. Build kit is SRAM XO1 (1×11), DT Swiss BR 2250 wheels, Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tubeless-ready tires at 26×4.8 and SRAM Guide RS brakes. The frame also has internal cable routing, plus rear rack mounts and ample bottle cage mounts for all of your bikepacking adventures.
Trek had plans in place to develop a less-expensive fat bike, but sales trends showed huge sell-through in its higher-end carbon models, hence the 9.9. Even with 27×4.7 tires, the Farley 9.9 is claimed to weigh 22 pounds. Twenty-two pounds! With real tires. Pretty amazing.
A host of lightweight Bontrager bits accompany the OCLV carbon frame, but the real star of the show are the HED Big Deal carbon rims, which are one of the lightest, if not the lightest, fat bike rims on the market.
With fat bike races now selling out in most parts of the country, this looks like a serious contender for raciest fat bike ever, even directly out of the box.
A far cry from the road-racing Masi bikes of the past, the latest models are all about exploring far outside the peloton. The Giramondo is a modern touring bike, built to explore roads that aren’t always smooth sailing. It has five sets of bottle cage mounts and 700×40 tires, though we’re told it can fit a 27.5 mountain bike wheel and tire as well. It is currently available for $1,089 but will climb to $1,199 for the 2017 spec version seen here.
The Speciale Randonneur is a variation on the previous model, with a steel frame and beautiful painted-to-match fenders, though Masi says they haven’t decided on a color yet. While the previous version was a 700c bike, the next-generation version uses WTB’s new Horizon 27plus road tires. While they measure in at 47 mm wide, they have the same outside circumference that a 700x30c tire has and can likely be retrofitted to many bikes.
Schwinn is a name that everyone recognizes as a bicycle, but only holds a fraction of the prestige that it used to. While it still sells bikes through big box stores, it is moving slowly up-market and selling through select bike shops. Looking good is a new road bike with some interesting features.
The Schwinn Vantage RX1 has the “Smooth Ride Tech” design that Schwinn debuted last year. Essentially a rubberized elastomer goes between the seat tube and the seatstay junction, providing a small amount of vibration absorption.
Even the stem has an elastomer to absorb harsh road vibrations. You can’t really feel it move while riding, though there will be two durometers that customers can pick from. It is also the most expensive bike in the Schwinn lineup at $1,599 with SRAM Rival 1. There is a also a Shimano Sora version that will sell for $999.
Looking like more fun than an espresso-fueled puppy is the new Stuntman, with massive 29-inch mountain bike wheels for crushing the nastiest roads you can throw at it, especially when you activate the included dropper seatpost. Designed specifically for a single chainring, it will come equipped a SRAM wide-range drivetrain when it goes on sale this fall. While it is pictured here with a current model, the production version will also feature an all-new Clement tire spec. Let’s hope they are gumwalls! Raleigh says it will follow up with a whole series of bikes based on the Stuntman including sub-$1,000 versions with steel forks.
Joe Breeze may get a lot of (deserved) credit for his contribution to mountain bikes, but before he built his first clunker he was building custom road bikes. The new Inversion model is a thoroughly modern road bike with thru-axles, room for bigger tires and flat-mount disc brakes. It uses a special steel tubeset that is heat-treated after it has been welded together for better finish quality. The Shimano Ultegra version pictured here will sell for about $2,000 when it goes on sale this fall and a Shimano 105 version should be around $1,500.
Finally, if you know anything about mountain bikes you know the name Fat Chance. But what isn’t as widely known is that Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Chris Chance also built road bikes under the Slim Chance moniker. Now they’re back with a high-end steel frame that’s made in America and offers tons of custom options. Each is made-to-order and built to spec, starting at $2,295. And yes, there is a segmented steel fork option coming soon.
Brooklyn Bicycle Co. just announced two, new hybrid bikes made from Chromoly steel: the Roebling and Lorimer. The company makes bicycles prepared for any city adventure, inspired by the streets of Brooklyn.
Each bicycle features 24 speeds provided by a mix of Shimano components, plus Tektro linear-pull brakes and Brooklyn Bicycle Co.’s own Ergo Touring saddle and puncture-resistant 700×32 mm tires. Each bike is ready for front and rear racks and fenders and features quick-release hubs. The Roebling, named for the man who designed the Brooklyn Bridge, weighs 26.75 pounds and is available in black in the following sizes: 15”, 17”, 19”, 21” and 23”.
The Lorimer is the version of the Roebling designed for women. The only difference is the white color, available sizing and a slightly lighter reported weight of 25.5 pounds. Available sizes are 14″, 16″ and 18″.
Each bike retails for $499 and can be purchased direct from Brooklyn Bicycle Co.’s website. When you order, your bike is shipped to a local shop where the cost of professional assembly is covered by your purchase price.
Frostbike is one of the annual dealer gatherings hosted by Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), the parent brand behind All City, Foundry, Salsa, Surly and others. The event takes place at QBP headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in late February and allows shop owners and media types to gather and drink beer and talk shop.
With the Taipei International Cycle Show and Sea Otter looming, not to mention the countless company-specific product launch events now usurping big trade shows, there was not a glut of new product to be explored. Here are the few new and noteworthy bicycles we stumbled upon.
All City Pony Express – $1,149
All City’s new rigid singlespeed mountain bike—the Log Lady—soaked up the media attention prior to Frostbike, allowing another new offering to quietly sneak into the lineup. To create the Pony Express, All City started with its highly popular Space Horse frame, doused it in bright red paint, hung it with simple 1×10 road gearing and loaded it up with a straightforward parts kit including flat bars and V-brakes. The Pony Express is fender- and rack-friendly, can accept up to 700×42 tires (38 mm with fenders), features internal cable routing on the top tube and sports a bottom bracket lower than the usual road bike.
Since the Space Horse is All City’s light touring bike, the frame’s load capacity is a combined 50 pounds of gear and is designed to handle well under that load. On the Pony Express, All City maintains its use of beautiful lugged crown forks, signature dropouts and the company’s proprietary blend of smooth-riding steel tubing. This bike doesn’t so much answer “Why?” as it answers “Why not?”
More info: allcitycycles.com
All City Macho King Limited – $3,400
Behold the newest edition of All City’s short-run Macho King Limited. The cyclocross racer’s frame is made from Reynolds 853 steel and features a tapered, thru-axle Whisky carbon fork, SRAM 1×11 setup and extra-classy green fade paint job. If you want one, go talk to your local bike shop now before they’re available since few are produced and they sell out fast.
More info: allcitycycles.com
Civia Lowry – $399 (singlespeed), $469 (7-speed)
After going quiet for a few years to re-tool and conduct extensive body geometry studies, Civia is back with an all-new aluminum model (no more steel) designed to be carried by your local bike shop and to compete with direct-sale online dealers of sub-$500 neighborhood bikes.
To begin its rebirth, Civia launched the Lowry in two styles of top tubes and with either one or seven gears. The aluminum tubing was kept narrower to mimic the look of steel tubing but was used to lighten the weight of the bikes. The frames feature rack and fender mounts as well as integrated chain guards and kickstands.
Each Lowry is available in five sizes to accommodate riders from 5’0” to 6’4”. The smallest two sizes use 26-inch wheels (with 1.5-inch tires) for better fit and handling, while the rest get standard 700c road wheels with 38 mm tires. More models are slated to roll out in the future.
More info: civiacycles.com
Surly Big Dummy – $2,100
The venerable cargo hauler from Surly got a refresh for Frostbike. New this year is a bright green paint job with matching cargo deck, Surly’s Extra Terrestrial tires and a new SRAM drivetrain. The updated model will be available in July or August.
More info: surlybikes.com
Fuji Custom – Priceless
We saw this in the QBP parking lot—locked up, no less. We unfortunately couldn’t find the owner, and are therefore unable to bring you a test ride report.
Foundry Cycles also showcased its new titanium cyclocross racer and updated titanium gravel road bike, which we reported on earlier. See photos and details, here.