Back in 2012 I wanted to try out some “bikepacking” and decided a low cost 29er would be a good place to start. So I ordered a $250 frame from On One USA and built it up with an Alfine 11 IGH and RockShox Reba fork. I rode it through the rest of 2012 on all my dirt camping adventures.
In early 2013 I got enamoured with 29+ tires and wanted a bike with a more relaxed geometry for techy singletrack bikepacking missions. That train of thought resulted in my Surly Krampus being built up. The Krampus has been great as a bikepacking rig. So great in fact that it occurred to me to get a second Krampus and keep it setup for chill forest service road style trips aka Gravel Pimping.
I’m both lazy and finicky so after I get a bike setup just how I want it for a certain kind of riding I am loath to go and mess with it. My Vancouver Island Tour in 2015 reminded me that a bike setup for techy singletrack wasn’t ideal for sitting and spinning all day on a dirt road.
Of course in Jan 2016 I decided this year would be the Buy [almost] Nothing Year! A second Krampus definitely doesn’t compute when you are just repairing what you already own. Luckily I had that Scandal frame hanging in the garage and a pile of spare parts I could throw at it. Boom! 🙂
With a rigid Whisky carbon fork, a Jones Loop H-bar and a comfy Selle Anatomica saddle the Scandal started to look like a very nice dirt road machine. I had some light-ish Velocity Blunt 35 rim + Hope hub wheels I could use and a 1 x 10 Shimano drivetrain. I stole the Shimano SLX brakes off the Krampus as they had never rocked my world with amazing stopping power. For this application they’d do just fine.
I own a set of Schwalbe Racing Ralph 29 x 2.4″ tires and I was going to use them, but on a lark I threw a spare Surly Knard 29 x 3.0″ tire on the front on the Scandal. I’m not sure it’s a keeper, but I hope it will provide some of the comfort and surefootedness I love about riding the Krampus without slowing things down noticeably. If I don’t really dig the Knard I’ll just roll on two Racing Ralphs.
I already had a Porcelain Rocket framebag so it was easy to add luggage to the Scandal.
All in all I’ve got a nice and lightweight alternative to the Krampus shod with fast rolling rubber. I’m looking forward to riding it this weekend on the first bike camping trip of the year.