Since I bought my Surly Krampus back in 2013 it’s been through a few different builds:
- Shimano Alfine 11 w/ Stan’s Flow rims
- Rohloff w/ Surly Rabbit Hole rims
- Stock rigid Surly fork initially
- Rock Shock Reba 100mm fork
- Fox Float 34 130mm fork
- Stock rigid Surly fork again
- SS drivetrainm – 30T x 18T
Surly bikes are nothing if not versatile! 🙂
My tastes in geo have changed a bit since 2013. I’d like a 2″ longer reach, a 3 degree slacker headtube angle and shorter chainstays. However, the shorter/steeper frame does make for a pretty fun playful adult BMX bike. Plus the tubeset they used on the original Krampus frames is nice and lively under my ~200lbs of riding weight. After I sold my Rohloff + Rabbit Hole wheel I wondered what to do with the Krampus. I thought about selling it, but it’s not really worth much and holds a lot of great memories for me. I didn’t really want to invest too much money into it so I decided I’d try it as a single speed bike.
I used a Hope Pro 4 hub + single speed cog spacer kit. I know that lacks commitment and I can convert that wheel to 1×11 or 1×12 drivetrain later if I want. That hub can also convert to Boost 148mm spacing if a new frame were to come along that it would work on. What can I say I like options!
I used the existing 30T chainring and an 18T SS cog. So far that’s a fine gear for urban assault and probably would be okay for gravel grinding, but too high for real singletrack mountain biking. Of course that’s easily changed by swapping in a bigger cog. The crank is actually an old triple so a dingle speed manually swapped wouldn’t be super hard to install. Again I like options!
If you look closely you can see that I used the bolt on version of the Hope hub. That’s not essential, but it does make for a very secure axle position in the Krampus’ horizontal rear dropouts without any need for chain tugs.
So what am I actually going to do with the Krampus setup SS? Honestly I am not sure. I have two bikepacking trips I would like to do next. One is a 2nd run down Vancouver Island to check out some new routing options and get to know the island a bit better. There was so much magnificent terrain to ride through…especially up north…that it deserves another tour. I think the Krampus would do great on this trip with a good rolling terrain gear ratio, an ultralight camping setup and a positive attitude about the hike-a-bike on the steeper climbs. The other trip I want to do is on a trail mainly used by hikers that is very steep and very techy. I don’t think a steep HTA rigid bike with a SS drivetrain is the ticket for that sort of trip. I’d probably grab my Knolly Endorphin with a really minimal bikepacking setup.
Beyond bikepacking I’ve been having a lot of fun just riding the Krampus around town on commuter urban assault missions. It loves to jump off curbs, speed bumbs and stairs. The 29+ tires are a bit overkill for streets, sidewalks and bikepaths, but they roll quite well for a mountain bike tire and they do make for a comfortable ride on a rigid bike. Since it’s paid for and decidedly unfancy looking without any suspension or drivetrain bling to catch a thief’s eye I feel pretty safe locking it outside a store or a pub.
I’m hoping to re-start my annual Baja pilgimages in the next couple years and I think the Krampus would make a fine desert trail, town cruiser and beach rig. Decent floatation and not much that can go wrong with it. Plus like I mentioned above it’s not likely to be a thief magnet.
Having gotten rid of my Santa Cruz Nomad and my Pivot Mach 6 I’m down to only two mountain bikes. My garage is pretty darn empty so there is no real pressure to downsize any further and the Krampus doesn’t have to see a lot of action to keep its place in the fleet. Besides having a steel is real rigid SS bike means there is no need to trash the wunder uber bike[s] for missions where suspension and wide range gearing aren’t needed.
Update July 2020: I am now running a 32T x 20T gear ratio. That’s just what fell to hand when I needed new parts.